FROM THE DESK OF WILL SPOKES, SENIOR PASTOR
Words For Reflection:
Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life; he died to save us from the wrath of God. – Jerry Bridges
The most violent expression of God's wrath and justice is seen in the Cross. If ever a person had room to complain for injustice, it was Jesus. He was the only innocent man ever to be punished by God. If we stagger at the wrath of God, let us stagger at the Cross. Here is where our astonishment should be focused. – R.C. Sproul
God’s holy wrath is poured out on what He hates because it damages and destroys what He loves. – Sinclair Ferguson
For next Sunday:
Sermon Text: Romans 2:1-11
How Firm a Foundation - Adoration
Depth of Mercy - Confession
The Gospel is Good News Indeed - Grace
Abide with Me - Response
Streams of Living Water - Communion
Doxology - Old 100th
The Bible Project:
As a way to help you grasp the over-arching story of the Bible, I am going to include each week a link to one of The Bible Project videos that summarizes in a few minutes one book of the Bible.
This week check out the summary of Titus.
If you are looking for help to read the Bible in a more regular way, you may find this approach and this app helpful.
There is no question Romans 1:18-32 is an attention getting passage with plenty of ingredients likely to raise strong reactions. Whether you agree or disagree with what Paul says, especially about human sexuality, you may benefit from two very good resources.
The first is a book written by Sam Allberry. Sam is a pastor at St. Mary's Church in Maidenhead, UK and has written and spoken about his own struggles with Same Sex Attraction (SSA).
The second is an article by New Testament Professor, Richard Hays. Actually it is a chapter from a larger work called "The Moral Vision of the New Testament." I would venture to say this piece is perhaps the single best treatment of Romans 1:18-32 and the issue of homosexuality.
If you have questions about anything you heard Sunday or about issues of sexuality in general I would be happy to talk further!
Singing To God (Psalm 95:1-5)
Rock of Ages
Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
Bowing Before God (Psalm 95:6-7b)
Prayer of Confession
Father, we confess that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of this behavior is mistrust and self-love. We do not love one another as we should, because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our only righteousness. Amen.
Words of Grace
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
1 John 3:2-3
Hearing From God (Psalm 95:7c-11)
Sermon Text - Romans 1:18-32
1. The human exchange (v. 23, 25, 26; v. 24 "Therefore")
2. The divine exchange (1:17, 18; Rom. 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:21)
The Heart of the Message
In order to truly grasp the good news of the gospel, we must accept the bad news! The bad news is humanity suppresses the truth about God in an effort to build a different life out of lies. This is the human condition and God’s wrath is God’s decision to give humanity over to what it most wants. Therefore, the behaviors listed in vs. 24-31 don’t provoke God’s wrath but are present signs of God’s wrath and there is no end in sight, just the inevitable progression from bad to worse. However, this dark diagnosis of the human condition comes in the context of God’s good news (1:16-17). The power of God unto salvation. The gift of Divine Righteousness through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ received by faith alone! The divine exchange of the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Pet. 3:18) is the only rescue from a life enslaved to suppressing the truth about God in order to pursue a life of lies.
- What features of this passage stand out to you the most? What words or phrases or ideas grab your attention?
- How does Paul use the word “exchanged” to make his point? (v. 23, 25, 26)
- What’s your reaction to Paul’s description of the wrath of God? (v. 24, 26, 28)
- What do you think Paul means by “natural relations” or “contrary to nature?” (v. 26, 27) In other words, what do you think is the standard for what constitutes “natural” or “nature” for Paul?
- Why is it so important to read 1:18-32 in light of 1:16-17?
- Do you think Paul is picking on people who identify as Gay or struggle with Same Sex Attraction? Why or why not?
- What is the overall impact of this passage on you personally? Humbling? Upsetting? Confusing? Implausible? Accurate?
Confession of Faith: The New City Catechism, 2017
Q. 16. What is sin?
A. Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created, rebelling against him by living without reference to him, not being or doing what he requires in his law—resulting in our death and the disintegration of all creation.
1 John 3:4
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.