God’s Good News: Lesson 4 Part 1

1. READ THESE VERSES IN YOUR BIBLE: Romans 3:21-4:25

2. READ TEACHING ABOUT THE VERSES

So we all need the righteousness that God has provided by faith! (Romans 3:21-31)

Here is good news to a guilty person in danger of judgment! God made a way to save us! If I am convicted of my sins, then I will want God’s salvation! What good news that I can be right before God based on believing, rather than based on what I do! God has made known a way for men to avoid judgment for their sins. God can call us righteous!

This righteousness is not by us trying to do something. That would not work, because all have fallen short of God’s perfect standard. We have “sinned” – we “missed the mark” of God’s perfect standard. Once I do one thing wrong, I am unrighteous. Even if all the other things I did were perfect, they would not fix the one thing I did wrong. There is no “extra-credit” righteousness.

This gospel is for everyone, because all people need it and because it is based on faith! Christ died on the cross for everyone’s sins. He was perfect, but he took the judgment we deserved. So now anyone can be declared righteous (justified) by God if they will just trust in Christ. God is satisfied with Christ’s blood.

God offers you a righteous position before Him. It is free. There is no way you could pay for it. Christ paid it all as a Redeemer. You just need to admit you are unrighteous, and tell God you believe that Christ died for your sins. Do you believe you needed Christ to die for you?

God’s gospel offers salvation through Christ’s blood. It shows that God is righteous. God would be wrong if He knew you did wrong but ignored it. But He has not ignored our sins. God gave the right penalty for sins: death. Yet God provided a substitute, so we do not have to take the penalty. Christ died for our sins! So we see God is still righteous. He can be just and still justify one who believes in Jesus!

Christ is a “mercyseat.” Before Jesus, God had told the Jews to build a place so He could dwell among them. He would meet with them in the “holy of holies” above the “mercyseat.” This was a cover over a box that had the ten commandments inside. These tell us about the righteousness that God expects. No one has kept these rules, so God could not meet with unrighteous men there! But on the mercyseat, they put blood of a substitute animal. This was a picture of what Christ would do. He gave up his blood as a perfect sacrifice. This way God can be righteous, but not have to punish us for our unrighteousness. Have you told God you need Christ’s blood?

Being justified is only by faith. It is not by works of law. No one can earn righteousness. So no one can boast. Anyone who is in heaven will only be there because they believed that Christ died for them. Have you trusted Christ as your Savior from sins’ penalty?

Continued in Lesson 4 Part 2

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Two Apologetics Websites

With the prevalence of atheism, agnosticism, occultic and cultic belief systems, and many other errors in western society, it is good that the Lord raises up some Christians to defend the faith and equip the church for effective evangelism. Two websites that I enjoy in this regard are Christian Evidences and Apologetics315.

Christian Evidences Ministries, is run by my friend and brother in Christ, Rob Sullivan. A businessman by profession, brother Rob is also a gifted Bible teacher and gospel preacher who has a special interest in evangelism and apologetics. He organizes his site around four lines of evidence, summarized by the acronym “MAPS”: “Manuscript evidence”; “Archaeological evidence”; “Prophectic evidence”; and “Scientific evidence.” Using video presentations, coupled with written materials, Rob presents answers to many objections of modern skeptics, as well as presenting a logically coherent case for biblical Christianity.

Apologetics 315 is a website started and maintained by Brian Auten (whom I don’t know personally.) It has many interesting interviews with scholars, apologists, preachers, authors, and others who proclaim the truth and answer the critics. His interviews may be beamed by RSS feed directly to a reader (e.g. Google Reader) or iTunes. He also presents weekly bonus links to other audio, video, & written material from around the web dealing with apologetics and witnessing. The site also features regular book reviews pertaining to apologetics. Apologetics315 is an excellent tool for those who want to clear away obstacles to the gospel.

Both of these sites present a great trove of materials for defending, sharing, and teaching the Scriptures to a lost world. They carry on the spirit of the injuction in 1 Peter 3:15: “but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

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God’s Good News: Lesson 3 Part 2

So all people deserve to be judged by God (Romans 3:9-20)

How terrible! No one can escape! Everyone is under sin. The immoral know God and ignore Him. The moral know right and wrong, but do wrong. The religious know law, but still disobey.

Our lives show our sins, and God’s word says we are sinful. God looks at the people in the world and says “there is not a righteous man, not even one!” He sees all have gone out of the way of doing right. “There is not one that practices goodness, there is not so much as one!”

Is that really how God sees the people of this world? Yes. All of them. Not one of them is good. They do not honor God like they should. They do not obey the truth that they know. They do not live right.

In fact, when God said these things, he was talking about people who had His rules in the law – religious people! Not one person can avoid the judgment for their evil actions! We are all guilty, so we are all in danger! We all need God’s gospel!

God is righteous, so He requires us to be righteous. But no one has lived righteous. So all are under the wrath of God. No one can do anything to try to justify themselves. Doing works of law will not work. The law has rules from God, but all it does is show men that they miss the mark. All are sinners!

Continued in Lesson 4 Part 1

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God’s Good News: Lesson 3 Part 1

1. READ THESE VERSES IN YOUR BIBLE: Romans 2:17-3:20

2. READ TEACHING ABOUT THE VERSES

Religious people have God’s word, so are they in danger? (Romans 2:17-3:8)

Perhaps you are not concerned about the wrath of God. You agree that the immoral and even the moral person are in danger of judgment. But you have a higher claim. You are religious.

You think of yourself as having a connection to God. You do religious things. You have ceremonies that you follow. You may have rules that God gave. Maybe you say that you are “Jewish” or a “Christian.” Or perhaps you have some other name that connects you with God. You think that surely God is pleased with you. But is He?

If you have done wrong things, should they be punished? Does God ignore the evil things you did? Will He say you are OK because you call yourself by a religious name? Does God think you are righteous because you do a ritual like go to church every Sunday or get baptized?

Imagine your family was robbed, but the person that robbed you always went to church meetings. Should that person still be punished? Yes! It would be wrong for the judge to ignore the evil deed!

So you might be part of a religious group, but that is not how you can be right with God! You might have rules to follow, but do you always do what is right? God looks at how you really live! You can not hide behind a religious code or a religious ceremony or a religious name.

Does that mean the people who received God’s word are not special? No, they are special! What a privilege they have! But if they received God’s word, they are expected to obey it! They are stewards. God gave them something to care for. So they have to be faithful in caring for God’s word. They have to do what God said! If they do not, they deserve to be punished.

So, you may be a “religious” person, with a religious name and rituals and rules. You have the truth about what God expects through religious codes. But it is not enough to know what is right! God expects you to DO right! To avoid punishment, you have to truly live out a perfect life. So you are in great danger of God’s judgment too! God must give wrath to the unrighteous, and you have no excuse!

Continued in Lesson 3 Part 2

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God’s Good News: Lesson 2 Part 2

Moral people live better lives, but are they right with God? (Romans 2:1-16)

Do you agree with me about the immoral person? Maybe you agree that they deserve to be judged by God. Well, you are in danger of judgment from God also! You might think you are OK because you do not do such evil things. Compared to an immoral person, you are a good, moral person. So does that make you righteous?

Does God judge by comparing who is better? No! He would not be a righteous judge if He did that! You know His judgment is based on the truth. He looks at you and sees everything about you. Other people do not see what you think, but God does. Other people do not know what you do in secret, but God does!

Have you ever had an evil thought? Have you ever wanted to do something mean to someone? Have you ever done something wrong when no one was around? Have you ever felt bad for what you said or did?

God sees past what you seem to be. He judges what you really are! Are you perfect? If your life was only, always doing good, then God could give you eternal life. But inside you have a conscience – it makes you feel bad for doing wrong things. Do you really always do what is perfect? God knows you do not.

So, you may be a “moral” person. You know that God expects you to live right and do good. You have the truth, and you think about right and wrong with your conscience. But God looks at all of your life. He even sees in secret. Only a perfect life can avoid righteous punishment.

You know you do not have a perfect life. So you are in great danger of judgment from God too! God must give wrath to those who are unrighteous, and you do not have an excuse!

Continued in Lesson 3 Part 1

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God’s Good News: Lesson 1 Part 2

The Gospel is God’s power to save those who believe in Christ (Romans 1:16-18)

Paul was ready to preach the gospel, because he knew everyone needed it. He also knew how great a message it was! It is good news that tells people how God is able to save them. If you were in great danger, you sure would want to know that someone could rescue you! How awesome that God is the Person that wants to rescue you!

Who can be saved? Everyone who believes. How can I be saved? By faith. I need to believe God’s message and believe in God’s Son. We will talk about that more.

How does God save people? By giving them righteousness. This means that by the gospel, a person can be perfect in God’s eyes. By His gospel, God can look at you and say there is nothing wrong with you! But why do I need God to give me righteousness? Do I need to be rescued? What is the danger? The danger we all face is God’s wrath! How horrible!

But why should God have deep anger towards people? Why such fury? It is because of how they live. People do not honor God. God created them, but men live like God is nothing. They are “ungodly.” Also, men do not do right things. Their thoughts, words and actions are evil. People do wrong things. Men are “unrighteous.”

Do men realize they are doing wrong things? Yes! They have the truth about God. They know God will judge them for doing evil things. But they do wrong anyway!

But maybe someone thinks they have an excuse for the things they do. Maybe you do not think God should judge you. Maybe you are not afraid of being punished by God. You may not think you are a bad person. But how does God see you?

Continued in Lesson 2 Part 1

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God’s Good News: Lesson 2 Part 1

1. READ THESE VERSES IN YOUR BIBLE: Romans 1:18-2:16

2. READ TEACHING ABOUT THE VERSES

Immoral people know God and will be judged for their evil lives (Romans 1:18-32)

Some people might want to say they do not know there is a God. But God has showed everyone that He is the powerful One who is greater than them. Everyone can look at the order and greatness of what God made. There is no possible way the universe just happened. They know there must be a mighty Creator!

The real problem is that people know there is a God, but they do not want to give God glory. They want to be their own boss. They do not want to have to listen to their Creator. They ignore God.

So, men have made “god” into something they make with their own hands. God is awesome, but men changed Him into someone little! They imagine a “god” that is not true.

They have the truth about God being above them, but they do not honor Him as God. They do not thank Him. They do not want God or His rules. They do not want God to tell them what to do or not to do! So, God lets them live evil lives. And the things they do become more and more evil.

Do they know God sees what they are doing? Do they know God will judge them? Do they know God will punish their unrighteous deeds? Yes! But they do wrong anyway!

So, “immoral” people know God, and they know that God expects men to do right. They have the truth that there is a God through seeing His creation, but they do not obey what they know. This person is in great danger of God’s judgment! His evil actions will be punished! When God judges him, he will not have any excuse!

Continued in Lesson 2 Part 2

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God’s Good News: Lesson 1 Part 1

  1. READ THESE VERSES IN YOUR BIBLE: Romans 1:1-18
  2. READ TEACHING ABOUT THE VERSES

God teaches us His Own Gospel (chapter 1 verse 1 to 15)
What a great blessing! God has written down His message for us! God had Paul write a letter to tell us God’s gospel. In this letter to Christians in Rome, God explains His message of good news. I am so glad God has told us His gospel. We do not have to guess. We can know what His message is.

This good news was promised before Jesus was born. The prophets like Isaiah told men that God would send His Son to be a Savior (Isaiah 9:6, 49:6, 53:12). Here are a few examples. God said when Christ would come (Daniel 9), where He would be born (Micah 5:2), what He would do (Genesis 3:15, Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 53), how He would die (Psalm 22, Psalm 69, Isaiah 50:6), and why He would die (Isaiah 53). Only God could tell these things hundreds of years ahead of time! So we can know this is God’s message!

We also know Jesus is God’s Son because God raised Him from the dead! Now God wants people to hear His message about the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants you and I to know what Christ did and what God wants us to do. Then he wants us to tell others His gospel.

That is what Paul did. He served God by telling people God’s message. He had a burning desire to preach the good news of Christ to the nations of the world. He was ready to bring that gospel to the people in Rome too. They needed to hear it! Why?

Continued in Lesson 1 Part 2

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Introduction: God Teaches Us His Good News

This is the first installment of a new series of posts prepared to help us better understand God’s good news as taught in Romans chapters 1 to 8.

There are 10 lesson units plus a final review unit… each of the units will be posted in 2 installments.  Occasionally helpful illustrations will be posted to further aid us in our understanding of God’s gospel or “good news”. It is interesting to note that the word “gospel” literally means good news.

The postings in this series should go up every Tuesday and Thursday here at the Digital Sojourner, so be sure to check back regularly.  You may also subscribe to the Digital Sojourner’s RSS feed here.

At the conclusion of the series all of the lesson material, plus review questions for each lesson, will be made available as a single PDF file for you to download.

 

Continued in Lesson 1 Part 1

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Are You a Digital Sojourner?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10

God gave Abraham a command, “to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.” In faith, the Scriptures tell us, he obeyed the command of God. He went.

In a similar fashion, God has given each of us a command. “But now, [God] commands all people everywhere to repent” Acts 17:30. Therefore, today, everyone is faced with the same decision like Abraham faced… to obey God’s command or not. I grappled with this decision… do I really need to repent? Am I that bad? As I considered these questions in the light of His word it became clear. God is right, I am a sinner… in faith I must go to the cross of Calvary and repent. (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:30, Romans 3:23) Have you spent time seriously considering God’s command to repent?

 


Abraham was a sojourner.


 

As a result of Abraham’s obedience he left the familiarity of his homeland. He traveled as a stranger in a foreign land. He lived in tents, representing the transient nature of his life.

Today, those who truly obey God’s command to repent find themselves sojourning in a strange and foreign land. A world that has rejected the one true God, rejected His commands, and rejected His Son, Jesus Christ.

 


Are you a sojourner?


 
The modern world in which we live is fast paced and interconnected. Facebook, Twitter, smartphones, iPads and Androids. Instantaneous information 24 hours a day. Overwhelming and addicting at the same time. Some dropout, vowing never to touch a computer. Others have gone to the opposite extreme… checking their email before getting out of bed in the morning or ducking into a bathroom during the day to get a quick fix of Facebook. They have become digital junkies.

The purpose of this blog is to help the modern Christian in finding a healthy balance somewhere between the two extremes. How can we use technology to help us in the journey, without it becoming a false god? How can we use modern technology to glorify God?

So, welcome to the Digital Sojourner. Lord willing, and with God’s help some of the regular postings you can expect here are:

  • Reviews of helpful websites & software
  • Bible commentary
  • Simple how-to articles
  • Accountability in a digital world
  • Stewardship of resources
  • Interviews with fellow digital sojourners
  • Jottings… short quotes and thoughts

Today, the journey begins… pray that the Lord will use this blog to aid His people, and to bring glory to His name.

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