Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sermon by Rich Richardson on Romans 3:27-31

1. Why warn us against boasting?

Read the Bible like a 3 year old. Ask lots of questions. And then ask more.
Why go from justification to a warning against boasting? Because we are apt to be proud of what we have even though it has all been given to us. Even Christians can be proud of who we are before God. It is not a danger, it is THE danger.
The justified need to work to be humble. Humility is a discipline, not a gift. Humility is the discipline of self-forgetfulness.

2. Why is boasting dangerous?

When Christ died for us, He shut out God's wrath. Now we must shut out our pride. 
Faith and pride are opposed to one another. Faith points to Jesus, not to me. Faith is only real when it is faith IN something -- faith IN Christ. Pride is trusting yourself more than Jesus. Pride derives power and worth from self. Faith derives power and worth from God.
Children are humble. Jesus said to become like them.
Boasting is dangerous because it is singing the praises of self. It is antithetical to a life of faith.

3. How can we work to be humble?
Boasting gets muted when we remember what justification by faith means.
Remember what God has done for us. God hasn't promised material possessions or earthly happiness. He has promised to keep those who are His for eternity! God has given us way more than we can imagine. We have the righteousness of Christ!
The flip side of boasting is complaining. Pride boasts when we have and complains when we have not.
Remember God and forget about self.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Sermon by Rich Richardson on Romans 3:21-26

This is called the most significant paragraph ever written.

"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." - Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)

Everyone is wicked. And God is very angry at them. How does this get resolved? Righteousness.

1. What is righteousness?
It is what is right and good and just. God's righteousness is his absolute rightness, goodness, and justice. God is morally perfect and perpetually does the right thing at the right time for the right reason. He is the only righteous one.

2. Why does righteousness matter?
Mankind is unrighteous in action and essence. Even the best of mankind fall woefully short, compared to God. All fall short of the glory of God.  So God is angry. He must punish all unrighteousness.

3. How do you get righteousness?
There is no way apart from God to get the righteousness of God. Jesus is God become man to make a way. He died for the unrighteous. By means of faith, He gets our punishment, and we get His righteousness. How is this fair? It's not. God is merciful.

If we just got His righteousness, God's character would be comprimised because His wrath would not be satisfied. Jesus had to take our unrighteousness so that God could pour out His wrath on Jesus on the cross. He is both righteous and the one who makes us righteous (just and the justifier).

Effect of the Gospel for the Christian: confidence in the righteousness we have been given. We are just as likely to be expelled from the presence of God as Jesus in all His perfection!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Sermon by Rich Richardson on Romans 3:9-20

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”   “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”   “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”   “Their feet are swift to shed blood;  in their paths are ruin and misery,  and the way of peace they have not known.”   “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:9-20 (ESV)

1. Everyone, everywhere, without exception, stands guilty before God.
Verses 10-18 are a song of mourning. God is mourning over the sinful deadness of mankind.
The sin of all sins: "There is no fear of God before their eyes." To fear God is to live like He is real, He matters most, He knows all, and He does what is right. Without the fear of God, we live as if each of us is our own god.

All are culpable.

2. Everyone, everywhere, without exception, stand accountable before God.
There is nothing to say before a Holy God who sees, who knows, and who never forgets. He sees what we do and He knows what we want to do. We only hear a whisper of the horror of the day of judgment before an angry God.
It is much much better to be convicted of sin here than condemned of sin there.

All will be punished.

Words of hope in verse 21: "But now..."
One is righteous, only one. One understands. He continually seeks after God. There is only the fear of God before His eyes.
Because of Christ's death, anyone anywhere can be completely forgiven and made righteous.