As we continue through Romans, we come to our split reading. In the first part of our reading Paul is being quite honest and transparent he says in verse 15-16 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
Who other than me has done or said things they thought why, did I do that, why did I say that, I think if we are honest we can all relate to what Paul is saying hear, why did I do that say that, its wrong I now feel bad and that bad feeling is good as I should feel bad for what I have done and maybe I will not do it next time.
Paul goes on to say in verse 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Paul is talking about a battel going on, within himself and every believer, don’t forget Paul is talking to Christians, it is no longer myself but sin living in me, I know what is good and is not good for me but I am sinful by nature, I want to do good, but I fall, I am only human it’s not my fault. Yes, it is. Now last week we covered what sin was in the bible and it not just murder and stealing lets just remind ourselves please turn in your Bibles to Ephesians Chapter 4 verse 20 And remember Paul is talking about what Christians should do once they have accepted Christ as their saviour.
Pauls says from verse 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Now many my say I have been a Christian all my life, but if you have never with your own mouth given your life to Jesus said to Jesus I am truly sorry for all I have done which is wrong and I turn to you Lord Jesus, be the Lord of my life, then if you have never said words like this or similar then you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and saviour, I sorry but you may or may not be a good person but unless with your own voice you have said Jesus is my Lord I will follow Him, and really meant it you are not in Christ.
Are you willing to be the Lords servant, Tim Keller in his book Hidden Christmas says this ‘Decades ago I heard a talk at a Christian conference on turning our lives over to Christ and doing His will, not our own? Two questions were put to us. First, are you willing to obey anything the Bible clearly says to do, whether you like it or not? Second, are you willing to trust God in anything he sends into your life, whether you understand it or not? If you can’t answer these two questions in the affirmative, we were told, you may believe in Jesus in some general way, but you have never said to Him, I am the Lords servant’…. Keller goes on to say that he believes that these questions are accurate indicators of what Christians are being asked for, and I agree with him.
And in our reading in verse 19 Paul goes on and says 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. …….
The sin living in me, if we have accepted Jesus, then our body is a battle field between good and evil.
Sin entered through one-man Adam and that sin came down and through human kind through men now. In Romans Chapter 5 verses 12-14 Paul clearly talks about Adam’s sin leading to an almost spiritual disease, affecting all humanity through him Adam.
I was reminded by our link partner Chris Padayachee on Monday that the reason Jesus had to be born to a Virgin was because of that sin that run through man, and by Mary giving birth to Jesus as a virgin He Jesus had no sin at birth he was and is sinless. We are not.
As we learned last week sin may help you achieve your objectives, but it wants to reign over our lives, and its reign is one of death. Give your life to Jesus and fight that battle with the help of the Holy Spirit, if you are unsure come to next Saturday to the Alpha course and discover about the Christian faith and what it is all about.
Now in the second part of our reading comes the hope and the fact that we are more than this, if we have accepted Jesus as Lord, but first a very brief update on the missing thirty verses 21 to 31.
Paul is saying there is no condemnation because in Jesus we are set free by His spirit and the Holy spirit has given us new life, we should no longer desire what the world wants or do what the world does, a person governed by the world by the flesh is hostile to God an enemy of God, in others words, are in Christ and with him or are against him, there are only two options, for or against. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, you are different, we spoke about this last week, and even though we who are in Christ are weak the Spirit will help and guide us.
Pauls says we have an obligation to God and ourselves to live by Gods law not by the worlds. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God”.
We are free to be sons and daughters of God and all that, that means to be in the family of God,
Paul also goes on to say that if we are suffering now do not worry it will be as nothing compared to the glory of God when Jesus returns. Paul says in verse 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
And he goes on to say the Spirit helps us in our weakness. And that the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And in verse 28 he says And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
So, in the second part of our reading from Romans, Paul starts to really get positive in verse 31 he says What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Lets be honest do you want the creator of the universe on your side, the person who created you and me, I know you’re thinking looking at you Ken, maybe God does make mistakes but he don’t, only we do. God is the person who Loves you despite yourself.
In verse 32 Paul says He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
God loves you so much that he did not spare His own Son, but that Son Jesus came to be born a baby and remember a sinless baby to live as a human not in a Palace but in the dirt and the dust, to work with his hands and to die a death on the cross that most awful way of dying and to be whipped and insulted because of you and me, if God done that for us, will he not give us all things that are good for us, now that may not be all the things we think are good for us, but all things that our Father God thinks are good for us.
Paul says in verse 33, Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
God has chosen you and me each one of us, all we have to do is chose to follow Jesus, Jesus said in John Chapter 14 verse 6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If we do choose Jesus there is no one to condemn us because although the enemy the devil may try and un-Godly people will try, God will not listen to him or them, as it says in Romans chapter 8 verse 1to 2 ‘Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’
God knows the truth, Jesus our saviour died for us and most importantly he was raised to life so that we may know that death is defeated, and Jesus is now at the right hand of God and is pleading for us, interceding for us.
Paul goes on to say in verse 35 of our reading ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: you will find this in Psalm 44 As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Nothing, nothing can separate us, we who have chosen to follow Christ cannot be separate from Him and for Him we should be willing to put up with any thing because it will all be worth it. On Monday with Chris and Veronica we were talking about persecuted Christians a round the world people who stand up for there faith and are willing to die for that faith.
Did you know that Coptic Christians have a cross tattooed on there wrist when they have been baptised, No hiding place for them?
Paul goes on in the last part of our reading to really encourage us he says in verse 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, well only one thing ourselves, but as I said if we choose to follow Christ and stick to it we can’t be parted from him and God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loves us.
Jesus said in John 14 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-8, a well-known passage Paul describes what love is but if you look at this passage and read it as Matthew Porter in his book A-Z of Discipleship said replacing the word love with Jesus you get what Jesus is what God is because Jesus came to show us what God is like in the flesh.
So Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy, Jesus does not boast, Jesus is not proud. Jesus does not dishonour others, Jesus is not self-seeking, Jesus is not easily angered, Jesus keeps no record of wrongs. Jesus does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Jesus always protects, Jesus always trusts, Jesus always hopes, Jesus always perseveres. Jesus never fails.
Nothing can separate us from God but ourselves, God loves us what is our response.
If you want to give your life to Jesus or to re-affirm your faith in Jesus you may want to say a prayer giving your life to Christ, if you see me afterwards I have a prayer you can say, or if you want to know more you may want to come on the Alpha course we are running on Saturday mornings.