Monday, October 24, 2016

The Heart of Romans Chapter 4

Finance has never been my strong suit. I always thought if you still had checks you still had money. I learned in life two important words: credit and debit. Credit is what I have. Debit is what I owe. If I owe more than I have, I’m in trouble. How much I think I have doesn’t matter because there is coming a day of reckoning, when a balance sheet is provided and I have to reconcile my account with what the bank says I have or don’t have.

What we’ve learned in the introduction to the Heart of Romans study is God also has a ledger sheet. It shows what we owe and what we have to pay the debt. When it comes to being right with Him, we owe more than we can pay. In fact, we bring nothing to the table. God brings everything.

Rom 4:1-2 – discovered in God’s response to his declaration of faith.

Serendipity – something found on the way to something else.

Post-it notes - In 1968, a scientist at 3M in the United States, Dr. Spencer Silver, was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. Instead he accidentally created a "low-tack", reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive. In 1974 a colleague who had attended one of his seminars, Art Fry, came up with the idea of using the adhesive to anchor his bookmark in his hymnbook.

And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the LORD, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:5-6)

Life principle: If I believe what God said is true and apply that to my life, something happens.

Vs. 3 – Credited means righteousness was moved to the plus side of his account.
Before that moment, on the side of the ledger that recorded what in his life granted relationship with God, there was nothing. Neither is there on our ledger though we think it’s full.
            Isn’t there an “E” in there for effort? I’ve tried to be good enough.
My membership in the church. Doesn’t my church guarantee me that
relationship? The church doesn’t have that power.
            Check the giving totals. I’ve given a lot of money to the church. There’s no pay to
play policy here.
            Look at the things I’ve done. Lord, didn’t we…and we list our religious and social

God has one criteria—If we believe in His Son, Jesus, have we applied what He did into our lives? If so, God has already credited our side with the word – ENOUGH! You now live in My approval.

If you’ve ever applied for a loan, approval was based on three criteria:
1.       Cash – can you pay back this loan
2.      Collateral – what can the bank hold in case you fail to pay it back
3.      Character – do you do what you promise
If you meet the bank’s criteria, you are declared approved. You didn’t earn that approval, you gained it by providing what was asked for.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Heb 11:1-2)

The approval gained wasn’t the reward of some effort, it was granted because they provided what was asked for—FAITH.

Vs. 4-5

Favor – God’s method for granting life. Grace—the repository of God’s provisions.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9)
Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (Rom 3:24)
So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit 3:7)

Vs. 9 – Why? What did Abraham have faith in? GOD SAID!
I will trust that what God said is true. I will hold to the promises that what God has said will happen.

Abraham believed what God offered him to believe and God gave him the standing of being right with Him.

It cannot be a list of information I’m agreeing to, but a foundational truth that becomes the center of my life. What God says is TRUE!

What did God say? Abraham, I have a plan for your life and if you will agree to that plan, give your life to that plan, I will bless you forever.

Vs. 16 – God’s faithfulness to keep His promise is our guarantee.

There’s nothing else to do to get in and nothing that can be done to lose what has been gained because it’s based on God’s promises not ours.

Charles Kettering was the research head of General Motors from 1920-1947. When he wanted a problem solved, he'd place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If he didn't do that, he'd find one of his engineers reaching for his slide rule. Then that guy would be on his feet saying, "Boss, you can't do it."  

Our lack of faith says: God, you can’t do that…

George Muller. Faith does not operate in the realm of man’s ability to consider what’s possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends. And he stands there with nothing but GOD SAID.  

Vs. 18 – Hope against hope – contrary to, yet resting upon. How can that be, yet I’m counting on it to be so.

Vs. 19-21 – Abraham committed his life to the faithfulness of God to keep His promise. That’s all we’ve got to hang onto.

Bottom line: Do I believe what GOD SAID?

Belief is the acknowledgment of something being true.
Faith is acting out what I believe.
It is God’s faithfulness that guarantees the results.

Is the load heavy?Is God Faithful? Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. (Matt 11:29)

Are you afraid?Is God Faithful? "Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you." (1 Pet 5:7)

Are you tired?Is God Faithful? "Come unto Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I'll give you rest." (Matt 11:28)

Have you lost your strength?Is God Faithful? "The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power." (Isa 40:28-29)

Do you need comfort?Is God Faithful? "God...comforts us in all our afflictions." (2 Cor 1:4)

Have you lost hope?Is God Faithful? "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  (Ps 40:1)     

Do you doubt salvation is secure?Is God Faithful?My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  (Jn 10:27-28)

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25)

Inability to trust what GOD SAID reflects on us not Him. It stops the process of our growth as a Believer, our understanding of Scripture and our experiencing the blessings God has stored up for us.

The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life by which fear entrap us.

Vs. 23-24 – so we can know God’s plan and give our lives to it as well.

We cannot expect to live the life we do not have. But if we do have it all the promises of God are opened up to us.

So, to borrow from Capitol One: what’s in your ledger?

1.       Salvation isn’t to get us into Heaven but to get Heaven into us.
2.      Before we can live the life of salvation, we must be certain we have salvation.
3.      If we trust in anything other than what GOD SAID, we insult His Grace and grieve His heart.

4.      Once God declared us righteous, nothing can ever take that standing away.

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