Have you ever wondered how believers endured being in prison, awaiting being eaten by lions in the arena, or worse, being horribly tortured? Have you ever wondered how believers have gone through solitary confinement for years in some totalitarian countries. How did they keep from despair, from losing their minds? What is the secret that all of us kind of sense that we’ve seen in Christian biographies and famous people we’ve heard about in Church history, what is it? It’s not for the elite. It’s not for the few. It’s what God offers all of us.
God offers us, number one, Jesus said I’ll never leave you or forsake you. I’m going to be with you all the time. I’ll be closer than anyone else has ever been to you. I’m the only person that’s witnessed you from conception, birth, through every day of your life, and I’m going to be holding your hand when you breathe your last breath. That’s how close I am. Jesus said on top of that, God the Father has sent His Holy Spirit to give us, look at this, divine power. Endless divine power so we can live what Jesus called, life more abundant.
Let’s jump in. For those of you just joining us, this is the 35th week. We started the 1st of January. We’re going for the whole year. We’re covering one chapter or one portion every week. This happens to be for this week. We’re doing a study, as you see on this next slide, of the whole Bible using the 52 greatest chapters. The method we’re using is this devotional method.
The devotional method involves reading through the chapter or the portion every day for seven days in a row, reading Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8. That’s hard for most people. As we read, reading aggressively, marking our Bibles, and taking notes… it’s okay to do electronic notes, but I’ve told you over and over again there is certainly scientific evidence that there’s greater retention for the using of handwriting on paper with our eye hand coordination, and our mind, and looking back and forth. Plus, marking in your Bible. Underlining, highlighting, doing whatever it takes to find truth and mark it. Look at this slide. We get a title. Mine is: An Endless Source of Divine Power for Abundant Living. Another title I found was: The Justifying Death of Jesus Christ Opens for Me the Sanctifying Life of Justification and Sanctification. That’s how I titled it another time. I’ve been doing this every day. The lessons we’re looking for are as many lessons, trues, and doctrines, as we can find.
Some of you I’ve taught for decades. I have all kinds of students. Some of them, they always say to me, what’s the minimum number of words in my essay. What is the minimum page count? What’s the minimum length. This is not for you to impress anyone. This is for you to learn, to find truth all on your own from the Bible. Use your own words. What you’ll find is, the more you do that the easier it gets. Most of the students that I’ve taken through this study, as we meet in coffee shops, and restaurants, or wherever, even in a public place just sitting and spending time in the word, all of them find the longer they do it, it just seems to get easier and easier. You start seeing truth every time. A lot of people, what happens is, they can hardly read without a pen because they don’t want to lose what they found. They make little tick marks, and underline, and circle. Find those trues, use your MacArthur Study Bible or online resources.
Here’s our goal. We distill all those trues down to a short, personal request to the Lord. That we ask Him to change something in my life. I just want the Lord to remodel my life all the time. All these TV shows are on of the remodelers, that are fixing old houses and stuff, and tearing out and putting in new and efficient, strengthening the foundation, all that stuff. That’s what God wants to do in your life. That’s what He’s doing, actually in my life every day as I open my heart to His word. We write a prayer in which we asked the Lord to unleash one of these truths into my life. Many people know how to find truth for someone else. They will share them, and point to them, and tell them. Do you know what’s really hard? To look in the mirror and to see how far short of the glory of God I am. Then, how much I need the Lord to help me. The more we humble ourselves before the Lord, and the more we call out to Him, the easier it gets to say, I need more work, work on me today.
This is where we are, week 35, Romans 5-8. You can tell every time I read this, I get a different title, justification, sanctification, and eternal access to God. I’ve given you four of my seven titles I’ve gotten here. When we come together, Lord willing, next time, we’re going to look at eternal rewards, God’s plan for biblical marriages. The next week, communion. Why you need to be part of a local church and celebrate with the body, communion. We’re going to study all the amazing things. Chastening. Most believers don’t even know about chastening. In fact, most believers are suffering the symptoms of biblical sickness and they don’t even know they are sick, because they’ve never been taught. Week 38 is going to be something that after you look in the mirror and start understanding that, it’s going to be something you can share with your friends. There are many Christians who labor under the chastening hand of God. They don’t know why they’re having so many troubles and problems and distresses, we’ll cover that week 38. We’re going to look at spiritual gifts, what they are, how many of them there are, what are operative today, what are not operative today, what are going you be in the future. Amazing time. This is fascinating, cosmic celestial bodies. What 1 Corinthians 15 gets into, the realm way beyond. In fact, it’s one of the few parts of the Bible that talks about astrophysical and astronomical things. The word that’s used in 1 Corinthians 15, talks about the magnitude and color of stars. Astronomers really didn’t start finding out about that until the 17th century, but the Bible refers to it and we’ll talk about that. Then, wow, the judgment seat of Christ and the whole future event we’re looking forward to.
Let’s go through the book of Romans. Here’s the New Testament. You see this? The New Testament is three parts. It has the Gospel and Acts, Paul’s Epistles, and then all these other epistles of which there are two types. There are the Hebrew epistles. What that means is the book of Hebrews. James was written specifically to the 12 tribes scattered. Peter wrote of course, also to Jews scattered. John and Jude don’t say that, but they’re still under that category. Another word for this is general epistles, in some Bible books they’re called that. Then of course, scatological, apocalyptic, or prophetic writing. We’re looking at, look at this, the book of Romans. Let me get all my drawing off so you can see my little box around there. There we go. The book of Romans, which is the first of Paul’s 13 epistles. Four Gospels, 1 Acts, 13 epistles, and then these other 9.
The book of Romans very clearly divides into three parts. There’s soteriology, which has to do with salvation. That’s what soteriology means. For those of you that want to deepen that’s what we have our systematic theology for. For those of you just tuning in for the first time to this class, we use Wayne Grudem, who describes himself as a Baptist charismatic, Reformed, he uses many terms. Why he does that is, he wrote this systematic theology to reflect what every stream or branch of visible Christendom has taught since the time of Christ and the Apostles. He has the Anglican, that’s the Catholic church of England, come to America called Episcopalian. That’s the first section. The Armenian, which is the Wesley and Methodist. The Baptist. The Dispensational. The Lutheran, like Martin Luther. The Reformed or Presbyterian, remember Reformed Calvin in Scotland became Presbyterian and exported to America. Then The Renewal, which has also, maybe some of you notice, Charismatic or Pentecostal. Then he said, there’s another stream. Those are all what we would call Protestant, then there is the non-Protestant, which is the Catholic, the Roman Catholic. There are two streams of that. Roman Catholic traditional like ancient all the way up until the council of Trent and then from Trent to Vatican I, and then post-Vatican II, kind of that new type of Catholic. All of that is in here. You say, I don’t need all that, then you don’t need all that. Some of you do, some of you always are asking questions. He’ll answer them for you. Where that came from, when that started, that view, that doctrine. Some of you are from those backgrounds and this systematic theology will immensely help you see how that denomination you were saved in, what they believe, and it will help shape what you believe now. Systematic theology, that’s soteriology. Another branch of theology is eschatology that’s future things, prophecy. Ecclesiology, that’s the study of the Church. That’s the three parts of Romans.
You say what does that mean? Faith. Hope. Love. The first eight chapters are all about salvation. The most complete diagnosis of sin is chapters 1-3, of salvation is 4 & 5, of sanctification is 6-8. You can see we’re covering salvation and sanctification today, Lord willing. Hope. This whole section is amazing. For some of you who are from Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic backgrounds, you would believe that there’s no future, or many of you would believe there’s no future, for Israel. You think that’s all over. There are three chapters in Romans about the future plan God has for Israel. Fascinating. Then, how are we supposed to live as the Church, ecclesiology. The Church. The body of Christ. We’re supposed to be primarily reflectors of Christ’s love to each other and the world. That’s chapter 12-16.
There are also three tenses of salvation. Past, present, future. Romans helps us clarify that we have been saved, that’s in the present, from the penalty of sin. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” What does that mean? First of all, that means penalty of sin is taken care of. Romans 5 is all about that. “For by grace you’ve been saved through faith,” Ephesians 2:8-9, “and that not of yourselves; it’s the gift of God.” This speaks of an instantaneous change of our position. We now are transported, in God’s sight, to Heavenly places. God sees us as if we’re already there. That’s how secure our salvation is. We’re already in Christ, is how Paul describes it.
You know what? Like the communications I’m getting, regularly these days, we don’t feel what we are positionally. That’s the second part of salvation, we are being saved. There is a perfect tense, it’s finished part of salvation, but all of us are painfully aware that right next to that there’s work needed right now. Remember I said, remodeling. This is the remodeling. This is sanctification. Justification is a onetime positional; this is finished once and for all right there, but sanctification is ongoing. It’s moment by moment. It’s lifelong. Operationally it’s by the Holy Spirit. That’s what Romans 6 is all about. Again, there’s a huge treatment on that in this systematic theology, there’s all divergent views. There are some in Christendom that say, let go and let God. You don’t have to do anything. He’s going to do it all. Just float. Then, there’s a whole other end of the spectrum where people are losing their salvation every time they sin. That’s the Arminian Wesleyan view and people are afraid. There’s a good thing about that branch of Christendom, the people always get their salvation back. They’re not saying that they are forever lost, what they’re saying is they have no assurance of salvation. I have to say to you, that biblically, that’s an incorrect view. In your systematic theology, you’ll see scores of pages of scripture references that help you understand why it’s not true, but it does touch on something. Most people don’t understand and that’s the process of sanctification.
Do you see the kind of turquoise or what would that color be Honey? What color is that? Green turquoise. By the way, I’m not talking to myself. My wonderful wife is right over there. In fact, if you ever see me looking at the camera and then you see my eyes going over, it’s because Bonnie and I have been married for 38 wonderful years, and she’s still very distracting to me. She’s still the dearest friend I have. The most wonderful, godly influence on my life. Also, the one I hope to be chasing in Heaven for eternity. I love her and the Lord provided her for me. I hope if you’re not married, that you’ll wait for a godly gift. The book of Proverbs says that a wife is a gift from the Lord in blessing. If you are married, I hope you’ll treat your wife like Proverbs 31 says. Proverbs 31 says you’re supposed to praise your wife publicly, men. Wives, the book of Titus says that your husband is supposed to be your best friend on Earth among humans. I’m meddling right now.
Look down here. What color was that? Turquoise. The penalty of sin that’s instantaneously taken care of in justification. Justification takes care of the penalty instantly, but lifelong we’re struggling with the power of sin. Every time you give in and binge, either binge eat, or binge watch, or binge anger and blow up, every time we give in to any of the lusts of our flesh, there’s a setback and it becomes easier. It’s like a break in the dam or the wall of the dike, it’s easier to go through that. Sanctification is learning by the grace of God to deny any ungodliness, to keep that wall up of saying no to sin, and not giving into sin. It’s lifelong.
Look, the good news. Glorification, again, doctrine in the scripture. Huge, cover to cover we see this. We have been, we are being, we shall be. There is yet a future tense to salvation. In the past, Jesus died for my sin once, and for all in the present. He is saving me from the power of sin in the future. He is going to make me perfected. That’s another view of Christendom, the perfectionism movement. There’s a group of Christians that think they’re already perfect. That’s interesting because the Bible doesn’t recognize that. The Bible says, cover to cover, that’s a future event. Remember how David said I will awaken in your likeness. Paul said, we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. I will be like Him because I will see Him as He is, as it says in the Psalms. We shall be saved. This is called glorification and that’s when we’re saved from the presence of sin. By the way, that’s in our section, we’re going to look at that in Romans 8.
This is my Bible. Look over here and I’ll try and look up at you. I’m just going to walk you through my Bible now. This is just one of my Bible’s, I have 40 Bibles. This is one that I teach from when I travel around the world. I mark it up a lot because I’m always studying on airplanes or wherever we are. This is chapter 5 of Romans. See where we are, and “Therefore, having been justified.” We’re talking about justification. That’s the theme of the 5th chapter, but look what I wrote. Every time I read this, I notice this list of beautiful statements. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God.” That’s a by-product of justification. “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith.” Access to God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. “Into this grace in which we stand.”
Wow. We have peace with God, access by faith and grace to stand. Isn’t that amazing stuff? Those are only, the first three. We “rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” ” Not only that, but we also glory in tribulation.” How? “Knowing the tribulation produces perseverance.” What that means is, we understand God’s plan. That’s why chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 are so important. This unlocks what the early believers understood so much better than modern believers. I think this is how they endured prison. This is how they endured, what the writer of Hebrew says, the loss of all their goods. Being a Christian in the 1s century often meant you lost everything.
Boy, I think we would clear out the roles of a lot of churches. If some person that’s opposed to Christianity said, I’m going to get the church roles and anybody that’s a church member, a Christian, part of the body of Christ, I’m going to freeze all of their assets. People would be calling the church if they put a deadline, because they wouldn’t want it. Did you know that a great part of my life in the seventies and the early eighties was involved behind the Iron Curtain? I was a part of a prayer group, I was a part of a correspondence group, and then I became part of a mission team that worked behind the Iron Curtain. I would spend my summers, while I was in Bible college, as soon as school was out, I would fly over to Europe. I would join up with a team and we would start couriering Bibles. I traveled thousands of miles and went to all of the Eastern European countries, delivered Bibles into every one of those countries. Russian and Ukrainian and everything else, Bibles. We even did Northern Africa; we did Arabic Bibles. Thousands of them. We personally delivered them to the handful of believers that we could meet with and mailed the rest.
Do you know what I found in Eastern Europe and Russia? For generations, if you became a Christian, number one, you could not be a professional. You couldn’t be a doctor, a lawyer, an architect. You could not be anything professional. You became a laborer if you became a Christian and would not be a part of the communist party. Number two, your children could not go to college. That meant they could never excel. They could not be on the Olympic team. The whole summer Olympics this year in Japan, all of those things gone… because you’re a Christian. That’s not new. That’s how it’s been throughout the centuries. That’s how it was in the 1st century. How did they exist? The byproducts of justification. They rejoiced and the hope of the glory of God. They knew the tribulation produces perseverance. Wow.
Look at verse 5. “Hope does not disappoint.” They had undisappointable hope because the love of God has been poured out. They had out poured love. I call those the byproducts of justification. Do you know that’s a big way of saying, it’s what happened when we got saved. That’s what happens. All of those things are part of what God’s doing in our life. You say, I don’t have undisappointable hope. Yes, you do. You just sometimes don’t realize what you have. I’m going to try and dig out of my pocket, here we go, y’all know what this? This is my cell phone. By the way I always have verses on the back until I had to get this new battery thing that I have to move it and my verses won’t stay on. I’ve taken pictures of them, and they are actual photos. My phone, I remember how long I had it before I knew there was a flashlight in it. Does that mean I didn’t have an iPhone? No, I had an iPhone. I just didn’t understand everything that was packed into it. I remember my kids coming up and they just swiped up and all these buttons were there. I said, how did you do that? They go, come on dad, you just swipe. I tried it and nothing happened. You have to learn how to swipe this way and swipe that way. I’m sure there are little secrets to all the other phones, the Android phones and all that, but it’s very possible to have something that is filled with powerful features that you don’t understand.
People are making a fortune from all these guides for seniors on how to use your iPad and all the high tech stuff. Salvation is the single most high-tech thing that’s packed with features many of us don’t fully know. That’s what these are like. What you have to do is, by faith understand the word of God, study the word of God, and ask Him to unleash… look at that, peace with God. It’s a by-product of your salvation. If you don’t have peace say, God, I want Your peace. Why don’t I have Your peace? What He’ll do is, He’ll reveal to you things. The work of righteousness produces peace, the effects of righteousness His quietness and assurance. See there’s behavior that’s connected to peace. We can ruin our peace with God by sin, by disobedience.
Let me keep going through, over here. You remember right here in verses 7 & 8 all in here, already marked this with you about how to share the Gospel. See how I have, Christ died for our sins. “God demonstrated His own love toward us.” “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we will be saved from wrath.” That’s part of, back in John 3 we went through, the plan of salvation. If you haven’t marked your Bible yet, go back to that video. I think it’s number 30. Mark your Bible for how to lead someone to Christ. Then, we get to this section about Adam and Christ. I have a chart that I’m going to show you in a little while. Then, I wrote over here the seven byproducts. Peace with God. Access by faith. Grace to stand. Hope to rejoice. undisappointable hope. Love outpoured. The Spirit within. That’s the seven, I’ve got them typed out for you. Just a second, I’m just showing, you can read all the rest of this. You’re going to be reading it every day.
Then, we get to chapter 6. Chapter 6 is all about the work that Jesus accomplished for us on the cross for our sanctification. The important part, I wrote here in verse 6 it says, this is chapter 6 and verse 6, “knowing […] that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Did you know, you’re no longer enslaved to sin, to the sin of fear, to the sin of anxiety, to the sin of an unforgiving bitter spirit, to the sin of lust of the flesh or lust of the eyes, or the sin of pride. Did you know you’re not enslaved? You don’t have to still operate that way. God wants to change all of us completely, make us look more like Christ every day. How does He do that? Look at verse 6, “no longer be slaves to sin.”
Look what I wrote down here. The justifying death of Christ opens to me the sanctifying life of Christ. We’re going to cover that. Look at verse 11. This is the first, I wrote in my Bible, imperative in Romans. An imperative is a command. We’ve got 16 chapters. We traveled through 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and we’re into chapter 6. We have the first command in this book. That should turn the lights on. That should raise your attention. This is very important. This is the turning point of this whole book based on all this truth. This is what God wants us to do. See what it says? “Likewise you also,” based on everything that I’ve taught you, Paul said, in the previous six chapters.
I did a little word study on that, and you can do word studies. Some of them are already in your study Bible, others you can look up online. I looked up this word, it’s the word logizomai in Greek. It says, operate on what you know to be true. If someone gives you a gift card, you have a gift, you don’t know how much, you have a gift and you go use it. Then, you ask the cashier, what’s my balance? At the ATM you poke it in there and punch, it says, do you want a balance? You say, yes. Why? So we know we can operate on what we know is true, our balance. What is our balance? Jesus. His payment opens for us an endless supply of divine power for abundant living. All expenses are paid for us to have peace, and hope, and joy, and no guilt, and not feel condemned, and not be unsure of our endless existence with Christ.
Then, can you see these orange, can you see that? I don’t know how much you can see, but if you have a big enough screen, I’ve highlighted in orange, the imperatives. There’s the first one, reckon, logizomai. Here’s the next one, do not let. Which I wrote, say no to sin. Here’s another imperative, do not present. Break the pattern, I wrote right there. Present yourselves. Present yourselves. Present. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. There’s no orange anywhere else until right here. That’s significant.
Chapter 7, I wrote… and this is part of what we’ll cover in a second in my journal… but I wrote Romans 7 are the marks of a mature believer. What is that? Paul says, what I would do, I don’t do. What I don’t want to do, that’s what I do. He says, I’m struggling. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Thanks be unto God, it’s the struggle. Remember sanctification, the present tense, that’s what it’s about.
Chapter 8. “There’s therefore now no condemnation.” I touched on this last week; do you remember? I’ll touch on it again in my notes, but chapter 8 opens with no condemnation. Then, it continues down here to no frustration, right here in verse 28. “We know that all things work together for good.” Actually, the order of the Greek it says, and we know that God works all things together for good. He is the active agent of orchestrating our lives. We shouldn’t be frustrated. God is the one that brings into our life those struggles that we have, to make us need Him more, trust Him more, look for Him. No frustration is in the genuine walk with Christ. We believe that He is orchestrating everything. Anytime we’re frustrated, anything that’s out of control in our life, our emotions, our finances, our time schedule is not under His control. Did you catch that? Anything out of control in my life means it’s not under His control. When things are out of control, I’m frustrated. When they’re under His control, I’m not frustrated.
Look at this last part. What “shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Verse 35. Nothing. Look at this long list. Verse 38, “I’m persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any creative thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You know what that is? I wrote it down. Chapter 8 closes with no separation. Nothing can separate us from that One who sticks closer than a brother, that loves us and loosed us.
That’s my Bible. Look over here at the slides, we walked through that. Let me ask you; why do I sometimes not feel like getting into the Bible? That’s what we’re going to learn this a week in our study. It’s because there’s this struggle between the Spirit led life and the flesh led life. This is the way I was born right here, and this is when I was saved. Those two, for my whole life, are going to be fighting with each other.
Let me show you what I mean. We can’t cover these; I’m just listing them. The Spirit led life involves the fruit of the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit, and sanctification choices. Those are future weeks’ lessons. The flesh led life, Galatians 5 says there are 17 attitudes and actions that show up as what a lost person thinks and acts like. Ephesians 4 talks about all the indicators of the flesh. What we’re looking at, this is the whole purpose of our study, what we’re surrendering to as Romans 6 says, determines who’s leading our life, the Spirit or the flesh.
Let’s get to some specifics. The fruit of the Spirit is first shown in attitudes. I have an attitude of love, and joy, and peace, and long suffering, and kindness, and goodness, and faithfulness. What kind of attitudes are those? They are the attitudes of Christ. Salvation transplants into me the personality of Jesus Christ. Then, actions. I’ll be eating the word. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” I will boldly witness, in the book of Acts chapter 4. When they’re being persecuted, it says that they prayed, and the Spirit of God came on them and they were bold. That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
We’re generous givers. We realized that anything we give to God gets a better return than the markets have had in the last 18 months, which have been huge. Our stock markets have just been going, boom, boom, boom. We have all these Bitcoin billionaires and all these billionaires that are getting more billions. All this stuff. We all read about it in the news. You know what God says? Every dollar you give to me, I pay 100 fold. That’s 100 times 100. Do you know what? 100×100=10,000 that’s a 10,000% return. I read in the markets today that one stock went up 5%. People were just gyrating. They were just, 5%! I thought, wow. I just invested in a ministry, and in the local church, and in missionaries, and I’m getting not 5%, I’m getting 10,000%. Generous giving is a by-product of the Holy Spirit and personal disciplines, disciplining my life for godliness.
What are the works of the flesh? They are again, attitudes. Anger is an evidence of the flesh, wrath, anxiety, fear, lusts. You know what lust is? Unsatisfied desires. God says any desires that are right are satisfiable. They’re satiated. We all were born with desires. Sexual desires are a great example. Did you know that God says, that your wife, if you’re married, will satisfy you. If you’re unsatisfied, it’s called lust and that is ungodly and sinful. God says there’s a price to pay and that was in Proverbs. I won’t go through all that again. Selfishness is an ungodly attitude. Being irritated. Being bitter. Then, there are actions. Lying, and stealing, being immoral, and lazy, and sarcastic. Some people, they think sarcasm is their gift. It’s a sin. It’s a sign of the flesh being erratic, being restless. It says in Isaiah that the wicked, that’s the lost, are like the restless sea. We’re not supposed to be restless. We’re not supposed to be rested. We’re supposed to have the peace of God that passes understanding. Being self-focused.
The reason why Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8 is so important is, it shows us the basis for the Spirit led life. When we’re filled, led, and controlled by the Holy Spirit as Romans 12 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present…” you surrender. When we do that, when we surrender ourselves, God fills us and controls us, we have attitudes and actions and emotions. Those are peace, joy, hope, love, boldness, holiness, passion, sensitivity, self-sacrificing, hunger for the word, and we hate sin. However, when we as believers continue to act like we were before we got saved, because we have surrendered to the flesh, and lust, and to Satan’s lies when filled, led, and controlled by our bodies, our flesh; here are the attitudes and actions that are revealed. We’re anxious. We’re fearful. We’re selfish. We’re lethargic.
Did you know Christians are filled with joy and power; we live after the power of an endless life. We have this unbelievable internal, it doesn’t mean we have physical strength, but we have emotional and spiritual strength that people go, wow, how come you’re not down? COVID, and masking regulations, and travel restrictions, and delta and gamma and lambda variants. What are we going to do? I’m so afraid. Christians aren’t afraid. You should wear your mask. You should wash your hands. You should avoid getting infected as much as you can and still live a reasonable life. But, we’re not lethargic. We’re not disinterested in God’s word because we’re binge watching Hulu or something on Netflix. No passion for the lost? When I had my classes I say, since this is remote, all of you look up, pay attention right now. How many of you have tried to share the Gospel with someone this month? Raise your hand. I see that hand. Yeah, Bonnie and I we do. Do you know why? Because we are denying the flesh. We have a passion for lost people to come to Christ. We’re still at times irritable. If we’re not careful, our hurt can infect itself with bitterness and we can get moody. All of those are descriptions of the self-led life.
The Spirit led life starts with our minds being renewed. That’s what Romans 7 talks about. Later on, Romans 12. Then, the Spirit rules our emotions. It starts in our mind, moves to our emotions, and then it shows up in our body. We begin with the surrendered body, denying ungodliness, avoiding sin, focusing on God, and serving. The exact opposite is true in the flesh led life. A fleshly person is driven by their body. They are restless, undisciplined, appetite driven, lust filled. They’re never satisfied. They’re defeated by sins, and it just gets worse and worse and worse. It’s like a sink hole. You know, those Florida sinkholes you see in the news where a house drops in? We have a lot of Christians that are in this flesh led life sinkhole. They’re just wallowing there. Then what happens is, their bodies are controlling. The difference between this; is the Spirit controlling your mind, controlling your emotions in your body, or is it your body controlling your emotions, that’s deadening your mind? Bodies get flesh driven emotions, they become volatile.
I remember this man and woman, Bonnie and I were speaking at a conference, all professional servants of the Lord, hundreds of them. They were all highly educated. They were all working in the 64 limited access, closed countries of this world. One of them came to me that week and said, “you know what? I was very not wanting to listen to you teach the Bible. I wouldn’t look up. I had my head down like this, and my wife was praying and praying and praying.” I was describing volatile, lethargic, anxious, angry, troubled, distracted, impure. I was describing her husband. What I was talking about is the byproducts of bitterness. That wife told me later, she said, “I was praying the whole service and I didn’t know what to do because my husband wasn’t paying attention.” Finally, she said, “my husband looked up at the screen at some point and he read the screen.” You know, how we squint sometimes and try and we move to try and see it better. Then she said, “her heart almost stopped because her husband turned to her and mouthed the words,” in this auditorium filled with hundreds of doctors. Literally, he said, “yes, that’s me,” and the wife said she didn’t know what to do. Why? Because he had been so volatile. He just would explode whenever she brought up things. He was a Christian missionary, struggling with sin, and would explode at her and the kids and his co-workers. He said, “is that me?” She said, “Lord help me.” She looked at him and she said, “that is you.” You know what he did? He listened, dropped his head, repented right then of the sins that had beset him, that caused him to get ensnared by bitterness. In an instant, remember no matter how many steps we’ve taken away from the Lord it’s always one step back, right there in that auditorium unbeknownst to me, God transformed his life.
He stopped me in the hall and he said, there’s something I want to tell you. He said for the last year and a half, my life has been going down, down, down, down. I have had flesh driven emotions. I’ve been living a flesh driven life and my body was undisciplined. The Spirit was quenched in my mind. I had no stability, no boldness, no insights, no hunger, no joy. I was aimless. In fact, he was quitting his ministry that an American mission had spent $5 million to set up this person in his hospital. He was quitting. He had no confidence. He felt empty. In one second, God changed his heart. That’s the endless supply of divine power for abundant living, that by our disobedience we can turn off, but by one conscious repentant prayer He comes right back. No matter how far we get away, it’s one step back.
Our emotions betray. Which is leading us, the Holy Spirit or fallen flesh, like I just showed you?
Let’s get into my journal. This is my journal right here. I did Romans 5-8 with you. I did it here and I did it here, I did it on many pages and a lot more pages. Then, I typed it up. Let me show you. This is what I have typed in my journal. It’s week 35, Romans 5-8. God explains justification, sanctification, opens for us the endless source of divine power for my living. You saw that.
Here’s my summary. I do this on every passage of the scripture, because I want to see the big picture. Chapter 5 to me is the justifying death of Christ. Chapter 6 is the sanctifying life of Christ. Chapter 7 are the marks of a maturing believer. Chapter 8 is how the work of the Holy Spirit operates within us as believers.
I wrote out a lot of this because this is the devotional method. Do you remember, way back in January when we started, I said for years I’ve operated with small groups, and we sit at a table. I have my Bible, they have their Bible; I have my notebook, they have their notebook; and we have agreed right at the beginning to be accountable to each other.
By the way, all these things are written down, you can find them on our Facebook page and print it off. Right here is how to have this study. Right here, all the chapters were studying. I printed those off, shrunk them on a copy machine, taped them in my little mole skin journal. You can do the same. I would sit with my group and I’d say, we have to meet for the whole year. By the way, a lot of their wives came to me and said, what do you want me to do? I said, encourage your husband not to quit. The same wives came to me, because primarily these were men’s groups, and you know what the wife would say? They’d meet me in the hallway of the church and they’d look around, they’d say, what are you telling my husband? I’d say, why? She said, he’s acting differently. In fact, one of the men told me that after being in this study and applying the scripture to his life, his life changed so much. He started doing things like praying with his wife before he went to work, praying at the meals with his family. He actually brought a Bible to the table and said hey, could I share with you something I found today in my Bible study? His wife actually came up to him when the kids weren’t around and said, do you have cancer? Are you dying? Why are you changing so much? God was at work in his life. That’s what happens when we start looking in the mirror and saying, God changed my life. I want to look like Christ. I want the Spirit led life. I don’t want the flesh driven life.
We are redeemed to become God’s slaves. I want to be more enslaved to God every day. What is a slave? A slave is someone that does the will of another. They don’t do their own thing. They do what someone else tells them to do. That’s why in our culture, nobody wants to work anymore. Nobody wants to do what anybody wants them to do. They’re all independent. They want to be financially independent and totally on their own doing anything they want. No one tell them what to do. I want to be totally dependent and totally told what to do. I want to listen, so I hear the voice of the Lord through His word. We are redeemed to become God’s slaves. We are set free from the bondage we had to sin. We’re no longer under the control of our old master Satan. He’s chasing us. He’s got the handcuffs and the chains, and he’s trying to get us back. Christ’s redemption now allows us to experience the fellowship with God and ministry for God we were created for. Once you start understanding Romans 5-8, you understand what you were created to be.
It’s so hard for me to realize how many believers are going through life, they’re going to church, and all they’re learning is, five more ways to have a successful, happy life. They don’t have a successful, happy life. They’re struggling with bondage to sin. It’s because most churches aren’t teaching doctrine, because people don’t like doctrine. They don’t want big, heavy Bibles. They want to be able to carry their Bible right with their phone and flashlight and everything else. They don’t want to be inconvenienced with a Bible. They got one of those in there and they don’t want to study it because they want to watch movies, and play games, and listen and watch music videos. You understand? They’re distracted. They’re living empty, struggling, troubled lives, volatile. Like the story I told you about that doctor. Redemption will allow us to experience fellowship with God and the ministry that God created us for. The plan to make our lives lived out for God’s glory is presented in Romans 6.
When we get to Romans 6, the flow of the chapter is so instructive. I’m presenting this from my journal, but I’ll do each chapter in order. In my journal, I did them out of order. Chapter 3 reminds us we’re all sinners. Chapter 4, faith is the key. Chapter 5, that we haven’t covered yet is justification. Chapter 6, salvation is tied to redemption. By the way, when we get to Revelation in December, do you know what we’re singing forever in Heaven? The wonders of our redemption. Do you know what redemption is all about? 1 Corinthians 6. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price;” “You are not your own.” “Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” That’s what redemption is. Jesus, His justifying death bought me and now I belong to Him, and I want to serve Him. All we who experienced the justifying death of Christ, that’s salvation, find that it unleashes for us life as God intended it to be.
Chapter 5, let’s go systematically through the lessons. I already showed you this, Romans 5, Christ’s deaths opens for us an endless stream of divine power for abundant living the seven byproducts. Remember, I showed them to you in my Bible. His death, justifying death. Are we at peace with God? Anytime we want it we have access by faith. Anytime we want it, we have grace in which we stand. Standing grace, anytime we want it. It’s just an endless supply that we turn off, that we say I’m not interested, I’m more interested in playing whatever game or my hobby or my sport. There’s nothing wrong with hobbies, and sports, and movies, or anything else unless they’re sinful. Just watching sports, it’s not wrong but watching sports doesn’t unleash an endless supply of divine power for abundant living. This does. All of a sudden we start going, whoa, I am neglecting the best part of life. Rejoicing and hope. We are supposed to be overflowing with hope. We’re supposed to understand that God has a plan, and that God doesn’t disappoint us. We have this undisputable hope. We have love poured out and on through. Love out poured and the Spirit within, I didn’t even type that.
Secondly, justification opens God’s blessings. We are saved from the wrath of God. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. Verse 21 says, either grace abounds in my life or sin abounds in my life. Right now, if we were at Starbucks or wherever, I would look across the table at you and I’d say, is grace abounding in your life or sin? That’s why I had to make them make a promise to stay with us all year, because it was like chemotherapy. It was hard because, to kill the cancer of sin in our life we have to confront it, and face it, and take the painful remedies which we’re going to see in chapter 6.
The Holy Spirit is our new operating system. All the time I get notices on my phone that it’s time to update. There are security flaws and there are patches, all this stuff that the operating system needs, updates. Did you know, we have an operating system. We were dead. We were like a cell phone that the batteries out and it’s broken. God didn’t just plug us in, He gave us a brand new heart, the very center of our being. That’s what Ezekiel 36 is. Ezekiel 36:26-27. Do you know what that says? It’s a memory verse, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” “You shall keep My judgements and do them.” That’s the new operating system. It’s unleashing those seven byproducts into our lives.
Chapter 5, after he gets done with talking about all those byproducts, it talks about the difference between Adam and Christ. Adam is the one that got us into this mess. He’s the one who led the whole human race into sin. Jesus Christ is the one who leads all that will follow Him by faith, the human race, out of sin. He paid a sacrificial price that is sufficient for the sin of the world. That’s every sin that’s ever been committed. Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient for all. Will everyone be saved? No. We know that because we’ve already read the ending, but there is sufficient sacrifice for everyone. It’s only effective theologically, efficient for those who call on the name of the Lord. That’s why I’m an evangelical. I believe that people have to call on the name of the Lord. That’s why Bonnie raised her hand, and I raised my hand, that we’re seeking the lost. This month we have carried tracts, we have talked to people, we have asked them whether or not they know the Lord Jesus, if they’re interested. I just asked a repairman that was in our house, and he wasn’t interested, but you know what? We still keep sharing.
The first Adam, Romans 5:15 says, “If by one man’s offense many died.” One Adam brought judgment and condemnation. Through one man’s offense death reigned. Through one man’s offense condemnation went to all. Disobedience of one made many sinners. Sin reigned to death. This is a huge theological. By the way, this is a part of what systematic theology excels in explaining to us, how Adam participating in Eve’s disobedience caused all of us to become sinners. That’s huge. The groundwork is right here in Romans 5. Look what the last man, the second Adam did. One Man’s free gift of righteousness to many, from any offenses, the gift of justification through one Man. Believers reign in life. The righteousness of one justified. Justification is offered to all through the obedience of one. Many are declared righteous and grace reigns to eternal life. That’s a summary of Paul in his inimitable way, contrast between Adam and Christ, Adam in Christ from verses 15 to 21. You’ll be reading that this week.
The bottom line is justification, and this is what it is. God punished Jesus on the cross like He committed every sin we’ve ever committed. Do you know how John put that in John 1:29? “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin,” singular, “of the world.” C. H. Spurgeon, and you can read about him in your systematic theology, one of the greatest preachers in the 19th century in London. C. H. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon Spurgeon in his commentary, he wrote that on the cross, Jesus bore the totality of the sin of the world. A lot of people are all alarmed about another doctrine called the limited atonement, which by the way, the only limit to the atonement the Bible has is unbelief; those who will not call the name of the Lord. As Spurgeon said, Jesus, on the cross paid a sufficient price for the totality of all the sin of all the world but only those who call on the name of the Lord get their sins forgiven. When we do call, God, he erases my record and puts it on Christ because He’s already paid for all of them. In the instant I call on Him, my record is erased and it’s like Jesus committed them. What does that mean? What does chapter 5 mean?
Justification means I’m never supposed to be guilty. Every sin, look at this. Jesus Christ died on the cross 2,000 years ago. You are right here today. In 2021, you’re right there. Every sin you’ve committed from when you were born, to last year during lockdown, today, tomorrow, and to the end of your life, all of those sins. Look at this, we’re in the future. Jesus died 2,000 years ago. He paid one sacrificial price for all sins: past, present, future. Don’t be guilty because on the cross He knew that you were going to commit those sins, I was going to commit those sins. He said, I love you, I’m paying the price for that sin. I’m only asking you, that if you love Me, that you will start saying no to sin, you will repent, you will start letting Me sanctify you. Remember, the past we’re justified, the present we’re sanctified. We are denying sin more and more in our lives. We should never be fearful, and we should never be condemned by God. Remember 8:1. There is no condemnation.
Now we’re in chapter 6. Jesus died for my sins, defeated death by faith. I’m part of that. The first imperative, I already told you, that’s in verse 11. It communicates to us what we must know. What God has done for us, before we do what he wants us to do. There are six imperatives. I showed them to you in my Bible. Redemption makes us no longer slaves, but only a series of correct choices allows us to enjoy the benefits. It says in verse 7, we have “been freed.” “We shall also live with Him.” This is what redemption is all about because Christ redeemed us out of the slave market, adopted us into His family, and declares were never for sale again.
Look at this, here are the choices our Redeemer expects from us on a daily basis. This is when I lean across the table and I go, on a daily basis. You should mark these. You should think about them. This is what Jesus is looking for today. This is why those wives say, my husband’s changing.
It’s because on a daily basis, number one, we start saying yes to God every day. Now that I’m redeemed, I can choose to increasingly say yes to my new master. It’ll be a more and more every day. That’s why it says, likewise reckon, there’s the commandment. You’re alive to God. This is the application, reckon is the Greek word logizomai, operate on what you know is true. God says, I can resist sin. Do you know what one of the biggest thrills, you want to know how you can know that you’re a Christian, you can say no to sin, sins that for years have defeated and enslaved you. By faith, you can say, you can resist your besetting sin. You can resist your long-term patterns. I meet people all the time. that say, this is just the way I am. I say, no it’s not. That’s what you want to be. Jesus Christ has set you free. He’s opened the prison door. All you have to do is walk out, but you got to want to, you got to reckon, you’ve got to choose to increasingly say yes to your new master. When you don’t say yes, “when Satan tempts you to despair and tells you of the guilt within,” that you failed again, “upward you look and see Christ there, who made an end to all your sin.” He gives me strength moment by moment to do this.
Number one is, I can say yes to God. Number two is, I can say no to sin. “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body”. Don’t be foolish just to keep on being captives when you’re no longer enslaved by it. Verse 12 says, say no to sin. Verse 11 says, say yes to God. Start saying yes to God every morning. Remember, I jump out of bed, land on that circle, and I say Lord, I surrender. I say yes, I want to do your will today and then go through the day saying no to sin.
Number three, choose to stop the pattern. Now that I’m redeemed, I can choose to stop the pattern my old sins led me to follow. Wasting my time. Neglecting God’s word and prayer. Avoiding the sanctifying habits of scripture, memory, and accountability. See what it says in verse 13? “Don’t present your members,” stop the pattern. Paul told believers they had to put a stop to patterns in their life that displeased God. It’s our choice. It’s enabled by God, but it’s made by us. I have to push the yes button. I have to push the download button. I have to push the button. You understand what I mean? I have to say yes and choose to stop the pattern. For example, if you struggle with time in the word, call out to the Lord in prayer asking for help to break your old habits that kept you from God. Then, make a plan to read the Bible. Pray before your smartphone, or computer, or TV gets turned on. Put your Bible out in plain sight, maybe right where your phone is plugged in or by your keyboard. When you wake up or come home, it’s time to make a choice, right? Then you have two choices in front of you. Either God or TV, God or Facebook, God or gaming, right? Cry out, ask God for help. See how practical this is?
Number four, start new patterns. That’s the second half of verse 13. “Present yourself to God.” That means, ask the Lord to change your appetite. That means, ask the Lord to give you strength to get rid of things that enslave you, that entangle you, that trip you up. You could be having online subscriptions. I meet people all the time say I can’t afford to support my local church. I go, Yeah, but are you on Disney+? Are you on Hulu? Do you have Netflix? Do you have Netflix premium? You know what I mean, prime? You know what? 80% or 70% of all American households do. Choose to start new patterns, get rid of things that enslave you. You may need to have online accountability. There are all kinds of programs. I’m trying to think of the one I always recommended in the local church, but they’re out there. They will help you. Look at this, you may need an agreement with someone you love and trust to hold you accountable to your new habit of time in the word.
Do you know what church is about? Church is about people coming up to you and saying hey, where have you been in the word this week? What verses are you memorizing? How’s your prayer life? When’s the last time you shared the Gospel? Do you know why people don’t like to come to church? They don’t want people to ask them those questions. You need to be accountable to physical people that look you in the eye, just like you’re on the other side of this table. They’re asking you, where have you been in the word of God? Are you saying no to sin?
Deny your old master. Verse 14. “Sin shall not have dominion over you.” Daily surrender to your new master. “Just as you presented […] so now present,” verse 19. Those are redemption driven, living choices. That’s what we find in chapter 6.
When Jesus redeems us, he. Wants us to now say yes to God, no to sin. Stop those patterns, start new patterns. See how these are paired? Deny our old master, surrender to our new master. Three pairs of redemption driven choices. Make your choice today.
Sanctification is like being healthy spiritually. This is where I lean across the table. Just like our body needs proper nutrients, it works when we’re at Qdoba or wherever we’re eating, combined with exercise so our soul needs regular intake of the word mixed with choices to obey. That’s the exercise. These two elements, the word and active obedience is how the Holy Spirit works. He uses the power of the word, the fellowship of believers to peel away our desires for sin, to renew our mind, to change our lives.
Everyday Christ calls us to renew our desires to respond in these four areas. Number one, and this is where you might want to take a screenshot of this before I’ve written all over it, but this is what drives a small group. I want to listen to God daily through His word. We go around the table, and we say, yes, no, or maybe to each one of these. Yes, I’m in the word every day; no, I’m not; or I’m trying to be, some days I am, sometimes I’m not. I want to respond to God throughout the day in prayer. Are you thinking about God throughout the day in prayer? Yes, no, or sometimes. Do you want to make sacred vows to obey His plan for your life? In other words, are you making those vows saying Lord, I really want to be in Your word every day. Lord, I really do want to be that godly Christian husband. I really do want to be the best friend to my husband, as a wife. I do really want to be as a young person, responsible, respectful, and submissive to authority. I want to share my burdens with another believer so they can encourage. Those are commands God’s word gives us that helps us to grow.
You know what you do? You seal those in prayer. What I would do is, hit the pause button. Look at that list and actually ask the Lord, say Lord, I want to listen to You daily. Lord, I want to respond to You, reaching out to You in prayer. Lord, I do want to… that’s the applications from our study, those sacred vows. Say Lord, I want You to change this. I want You to change that. That’s what I’m talking about there. Lord, I do want to have a small group that knows what’s going on in my life and is cheering me on like I’m cheering them on. You close with prayer and choose to renew those choices with the Lord. Do that now, while you’re thinking about it. Take as long as you want and then come back.
We’re going to Romans 7. I already told you the whole chapter is Paul’s spiritual biography. Here are the marks of mature believers. Spiritual insight, brokenness, contrition, and humility with no trust in his own goodness. Read that each day this week, and you’ll be amazed that Paul wrote those words in 56 AD. He’d already been a missionary for 9 or 10 years and written a lot of the epistles. Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians. He was writing Romans right then. 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians. Yet he had all those struggles. That’s a mature believer. Spiritual insight into how powerful sin is. Brokenness when I fail. Contrition, I don’t want to be in sin. Humility, I need your help. Paul said, I need the prayers of others, I need their encouragement. No trust in any goodness, no goodness dwells in me.
Why did God give the law? This is what you’re going to learn in Romans 7. Verse 7 says to expose our sin nature and to incite the sin nature, because the sin nature can’t be reformed. That’s what Paul’s dealing with. He said, no matter how hard I try, I can’t overcome this, only Christ can. He was laying bare this idea that we can try harder and turn over new leaves and overcome this on our own. I can’t overcome anything on my own, except the still small voice of the Lord, I can do that pretty well. I can shut that out, but I can’t overcome sin. Christ in me can. Me reaching out and clinging to Him by faith can instantly, remember the doctor that bowed his head instantly changed his bitter, hardened, distant heart. His wife just wept. God’s in the business of giving an endless supply, divine power for abundant living every time we come back to Him. To drive us to despair of self-effort, that’s where Paul says, what I would do I don’t do, what I don’t want to do I am doing. Look at this. By the way, there are no chapter divisions till the 13th century in the 1200’s. Bishop Langton put in those dividers. Actually, chapter 7 rolls right into chapter 8, there’s no division there. There are chapter divisions so we know where we’re studying and find it. Printers put in the verse divisions in the 16th century.
Look what Paul said, all of this conviction drives us to depend on the Holy Spirit. God’s law reflects His eternal character. In fact, Roman says 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times that God’s law is good. Why? Because God’s law reflects His eternal attributes.
God’s attributes, explain His moral character. God’s law applies His moral character. All those Jewish ceremonial rules illustrate His moral character. What parts of the law are we under? Right here, His moral law. Not His ceremonial law, not the dietary rules, all those rules about what clothing mix of fabric you can wear, and what you can plant in your field, and how to build your house and all that stuff, and the Sabbath day journey and all that stuff, and don’t eat pork. Those are ceremonies for the Jewish people only, but they do illustrate, every one of them, God’s character. There’s a value in all of them, even though we’re not under the ceremonial law.
What are the attributes of God? Just a few of them. His truthfulness. God hates falsehood and lying lips. His goodness, anything God says is not good, is bad. Thus, all attitudes and actions that are evil, filthy, and corrupt according to God, are sin. That’s why I want to know what His word says, because I don’t want anything that’s not good in God’s sight. God is love, so selfishness, harshness, hatefulness is sin. God is graceful, merciful and patience. Graceless, merciless, impatience are wrong, they’re godless. God is holy only those who follow after holiness get to see Him. That’s why a lot of Christians can’t see Him in his word, because they’re following everything but God’s holiness. They need to repent of that. God is peaceful. Another theological term is orderly. All confusion, all disorder, all unrest is godless and not godly. Christians should be the most assured, orderly, and peaceful people in the world. People should be able to pick out a Christian, you, out of the crowd because you’re orderly and peaceful and confident. Righteousness and justice are His attributes. God says what is right and wrong. Whatever conforms to God’s moral character is right. Whatever does not is wrong.
Now, we get to chapter 8. It’s a masterful declaration of God’s impact through the Gospel on my life. Do you remember what I told you? It begins with the no condemnation, verse 1. No frustration, verse 28. No separation in verses 35 and 39. Romans 8 talks about how to be delivered from the flesh. The first 11 verses are understanding our son ship, what we have in Christ. 12 to 17, how the Holy Spirit helps us through suffering. Then, that we have the victory. Remember those three parts opening, closing, and the middle.
Walking in the Spirit is what God does in us through His Spirit as we surrender to His will each day. How do we do that? Jump out of bed, stand on that, say Lord, I ask you to control my life. Lead me. Empty me of self. Convict me. Cleanse me. I just want to live for you today. Then, renew that all day long. At work, they can’t stop you from having a moment of silence and renewing that commitment to the Lord.
What happens when we walk in the Spirit? We design our marriages to be useful to God, not just profitable and comfortable to us. We raise our children to be useful to God, not the world. We measure our jobs by whether or not they contribute to us being useful to God. We’re leery. We’re watching out. If our jobs make us worldly, selfish, materialistic, or lukewarm, it’s better to downgrade your financial condition and have a less materialistic job to have a godly life that lasts forever, than to at the end of your life say, I wish I hadn’t spent my whole life climbing the corporate ladder. Look what I have. Who am I taking with me to Heaven? We start looking at our house, our purchases, all of our possessions. Do they help us reach the nations or hinder us from going with the Gospel? We begin tracking our time usage to see whether it reflects a burden for serving God’s desires or our own desires.
That’s what we do in a small group. How are you investing your time? I once had one group. I said, here quick, it was a group going to India. Bonnie and I were ministering to them. I said, take out a piece of paper and tell me how many minutes a day you spend on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram. How much time you spend on YouTube, all this stuff. Add them up. Emailing, texting. Then I tell them, do you know how long it takes to read the whole Bible? 72 hours. This was a group of missionaries going to India as a career. Before I had them write that list of how many minutes they were spending and all those things I said, could all of you raise your hands. How many of you have read the whole Bible? Out there, have you read the whole Bible? All the books of Bible? Raise your hand. (She’s read it many times. I love teasing you, honey.)
You know what I found? Just like most churches, half of those missionaries had never read the whole Bible. They read the Psalms. They knew Proverbs really well. They love Paul’s epistles. Romans. They’d never read the whole Bible. If this is a love letter from God, how can you pick and choose which parts of it you read? He said, I want you to eat all of it. What I did is, I challenged them. I said, it takes 72 hours to read the whole Bible. Add up how many minutes you spend on Netflix, YouTube, Prime, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. I don’t even know the rest. TikTok. Take away a portion of those. It only takes 15 minutes a day to read the whole Bible in a year. Only takes five minutes a day to read the whole New Testament in a year, 10 minutes to read the whole Old Testament. I asked them to make a sacred vow. To take away from all their online time to get in the word. Track your time usage, okay?
In chapter 8. Look, chapter 8, chapter 8, chapter 8, chapter 8, chapter 8. You see all these? As you’re reading chapter 8, look at all of the descriptions of the Holy Spirit. He helps us witness. He liberates us from sin. He transforms our minds. Mortifies our lust. He gives us life. He guides, and encourages, and assures us. I just had a letter from a fellow that’s got cancer on the spine and there is paralysis coming. He says, I feel so horrible, I’m not sure I’m a Christian. I wrote him back and I said, the Holy Spirit can assure you. I sent him some materials.
We can hope through the Spirit. He helps our prayers. He gives us a desire to sacrifice. He gladdens our heart. He gives us a heart for the nations. I’d get in tune and use your journal to find all the things that the Holy Spirit does. They’re like facets of your smartphone, that you can start. You can ask others; how do I do that? How do I turn on the flashlight? Ask God to help you understand the Holy Spirit that you see on this chart. Then, ask others who are further along the road with you to help you in your walk.
Let’s apply all this, we’re at the end. I’m going to read my prayer to you after reading 5, 6, 7, & 8 all week long. Lord, the justifying death of Jesus is mine by faith. I don’t deserve it but thank you for Your sacrifice for my sin. I ask You to pour out those byproducts of justification into my life. Your peace is mine, access at any time, standing grace, rejoicing hope undisappointable hope, overflowing love, assurance of your plan. Help me to operate in the truth of Your death, that has broken sin’s hold on my life. Your Spirit can lift me above the gravity of sin and death. I yield to You today and each day. For so much You’ve given so freely, I thank you. Amen.
Real quickly. Find someone you can share your studies with and how you want God to change you. Pray for us. We’re getting closer and closer to launching, teaching. Lord willing. COVID everything is multiplying. Pray that we will get the passes to get into Europe and Asia to teach. We’re supposed to be gone September to November. Pray that the Lord will use us, and that the Lord will use you.
Have a great week in Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8. Lord willing, when we come back next week, we’re going to have the best time looking at the 1 Corinthians 3 judgment seat of Christ. It’s going to be amazing but until then, God bless your study this week.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
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Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?
Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.