June 3, 2012 Emmaus God’s Plan in time
Ok, so we just spent three weeks studying the book of Ruth. I hope everyone was able to grasp what God was showing us in that book. It was great for me to go through it again, and I hope the Lord met you as you studied it for yourself, and here on sunday mornings. I do want to recognize that there is so much content in that book that we could take three months or more and go through it. All the implications of what happened there, and what God was doing in the midst of their lives, and correlations of how we can be Naomi for non believers to see the greatness of God on display in our lives.
Well, this morning what I want to do is something different than a study of a book, which is my preferred route of preaching. As I was praying about what book to do next, I felt like the Lord was asking me to do several weeks with a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith. That being the Good News of what Christ has come to do here on the earth. The word we usually call this “the Gospel” Which means Good news. Now, I know many of you, if you have grown up in church have this down cold. But one thing I have found in my life is that if we begin to assume that we already know this truth, we can take it for granted. So what I want to do with you folks the next few weeks is to take a diamond that we call the Good news, or the Gospel, and hold it up to the light, and turn it, and look at the whole thing, and check out some of the facets, and understand a little bit better what God, through Paul means when he says that “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” My intended route to do this is to take this week and stand back a bit, and get a picture from a distance of what God was doing in all of History to bring about the Good news. Today is not primarily about getting nitty gritty. I am going to be preaching out of the first chapter of Romans, as Paul recounts for the Romans God’s plan for redemption through time. In the weeks that follow we will be looking at specific implications of what the Gospel does in our lives, things like regeneration, justification, sanctification, etc. But for today we are going to take a look at redemptive history, and try to understand a little more about God’s purposes in the old testament.
As I said before we are going to be reading from the book of Romans, Chapter 1.
Read Romans 1:1-32
Ok, so there is a ton of stuff in here, and just up front, we are not going to get to it all. The reason I read the whole chapter is so you can get a feel for the flow of Paul’s intro to this letter. Context is SO important. Just so you understand what is going on here, Paul the Apostle is writing a letter to people he has never met before, who are not of Jewish decent, and are from, Rome. Now if you know anything about ancient Rome… you know enough. it was not what you call, a moral society. So, Paul is writing these believers to explain to them, what they are seeing all around them, why it is there, and what God has done about it.
Do you ever look around at all that is wrong in our world and wonder, “what the heck happened?” Who in this room has ever been hurt by another human being? Who of us has been the victim of violence? we don’t have to live very long to see that this world is broken. Do you know what the largest section of the bookstore is? Its the self help section. Now, why do you think that is? Its because we all have an understanding that this world is broken. Lives, marriages, families, economies etc. You’ve seen it, I don’t have to convince you do I? Well, that is what Paul is writing this letter to answer, and he takes a long time to develop his case for this. I would encourage you to read the whole thing, or listen to long portions of this book to get the feel for his whole flow of reasoning, which gets complicated at times, but incredibly life giving. And the first thing he says to us in this letter is this, I am a servant of the Gospel of God, which He has promised from long ago, which is fulfilled in his Son Jesus. This is the setup of this whole book. He is saying, “this is not a mistake” God is not shooting from the hip here, he’s been working a plan from the beginning, and I am about to tell you how this is all went down.
So I want to talk about the main events of Paul’s explanation. The main things that happened in history to bring us where we are today. I want to look at how God revealed himself in Creation, man responded, God revealed our brokenness in the law. and God responded by sending his son.
- God Reveals himself in the world to display His Glory. v. 19
- In the Garden, man was at peace with God, he walked in union with Him.
- God had fellowship with the man and woman.
- We are made for this unity. We are created to be in Fellowship with God.
- We responded when Adam traded the truth about God for a lie, in the Garden. v. 23 and 25
- The first idol, was Adam himself, he wanted to be God.
- He turned God’s gifts into gods. Worshipping the gift rather than the giver.
- We do this too, because we inherited this nature. We take good things, and instead of praising God that we get to enjoy them, we run to them for our fulfillment and comfort. that could be anything, not just bad things, but good things too.
- It says that God turned us over to this, he let us go where we wanted to go.
- God revealed to us our depravity and his Holiness through the Law. 3:19-20
- The law is a diagnostic tool, not a cure. X-ray.
- the law has no power to change us or save us.
- It shows us two things: God is Holy, we are not.
- God responded when he sent His son to be the second Adam, and redeem us from the fall through faith in his substitutionary life, death and resurrection. v. 17
- Christ fulfilled the law in his life.
- Christ bore the weight of Gods wrath in His Death.
- Christ proved he was worthy by raising from the dead. V. 4.
- This was promised to us in Gen. 3:15
- We can benefit from this through the “great exchange.” 2 Corinthians 5:21