Below are the sermon preparation notes for Sunday April 22, 2018. These are in rough form, but expedited to aid you in following along and for personal study throughout the week.
In my opening of the sermon, which can be found at EkronBaptistChurch.com, I mentioned two musicians. You may find examples of the music of Blind Willie Johnson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe as follows.
Blind Willie Johnson
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
As time did not permit, the sermon is being broken into two parts; April 22 and 29.
If there is any iconic music that defines America, it would be the blues. Sorrow, pain, distance from God are all reflected in the twelve bars of a minor key. The blues has much to do with the sorrow of the heart and the desperate call of a man seeking redemption. The Bible knows these struggles; especially in the Psalms. They both beg the question, “Is God for us?”
First a recap so that we know the context
Romans 8:16-31 (Writing to believers)
- Suffering now, is temporary for those who believe.
- We have the hope of redemption.
- We are marked by the Holy Spirit.
- All things work together for good for those who love Christ Jesus.
- God is working, those whom He foreknew, He predestined, called, justified, and glorified.
Therefore, if God is for us , who can be against us?
Who is God for and why?
V28 Those who Love God. Saving relationship, love in both directions, God loves us and we love God.
But, we must love the True God, not a god of our making. The heresy of the ages if for man to be put on equal with God. This is done by denying His word and as well, making God to be in man’s image.
First, the negative.
It is a falsehood to believe that God loves everyone.
The danger is that we have this strange un-biblical expectation that God will just overlook sin, and become all inclusive. This is a blasphemous lie of Satan.
(My emphasis is underlined)
Lev 20:23 And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.
Deu 25:16 For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.
Psa 5:5-6 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. (6) You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
Psa 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Hos 9:15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.
Isa 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Mal 1:2-3 “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob (3) but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Rom 1:24-25 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Rom 9:13-15 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (14) What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (15) For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
1Co 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Eph 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Jas 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
1Jn 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
God is against those who continue to do evil and do not repent. We can see death and destruction for unholy people, those who delight in wretchedness.
Why does God love a wretch?
Rom 5:6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— (8) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 9:14-18 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (15) For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (16) So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (17) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (18) So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
We do not know why or how God works to save some and yet others are lost.
God loves and saves not based upon who we are, but upon His will. God turns darkness into a tool, suffering into refinement, loneliness as a crucible to remove pride and love for the world, and in His time, brings a drama of glory that no eye has seen, ear has heard, or mind has imagined.
No testing is pleasant in the moment, but God is working. Trials and testing are not a sign of God being against you. In most cases, they may very well be a sign that God is working in your life for good. So much of Scripture is written to give the believer hope and strength in times of testing, that God would be glorified in your sacrifice and perseverance. Thus, there is a true application here, and hope for the weary, God is revealing His glory to us.
Psalmists often fretted that God was distant. But here is the answer, If God is for us, who can be against us?
So who is God for?
He is for those who cry out to be saved, repenting of their sins.
Those who love, not a mental affection but those who have found God as a Pearl of Great Price.
They abide in Christ, living according to His will that they may glorify Him.
It is important to know that those who are saved are known by God
Gal 4:8-9 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. (9) But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Mat 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Additional Scriptures to know about the heart of believers are as follows;
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Joh 3:33-36 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. (34) For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. (35) The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. (36) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Joh 10:7-10 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. (8) All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. (9) I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (10) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Rom 10:10-13 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (11) For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (12) For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. (13) For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Rom 15:6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 15:8-11 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, (9) and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” (10) And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” (11) And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”
1Co 6:20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
2Co 5:17-19 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (18) All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2Ti 1:8-9 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, (9) who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
1Pe 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (10) Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1Pe 2:11-12 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (12) Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1Pe 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1Jn 1:5-10 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (8) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1Jn 2:3-6 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. (4) Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (5) but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: (6) whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Rev 15:4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Thus, if God is for you, you will know by a transformed life in which God is actively working in Justification and sanctification. Transforming you from what you once were to the image of His son.
So, if God has loved you, count it all joy, exalt in Him. If God has saved you, rather than abandoned you, worship Him.
Therefore, in Christ we have
- Confidence in prayer.
- Boldness in the proclamation of the gospel.
- Faith in His word
- Assurance of hope.
- Resolve to persevere.
- A love for His church.
- Desire for holiness.
- A willingness to suffer and sacrifice to gain Christ.
In closing, I need to answer a question that we may have gotten wrong because our understanding of God has been wrong. Yes, God is a god of love, But He does not dole out salvation like candy. Salvation is costly as it cost the life of His Son. It is to be cherished, respected, and held as holy.
How is a person saved?
- Repentance and faith. Repent of sin and believe, not a head belief, but a transformed heart belief.
What happens when someone dies in their sins?
We must have a right Gospel and it must be proclaimed. (Starting a systematic Theology class May 27th)
Rom 10:14-18 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (18) But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”