Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 12 – Justified by Faith: Abraham

Paul's Epistles
Part 12 – Justified by Faith: Abraham
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. We have already looked at who Paul was, our faith being reported around the world, not being ashamed of the Gospel, being Guilty of sin, Apostasy, the Results of Apostasy, You are Without Excuse, Jews and the Law, God's Faithfulness, No One is Righteous.

Last week we discussed The Remedy.

Today we will take a look at Romans 4:1-12, Justified by Faith: Abraham.


What then, shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

                   I.            WHO IS RIGHTEOUS?
a.      Paul showed last week that none are righteous
                                                                         i.      The Law of God has been given to both the Jew and Gentile

                                                                      ii.      No one has an excuse from it

                                                                   iii.      God has made Himself known

b.     Jew and Gentile are both guilty according to God's standards
                                                                         i.      The commands of God give us the Characteristics of righteousness

                                                                      ii.      No one person is capable of keeping these characteristics

                                                                   iii.      They were given to us by God, not to save us, or make us righteous, rather, to show us the need for the Lord and Salvation

c.      However, there is a remedy to unrighteousness
                                                                         i.      To be right with God, one must be righteous

                                                                      ii.      To be righteous, one must have the characteristics of righteousness described in the commands, not once, or for a while, but continuously and forever, without faltering or stumbling.

                                                                   iii.      Therefore, the ONLY way for man to be righteous, is for it to be credited to us.
1.      Not earned, but given. (credited)
2.      We shall be covered with the righteousness of Christ.
3.      The "white garment" in Revelation
4.      The "Covering of Sin" in scripture

Philippians 3:7-9 "...whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

               II.            ABRAHAM
a.      Abraham was credited with righteousness
                                                                         i.      Not because of works (like the commands call for)
                                                                      ii.      Rather, he was credited because of his faith in the Lord

b.     The "FREE GIFT" we hear of
                                                                         i.      Remembering what Paul says in Romans 3:10
1.      “There is no one righteous, not even one;"

c.      This is why NO ONE CAN BOAST
                                                                         i.      We cannot brag, boast, be prideful, arrogant or think we are above lost sinners.

                                                                      ii.      Because the ONLY difference between us and them, is we trust in the Lord. We are not better, above, or have something that we worked for, earned or even deserve.

                                                                   iii.      The covering (the Lord's righteousness), that we have, is available to EVERYONE who trusts in the Lord, and is GIVEN by the Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

            III.            DAVID
a.      David says the same thing
                                                                         i.      Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
1.      Did David have sins that needed to be forgiven?

2.      Yet, they were forgiven, and he too was credited with being righteous because of his faith in the Lord...NOT because he was "doing" the righteous things.

b.     Abraham was considered Righteous BEFORE he was circumcised.
                                                                         i.      Circumcision was given as a sign (verse 11)

                                                                      ii.      It "represented" a spiritual truth, but itself had no ritualistic value.
1.      Remember the arguments in the Book of Acts over whether you had to be circumcised or not for Salvation.

2.      It was decided that this act was symbolic, and also stated in scripture that the true Jews were the ones who were circumcised of the heart.
c.      Therefore, Abraham is the father of all who believe, even the uncircumcised, so that righteousness could also be credited to them.


So what is God's standard for Righteousness?
The 10 Commands are God's standards (or characteristics of Righteousness). The 10 commandments are also known as the Law of Moses.

According to God's standard, who is guilty of breaking it?
Everyone is guilty, Jew and Gentile.

How can we be righteous in God's eyes then?
We will be credited as Righteous, by having faith in the Lord, as Abraham, David, and all the other godly men and women of the Old and New Covenant.

Is righteousness salvation?
In a way.

We are credited with being Righteous when we have faith in the Lord.

This faith comes by hearing God's word and putting our trust in Him.

When we trust the Lord, we live according to the word we hear, which tells us, confess your guilty (according to the 10 commands), repent (or turn away from sin), and you will be forgiven. Live in this manner, and you will have Salvation through Jesus Christ.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!      

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 11 – The Remedy

Paul's Epistles
Part 11 – The Remedy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. We have already looked at who Paul was, our faith being reported around the world, not being ashamed of the Gospel, being Guilty of sin, Apostasy, the Results of Apostasy, You are Without Excuse, Jews and the Law, God's Faithfulness.

Last week we discussed No One is Righteous.

Today we will take a look at Romans 3:9-20, The Remedy.


Romans 3:21-31
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

I.                   WE ARE ALL GUILTY AND THE SAME
a.      The Righteousness of God
                                                                                                 i.      Has been made known APART from the Law
1.      Demonstrated in the first two chapters of Romans by Paul.

2.      No one is with excuse.

3.      God has made Himself known.

4.      This refers to the Gentiles.

                                                                                              ii.      Has been made known through the Law and Prophets
1.      Refers to the Jews, who have the Law and the teachings of the Prophets.

b.     There is NO difference between them!
                                                                                                 i.      Paul has made it clear in the first two chapters of Romans, that ALL HAVE SINNED.

                                                                                              ii.      Gentiles have sinned.

                                                                                           iii.      Jews have sinned.

                                                                                            iv.      And we ALL fall short of the Glory of God!

c.      What is the Glory of God?
                                                                                                 i.      His Righteous, Sinless Perfection.

                                                                                              ii.      Defined in the Ten Commands. (Literal Translation)
1.      I am Jehovah, your God. Who has brought you out of Egypt (sin). Out of a house of slaves (slaves to sin). You shall have no other gods before me.

2.      Do not make carved (created) images or the likeness (pictures) of anything that is in heaven, earth or waters beneath. Do not bow to them or serve them.

3.      Do not take the name of Jehovah your God for a vain thing. (not a curse word, but commanding God to damn something or someone. Being vain enough to think you can tell God what to do, or who to send to hell.)

4.      Remember the Sabbath Day, to sanctify it. (Jesus IS the Sabbath.)  "And you, who were dead in sin and the uncircumcision of your flesh (Gentiles), God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins, having canceled the bond which stood against us (debt of hell for sinning) with its legal demands (Ten Commands); this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers (devils who have rule over sinners) and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it [not him; it, the cross].

Therefore, let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink (Kosher Laws) or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come (Foreshadowing such as Baptism, Communion, Marriage, etc.); but the substance (What it represents...the REAL THING) belongs to Christ." (Colossians 2:13-17) Do you sanctify (bless, make sacred, approve) Christ in your life? Not for a moment, or a day...but constantly without falter or fail. No mistakes. No "slips".

5.      Honor (respect) your Father and Mother. Without fault. Without slips, etc...

6.      Do not murder. (Does not mean do not kill.) Jesus says in Matthew 5:22 "But I say to you, anyone who is angry at his brother without cause (unjust anger is the same as murder.), shall be in danger of judgment (of murder), and whoever says to his brother Empty Fellow! (Calling him an idiot), shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.

7.      Do not commit adultery. (Adultery is not JUST sexual infidelity; it is also disloyalty, falseness or lying, betrayal, deceitfulness. Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." (So this list shall include movies, pictures, living people, posters, magazines, and not just porno. A woman (or man) does not have to be naked for you to lust in your heart.)

8.      Do not steal. (Meaning taking anything, at any time that is not yours. whether through theft of $1,000, or a paper clip from work.)

9.      Do not lie about your neighbor. (Who is your neighbor? Anyone you come across. Parable of the Good Samaritan.)

10. Do not desire your neighbor's house, your neighbor's wife, your neighbor's male servant, or his ox, or donkey or anything that is your neighbors.

d.     Not just once in a while, or on Sunday, but every moment, of everyday...who can fulfill this?  No one can "be" God, but God. No one measures up to Him.
                                                                                                 i.      There is no difference between Jew and Gentile
                                                                                              ii.      No one measures up to God's standards

a.      If we are not justified by the Law, what hope is there?
                                                                                                 i.      We (Jew and Gentile) are FREELY justified of our sin by His Grace!

                                                                                              ii.      God's Grace

                                                                                           iii.      His Grace comes through redemption (which was because of the cross) of Jesus Christ.

                                                                                            iv.      That is the Hope of the lost!
1.        1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;

b.     God presented Jesus Christ as a sacrifice
                                                                                                 i.      To atone (or pay) for our sins.
                                                                                              ii.      Through the shedding of His blood.
1.      Like the foreshadowing of Old Testament times of sacrificing animals.

2.      Foreshadowing is a shadow of what it represents. its NOT the real thing, but represents the real thing.
a.      Circumcision
b.     the Sabbath
c.      Animal sacrifice
d.     baptism
e.      communion
f.       marriage

3.      Where foreshadow imitates and represents, the real thing fulfills and completes!

c.      God did this with Christ to demonstrate His righteousness
                                                                                                 i.      Only God can be God

                                                                                              ii.      No one else is righteous

                                                                                           iii.      Therefore only God can remove unrighteousness

                                                                                            iv.      no one, and no-thing can do this other than a righteous God

                                                                                               v.      Not just for those living today and after the cross, but also for those who had faith in Jesus BEFORE the cross!
1.      Abraham
2.      Isaac
3.      David, etc...

III.            SO WHO CAN BOAST?
a.      Boasting, audacity, talk with excessive pride, self-satisfaction with ones achievements, gloating, bragging.
                                                                                                 i.      These are all excluded in faith.

                                                                                              ii.      Faith recognizes our shortcomings, and relies on God for the solution.

                                                                                           iii.      Faith knows, apart from Him, we are nothing.

                                                                                            iv.      God gets the honor, glory and praise.

b.     We are justified, NOT because of Law which requires works (or deeds).
                                                                                                 i.      The Ten Commands requires deeds or works we CANNOT do!

                                                                                              ii.      Therefore no one can find salvation from sin in the Commandments!
1.      Paul says in Romans 7:10, "I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death."

                                                                                           iii.      Our salvation and righteousness is found, not in the Law which requires work, but in the Law that requires Faith. The Law of Christ or rather, the New Covenant.

So we are all slaves to sin, whether Jew or Gentile. We all fall short of God's Glory, and CANNOT keep His commands. However, there is a solution.

We know that those who are not righteous will be cast into Gehenna, however, we can BE righteous, not by our works, because we cannot be righteous by the Law that requires works or deeds of perfection, but by the Law of Christ, that requires faith.

This is how we are freed from sin and its slavery, and receive the promise of eternity with our Lord.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!