Romans 8, The Greatest Chapter in the Bible

I return to the marvelous book of Romans this Sunday (09-15-19). I can hardly wait! Many consider Romans 8 the greatest chapter in all the Bible. I agree!

One person wrote: “If I were on a desert island and I could only have one book it would be the Bible, and if I could only have one book in the Bible it would be the book of Romans, and if I could only have one chapter in the book of Romans, it would be chapter 8.” John MacArthur stated, “I really don’t believe that a person can be the same after they have internalized and meditated on these truths.”

Here are eight reasons why Romans 8 is considered the greatest chapter in the Bible.

1) It is Trinitarian. It presents all three persons of the trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and also presents their different roles in the trinity.

2) It is gospel-centered, teaching about Jesus’ death and resurrection (34) and that Jesus died for our sins (3).

3) It presents in detail the three major doctrines of the Christian life: justification (1-4), sanctification (5-17), and glorification (18-30)

4) It presents the full order of salvation: “For those God foreknew he also predestined … and those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)

5) It presents a number of other key doctrines including: the incarnation of Christ (3); our adoption as sons (14-16); our future inheritance in heaven (17); the resurrection of the body (11, 23); and the work of the Holy Spirit for the believer (26-27, 34).

6) It presents the full sweep of salvation history including: creation (19); fall (20, 22); redemption (24-25); and consummation (21, 23).

7) It contains some of the best known and most loved verses in the Bible concerning God’s great love for us in Jesus Christ: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

8) It is the bedrock for the security of the believer (Romans 8:1 -39).

God has packed so many wonderful truths into this one chapter, it is truly amazing. I look forward to bringing you God’s message from the first two verses of Romans 8 this Sunday!

A Risky Prayer to Pray

We’re in the midst of a 40 day prayer campaign. We are asking God to send forth workers into His harvest (Mat. 9:35-38). Here’s a few things to remember as you pray.

First, the harvest is God’s harvest not our harvest. In other words, we cannot bring anyone to faith in Christ. I cannot save anyone. Jonah 2:9 says, “Salvation is from the Lord.”

However, while I cannot save anyone, I can be used of God in the His business of saving souls. In fact, He calls us to he his human instruments for His divine work. (Rom. 10:14-15, 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”)

So our pray during this 40 days of praying is not so much for the harvest as it is for God to raise up people to go into His harvest.

Second, the verb, “send out” in verse 28 is interesting. It literally means to “cast out.” In other words, our prayer should be along the lines of this, “God, do whatever it takes to cast out workers into your harvest.”

That’s a bold prayer, do you think? “God, do whatever it takes” is always a bit risky; nonetheless, it is exactly what we are called to prayer. Let’s join together and pray that risky prayer!

Here’s why that’s a risky prayer. God may sovereignly orchestrate events in your life to cast you out into His harvest. You may be the answer to your prayers. By the way, that is exactly what happened in Matthew chapter ten. The disciples find themselves in the harvest field!

They prayed in chapter nine that God would send forth workers and in chapter ten, they find themselves fulfilling the prayer that they prayed. May God do the same for us.

40 Days of Harvest Praying

I’m a Type-A personality, which means I stay busy. I’m a high “D” on the DISC profile, which means I’m driven. I’ve always been hyper-active. More times than I care to admit my MO (modus operandi) has been “Ready, Fire, Aim!” I’m more geared to “doing” than “being.”

So, in Matthew 9:35-38 when I hear Jesus say that the harvest is plentiful and when I read in John 4:35 that the “fields are white for harvest,” I want to jump into action. “Let’s do something! Let’s get out and bring in the harvest!”

It’s good to have an urgency about the harvest, but there’s a more import matter that we must attend to before jumping into action. Jesus tells us that our first order of activity is to pray. “Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field” (Mat. 9:38).

Jesus wants us to rely upon Him not upon our ability to bring the harvest in. We will only be effective in the harvest when we get plugged into and operate with God’s strength.

Here’s how Warren Wiersbe says it, “When we pray as He commanded, we will see what He saw, feel what He felt, and do what He did. God will multiply our lives as we share in the great harvest that is already ripe.”

John Bunyan wrote, “You can do more than pray, after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

I called us to 40 Days of Prayer for the Harvest this past Sunday. Would you join me in doing what Jesus instructs us to do in verse 38? Would you prayer every day for the Lord to send forth workers into His harvest field?

When you are out in the community, pray for the Lord to send forth workers into his harvest. When you are in school, pray for the Lord to send forth workers into his harvest. When you go to work, pray for the Lord to send forth workers into his harvest. When you walk around your neighborhood, pray for the Lord to send forth workers into his harvest.

Optimal

Optimal: an adjective meaning the best or most favorable. I like that word for several reasons. First, it speaks of being productive, not wasting time. Second, it speaks of making the greatest impact. And third, I like the word, “optimal,” because it sets a high bar.

This summer we rolled out a revised and refreshed vision: Learn the gospel, Love the gospel, Live the gospel. Question: Is there an optimal time, setting and opportunity to learn the gospel, love the gospel, and live the gospel? Well, first let me say that I believe anytime is a good time to learn the gospel, love the gospel, live the gospel. There isn’t a bad time.

But the question is, “Is there an optimal time, setting and opportunity to implement the vision into our lives? I think there is. I want to propose for your consideration that Sunday School provides the optimal time, the optimal setting and the optimal opportunity for people to learn the gospel, love the gospel, live the gospel.

Remember, the gospel is God’s plan to reconcile sinners to Himself for His glory and their good. The gospel has four parts: 1) Who is God? 3) Who is man? 3) Who is Christ? and 4) What is your response?

SUNDAY SCHOOL IS THE OPTIMAL TIME TO LEARN THE GOSPEL BECAUSE

  • The entire family is involved, which means every age group is taken care of and has a place to learn.
  • People are primed to learn. It isn’t called Sunday “School” by accident. Sunday School by its nature is a leaning environment.
  • The Word of God is opened and people take in the Word.

SUNDAY SCHOOL IS THE OPTIMAL SETTING TO LOVE THE GOSPEL

  • People are not in Sunday School because they have to be, but because they want to be.
  • Sunday School provides a setting for people to share how God’s Word has impacted them throughout the week.

SUNDAY SCHOOL IS OPTIMAL OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE THE GOSPEL

  • People have opportunity to serve one another.
  • People have opportunity to show the love of God to the lost world.
  • Sunday School provides an opportunity to invite lost folks to hear the gospel.

If you are not involved in a Sunday School class, you are missing out on one of the most optimal times for spiritual growth. There’s a place for you and your entire family on Sunday mornings after the worship service.

If you need help finding a class contact Pastor David or the church office (615) 886-1856.

Church App, Blog and So Much More

Hmm? I don’t think Jesus had a church app or wrote blog posts. Neither did He have a computer, iPad or cell phone. But He was interested in connecting with people.

I’ve not been an early adopter of fancy electronics gadgets or electronic tools. But I am interested in connecting with people.

We are in the process of rolling out our very own church app. Some of you are wondering, “What in the world is a church app and what does it do?” Well, let me simplify it for you, a church app is merely a tool to help you and me connect with people and ministry opportunities/resources in the church. That’s it, plain and simple.

The church app can never replace the relationships we have with each other. That’s not its purpose. It’s purpose is to connect people within the church. It helps us in developing relationships with new people and to nurture the established relationships we already have.

The church app can never take the place of us doing ministry. That’s not its purpose. It’s purpose is to connect people to ministry opportunities.

The church app can never preach a sermon. That’s not its purpose. It’s purpose is to connect people to sermons that have already been preached.

One other feature the church app has is a place for me to write a weekly blog. (Don’t ask me why it’s called a blog. I don’t know and I’m not sure I want to know.) A blog, from my limited knowledge, is merely a place where I can share my thoughts. It’s a place to give some “air time” to what’s important and what’s happening in the world at large and in the world of Tulip Grove family.

Not that it matters much, but I’m calling my weekly blog: EVER THE PREACHER.

There’s so much more the church app will allow us to do. We have a lot to learn, but always remember, the purpose for the church app is to connect us to each other and to ministry opportunities. The church app is merely a tool to help us LEARN the Gospel, LOVE the Gospel, and LIVE the Gospel.

So, here’s the question (but please don’t spend a lot of time ruminating on it): If Jesus’ earthly ministry had occurred today, would He have His own app, His own blog post? Would he be carrying around a cell phone?

I don’t know. He may have or He may not have. I do know this, nothing would have deterred Him from connecting with people. May nothing deter us from this central task as well.