Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday Sermon Outline: Romans 16

Romans 16
The Service of Faith 

I. Faith recognizes the saints of God. vs. 1-16 
     “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; 2 that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5 also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. 10 Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. 11 Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord. 12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 14 Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them. 15 Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them. 16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.” 

II. Faith resists the slaves of Satan. vs. 17-20 
     “17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. 19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” 

III. Faith roots itself in the Scriptures of Christ.  vs. 21-27 
     “21 Timothy my fellow worker greets you, and so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. 22 I, Tertius, who write this letter, greet you in the Lord. 23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. 24 [The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.] 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Surpassing Greatness

We live in a world that is fairly easily impressed ... then and now. Jesus compared the people of His day to selfish children easily upset when they don't get what they want (Matthew 11:16-17) ... and not much has changed since then. The modern church has become obsessed with entertainment. It pervades every service and event. Then, if they do not get the entertainment rush they desire, they complain about the leadership, threaten to leave the congregation, and/or withhold their money.

Acts 8:9-11, "Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts."

See how easy it is to draw a crowd? Everyone in Samaria knew this man's name. They saw his trickery, and dubbed him "the Great Power of God." Oh, how wrong they were! And the same error is being made today by those who believe that the "power" in a congregation has to do with so-called miracles, or in swelling numbers, or in community popularity.

This is why the Apostle Paul prayed desperately that Christians would know the truth, and that such truth would set them free from such shallow, earthly constructs. In Ephesians 1:18-21, he writes, "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."

An "enlightened" Christian knows that our only hope is in being called out of this world. Our only glory is in what we will someday inherit in heaven. The true power of God - a "surpassing greatness" - is found only in those who place their full trust in Jesus Christ. Such brethren will - like Jesus - be raised from the dead and seated in heavenly places.

The kind of people who were enamored of the Samaritan charlatan quickly lost interest when better entertainment presented itself. Those though who are enamored of the "surpassing greatness" of the One "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion" "may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock" (Matthew 7:24). Jesus wants us to be edified, not entertained!