How to Relate to Governing Authorities

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 13:1-7.  Let’s go!

Romans 13:1-7 (NIV)
1  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4  For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
6  This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
7  Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

On verses 1-7:  Perhaps you read these verses from Paul telling the Christians in Rome to submit to their governing authorities and a part of you thinks, “Isn’t this being a bit idealistic?”  

When God Painted A Self-Portrait

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 12:9-21.  Let’s go!
Romans 12:9-21 (NIV)
9  Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

On verses 9-21:  Paul’s advice to the Christians in Rome is just as applicable to us today.  You can even turn these verses into a prayer, asking God to help you to love sincerely, hate what is evil, cling to what is good, etc.  Each of these verses could be a sermon on its own, but here’s one lesson I learn generally from these verses:  God will never ask you to do anything that He Himself isn’t willing to do, or something that He Himself has not already done.   In fact, when you read Romans 12:9-21, don’t see it simply as a list of ways we ought to live. Even more, remember it’s a portrait of Jesus and how He lived his life on earth.

What True Worship Is

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 12:1-8.  Let’s go!
Romans 12:1 (NIV)
1  Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
Verse 1:  “This is your spiritual act of worship”.  What is worship really?  At its heart true worship is not simply singing songs or going to church.  Don’t get me wrong.  God commands us to sing worship songs and go to church regularly as part of a healthy life of worship.  However, true worship is bigger than that.  It’s about offering your entire life to God as a response to who God is and what God has done.  
True worship happens when you surrender your heart, mind and body to God to be used for His purposes and His glory.  Worship is an attitude as much as it is an action.  So make every moment of your life a moment to worship God.  Whatever you do, do it with the goal of wanting to honor and please God.  As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

The Reason Everything Exists

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 11:25-36.  Let’s go!
Romans 11:25-36 (NIV)
25  I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
26  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27  And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28  As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,
29  for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.

On verse 36:  Paul says that all things are FROM God, THROUGH God, and FOR God.  What does that mean exactly?

“All things are FROM God.” Explanation: God is the creator of the universe.  He is omnipotent (all-powerful) and omniscient (all-knowing).  Nothing happens in this world without Him allowing it. In this way all things are FROM God.   So why would God allow evil and suffering?  We cannot know all the reasons.

There’s Always Hope

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 11:11-24.  Let’s go!
Romans 11:11-24 (NIV)
11  Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12  But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
13  I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry
14  in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
15  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16  If the part of the dough offered as firs fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

On verses 11-24:  Occasionally you will meet people who say they used to follow Jesus but do so no longer. Some of these people may have been Christians earlier than you. They may even have played a part in your coming to faith. But for whatever reason, they have stopped following Jesus. What should your attitude be towards such people?

You’re Not Alone

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 11:1-10.  Let’s go!
Romans 11:1-5 (NIV)
1  I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
2  God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah–how he appealed to God against Israel:
3  “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”?
4  And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
5  So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
On verses 1-5:  For those who wonder, “Has God completely rejected the people He originally chose, the Israelites?” The answer is no.  As an example of this, Paul says, “Look at me.  I’m a Jew myself, and God did not reject me but saved me.” 

Our World Needs Jesus

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 10:12-21.  Let’s go!

Romans 10:12-13 (NIV)
12  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
On verses 12-13:  “There is no difference” – in other words, regardless of your background, as long as you call on Jesus’ name to save you, you will be saved.  That is why Jesus is Lord over the largest and most racially, culturally, linguistically, economically and demographically diverse family that has ever existed: His church.  The moment you receive Jesus, in the grand scheme of things, you have more in common with your brothers and sisters in Christ living in other parts of the world than your unsaved next door neighbour. 

Salvation Made Simple

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 10:1-11.  Let’s go!

Romans 10:1 (NIV)
1  Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
On verse 1:  In Romans 9 Paul was talking about how it is God who elects in advance whom He will save.  Yet notice that this does not stop Paul in Romans 10 from praying to God for the Israelites that they may be saved.  Why is Paul praying for his fellow Israelites’ salvation when he knows that God has already made a decision about whether or not to save the Israelites?  It’s because even though God is sovereign, our choices still matter.  Just because God, who stands outside of time and space, makes choices doesn’t mean that our prayers and our decisions don’t also have a real impact.  Don’t let God’s sovereignty be the reason you throw in the towel and say, “Who cares then since God is in control anyway”.  Instead let God’s sovereignty be the reason to throw your whole self into living for God’s glory, since God is the judge and only God knows the ultimate outcome of our stories. 

The Spirit of Religion vs. Jesus

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 9:22-33.  Let’s go!

Romans 9:22-23 (NIV)
22  What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?
23  What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—
On verses 22-23:  According to Paul, God doesn’t wipe out instantly those whom He didn’t choose for salvation (“the objects of his wrath”); rather “with great patience” (v22) God bears with them and allows them to live for a while.  Why does God do that?  Paul suggests God does this “to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy”; in other words, somehow by bearing with those who are not His people for a while, God is showing to those who are His people how great and glorious He is.  How so?  Maybe it’s that by not coming down in wrath right away on those God has not chosen, God is showing His people that He is patient, tolerant, not in a rush, and still willing to use those who are not chosen for at least some good, so that their existence is not completely for naught.

God Makes Choices and So Do We

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Romans 9:14-21.  Let’s go!

Romans 9:14-21 (NIV)
14  What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
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  It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
17  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
18  Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19  One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?”
20  But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”
21  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

On verses 14-21:  If it is God who chooses in advance who will be saved and who won’t be, then how can God blame those of us who don’t believe in Him? When we looked yesterday at Romans 9:1-13 I shared with you one reason why we cannot accuse God of being unfair for choosing in advance to save some and not others.