|Sunday when Pastor Don taught he caused me to chuckle – His first comment was so funny, “The Last Supper (Passover) was not a termination supper.”
Pentecost was a great promise God offered us, CRAZY PROMISES, promises way beyond what we can comprehend. CRAZY – beyond our normal, “you can inherit the earth,” promises of God. Definition of CRAZY – departing from proportion or moderation, consumed by enthusiasm or excitement, burning fire for promises of God, excited, intensely involved or preoccupied to the point of not being sensible. God is looking for excited beyond normal proportions., to push the bonds of what is sensible, preoccupied wit God so no one can take your focus away from Him.
We then looked at a Bible passage that changed all of Bible theology for all time. Romans Chapter 4. (Heather’s note – Beth Moore in her study Believing God had us read this chapter out loud, her hope was that we would do it at least 28 times in 10 weeks, because the teachings in this were so important for us, and showed us what belief was like).
Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
When you obey God, God gives you grace, not works, but empowerment to do. Abraham was righteous, not for what he did but because he BELIEVED God.
While we try to obey God, there are times when we sin. Some in the church discard those who sin, forgetting that we are being perfected by faith, not works. Our behavior will come to line up with what we believe. (Heather’s note – this is not a license to sin, because as we seek relationship with God and love God, we will choose to obey Him.)
Remember Grace is not limited to unmerited favor (that is Mercy), grace comes with a power from God to succeed. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Our job is to get people to Jesus, He will clean them up. (Heather’s note, near Montauk Point there is a church that is said to be the last church before the point, and there is a sign in front of the church, “Go fish, you catch them, God cleans them.”)
Pastor Don pointed out that he will keep on dreaming big dreams, not seemingly attainable dreams, but huge dreams that only God can fulfill. We tend to limit God to our own understanding, but God is so much bigger than our wildest, crazy imagination.
We need to stand on the promises of the Word of God, believe that God will keep those promises.
Romans 4: 4-8 “Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”
David figured it out, David- a man after God’s own heart, realized that faith in God even though He sinned, made him covered by the mercy of God. Remember that David killed Uriah, had an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, and when he went to God, he realized that He had sinned and humbly begged forgiveness, realizing that he had sinned against God.
We have to have the faith to believe that we can receive from God. Our flesh is shaky, and if we rely on what we perceive in our flesh, we will easily be deceived by our senses. We have to have the faith that if God said it, God will do it.
When the self-righteous judge, they have already sinned. They are assuming that by following a list of rules and regulations that they will be very pleasing to God. While God’s rules are meant for our good, and as we learn about God we will begin to shape ourselves with these rules, it isn’t wholly about following the rules to the minutest point, it is about the heart and following the rules from love of God. Following rules was able to be done by the Pharisees down to the tiniest seed count for the tithe, but following rules and giving from a heart of love is what pleases God.
Romans 4:9-10 “Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.” Remember that the sign of circumcision was given to Abraham long after he obeyed God, he obeyed God, not knowing where he was going, just trusting God. He was righteous by obeying God.
Romans 4:11 “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”
Before God gave the Law to Moses, before God told Abraham to be circumcised, he believed in God, and God counted that as righteousness. Don’t forget that there were no Israelites at this time, that Abraham was a gentile, just as we are gentiles. We as gentiles are grafted into God’s kingdom because of the righteousness of Jesus.
Faith sustained Abraham before he was a Jew, and sustains us as new testament sons and daughters of Abraham. Faith helps us to circumcise our hearts, cut away the flesh of the heart and believe God, it isn’t act right – it is have a believing heart (remembering that what we believe we will be acting on). We have blocked ourselves up to not believe the crazy promises of God. God is better than us. When He makes a promise, He keeps it. We are constantly grading God, implying that God can’t resolve a problem. We should be giving God and A+. Here are a few key verses, Isaiah 52 the promise of the Savior; Romans 4:13 he is the father of all who believe, Romans 4:16 “…Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all.”
Moses gave the Hebrews the law, but the law was meant to be a tutor, to show us our need for the savior. No one can live up to the law, not sinning once – no one but Jesus.
Romans 4:17-25 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed – God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “so shall your descendents be.” And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
Praise God, we too will be justified as we believe on Him who God sent. Remember that Sarah and Abraham were too old to give birth, yet God was able to quicken her womb, and she gave birth to a son – Isaac. He had to believe for a long time before that happened. (Heather’s note – Abram was given the name Abraham by God, and he had to go around calling himself Abraham – father of many nations. I am certain that when people asked him how many children he had and he said none for year after year after year quite a few eyebrows were raised – but Abram believed God in the face of seeming impossibility. That is why he is honored so).
Because of Abraham’s belief, we are able to receive the promises of Jesus, so many of them. Just read John 13 onward to see some of the many promises we will receive.
John 13: 19 if we receive Him, God receives us.
And on and on and on, even into Acts
Pastor Don says, regarding God’s promises, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” God is not done with us. Let your neighbors see these crazy promises in you, let the tests and trials not seem like terrible tests and trials but adventures that God will see you through. Serve the Lord with gladness, be the exception, not the rule. Listen and believe that He can do His will effortlessly. Get out of your mind, you’ve been in there long enough, start acting on His promises, not limiting His power.
The Psalm that Pastor Don shared with us was Psalm 145, oh how comforting that Psalm is, the verse that stood out to me was, verse 18 “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.”
Pastor Don allows us to teach from the pulpit too, and Michael spoke about the Good Samaritan. I will share that tomorrow, I just love how we can look at the Word of God and find depth of wisdom in it, and new treasures are unearthed. God is such an awesome God.
Here’s hoping you have a blessed day!
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