18.5 Romans – Strategic

Our last question today has a great and deep meaning within the wording.  It asks the question, “where has God strategically placed you…”

That is a truth that we often forgot.  Every place we are, everything we do, everything that happens to us is where God has “strategically” placed us in that moment.  Some of it is a destination, such as God has placed me in a loving relationship with my wife.  Some is a transition, such as God is allowing me to go through difficulties with work and family.  Some lasts for a long time.  Some lasts for a day or a moment.  Some lasts forever (my relationship with Him).  But every situation is a situation that God, who is in control of all, has strategically place me in at that very moment.

We minimize and underestimate God.  We forget His word in Jeremiah that before He formed us in our mother’s womb He knew us and set us apart.  There are no accidents in the hands of the Almighty!  But all too often we think that if we don’t understand then there is no meaning or no strategic reason for something, i.e., that it is just happenstance, circumstantial, an accident.

The only way to support this world-view is to assume a distant and uninvolved God.  One who sets things in motion and then gets out of the way and watches, maybe periodically intervening, as things spin randomly.  But there is absolutely zero support for this view in the scripture.  Instead, we see a God who is constantly engaged and working.  Two chapters back, in Romans 8, we read that God works all for the good…  It doesn’t say God works some or that God lets all.  No, it says God is sovereign, completely in control and completely actively working and engaged.

Why then didn’t all of the Jews believe?  Why do some people to this day turn away from the good news and not believe?  It isn’t because God didn’t do something.  It is because they do not want His gift.  One of the biggest stumbling blocks of accepting the Gift of Christ is accepting that we don’t do it on our own, He did it for us.  It means we are not only not gods, we aren’t even able to save our own lives and, not only that, but He doesn’t even need any of our help.  The stumbling block hasn’t changed.  The Jews wanted a Messiah, God with us.  They didn’t want a Messiah, us with God.  The wanted a god who would come along side them, support them, lead them, be with them, they wanted a helper, a guide, someone they could use to rise up and dominate the world.  But God didn’t need their help, He paid the price in full and then issued the invitation to join Him.  They wanted a god who would join their club, not the other way around.  Do you see the same in the unbelievers around you?

My Answers:

12.
He is retracing verses 14 and 15 in relation to the Jews. It was preached, it was heard, it was understood but they did not believe.
hearing is being within earshot of something speaking the truth. Understanding is to have a receptive ground for the seed to be planted, to have a desire and openness. Believe is to take it to heart

13.
the Messiah-rejecting Jews: God would bring the gentiles close to Him to make the Israelites jealous so they would respond, but they did not. God has stretched out His hands to them, but they chose disobedience and to be contrary to Him

14.
Workplace with employees and clients and other business owners. By sharing the truth of the gospel, the depths of God’s love.

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18.4 Romans – Prepositions

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

That one sentence has 3 prepositions and each one provides us with a different perspective into the depth and meaning of the sentence.

The first is “from”.  In the sentence it is, contextually, “comes from”.  In Greek the word is “ek” G1537 which means “the origin”.

The second is “through”.  The Greek word is “dia” G1223 which means “the channel”.

The third is “about” or contextually, “the word about”.  In Greek it is “rhema” G4487 which can mean verbally speaking but also carries the meaning of being “the main subject matter.”

What we can take from this is that it is a picture of the interaction between the ‘Word of God’ and ‘faith’, like a drawing showing a chemical reaction between elements or a physics reaction between objects.  In this picture, the result or recipient is faith, but the origin, the channel and the subject matter are all the Word of God.

In this one sentence we see how the Word of God in three different ways and three different forms all work together to start and grow our faith.  What a beautiful picture of the Trinity interacting with us every day, continuously (it does say “hearing” as in ongoing continuing to hear).

My Answers:

9.
The pleasing aroma of Christ is an aroma that demands a response. For some it is the aroma of death for others life. It requires a decision to be made and some want to continue in the shadows and darkness.

10.
from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ
Faith is not something we grown it is something that is grown in us.

11.
Lesson about Job

18.3 Romans – Feet

In a book I’m currently reading by Brene’ Brown, she discusses the advice one mother gave to her daughter to be a better person.  Her advice was simple but uncommon.  She said, when a neighbor has something go wrong, be the one who walks over, knocks on the door and delivers the book or the casserole.  She said to be the one who gets up and goes to the funeral.  Be the one who walks someone’s kids to school for them.  Be the one who picks up the extra flower at the store and walks it over to their house or who brings the extra box of cookies to school for the one who forgot or didn’t have time.

This really spoke to me as I thought about the beautiful feet in our lesson today.  He doesn’t say our hands can’t be beautiful, they can with the work we do for others.  Or that our lips can’t be beautiful, they can when we say kind and uplifting words.  That our brains can’t be beautiful, they can when we share a deeper understanding of scriptures.  That our eyes can’t be beautiful, they can when we see others as God sees them.  Our hearts….  Even our knees can be beautiful when they bow down in prayer to God for others.  But the starting point is with our feet.  It is going and it is showing up.

The opposite of walking across the street is to do what so many others do today.  We gawk.  We gossip.  We blame.  We talk about how awful it is.  We talk about how could that happen in our neighborhoods.  We stand about and separate ourselves and feel better about ourselves because, well, that didn’t happen to us.

But the feet that cross the street, that go to the funeral, that show up and deliver the message of Christ are beautiful because they are the anointed feet of our Lord.

My Answers:

6.
A1: rcv power of H/S, be witnesses: Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth
A13: Jews rejected so Paul and Barnabas preached to gentiles – light for Gentiles, salvation to ends of earth
R15: Preach where Christ is not known
2C2:God opens doors and leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal processions to spread aroma
2C10: as faith grows, message is shared to surrounding regions

7.
Missionaries and all who take God’s word and spread it to others. Because they bring good news and proclaim salvation for God reigns

8.
so far to kids… preparing me for something

18.2 Romans – Delivery

In one of the clubs that I belong to, I have a very interesting and fun job: I hand out gifts and money.  I don’t raise the money; it is the result of the efforts of all the members of the club.  I don’t buy the gifts; they are donated or purchased by the other members.  I get to work on a committee that identifies those in need and delivers the money and other donations.  It is a great job.

As I thought about Romans 10, I realized that is also the same description of how we spread the gospel.  We didn’t create the good news.  We don’t work for it.  We don’t gather it or pay the price for it.  We are simply the delivery driver.

God does not need us to spread the message.  He allows us to do it.  We get to see the joy, we get to be a part.  It is a great job.  But God could do it without us.  He could use nature.  He could use the angels.  He could simply do it himself.  He could plant it in us from birth.  But, instead, we get to be the one who delivers the gift to others.

My Answers:

3.
someone is sent, the preach, the message is heard and believed and they call on the name of the Lord for salvation.
Saved as a child, but brought back to a personal walk through wife

4.
Jesus has paid the price for the sins of the world. All who believe in Him in their hearts and declare it with their lips are saved, redeemed and brought to a path of glory to become increasingly more like Jesus as His brother.

5.
As teacher, example, mentor, to live it out loud and to live in a way that does not cause others to stumble.