The Crescendo of Assurance!
General idea: Ultimate LOVE! Ultimate assurance! We have incredible assurance that nothing can separate us from God's love. Thus, if God is for us, then we need not fear anything such as trials, troubles, problems, setbacks, highs, lows, the devil or even death! There should be no reason in your life to keep you from growing in His love and living the triumph full Christian life, full of passion and conviction serving for the glory of our Lord! No mater what you have been through or will go through! This is the passage President George W. Bush quoted and used as the basis for his sermon on the 'National Day of Prayer' a few days after the terrorist attacks on America. This passage is special to me because this is the verse God gave me when I proposed to my wife and the verse that we both look to as the theme for our marriage and walk with Christ, especially when we go though the hard-hitting set backs that life throws at us!
1. This passage tells us with confidence, encouragement and assurance from a the human perspective of Paul who knows even in suffering and the magnitude from a God who loves and cares. Thus way we can know what it means to live a righteous life. Why? Because God is for us (Isa. 50:4-9)!
a. God is speaking in our behalf in this passage (Psalm 56:9; 118:6; Isa. 33:21; Ezek 34:30; 36:9).
b. These things, all that distracts us from God is irrelevant! It is a display of His grace to us sinners and our circumstances.
c. Who can be against us? What may thwart us from Christ? NOTHING! But the reality is these things can and will destroy your faith. The ability to keep Christ in your view and secure your faith in His assurance will be the means to prevent your failure of faith!
d. God chose us, justified us, glorified us, and redeemed us; thus, He is for us and not against us.
e. The world and Satan are no match to who we are in Christ.
f. The Holy Spirit makes love true, real and impacting (John 14:23-27; Rom. 5:5).
g. Did not spare His Son, this is about how True love is made real. When we have a grasp on our relationship to Christ, then we shall not be afraid to ask too much in prayer. Thus with the Father, the Son and the Spirit all for us, we are not alone, and nothing can separate us from that love and connection.
h. Delivered Him up, Christ was brought into punishment as sin free for us sinners! He died for us, He has forgiven us, He has the power and authority for us (Isa. 53:6-10; Matt. 20:19; 26:15-16; 27:2).
i. No challenge too small, no mountain too tall. So we should not worry or fear, but be bold to make the most of life's opportunities, in worship and in deed. Because if God is for us, who can be against us (Psalm 110:1; 1 John 2:1)?
2. This chapter began with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation". The space between is the filling of the Holy Spirit in you, it is the filling of the blessing we may have if only we receive them.
a. It is God who justifies, God has already pardoned our charges against us! We have no opposition or frustration, even the devil cannot stop God's plan for us.
b. We cannot justify ourselves by our will or means!
c. The difference between Satan's condemnation and God's conviction is, that condemnation takes us away from God, literally pulls us away, making us feel unworthy and rejecting God! Conviction makes us desire to get closer to God, and recant our bad deeds, to make us right.
d. Jesus pleads our case before the Father, so we are convicted and not condemned!
e. At the right hand of God, right hand was the main poison of presage and power for a prince or a servant of a king (Psalm 110:1).
f. Intercessor, means advocates in behalf of. Jesus is the intercessor for us in Haven and the Spirit is the intercessor in us in our hearts (1 John 2).
g. Height and depth refers to astronomy and spiritual terms. It is the full range of reality from Haven to Hades and all that in between.
h. Our prayer must be, Lord grant me and let me enjoy your blessings; reveal to me the opportunities I must seek to model your character, because my confidence and trust is in you.
3. God did not say He will keep us immune from trouble, only that He will carry us through it (Psalm 91:15; Matt. 13:22; 2 Cor. 7:4)!
a. More than conquerors, this is our realization of strength and assurance that nothing in creation can come against us!
b. The best is still to come, the life we have in eternity. We are not made for this world, thus our focus needs to be towards eternity. We are here for such a minuscule time in the grand scope of time, thus we are to fully embrace what we are to experience and learn, and see God's big picture as He has revealed it (Matt. 22:37-38).
c. Our joy must be built on nothing else but what Christ did for me; not because of joy or sufferings, but in spite of it (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 2:14-15; 10:5; 1 Thess. 4:3)! No power on earth or in the universe can conquer God in us!
d. Do you know what is means to have no condemnation? It means we are saved and do not need to fear having our sin, fear and failures condemn us when we are in Christ! It is the ultimate liberation!
e. But we have to realize this is easy to say! But our limited thinking, our fears and failures may consume us. This means we are in battle! The question is, is it for Jesus or for ourselves? If so, what does God require? Are we maintaining a cause or Christ? Am I willing to allow God to be God, to sanctify me beyond my comfort zone and experience and expectations? This will be the means which the Spirit uses to liberate you! It is a partnership. God provides the means, yet we must rise up and fly. He give us the lift, we must respond and allow that lift to lift us up!
f. Have you realized that nothing can separate you from Christ? Have you considered if this truth is rooted in you? If so, you can live a life of contentment even in stress, so you can respond to life with gratitude with trust and obedience!
By the power of the Spirit empowering us we can model the character of Christ. We can be positively responsive to others, because God is concerned with how we are with one another as well as how we are with Him. Because we confess our faithfulness on Sunday, but on Monday our confession is gone! We desire God to be a blessing machine, while we are impatient and disrespectful to what He wants us to learn. Because we have confidence in God and in His plan and purpose for our lives, we can then act on faith. Faith is based on the faithfulness of our Lord, and not of our goodness, just as animal sacrifice in the O.T. was a means of forgiveness and surrendered attitude because of a loss of something precious, but not the cause of the Jew's salvation. The reformers called this "meritorious ground for our justification," explaining that faith is the soil that the seed of justification is planted into. Christ was that soil, too. As we give our lives to Christ in faith, He, in turn, gives us His righteousness. Faith will generate real, impacting Christianity so we can become a committed disciple and build His Church. If you want to understand assurance, you must be willing to understand our Lord. Like faith your assurance is as only as good as the object into which you place it. If it is in money or power, it will be weak and lifeless. If it is in false teachings or personal ideas, it will be dead. Faith and assurance must be in our living God by way of His working in you!
Learning Outcomes: a. Know what it means to live a righteous life, by modeling the character of Christ. b. Be aware that God is more dethroned by Christians than by the world. Because we confess our faithfulness on Sunday, but on Monday our confession is gone! We desire God to be a blessing machine, while we are impatient and disrespectful to what He wants us to learn. c. Know that nothing can separate you from Christ, thus live a life of response in gratitude with trust and obedience. d. Know what it is to receive no condemnation. e. Are we in battle for Jesus or for ourselves, if so, what does God require? Are we maintaining a cause or Christ? f. Am I willing to allow God to be God, to sanctify me beyond my comfort zone and experience and expectations?
1. What has been the most exciting event in your life?
2. Have you ever been called a pessimist or an optimist? If so why?
3. How would you characterize yourself hopeful and cheerful or cynical and negative?
4. Martin Luther said that 'predestination' is the heart of the church, so why do you suppose predestination has caused so much controversy in theological circles when Romans is pretty clear on it?
5. What can separate you from the love of God?
6. If God chose us, justified us, glorified us, redeemed us, is for us and not against us; then why do we worry?
7. How can God's perseverance of us give you assurance, in comfort and hope?
8. Last week the greatest disaster inflicted on US soil occurred. If you were one of the people running from the World Trade Center as it was collapsing, how would you have handled it; emotionally, what would you be thinking, and what would your prayers have been?
9. If you are in a major disaster or a personal crisis, how could this verse be real to you?
10. Would you rather be convicted and not condemned, or condemned and not convicted (think carefully)?
11. What does it mean to you to receive no condemnation?
12. What causes you to feel unworthy and rejected by God?
13. What helps your desire to get closer to God?
14. How can you live a life of response to God's incredible love with gratitude along with trust and obedience?
15. What can the world and Satan do to us and who we are in Christ? Even when disaster befalls us, our ultimate reality is Heaven to come, not our work or life that we have now. How can this give you hope to be a person with stronger trust and perseverance in Christ?
16. Even when disaster befalls upon us, our ultimate reality is Heaven to come, not our work or life we have now. How can this give you hope to be a person with stronger trust and perseverance in Christ?
17. Read John 14:23-27 and Rom. 5:5. How can this 'True Love' be made real?
18. When we have a grasp on our relationship to Christ, then we shall not be afraid to ask too much in prayer. Why or why not is this true?
19. We are not alone, and nothing can separate us from that love and connection we have with God. How can this be applied with more passion and conviction to the church boardroom?
20. How can you apply this to your personal decisions?
21. Christ has forgiven us, you will ___________________?
22. He has the power and authority for us, you will ___________________?
23. What are the things that frustrate you?
24. Because we have no opposition or frustration, how can you remove your frustrations?
25. No challenge too small, no mountain too tall. So what can you as a person saved by grace do with this knowledge?
26. So what can we as a church do with this knowledge?
27. So we should not worry or fear, but be bold to make the most of life's opportunities, in worship and in deed. Because if God is for us, who can be against us (Psalm 110:1; 1 John 2:1)?
28. Even the devil cannot stop God's plan for us. So how does this passage affect spiritual warfare?
29. This chapter began with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation". What things have you done that you should be condemned for? (you do not have to respond to this question openly)
30. Are you grateful that you are not condemned?
31. What is conviction?
32. What is condemnation?
33. What is the difference between Satan's condemnation and God's conviction?
34. Who is on your side?
35. How can this prayer help give you hope and confidence: "Lord grant me and let me enjoy your blessings, reveal to me the opportunities I must seek to model your character, because my confidence and trust is in you"? (Remember the prayer is not the cause of our confidence, He is!)
36. Read Psalm 91:15. God did not say He will keep us immune from trouble, only that He will carry us through it. So does this reassure you with hope, or get you mad that God is not as involved as you would like?
37. Now carefully consider your attitude toward God when bad things happen. Do you first blame Him or go to Him for comfort?
38. As the newscasts were first broadcasting the World Trade Center Disaster, you can hear people shouting the Lord's name in vain. Why does the world seek to blame God?
39. The best is still to come, the life we have in eternity. Does this give you hope, why or why not?
40. Our joy must be built on nothing else but what Christ did for me; not because of joy or sufferings, but in spite of it! So how can you make this happen in your daily life?
No power on earth or in the universe can conquer God in us!
"Election" means to select or to chose, that God chose us by His purpose, period, by nothing else, either by our means or His foreknowledge (Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9-10;) We cannot fathom this true implication, meaning or reasoning, we have to trust that God is God and we are not, thus we have no idea of His plan or purpose.
This doctrine is God's love and grace shed out for us. Because without this essential doctrine we would have a works based salvation that we could never achieve. People who deny this doctrine generally fall into two categories. 1. They do not understand it, as I once did. Or 2. They are full of pride thinking they must have had something to do with God saving them! Friends we have NOTHING to do with God saving us. He does not just look down the corridor of time to see if we would accept Him. If He did (of course God is omniscience and does indeed see our choosing, but the emphases in The Epistles is His purpose not our future choosing) it would mean we somehow earned it, and thus grace was not sufficient or not needed for our salvation. God's grace is greatly needed and sufficient as Scripture so clearly articulates. Our salvation is because of His choosing for His glory, because of His love and His grace!
All Christian groups who use the Bible teach election, the division is in its meaning and purpose, which God has not fully revealed to us, we can only speculate. We only know what He has revealed, that He does elect, our call is to trust and obey (1 Cor. 1:8-9; Phil.1:6; 1 Thess. 1:3-6; 5:23-24; II Tim. 1-12; 4:18; II Pet. 1:10) We know He elects for His purpose and plan which is perfect, beyond our feeble understanding of justice. We do not earn it or deserve it! Our purpose is not to argue over this, but to accept His amazing grace.
"Unconditional Election", For more information on what 'TUPLIP' is please visit our new Doctrine page. The "U" in TULIP: Puts the emphasis on our depravity. People do not want to think of themselves as worthless, and unredeemable by their own merit, this is un-American, yet it is very Biblical. We are unable and unwilling to seek God on our own, thus we need divine intervention. This is the role of the Holy Spirit. This is God's choosing for God's purpose, in His incredible love, He seeks us!!! Election is no excuse to sit and do nothing in service and witness to others!
The term "Reprobation" refers to His decision "to elect and to others He choose not to elect". Also God allows us to stay in our sin as a form of judgment (vs. 1:24-26; 9:14-24; 11:25) God in His reasoning, which is perfect and holy, does not select some, and/or allow them to stay in sin. This does not mean He chose them to go to hell. This is "Hyper Calvinism" or "Double Predestination" and this is not Biblical doctrine (Psalm 81:12; 1 Pet 2:8)!
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