Thu, Dec 06, 2018

Romans 13

ROMANS

            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to Romans chapter 13 as we continue our study through the Word of God.

            In our studies Paul has shown that all of creation is condemned before God, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

            Once man knows that he is a sinner separated from God, Paul then speaks of our justification or the righteousness from God that has been extended to us through Jesus Christ that takes away all our sin. There is no record of our sin anymore because the blood of Jesus has paid the price for our guilt and sin!

            From there Paul speaks of our sanctification, which is a lifelong process. Sanctification is not for salvation but identification. You see, God is molding and shaping our lives to be more like Him.

            Justification happens the movement we come to Christ, and, as I have said, sanctification will continue on until we go to be with the Lord!

            Then Paul spoke on election and how God has chosen us and yet, we have that free will to come to Him. It is 100% election and 100% free will. And I will leave it like that. If you have more questions, review our studies in Romans chapters 9-11.

            And last week we began Paul’s fifth and last division of his letter to the Romans and this section deals with application. 

            Paul has spent 11 chapters showing us all that God has given to us, all the blessings and starting in chapter 12 he calls for us to have a walk that is worthy of the high calling by which we have been called. This section dealing with application covers Romans chapter 12 through Romans 15:13.

            The key to walking in Christ is given to us in Romans 12:1-2, where Paul tells us, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

            You see, you are not going to be able to serve the body of Christ with the gifts that God has given to you without first giving your body as a living sacrifice unto God! 

            You are not going to be able to love people unconditionally unless you first place your body on the altar of sacrifice as a living sacrifice unto God! 

            Thus, first we submit, we give ourselves to God and then we walk! 

            And, as we saw last time, chapter 12 dealt primarily with our function within the body of Christ, how we serve in the body of Christ.

            Now as we move into Romans chapter 13 tonight we are going to see the believer’s function in society, how we are to behave in this world.

            And let me say this, for many, this is a very difficult chapter for them to apply to their lives, and yet, God calls us to obey, to apply these things to our lives.

            Let me share with you this overview of the chapter and then we will dig into the verses we will be looking at tonight. We are told,

            Believers must live properly in the world, including obeying government authorities and rulers. Christians should practice good citizenship and receive praise from those who rule, because they do so as ministers of God for good. If believers disobey legitimate government, they will suffer as evildoers. Practicing love for one another fulfills the law; and this love will do no wrong! Christians should “behave properly,” because the day of service is short. They must leave no room for the working of the flesh and its lusts.

- Woodrow Kroll, Romans – Righteousness in Christ, p. 201

 

            Again, this is a difficult one for us, but it is important if we are going to walk worthy of the high calling by which we have been called. And we need to!

            So with that said, let’s begin reading in Romans chapter 13, starting in verse 1 and see what the Lord has for us this evening as we study through His Word.

 

ROMANS 13

VERSE 1

            Wait a minute, I think I read that wrong. Doesn’t it say, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities - if they are righteous and honor God - otherwise I don’t have to submit.”?

            No, it doesn’t. Let me say this. God has established three institutions and has given us some very specific instructions on these institutions and how they are to run.

            And Satan has come and perverted them and is destroying them. They are:

            THE HOME – Genesis 2:18-25

            THE GOVERNMENT – Genesis 9:1-17

            THE CHURCH – Acts 2

            Make no mistake about it, in EVERY ordered society there MUST be authority and submission to that authority. If there isn’t, they you have a state of anarchy and any institution that has deteriorated into a state of anarchy will not survive. We are very close in our nation as we see the deterioration of the home, the government and the church!

            I told you this is a difficult section. Paul is saying that we are to be subject to those in authority over us, even human government!

            Now with our current President in office, Donald Trump, it is a little easier to be subject to his authority, but were we subject to the authority of President Obama when he was in office?  Surely God can’t mean we would have to be subject to an ungodly man even if he is the President of the United States, can He? 

            You bet He does for Paul makes it very clear as he says, Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities . . . That includes you and me, every soul!

            And as you look at the leaders in this country, this is not an easy task and yet, God appoints people into governing positions, and sometimes it is for our good and sometimes for judgment! 

            In Jeremiah 25:9 we are told, ‘behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the LORD, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations.’ 

            Also, in Jeremiah 27:6-7 we are told, And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him. So all nations shall serve him and his son and his son's son, until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them. 

            Do you see that? God calls this pagan King, Nebuchadnezzar His servant for he is accomplishing the will of God, even though he thought he was doing as he pleased, he thought he was in control. 

            Thus, if you resist those in authority over you; you are disobeying God’s Word; you are resisting His will!

            Now some may argue, and I have had discussions with people that feel this way, that our government is far worse than the days in which Paul wrote this letter. Are you kidding me!

            Keep in mind that Caesar Nero was in charge when Paul wrote this letter to the Romans and he was no friend of Christians. He would pour tar over them and light them on fire. He would sow them up in animal skins and release wild dogs to eat them alive! 

            Thus, Paul is saying that like the people of his day were to be subject to those who were in authority over them, no matter how evil or wicked they might be, we must also be subject!

            Newell puts this into perspective for us as he says, “Remember your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the ‘authority!’” 

            You see, God has placed them as the legitimate authority and we must respect that position they are holding, we are subject to them! 

            It is as Paul said in I Timothy 2:1-4, Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

            Also, in Titus 3:1-2 Paul tells us, Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.

            And lastly, in I Peter 2:13-17 Peter tells us, Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 

            Did you see that? Peter said, for this is the will of God. In other words, this is not an option for us, we are to respect, honor, we are to be subject to those who are in authority over us. And if we reject that, then we are not in the will of God! It truly is that simple. We may not like it, but it is what God has said!

            Now let me also say this. This does not mean we have to agree with everything they say or do. And if what they tell us goes against what God says in His Word, if they tell us to do something that is immoral, then we can disobey what the government says. 

            Peter, after he and the boys were arrested for sharing their faith, sharing Jesus, they were arrested by the religious leaders, and they were confronted by the High Priest in Acts chapter 5. And this is what the High Priest said and what Peter said, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!’ But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’  Acts 5:28-29.

            No please understand that what Peter said is not a license to be disobedient to the government.

            Look at all the atrocities that Rome had perpetrated upon Christians, as I have said, all the injustice, and Paul’s’ focus was not to change the government, protest against the government, but to preach Christ crucified, the Gospel message! You see, Paul wanted to see them changed inwardly and that change would then affect their outward actions!

            I think far too often the church has become a social institution trying to right the wrongs of society when it is to be spreading the Gospel message. 

            I do vote, I think it is important, but I am not a political activist because neither the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, the Independent Party, will save us, only Jesus can!  

            It is as Robert D. Culver writes,

            Churchmen whose Christian activism has taken mainly to placarding, marching, protesting, and shouting might well observe the author of these verses [Rom 13:1-7] and then they might observe him first at prayer, then in counsel with friends, and, after that, preaching in the homes and marketplaces. When Paul came to be heard by the mighty, it was to defend his action as a preacher (albeit in the streets) of [the] way to heaven. 

- Robert D. Culver, Toward a Biblical View of Civil Government, p. 262

 

            This is hard because our flesh gets in the way but remember, our lives are being transformed into the image of God. Thus, be a model citizen, obey the law, don’t be rebellious or disobedient to the government. Live peaceably with all men so that as people see us they see the transforming power of God in our lives! As Paul said, Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities . . .

            Now I can just hear some of your minds at work, “Wow, that was one verse and how in the world are we going to get through this chapter?” Do not be afraid, we will get through this chapter, but I didn’t say how long it will take us! Just kidding. We have plenty of time!

 

VERSES 2-4

            Once again Paul reminds us of the fact that since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them. And, like I have said, the only reason we may go against what they are saying and disobey them is when they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19). For instance, if they told a woman she has to have an abortion. You obey God and not the government!

            Another example is if the government says that we can’t share the Gospel any longer. Then we obey God before man. If the government says that we can’t teach from the Bible any longer or that we can’t say that homosexuality is a sin. Then we obey God before man.

            One writer put it like this,

            Now, there are, of course, exceptions. When Nebuchadnezzar had built that huge idol and had commanded that everyone at the sound of the music, bow down and worship that idol, though Nebuchadnezzar later was brought to understand and to know that he only reigned at God’s caprice [whim]. That it is God who rules over the affairs of man and set into the powers those that he will.

            Yet Nebuchadnezzar had given the command that at the sound of the music, everyone was to bow and to worship this beast or this image that he had set up in the plain of Dura. And when the three Hebrew children refused to bow, they were brought before Nebuchadnezzar. He chastised them for their failure to bow. He said I’ll give you one more opportunity. And if you don’t bow, then you will be thrown into the burning, fiery furnace.

            And they said, Oh, king, we are not even careful how we answer you because the God that we serve is able to deliver us from your burning fiery furnace and if He doesn’t we still won’t bow.

            There was an open defiance to the decree that was made by Nebuchadnezzar, because to obey that decree would violate their own conscience before God. Bowing to an idol when that was strictly prohibited in the Scriptures.

            So if laws are made that would violate my Spiritual consciousness or my Spiritual conscience, and to obey that law would cause me to violate my principles, now Paul wrote this to the church.

            Yet Paul himself, ultimately was slain by Rome. And the refusal was to declare Caesar as lord. During the times of the great persecutions in the early church, anyone could escape death by martyrdom by simply confessing that Caesar is lord, and the sentence would be commuted. But thousands, millions of early Christians, went to death rather than to acquiesce to the Roman government and to declare Caesar is lord.

- Source Unknown

 

            And we have talked about this a little already but if there was no human government, you know what we would have – anarchy! 

            You see, until Jesus Christ returns to set up His government, until He rules and reigns on this earth, we will have human government and thus, we are to be subject to it. It will be far from perfect, but, for the most part, it does help keep things in line! 

            And again, as Christians, we should be the best citizens. But, sadly, that is not always the case! Look at the scandals that have taken place over the years with prominent Christian leaders with money and sexual exploits, and-so-on. Look at what is said on Facebook against the government and its leaders. That my friends should not be the case.

            And here is the thing. As a rule, people who do what is right need not fear the authorities. It is only those who break the law who have to fear punishment. Again, Paul is speaking in general terms. There are governments like China, North Korea, Iran who are not for their people, but their cause, their agenda.

            And in verse 4 Paul is speaking of the government’s right to execute capital punishment upon those that commit such crimes; it is a deterrent to others. 

            In Genesis 9:5-6 the Lord tells Noah, Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. 

            Make no mistake about it, a government that does not put forth justice will move to anarchy! And we are moving quickly in that direction here in our nation!

            Robert Haldane puts it this way,

            The institution of civil government is a dispensation of mercy, and its existence is so indispensable, that the moment it ceases under one form, it re-establishes itself in another. The world, ever since the fall, when the dominion of one part of the human race over another was immediately introduced (Gen 3:16), has been in such a state of corruption and depravity, that without the powerful obstacle presented by civil government to the selfish and malignant passions of men, it would be better to live among the beasts of the forest than in human society. As soon as its restraints are removed, man shows himself in his real character. When there was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes, we see in the last three chapters of the Book of Judges what were the dreadful consequences.

- Robert Haldane, An Exposition of Romans, p. 581

 

            And you can clearly see that the result of a society were popular opinion rules and God is no longer on the throne, like we are seeing in this nation today, is given to us by Robert Culver as he says,

            Where theistic religion grows weak, [the concept of justice] will weaken. Crimes then are defined as antisocial activity, which in turn is then merely what the majority says it is. Then punishments seem to be the result of the majorities ganging up on the minority. This in turn seems inconsistent with democratic feelings. The result is a decline in uniform application of penalties for crime, resultant miscarriage of justice, trampling on the rights of law-abiding people, together with an increase in what ought to be called crime.

- Robert Culver, Toward a Biblical View of Civil Government, pp. 78-79

 

            And Paul is not done with this. Listen to what he says next about human government and what we are to do. Again, not an easy section.

 

VERSES 5-7

            As you read this you can see that Paul’s point is simple. We are not only to obey the government for fear of punishment but because it is the right thing to do.

            Think of it like this. When you are driving down the Interstate going 80 miles per hour, as you pass by the police car do you slow down out of fear or because it is the right thing to do? 

            Let’s be honest, we do it out of fear, but that truly should not be the case. The reason we should do it is because we obey the law for conscience sake. And, in doing so, we honor God and we show respect to those God has placed in authority over us, such as police officers! In fact, we should not have been speeding in the first place because it is the right thing to do!

            Now Paul speaks of something we are all familiar with, paying taxes. Interesting. I did not hear anyone say, “Amen! Preach it brother!”

            Why is that? Because I don’t think there is one person who loves to pay taxes! And the reason being, not only because they are so high, but because our taxes support so many ungodly things. But Paul tells us that we are to pay taxes for the taxes are also used to help restrain evil and to keep the government going so the society doesn’t deteriorate into anarchy! 

            Now for those who still struggle with paying taxes, and I think we all do, let’s go to the authority, to Jesus and see what He has to say in Matthew 22:15-21.

            Here we see that Jesus has an encounter with a Herodian, who was working together with the Pharisees to catch Jesus, and we are told, Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.’ So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’  They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ 

            Jesus makes a very powerful point. Yes, we are to pay our taxes and we are to give to God that which is His. You are to pay your local taxes, your state taxes, and your federal taxes and in doing so you are honoring God. 

            That does not mean I agree, or you agree on how those taxes are being spent, that is not the issue, I give out of obedience.

            In regard to this section, listen to what Justin Martyr, a second-century theologian and church father said as he wrote to the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, “Everywhere we [Christians], more readily than all men, endeavor to pay to those appointed by you the taxes both ordinary and extraordinary, as we have been taught by [Jesus]. . . . Whence to God alone we render worship, but in other things we gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that with your kingly power you be found to possess also sound judgment.”

            We should do no less. We should be praying for our leaders. We should pay our taxes. It is as simple and as difficult as that! But as we surrender to the Lord, seek His will in these matters, it is an easy thing to do!

            And let me also say this. When I look at how some people come against our President, the threatening words they say against him, how they mock him and even speak of killing him, it just shows me how far our society has gone down into depravity as we have moved away from God.

            There is no respect for people in authority. Again, I am not saying that they have to like him, but they should respect him.

            And as we see this we are outraged. But when President Obama was in office, how did we act? What did we say? You see, we can say, “Hey, I wasn’t that bad!” And that may be true. But you are a follower of Christ and our conduct should not be just a little better than the worlds, we should be like Christ in our words and deeds. Our words and deeds should glorify the Lord! May we learn the lesson!

 

VERSE 8a

            I want to focus on just this first part of verse 8, Owe no one anything . . .

            In saying that, some read into this that we are never to take out a loan, we are never to be in debt, owe money to anyone.

            J. Hudson Taylor, the godly missionary to China, would never incur a debt, basing his conviction on this verse.

            Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher, had the same conviction.

            But that is not what Paul is saying here.

            Basically, the first part of this verse means “Pay your bills on time.”

            It is not a prohibition against any form of debt. Some kinds of debt are inevitable in our society: most of us face monthly bills for telephone, gas, light, water, etc.

            And it is impossible to manage a business without contracting some debts. The admonition here is not to get into debt that you can’t pay back!

            And think about it. Jesus said in Matthew 5:42, Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. Jesus permitted borrowing. 

            What we see today is an abuse of what God has permitted; people are in debt up to their eyeballs! And credit card companies are taking advantage of their greed by charging outrageous interest!

            Here’s the thing. You are not to borrow so much money that you can’t pay it back, that is wrong, and it is dangerous as Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender. 

            Don’t be in bondage to debt, be careful, be good stewards of what God has entrusted to you.

            A recent article put it like this in regard to the amount of debt Americans are in. We are told,

            Americans’ total credit card debt continues to climb, reaching an estimated $927 billion - a more than 5% increase from the previous year - according to a NerdWallet analysis.

            And the average household that’s carrying credit card debt has a balance of $15,482. Households with any kind of debt owe $134,058 (including mortgages), on average, the data analysis found.

            NerdWallet’s 2017 household debt study shows that several major spending categories have outpaced income growth over the past decade; many Americans are putting medical expenses on credit cards; and the average indebted household is paying hundreds of dollars in credit card interest each year.

- https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/

 

            Yes, things are better now than back in 2008 but the debt of American’s is scary, and it would not take much to push us back into a depression. We need to be wise, and that is what Paul is saying here.

 

VERSES 8b-10

            Notice the focus here, love one another. That is the basic principle of the Christian life. It is the “new commandment” that Christ gave to us in John chapter 13 when He said, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35.

            And what we see here in these verses is that Paul is speaking of a debt we are to carry and that is love.

            An early church father, Origen said, “The debt of love remains with us permanently and never leaves us. This is a debt which we pay every day and forever owe.” 

            Morris put it like this, “We may pay our taxes and be quit. We may give respect and honor where they are due and have no further obligation. But we can never say, ‘I have done all the loving I need to do.’ Love then is a permanent obligation, a debt impossible to discharge.”

            And this love that Paul is speaking of is that AGAPE love or that unconditional love that we extend to people and people will always be in need for this.

            This is not some kind of human love that we can manufacture. This is a supernatural love that can only come from God as we surrender our will to His!

            You see, as we submit to the Lord He will fill us with His love and we will have the resources then to give out that love abundantly, unconditionally, just as the Lord has given to us!

            Obviously before you can extend the AGAPE love of God to others, you must

. . . love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

            And then and only then can you . . . love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:38-39. This kind of love is not self-centered, but it is others-centered! 

            It is as Paul said in I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.     As I have said, this kind of love is not born out of the flesh but out of the spirit and then is manifested in our lives!

            One writer put it like this as he wrote,

            I have heard a beautiful analogy from the field of music that helps understand the greatness and completeness of love. The musical scale has only seven basic notes, which many children can learn in an hour or less.

            Yet great composers, such as Handel and Beethoven, could not exhaust those notes and their variations in their entire lifetime. 

            Godly love is like that. It uses the basic, and sometimes seemingly insignificant, things in life to produce the greatest. 

            Love controls temper and guides reason. It seeks to overcome the worst qualities and develop the best. Under the guidance and in the power of the Holy Spirit, it transforms redeemed men and women more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. 

            There is no greatness of character to which love cannot elevate a person. In fact, no greatness of character is possible without it, because love is great character.

- John MacArthur, Romans 

 

            Then Paul says in Romans 13:9-10, For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

            Think about what Paul is saying here. He is teaching us that when we truly love our neighbor, we will not commit adultery! 

            When we truly love our neighbor, we will respect their life! 

            When we truly love our neighbor, we will respect their property! 

            When we truly love our neighbor, we will not make up false accusations about them, we will respect their reputation! 

            When we truly love our neighbor, we will not be jealous of what they have but rejoice in what God has blessed them with. 

            You see, love . . . bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 

            I guess it is easy to do all the right religious “things” but to neglect love seems to be a problem for many. But please understand that our love is the true measure of our obedience to God.

            How is your walk? Are you walking according to the high calling by which you have been called? You need to!

 

VERSES 11-14

            Let me ask you this question. “Do you think the Church of Jesus Christ is asleep today?”

            It saddens me to say this, but the church is not just asleep, it seems to be in a coma!

            There is no real concern for false teaching for many Christians today. The church has allowed into it all kinds of immoral activities. We see homosexuality being embraced by the church. Divorce is not even an issue anymore, it is a common practice in the church. We see drinking and drunkenness come into the church. There is even a church today that serves beer!

            Here are some signs we are asleep at the present time:

            The absence of conviction of sin

            A lack of the fear of God

            Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society

            Watching pornography and feeling justified

            Materialism, greed and lack of financial integrity

            No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world

            Little or no concern about people going to hell

            Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s Word

            Indifference to the biblical view of marriage

            Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness

            Indifference to talking to people about Christ

            Tolerating heresies and false teachers

            Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible

            Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time

            No interest in Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ!

            And let me say this. When it comes to Bible prophecy, not many seem to care anymore and yet, when you look at the Scriptures, over 25% is prophetic in nature and much of that prophecy is yet to come to pass! Jesus held the Jewish people accountable for not knowing the day of His visitation with regard to His first coming! And I believe He will hold the church responsible for not knowing the timeframe of His second coming. He has warned us, but many are not looking, they are not watching, they don’t even care anymore!

            Recently, Brian Brodersen, who has now replaced Pastor Chuck Smith as pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, has made these comments in regard to Bible prophecy and how we should not focus on it as much as we are. Listen to this report from 2016. We are told,

            Recently Brodersen raised even more alarms during Calvary’s Northwest Pastor’s Conference. In a panel discussion, Brodersen insulted Smith and cast a vision for a new paradigm shift in the way Brodersen wants to do things from here on out. Telling pastors to “tone down” their Old Testament rhetoric, and stop “beating the drum” on biblical prophecy and end times, Brodersen warned they were chasing all the young people away from church. . . .

            Meanwhile the Emergent Watch blog published Brodersen’s comments, which has gone viral:

            In this video, Brian can be heard instructing other pastors in how to teach the Bible. His ideas radically depart from the biblical foundation laid out by CC founder Pastor Chuck Smith. Featuring clips from the 2016 CC Northwest Pastor’s Conference. Brian Brodersen herein teaches CC pastors to avoid the Old Testament, Bible prophecy, end-times and the Pre-trib rapture. – Emergent Watch

 

On stopping Calvary’s practice of chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse Bible teaching:

            “My goal is that people will know the important kind of key points of each book. Because I started thinking about– I really started thinking about the new person that comes in to church, whose never been through the Bible and I started thinking about, man, going like literally reading every word of every book of the Bible, that could be pretty brutal, especially for some.

            And that’s in a sense where you could call it idolatry. Where you have to read every word. I mean I felt that way for a long, long time.”

 

On leaving the Old Testament out of Sunday preaching:

            What I really think is, Sunday morning is obviously for most everybody, it’s the largest gathering so you have the most people there Sunday morning. So to me that’s our real opportunity to impart truth to the congregation on Sunday morning. So I feel really strongly that we should be teaching the New Testament on Sunday morning. We’re either teaching the Epistles which is how to live the Christian life or teaching through the gospels which is reminding everybody who Jesus is and what He did. So again, if God spoke to me and said teach Ezekiel on Sunday morning, obviously I would do that but I haven’t sensed that, you know. I really feel a strong conviction about teaching the New Testament on Sunday mornings. And doing it sermonically.

            Here’s my point. I think you can preach the whole counsel of God without teaching all 66 books of the Bible. I don’t think that’s what Paul meant. When he said he preached, I know Chuck meant that. Haha. That’s what Chuck did.

 

On undoing Chuck Smith’s Bible prophecy teaching model to attract youth:

            You know the last 10 years of pastor Chuck’s life in ministry, um, probably almost every sermon on a Sunday was seriously a doom and a gloom message and it was basically the world’s going to hell but the Lord’s coming so just you know buckle your seat belt, hold on and we’re all gonna be out of here. And so once a month I would preach and I would literally get up and try to counter what was happening for the other 3 weeks because I could just look at the congregation and you know, month by month by month, the heads got whiter and whiter and whiter. We just were losing the younger generation to where when we came to the end, I mean it was hard to find a dark-haired person in the congregation.

            And what had happened is you know Chuck was so convinced about the rapture in his time and he was so frustrated with the direction of the world that he just couldn’t see any other solution. There’s we gotta be out of here but the younger generations sat there and they were like well what does that mean for us and I had a number of kids that would say to me thank you for your message today because it gave me hope that there’s actually something that could do for god. Cause what they were getting every week is you can’t do anything for god because the world’s going to hell and the rapture’s coming and we did it all for god already so don’t worry about it. Just hold on and we’re all gonna get out of here and this drove the kids out of the church, seriously.

            And look, I believe in the rapture, I believer in the Second Coming but I think all of us should have learned by now that none of us know when that’s gonna happen and if we get up every week of if we’re constantly banging that drum of you know Ezekiel 38 and all of this stuff, what you’re indirectly sending a message to the younger gen. That there’s nothing left for you to do it’s all been done so just hold on tight the rapture’s coming and you know, my experiences is that they don’t want to hear that. They want to hear that we can do something for god just like you guys did. Our generation can do something, there’s a world to reach. There are people to touch there are missions to be accomplished, there are churches to be planted, and so I’m really you know kind of challenging you guys if you’re beating the prophecy drum, just tone it down because you don’t know.

- https://bereanresearch.org/calvary-chapels-brian-brodersen-instructs-pastors-tone-youth/

 

            And now you understand why we are not a part of the Calvary Chapel Global Network.

            I don’t know about you, but I am waiting for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is my hope and to take that away from people is so wrong!

            Make no mistake about it, the church needs to wake-up and take a stand for what is right. Instead of ignoring these things or burying our heads in the sand, stand strong, earnestly contend for the faith that has been entrusted to you!

            That is what Paul is doing here. Paul is admonishing us to wake-up out of our spiritual sleep for the Lord’s return is drawing close. 

            In other words, our time is limited, it is short, don’t waste it but use it for the Lord – walk accordingly.

             Paul, in Ephesians 5:14-16 tells us, Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 

            It is hard to do anything productive when you sleep, thus, let’s awaken to what God has for us and walk as He leads us!

            And after Paul calls for us to awaken out of our spiritual sleep, to be aware of the days we are living in, to know what time it is, he then tells us to . . . cast off the works of darkness . . .

            I like the way that Spurgeon put it in regard to casting off the works of darkness. He said, “The rags of sin must come off if we put on the robe of Christ. There must be a taking away of the love of sin, there must be a renouncing of the practices and habits of sin, or else a man cannot be a Christian. It will be an idle attempt to try and wear religion as a sort of celestial overall over the top of old sins.”

            What we see here is a call to apply the things of God, the Words of God, to your life. In other words, walk decently, honestly, properly before God and our fellow man for the days are short! Again, it is all about application. Applying the truths of God found in the Word of God to our lives!

            But how can we do this? It is simple. Paul tells us that we must put on the Lord Jesus Christ, fill our lives with Him every moment of every day! 

            How many of you would get up in the morning and go to work naked? Don’t tell me, too much information. Hopefully none of you and yet we go naked spiritually speaking and thus, the flesh is exposed instead of the spirit because we have not put on the Lord Jesus Christ! 

            It is as Paul said in Colossians 3:8-10, But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. 

            Ray Stedman gives us this illustration in regard to putting on the Lord Jesus Christ. He said,

            When I get up in the morning I put on my clothes, intending them to be part of me all day, to go where I go and do what I do. They cover me and make me presentable to others. That is the purpose of clothes. In the same way, the apostle is saying to us, “Put on Jesus Christ when you get up in the morning. Make him a part of your life that day. Intend that he go with you everywhere you go, and that he act through you in everything you do. Call upon his resources. Live your life IN CHRIST.  

- Ray Stedman

 

            Make no mistake about it. A life that is surrendered to God, placed on the altar of sacrifice as a living sacrifice unto God, will walk properly before God as his life continues to be transformed into the image of God. Not only that, but then we will be a light to this world that is in darkness, a world without hope and without love. We can give them hope and love in Christ! 

            As Paul said in I Corinthians 13:4-8a, Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 

            May the love of Christ be the motivating and active part of our lives as we reach out to others, for God’s love never fails!

            And I will close with this. There was this little boy whose family clock malfunctioned, and it malfunctioned badly! One time it struck fifteen times! And it startled the boy and he rushed wide-eyed to his mother crying, “Mommy, it’s later than it’s ever been before!”

            How true that is for us. May we look up for our redemption is drawing nearer!

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