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It's All About God

Acts & the Pauline Epistles  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts

What’s Keeping You From God?

As we begin our study today, I want you to begin thinking about the answer to this question. What is keeping you from experiencing the love of God?
Some of you are facing hardships today that you believe can separate you from God’s love.
Some of you believe persecution could or is separating you from God’s love.
Or how about famine, or nakedness, or danger? Paul says,
Romans 8:37 NIV84
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:
Paul says we are more than conquerors. You and I are more than conquerors! “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Trouble can’t! Hardship can’t! Persecution can’t! Famine can’t! Nakedness can’t! Danger can’t! And even the sword can’t! We—you and I—are more than conquerors because of our relationship with Jesus!
Now look at .
Romans 8:38–39 NIV84
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

I am Convinced!

When you read “I am convinced. . .” it is written in the perfect tense. So Paul is saying “I stand convinced. . .” He declares his certainty. In other words, Paul is certain that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Then Paul gives us a grocery list of all the things that are unable to separate us from God’s love! This list is pretty comprehensive:
Life

Neither Death or Life

God loves us in life, and God loves us after death. Neither side of the grave is able to separate us from God’s love.

Neither Angles nor Demons

There is no kind of angelic being that can separate us from God’s love.

Neither Present or Future

No Kind of Power

Satan’s power, government’s powers, no kind of power can separate us from God’s love.

Neither Height nor Depth

Nothing can swoop down and hurt us. Nothing can swoop up and hurt us.

Nothing in all of creation

Nothing in creation can separate us from God’s love.
Romans 9:1
Romans 9:1–9 NIV84
I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”

Speaking the Truth in Christ

Paul is going to build the case that God has a plan for Israel, and God’s plan also includes the Gentiles!
Paul reminds us that God told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” You see, it is all about God! In fact, in verse 16 we read:
Romans 9:16–18 NIV84
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 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.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
Romans 9:16-18

Everything Depends on God’s Mercy

So many people believe that following God depends on their desire or effort. So many people believe that they have to do something to earn God’s favor or love.
The truth is it all depends on God. Look at verse 30.
Romans 9:30–33 NIV84
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Romans 8:30–33 NIV84
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Romans 8:30-
It’s true—Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, but God’s righteousness comes by faith.
Israel pursued righteousness by keeping the law, but it didn’t work. It didn’t work because they were trying to earn or work for their righteousness. Isreal ended up stumbling over Jesus.

Stumbling over Jesus!

Have you ever stumbled over Jesus? Many in the world can’t understand the mercy and grace of Jesus.
There is nothing you and I can do to deserve the mercy and grace of Jesus.
The Jews struggled with understanding this. They struggled and many today struggle. But we are told “the one who trusts in him [Jesus] will never be put to shame.”

Conclusion

The righteousness that come from Jesus comes by grace through faith. It came by faith in Jesus’ day, and it comes by faith today.
In Paul tells us that his heart’s desire and prayer to God is that the Israelites might be saved.
Today, my heart’s desire and prayer is that all America might be saved. How about you?
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