Influences: Indeed He Says! Romans 9:22-26

Romans 9:22-26
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea,

“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
  and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
“And in the very place where it was said to them,
  ‘You are not my people,’

  there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”

This is the reason why we boldly and audaciously preached the gospel of God!

Paul starts this statement with a huge ‘What if?’. What if God wanted to flex his muscle? What if God endured the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? What if all of that was to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy? What if He has prepared beforehand for glory? What if He has called from the Jews and the Gentiles? What if?

Ah, if that isn’t the biggest ‘what if’ ever?

But that ‘what if’ is not some post-modern aahhhhhhhh rhetorical question designed not to be answered. Because if that is the question—if we are asking ‘what if?’ then how generously, kindly, wonderful, gladly, lovely does God answer the question.

You were not my people.
You were not my Beloved.
Your disobedience, lostness, pride,
transgressions, and sins
have kept you far, far from me.

But I will have you in my family.
I will have you close to me.
I will have you in my heart.
I will enjoy you forever.
I will bridge that gap.
I will close that infinite chasm.
I will do so with my Son’s life.
I will do so with the power of my Holy Spirit.

You are now called ‘my people’!
You are now called ‘my Beloved’!
Even when you have been told, ‘You are not my people’,
I will trump that and sovereignly declared,
‘You are my sons forevermore!’

Influences: Where Theology and Expectation Meet

Romans 15:17-21 In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

Lets play the ‘What if’ game.

What if his word sent out will not return void? (Isaiah 55:11)

What if the gospel is the power of God in salvation for those who believe? (Romans 1:16)

My theology and doctrine says that word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, God can bring the Gentiles to obedience to God.

My theology is real quick to proclaim that word, deed, signs, and wonders, all by the power of the Holy Spirit, brings about salvation. (Notice that the work of the Holy Spirit must happen before we can obey God.)

Now what are my expectations?

I challenge you just like my friend Alan Smith challenged me.

1. Either your expectations must be raised up to match your theology.

-or-

2. You will have to lower your theology in order to have it synced with your expectations.

Call it pride. Call it stubbornness. Call it what you will but I have no desire to ever lower my theology in order to match anything that I could offer.

I have chosen the former.

Here is Love: All Sin Future Sin—Romans 5:8

Here is love: Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am confident that 99.8% of people reading this was born in the 20th century. Historically speaking, Christ died about 2000 years ago. I am going to link these two ideas in one moment.

Christ is fully God. That means He fully sees all and fully knows all. This goes beyond what you and I can see. We might stand in one room, look around and see all that we can see but we know that there are certain things that can our block our views. We can’t see everything in the room or better yet, we can’t see everything within everything in the room. That is not a problem for God. In your house, he clearly sees—not crystal ball see or video camera see—but clearly sees everything within everything in all of your rooms. Lights on or off, it doesn’t matter. As for the everything within everything, he also sees what’s going on inside your body. Further still, he sees what’s going on inside your mind, your emotions, your will, and your desires.

What makes God really God is not that any one moment he chooses to see all these things—from the dust bunnies behind your desk to deepest darkest recesses of your heart—but rather, he continuously, actively, fully processing all those things all the time.  He can’t shut that off. He is God. He has to fully know everything for every moment of every day since time began. For Him to be God, He has to know every single thought, motivation, and desire you have ever had or will ever had.

You were born some time in the 1900s or if you are so happened to read this a few years from now, 2000s. If Christ was historically crucified some 2000 years ago and as a believer, he died for yours sins, then that means that before you were born, before you could do anything about any of your sins, Christ died for you.

Look at the verse again: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Here is the good news: that verse never says, “but God shows his love for us based on all the good stuff we did and the bad stuff we didn’t do, Christ died for us.” It certainly never says, “God shows his love for us in that time he saw that I went forward in church, said the sinner’s prayer, Christ died for me.” It clearly says, “while we were still sinners”.

There is no other religion, no other faith that makes these claims. The rest of the world wants you to try really hard to be perfect, do the right thing and don’t do the wrong things.  But God says, “You are going to fail because I know. I already know. Even when you do good things, you sometimes do them for the wrong reason. Even when you had good intentions, sometimes it goes bad. I already know.”

In other words, He looked upon me and saw that I was a horrible guy. He looked at my life and knew I was going to die apart from him. He saw that by my birth and by my choice, I was destined for destruction, decay, disease, and death.

He saw everything about me. He saw it all, and despite my worst, he chose me and loved me anyways and went ahead sent His Son to die for me so I could be with Him instead.

That is love.