Sunday, January 09, 2005

Changes From The Cross

Intro: In 1833, two women who had served as missionaries to India wanted to form a womens missionary society within the Methodist church.

  1. So a day was set for a large group of women to gather for the creation of the first women's group within the Methodist denomination.

  2. But the weather was less than desirable – the records show that a pelting rain kept all but six women away from that founding meeting.

  3. But when those six women gathered, they put together the foundation that is today known as the United Methodist Women.

  4. When God is part of something – it is not numbers that are important.

  5. Rather it is a willingness to be obedient to God and follow Him whatever the cost.

  6. Romans 5:1-11 begins to help us understand the consequences of trusting God.

Read Romans 5:1-11


Tran. Romans 1-4 was spent describing the necessity of salvation by grace. As sinful men and women, it was only God that could deal with our sin. We could not, our parents could not, our friends could not. ONLY God could do it. And he did.

T.S. Paul has spent four chapters describing the necessity of salvation by grace. Beginning in chapter 5, Paul describes the implications of salvation by grace for the believer. Romans 5:1-11 focuses on three consequences of salvation by grace.

  1. Our Relationship To God will be different.

      1. The first piece of this is that we have peace with God.

      2. Much more than the absence of conflict.

      3. Paul has already told us in Romans 1:18 that “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness

(Ill.) Have you ever made Italian salad dressing? It takes a bit of oil and a bit of spices mixed in vinegar. But as you see them sitting in the decanter – they don't mix. That is sort of like sin and God – they don't mix.

      1. But Christ broke down that barrier that separates us from God. There is now peace between God and ourselves.

      2. There is another word used here to describe that new relationship – we have access.

        1. I might, if I pulled all the right string, get access to the CEO of Kodak

        2. But the chances are very slim that I would be allowed into the offices of Bill Gates

        3. But there is no way that I might get access to the Queen of England or the President of the United States

        4. Yet – we are allowed access to God. No that is too simple. Here is the creator, here is the all-powerful, all-knowing, ever present, God. And we have access to him. Everything I know about sin and everything I know about God says I cannot approach Him. Yet because of what Christ has done, I can.

  1. Our Relationship To Ourselves will be different.

    1. Look at verse 3: “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

    2. Suffering here is far more than pain. θλῖψις is translated in a great many ways – suffering, affliction, tribulation, distress, pressure – it refers to the problems that we all face. And Paul does not say “IF” - He assumes that these problems will be there.

(Appl.) Being a Christian never meant we would never have problems. Christ, our best model, had problems. We are broken people – and broken people have problems.

    1. But the promise is that those problems will have a benefit.

    2. Look at the cascade – it starts with the external, the pressures that are part of life; but as we move through each step, we see its effects moving increasingly to the core of our being. What starts as stress on the outside, will will leave us changed on the inside.

    3. Resulting in love – love that was demonstrated by Jesus.

(Appl.) Let me recommend a verse for memorization – verse 8: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Say it together.

  1. Our Relationship to Eternity.

    1. As sinners, something is out of whack with our relationship with God.

    2. Paul tells us that we have been reconciled through Christ's death

(Ill.) My wife's favorite job every month is reconciling her check book. Most months, it works out right. But every so often, something is out of whack. She will spend an hour or two finding the problem. And then, when she gets really desparate, she will call me. So far we have found every problem – and even they are few and far between.

    1. We are out of whack – but Christ's death reconciled us to God. When we put our faith into Christ, we find that there is a balance – a balance with eternal consequences.

    2. We have already noted that the consequences of sin is God's wrath. It is what we deserve from a holy God.

    3. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. This of course was His resurrection.

    4. I deserve to die, I deserve to experience God's wrath. But it won't happen. Why? Because I have been reconciled – because what was out of whack, is no longer out of whack.

Conclusion: When we became a Christian,

  1. Our relationship to God would not be the same

  2. Our relationship to myself would never be the same

  3. Our relationship to eternity would never be the same

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