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Dr. Ed Young - Christianity Simplified

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    Dr. Ed Young - Christianity Simplified
TOPICS: Christianity

Now, the book of Romans is different from all the other letters that Paul penned. It's radically different. All the other works of Paul were generally answering questions that he had been asked. He was trying to deal with problems in the churches that he had founded. Romans is different, totally, radically different. Paul in his third missionary journey was probably in Corinth. He would have wintered there, and therefore he was writing to the church at Rome, a church he had never visited at that time, the basic doctrines of Christianity.

You see the difference? Before he's answering questions, and now he's presenting the argument, the apologetics. For this is what Christians believe, and this is who Christians are, so therefore there is a foundation there that he gives us in the book of Romans. Let me tell you something. You can sort of just sloth your way through church and Bible and education and miss the basic fundamentals of our faith. You say, well, that gets pretty deep. It is deep, because anything anybody does in any discipline of life, it takes knowledge. Those who are musicians, well, they sing and play and that's great, but those who are superior, they understand so much about music that's beyond the average person's comprehension.

You take any area, whether you are a lineman, Mississippi power company, that was my dad, the knowledge of how to handle the electricity, or whether you're a physician, most doctors will tell you when you understand the titles and the names and the physiology, you pretty well have it. But it's not easy. If you're in numbers, if you're computers, you have to understand. It takes education and knowledge, application, and somehow we just sloth our way through church, and we don't have the fundamentals of our faith down. Therefore, when the bottom falls out of your life, and it will. When the bottom falls out of your life, you really don't have a place to stand.

If you and I could master, you think we could master 39 verses? Just 39. If we could master this, we would have the basic, fundamental doctrines, belief of Christianity. You say, well, I've already got that. Well, let's have a discussion of propitiation. Would you stand and let us talk about that a little bit? You see, there's so much language and vocabulary there that's hidden behind, you know, $15 words, $20 words, and we're gonna take and try to unpack that. So, after 17 sessions we'll have it down. This is the A-B-Cs of Christianity, we have to think. So, therefore bring your Bible with you, your Bible with you, and bring a pad and a pencil with you if you don't take notes on the margin so that you will be able to not only understand but absorb and apply these truths in your life. It's the key to the Bible. It's the key to life.

Now, Romans chapter 1 to chapter 5, it sort of tells us that we who are with Christ, who've received Christ, we have been redeemed. 1 through 5, and then 6th, 7th, and 8th chapters are different. You read chapter 6, and you see the word sin mentioned 17 times. Therefore, make a wild guess what is chapter six about? It's about sin. What do we do about sin? We talk about justification. That's another word we'll unpack as we go through our study. Then in Romans chapter 7, you ought to be familiar with that verse, it's all about the law. Paul is trying to explain to us the Christian life, right? And he gets in Romans 7, and by the way, that's what you see an Old Testament Christian, Old Testament Christian under the law, keep the law.

All the way through the Old Testament, the law, the law is superior, I love the law, I'll study the law, morning, noon, and night, it was all about the law. Legalism, this is right, this is wrong. Keep the law and all the interpretations of the law in that day, right? Then you come to the New Testament, you say, "Well, it's all about grace". And Paul puts it in perspective and shows us exactly the purpose of the law. What is the purpose of 10 Commandments? It tells us what's right and what's wrong. Paul said, "Before I had my bar mitzvah, I became a man, I didn't have any problem with the law". But he said, "Once I went to my bar mitzvah and I became a man, and then the law was set down," he said, "Now I've had a problem. It has exposed sin, it has put upon me a law, a rule, a regulation, a power that I don't like to live with". But he said, "It's there, it's a principle of God".

There's nothing about the 10 Commandments that we need to throw out the window. They simply are the measuring stick, the rod, that helps us to understand right and wrong. We do not live under that. And Paul said he tried, and he talks about in chapter 6, remember he mentioned sin 17 times, chapter 7, he mentions law 18 times, and in chapter 7 he also goes on and sees that little personal pronoun, I and me and mine, is mentioned some 31 times. You think that's the problem? "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way".

That's what sin, isn't it? We do our own way, that's what Isaiah tells us. And therefore we turn to our own way away from the law of God, and look at the mess we get in. And Paul here is grappling. People who say this wasn't Paul, they don't know human nature, because Paul tells us there are at least three kinds of Christians, three kinds of people, rather. There's a natural person. They're born in the image of God, they're a son and daughter of God, but not in the family of God. They just have the image of God. They're the natural man, the natural woman. And then finally there's a carnal man, the carnal woman. We have believed in Jesus Christ, we have received him in our life, we may have been baptized, homogenized, vulcanized, pasteurized, and we're in the church, but we're still living a carnal life, a fleshly life.

Then there's a spiritual person, a man or woman, and that's one who understands it is the power of the Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life. So, Paul here talks about frustration that he had, and I just love Romans chapter 7, we can all identify with that. He starts out, and by the way, he talks about beginning in verse 21 through the end of chapter 7, look what he says. "But I find there is a law that is evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good". He's saying, "There are two egos in me," says Paul. By the way, there are two egos in all of us. There are two I's, there's the I here that we decided as Christians in our mind we're gonna live the Christian life. All the old garbage and trash and attitudes, all the old... we're through with that.

And we make New Year's resolution. How many men here made a New Year's resolution? Would you lift your hand? Not too many. All over. Statistics tell us in 32 days that won't work. But anyway, I think it's good. This is what Paul did. He said, "In my mind I have decided, man, I am going to obey the law. I'm not going to break the law. I'm going to live a moral life". But he also said, "There's another ego in me". Did you get it? He said, "There's a law that evil is present in me, one who wills to do good in my mind, but in practice so many times I continually mess up". We all can identify with that. There are two egos.

Also, he says there are two entirely different separate laws, and as we study, we're going to discover there's even a third one. He says, "For our delight in the law of God, according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin. There's a law of my mind, but I want to live for God, live for Christ, let my light shine for him. But in me there is another law, and that's evil, and that law keeps sticking its ugly head up in me. There is still that", do you remember the character in "Li'l Abner"?

Some of you remember Charlie Brown, when Charlie went to bat, remember he always had a rain cloud over him? Remember he always had a cloud, and Al Capp's "Li'l Abner," he had a character always had a black cloud over their head all the time. "It's raining every day, isn't it"? "Oh yeah, you know". "Well, it's beautiful today". "Oh, but it's gonna rain on Saturday". I mean, you know that kind of person. And so, we have within us, Paul says, we have the law we want to keep, the standard, but there's evil in us. I keep breaking that law. So, we have two egos, we have two laws, and he has two cries here. He said, "O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of death"?

And there is probably a picture of how in those Roman days they would punish somebody who was a murderer. If you murdered someone and you were convicted of that, they would take the murderer, and they would take the body, the person they had murdered, and they would tie the murderer to the body of the person he had killed, and they would hang them before the city, and they would hang up their body to body bound together, the murderer alive, but the body of the one he killed bound to him until the one who was alive died himself with all the flies and the stench, you can imagine. By the way, that sure did cut down on homicide. It sure did. This is a picture.

Paul is saying, "Who will deliver me from the body of death"? He cries out, "I mean, I'm bound, I want to do right, but I do wrong. I say I'm not gonna do that, I end up doing". And then the second cry, he is, "Thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord". That's the second cry that he has here, and then he ends up and he talks about two results. Last verse of chapter 7, "So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin". I don't want a show of hands, because every hand would have to go up. This is a part of the cross pull, the tension, that we have in all of our lives.

So, then Paul said, "Thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, this conflict, this inner battle in me," and then he gives us the solution in Romans chapter number 8. We're gonna look at just part of the first verse. Paul says, "There is therefore now no condemnation". "There is therefore". By the way, he says, "Therefore," it means everything that's gone before. You can't take a verse of the Bible and just pull it out and say, well, this means this. He goes back and said, "All this I've been saying in Romans, all I've been teaching about God, therefore," therefore, in light of this, what a big word. Anytime in the Bible you see the word therefore, take a time out. See what's been said before.

What is the context of this? "Therefore there is no, no, there is now no cond..." the word now means now, and the word really has a three tense understanding. It's yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Now, forever, now, forever, there's no condemnation. And the word no there in the Greek is a powerful word. It's a shouted word. We just say no. He shouts out the victory. He said, "Therefore, now and forever, past, present, future, there is no condemnation".

Now, we don't use that word condemnation too much, do we? But it's a big word. Somebody says, you know, I want a God of love and not a God of wrath. You ever said that? You don't have a God of love unless you have a God of wrath. There has to be bad news in order to be good news. And God is the God of wrath as well as the God of love because in his love is wrath. It's wrath, for God sent not his Son in the world to condemn the world. He didn't send Jesus in to condemn the world. But Jesus took the wrath, the wrath, the judgment of God upon himself. That's the cross. Therefore we get the law mixed up with grace. We get it mixed up with love, and we want to say, "Well, I don't want God to be a God of wrath". But he is, why? If he were not a God of wrath, there would not be justice. Justice.

1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is able and just," not merciful. He is merciful, but "He is just to forgive our sins". And therefore, for justice to take place in this world, in the economy of life, in the economy of eternity, the wrath of God has to be displayed, and the wrath of God was put on Jesus. Jesus all through his life had talked about his impending death, right? He talked about... he knew his assignment. He knew his purpose in this world as God-Man in the flesh. He knew that. But then he came to Gethsemane, and he looked in that cup, and you see it in Ezekiel and other places, he saw there the wrath of God, and he didn't want to drink that cup, right?

Talked about clearly in the gospel, particularly gospel of Mark, and that in that cup was hell, H-E-L-L. He didn't want to drink hell. And he backed away from it. He said, "Father, you're omnipresent, you're omniscient, you're all powerful, listen, if anyway I don't want to drink this cup, do you have a better plan"? But then he said, "Not my will, but thy will be done". Now, some people have a problem there when you think about it. "For God so loved the world," not Jesus so loved the world. He did, but that's not what John 3:16 says. "For God so loved the world that he," God, "gave his only begotten Son".

Jesus saw hell in his humanity. He saw the wrath of God poured out upon all sin and all people at all times, and in his humanity he backed away from it, but in his humanity, coupled with divinity, he said, "But not my will, it's God's will". "For God so loved the world". And most important thing that Jesus was, what? Doing the will of God, doing the will of God. The most important thing, and therefore he died on the cross. He took all the wrath that you and I deserved upon himself, and therefore you have a crazy little verse in there.

Way back in chapter 3 of Romans it says, "The just became the justifier". What does that mean? Jesus, who was just and perfect, was the one who justified you and myself on that cross. Divinity turned its back on divinity. How can this be? "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me"? Because he knew the Father would not look upon hell and upon garbage and sin and trash. He knew the Father would turn his back on his Son. But Jesus in his perfection, God-Man in this earth, he became the one who brought justice and was the justifier because he took the wrath of God upon himself. Do you understand that perfectly?

If you do, you're the only one on the planet. But it's profound. This is a deeper understanding, the contrast between Sinai and Calvary, and the understanding of how justice takes place in your life and my life in the world, because God is a God of wrath, and his wrath and his punishment that you and I deserve, it was put on Jesus, and Jesus took it and said, "Not my will, but thy will be done," the Father in heaven. What a fabulous thing. And then we come all the way and look at Romans chapter 8, and we see the results of this, and we see the results of here are those who walk with Christ and those who do not.

"There is therefore now no condemnation," why? Because Jesus took the condemnation upon him. He took the wrath that we deserve upon himself. By the way, Romans begins with no condemnation. In the middle of chapter 8 it says no defeat, and the end it says no separation. Condemnation taken care of up front, no defeat in the middle, and finally there's no separation. We're with him now and forever. Some time read John 17. There's a beautiful little verse there, I call it the heavenly dance. God the Father, God the Son, God, the Holy Spirit, and they're dancing together in eternity.

And Jesus says, "Pray that you will come and be a part of that dance". Isn't that great? That you and I will be a part of that divine, holy dance that we have pictures of here in the scripture. No condemnation. "Therefore, now no condem", why is there no condemnation? That's the next phrase. "To those who are in Christ Jesus". Stay with me. "Those who are in Christ Jesus".

In the writings of Paul, the phrase in Christ, in him, or in Christ Jesus is mentioned 164 times. Well, that must really be important, isn't it? How can you and I know that we are in Christ Jesus? How can you not understand that all these promises, all the purposes, all the life belongs to you and me? How do you know if you're in Christ? Let me illustrate that for you as best I can. This is you, this is me. Okay, we become in Christ, we are born again. That's that second birth. The first time we're born like Adam, right? And then the second time we're born in Christ, the second Adam, and therefore when you and I, this is you and this is me, we are in Christ, bam, we're in Christ forever. It's irrevocable. There's no if, and's, or but's about it.

What does Romans 8 tell us, folks? It tell how to live a life that wins. It tells us how to live an abundant life. Have you ever tried to play chess? I did years ago. I said, you know, I'm gonna work at this, and I read a little book and played a little chess, and, you know, I lost more than I won even with amateurs. But I'm telling you, that's heavy, heavy traffic. Let's say that you were sitting down to play with a master of chess. I mean, somebody who enters the tournament, who's at the top of the line in the whole area of chess.

Now, the master gets to move, and you get to move. The master has a free will to move anywhere that she would want to move, right, or he would want to move, the master of chess, free will, move anywhere. You have the same choice, you move anywhere. I move anywhere. Who's gonna win? Every move the amateur makes, the master makes a countermove, and the master is going to trap you and capture your king, right, and win. Guaranteed, 100% of the time.

Now, it's not that you and I don't have free will in moving on the chessboard, but we know the master is always ahead and always sovereign and knows the formula for winning. Let me tell you something. God wants you and I to win in life. And when we discover that through the principles of Romans 8 applied in our life, not Sinai alone, but Calvary with it, then we'll be winners. And that's his will. Romans 8 will tell us how to live, and I'm so excited about Romans 8, I'm going to cheat a little bit.

Look what the end of Romans 8 says. Does this sound pleasing to anybody that's here? Look at the end of Romans chapter 8. It says he asked some questions. Boy, I can hardly wait to get those questions. Then he says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation"? No. "Or distress? No". "Or persecution"? No. "Or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword"? He said, "Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us". He said, "I'm persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, or things to come, not height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

Let me tell you something, folks. That covers everything in life, everything in life. That's how life works. We're going to see that clearly as we walk through Romans chapter 8, because God wants all of his children in this life to be a winner, to live the abundant life. And he tells us the way to do that in clear, biblical, doctrinal terms that we can live out.
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