Sunday, May 26, 2019

Christ is the End of the Law for Righteousness for Whoever Believes

Romans 10:1-21

A Wrong Understand about the Righteousness of God (Romans 10:1-4)

Concern for Your Religious Neighbor

Many of our friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors are religious but ignorant about God’s righteousness. Ignorance does not mean that they are lacking in intelligence but are lacking in knowledge and understanding. Paul is concerned for the Jewish people as we should be concerned for those closest to us. We must (like Paul) have a desire for their salvation and pray to God for their salvation.

The End of the Law

The law was never meant to save anyone. Paul clearly pointed out in (Romans 3:1,19-20) that the Jew being under the law had an advantage over the Gentile because its purpose is to keep one from boasting. The law brings the knowledge that we have sinned. Once a person comes to faith in Jesus Christ the laws purpose has come to its end. The Gentile was never under the law, it was the Jew who was under the law; therefore, the Jew had this advantage. Nor does the Gentile come under the law after conversion as some believe. In Christ, both Jew and Gentile are not without the law of God but under the law of Christ. (1 Cor. 9:21) The law of Christ is Christ. This is not to say that we should ignore the Old Testament. The Old Testament should be interpreted in light of Christ.

Righteousness Based on Faith for Whoever Believes (Romans 10:5-13)

Who Will Ascend to Heaven and Who Will Descend into the Abyss?

Paul is very powerful in his use of Old Testament Scripture but take note that he does so in light of Christ. He begins by sighting the wrong Jewish understanding of Leviticus 18:5 and uses Deuteronomy 30:11-14 to argue against this wrong way of understanding righteousness. Romans 10:6-10 is Paul’s exegesis of Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in light of Christ. In (Dt. 30:12) Moses speaking about law or word tells Israel, “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?”. Paul changes law or word to Christ (law and word are synonymous). John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In (Dt. 30:13) Moses speaking about law/word tells Israel “Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?” Paul sighting the Septuagint says, “descend into the abyss” and again changes law or word to Christ. In (Dt. 30:14) Moses tells Israel, “But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.” After making it known that the law or word is Christ he expounds on this saying, “that is the word of faith which we are preaching?” Jesus Christ is to be preached and trusted in and not the works of the law! 

The Word of Faith is for All People

Paul then goes back to Isaiah 28:16 which he had previously sighted in (Rom. 9:33), the stumbling block and rock of offense. Paul clearly makes known that the stumbling block and rock of offense is Christ and he says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” The point Paul is making here is WHOEVER! Paul emphasizing WHOEVER speaks of their being no difference between Jew and Gentile and binds the Isaiah passage with Joel 2:32, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The very same passage that Peter sighted in his first sermon on the day of Pentecost when he was preaching to Jews (cf. Acts 2:21).

Responsibilities (Romans 10:14-21)

Someone must be sent to preach the gospel

The gospel is the greatest news in the history of the world, but it does no good if you do not have the opportunity to respond. In this text Paul provides a rhetorical chain of questions that would have appealed to the recipients of this letter and is a very sound logical argument even in the modern church. Imagine that there is a relative of yours that you do not know, nor have you ever heard about. This relative was a rich man but he lived as a popper. He died with 10 million dollars in the bank and left you his entire fortune. If you don’t know, are you going to be able to use the money? First, you have to hear the news. Second, the news must come by a messenger. Third, the messenger must be sent.

The hearer has the responsibility to repent and believe

Being sent to preach the gospel to the lost is no guarantee that they will believe. Paul sites Isaiah 52:7, then he comes back to the fact that someone must first hear about Jesus to have faith in Jesus less they give up preaching. “Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ,” this should be on the minds of every Christian regarding our neighbors.

Admonition against unbelief

Paul quotes Psalm 19:4, then he returns to the theme of the unbelieving Jews. In Romans 3:1 Paul asked what advantage the Jew had over the gentile. The answer that he gave (Romans 3:2) is that they have the Scriptures. These unbelieving Jews had all the advantages over the Gentiles by having the Scriptures. Paul quotes Moses and Isaiah. The Scripture was known as the law and the prophets; by siting Moses and Isaiah he is saying the totality of Scripture testifies against them. The gentiles who did not have the Scriptures believed when they heard about Jesus Christ. Romans 10:18-21 is an admonition against the unbelief of those who have access to the Scriptures and have heard the gospel. Keener said:
Psalm 19:4 refers in context to the testimony of creation. If Paul refers to the context and is not simply making an analogy, it may be relevant that Jewish teachers often grappled with the question of whether Gentiles who had not heard the truth could be held responsible for it. They concluded that Gentiles could at least infer the oneness of God from creation and thus should avoid idolatry [c.f. Rom. 1:19-20]. The Gentiles may not have heard all of Christ’s message (Rom. 10:17), but creation itself made them hear enough of it to be responsible for doing right. The Jewish Diaspora had more knowledge than the Gentiles had; having the law, they had every reason to believe, and word about Christ had already begun to penetrate most Jewish centers of the ancient world.[1]

Conclusion

Who is responsible?

God made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them (Ps 146.6). God created man (male and female) in His own image (Gn 1:27). A day and an our is coming in which God will judge the world in righteousness (Ps 96:13). The unrighteous will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Mt. 25:31-46) “When I come to understand that on the cross Jesus took the wrath of God I deserved (Rom. 5:9) and averted it for me (Rom. 3:25) so I could have his righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), this unavoidably leads me to an understanding that he also has averted it for every human being on the planet (1 John 2:2), and that righteousness is available for all who repent and believe (Phil. 3:9).”[2]John Piper said: “No one who enjoys the forgiveness of Jesus can be content to hog it for himself. He is not the propitiation for our sins only. There are other sheep that are scattered throughout the whole world. Their sins, too, are covered. And the last commandment of Jesus was “Go make disciples out of them from every people.”[3]

Some questions to consider

Do all people have access to the Scriptures and the gospel? How will they repent and believe if they do not know the good news? How will they know the good news unless someone delivers the good news to them? How will they deliver the good news unless they are sent? All Christians must be involved in missions whether they are the ones going or they are the ones sending. How are you currently involved in missions?


[1]Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, ed. 2nd(Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 445.
[2]Jason G. Duesing, Mere Hope: Life in an Age of Cynicism(Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2018), 54.
[3]Ibid, 53-54

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Honor Your Mother

As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ we are in no way under the Old Covenant Law, nor are we without law but under the law of Christ. The Law of Christ is the law of love, the example of Christ, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of Christ’s apostles, and all of Scripture in light of Christ. Even though new covenant believers are not under old covenant law, all of Scripture is applicable because we can receive principles from the old covenant law.Such is the case with the old covenant law to honor your father and your mother. (cf.Ex.20:12) We can see this in the example of Christ with regard to His mother, the teaching of Christ about treatment of mother and father, the teaching of the apostle Paul, (cf.Eph.6:2) and in all of Scripture because it is a good principle that is applicable in the lives of new covenant believers.
This morning I would like to talk about the example of Christ with regard to His mother during his crucifixion. (cf.Jn.19:25-27) In this passage Jesus commends the care of His mother to John. This has nothing to do with exalting her to a place of honor to be worshiped but in seeing to her needs after His departure. 
Dying fathers could exhort sons to take care of surviving mothers (which they normally would do); for a disciple to be accorded a role in his teacher’s family was a great honor to the disciple (disciples sometimes called their teachers “father”). A primary responsibility which Jewish custom included in “honoring one’s father and mother" was providing for them (cf.1Sm.22:3) in their old age.2
I shall not get distracted with the honor that Jesus bestowed upon the disciple by including Him as a member of His family but would like to focus on the principle of taking care of one’s mother. When my father died he left my mother financially supported; therefore, I need not financially support my mother but there are many other aspects of her care that I have personally been neglective. I do not visit my mother enough, nor do I call her enough. Though my mother does not need financial support, I am obligated under the law of Christ to care for her in other ways. Remember the law of Christ is the law of love, the example of Christ, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of Christ’s apostles and all of Scripture in light of Christ. As new covenant believers, we are not under the old covenant law with its promised blessings for keeping the law or its curses if we do not, but the principle of honoring our mothers and fathers is applicable in the new covenant church just as it was when Christ commended the care of His mother to the disciple whom Jesus loved. 


[1]A. Blake White, The Law of Christ: A Theological Proposal(Frederick: New Covenant Media, 2010), 141.
[2]Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, ed. 2nd(Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 306.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Redemption

This is what I have been thinking about today; therefore, I have written it down.
God created the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. All human beings are created in the image of God; therefore, all human beings are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Sin can be described in many ways, but it is essentially falling short of our created purpose.
The penalty for sin is death, which occurs in three phases: 1) Spiritual death: When our first parents Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God expelled them from the garden, away from His presence; therefore, all of their children are born spiritually dead. For this reason Jesus said, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 2) Physical death: On the day that Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden, God told them that life would now be difficult and at the end of their days their bodies would return to the dirt of the earth from which they were made, then God placed to Cherubim at the entrance of the garden and a flaming sword to keep them away from the tree of life. For this reason, all have difficulties, and all physically die. 3) Eternal death: Not only Adam and Eve, but all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; therefore, all deserve to be abandoned in hell. 
There are two things that you need to know about the nature of God: 1) He is a righteous judge; therefore, He must punish the guilty. 2) He is a compassionate and gracious Father; therefore, He forgives sin. How can God, therefore, be just and justify anyone? 
The answer is through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus whom God displayed publicly as a merciful atoning sacrifice in His blood through faith. God became a human being in the person of a Son, Jesus Christ, and died in our place for our sins, and He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day. Jesus death and resurrection accomplished two things: 1) It demonstrated the righteousness of God, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 2) It demonstrated the power of God over sin and death for those who put their faith in Jesus.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Life on Mission

As a Christian, I desire to preach the gospel to the lost but as a nurse, I have found doing so difficult, because people in the hospital are in a place of brokenness. I do not want to say something that will add to their suffering. I know that any method that excludes sin, righteousness and judgment ignores the reason a person needs the gospel. And any method that does not exhort unbelievers to repent and believe is frivolous. 

So, how can nurses share the gospel with hurting patients and their family without excluding the necessary elements of the gospel and be gracious while doing so? I would like to share a method that a Christian-Nurse or any Christian for that matter can use to preach the gospel to hurting people without excluding the necessary elements of the gospel and be gracious while doing so.
First, really listen, I have had many patients and family members of patients share their burdens with me. After listening to their burdens, ask if you can pray for them. After lifting up their needs to the Lord, ask if you can draw a picture for them. Grab a piece of paper, a napkin, a paper towel or any kind of scrap paper and on the upper left side write the words “GOD’S DESIGN,” and draw a circle around it.
Say: “In the beginning, things were not as they are now. When we look around, we can see beauty and evidence of God’s original design. God originally planned a world that worked perfectly, where there was no pain or sorrow. God made us to worship Him and He like a loving Father took care of us.” After saying this draw an arrow pointing away from the circle and write the word “SIN.”
Say: “Life does not work when we ignore God and His original design. Sin is seeking to live life our own way. The consequence for sin is separation from God, in this life, and for all eternity.” Then at the point of the arrow, write the word “BROKENNESS,” and draw a circle around it.
Say: “Sin leads to a place of brokenness. We see this in the world and in our own lives. People seek a way out of brokenness but are snapped back into brokenness as if a bungee cord is attached to our backs.” While saying this, draw squiggly arrows away from the circle and say: “The good thing about brokenness is that it causes us to realize something is wrong and we need something greater than our own way.” After saying this, at the bottom of the page write the word “GOSPEL,” and draw a circle around it.
Say: “We need some good news. God became a human being in the person of a Son, Jesus Christ and lived a perfect life according to God’s design. He took our sin and shame on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin. Then He rose from the dead, demonstrating the power of God over sin and death.” Now draw an arrow from brokenness to gospel and write the words “Repent & Believe.”
Say: “To repent & believe means to turn from trusting in your own way and trust in Jesus Christ alone.” After saying this, draw an arrow from gospel to God’s design and write the words “RECOVER & PURSUE.”
Say: “Once you repent & believe, you can pursue God’s design in all areas of life. This does not mean that life will be easy, but you will have a right relationship with God. All who are in Christ Jesus have a reconciled relationship with God. His word and Spirit empower us to pursue His design and assures us of eternal life in the new heaven and new earth; and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”
As a Christian-Nurse, I love serving my neighbor through nursing, but the greater need is to preach the gospel to the lost and disciple believers. I hope two things will occur with this National Nurse's Week post: 1) If you have not repented & believed, I hope that you do so today and begin pursuing God’s Design. 2) If you are a Christian, I hope that you use this method to share the gospel with a person who is in brokenness. All people are in some level of brokenness. You need not say exactly what I have said word for word and you may even need to add to it given the situation, but nonetheless you should use the principles in each step. You can down load an app to your phone at the Apple App Store or Google play to help you practice. Search Life Conversation Guide.1

In Christ alone,
Mike Peek


1 The method taught in this blog post is, 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide | Life on Mission.” Joining the Everyday Mission of God. Accessed May 6, 2019. http://lifeonmissionbook.com/conversation-guide.





Saturday, May 4, 2019

For the Church

Yesterday I received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. During the commencement exercises, Dr. Duesing (provost) said: “Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a number of master’s degree programs: including the Master of Theological Studies, multiple Master of Arts degrees, and a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Theology. Each program consists of uniquely designed curriculum, but all are meant to equip our students for the church.”Then at the conclusion, Dr. Jason Allen (president) read 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5 in order that he might press upon us from the words of Scripture, a call to faithfulness.This morning I was thinking about this exhortation and what it is that the Lord would have me doing now that I have been sent out as a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
When the Lord saved me, I did two things: Firstly, I was led to joyfully worship the Lord. Secondly, I was led to go tell people the gospel. The gospel is the righteous life, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as Lord. Every single Christian should be doing these two, but all are not (1 Cor 12:29) and all should not be teachers. (Jas 3:1) The Lord choose twelve men whom He specially trained for the church. (cf. Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16) 
Dr. Thomas Johnston is the Evangelism and Discipleship Professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Johnston, being my Evangelism and Discipleship professor spent time talking with me at the graduate reception this past Thursday evening. I told him that after the Lord saved me, I was compelled to evangelize. I also told him, as I became involved in open air preaching, I noticed that some (not all) would-be open-air preachers are untrained and are often loose cannons. Many of whom fit the description that Paul gave to Timothy, “wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Tm 1:7) I told Dr. Johnston that I attended seminary because I desired to be discipled in order that I might rightly teach others.
This is my call to you: If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you should be joyfully worshiping the Lord and telling others the gospel. But if you feel led to teach, don’t be a loose cannon, go to a sound theological seminary and receive proper training. Preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patients, teaching sound doctrine and do the work of an evangelist, fulfilling your ministry. (cf. 2 Tm 3:16-4:5) 


Jason Duesing, “Sixty-Fifth Commencement Exercises.” Seminary Chapel, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO, May 3, 2019.
2Jason Allen, “Sixty-Fifth Commencement Exercises.” Seminary Chapel, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO, May 3, 2019.

Nursing and the Law of Christ

The Lord’s teaching recorded in John 13-21 is amazing. It is what the apostle Paul calls "the Law of Christ." (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:2...