The Pandemic (Matthew 4:4)

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Submitted by Andy McIlvain and originally posted March 2020.

Matthew 4:4

There is a pandemic that has silently moved through the world. It is particularly acute in our region. It is not the Coronavirus or Avian Flu. It is Bible Illiteracy. Continue reading

Never Stop Growing in Christ (Colossians 1:9-14)

Never Stop Growing in Christ

Colossians 1:9-14

Are you still growing in Christ? In the eighties, a popular book came out titled All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I mean no disrespect to that book, but a similarly titled book ought never be written about Christianity, All I Really Need to Know About God I Learned in Sunday School. We are to be continuously growing in our knowledge of God. Continue reading

Become part of the cure instead of the cause (Romans 1:29-31)

Romans 1:29-31

We live in one of the most advanced societies of all time. However, morally speaking, things have not really changed. In the first century, the Apostle Paul said, “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31) He was painting a painful picture of what happens when the human race refuses to acknowledge God.

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God’s abounding love calls us home (Romans 1:24-32)

Romans 1:24-32

Trying to help a family member or dear friend who has gone off the rails can be one of the most difficult things in life. They habitually make poor decisions, and you do everything in your power to try to help them. Yet, no matter how much you try, they keep making the same harmful decisions. You will always be there for them. You will wait for them like the father of the prodigal son, longing for the day of their return. But, also, like the father of the prodigal, you will let them go. You will give them what they want, to be left alone to do what they want to do, hoping that just maybe they will finally come to their senses, see their errors, and come home.

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Where immorality in life comes from (Romans 1:21-23)

Romans 1:21-23

The real reason people refuse to believe in God is not logical, rational, or scientific. People simply refuse to open their eyes and see the fingerprints of God all around them. This was caused by humanity’s thinking becoming futile at the fall. Apart from God’s grace, humans no longer use their God given intellect for what it was made for – glorifying God – but instead use it to prop themselves up. Instead of giving God glory for the works he has done, they live as if God can be molded into their liking.

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Science and technology increase reasons to believe in God (Romans 1:20-21)

Romans 1:20-21

The truth about God has been made plain to even the most devout atheist. The invisible God has made himself visible through what you can see. You can think of this as the wind of a tornado. You cannot see the wind of a tornado, but when you see the cone-like shape touch the ground and cloud and debris circling around, you know to run. We can say something similar about God. You cannot see him directly – he transcends creation – yet you can see his fingerprints on his handiwork all around you.

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God’s measured displeasure (Romans 1:18)

Romans 1:18

You probably had textbooks in school. For me, they were bricks in my bag, but for many students today they might be a bit lighter and electronic. The textbooks in my day included a glossary in the back. Whenever a glossary term appeared in the text, they were bolded. Those bolded terms signaled to the reader, “If you don’t know what this word means, please look it up in the glossary.”

We need to do the same thing with the term “wrath of God,” which appears frequently in the Bible. Many have misread this term thinking it means that God flies off the handle from time to time, overwhelmed in a flurry of angry passion against you or me. However, if we look at how this term is used of God throughout the Bible, we find the term means something different.

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Why did Jesus die for you and me?  (Romans 1:18-3:20)

Romans 1:18-3:20

Do you want a three-word definition of the gospel that even a two-year-old could remember? Jesus saves sinners.

If we are not sinners, the gospel message is not good news at all. It would be predicated on a lie, and Jesus would have died for nothing. That is why the Apostle Paul spends from chapter 1 verse 18 to chapter 3 verse 20 in his Letter to the Romans giving a preface to the gospel message. For just as the author of a book will state why he or she went about the effort of writing a book in the preface, so the Apostle states why the All-knowing, Almighty, and Holy God wrote the gospel into his eternal plan for restoring his world. It is as if the Apostle, like a specialist in precious jewels, lays down a black cloth, so that when he places the diamond of the gospel upon it, we will see it in all its multi-faceted splendor.

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We become what we worship (Romans 1:5)

Romans 1:5

The Apostle Paul wrote the gospel “to bring about the obedience of the faith for the sake of [Jesus Christ’s] name among the nations (Romans 1:5; 16:26).” Many Christians have a reduced understanding of the gospel message. They see it as a ticket to heaven and little more. While the gospel comes for free to all who repent of their sin and receive both forgiveness from sins and Christ’s righteousness, it nevertheless makes demands on our lives. Those who receive it do not remain stagnant, simply awaiting the city of gold. The gospel takes root in them and begins to produce fruit now.

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Is Jesus’ Victory Your Victory? (1 Corinthians 15:14-57)

1 Corinthians 15:14-57

Paul of Tarsus became one of the biggest antagonists of the resurrection message. He persecuted those who believed Christ had risen from the dead, hunting them down and throwing them into prison. But after Paul came to believe it himself, he held on to the resurrection message with his dear life. He even gave his life to tell others about it.  

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