Romans chapter three builds a case for the revolutionary idea that God demands perfect righteousness from us. All of us have sinned, and God’s wrath against sin is enormous and should never be underestimated. But God supplies what He demands by conferring the righteousness of Jesus on those who believe. This gift is called justification.
Our best attempts at goodness will never please God, who sees every act of human goodness as a filthy rag, compared to His own righteousness. Even the best of lives—filled with charity, philanthropy, and service—is tainted and unsuitable for entrance into heaven. Only God has a plan that will save us and take away the stain of our sinful natures and attempts for self-salvation.
Religion can prevent people from understanding the truth about themselves. Religion can breed the pride that says, “I’m okay.” In Romans chapter two, Paul addresses the religious elite of his day, and shows how ceremony and ritual had insulated them from God’s analysis of their hearts. Self-deception is especially deep when expressed in religious terms. Let’s discover why we need rescuing so badly.
Jesus once spoke of a coming judgment of the nations designed to separate the sheep from the goats. When He spoke of this in Matthew 25, He made it clear that there are only two destinies for any of us. Let’s think carefully about the future, and why today is the day to believe on Christ.
Many of us have the idea that God owes us His favor. After all, we’re Americans. But as we run the race of life, let’s ask ourselves if God owes us anything. After examining the evidence, we might conclude that what He owes us is judgment. Let’s consider what God thinks of the USA.
The blessings of God are bestowed on people and nations that follow His commands. His judgment takes many forms, like natural disasters and the deprivation of personal freedoms. Let’s take a look at more forms of judgment that are very evident in America now.
Sometimes it seems that the bad guys keep winning. Terrorism and mayhem are everywhere. Some ask: “Is God still in control?” But we must remember that justice delayed is not justice denied. There will be a day of reckoning for both men and nations. God doesn’t ignore national sins and will hold a country accountable for its actions and attitudes.
Some think random chance dictates what happens on planet earth. But believers have this perspective: The Bible reveals God as more than just a bystander. He actively determines the fates of nations. God superintends what we consider history; and ultimately nations rise and fall at God’s will.
The American ideal of free speech is in tatters. Now, it's only free if you agree with the mainstream media. Freedom is in mortal danger even when we worship, as police knock on church doors like they did in Nazi Germany.
Terrorism. Famines. Assassinations. What does God have to do with the events we read about in our newspaper? When things seem to slip out of control, don't forget this: The God who made the nations is moving them into position for the climax of this present age.
As radical Islam partners with the radical left in America, the net effect is the ultimate destruction of all we hold dear. These are perilous times, and we must be determined to not be silenced. Will we compromise or confront this problem?
To maintain a clear conscience, we need to be vigilant against the works of darkness that may find their way into our lives. The devil uses any point of entry he can find to divide us from God and others. As the prince of darkness, Satan tries to get us to love what is evil and walk in paths of darkness. That’s why Paul told the Ephesian believers to “walk as children of light.”
Maintaining a clear conscience is not what the devil has in mind for the children of God. He tells lies in order to return us to the bondage of a defiled conscience. How can we combat those lies and walk in victory?
Once you’ve given up your bitterness against someone else, how do you repair the breach in your relationship? Many people live in a tangled web of hurt and alienation, and bridges need to be built to make things right.
Letting go of bitterness means forgiving those who have wronged you. This is indeed a bitter pill for many, who hold onto their anger until their knuckles turn white. But even in our reluctance, there is a practical side to forgiving people.
For over a thousand years, a key doctrine was hidden. It gives hope to the hopeless and life to the spiritually dead. That doctrine is justification by faith, rediscovered by Martin Luther in the 1500s. What does justification mean?
Those with addictions are usually blind to how addicted they really are. Denial goes hand in hand with any kind of addiction. Jesus had much to say to the religious leaders of His day about spiritual blindness, and we need to take His words to heart.
Guilt and shame can drive people to kill themselves, as Lady Macbeth did in Shakespeare’s famous play. There is a way back from the precipice, and it’s found in the Word of God. What is the way God has provided to bring hope to the hopeless?
Many philosophers believe that good and evil naturally coexist in humans, fighting for ultimate control. The Bible paints a different picture, one of a basic depravity that can only be remedied by the grace of God in Christ. In this message, we will see a big picture view of who we are, and how we can be made good in the eyes of God.
Control freaks are obsessed with themselves. By subjugating others, they seek to elevate their own importance. Such people become evil, as did King Saul of Israel. In this message, we’ll trace the life of a man who would not let go of his kingdom.
Addictive behavior always starts with small steps that lead to bigger steps. Soon, the addict is trapped. If you find yourself addicted to substances, or to destructive habits, there is a way to rejoin the race of life. In this message we’ll hear about the steps we can take to break free from addiction.
When in danger, every child craves the security of a father’s embrace. What many Christians may not realize is the provision God has made for us as our heavenly Father. We can be sure of His care no matter what happens here on earth.
We may not realize the deep impact left by our fathers. Much of our inner pain can be traced to poor relationships with our dads. In this message we take a revealing look at why your father is so important in your life, even when he is no longer alive.
Some people think you can get rid of anger by hitting something inanimate and “letting off steam.” The trouble is, it doesn’t work. Modern pop psychology is no match for the Bible in pinpointing the source of rage, or in helping us control the anger we all experience at one time or another. In this message we learn more about the causes of anger and how to handle it properly.
We’ve all experienced the painful emotion of shame—either because we’ve done wrong, or because wrong has been done to us. Sadly, some homes are even based on shame. In this message we explore shame’s consequences, and then look to the Bible to find God’s cure.
It’s sad, but true: in our modern, “enlightened” culture, we no longer repent of our sins. Instead, we’ve learned to manage them. We do this, knowing full well that God is not fooled. Yet, we do it anyway. This deception produces bitter fruit.
We’re far from being the inherently good people our culture says we are. In fact, apart from certain restraints, we’re capable of unspeakable evil. In this message we take another step in our journey of self-discovery, a journey in which we’re finding out why we do what we do.
Many people are deluded, seeing themselves as they want to, not as they are. One cause of this can be refusing to listen to the honest critiques of others. In this message we find lessons from the book of James on self-perception and on what it means to hear correctly.
Many ask why seemingly good people turn bad. How can someone turn violent after a lifetime of apparent normalcy? The answer lies in understanding our fundamental human nature. It’s not easy, but it is possible, if you’re willing to face the truth.
People accept the fact that two plus two has one right answer. But only one way to God? Say that, and you’re ignored at best, hated at worst. The claim of Jesus to be the exclusive path to eternal life forces a decision: do I believe my culture, or do I believe Jesus?
Political correctness is a formidable force, and when it comes to the Christian faith, it’s out in full strength. In this message we learn how to witness for Christ at a time when people tolerate everything but the truth, and even deny that truth exists.
If you were near death in a hospital, you’d want the truth about your condition. Mere opinions wouldn’t cut it. Finding out the truth about our spiritual condition and its remedy has to be our number one priority. In this message we learn more about why Jesus is the only road that leads to God.
Jesus said, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. If the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.” That’s great news! Freedom is more than avoiding jail. Freedom is living without the shackles of sin.
“Greater love hath no man, than a man lay down his life for his friends.” That’s what Jesus said, and that’s what He did. There is no greater love than the love of God through His Son, and that’s the greatest Christmas gift one could receive this year.
With joyful carols filling the air, the Christmas season is upon us. Economy experts say the season is pivotal for retailers, and during this time of year many get caught up in the materialistic desires of our culture. It’s sad that so much darkness is around us, but that’s why we look to Jesus as our source of light.
Most people like the lights, the decorations and the gifts of Christmas. But why do believers celebrate Christmas? We may enjoy lights and gifts, but we celebrate because Jesus renounced the glories of heaven to fulfill the Father’s will. He became a man and died for a sinful human race.
When light comes, darkness scatters. The brightness of Jesus made clear the blackness of sin, and those who encountered Him either repented or rebelled. This was prophesied by an old man in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Over two thousand years ago Jesus was born in a small country in the Middle East. That birth became the turning point between BC and AD. But another child was born first, a forerunner of Jesus, whose name was John.
Most of us really like to eat. But there are times in a Christian’s life when eating should be the last thing on the agenda. In this message we set aside a big meal and remind ourselves about Christ’s teaching on the benefits of fasting.
When marriages break up, many couples have prenuptial agreements to divvy up their possessions. Few take seriously the covenants they enter into. Let’s go back to basics, and why marriage, in God’s eyes, is a lifetime deal, come what may.
In the drama of redemption, the Old Testament is a grand prologue. In the New Testament, the great transaction takes place. Jesus gives his life not far from where Abraham almost offered Isaac. No playwright could dream of a story so wonderful.
If you want a big-picture view of the whole Bible, you’ve come to the right place. We’re exploring The Drama of Redemption, getting a quick overview from Genesis to Revelation. Join us today as more of the Old Testament will fly past us, so listen carefully.
The Apostle Paul wrote the ultimate essay on love. After you master 1 Corinthians 13, you’ll know what real love is, and isn’t. Here are more details on God’s view of love—the kind He shows us, and the kind we’re to show to others.
As members of the body of Christ we have a mission to fulfill, and a disciplined use of our resources is key to getting God’s work done. Let’s look at how to determine our priorities, and then, how to live by them.
In the body of Christ there is great diversity. Mature Christians enjoy the gifts of every member of the body, since each believer has a unique contribution to make to the growth of the kingdom of Christ on earth.