LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
We are going to spend some time in the book of Romans. This is a letter Paul wrote to the church in Rome. In the verses we began with this morning, we see Paul is encouraging the church in Rome. The church in Rome, of course, was dealing with the Roman Empire and its leaders every day. It was a tough place to be a Christian because of the pressure put on them on a daily basis by the Emperor and his men. In spite of all that, the church has remained a witness for Christ under the most difficult conditions. Paul goes on to remind them he is praying for them on a regular basis. Paul has also pointed out how disappointed he is that he has not been able to meet with them face to face yet.
One of the reasons he wants to be with them in person is because he knows they can encourage one another in ways you just cannot do in a letter. Paul knows how important it is for brothers and sisters in Christ to meet on a regular basis. It gives you the chance to really know what is going on in one another’s life. Paul is also letting them know there is a lot of work to do in Rome. Paul went so far as to say there are those in Rome who are wise because they have received the gospel, but there also are those that do not have a clue. In the last two verses we read he gets right down to it. He did not want anyone to be unsure what the message of Christ really is. Paul says confidently and boldly in the 16th verse that he is not ashamed of the gospel. He goes on to say the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. He is basically throwing the challenge down to the church in Rome. Paul is saying do not be distracted by what the government leaders are saying. They do not know Jesus Christ so all they are saying is foolishness. What God is promising through Jesus Christ is not some temporary feel-good moments. God is saying not only do I want to bless you now, but I also want to bless you for eternity. But you must not lose your focus and be distracted by the things the Roman Empire is dangling in front of you. You must stay strong. The 17th verse then points out how it is possible to keep our eyes on God in spite of everything that is going on around you. If you refuse to give in to the pressure of the moment but instead realize and fully take hold of the fact that “in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith”. We must believe in and trust in God’s word. When we do that, we will grow in godly righteousness. A righteousness we can claim because of God’s love and commitment to us. The last part of the 17th verse makes it clear whether you come to Christ early in life or late, it does not matter. The most important thing is the “the righteous of God will live by faith.” That was a challenge for the church in Rome and it is a challenge for us right here in America as well.
The most important thing for the church, whether it be in Rome 2000 years ago or right here in America today, is to realize we believe in a God that cares about his people. The points Paul made in these verses are reminding us what God cares about. The importance to pray for one another; the importance to gather together as a way to support and encourage each other. God wants to remind us there will always be things trying to pull us away from God. Satan will use a variety of ways to try to have us take our eyes from God. But most importantly, if we are truly holding onto these truths, we will be victorious. We must be willing to stand up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ because we know God will reward our faith with eternal life. May we recommit our lives to the God who loves us and cares about us. If we will go forward with faith in God, I believe 2021 will see us reach new heights, both individually and as his church.
Every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. is Bible Study. All are invited to attend.
The church board met on January 13 to reorganize. New Executive Committee is Carol Kussart, board chair; Shirley Wright, nurture chair; Stacie Warren, stewards chair; Nora Hanaver, witness chair.
Messenger subscriptions are due January 31. Messenger is our church magazine, giving us information about our denomination, districts, and local congregations throughout our country and the world. For $14.50, you get 10 issues annually. Please let Carol know if you would like to be a new subscriber. If you now get Messenger, Carol will assume you want to continue unless you let her know otherwise.
Carl Cable and Evelyn Traxler are both at Hickory Point Christian Village--address is 565 West Marion Ave., Forsyth, IL 62535
Carl is in Room 309.
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Keep in Your Prayers
Betty Sue Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Carol & Mike Seidenstricker; Brittany Wright; Sonna Hall; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Arnold & Marlene Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; ; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 340,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; all who are ill with the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of the wildfires and hurricanes; District of IL/WI; nursing home residents; our nation's government
Families of Barb Baker, Jeff Sawyer, and Lonnie Miller
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers