The Road Through Romans: Without Excuse

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The Road Through Romans is a discussion that is taking a look at every verse in the Book Of Romans. To be honest I am not sure this epoch of time has enough left in it for us to finish the discussion, but we will plod along until the age changes or the end of the book comes… whichever comes first.

If you have missed any of our previous discussions (and they are legion) you can find them on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE

We have been discussing verse 20 of Romans chapter 1 which says,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We have spent the better part of the last twenty posts on TRTR discussing those invisible attributes. I think I was actually taking so long getting through those qualities of God because I didn’t want to face the last four words of the verse.

People are without excuse!

We finished with the final invisible quality of God over a week ago and I have been unable to face writing what has to come next because this part of the good news is hard to take in.

People are without excuse!

There is a power in the world working overtime to convince us that there is no God or that if there is a God, He is some distant far away being who set the world to spinning and then walked away. Yet the creation itself tells us, if we will look at it, that not only is there a God but He knows us and desires relationship with us.

At the end of time no one will be able to excuse themselves for not knowing God by saying “There was no way I could have known about God.”

To them God will say,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

In other words the problem is not that nothing in life points people to God. It is that in spite of the fact that creation screams out about God, people would rather believe anything else.

 

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 4

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Our discussion continues regarding the fall of man and the nature of original sin. Today we are talking about the loss of rest. If you missed our previous three discussions and want to answer the questions posed in them you can find them

HERE for part 1

HERE for part 2

and

HERE for part 3

Now on to today’s discussion…

It is true, as we have said,  in the fall from grace we lost assurance; We lost our authority; But we also lost our REST-

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;  through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow  you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are  and to dust you will return.” Ge. 3:16-19

I just talked with a friend who came back from vacationing. She was highly stressed and chose to take a spiritual healing retreat at a Christian conference center. She spent a week resting and praying and rejuvenating and then came back to work. Three days later all her stress levels are back. How many of you have been there? That is the power of the fall. God intended that our work itself would refresh us. Before the fall work was a vacation and now even our vacations most times feel like work. We have lost our rest. It is an inside problem. It is the way we look at work not the work itself. It is what work tells us about ourselves and the world not the work itself.

How many of you have said this, “I love what I do I just hate the stuff that goes on around what I do? Or I  love what I do I just wish I felt like it was making a difference?”  That is the power of the fall.

Here’s a question for you. Hebrews 4:6- 11 says,

So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,

don’t harden your hearts.”e

8Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. 9So there is a special restf still waiting for the people of God. 10For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. 11So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

What does this teach us about the possibility of having our rest restored?

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 1

The crucifix at Kylemore Abbey

The crucifix at Kylemore Abbey

I was given the honor of preaching the sermon at Cornerstone Church last Sunday. Here for your perusal is the first excerpt from my notes…

As I begin I have to give credit where credit is due to my lead pastor Barry Risto for helping me with this sermon. He may not know he helped me, but up until last week I had several directions that were gnawing at the edges of my mind for this sermon.  No matter how I tried though, I could not settle on any of them until Pastor began to preach his sermon. He spoke about some of the things humanity lost in the fall of mankind, when Adam and Even ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He preached using the letter “S” and explained that when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden something changed in the human race. We lost certain things we were meant to have because we became at that moment changed and controlled by the power of sin. In the fall we lost our “significance” our “sufficiency” and our “security”.

As my pastor preached the Holy Spirit began taking me down rabbit trails and out of that came this sermon “Unintended Consequences”. As Pastor preached using the letter “S” last week to describe what was lost in the fall, this week I am going to describe the fall of man from the stand point of “A.A.R.P.”

We don’t spend much time thinking about the fall from grace that happened in the Garden of Eden. Few people, maybe none of us, really understand just how much fell apart in those moments when Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Some people don’t even realize we have lost anything at all. They consider the world a thing of beauty that is getting better and better, but the truth is, that mind-set denies reality and shows no understanding of what sin has done to mankind, to our world and to the very fabric of reality itself.

When Adam and Eve sinned they let the power of sin into the world and as Pastor Risto taught last week at the moment of their disobedience to God they lost their significance, their sufficiency and their security. But they lost even more.  I guess we need to start by letting the story tell itself.

The Bible tells us that at the very beginning of the world, God made one man and one woman who were to become the father and mother of all mankind. I believe this is actually how it happened. Call me crazy. Call me a red-neck. Call me gullible or whatever else you want. This is what the Bible teaches, so I think this is what actually happened. Anyway, God put the man and the woman in a place called the Garden of Eden and then the Bible goes on to tell the story this way

Genesis. 2:15- 3:19

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”… Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame… Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

What do you think Adam and Eve hoped to gain in disobeying God?