"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1)
There is a strange law in the Old Testament. It’s one of those easy to glance at and then forget as it is the guideline for freeing servants. At the surface level, it seems this has little impact today. Here’s the jest of the law.
If a Hebrew man or woman sold him/herself into slavery (most likely because of poverty or circumstances), the term of this agreement was six years. By law, in the seventh year, they were released. Here’s why...It served as a reminder to both parties that they were all slaves in Egypt but the Lord redeemed them (Deut. 15:15). Bottom line, He wanted them to be free.
This law also made provision for the servants. When released, they were liberally supplied from the master’s flock, threshing floor, and winepress (Deut. 15:13-14). The goal was that it was a win-win for both parties, as indentured servants were to be treated better than a hired hand.
Here’s the strange part, the law also gives instructions for when a person doesn’t want to be released. What? That’s crazy. If you are an indentured servant, why wouldn’t you want to leave when the time has been served?
Imagine hating Christians so much that the goal of your life is to put an end to their movement. Breathing murderous threats, you set off with the appropriate letters and travel far and wide to arrest anyone belonging to this dangerous movement.
But during this time, you come face to face with the resurrected Lord Jesus and the course of your life takes on a dramatic change. Preaching the same faith you once tried to destroy, your life’s accounts become epic stories of faith, your letters are widely read, and your insights become the topic of debate for centuries to come.
The Apostle Paul was the man responsible for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far reaches of the known world. What he taught was so radical that, even today, the followers of Jesus still strive for understanding.
The Book of Romans is a masterfully written exposition on God’s grace and the righteousness that comes by grace through faith. This book (a letter) is the foundation of the entire Christian faith. It was so radical that the Apostle Paul explains this gospel was received by direct revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 1:11-12).
The truth contained in this letter had the power to transform a murderous Pharisee into the man we know as the Apostle Paul. It has greatly influenced men like Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, and it has profoundly affected my life as well.
If you want to know the Lord Jesus in an intimate personal way, this letter is for you!
Watch this video teaching by Juli entitled Faith Pleases God.*
In this teaching, Juli shares 4 faith principles learned from the prostitute Rahab. Rahab had an understanding of God’s character; an understanding that many of His covenant people lack. Rahab trusted God to save her because she trusted solely in His goodness and His grace. God responded to her faith and forever commemorated her in the lineage of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Her story is one of redemption and restoration. We can learn a lot from Rahab.
*Juli taught this sermon at Orchard Hill Church on August 23, 2015.
I get correspondence referencing how others have used my observations from Romans as they prepared to teach, I am deeply honored by this. I recently taught a Sunday school class on the Book of Romans, so I wanted to make my handouts available to use. These are simple overviews on each chapter along with group discussion questions. Feel free to download, customize, and use them.
Note: Handouts are available for the chapters I taught in class. When other handouts are completed, I will make them available on this page
by John Macarthur; copyright The MacArthur Bible Commentary
“The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God; the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone,” John MacArthur.
I heard the Lord speak tenderly to my spirit, “You are not what you do; you are who I created you to be.”
In this relentless invitation, I find wholeness. In this constant awareness of God’s grace, I find peace.
But it was not always this way.
For decades, I sought and strove to find the acceptance I longed for. Always doing, always trying, and always failing—which made me try harder until I came to the end of myself. But it was in this place that I encountered the depths of God’s love and found the rest I longed for.
“Everyone wins when a leader gets better,” Bill Hybels. This is the rallying cry at the annual Global Leadership Summit, a two-day telecast event at Chicago’s Willow Creek Campus. Every year, Willow brings in leadership experts, amazing pastors, and trailblazers in leadership development to share their knowledge. It’s a great experience—I’ve gone for more than three years and I’ve always learned so much each time.
Now, immediately following each year’s event, I like to take time to process and identify my Top 3 takeaways from the conference. I thought I’d share them with you in the hope that you can also glean some wisdom from the things I learned.
So here they are: my Top 3 takeaways from the 2015 Global Leadership Summit.
No. 1: Growth in self-awareness requires feedback from others
Do you ever stumble across an odd statement while reading your Bible and think, Are you kidding me?
This happened to me this morning. I was reading the account in Numbers where Moses struck the rock and water came out. This account is actually the second time in Israelite history this event has occurred—and check this out—it happened at the exact same place as before: Meribah, which means “quarreling.”
The first account of getting water from the rock was shortly after the Israelites were delivered from Egypt. But the second account that gave me pause happened a generation later. Same place, same situation, but this time this generation had grown up in the desert and grumbled and complained to Moses about not having water.
For some time I have been wrestling with the classical reformed view of the ‘third use of the law’ namely using the Decalogue as the guide for life.
My concern has been the great propensity we have for sliding into legalism and self-justification, just as the Jews did. I keep coming back to the two laws Paul mentions, ‘the Law of sin and death’ and ‘the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’, and that living in the latter, is the natural state of the regenerate. Sanctification should be of the new creation life just as much as regeneration is its beginning.
Have you become aware of and what are your thoughts on Brian Rosner’s take on how Paul not only viewed the Law, but applied it in Christian living, namely by repudiation, replacement and reappropriation.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17)
I’ve been involved in a small Bible study group for almost three years. A good friend of mine is also in this group. Watching the transformation that has taken place over the years has been incredible. As he’s come into a deeper understanding of Jesus, I’ve seen him overcome the religious ideas he grew up with. God has given him a spirit of wisdom and revelation, and he’s entered into a deep and intimate knowledge of God that has transformed him.
It’s been beautiful to watch, but more impressively, it is something that can be replicated!