Father Abraham

Romans 4.13-25

In hope against hope Abraham believed…being fully assured that what God had promised He was able also to perform. Abraham is a great example of OT faith. His story isn’t told just to fill in the historical record…it’s told to encourage us in our own faith journey.

Abraham contemplated his own body… Abraham’s faith is an informed faith. He considered his circumstances, and he weighed them against the promise of God. His conclusion? God is bigger than my circumstances. He’s the Giver of life to the dead and the Caller into being that which does not exist. Nothing is impossible for Him. If God promised, He is able also to do. Abraham had a big God.

How big is your God? We are living in unprecedented times. Worldwide pandemic. Stay-at-home orders. Fear and frustration abound. It’s easy (or easier) to say we trust God when things are going well. But what happens when the bottom drops out? What happens when things aren’t working out the way we had planned? What happens when unexpected suffering comes? What happens when we get locked down? Do you still trust God then, or do you take matters into your own hands? Do you still believe He loves you and that He cares about what’s going on in your life, no detail too small or problem too big for Him? Do you believe He is still with you and that He is working things out for your good and His glory? Do you believe He’s bigger than your circumstances? Do you believe in the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist? I pray that you do.

pro rege,

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

OT Faith

Romans 4.1-12

Paul uses Abraham as an illustration of his point that being justified…being declared righteous…being saved…has always been by faith. God does what we could never do…takes away our sin and gives us His righteousness.

This is no “cooking of the books”. God’s declaration of our righteousness isn’t some kind of shell game where He pretends not to see our sin. No wink, wink. He doesn’t redefine our sin so that it’s something else. No, the debt had to be paid in full. No way around it. And so in Jesus, God fully paid the debt that we owed…death. But even more than that He replaced it with His righteousness. That’s what’s credited to our account when we believe in Jesus.

So what should our response be? Praise and thanksgiving. A life of obedience that says “Thank You.” Our obedience doesn’t save us…our faith does. But obedience is the proper response of one who has been saved. Abraham’s faith journey is a great example for us. There were times when his faith was strong and times when it faltered. There were times when he trusted God and times when he relied more on himself. But the more time he spent with the LORD, the stronger his faith grew and the more he trusted God with his circumstances. And at the end of his life, it could be said of him, “Abraham obeyed Me…” May that be true of us as well.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Justified by Faith

Romans 3.21-31

Finally some good news. Though we all are guilty and deserving of God’s wrath, we all can be saved from His wrath through faith in Jesus.

At the cross, God’s love and His justice collide. Because of His amazing grace and His abounding love, God does for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves…He provides the way that His wrath against sin can be satisfied without compromising His righteousness. He Himself in the Person of Jesus will take on the full measure of His wrath and pay the penalty that sin requires…death. Did I say it was because of His love? God is the Initiator. He the Pursuer. He the Father anxiously looking for His wayward sons and daughters.

So where are you? Still under His wrath or robed in His righteousness? All can be justified, but not all will be. Everyone who believes… but not everyone will believe. You have the opportunity today. Jesus has already done the heavy lifting. He’s already died in your place. And He arose the third day. He conquered both sin and death so that you can be forgiven your sins and have eternal life. If you will believe…what’s holding you back?

If you have trusted in Jesus, don’t take for granted the magnificent gift He’s given you in salvation. Spend some today thanking Him for what He’s done and worshiping Him for who He is.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

All the World Guilty

Romans 3.1-20

We are all guilty. Everyone. And yet in our attempts to justify ourselves and our sin, we want to make God the guilty One. After all our sin highlights His righteousness…it makes Him look better, right? So why should we then be judged? Sounds like a familiar pattern…deny, deny, deny, deflect and then turn it back on my accuser. Somehow everyone else is to blame but me. As Paul says, our condemnation is just.

Salvation in both the OT and NT has always been about faith. Paul will make this more abundantly clear in the following chapter. It’s also a topic that he takes up in his letter to the Hebrews. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval…” (Hebrews 11.1-2). Example after example is given of OT characters who by faith did what God said. No one was ever saved by keeping the Law. And no one will be saved by doing good works of any kind. Because salvation is a gift of God’s grace that we receive by faith.

So if you have been trusting in anything other than Jesus to save you, now’s the time to put your faith in Him. Only He can save you. He’s already done all the heavy lifting. He lived a perfect life. He died a sacrificial death, satisfying God’s wrath and paying the penalty for sin. He was raised the third day showing that He had not only conquered sin but also death. So that by believing in Him, we can have both forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

If you have trusted in Jesus, good. Who can you share your story with? Who needs to hear about the hope that you have? I know it can be a bit challenging in a world under quarantine, but ask God for opportunities and be intentional about taking advantage of them when they come.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

Law Breaker

Romans 2.17-29

The Jews, no doubt, had a privileged position. Theirs were the fathers. Theirs the promises. They were entrusted with the OT Scriptures. From them would come the Savior of all mankind…the Hero of Genesis 3.15. A position that should have caused them to be grateful and graciously humble, sharing the knowledge of the riches of God’s grace with the world. Instead, for many it became a cause of pride and self-righteousness.

Paul isn’t picking on his people anymore than he was picking on the rest of mankind in chapter one. Yet he is picking on his people just like he did the rest of mankind in chapter one. His point is that we are all guilty. Both Jews and Greeks. None of us lives up to the standard that we have…natural revelation or special revelation, in creation or the Scriptures, we all fail miserably at following God on our own. We face plant every time. There is none righteous, no not one. We are not all as bad as we could be, but we are all as bad off as we can be…without Jesus.

So…since we couldn’t follow God on our own and since our failure left us under His wrath, God provided a way to both escape His wrath and follow Him through Jesus. Because Jesus did fulfill the Law perfectly and He followed God flawlessly, yet He willingly died sacrificially to pay the penalty for our sin and satisfy God’s wrath. And now we have His righteousness credited to our account. The benefits of the New Covenant…forgiveness of sins, a new heart and God’s Spirit living within us…we are His people and He is our God.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, make today the day. Don’t wait.

If you have trusted in Jesus, are you living like it? Is your life helping folks come to Jesus or hindering them? Would they be surprised to find out you’re a Christian, or would it just make sense based on the way you conduct yourself and the way you treat others? We are not called to be perfect, but we are called to live a different kind of life…a worthy-of-the-calling kind of life.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

The Impartiality of God

Romans 2.1-16

There is no partiality with God. Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is the same for the worst of sinners and the most pious of self-righteous…death. Wrath and indignation. Eternal damnation. Forever separated from God and all that’s good.

But God has made a way. Because of His amazing grace and His abounding love, God has made a way for us to escape His wrath. Through Jesus. You see, Jesus willingly accepted the consequences for our sin. He, the spotless Lamb of God, shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin, once for all. He satisfied God’s wrath on the cross, and then He rose on the third day showing that He had not only conquered sin, but also death. And now to everyone who believes in Him He not only gives forgiveness of sin, but also eternal life. To everyone who believes in Him.

Those who trust in Jesus are given eternal life (both present and future)…and experience glory and honor and peace now despite their circumstances. Those who reject Him are still under God’s wrath and will face eternal indignation aka eternal death. And they will experience tribulation and distress now no matter their circumstances.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, please make today the day.

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

He Is Risen!

Matthew 28.1-17

Both the women and the guards are witnesses to some amazing things that first Easter morning. But they arrive at two wildly different conclusions: 1) The women believe that Jesus is alive, which brings both fear and joy, a resurgence of their faith, a rekindling of their hope, eternal life, forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God; whereas 2) the guards, at the prompting of the religious leaders, say that Jesus is dead, which brings only fear and trembling, deception and despair, death…

The resurrection proves that everything Jesus said and did is absolutely true. He is the Hero that God’s people hoped for, the Messianic King He claimed to be. His death paid the penalty for our sin so that by believing in Him our sins can be completely forgiven. His resurrection means we have new life…eternal life. His Spirit now dwells within us, and He has promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the age.

If you have not yet trusted in Jesus, why not make today the day?

Maybe you have trusted in Jesus, but you now find yourself far from Him. Like the prodigal son…it’s time to come home.

Matthew’s Gospel closes with Jesus’ words… “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.18-20). Come and see, go and tell.

pro rege

This post is based on our Easter sermon. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube: @ccclancaster