Today’s Reading: Jer 14:1–15:21, Rom 1:1–17, Prov 15:1–33
Today’s Theme: The Gospel of God
Today we embark on one of the most fascinating journey’s as we enter the book of Romans. Some would consider this book the greatest and most important letter in the New Testament.
Today we only get to read Paul’s introduction to the letter in which he makes clear his theme which is the Gospel. He calls this the Gospel of God and we conclude that God Himself is the Gospel which has the power to save us.
“Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you. (Jeremiah 14:7, ESV)
Jeremiah intercedes well by first recognising the sin of the people and their backsliding hearts. We can learn from his pattern of prayer as we intercede today.
The Hope of Israel
O you hope of Israel, its savior in time of trouble, why should you be like a stranger in the land, like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? (Jeremiah 14:8, ESV)
Jesus is the great hope of Israel and its only saviour in troubled times. Pray today for the opening of their eyes to see that Jesus is their true and long awaited great hope.
Thus says the Lord concerning this people: “They have loved to wander thus; they have not restrained their feet; therefore the Lord does not accept them; now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.” (Jeremiah 14:10, ESV)
Lord keep us from wandering off and being unrestrained. We are called to follow and to have self control.
Don’t pray for them
The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. (Jeremiah 14:11, ESV)
This does away with unirversalist tendencies of God not judging anyone. There are those who He does not want us to pray for so He can work out His justice and anger, this is sometimes what someone needs to genuinely draw them close to God.
And the Lord said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. (Jeremiah 14:14, ESV)
This is indicative of so much happening in the church today, Lord expose them and save your people from false prophets.
We are not professionals
If I go out into the field, behold, those pierced by the sword! And if I enter the city, behold, the diseases of famine! For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land and have no knowledge.’ ” (Jeremiah 14:18, ESV)
It is horrible to see this sort of professionalism in the church today, the ministry is a calling not a profession or trade.
Hope in God
Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things. (Jeremiah 14:22, ESV)
All we can do is set our hope on the Lord, the One who brings rain when it is needed.
God is holy
And I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 15:4, ESV)
God is holy and just, just praying please forgive me doesn’t just work, God’s active grace and mercy are needed.
Don’t weary God with treason
You have rejected me, declares the Lord; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you— I am weary of relenting. (Jeremiah 15:6, ESV)
Mankind’s primary treason is directly against the Lord.
God is a person not a force, God can be wearied from constantly turning from judgement to mercy. Lord keep us from wearying You
The joy of God’s word
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16, ESV)
Yes Lord we found Your words and they are a great joy and treasure to us.
They will turn, you will stand
Therefore thus says the Lord: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. (Jeremiah 15:19, ESV)
We should not capitulate, our hearers should.
We must speak what is right before God and not rubbish and emotionalism. Also we should not change our standards, the world should change theirs.
The gospel of God
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, (Romans 1:1-2, ESV)
The Gospel was promised beforehand, this is the epic opening to possibly the greatest book the world has ever seen, Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Paul’s main concern and theme throughout the book is this Gospel of God. Romans is one of the single most important books in the world, it defines the Gospel more clearly than any other.
The Gospel being promised before hand gives us an idea of the scope and importance of the Gospel. It has its roots in Genesis, is realised in the Gospels, defined in the Epistles and consummated in the Revelation.
The Gospel or good news was promised by God to humanity in the Garden of Eden and that promise has been defined and reaffirmed throughout redemptive history finding its fulfilment in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, (Romans 1:5, ESV)
One of the first arguments Paul will make is that this Gospel is not for one nation, class or type of people. It is a message for the entire world, for all humanity.
The promise was made to Adam and Eve and is now fulfilled for all the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.
The gospel is universal in its appeal and does not require cultural, ethnic or religious rites. It is a message for all mankind because all men share the same origin (created in God’s image), problem (sin and it’s penalties) and destiny (eternity in heaven or hell).
The power for salvation
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16, ESV)
The message of the Gospel is God’s power for salvation. The power is not in religion, rites, buildings, prayers, miracles, books, knowledge, fasting, being good, the law or anything else.
The power to save is only found in the Gospel.
This is why Paul says he is not ashamed of the Gospel which is a message concerning what God has done to save those who believe through Christ, it is good news of God’s victory and our salvation.
We live by faith
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, ESV)
Not by order or ritual but faith in God. This was the great cry of the reformation, we break the bonds of man’s own forms of religion today, we shall live by faith.
The Gospel is just a message if we do not receive it with faith.
We must believe God and live our lives in light of this. We must believe the Gospel and in so doing believe God because at it’s core God is the gospel, the good news is that we can come into relationship with Him.
God knows everything
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, ESV)
God sees and knows everything, good and bad…not Santa.
Spread knowledge of God
The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. (Proverbs 15:7, ESV)
Lord help us to use our lives to spread knowledge of You. This is not just useless head knowledge, but should be rooted in experience, the word of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So let everyone know about God, especially now it’s the Christmas season.
Have a glad heart
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. (Proverbs 15:13, ESV)
Forgive us Lord where we have grown weary and tired, help us to always have a glad heart.
The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. (Proverbs 15:14, ESV)
The fact you are reading this now is a good indicator that God has put a hunger for understanding and knowledge of Him in your heart.
Be slow to anger
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (Proverbs 15:18, ESV)
This is the man we need to be, one who is slow to anger.
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22, ESV)
Lord please help us to live this principle out in our lives.
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! (Proverbs 15:23, ESV)
Answering questions well should bring us joy as we give a reason for the hope we have.
Think about your words
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. (Proverbs 15:28, ESV)
Stop and think about how you answer, we need to do this more. Our tone and words do matter.
Listen to instruction
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. (Proverbs 15:32, ESV)
Listening to correction will make us more intelligent, so humble yourself to listen today.
Instruction in Wisdom
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)
Fearing the Lord is us instructing ourselves in His wisdom.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Romans 1