April 21, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 15

Paul’s mission as an Apostle was to the “unreached peoples” of the world. Paul’s mission is God’s mission. God’s mission is seeking and saving His people throughout all nations through the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Jesus gave his last command through what we call the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Mat. 28:19-20) the word used “nations” (ethne) refers to ethnic groups which are also called "peoples." This great mission of God was Paul's mission and also must be our mission.

What is a Miracle?

April 14, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 15

Our culture today uses the word “miracle” to mean just about anything that is amazing or extremely unusual. Even within the Church the word “miracle” is loosely used for everything that amazes us or not easily explained. But what really is a biblical miracle? There is no universally agreed-on biblical definition of miracle but probably the most useful one is: A miracle is a supernatural event, that cannot reasonably be explained in terms of human abilities or other known forces in the world, that is a direct act of a supernatural God and understood as a sign pointing to God as redeemer, judge, and Savior. Don’t forget, If you are a Christian, it took a miracle for God to supernaturally change your nature from dead in sin to alive in Christ. It is called the new birth (John 3:3).

What is the Gospel?

April 7, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans

We talk about the gospel all of the time but do we know the fundamentals of the gospel? Do you know the gospel well enough that it remains your only hope and confidence before our Holy God? Do you know the gospel well enough to share with others? The gospel has become a victim of massive distortions or over-simplifications to the point that many times it is not the gospel any longer. We must get the gospel right for salvation and for godliness. The gospel is not just for salvation but also for daily sanctification, reminding us that we are forgiven, cleansed, counted as righteous, at peace with God, redeemed for a purpose, kept with the promises of God, eternally united with God, and an endless list of other gospel promises for us to be reminded of daily. So, let’s get the gospel right so that it can powerfully transform us in Christ-likeness as we share it accurately to the world for salvation.

Created for an Undeniable Expectant Hope!

March 17, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 15

What is biblical hope that God has for us to enjoy everyday? Christian hope is a powerful trusting response to all that God has promised to happen from His Word. Our Christian hope is an undeniable expectation that something is going to happen because God has promised it will happen. This is the hope that we are called to embrace as children of God. Christian hope pushes you forward when you are in the midst of difficult things in this life while others without hope are paralyzed with fear or even run the other way.

Welcome. Hi. How you doing?

March 10, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 15

Welcome... How are you doing... See you later. That can sometimes sum up our effort of a welcome to another. Is that the way God intended it to be? Actually, that is somewhat opposite of what God intended. Romans 15:7, commands us as followers of Christ "to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." Paul does not say, “say hi to one another.” The Greek word translated “welcome” is much heavier than just a greeting or a head nod. Welcome means “take another to yourself and treat them as a friend with loving kindness." What does biblical welcoming look like? It is rich in mercy and lavish in grace toward others as Christ has been for us. Welcoming others withholds condemnation in the same way Christ’s welcoming of us was absent of condemnation. Welcoming others means being open-handed and generous with our time, energy and resources as Christ has generously given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Welcoming others is patient and resilient when we let each other down or discover that we have differences. Our welcoming of others is to be a picture of how Christ has welcomed us.

Free in Christ! Unless You Make Another Stumble

March 3, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 15

As a family of believers there is no greater evil that we can do against each other than cause another brother or sister in Christ to sin (Luke 17:2). But wait, have we not been given freedom in Christ Jesus to live as free people, not taking up the yoke of the Law to secure our own righteousness? Absolutely yes! However, we can abuse our freedom from the Law’s guardianship over us. Our abundant life of freedom in Christ is not a freedom to do anything we want to do. Instead, our freedom is to lead us into submission to Jesus Christ by the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit. When we submit, in our freedom, to the gentle yoke of Christ we will then prioritize love for our brother/sister in Christ a higher priority than our freedom in Christ.

How are we to disagree on secondary issues or when Scripture is silent?

February 25, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 14

How do you make daily Christian decisions when Scripture does not clearly prohibit or urge a certain action or behavior? Ask these questions: Does the Bible allow it? If the Bible says don't do it: Don't do it. If the Bible is silent: Ask the question does my conscience allow it? If your conscience says No: Don't do it. If your conscience allows it: Determine what is the effect on other Christians? Determine what is the effect on non-Christians? Determine what is the effect on my spiritual life? Then move forward with confidence "fully convicted in your mind" that this is a godly decision or it is not (Rom. 14:5).

I have to love THAT neighbor?

February 11, 2024 • Romans 13:8–10

What does love for your neighbor look like? The commandments tell us that love does not kill or even hate but it does gives life. Love does not commit adultery or even lust but it is chaste. Love does not steal but it gives sacrificially. Love does not lie but it tells the truth. Love does not covet but it rejoices in the success of others. Love for your neighbor is patient and kind and shows honor and is zealous to do good and contributes to their needs and shows hospitality and blesses them and rejoices with them and weeps with them and lives in harmony with them. We have been given amazing teaching from God on what our love for a neighbor must look like and when we live out this amazing love we are fulfilling the law of God and our neighbor is loved like God has loved us.

One Debt You Can Never Pay Back

February 4, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 13:8

Church and Politics

January 28, 2024 • Steve Marshall • Romans 13:1–7

Our government passes policies and laws that always reveal significant worldview beliefs about issues that have eternal implications. These issues also happen to be the top issues of this 2024 election. Issues like when life begins, abortion rights, gender affirmation, who can marry, immigration, how to control the border and the list goes on. We must remember, politics and politicians are always speaking and making policies from a very specific worldview, not a democrat or republican worldview but usually a secular humanist worldview. Unfortunately, the prevailing worldview in our government, democrat or republican, has become overwhelmingly secular in its morals. As the Church, we believe that a biblical worldview is infinitely superior than a secular worldview to legislate ethical laws that make our nation a beautiful blessing to the entire cosmos. We believe that a biblical worldview is infinitely superior at discussing laws that preserve this nations safety, peace and prosperity. We believe that a biblical worldview is infinitely superior at defending our existence and determining when we go to war. We believe that a biblical worldview is infinitely superior at the preservation and improvement of this nation’s morals.

When Do We Not Submit to Governmental Authorities

January 21, 2024 • Romans 13:1–7

In Romans 13, Paul gives us three factors that determine our obedience or disobedience to governmental authorities. We are to submit to governmental authorities when: 1-Authorities are not a terror for those doing good works, but to those doing evil works. (13:1) 2-Authorities are for the good of the people they govern. (13:3-4) 3-Authorities are the avenger to execute God’s wrath upon those who do evil. (13:4)

12 Difficult Things We Must Do Today

January 14, 2024 • Romans 12:14–21

In the last eight verses of Romans 12, we find twelve of the most difficult actions we are commanded to do in this life. Here is my version of the list: 1- Speak well of and act kindly towards those who oppress and harass you (12:14) 2- Rejoice with rejoicers – weep with weepers (12:15) 3- Get along with each other (12:16) 4- Do not be self-important (12:16) 5- Share life with the downhearted and downcast (12:16) 6- Don’t think of yourself as smarter than others (12:16) 7- Don’t seek revenge personally (12:17) 8- Think about ways you can do good to those who do evil to you (12:17) 9- Seek to live at peace with everybody if possible (12:18) 10- Never take revenge for yourself but leave it to the wrath of God (12:19) 11- Work to make your enemy your friend (12:20) 12- Fight evil by doing good to evil (12:21)

Our Hospitable God, And His Call For Us To Do The Same

December 3, 2023 • Steve Marshall • Romans 12:3

The word in the Bible for hospitality is a very simple and yet powerful word, philoxenia (φιλοξενία; Romans 12:13). This word simply means “love the stranger.” The command is specifically directed towards strangers and not friends and fellow believers. So, in other words, hospitality is not entertaining your church buds over at your house with some of your famous chili and a football game. That is called fellowship which is also a command. Instead, hospitality is intentionally loving those in your life that you are not familiar with. Hospitality is making room for the stranger, welcoming them into your life, nurturing them and meeting their needs for the purpose of them becoming your neighbor and hopefully part of the family of God. For Biblical hospitality to be effective it must be rooted in the grace of God. You must remember that at one time you were living in the flesh, separated from Christ, alienated from God's family and strangers to any covenants of promise, you had no hope and you were without God in this world. But because of the hospitality of God and His Son, Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Jesus, being your peace, reconciled you, brought you to God and into His family through His cross. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Eph. 2:11-22).  

Hope In Christ, Not In This World

November 26, 2023 • Steve Marshall • Romans 12:12

This is your hope. Your faithful, loving God has powerfully rescued you by His glory through faith. He has made you Holy and has therefore declared that you and Him are at peace. You will never experience His wrath for any sin or unrighteousness. This is the grace of God that you stand and rejoice in (Romans 5:1-2; 12:12). God wants you to know that you are His beloved child and that He cares for you with His perfections forevermore. Jesus came to redeem this world including you. Jesus Christ came to gather you out of this world along with a people for His own possession to proclaim His excellencies (1 Pet. 2:9). As a child of God called out of darkness into His marvelous light you have been placed in His kingdom as you even remain on this earth that waits redemption. You are called with other children of God to be His church, the present form of the kingdom of God, while together we wait for the great event when Christ returns for His people fully establishing His kingdom on the new earth with new heavens. Jesus will return in the same way as the world saw Him go into heaven (Acts 1:11). Every eye will see Jesus when He returns (Rev. 1:7). He will return to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). He will destroy all His enemies along with the devil, death and hades (Heb. 10:13; Rev. 20). We wait for the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells completely (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21)). When Jesus is least expected to come He will return. It will be a time of great persecution and crisis and yet in the midst of that He will return and set up His eternal kingdom (2 Thes. 1:5-12). In these truths we are told to rejoice in hope!

Zeal Is A Big Deal

November 19, 2023 • Steve Marshall • Romans 12:11

How do we grow in zeal and fervency in spirit as we serve the Lord? First, be cultivating a heart that desires more and more the reign of Jesus Christ ruling your life. Second, never be content with your current depth of joy in the Holy Spirit. Third, never be satisfied in your understanding of who God is and how He works throughout Scripture and life. Fourth, be constant in prayer. Fifth, always be destroying sinful habits. Be zealous and fervent in Spirit as you serve the Lord.