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My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take, frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they saved,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death no friendly tomb
But what a stranger gave.
What may I say? Heav’n was His home;
But mine the tomb wherein He lay.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.

~Samuel Crossman

Delivered on Sunday 3/28/10

We live in a world that greatly desires peace. Peace is a hot topic today. Everywhere you go it is more than likely that you will see a peace sign. People are always talking about peace among the nations and how to attain it. We are clamoring, trying to figure out how nations can live in peace with one another. There is a massive gathering called the U.N. who’s purpose is to make nations live at peace with one another. We want peace throughout the world. Even the most war accepting person would want a world where peace rules.

We want to live in peace. We want peace with ourselves and peace with our neighbors. We don’t want to have to go out of our homes carrying fire arms because we are afraid of the neighbors.

We want peace with our families. We don’t want to have to constantly face children that are angry with us. We want to live knowing that there is no one who has a grievance against us.

Yet there is a peace which we must seek for that transcends all the other peaces. It is a better and more important peace. We can strive to have peace with men, but there is a much more important peace we must seek to have. For if our creator has a grievance against us, we have a major problem.

It is amazing when we will seek so hard to have peace with one another yet totally forget God. Or we automatically assume that God is fine with us. But when we read in the Bible we read something totally different.

Why do we need peace? We are at enmity with God

i. First part of Romans.

1. 1:16-32 is about People suppressing the truth of God. They recognize what God wants from them and they willingly reject it. And thus living in complete rebellion against God.

2. 2:1-29 is about living up to the law’s demands. If one can be good then they will be accepted. Yet we cannot live up to the law

3. 3:9-20. all are under sin. When we stand before God’s law all are condemned as guilty. We have all broken the law of God and never stand before God as good people.

4. 3:21-4:25 being justified by faith in Christ. And how that truth is shown by Abraham.

Main point: Peace with God. How do we attain it?

Rom 5:1-2a. This section is about how one attains peace with God. A peace where there is no hostility between you and God. Where you can come to Him freely with Him having no grievance against you. Where there is only acceptance and reconciliation.

We are going to talk about what it means to be “justified.” And then what it means to be justified by “faith.” Because it is by these we have peace with God.

Rom 5:1

1. past action: justified (by faith). There is a past action that has happened in a believer’s life. We read the words, “since we have been.” And what happened to a believer in the past? We were justified by faith.

a. what is justification. What does it mean that we are justified. Let us talk about this word, “justification.” I know that we can come across big words in the bible and want to quickly move on. But doing such is a big mistake. The realities communicated by these words are beautiful and glorious as we will see with this word.

i. To be justified or have justification means that God declares you righteous before Him. It is where God makes people who are sinner, righteous before him. It is a legal act. Just like a judge would say that person is innocent or guilt. The criminal stands before the judge and the judge will say guilty or innocent. God says to the person who has faith in Christ that they are justified, declared to be innocent before Him. God looks at the person before Him and say, “I declare you to be perfect in the sight of the law. I do not see any wrongs you have done.” Now why can God do that?

ii. This is only Because of Christ. God does not justify someone because they tried really hard to be good. No, Jesus is the perfect one. He did all that the law demanded. He is the one person who was not a sinner. Thus, when one has faith in Jesus, Jesus’ perfect obedience is credited to your account. Meaning, God see Jesus’ perfect obedience as your obedience. You don’t come up to God and say, “look at how I obeyed you!” You, say, “Jesus was obedient for me. So I am accepted.” If you were in a legal court God no longer looks at your record, instead He looks at Christ’s record.

iii. So there are the two parts. 1) God looks at the perfectness of Jesus and not my imperfectness. 2) And thus He will see me as being righteous. He justifies me.

b. what is faith

i. faith is not faith in faith. One hears about faith constantly in this culture. Faith is a popular. You stand around where you work and you hear people talking about the need to have faith. There is a specific section in the paper that has to do with faith. Every one is talking about their personal faith and how it is good for them. Having faith is very acceptable today. The problem is that “just faith” will not save you.

ii. faith is trusting in the finished work of Christ on your behalf (4:24-25). Looking at verse 24 in chapter 4 we see that it is faith “in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord.” It is faith in the real, living God that God will recognize.

1. Just think through the Old Testament. Do you not think that people had faith in Baal? Do you not think that the Egyptians had faith in their gods? Faith means nothing! It is the person who you have faith in which matters. Think about real life, can I get in to my car that is empty of gasoline and then just have faith that when I push the gas pedal it will go? No! The car is unable to perform what I need it to. It does not matter how much “faith” that I have. Faith means nothing when what or who we have faith in is unable to perform that we need it to do. So one can have faith all they want and it will end them up in hell at the end.

2. What matters is who you have your faith in. It is faith in Jesus Christ who came to earth, lived a perfect life, died for your sins, gave you his righteousness, and rose again. It is Him who your faith has to be directed to. If you place your faith in any other object or person it will fail!

iii. It is faith in Jesus alone. How you attain this justification is by nothing else but having faith in Jesus. In His work on your behalf and nothing else. Only by believing that Him being delivered up for our trespasses, and Him being raised for our justification is all we need.

1. Our church attendance meaning nothing to this justification. It is not, our faith in Jesus plus how well we attend church. The amount of time we spend reading the bible doesn’t mean anything either. It is faith alone in Jesus that gives this justification. No obedience on our part contributes anything to this justification. It is by faith alone, in Jesus alone which give us this justification.

2. That is why justification is a past action, “we have been justified.” It is not something which we keep on trying to attain. Every morning is not a new morning to try and be justified. You are not to go throughout the day trying your hardest to be justified. It is a done deal! When one has faith in Jesus, they have been justified! It is because one has faith in Jesus alone that they are justified.

2. present result: peace with God. So we now read what comes from this justification by: peace with God.

a. No hostility. God is no longer hostile against you.

  • i. Because one is under sin they are against God. one who is not a believer in Jesus Christ is not on friendly terms with God. Rom 3:9-18.
  • ii. However, because one is justified by faith in Christ alone, all this sin is gone! It is all washed away by the blood of the lamb! And now we are at peace with God.
  • iii. God has nothing against those that have been justified. There is no fear of rejection, no fear that God has something against you, no fear that He will strike you because of a sin which you commit. There is only Peace. Peace with God

Application:

1. Do not look to your works for you standing before God.

The foundational way a believer relates to God is by a justification which comes by faith in Jesus. Understand that how you are made right with God is not by your obedience but by faith in the work of Jesus.

There is temptation for Christians to start trusting in their works for justification. Christ’s work on the cross starts to fade out of picture and the basis of our relationship to God becomes, how well we attend church, how much we read the bible, how much more obedient we are than the other people. Those things start to become our basis.

2. Don’t basis your relationship with to God on your feelings. Christ is your basis.

So when you get up in the morning, when you go about through the day, when you see that you are sinning again and again, have faith that it is Jesus who has justified you! And no matter how bad you feel, because of Jesus you have peace with God. I know, that I get up in the morning, the alarm is going off, and I don’t feel very justified. But I am! And I know the feeling I received after I have fail again and again the course of the day. Not very justified. But I am! Not because I am good. But because I am justified by faith in Christ. Make Jesus you foundation, not your feelings.

The Law commands and makes us know
What duties to our God we owe;
But ’tis the Gospel must reveal
Where lies our strength to go His will.

The Law discovers guilt and sin,
And shows how vile our hearts have been;
Only the Gospel can express
Forgiving love and cleansing grace.

What curses doth the Law denounce
Against the man that fails but once!
But in the Gospel Christ appears
Pard’ning the guilt of num’rous years.

My soul, no more attempt to draw
Thy life and comfort from the Law;
Fly to the hope the Gospel gives;
The man that trusts the promise lives.

~Isaac Watts (HT: Ollie)

This message was preached at a dorm meeting (a weekly worship service) of Boyce College. It is given by Jim Hamilton on the topic of following God while living in the midsts of a culture that does not know God.

Daniel 1

by Jim Hamilton

audio here.

HT: Justin Taylor

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you (1 Thess. 1:4).

…you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thess 1:9b).

A fleshly mind may ask, “How can these things be?” How can Divine predestination accord with human agency and accountableness? But a truly humble Christian, finding both in his Bible, will believe both, though he may be unable to fully understand their consistency ; and he will find in one a motive to depend entirely on God, and in the other a caution against slothfulness and presumptuous neglect of duty. And thus a Christian minister, if he view the doctrine in its proper connexions, will find nothing in it to hinder the free use of warnings, invitations, and persuasions, either to the converted or the unconverted. Yet he will not ground his hopes of success on the pliability of the human mind, but on the promised grace of God, who (while he prophesies to the dry bones, as he is commanded) is known to inspire them with the breath of life.

~Andrew Fuller. Letters on Systematic Divinity. Letter II: Importance of a True System

Do not legalize the gospel as if part remained for you to do, or suffer, and Christ were but a half Mediator; as if you must bear part of your own sin, and make some satisfaction.

Let sin break your heart, but not your hope in the gospel.

~Thomas Wilcox, Honey out of the Rock.

What follows is a message about a recent convert from one of our missionaries on the field.

This message picks up from Abraham recently coming to Christ from his Muslim religion. At the news of his conversion his wife became irate and moved to divorce him. We had prayer for Abraham during this time and this is the latest message we received,

_________________________________________

Abraham’s wife never changed and so she still forced Abraham to divorce her and pay thousands of dollars in fines.  He arrived at court last week.  His wife announced to the judge and all who were present that Abraham had apostatized and converted to Christianity.  Abraham was shocked because his wife had told Abraham that she would not say anything during the court hearing.  She has also contacted all of Abraham’s family, friends, and co-workers to tell them about his conversion.  To Abraham’s amazement he still has the support of his relatives.  Because of Abraham’s godly conduct and his kindness toward his wife even in the midst of this divorce his family is not turning against him.

I was talking with Abraham for a long time last night.  He told me how for the first three days or so after the divorce he was so hurt.  He said he was overwhelmed with sadness and was crying a lot.

But, now he has been filled with deep and even overflowing peace and joy.  He said he’s never been so happy in all his life.  He told me he was walking the other day and talking with the Lord.  He said, “God, why are you so good to me?  I’m nothing, I’m rubbish, yet you have given me so much peace and love and joy.  I thank you so much!  You are too good to me!”  Abraham rarely stops smiling.

And praise God.  The news of Abraham’s conversion to Jesus has gone out to all.  So, he now has no fear.  Everything is in the open, everyone knows he’s a follower of Jesus.  And we’re praying that God will draw some to Abraham and find the forgiveness of sins found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

_______________________________

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matt 19:29)

Beloved Christian, sin’s days are numbered in your life! The ax has already been laid to the root of your sin. Like a tree that has been cut off at ground level, its leaves may still appear green for a while, but the fact is that its life is over. It is only a matter of time until every leaf withers and falls to the ground!

Sin is a defeated foe. The war against sin has already been won. Like the pockets of resistance that sometimes continue to struggle on in ignorance after the treaty of surrender has already been signed, so sin continues to fight on in our lives with no hope of ultimate victory. Though the believer’s conflict with sin may at times be fierce, the final outcome of the battle is assured.

For the Christian, sin is but an early summer snow. Such snows fall occasionally even in the warmer climates, but they are only the death throes of a winter that is past. In a day or two they are melted and gone, and they have no power to stop the inexorable advance of summer. Christian, sin does not stand a chance in your life! You can fight against it with the confident knowledge that summer, not winter, is approaching! The remnants of sin that you still face are just the vestiges of what you once were; they are not an expression of who you are now, and they will soon pass away forever!

~Charles Leiter in Justification and Regeneration, pp. 88

This sermon was preached by Dr. Russell Moore at chapel here at Southern Seminary.

A great message about getting our eyes off ourselves and onto the purposes of God in regards to our ministry. It is really easy to think that me, my skills, my talents, are the gifts that God is giving world. Thus, if I don’t complete the task, the mission might fail. But that is not so. God’s purposes do not revolve around me. God is using me for things that are beyond me and my time here on earth. So listen to Dr. Moore explain this much better than I could ever hope to.

You Are Not Your Gift: Finding the Freedom to Fail in Ministry

By Russell D. Moore

video here. audio here.

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