On The Horizon Easter Service
By Bobby Blakey on April 17, 2022
On The Horizon Easter Service
By Bobby Blakey on April 17, 2022
I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to the book of Romans. And if you don't have a Bible with you, it's there on the handout in your bulletin. In the first seven verses, we're looking at the introduction to the book of Romans. We just started studying through this epic letter written by the Apostle Paul and we found out that Romans is different than all of his other letters, because all of his other letters are follow-ups to churches where something has already happened. But this letter is an introduction to the believers in Rome. And so, he writes a lot of his teaching, he preaches a lot of his gospel to them. And that's why Romans is his most famous letter.
And so, to get started, I want to read for us the introduction, the first seven verses. And so, once you're there in Romans, chapter 1, verse 1, if you could stand up with me for the public reading of Scripture. And I'm inviting everybody, even if you're in the overflow, watching this on TV, or watching this online, let's all stand up together, because this is the word of God. Let's give this our full and undivided attention, particularly because he's going to write about the resurrection of Jesus. So please follow along as I read Romans chapter 1, verse 1 to verse 7. “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, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 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, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
That's a reading of God's word, please go ahead and have your seat. As we already started kind of getting into who Paul is, how he's been called by Jesus he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus said, you're going to serve me, I'm going to send you out as an apostle. And he said, there he's been set apart for the gospel of God. So, in the book of Romans, Paul is giving us a masterclass on the good news that comes from heaven. He's given us God's message here on earth. And he begins to do that. And we find out in verse 3 that well, verse 2, he finally finds out, he's saying the same thing the prophets have already said, now being spoken by the apostles. And in verse three, we find out that the good news is not something that you need to know, it's someone you need to know. And his name is Jesus. And we found out that he is the one that they had been waiting for – the Christ, or Messiah, who came in the line of King David. So those are the first three verses. And that brings us to the verse we really want to talk about together right now, which is verse 4, because it says that Jesus has been declared to be the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of holiness, by His resurrection from the dead. That's what all the hooting and hollering is about here this morning, right? Jesus is alive. And when Jesus rose from the dead, what that should say to us, what it declares, it says here is that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, the power that we can see in his resurrection proves that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the Lord of heaven and earth. He is the one who has all authority over life.
That's what it's saying, and I'm not sure everybody here who believes this, I'm not sure everybody here today really understands what we mean. I mean, when you say Jesus rose from the dead, there's a whole lot of meaning that comes along with that. And he says, what this actually has done is it's changed our horizon. That's the Greek word there. But that's, that's translated in verse 4 declared. So, we like to dive into the Greek language because that's how the New Testament was originally written in Ancient Koine Greek, and we get a little Bible nerdy around here. And so, we like to look at the words and this word here, horizó. In the Greek, it's the word we get horizon from, and it's usually translated like, determined, or appointed, not declared. So, this is the only time it's translated that way, but it's almost like we have a new horizon line to look at now.
If anybody should know what a horizon is, it's people like us living in Southern California, right? Driving down PCH, feeling the cool ocean breeze, right? And we look out there, maybe you can see Catalina, but you can see that line where the earth meets the sky, or in this case, the sky meets the sea. And you see that oh, look out on the horizon. There, the horizon is the limit of our perception. It's the boundary of what we can see. And the idea here is that when Jesus rose from the dead, it changed the boundary. It determined now that they weren't just waiting for a king coming in the line of David, someone who would be born in the kingly line. No, now what they're actually, we're actually, looking for is one who is the Son of God, He is the Lord. That's what the resurrection ha said to us.
So, if you are taking notes, and you want to jot down some notes, write down Acts 17:31. Acts 17:31, is another verse that uses this idea that it's been determined, or it's been appointed, the boundary or the line has been placed by God. And it says in Acts 17:31, “because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed.” So, there is coming a day, where there's going to be someone who judges the world in righteousness, the man has already been determined, he's already been appointed. And of this, he has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead. So, when Jesus rises up from the grave, when he is alive, and the tomb is empty, and they found no body there in the tomb, well, what that means is that Jesus has been determined to be the one who will judge the living and the dead. He is the one who will reign over all things. That's what it's saying. And we need this to be clear in our thinking that, because Jesus rose from the dead, that has determined, that it has been appointed by God that He is the Lord, okay? The resurrection really set off this chain of events where, after Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to many witnesses who saw him alive. Then he ascended into heaven, into the clouds. And when He ascended into heaven, he was exalted. The Father in heaven exalted Jesus, and He gave him the name that is above every name. And he said to his son, sit down on my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool, and he said, Jesus, from your resurrection on, you are the Lord, the King of all kings, the one with all authority. That's what it's saying here in Romans 1:4, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
And sometimes you might hear somebody say, I've made Jesus Lord of my life. Has anybody ever heard somebody say that before? Let me just make it very clear here today. You didn't make Jesus nothing. All right? When Jesus rose from the dead, God made Him Lord of all of our lives. That's what happened. That's what the scripture is proclaiming. And maybe you believe that maybe you don't believe that. But that's what Paul is writing here in Romans, chapter 1, verse 4, and it begs the question for everybody here this morning, Where is your horizon? Where is your boundary line? What is the end, what is the limit of your perception?
Because, people, if you just think all we have is this natural life, all we've got is these few precious moments, and then we're going to die. Is death your Horizon? Well, you can that just makes sense right away that that's going to lead to hopelessness. That's going to lead to despair, that's going to lead to all the problems that we see rising up all around us. If what I see in the future is just death, well, that doesn't really encourage me to take heart. But when the horizon is the resurrection of Jesus, and Jesus is reigning as Lord, and because I believe in Jesus, after I die, even then I will live by faith because of his resurrection power. He will give me eternal life. We see that's going to give you some hope, that's going to help you take heart. You're going to have a reason for living when the resurrection becomes your horizon, see, and it's been determined, it's been appointed that through the resurrection from the dead Jesus is Lord.
Okay, so I know not everybody here believes this. I know we have some guests, and some visitors and we are so glad that you are here, and we've got this point here for you. If you don't believe Jesus rose up from the dead, then look up the eyewitness writings. That's really what we want to recommend to you today. Look up the eyewitness writings, we would not expect anyone to believe that Jesus rose from the dead unless you've really studied the firsthand accounts that we have recorded for us in the Scripture. It's not normal for someone to rise from the dead. We haven't seen that. We haven't experienced that. So, you would need to hear the good news, you would need to read the scriptures from the eyewitnesses, from the apostles who saw the risen Lord Jesus. That's the only way we would expect anyone to believe that he really rose is you need to hear the message.
Go with me to John chapter 20. It's just a few pages over to the left here from Romans John chapter 20. And I want to read to you a firsthand account and eyewitness of what happened on that first Resurrection Sunday. This is John chapter 20. And we spent years here at this church going through the Gospel of John and studying his writings, because he is one of the closest disciples to Jesus. And he wrote down the whole story from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he saw Jesus die on the cross. And now we get the account of when he went to the tomb on that Sunday morning, long ago. And look at this John chapter 20, verse 1. “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus'[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.”
So, this is John's firsthand eyewitness account. And I love the way he refers to himself, not by name, but as the disciple whom Jesus loved. And I love the humble brag of how he beat Peter to the tomb, that everybody gets that he's faster than Peter. He wants everybody to know it, right. And I also love the fact that John, who you could see like looking in there, checking it out, being respectful. And then Peter just goes right on and when he gets there, right. And John, in that moment, he realized, even though Jesus had been saying it, even though the prophets had been saying it, for some reason, John didn't get it until he was there, and the tomb was empty. And he saw it. And he believed what he had been told. And John, he wrote down this gospel as an eyewitness, so that all of us could read it, so that all of us through his experience, through his eyes, could run down to the tomb and see that the tomb is empty, because Jesus is alive. That's the point here. And so, if you've never read the Gospel of John, if you've never gone through and studied what the claim that these men are making, these disciples who become the apostles. Because they are eyewitnesses. And later on, John, he sees Jesus with his own eyes, he sees him alive. And he wrote this down, because he's saying that you should believe in the resurrection of Jesus, he saw it, he believed it, you should believe it, too.
Now, if you've never studied that, of course, you would not believe it. It's not something you would just naturally or normally believe. You have to you have to read it. You have to hear it. And you have to see it, this is what the claim is. This is why you should believe it. I should believe it because people saw it, and they're telling me about it. I believe it because witnesses are telling me this is true, and what really happened.
Go over with me to 1 Corinthians 15 because there are many witnesses. And in fact, Paul, who's writing Romans for us, is one of the witnesses. So, if you can find 1 Corinthians 15. I want to read to you. Hear a list of different witnesses that have, and this is how God has revealed the resurrection of his son to us is through these writings, these scriptures we call them. And men writing, like John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, or like Paul that we're going to see here. And I know that a lot of people today, they're, like, I don't want to go read ancient writings. And a lot of people they don't want to read much today at all. They're like, I don't want to go study the Bible. How come we don't have pics? How come there's not a video I can watch of proof of the resurrection. And sometimes people start talking tough about the Bible. And they start saying, Well, if there was a picture I could see or a movie I could watch, then I would believe it. Hey, by that logic, my friend, there's a real place called the Death Star by that logic, all right, I mean, but by that logic, right, Middle Earth is a real reality. Okay? I mean, just because you can see it just because there's a movie of it does not mean that it is a real thing that happened. No, the reason you believe something really happened is eyewitnesses give you firsthand accounts. That's how it works. And there were many witnesses here at the time the scripture was being written.
Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3, it says, “For I delivered to you as a first importance what I also received.” This is Paul writing to a church. And he's giving them the good news that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas.” That's another name for Peter. So now we're saying that after Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and actually after he rose out up out of that grave, to give us a new eternal life, well, he started appearing to his disciples. He appeared to Peter, “then to the twelve. The twelve disciples saw Jesus alive. Then he appeared, this is verse 6, “he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” Five hundred eyewitnesses. And when Paul's writing this letter to the church in Corinth, he's saying, Hey, there's so many eyewitnesses, some of them at this point, have died. But there are hundreds, you could go ask them, you could go talk to them, they'll go tell you exactly where they were, exactly what he looked like, how they saw him.
We're talking about hundreds of people testifying. Yes, I know, Jesus died on the cross, but I saw him alive afterwards. And in fact, he goes on to say in verse 7, “Then he appeared to James, then he appeared to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me, for I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain.” So, here's Paul now getting very personal, that even though he wasn't one of the disciples, in fact, he was over here persecuting the church, persecuting the disciples. Well, Jesus appeared to him. He saw the risen Lord Jesus. And in fact, as we've been going through the book of Acts together as a church, we've seen Jesus speak to Paul on many different occasions. So, he got to see him. He got to see him and all of his glory and splendor as the risen Lord, the exalted one. And so, that's why he's going all over the world telling everybody about it, starting churches in all these cities. That's why we've got thirteen of his letters to different churches, because he has seen Jesus, He is alive, and he wants to teach us all about it. So if you don't believe, Well, I’ve got to ask you, How much have you really looked into the eyewitness writings of Scripture? Have you really just asked yourself, is this reasonable to believe? Have you really given them a chance? Have you let them state their case as to why you should believe that Jesus rose from the dead? Are you already biased against it? Do you not want to believe it? Have you really checked it out?
We want to invite you to come and study the Bible with us. Because we have read these accounts, we have studied them, some of us for years of our lives! And the more we study them, the more our faith grows, the more confident we become. And we want you to know something that is not just something we believe, but it is true that Jesus is ALIVE and He rose from the dead. And you’ve got to read the eyewitnesses. That's how you're going to come to faith.
So go back to Romans chapter 1 with me. And now let's make sure that we get the point of what Romans 1 verse 4 is saying, because it's saying for all of us who do believe this is what the resurrection should teach you. This is what you should think. If you're, like, I think no, I think the tomb was empty. I think he is alive. I think he did go up into heaven. Well, then you should know right away. Well, that means that Jesus is Lord. So, let's get that down. If you do believe Jesus rose up from the dead, then look up to him as Lord, look up to our Lord. That's how you should be. You should look up and be, like, Okay, well, that means that he is now the master, he is now the boss. That means that he actually lived a sinless life. That's what I think it means here and verse 4, when it says, “The Spirit of holiness,” I know there's a capital S in our English translation. A lot of times, we think of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, but I don't think that's what it's saying here. I think it's saying that Jesus, yeah, he was born in the line of David according to the flesh, but in his spirit, he was the Holy Son of God. And so, he established a perfect track record of righteousness when he was here on Earth. And then he died as a spotless, pure sacrifice to pay the penalty of our sin. And because he did not sin, death had no power over him. And he rose up from the grave, He has defeated now sin and death. He has paid for all of the wrath, all of the judgment. And he now offers a way of eternal life to all who come to faith in Him. So, Jesus, because of what he's done there in the resurrection, he's always been God's son. He's always been one with the Father. But since the resurrection, it has been determined, it has been appointed that Jesus is Lord. And that means he has authority, authority over kings, authority over nations. And Jesus has authority over our lives that right now, even as we live here, Easter 2022, in the United States of America, we have a king who is sitting at the right hand of the throne in heaven, and he reigned supreme over all of us. Can I get an amen from the congregation? Okay.
So, this is what you need to know about Jesus. It's not that he just did something 2000 years ago that's really significant. And matters today. No, Jesus is the Lord right now. And he decides how long you get to live, and he decides where you go after you die. He holds the keys, he calls the shots. It is Jesus' world, and we're just living it. You are not the center of the universe. Jesus is actually the one who upholds the universe by the Word of His power. Okay. You can believe me now; you will believe me later. Because you will see him. Every eye will see the King. Every knee will bow. Every single tongue someday, we'll all confess Jesus Christ is Lord. We want everybody to believe it here today. We want you to make that good confession. See, you can't make Jesus Lord, you don't have the authority even over your own life. Jesus is Lord over your life. And so, you make a confession about that's what the Bible says we should do. That's what the book of Romans is going to teach us, that if you believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead, and you make that confession with your mouth that He is Lord.
So, a confession is when you say the same thing as God, when you agree with God, maybe you think of confessing sin, because you agree with God that it was wrong, it was a sin. Well, you need to confess that Jesus is Lord and agree with God, because God has already made Jesus Lord since his resurrection. God determined that Jesus is the Lord. And so we need to confess, we need to agree with God. And we need to say, Yes, Jesus is the Lord, and then we should live that way. Like he now has authority over us. And let me just say, there is nobody better to run your life than Jesus Christ. I mean, you don't want to trust any other person. In fact, you don't even want to trust yourself more than you would trust Jesus, to lead you, to guide you, to be your Lord and your captain, the one who would really show you the way you could not have anybody else. Better run in your life than him. I mean, he's already proven how much he loves you, that he's willing to lay down his life, to pay for your sin. And now he rose up with power, and he has all authority as Lord, so he can control everything about your life. He can hold you in the palm of his hand and he can keep you safely all the way to his heavenly kingdom, till you're with him in glory forevermore. He can save your soul. There's nobody better to run your life than Jesus Christ our Lord. That's something you need to know. And those of us who have Jesus lead our lives, we are so thankful. We are so thankful for the love and the joy and the peace that he has given us.
Now go to Matthew 22 and let us hear Jesus teach us about this himself. In Matthew 22 … they used to have this reality show back in the day, it was called Stump Jesus. And no one ever won in this show, not one person. But they had a lot of contestants, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, I don't know if you've heard about these guys, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, probably have some of them walking around in the courtyard after the service. They will be the guys raising their hands and praying very loudly in front of everyone. They would come and they would try to trap Jesus. You're stuck with me here today, but if Jesus was teaching, you'd be hanging on every word. That's how it was. Jesus taught as someone who had authority, like someone who knew what he was talking about, like he was speaking straight from God. And he did these miracles, these healings. So, I mean, everybody wanted to go see Jesus do a miracle, to hear him teach. And so, the chief priests, the scribes, the leaders of the religion, they're among the Jewish people at this time, they see everybody going to follow Jesus. And so, they had to go, like, prove Jesus wasn't a good teacher. They had to go trap him, and get him to say something wrong, so they could turn the people back to them.
And so all of Matthew 22, or almost all of it is these different questions, trying to trap him in these sticky situations. And after they ask all these questions at the end, look at Matthew 22:41. Jesus, he decides it's his turn now to ask a question. And he says, Now, while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “’What do you think about the Christ or the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ And they said to him, ‘the son of David,’” which is the right answer, that's what they were waiting for the one who's going to come in the kingly line of David, and restore the nation of Israel. This is the hope of the Hebrew Bible. This is what the Jews were waiting for. And then now, here's where Jesus takes it up a notch and he changes the horizon line. He said to them, how is it then that David in the Spirit calls him Lord saying,” and he quotes one of the Psalms of David, Psalm 110:1, “the Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet. If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word. Nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. That got canceled everybody! No future seasons of Stump Jesus. Because he asked a question, and that was the end of the show right there.
Do you see what's happening here? God the Father, through the prophet David…And Jesus is now teaching us about this. We get to know that there was a conversation between God the Father, Yahweh, and his son, Jesus Adonai, where the Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand. When Jesus – when he ascended into heaven, the Father welcomes his victorious son, and he says, Okay, now you're at my right hand until your enemies are under your feet. So that is where Jesus is. When you think of God on the throne in heaven, you should think of Jesus at His right hand with all authority, and all power. That's how we should be thinking about him at this present moment. And this is how they preached him. This was the expectation. If you're saying I want to believe in Jesus, well, don't just believe in something that happened a long time ago, believe that he is Lord right now.
Go to Acts chapter 2, and let's look at some of the first sermons. So, we've heard Jesus teach it, now let's hear Peter preach it here in Acts 2:32. If Peter was preaching, he would be talking about this. And he would be saying what he said here in the first sermon of the church on the streets of Jerusalem, in front of a crowd of thousands. In Acts 2:32, he says, “this, Jesus,” if you can find Acts 2:32 with me, “this Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.” So, he's saying, Hey, we've seen it. We saw Jesus risen from the dead; we have seen him. We are here to be witnesses, to testify that God raised Him. And then we look at what he goes right into in verse 33, “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father, the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing for David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus, whom you crucified.”
What a message! You killed Jesus on the cross, God raised Him from the dead. And now he's been exalted to the name above every name. He has all authority, and he is the Lord. You killed the one who's now Lord of heaven and earth. Wow. No wonder three thousand people repented of their sins and believed in Jesus on that day when they realize, what have we done? And what should we now do based on the fact that we killed Jesus and God made him the Lord. So once again, he's preaching Psalm 110:1, and we're changing the horizon. We should no longer be looking for one in the line of David, who's just going to be an earthly king. No, now we're looking for the one who's resurrected from the dead and is reigning as the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, because that's what God exalted him to.
Go to Acts 13, and we'll hear Paul preached this. So, when I say resurrection, you should think, exaltation. When I say Jesus rose from the dead, you're thinking, Yeah, and he's Lord of all; that is the conclusion. The resurrection should bring every believer to here today, don't just think about what Jesus did two thousand years ago, think about how he's reigning over your life right now. In fact, he's reigning over all nations, all kingdoms, all languages, all people groups, they're all under Jesus. This is Acts 13:30. This is Paul teaching in the synagogue. Imagine getting to hear the Apostle Paul preaching, that would be awesome. And here's what he would say, Acts 13:30, “But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.” He rose from the dead. And then he was seen by many witnesses. Over five hundred, at one time, saw the risen Lord. “And we bring you the good new, that what God promised to the fathers this he has fulfilled to us, their children by raising Jesus, as also in his written in the second song, you are my Son, today I have begotten you.” That is Psalm 2:7, which is a whole song about how Jesus is the King over all the nations and all the rulers.
And so clearly there was a declaration God determined. He appointed Jesus as Lord in response to his resurrection. Now go back to Romans chapter 1 with me, because let's see what we're supposed to do about these two points we want to make here from verses 5, 6 and 7, from Romans chapter 1. If you don't believe in Jesus, well, there are some eyewitness testimonies you really need to consider. That we find a very compelling reason to believe in Jesus if you do believe in Jesus, that He rose from the dead. Well, you’ve got to know now that he is the Lord. And how should we then respond to the reality that he is reigning over us? That is our new horizon, to see the resurrection and the risen Lord Jesus, okay. We’ll look at verse 5 that says, “through whom Jesus our Lord, 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.” So, Paul here, he's telling them that I'm going to give you the gospel, and it's a gospel that comes from God, and the Gospel is all about someone you need to know. It's Jesus. Yes, he's the one coming in the line of David. He's the Son of God who is the Lord.
And so, when Paul met Jesus, he got grace. He did not get what he deserved from Jesus, he got unmerited favor. Jesus was very good to Paul. In fact, Jesus sent Paul out as one of his apostles. So, he's saying, and we received grace, and apostleship. And then here's what Paul is trying to bring about. It says, And this is a key phrase in the book of Romans, write this down, if you're taking notes, the “obedience of faith.” He says, Hey, Jesus gave me his grace. Jesus made me one of his apostles. And the whole point that Paul went around preaching about Jesus, and all the cities that he wrote all the letters about Jesus as he wanted to bring about something. There's a way that we're supposed to respond to Jesus, the obedience of faith is what he wants to see. In fact, he says that, for the sake of his name, this should be among all the nations, like, every single person on planet Earth, they need to hear that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead and God exalted him to be the Lord, to be our master. Everybody needs to hear that, and in all the nations, in all the languages on planet Earth, they all need to know who Jesus really is for the sake of his name being known. And the goal is that it would bring about the obedience of faith. That's the response that God is looking for.
Now, turn with me to the end of the book, Romans, chapter 16. All right. I'm hoping that you will read through Romans with us; I'm hoping you'll come back week after week, and we'll just keep going through it line by line all the way through. Who's already, like, I'm in for the book of Romans? Who's already telling me, You're with me right now? Anybody in for the book of Romans? Okay? Well, it's going to take us a very long time to get to Romans 16. So, let's get there right now. And I want you to see that he starts and finishes this in the same way. Okay. And he ends with a doxology, which is a statement to give God glory, a statement of praise, a statement where you're asking God to do something great and awesome. And he says, “Now to Him, who is able, who has the power to strengthen you, according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed, and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God to bring about”… what does it say there everybody? “the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
So, he's writing from the beginning, he said, the goal here of me telling you about Jesus is to bring about in your life, the obedience of faith. And at the end, he's saying, God is able to strengthen you, God has the power to open your eyes to see it, so that you can really believe it. And that this message of Jesus that was a mystery for a long time. And now it's been revealed so that you could have the obedience of faith. That's the response that God wants from every single person.
And let's get it down like this, for point number one, “You've got to hear the word to have the faith.” Hear the word, to have the faith. That's how it works. As we study Romans, as we hear the teaching about Jesus, we can then respond by believing it, by trusting in it. So, this is a key idea of faith, is such a big idea. In the book of Romans, we're going to learn so much about faith, I hope that people are going to have faith for the first time in their lives and those of us who have faith, I'm hoping that going through this will increase your faith in the Lord more than you have ever known in your entire life. That's the theme of this book: obedience. These days, obedience is kind of like a bad word. Even at church, people don't like to talk about obedience. Like we're bringing up obedience on Easter. For real right now, you know, like, Who wants somebody else telling you what to do? Well, when it's Jesus, who died for you and rose and has power over the grave, and is the lord over your life, well, then yeah, you want to hear what he has for you to do, because you believe that Jesus has your best interest at heart, that he's going to tell you to do things that are actually going to be good for you to do them for everybody else around you, that will benefit. So yeah, what is Jesus? See, obedience, it's the idea of hearing. I mean, really, if you get into the Greek language, and you look at the root of the word that's translated here, obedience, it's the idea of you hear something and you think, yeah, I believe that I'm going to do that. That's what obedience is. It's doing what you're told and believing who you're listening to. And you, you have the obedience then have faith. So it comes from hearing. So, of course, you're not going to believe if you never hear I mean, just to say it in a nice way, delicately, we're here every Sunday morning at nine o'clock. we'd love to have you come back everybody, because the more you hear, you're not going to be going to church one time a year, you're not even really going to be strong in your faith. If you just hear about Jesus one time a week. That's why we want to read the Bible together throughout the week, because the more you hear, the more faith you're going to have.
Go to Romans 10:16 with me. Let's just jump right into the middle of the book. It's at the beginning, it's at the end. Let's just go to Romans 10:16, here towards the middle. This is the theme that Paul wants to give. I've got to give you this teaching about Jesus, and you've got to hear it so it can bring about the obedience of faith. How can you believe in something you never really heard about before? You've never really taken time to study before. And so, he says here in Romans 10:16, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel.” See, the gospel, the good news of Jesus, the fact that he paid for your sin, well, that demands a response like, are you going to keep living in sin? Or are you going to turn from your sin? The fact that he rose from the dead and offers eternal life and is reigning now as Lord, we’ll see that demands a response. Are you going to confess that He is Lord and put your trust in Him with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding? Or you're going to keep living life based on the way that you want to live life? See, it's about obeying the gospel. Yes, it's good news, but what is your response to it? And not everybody has the obedience of faith. Not everybody obeys. And he says, he quotes Isaiah, Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us. It's like, why aren't people believing when they're hearing the message? Verse 17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Don't try to go and fake some faith. Don't try to go and pump yourself up to muster up some faith. Now, if you want to have faith, get your eyeballs into this book, see what it says about Jesus, and watch your confidence in him soar, watch your confidence in Jesus increase. You need the word of Christ; you need to hear it. That's how you will have strong faith. And if you only get a little bit into the Scriptures about Jesus, then you will only have little faith. And you might be okay with little faith in your life. Let's make it very clear here: Jesus wasn't okay when his disciples had little faith. That was his regular rebuke to His own disciples. Why do you doubt, O ye of little faith? The reason? Maybe some of us feel like my faith isn't that strong? Well, let me ask you, How much time have you spent hearing, reading, studying the gospel of Jesus revealed in a book like Romans? If you haven't spent a lot of time doing that, there is no possible way you can have strong faith. Faith comes from hearing about Jesus, the more you know about Jesus, and how awesome and glorious, and how much he loves you and cares for you, then your faith is going to increase. That's why I really encourage everybody here, get as much of the scripture in your heart as you can, so you can have faith in these dark days, in these trying times that we are living in, where there is evil all around us. If you just start listening to the news, and what's going on in the world, if you just start listening to what other people say, if you even just listen to your own thoughts, and follow your own ideas, you will not end up being a person of faith. If you want to have faith, you have to listen to the word of Jesus Christ. And that will give you a strength to believe in things that you can't even see with your eyes. And you will have an assurance of things that you can only hope for. You will have an experience, and you will know them because you learn them about Jesus Christ in the scriptures and God opens your eyes. And you can see that there is resurrection on the horizon.
Go back to Romans chapter 1 now, because in verses 6 and 7, he begins to address the people, specifically now, he's talking to those who believe in Rome. And he uses this idea here of a call in both of these verses. Look at what he says, he says, “including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome, who are loved by God, and called to be saints.” And then he says, this greeting that maybe you've read before, if you've read the Bible. If you've read any of the letters of Paul you know this greeting. “Grace to you and peace,” He says, “from God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” That's how you can know Jesus has been exalted to the highest place, when we're putting the name the Lord Jesus right next to God, the Father, like that's where grace and peace come from, is the Throne. They're in heaven, and Jesus is right there at his right hand. But notice what he says about these people that he's writing to, the believers in Rome. He says, You're called to belong to Jesus. “You're called to be saints.”
To be a saint means you're set apart. You're not of this world anymore. You're set apart from your old life of sin. And you're now set apart to live for your Lord, to live for His purpose. You're set about now apart for the obedience of faith. So, you're not who you used to be. You've been set apart to be somebody new in Jesus Christ. And he's saying, you guys got called. Everybody here understands “getting called.” you've probably got a phone in your pocket right now. You’ve probably got a phone in your purse. We carry around devices. Anybody here ever call somebody, and they don't answer, and you're, like, Why did I even do that? Right? I should have just texted him. How dare they? How dare they not answer me? You know what I mean? Like, there we are like, Hey, why doesn't the world exist around me? Why can't they just answer when I call? You know what I mean? That's what we think. Right? We all get the idea of getting called and that's how the Bible talks about it, like, an effectual call, like God is sending his message through Jesus, through the eyewitnesses. His message is going out. It is a call, and people are responding to the call of God. People aren't picking it up. People are hearing what God is saying. Even at a service like this, maybe they came because somebody invited them, somebody dragged them. Everybody starts out not really believing in Jesus, everybody starts out being dragged to church by somebody else who wants them to go. Nobody ever starts out coming to church for the right reasons, so to speak, right? And everybody shows up one day and they hear something. They hear a call. And they realize it's not some man preach, and it's not some book we're reading. But they realize God is trying to get my attention right now. God sent His Son because God wants to save my soul. And he doesn't want me to live against him. He wants me to live with him.
And people here that call, that's who he's talking to, he says, Hey, you were called to be one of the people of Jesus, you were called to be one of the saints, one of God's holy ones, one of the ones that that God loves. So, he adopts you as his son or his daughter, and you become holy as He is holding you. You just go for the rest of your life becoming less and less like your old self, and more and more like Jesus. And he's saying, you guys heard the call. And he thinks that what he's going to write here, see, I think a lot of us when we read that Grace to you, we just kind of keep moving on. Okay, that's the introduction. Let's get into the real letter. Know, when he's writing this letter, he thinks that by writing to them about Jesus, it will actually be a means to give them grace, hidden, that people who really study Romans will actually experience peace in their soul with God and the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Son. Like he thinks that through this letter, you will know the goodness of our God, the unmerited favor, that God is not giving you what you deserve, but he wants to give you blessings. Instead, he is writing so that you could have an experience of the goodness of God through the book of Romans. This is Grace to You.
See, I think a lot of people think God's not very good at his job. I think a lot of people think that a lot more people would believe in Jesus on Easter, if Jesus was doing like some church-hopping on Easter, right? If Jesus walked in here, right now, hey, who doesn't believe booyah, right. And then everybody would leave believing. Basically, I think that's what people think, well, if I see it, then I would believe it, that's where people think it would be better if Jesus was still here. If he was still, why did he just show himself to five hundred? Why can't he show himself to everybody? why can't everybody be an eyewitness? Why do we have to read books and take it from other people? Why can't we all see Jesus for ourselves, and sometimes, people, they get very skeptical about what God is doing. And they think it would be better if Jesus was still here on Earth. And everybody could see him.
Turn with me to Hebrews 7:25. And I want to show you why it's great for you here this morning that Jesus is not here with us, but that he's at the right hand of the Father. Jesus is at that place where he is ready now to intercede, to welcome anyone who wants to go to God. See, back in the day, in the nation of Israel and the Hebrew Bible, the law of Moses, they had priests, and when you wanted to go to God, you had to go to the priest and offer a sacrifice. And the priest is the one who would usher you into the presence of God. Well, look what it says here, in Hebrews chapter 7. And let's actually start here in verse 23. When it's describing the old way, where they used to have priests, it says, “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office.” See, the old priests weren't very good, because they kept dying all the time. So, we had to have a lot of priests, because they kept dying. And so, we needed more of them. That's what they're saying here. Yeah, he was your priest for a while, and then he died, right? So, when we got more of them, “but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able,” he has the power, “to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” You now have 24/7 unlimited access to God through Jesus Christ.
If he was still on here on Earth, you can see him in one place at a time. Because he's at the right hand of the Father, all people everywhere can go and pray to God at any time, and God will hear you because Jesus will be your priest and he will intercede for your prayer. When you pray to God through faith, in the name of Jesus, God will hear you and answer you. And through this, you have now an unlimited supply of grace coming from the throne in heaven, right into your face here today. That's what you've got. And there are no supply-chain problems coming from heaven because Jesus is risen from the dead and always lives to intercede for us. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Oh, it's really good that Jesus is not beside us here today. But he's beside the father. That's right where we want him to be. Because what that means is there is always more grace.
Let's get that down for point number two: “Jesus always has more grace.” We will never run out of the goodness of God, revealed to us through His Son, Jesus. There is no limit to his love. There is no boundary to His Mercy. The Horizon now is even beyond what we can see, and how good God wants to be to us. We don't have to experience the hopelessness of thinking death is the end. We can know there is more grace. And in fact, the best grace is yet to come for all who believe in the name of Jesus.
Go back to Hebrews 4:14, and let's really think through what Jesus is doing when he is being our priest. He's our mediator. He's interceding between God and us. You could pray maybe even for the first time. Some of you could pray today, or you can pray as you do every day. Today, because Jesus is right there ready to say to the Father, that he died to pay the full penalty for your sin, and he now lives to bring you into God's presence. And here in Hebrews 4:14, it says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God.” He's resurrected, he's ascended, he's been exalted, and he's right there. So let us hold fast our confession that he's the Lord. For we do not have a high priest, who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. See, Jesus, he put on flesh, he was born in the line of David, he's gone through all that we've been through in life, yet he did it in a spirit of holiness, without sin. So, he knows all of our trials and temptations, but he never once broke, he never once gave in; he established a track record of righteousness. He knows what you're in, and he knows the way out. He can give you the rescue of grace. And so, it says here in verse 16, “Let us then with confidence” with faith, “drawn nearer to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Whenever you go to God in the name of Jesus, whenever you pray to God, whatever situation you're in, right now, if you were to cry out to God, and say, God, I can't do it, I can't do it by myself, I need your help. And I come to you in the name of the one who died and rose again, in the name of the Lord Jesus. I guarantee you, if you go to God like that, he will not give you what you deserve, and you will find his goodness in your life. You will find that there is grace for everything that we're going to face in this life. And it's all because Jesus rose from the dead. And right now, he is alive, interceding for all of us who see Him by faith.
So, I'm here to ask you today, where is your horizon? What can you see on the horizon? Do you just think death is coming? Or do you see life, through the resurrection of Jesus our Lord. Let me pray for us.
Father in heaven, we want to thank you for the amazing grace that you have given to us through your Son, Jesus, and we thank you that we could gather together and we could speak your gospel, your good news, that Jesus came down here to be among us, to live that perfect life that we have failed to live, and to die in our place on that cross. And, Father, we are so thankful to celebrate together this morning that Jesus did not stay dead. That up from the grave he arose. And, Father, I pray that we could see him even now. Not by sight, like those witnesses did two thousand years ago, but that we could see him now through the obedience of faith, that we could see him at your right hand, that we could see him exalted as Lord, that we could see that he's even the reason you're hearing this prayer Father, because Jesus is interceding for us. So, Father, we want to thank you for the grace that you gave two thousand years ago, when you raised Jesus up from the dead. We want to thank you for the grace that we can experience right now, this morning, worshiping Jesus, and we want to thank you for a grace that will be with us every step from here to eternity from today, all the way until we get home, until we reach our horizon, till we reach the limit of our time and the boundary of this body. And when we come to death, we want to say thank you Father, that there is grace, even for death in Jesus, because of his resurrection, that we will be alive forevermore, that we will see Jesus and all of his glory and that we will rejoice with the joy inexpressible, a joy like we have never known, because of all the grace that you will give to us. So, Father, we thank you that your grace is amazing, and we're here to say to you that we are amazed. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
Father in Heaven we thank you so much that you have opened our eyes to see the risen Lord Jesus by faith. We thank you for the grace that you have given to us that we could see him there at your right hand exalted to the name that is above every name. And Father, we have gathered here today to worship You, and to give all glory to the risen Lord Jesus. And Father, we pray that even now on Easter 2022 that more eyes would be opened to see Jesus for who He really is. That even this word going out today would bring about the obedience of faith in more souls, and that it would be known here in Huntington Beach, as it is in heaven, that Jesus is the Lord, and that every knee is going to bow, every tongue is going to confess, and so let us make that confession here today as we come to you. Father, we thank you that we can come to you for an unlimited supply of grace. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen. Happy Easter, everybody. Have a great day.
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