Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Romans 5:1 – 11
Holy Discontent

“God is not content with merely justifying a person by faith, but wants that original faith to produce results.”

I. God intends to produce results.

A. They come in three forms.

1. The PAST is put at peace [v 1].

a. Sin breeds unrest and puts barriers between us and God.

b. Jesus died to reconcile us to God.

2. The PRESENT is lived through access [v 2].

a. The idea here is “to be brought into” or introduction.

b. Through Jesus we have full access to God the Father.

3. The future is defined by hope [v 3].

a. We “stand” = a place of dignity/honor in the presence of God.

b. Hope makes eternity the immediate context of our lives.

B. The human problem seems incurable.

1. Malcom Gladwell (“The Tipping Point”) talks about the Darley and Batson study.

a. We are not influenced by the CONVICTION of our heart [what we believe].

b. We are not influenced by the CONTENT of our minds [what we know].

c. We are influence by most by the immediate CONTEXT.

***** The effect is that the immediate context has the ability “of turning someone, in that particular moment, into a different person. *****

2. The Christian’s CONTEXT is different.

a. The Christian’s immediate context is eternity [we are already in it].

b. The Christian’s immediate company is God [before whom we now stand].

II. God intends to move us closer [to Himself].

A. Why did God justify us?

1. There is a reason.

a. The reason is His, not ours.

b. What motivates God is not what motivates us.

2. There is a purpose.

a. The purpose is His, not ours.

b. God’s work is not for our benefit – it’s for others and ultimately His.

3. There is a plan.

a. The plan is His not ours.

b. We plan but God directs our steps.

B. The closer we are to God the less immediate context effects us.

1. It happens in relationships.

a. The closer you are to someone the more their opinion matters (and others do not).

b. Spiritually it is not a matter of the will, it is a matter of love (John Wesley).

2. God wants to move us away from:

a. The things that do not matter in eternity.

b. The things that can drag us back in unrest and separation from God.

III. God intends to move us to significance.

A. Reconciled people rejoice.

1. Reconciled people rejoice in suffering [v 3].

a. This is so contrary to “immediate context.”

b. If we get stuck in the immediate we never move through the process and the storms we go through are wasted.

2. Reconciled people rejoice in what we have [v 4].

a. There is an unmistakable awe in what Jesus has done.

b. There is an “unhidable” enthusiasm for something better that anything else we’ve ever experienced. [Possibly we are not enthusiastic because we have never experienced it.]

B. In what ways?

1. We learn to rejoice because:

a. We know circumstances are temporary.

b. We believe Jesus is forever.

2. We learn to love back.

a. We open ourselves to accept God’s acts of kindness.

b. We understand God’s unconditional love toward us.

1.) We are not innocent (righteous) or useful (good man) [v 7].

2.) We are powerless, ungodly [v 6] and sinners [v 8].

IV. God intends to move us past ourselves.

A. Human nature:

1. We see our actions as consequences of other’s actions (Swann study).

2. We others actions as the cause of what happens (Swann study).

3. We also remember selectively, the more invested, the more selectively.

B. Storms are the means God uses to bring the Christian to maturity.

1. Suffering is to produce perseverance.

a. It can produce stability [profitable].

b. It can produce pity [wasted].

2. Perseverance is to produce character.

a. This can produce consistency and ethical behavior [profitable].

b. It can produce arrogance [wasted].

3. Character produces hope.

a. This can bring our lives and dreams into line with Jesus.

b. Or it can produce a “success syndrome.”

“Hope is the fabric that holds life together.”

“Disappointment is the edge of discontent.”

Which will you chose to live in?

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