Orwell Bible Church

Romans 9

Chapters 9-11 explain why most Jews didn’t believe the gospel Paul preached and addresses the Gentile tendency to look down on Jews. Romans 9:1-29 focuses on God’s sovereign election of some Israelites to salvation. Romans 9:30-10:21 focuses on Israel’s rejection of the gospel because of their unbelief. Romans 11 focuses on Israel’s present and future.

Paul begins by expressing his longing for all Israel to be saved (9:1-5) yet teaching that all Israel hasn’t been saved because God didn’t choose to save all of them (vv. 6-29). God saves those whom he chooses to save (vv. 6-13). God the Creator has the right to show mercy to whom he pleases (vv. 14-29). This is consistent with Scripture (vv. 15-18) and God’s character (vv. 19-29).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Salvation is entirely of the Lord, from beginning to end. Sinners deserve only one thing, judgment. The fact that any are saved is due entirely to God’s mercy. God is not obligated to show mercy. The fact that he does is astounding. Meditate and think on, submit to, and give thanks for God’s sovereign grace and mercy!
  2. God chooses to save some sinners based solely on his sovereign will, compassion, and mercy. The rest of sinners continue willingly in their sin, and God lets them go that way (v. 18). God endures rebels (v. 22) yet shows mercy to his elect (v. 23). No one can find fault with God (vv. 19-21) for no one deserves salvation.
  3. A right consideration of the doctrine of election should cause believers great joy, faith in the Lord, humility, faithfulness, zealous labor, personal holiness, and confidence in evangelism.

Romans 8

Here Paul finishes teaching how Christians must live in light of the righteous standing they have through Jesus Christ. Chapter seven worked out a statement in 7:5, that because Christians still have sin indwelling them, they cannot successfully obey God in their own strength. Chapter eight works out 7:6, that Christians live by the Holy Spirit (note 8:1-4). Unbelievers (“carnally minded,” vv. 5-8) are unable and unwilling to obey the Lord, whereas Christians live because of and through the Holy Spirit (vv. 5-6, 9-11).

How can Christians live Christ-like lives? By depending on the Spirit to continually be “killing” sin in their lives (vv. 12-14). The Spirit’s convincing work in the believer’s heart (vv. 15-17) must compel this “living like Christ” that necessarily involves “killing sin.”

The Spirit continually works in believers as they experience suffering (vv. 18-25) and express their sorrows in praying (vv. 26-27). The “groanings” (v. 26) does not refer to praying in tongues but is a figure of speech expressing the Spirit’s prayers according to God’s will for Christians’ definite needs (v. 27). Though Christians may go through suffering they must remember [1] God’s sovereign, gracious love for them through their suffering (vv. 28-30) and [2] that nothing in creation can separate them from God’s love in Christ (vv. 35-39).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. Those who are justified by God through Christ are those who are being sanctified by God through the Spirit. If there is no fruit of growing Christ-likeness, then most likely there is no justification.
  2. True Christians kill sin. This is an obligation, Christian, not an option! You cannot be casual or unconcerned about sin: you live in a world that is God’s enemy where there is a devil roaming about and sin within you that wars, tempts, and lures. The Spirit works to make you like Christ, and you must participate in his work!
  3. When you experience great suffering that is exactly the time you need to seek the Lord more, not less! Christian, God ordains every one of your experiences to make you more like Christ and glorify him.

Romans 7

In the previous chapter Paul taught that because Christians are dead to sin and alive to Christ, they must stop giving themselves to sin and instead give themselves to live righteous lives. Here Paul continues teaching how Christians should live. He starts by pointing out that Christians have died to the Mosaic Law (they are not under its jurisdiction) and have been joined to Christ (they are under Christ’s jurisdiction, the Law of Christ). Because of this new relationship Christians can bear fruit for God (vv. 1-6).

Verses 5-6 are important for this and the next chapter. Verse five is developed in the rest of this chapter and verse six in the next.

Verse five teaches that unbelievers are dominated by their sin nature (“flesh”); the Law stimulated more sin, resulting in death. Before one becomes a Christian one’s sinful passions react to the Law not with glad submission but obstinate rebellion (vv. 7-8). The problem wasn’t the Law but the sinful passions (vv. 9-11). The Law is holy, stating and enforcing righteousness, but it provides no power to keep it.

Verses 13-25 are from the standpoint of a Christian trying to obey the Law in his own strength. While there is a love for and desire to obey God, depending on self is guaranteed to fail. Instead, the Christian’s only hope is depending on Christ (vv. 24-25).

Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On

  1. The Mosaic Law is Scripture and thus is inspired and profitable for Christian life and growth (2 Tim 3:16-17). This is true of all Scripture. But that does not mean that Christians are responsible for obeying the Mosaic Law like Israel was in the OT. You can—and must!—learn about God and his will from all Scripture by accurately understanding and applying it to your life.
  2. If you are a Christian you have been joined with Christ (“married,” v. 4). Are you wholly devoted to him as a faithful “spouse”? With all that you are and have (cf. James 4:4)?
  3. Christian, you must obey God, but you cannot depend on yourself to do that! Your only hope is in Jesus Christ, not yourself. Just as you could not save yourself you cannot grow more like Christ by yourself. You must depend on Christ for salvation and Christ-like living!

Proverbs 22

Proverbs describing life and encouraging wisdom.

  • What common factor does everyone share (v. 2)? How should that help you evaluate your “status”?
  • Remember that proverbs make statements that are generally (usually) true; they are not iron-clad guarantees. How could this be illustrated with verses 4, 6, 11 and 15?

Proverbs 21

Proverbs describing life and encouraging wisdom.

  • Verse 2 emphasizes the importance of the fear of the Lord.
  • Quick decisions are usually bad decisions (v. 5). It is better to take your time.
  • What does your heart desire (v. 17)?

Proverbs 20

Proverbs describing life and encouraging wisdom.

Proverbs 19

Proverbs describing life and encouraging wisdom.

  • Proverbs like verse 6 simply state “how things are”—it does not necessarily recommend it.
  • Young ladies, gain God’s wisdom now (v. 14)! You don’t become prudent when you get married—it does not depend on the status of your relationship.
  • External discipline is only as effective as the character of the heart (v. 25).

Proverbs 18

Proverbs contrasting righteousness (wisdom) and wickedness (foolishness).

  • Verses 1–2 provide helpful counsel for growing in wisdom. Why are they true?
  • What is the point of verse 17? How could it be applied in a family? Church? Work? Media? Government?

Proverbs 17

Proverbs contrasting righteousness (wisdom) and wickedness (foolishness).

  • Compare verse 14 with verses 27–28.

Proverbs 16

Proverbs contrasting righteousness (wisdom) and wickedness (foolishness).

  • In Bible times merchants had bags with weights for their scales, and they could cheat customers by adding to or taking away from the bags (v. 11).
  • How valuable is wisdom to you (v. 16)? How is that proven in your life?

Proverbs 15

Proverbs contrasting righteousness (wisdom) and wickedness (foolishness).

  • Apply verse 14 to our entertainment and amusement oriented society.
  • What is emphasized and esteemed in verses 16–17?
  • Why is verse 28 true?

Proverbs 14

Proverbs contrasting righteousness (wisdom) and wickedness (foolishness).

  • What is the principle of verse 7? Why is this so?
  • Why is verse 30 true? Which does Christianity produce and encourage? Which does Hollywood and the media produce and encourage? Remember what Solomon taught in 2:1–4, 10; 3:3, 5; 4:4, 20–27.
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