Romans 4:13-25

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I’m going to invite you to Romans chapter four. Romans four is where we’re going to be today. As we study this, this this place in this text, significant place in text, that’s the Romans chapter four. It’s going to encourage us today when we think about Alpine Bible Church. One of the things that I like to say regularly, regularly to us as a church so it becomes a part of our DNA, is that we want to be a church that lives to give itself away for the glory of God. We’re not here simply for us. If Christianity was simply just about you, you get saved and that’s all you’re intended to do in Jesus. Then as soon as you come to trust in Christ, God would have taken you on into glory. Right? But the reason He He has you here and the reason he created his church is because the church is called to live on mission, to advance for his glory. We’re like a not a clubhouse, but we’re like a battleship, right? We become strengthened in our walk with Jesus in order to live for his glory in this world. Now, when I say Battleship, I want you to know. And that kind of imagery, I’m not telling you to go out and fight against people. That’s not what we’re about as a church. But rather God’s called us on mission to fight for people. God calls us on a rescue mission to to rescue the hearts of people that are leading to death and destruction apart from the Lord, and to call them into relationship with God that they can experience his goodness and glory for all of eternity.

Living as a church for God’s glory in this world. We recognize that the things of this world wage war against the things of God, and we’re called to live as servants of Christ in this world that mimic the behavior of Jesus, just as Jesus became the servants of servants and gave His life for our glory. So we now serve to live for His glory to the benefit of others. And sometimes when we live that way, it can cut us. But when we get cut for the glory of God, our heart is to continue to to bleed for for the Lord. But sometimes when you go through life and you have this mission to live for Him, sometimes life can lead to some disappointment. And in that we find discouragement and we get disoriented from what God calls us to. And sometimes we can get a little jaded. And so the question we want to answer today or explore as we go through this text is how can we trust in God when all of the things in life can can fell us? Sometimes it’s hard to trust when you get disappointed and when you come to Romans. Chapter four Remember Paul’s approaching Romans Chapter four as if to say, And now I’m going to prove to you everything that I’ve just said right In the first three chapters of Romans, Paul tells really all people of that have ever existed throughout history that our condition, apart from God, is under the wrath of God.

And we need hope to escape that and not just simply escape the wrath of God, but to find ourselves under the grace of God. And Paul tells us it’s not based on our performance, but it’s based on on his performance on our behalf. And when you get to Romans chapter four, it’s as if the crowd is saying to Paul, The church in Rome is saying to Paul, Look, Paul, prove it, prove it. Show us that this is really how we should live our lives in light of who got is that our trust needs to be in him And in Romans Chapter four is shaped that way, and it continues through the second half of Romans chapter four, which is where we’re going to pick up today. We read the first 12 verses last week. We’re going to look at these last verses from verse 13 to 25 this week. But we’re going to we’re going to point out three reasons why we’re to keep the faith in the Lord when everything else in life might disappoint you. And it has everything to do with who God is. How we live our lives in light of him is based on who he is.

We need something healthy and good to to trust him. And can I can I tell you one of the quickest ways? One of the quickest ways to earn people’s trust. Is to be willing to to suffer with them. And this is exactly what God has done for you. And he has found us in our place of darkness and despair apart from him. And he became flesh in that with us and willingly gave his life for us so that we could live our lives for him. God did this for you, and he did this for me. And you see his good hand there. And. And that’s how you really begin to understand if leaders really care about you, if or if other people really care about you, not just the Lord is if they’re willing to come alongside you and suffer with you and struggle with you and some of the things that you face in life. I think coincidentally, it’s also some of the reason people might be reluctant to trust politicians. Right. They seem to want to take from you more than they give give to you. It’s why I think it was Ronald Reagan that said some of the scariest words that you will ever hear in your life is and someone knocks on your door and says, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

Right? It’s not. And I try and say all politicians are bad. I’m just saying there is this reluctance on behalf of people to trust political leaders no matter where you are, because it seems that they take more than they give. But but when someone’s willing to enter into that, that place of suffering with you in order to come alongside you, to aid you and to help you, it starts to give you this this place of trust. And so point number one this morning is three reasons to keep the faith in the Lord. Number one is this. He is he is reliable. He is reliable CT stud when he considered his life as a missionary in response to the Lord’s somebody. Some people looked at CT stud and and the kind of life that he gave up as a he was a world figure, really. And he he gives up that position to go serve God as a missionary. And they talk about the sacrifice he made for that. And he and he looked at his life and he said, you know, when I consider what Christ has done for me, there is nothing that I can do for him. That’s really a sacrifice in comparison to what God has given me. And to understand that what God has given you the reliability of that so important. Look at this and in verse 13 says this for us, it says for the promise, and this would be chapter four, not Chapter six is wrong on the screen for the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law, but through the righteousness of faith, for it is the adherence of the law who are to be the heirs.

Faith is null and the promise is void for the law brings wrath. But where there is no law, there is no transgression. So. So he’s putting out something in verse 13, very important to us. This is sort of the theme of this section of scripture. He talks about the key word here. And we when we think about the reliability, God is the idea of of promise. He he uses this word promise in verse 13, verse 14, verse 16 and verse 20, he reiterates the idea of what God has promised you. And then in verse 21, he uses it not as a noun, but then he uses it as a as a verb in verse 21. So he uses this idea of a promise five times within this section of the Scripture to understand the significance of what God has has accomplished for us. And in terms of the reliability, what He wants us to acknowledge in our heart is that this promise that God gives is unbreakable. So many times we in life have people that come to us and they might give us a promise, and we find that that promise just falls apart and we get tired of those broken promises.

But the promise to Abraham, he reminds us in verse 13. Was not based on Abraham’s behavior. But on God’s character. The promise is dependable because the promise is not contingent. He’s saying on what you do. The promise is contingent on who God is. I remember I shared with us last week the passage from Joshua, chapter 24, verse two, as the kind of person that Abraham was before God called him in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham was not this do gooder. Abraham was not this godly individual. Abraham wasn’t wasn’t the kind of person where God’s looking over the world and thinking, who is the best person that exists? I know. I’ll take Abraham. That’s not Abraham’s life at all. Abraham was raised by a pagan father who who pushed him towards idolatry. He lived in a idolatrous land. They weren’t pursuing God. God’s not picking the best person in the bunch. He says he picks Abraham by his grace. Joshua, 24 two, told us that Joshua said to all the people, thus say it The Lord, the God of Israel. Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates Terah, the Father of Abraham and of Niger, and they served other gods. This promise wasn’t contingent upon our behavior. This promise is contingent upon his character. Which is why in Genesis 12, you see this repeated in the Book of Genesis, in the life of Abraham in chapter 12 and in chapter 15, verse five, in chapter 17, verse 4 to 6, God reminding Abraham over and over the promise he gives to Abraham, not contingent upon who Abraham is, but on who the Lord is.

And the Lord said to Abraham, Leave your your native country, your relatives and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you when he talks. In terms of the promise that we’re reading about this, is that promise I’m going to take you to a land and I’m going to make you a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous and you’ll be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on the earth will be blessed through you. The reason that God gives Abraham this promise is that Abraham God uses Abraham to create a lineage through him. Land, seed and blessing is what’s promised to Abraham, and God’s reminding of us in this passage that that promise is not contingent upon us, but on him. Trust in the promises. And he reminds us why in verse 14 It’s not based on the law, meaning religious living. But it’s my faith. Otherwise, he warns us in verse 14 that if we if we try to to live this promise based on on performance, that our faith is null and the promise is is void.

And that’s the the battle within our human nature. We try to revert back to our our behavior as the basis for why we should receive anything. But but biblical faith. He’s reminding us in this passage by by referring to faith, biblical faith is this expectation based on the precedent that God has established through his character and conduct? Faith is this expectation of what is to come. Biblical faith is this expectation and what is to come based on the precedent of what God has established through his character and conduct. Meaning, when we talk in terms of faith, it’s not just this at least biblically, it’s not this blind ignorance. People can certainly use a faith establish on this blind ignorance. I just I sort of hope it works out right. But that’s not the way God is operated. God for us in this biblical sense, when he calls us to faith as he set a precedent for us in order to be able to trust in something that is durable, that is lasting, that will not disappoint. And it’s established on his character and conduct. People. Our tendency. Is to look for hope. And to put faith. And unreliable places. And what that leads us to is is disappointment. And he reminds us at the end of verse 15 four, the law brings wrath. But where there is no law, there is no transgression.

And for us, Jesus becomes the fulfillment of the laws demand. The law which holds us guilty, Christ becomes that substitute for us, and he bears on him the the curse of sin so that we can find freedom in Christ. God is reliable. Point number two, then, is this God is available. God is available. Written in our Divine design by the Lord is a want to belong and be connected. We want to be a part of something and we want that something to have life to it. We’re attracted to life as people, and we all want to feel significant by the support of of things around us will gravitate towards anything that makes us feel significant and special. And sometimes those things are unhealthy. But my my hope for you is that you find it in the Lord. And one of the important things that we discover in verse 1617, I’ll read in just a minute, but but God is available. This past week I had to fly to Atlanta to go to a conference, and on my flight to Atlanta, I was I was really happy because I thought I was about to end my walk of shame because we all want to be connected and feel like we belong and find some importance in who we are. And by Walk of Shame, I mean this how if I fly a particular airline and on that particular airline, I flew so much last year going to Africa a few times and back that I was on the cusp of becoming a diamond member.

I missed it by just like a couple bucks, man. And and I thought I had it in the bag. And then I got I got to the I got to the airport and realized I am not diamond. I’m just I’m just silver. And I find out what is what is silver get you? Well, it works like this. They start to call you and the line to go up to the front. And then you realize like as you’re waiting there, they call first class and military members and anyone that needs special assistance getting on the airplane and then in front of silver comes comes diamond and anyone with priority and anyone with comfort plus. And then I swear, at one point they said, anyone not named Nathaniel, right? Like everyone gets on the airplane and then and then it’s your turn. And, you know, by the time you get on, there’s nowhere to put your luggage and you’ve got to do the walk of shame. And the walk of shame is where you stare at everyone that’s more important than you as you board the airplane. Last of all, you know, scrubbing the back. That’s how that works, right? Because all of us, we just we want to feel empowered. And I’m too cheap to ever buy a first class, so that’ll never happen for me.

But but, but, but to go through that, you just think to yourself, one day I want to be like them, right? Like you want to feel accepted. Like you belong. When you read the promises of God. The jaded ness of our culture is to ask the question like, or maybe even make the statement. If it’s too good to be true, it must be. I hear what God says, but what’s the catch? What’s the one thing that’s going to disqualify me, Right? How is it that I know everyone else gets it but me? At one point in my life I want to get that email where the Prince of Nigeria is real. You know, the one that we’re here. Like I’ve got a million gold bars, but it’s stuck in customs. I’m the prince of Nigeria, and I really believe in you. Right. But if you just send me your Social Security number in 10,000, we can pay for that to get through customs. And you get just one time in my life. I want to I want to be I want to be that person. Right. But but to be a part and feel like you belong. To know what you have is special. And what you’ve received in Christ makes you special. And it’s so important for us as a church that to get to that place, to realize, yes, the rest of the world will will.

It can fail you and it can disappoint you. But not Christ. That Christ, the hope that you have in Christ never be taken away. It’s so important that we rest our hope in there and we celebrate our hope in there. And the reason for that, guys, is because a cynical church. A cynical church can never live for the glory for which God has created them to live for. To understand this gospel message and the freedom that it brings to you and the hope that it gives to you. And and he says it for us in these next verses verse 16, This is why it depends on faith. In order. That the promise. Look at this. The promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring that you would cling to this promise, not based on your performance, but resting in faith because of the grace of God and understanding of that grace gives you the the guarantee of what God would give to his offspring. And so the important question is to ask the question, who is that offspring? What excludes me from this? Am I excluded from that not only to the adherent of the law? He goes on and says, but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham. So he’s saying not to just the Jews who have the law, but also to the Gentiles who have been promised this through Abraham.

And look who he’s what it says, who is the offspring, who is the father of us all? As it has written, I have made you the father of many nations. So promises is not an exclusion to you, but you belong if you are in Christ. And he says, then in the presence of God and whom he believed, whom gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. God. Who brings life to the dead. Who makes something from nothing. Says Paul’s encouragement to say to you, Make sure you cling to this promise. Not based on who you are, but based on what he has accomplished for you. What he’s saying is there is no walk of shame. You belong. Diamond member. First class. Reliable. Available. And point number three then, is this. And it’s unstoppable. God is unstoppable. And in order to show us this, Paul does what I like to call crazy story time. And we read we read this a little bit last week, But but he wants to reiterate this and then relate our life to this passage. But in verse verse 18, he gives us that crazy story of Abraham again and hope he believed against hope that he should become the father of of many nations. And what he’s saying is this When there was no earthly reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping because of who had promised to him as he had been told.

So shall your offspring be? He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead, since he was about 100 years old, or when he was considered considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promises of God. But he grew strong in his faith, and he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness. Here we are talking about Abraham again, 100 years old, having a baby. Having a baby now. I told you last week, a part of me gets a little concerned when I think about this possibility. So? So I Googled this. Can this happen? And here’s what I found out this week. Dow Cowher, who is believed to be at least seven years old, she claimed to be 72, but they said in the article she’s at least 70 years old, gave birth to a son named Almond. This is the oldest lady, I think, on record who has given birth to a son, at least in our modern times named Almond. On April 19th, the baby was the first for her and her 79 year old husband, Mohinder Singh Gill, after five decades of marriage. Do you want to see this family gender reveal here? Here we go.

There they are, India. Leave it up to India to do this now. Now, a little little assistance they had with this. They went through some some medical help in order to have this first child after five decades of marriage. So if that concerns you, just know there was some medical assistance involved with with having this child. But she is now the oldest mother on record. She says 72. Some people say, well, she’s at least 70. But that’s that’s decent age. Right. And I read this and I don’t think I slept for a couple of days. And I told Stacey, do not touch me. Do not touch me as long as there’s a possibility to touch me. But I went a little further and read just to help me find some comfort. The US The CDC reports that about 600 women a year give birth in their fifties. And in Germany last year, a 65 year old grandmother delivered quadruplets. So. So there you go. If you want to know if you want to know what’s been medically possible, that’s that’s at least what Internet says through science and technology. Some assistance there for this family. But they have Abraham and Sarah beat by a couple of decades. Right. The Abraham and Sarah, I should say, have them beat by a couple of decades. Here’s a lady, 70 years old, guys, 79. And we’re talking about Sarah, 90 years old, Abraham 100 years old.

Right. So so when you read this story, it’s it’s pretty miraculous. What God did. But if you remember the promise God gave Abraham, the promise that he would have a child at 75 years old. 75 years old. But it wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old. That this child was born. Why did God take 25 years? I mean, 75 years old would have already set the record. Well, why? Why wait till 100 years old in order to for God to have this child? I think there’s a there’s a few reasons. Number one, verse 18, I think tells us with hope. Hope against hope. It became the place for Abraham to truly express faith in a God who will fulfill his promises. When God said it, he believed it and he continued to trust in it. Number two, God was showing us when everything seems impossible. He brings life from death. He can bring something from nothing. Verse 19 tells us that death and the womb of of Sarah. Yet God brings life when it felt like all human possibilities were gone. The God of miracles comes through. And number three, I would say this, and it’s in verse 23 and 24/4. Because you believe in the same God as Abraham. But the words. It was counted to him. It says in verse 23. We’re not written for his sake alone. But for hours also. You believe in the same God? A God who brings life from death.

A God who brings something. From nothing. And it goes on. But it will be countered to us who believe in him, who raised from the dead. Jesus, our Lord. Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. We need a resurrection. God. To have hope. A God who can bring life from death. And this is what he says to us at the end of verse 24 and 25, that same miraculous God who performed that miracle in Abraham and Sarah. Is that same life giving God who wants to perform that miracle in your life and through your life into the lives of others? It’s the same God. And you get the opportunity to express the same faith. And if you remember, just in the life of Abraham’s day, what that meant to trust in a God like this. He’s he’s in a pagan society worshipping an idolatry. And and God calls him out of that. And he trusts God to go on a journey in a time when people didn’t travel more than 50 miles from the place that they were born, to a new land of which he knew nothing about. In order to live in a society that was probably even more pagan than the society he came from. To see God work a miracle. Now you think about now, Paul writing this in first century Rome and a Roman society who have people pressed down by their thumb in a city that had just expelled all the Jewish people in a place that’s about to persecute rampantly Christians.

And a society that’s full of idolatry and worshiping all sorts of gods, but not the God of Christianity. Calling them by faith to trust in this God. Believing what God can do in a society when people are fully committed to Him. And then you think about our culture. Untethered from God. When you no longer have an authority over you that you give your life to, you become the authority. Which is exactly what we’re seeing today. And in our culture, when we give no respect to authority over us, we see ourselves as the ultimate authority in order to get what we want, we realize might makes right. And so if I can look the strongest and scream the loudest, I get to dictate the direction of that culture. So there is a struggle for power. Reminds me of the passage or the story in The Lord of the Rings. When when Gandalf goes before Frodo and Frodo shares with with Gandalf the ring that he had discovered, and Gandalf throws it in the fire and pulls it out and won’t even look at it and just throws it to Frodo and tells says, Tell me what it says. And Frodo looks at it and and it’s in Elvish. And he says, there there is, there is a place where people can read this ring and you need to go there.

He sends them on this journey. But before he sends them on this journey, he he gives them this quote. He says one ring to rule them all. One ring to find them all. One ring to bring them all in. And in the darkness behind them, Saren is on the move. It’s this place of struggle for power. Because might determines what happens. Because if we’re not careful as Christians. We get caught up and responding the same way back. We see power being lost taken from us. And so in fear, we respond back and and we want power, too. So we we fight and retaliation. Things are changing. We don’t like it, right? And here they scream for power and we want to respond with power and in return so that we can keep those things that are precious for us. But can I can I just encourage you this morning? God doesn’t call us to operate from fear. God doesn’t call us to be an anxious people. God calls us to be a people of faith. The battles that we face as believers. They’re not political battles. And can I just remind you, I know I’m leaning into the politics for a little bit because we just went through an election and and some people get disoriented and worried and concerned and then they listen to all sorts of talk radio and news like it’s going to rescue them.

The battles that are being fought in politics were fought decades ago. And the hearts of people in what they would lean towards. Our problem is not a political problem. Our problem is a worship problem. It just plays itself out in different arenas. And to run out of fear as if it were after a power grab is not going to change the culture. I’m Jesus demonstrated for that. That to us, the the the way the God’s people serve, the way up is the way down. Compassion. Is what helps transform our culture as we surrender to Jesus and strive to reach hearts, not fight against them. We’re not against people. We fight for them. One of the stories I love in Scripture that reminds us of this because we feel worried and concerned about the way things are going. Like Abraham was in his day or or or Paul in the first century. It’s the story of Jesus when he sends his disciples out on the water. You know, the story goes, it’s in Mark Chapter six, Matthew Chapter 14. John Chapter six. It’s like they repeat it multiple times in the gospel, so we get it as a people. Jesus knowingly sends his disciples out into the storm. And the story goes all night long. They’re rowing and they’re getting nowhere. They don’t even know where they are.

They’re concerned for their life. And all of a sudden here they see Jesus walking across on water. And they get scared because they they think it’s a ghost. But then it says this Mark Chapter six, verse 51. Then Jesus climbed in to the boat. And the one stopped. And they were totally amazed. For they didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. And their hearts were too hard to take it in. Just before Jesus cinnamon to the boat. Jesus had just performed The Miracle, The Feeding of the 5000. When we get to the end of the feeding of the 5000 and they collect the baskets of loaves and they find in the baskets of loaves, they still have 12 full baskets of loaves. And what Jesus was teaching us people. He is more than enough. He has more than enough. 12 baskets represent the 12 tribes of Israel. And here’s Jesus showing up to feed the 5000, and they get to the end of that. And not only is everyone fed, but the baskets are still full, 12 baskets full, as if to say to all of Israel. Jesus is more than enough. And they didn’t understand the lesson. So Jesus sent them in the storm. And what do they do? They get all worked up and they get all anxious and they get full of fear and they start rowing and they start using all their power and all their strength, and they think it’s all up to them.

And what happens? Nothing. They get nowhere. They get nowhere. Relying on themselves. But the moment Jesus shows up. The wind stops. The waves come. And miraculously. They’re on the shore to the other side. They thought it was a power grab. It’s not about resting in their strength. That’s about resting in his strength and what he desires to accomplish. If you were to read the story of Abraham and Genesis Chapter 12 to 2, Genesis 17, when when Abraham gives the promises of a child, do you know in those 25 years the only time. Abraham, when you read the story. Abraham messed up a couple of times, but the one time he really messed up. You know what Abraham did to mess up? He relied on his strength. And the form of a lady named Hagar. Through the approval of his wife. And the story goes, God promises, Abraham, you’re going to be a father of many nations through you. It’s going to be a blessing to all people. And Abraham and Sarah are resting in faith, but all of a sudden they get to the place where they’re thinking, you know, we’re getting older. Abraham, you still don’t have a child. Maybe God needs us to make this child in our own strength. And so Sarah gets the bright idea. How about you have a girlfriend on the side? Here’s Hagar.

In case anyone in this room needs to hear this if you’re married. No girlfriend on the side. All right, That is that is dumb, right? That’s that is certainly not following after the Lord and Abraham does that. And what happens? Big mistake. Why? Because Abraham was resting in his strength. Not the promise of God. Sometimes we fall into the mistake of thinking that the solution. As a power grab. We don’t fight against people. We fight for them. This world does not know how lost it is. But you have the truth. You have the one that brings life from death. Hope and darkness something. From nothing. I mean, Jesus said it like this in Revelation high in the Omega, the alpha and the Omega. The first and the last. The beginning and the end. And here’s what he’s saying to you. This world may try to take things from you, but in Christ they take nothing. They can have nothing because what you have in Jesus endures forever. So the things of this world they may fight for. Let them have it. It’s the best it gets for them. But for you. But for you. And nothing that you have in Jesus has ever gone. It’s a facade to go for a power grab of the things of this world when the hope in Christ transcends it all. You have the one that brings death to life. And something for nothing.

Let me close with this one. In California. There’s this place called Death Valley. Jokingly, jokingly, maybe they call it that because it’s in California. I don’t know. Ha ha ha. I’m just kidding. Just kidding. I think it’s called Death Valley, because when the temperatures this summer in the summertime reach their max, like it gives Hel a run for its money. Like it’s one of the hottest places on earth, right? Death Valley. Nothing survives there. Unless. Unless miraculously. Within just a short window of time, they can get about one half inch of rain. So you look at Death Valley, you think this is a desolate place. Nothing can make it. But about every ten years. Death Valley gets just enough rain. And when just enough rain hits it. It turns into something called. A super blue. And in death. Comes live. Guys, can I encourage you this morning? What you have in Jesus. As a super bloom. It’s far greater than putting your trust in any political or world leader to save you. What Jesus can do is something from nothing. Life. From death. And he has demonstrated it over and over again in Scripture so that you, by faith, can put your trust in him based on the conduct and character of a God who has performed all that. You read through the Old Testament and New Testament as you recognize that it is the same God that you trust in today. Stop rowing. Stop relying on you. And look to the one who can bring life from death.

Romans 4:1-12

Romans 5:1-11