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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 66)




Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                        Lesson 66

Welcome back. 

I have two brief reminders for the class before we start today’s lesson.  Most of you have heard them already.  However, they need to be repeated from time to time for the sake of the new visitors. 

HBS isn’t designed to be a daily devotional like Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest,” or a quick-read like “Two-Minutes with your Bible,” by the Berean Bible Society.  They hold a place in the Believer’s life, so don’t misunderstand.  However, these are not Bible studies. 

At Home Bible Study we understand the study of God’s Word demands our best attention and effort.  The Holy Spirit will guide us and teach us, but we must apply ourselves as well – the Spirit doesn’t do everything.  It takes careful study of the Bible to comprehend Scripture’s deeper meanings (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:12) and each Believer is to move beyond the “milk” of Biblical truth.  Ask yourself, if this were not so, why would God appoint some to be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:27-28).

So, these lessons aren’t quick-reads for good reason.  To achieve maximum benefit you should study them (2 Timothy 2:15).  This brings me to the other item.  I thank you for visiting this website and for reviewing the material posted here but please remember –

What I say matters little, it’s what God has said that counts, so please place side by side the information I’m posting with what God has said – please use your Bible. 

I have no further announcements or business to discuss, so if you’re ready let’s get to it.

Let’s read some Scripture together.

Romans 8

28: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

29: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30: and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.


I closed last week’s session talking about the beneficiaries of God’s promise given in verse 28.  The owners of this pledge are the ones who love God and have been, “called according to His purpose.”   

This week we’re going to study what it means to be called from a Biblical perspective and if there’s time we’ll look at what Paul meant by - according to His purpose.

Please turn to 1 Corinthians, chapter 1.

1 Corinthians 1

2: To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by (what’s the next word) calling, with all who in every place (respond or) call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

Let’s review another example of being called.  Please turn to Colossians, chapter 3.

Colossians 3

15: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were (what) called in one body; and be (what) thankful. 

I have one more passage I want you to look at; turn to Romans, chapter 1.

Romans 1

7: …to all who are beloved of God in Rome, (what’s the next word) called as saints:

The Greek word for called is “Kletos” and means:  called, as in invited (to a banquet).

In Matthew 22:1-14 we have Jesus’ parable of the Marriage Feast.  For the sake of brevity I’m not going to teach this entire parable but I will point out a couple of things that pertain to our lesson.  I suggest you read through it once or twice though.
 
To fully grasp Jesus’ meaning in this parable you must consider the meaning of the two parables He offered before it.  In the parable about the Two Sons – one who said he wouldn’t work and then did afterward, and one who said he would go to work and never did.  We understand that the “work” is to believe.  This parable referred to the Jewish religious leader’s rejection of John the Baptist’s message and their subsequent rejection of Jesus Christ.

It is also preceded by a parable of the Landowner.  In this parable the vineyard keepers killed the owner’s son.  This was symbolic of the Jewish religious leader’s ultimate rejection of Jesus (Psalms 2:1-3).  Therefore, the offer of the King and the Kingdom would be withdrawn, at this time, from the nation of Israel and given to a nation who would produce fruit.  That fruitful nation according to Scripture is the Body of Christ.  The context of this parable then is salvation.  Jesus concludes this parable with the statement, “For many are called, but few are chosen (Matthew 7:13-14).

Note those who were originally invited (the nation of Israel) to the Marriage Feast were invited not once but twice (I’ll leave this for you to ponder) and were deemed not worthy by the king.  

What makes one worthy? According to the parable, worthiness comes through a rightful response to the king’s invitation (or message).  

Why wasn’t Israel found worthy?  In the parable about the Two Sons, we saw that belief was required, so faith is the key to becoming worthy.  

In Scripture, the word called implies an invitation from God (in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ’s work on the cross.

Now examine Romans 1:7 carefully.  Is it saying everyone who lived in Rome was the beloved of God or does it prefer instead a specific segment of Roman society? 

The latter is true, of course.  Only those who were called (invited) by God and then responded by believing the gospel were actually identified as the beloved of God. 

These people are referred to as saints in this verse.  The term “saints” in Paul’s writings are consistent with the word Believer and it is common knowledge that Paul only wrote to Believers.

Now, note two actions took place: 

A general call went out to all mankind
Some (not all) responded to the call.

Therefore, the general theme of Scripture is salvation and this call goes out to everyone.

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

This truth is consistent with Scripture.  Please turn to Romans, chapter 10.

Romans 10

13: …for WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

This verse says what it means and means what it says.  Those who choose to respond to God’s call (thereby demonstrating faith in the Gospel) will be saved (Hebrews 11:6).  Clearly, an individual’s liberty (free will) to choose is involved in this process.  

In November the voting polls will open and the people who have registered to vote are eligible to cast their ballots.  The Supervisor of Elections has gone to a great deal of effort and expense in putting the call out reminding everyone of legal voting age to register and of the deadline for doing this.  But the truth is only some will respond to his invitation.  Others will simply ignore him.  Similarly, the majority of humanity has done the same thing with God’s call to believe on His Son for their salvation.

God desires that all men and women be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
God calls to everyone through the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 
Our apostle Paul wrote: “It was for this (salvation) He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:14).

But the fact of the matter is not everyone will respond to His invitation to “come as you are” and the reason for this is self evident.  These individuals are destitute of faith as were Cain and Saul, the first King of Israel, and Judas Iscariot…and many others.

When our apostle Paul says, the ones who love God are identified as the called ones (v28), and the ones who are called are later identified as the ones who have been foreknown, predestined, justified, and glorified (verses 29-30), he is referring to every true Believer in Christ Jesus. 

I think I’ve helped you see, using Scripture, that God wants everyone to be saved, and the invitation has gone out through the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  God’s patiently waiting for a response.  The fullness of the gentiles has not yet been realized (Romans 11:25).
 
Now I didn’t intend to do this, but since I’m here.  There’s another word I want to look at because it has caused some misunderstanding in the church.  Many people have been taught that the word called and the word chosen mean the same thing and they don’t.

In John 15:16 Jesus said, “You did not choose Me but I chose you…” and of course some church sects jump on this phrase and use it to justify their teaching of there is nothing you can do; God either chooses you or He doesn’t, and that’s that…some are going to heaven and the rest are going to hell.

But Scripture says, Jesus calls to everyone, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). 

The reality is few people respond.  On the other hand, “chosen” is used in some specific ways in this book.  It signifies chosen for a particular purpose, and not chosen for salvation.  As an example, the twelve apostles were chosen to serve the Lord and not specifically for their salvation.  Jesus told Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). 

Jesus called these two men for a specific purpose – they weren’t selected to be saved.    

Please turn to John, chapter 6.

John 6

70: Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

Here we can clearly see that just because you are chosen doesn’t necessarily mean that you are saved.  It does indicate that Jesus has given you an opportunity (Revelation 3:20). 

Judas was chosen by Jesus for a particular purpose.  He went out with a partner, as did the other apostles, to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, etc.  He was introduced to the same Light as the others.  But temptation overpowered him and he betrayed Jesus.  Why?  Judas was a man without faith. 

So, just to say I am chosen doesn’t necessarily equate to me being saved. 
The key component is faithfor without faith it is impossible to please Him.


Now let’s look at this portion of verse 28 - called according to His purpose. 

One of the foundational truths in Romans 8:28 is this: 
God’s predetermined plan and purpose will be accomplished.

Think about this for a minute.  If you were going to start a business, you’d have to start with a Business Plan to accomplish that purpose whether it’s to build widgets or whatnots.  Therefore, it’s inconceivable that the Sovereign God created the heaven and the earth without a purpose and without a plan to achieve His purpose. 

Scripture affirms that God has a purpose that cannot be hindered. 

Please turn to the book of Job, chapter 42.

Job 42

2: “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” 

This truth is confirmed in the book of Isaiah, chapter 14, in regard to the eventual downfall of Israel’s enemy, Assyria, the prophet states,

Isaiah 14

24: The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand,

God’s purpose and His “predetermined will” work hand-in-hand (Acts 2:22-23). 
With this in mind please turn to 2 Timothy1:9.

2 Timothy 1

9: …who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own (what) purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from (when) all eternity. 

Now, I want to join the message of verse 2 Timothy 1:9 to Paul’s message in Romans 8:28 – “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…”

None of us would love God if He had not first loved us (1 John 4:19; Ephesians 2:3-7).
When God’s call to be saved went out to all through the gospel some listened and responded thereby demonstrating their faith and love for Him.  

Now the question at hand is “What is God’s purpose” for those who love Him?
Paul doesn’t leave us “hanging.”  He almost always answers these kinds of questions.
The answer is in the next verse.

Romans 8

29a: For those He foreknew, He also predestined to become (read carefully) conformed to the image of His Son,

Think on this – don’t just read through it.  This is an amazing statement!
Are you willing to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ?

The meaning of the word “conformed” is:  to comply; to be similar in form or type.

Do we really want God, our Father, to mold and shape us so that our hearts and our lives comply with the nature and will of Jesus Christ?  Do we really want God to move through us and use us so that our actions and our words reflect the grace of Jesus to all?

It’s one thing to talk-the-talk; it’s a whole new ballgame when you start walking-the-walk.    

This is the Doctrine of Sanctification.  The grace of God can and will transform us from sinful-minded people into the kind of people that He wants us to become.  In order for this to happen we are going to have to accept that our own objectives, our own selfish desires, our own ideas, and our own way of doing things are going to have to be set aside to make room for God’s will, God’s plan, and God’s purpose for us. 

The thing is our sinful nature (stubbornness; pride) gets in the way of this process more often than not.  We desire to be “in charge.”  The delusion that we are in control exists.
But we must understand God’s purpose for those who love Him run contrary in nature to the individualistic drive which so often governs our western, “American” “me first” mindset. 

God’s purpose is that we be conformed to the image of His Son, and this means that we’re going to have to give up the “self,” the “ego,” the demand that we get to do things “my way,” and accept God’s way as the rule in our lives and by the way you’re going to need to spend time in this book to get the job done. 


(To be continued)


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