on Rm 1.7 and Lk 11.1-4

I see I have posted nothing since our last sermon summaries. It has been a busy week with a few of my men as they helped me repair my deck. I thought it would be a two day job. I should know by now to multiply my time estimates by at least 2 and a half. At least the job is pretty much done, just a few finishing touches left this week if the weather cooperates. Now for this week’s sermons:

To all that be in Rome (Rm 1.7)

I told our people today that my aim was to make the message of Romans personal, as if the letter was written personally to them. After all, as Paul addresses the letter, it is to a local church, made up of real believers – and only believers. These believers are seen in the three terms describing the church in Rome in 1.6-7: called of Jesus Christ [belonging to Christ]; beloved of God [just as Christ is God’s beloved, so we, in Christ, are beloved], called saints [named as holy ones, by virtue of the new birth].

The people addressed by ‘to all that be in Rome’ have these three characteristics, clearly and distinctly they are Christians. This is a Baptist idea. The local church should attempt to maintain an exclusively regenerate membership by careful examination of applicants and purging of false professors who may accidentally be admitted.

But the infinite blessing of the passage is that which is offered the local church of Rome by God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace & peace. For grace, I like this line I found in Donald Grey Barnhouse: "Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace." [Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans, Vol.1, p. 72.] Peace is the Hebrew part of Paul’s formulaic greeting – it is a regular formula, but full of meaning. The Hebrew concept is shalom, wholeness, well-being in the whole person. This is the blessing offered to the local church at Rome, and I believe, to every local church through time since then. This is what makes the letter to Romans personal. I closed with this application:

1. Does God have any less care for you or for this local church than he does for the ‘Grace Baptist Church of Rome’ in ad 57?

I have prayed with some of you when you made things right with God. At that moment, I believe God our Father stooped down from heaven and spoke grace to you and our Lord Jesus Christ gave you peace.

I have sat by your bedsides in the hospital, offering prayers for your physical well-being. At that moment, I believe God our Father stooped down from heaven and spoke grace to you and our Lord Jesus Christ gave you peace.

I have walked to graves with some of you, and will probably do so again… At those moments, I believe God our Father stooped down from heaven and spoke grace to you and our Lord Jesus Christ gave you peace.

2. Our union as a local church is created in the love of God and the grace and peace offered personally to you in Jesus Christ.

Our conclusion invited anyone who is outside the beloved to repent of their sins and enter the household of God.

When Ye Pray (Lk 11.1-4)

We continue our series on prayer, begun last week. The Lord’s answer to the disciple’s prayer, "Lord, teach us to pray" is first of all to give us the prayer we call "The Lord’s Prayer". This is similar to the record given us in Matthew 6, but the differences in the passages make it clear that the same teaching was given on two separate occasions. The fact that the Lord taught the same thing twice indicates that it was a regular feature of his teaching and highlights the importance placed on it by the Holy Spirit. Understanding and practicing the concepts in this prayer is vital to our spiritual lives.

There are essentially five petitions in this model prayer as given in Luke:

  1. The prayer for hallowing God’s name: if you long for a day when this is true in the world, pray for it! If you long for a day when this is completely true in your life, pray for it!
  2. The prayer for the kingdom: do you agree with the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, the 12, and the seventy? Is the Lord your king? Pray for your submission to his rule and for his kingdom to come in the earth.
  3. The prayer for daily bread: the Lord provides all we have, though in our culture we may be much less aware of it than the 1st century. There is only enough food on the Island to last us a few weeks – if we were suddenly cut off from the mainland by some catastrophe, we would be very aware of our utter dependence. Prayer for our bread and other physical needs is legitimized by this petition taught us by the Lord.
  4. The prayer for forgiveness: our spiritual neediness is a daily concern – read 1 Jn 1.6-2.1 if you think you have no need of regular forgiveness of sin and restoration to fellowship with God. If you forgive others (Eph 4.32) you display evidence that God is your Father and can have assurance that this petition will be heard.
  5. The prayer for deliverance out of temptation: what Christian does not need to pray for this? It is essentially a prayer for one’s own faithfulness. May God keep us in all our trials.

There is much more that could be said about the Lord’s prayer and these petitions. May God bless our study and meditation on these Scriptures.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3