Thursday, December 29, 2005

Words of Grace for January 1

Romans 1:1-2 - Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures

The way the book of Romans begins seems innocent enough. It begins like so many of the other letters of the New Testament - with an introduction of the author and of his subject. But there is so much we can learn from this simple introduction. Take the first word for instance: Paul. If you read some of the New Testament record of Paul, both before and after his conversion, you see an amazing man who gave his all for the cause he believed in.

Paul describes himself in Philippians 3:5-14 as a very devout religious Jew. He was a member of the strict sect known as the Pharisees. He was very self-righteous, claiming that he had believed he was blameless where the law of God was concerned. He was so zealous that he thought he was pleasing God by killing Christians. And yet the church’s greatest enemy eventually became it’s most ardent supporter.

What could turn a man from a murderer into a missionary? The answer is the message of the Book of Romans. The gospel, or good news, of God is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes. It is what changed Paul. And it can change you. If your past is not something you would be proud to write about, take heart. The gospel arrives with the good news that you can be forgiven and changed if you will believe.

1. Read Acts 22:1-5; Acts 26:1-5 and Philippians 3:4-6. What do these passages say about Paul (Saul)? (NOTE TO PARENTS: Have children read the passages. If they are too young to read, you read slowly and have them listen for specific descriptions of Paul. The purpose of this question for you and your family is observation of what the text says)

2. According to Philippians 3:7, how did Paul feel about his past accomplishments in religion? Discuss how this relates to your feelings about your religious accomplishments. (Parents may want to talk about “works” such as church attendance, AWANA awards, Bible knowledge. Emphasize that although there is nothing wrong with these per se, resting your faith on these works is called sin)

Children’s Catechism Question
Q - Who made you?
A - God made me.

Adult Catechism Question (Keach's Catechism)
Q - Who is the first and best of beings?
A - God is the first and best of beings.

Suggested Hymn
Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Little Warning

Just to tell both of you that actually read this blog and have gotten bored because I never update it, I am going to be doing just that in the near future! (Hold your applause, please.) I am going to be starting a new project with my church - having them memorize 2 verses from Romans every week. The goal is to have the whole book memorized in 4 years. Some could do it faster, some need more time, but this should work.

In order to help, I am going to be providing a daily study on the verses we are memorizing. There will be a brief devotional-style discussion, then some questions to give further study opportunities. I will also be including questions and answers from Keach's Baptist catechism and the Children's catechism, as well as suggested hymns to sing for family devotion time. I will be using these during my own family worship and hope to stimulate the church I serve, as well as the church universal, to further study and worship.