Taking the Epistle

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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29

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Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law – Romans 2:25-29 – 01/10/2016

Romans 2:25 (ESV) For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code  and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills. Let’s start in verse 25…

V25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

Paul draws a close to the second chapter of the book of Romans by stating that if you break one little aspect of the law, the rest of it becomes irrelevant. He gives both sides of the conversation in the above verse; the argument from the Jew will be that he is justified by the Law. That his salvation is based on the very fact that he is a child of Abraham and a follower of the precepts and creeds of his forefathers.

Then we see the counter argument, if this is the case then you have to keep ALL of the commandments, this is also backed up by the words of Christ when he states in the gospel of Matthew…

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

And again in the Epistle of James…

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Convinced yet? We are not saved by our works because like it or not we are fallen creatures, we may have the best intentions in the world but we have weak fleshes and despite a spirit that may be willing we will not always follow through in what we know is right and correct. I know for sure I could not keep 613 rules and regulations. (I struggle to keep New year’s resolutions more than 5 minutes) so what we are looking at is a matter of the heart, what is your core? Where is your heart? Are you righteous in your outward appearance or are you cleansed within? This all seems rather complicated but please read on.

V26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

And Paul writes here and plays on their prejudices by stating if that is the level playing field we are on then would the Gentile not be judged by the same rules as the Jew? If there was a Gentile proselyte so devoted to the things of God that his righteousness far exceeded those who were “of the law” would he not be as justified?

A ceremony will not save you, having a Godly father, grandfather or relation who is praying for you will not save you, you have to make that choice for yourself. My greatest desire in life is to see my daughter and my brother walk in the life giving faith that I have found in Christ Jesus but they have to make their own choice. I pray that they pour into the Word of God and have a desire to grow in a day to day relationship with their Messiah Jesus Christ and have them know that if they were the only ones on the earth, Jesus would have died for just them.

I have grouped the last four verses together because they are simply one thought and as stated a ceremony will not save you, simply by having what is in the country I have adopted as my own a standard medical procedure. We read here that the heart is the most important part of the day to day relationship with Jesus Christ and you can all be a Jew inwardly because of that circumcision of the heart. And believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit as a helper, we were promised by Jesus that we would have a helper and he keeps his promises.

We have to be careful that we heed the warning at the end of this passage that we are not doing the work of the Lord for the praises of men. We must be careful that we are not doing it with a boastful heart or a wish or desire to appear holy. We must be searching for the praises of God and not the praises of men. We see the evidence in what type of fruit is in our hearts, Jesus warns of these types of people in the gospel of Matthew chapter six …

Matthew 6:1 (ESV) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Basically, run away, flee from any type of “look at me” thoughts that may come across your mind when you are doing ministry. It is always the people who you least expect it, but it may very well be you if that is something you struggle with. If you get peeved because you did not get kudos for a job well done then it may well be you.

These verses that talk about the circumcision of the heart and the simplicity of the gospel make me feel all evangelical and make me want to go spread the word with an increased fervency in my neighborhood. I want to see my neighbors get saved, I want to see the street I live on get saved and I want them all to be mentored by God honoring, God fearing men and women and go out and reach others in their sphere of influence. I want to move the needle in my city for Jesus Christ and pack the churches in my town with people on fore for Jesus Christ.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
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Why good koinonia is required for sustained Christian growth

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Iron sharpens Iron

I have been blessed to have been strengthened recently by two friends that I met around February time and they have been a constant source of encouragement. We are three busy guys and often times the encouragement is in the form of a text message here there and a wee exhortation.

I have to admit that I am not all that complete at encouragement, I love to be encouraging but my follow up and follow through with people leaves a lot to be desired. This is regrettable as when I was helping out at a mission’s church plant at Calvary Chapel in Glasgow, I was “Mr. Let’s get together” or “Mr. Koinonia” and I was always keen to either have folks over or trample on others hospitality. In short I loved being around believers who were a blessing to my soul.

When I arrived in America this was not the case, the homeland (US) churches are not set up that way. People have lives, people have jobs, people have families, spending time with their Christian brothers and sisters slides further and further down the priority list.

The need for Koinonia

Not all Christians have it easy, we all struggle with different things! When I was a “baby Christian” I used to say all the time “Why do they struggle with that?” and then it came to me (I believed that it was revealed by God) that perhaps the stuff that I had issues with they didn’t and vice versa.

This is why I believe that good quality koinonia is really important, you have to find people not only that you can disciple to, but we all need to be ministered too. Even Pastors go to conferences to be ministered to so why shouldn’t I as a layperson require any less.

My psyche is such that I need to be challenged, need to have a goal to aim towards so I look and seek out men that can help me, talk things over and grow in God. I am blessed to have found two such men in “Bob” and “Chris” (I hope they won’t mind that I mention them by name) but the three of us have taken upon ourselves to encourage one another and Bob set a challenge this month to have memorized the three following verses:

Romans 6:7 (ESV) – For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Romans 6:14 (ESV) – For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 8:12 (ESV) – So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

The idea of going through scripture together is a good one, it gives a scriptural point of order to talk from, we can share viewpoints that will both challenge us and help us grow. Growing together is good because of the bond it creates. Fellowships that grow together are more likely to have committed serving members that will go that extra mile to evangelize and bring the Word of God to more and more people.

What I get out of this

Well I get two different things from both guys, Chris is simply inspirational, he is slow to speak, but when he does it is well thought out and he is much more mature than I am, he has a shedload of knowledge but more importantly, he has wisdom. Chris is a worship leader and he has a worship leader’s heart. Bob on the other hand is simply an inspiration, this guy is an evangelist, and he is a walking, talking billboard for Jesus. He is not boastful but he spreads inspiration wherever he goes. he can’t meet a stranger without trying to introduce them to Jesus. He has this bag which is chock full of stuff that he uses to share the gospel! Awesome stuff

What they get out of me?

I don’t actually know! Funny stories maybe? I hope that I bring something to the proverbial table, but they seem to like me for who I am which is awesome! I have truly missed the great koinonia since being in a close knit fellowship where we were bummed if we didn’t spend time with each other as often as possible.

In the book of Proverbs we are told that “iron sharpens iron” and we were never meant to walk the Christian life alone, I have my wonderful wife who is way more than I deserve, but sometime I need some “guy time” (My wife feels the same with “girl time”) as it is good for the soul.

If you are a guy that is leading his home properly as a good and Godly leader of the home then the stresses of leadership will wear on you, sometimes you need that “peer refreshment” and it can be anything, can be a baseball game, can be hunting, can be Starbucks, could even be through text messages, but sometimes you just need to open the word with the boys. (Or girls if you are a lady)

I don’t have anyone

If you don’t then don’t be a lone wolf! The scriptures advise that “where two or three are gathered” not “when someone goes it alone” we all have issues, we all have struggles so let’s be accountable to one another and lets be real at church. That is the one place where we should be confident of not being judged and being loved.

God bless and I hope that this was a blessing, please feel free to share and comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE