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2016 in Pictorial Review

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

2-Poimem Ministries-Logo Final

Here’s the link to what we’ve been up to this past year. It contains mostly pictures … let me know if you want to sign up to receive these updates. They go out every several months or so.

God bless you! And thanks for reading.

http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=402ca9421c467de147acbbb6e&id=90ea894837&e=[UNIQID]

 

 

 

 

God Is For Us

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

God-is-for-usWhat then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)

How many ways can it be said?

  •  God is for (He is on our side, in our corner.) 
  • God is for us. (The all-powerful Creator of the universe is the one who is on our side.)
  • God is for us. (He is on the side of sinners saved by grace; of the believer in Jesus Christ, whom he has reconciled to Himself.)

 Since God is for us, we are assured of everything we need. After all, He did not spare Jesus in giving Him for us, so why would we ever conclude that He would withhold any legitimate need from our lives?

Since God has justified us, how could we ever think that an accusation or charge against us would hold any water with Him? Jesus died for us, rose from the dead for us, ascended and was exalted for us, and who is constantly praying for us. God has proven Himself; He will not bring charges against the believer.

Who or what could ever separate us from this kind of love … the love of our Lord Jesus Christ? The resounding answer is NO ONE can separate us from His love. NOTHING can separate us from His love.

Human beings cannot separate us. Extreme trials, persecution, or perils cannot separate us. Death cannot take us out of God’s deep love. Angels could not do it even if they wanted to. Demons or the devil cannot do it. Nothing created can ever separate the believer in Jesus Christ from God’s great and eternal love. Which means that nothing that exists… apart from God Himself … can ever separate us from God and His love for us. And we know that will not happen, because God sent His Son (John 3:16).

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Far surpassing all the rest
It’s an ocean full of blessing
In the midst of every test
Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Mighty Savior, precious Friend
You will bring us home to glory
Where Your love will never end
1

For Further Review

1.  What kind of confidence is produced in the life of a person who is absolutely convinced that God is for him?

2.  In your own life, what have been some obstacles that have kept you from gaining solid confidence that God is for you? How can you move past those obstacles into confidence and assurance?

3.  God’s love demands worship. Why not express your heart of worship to God in any way that seems fitting (in writing, by song, or in prayer), as a response to His great love for you in Christ Jesus.

 1 Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus (© 2008 Integrity’s Praise! Music/Sovereign Grace Praise)


Redemption’s Highest Heights

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment

The_Unbreakable_ChainAnd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

How do we know that Romans 8:28 is true? The answer is grounded in the timeless truths of the gospel of God, described in Romans 8:29-30. 

Like the pinnacle of the highest mountain, this passage brings us to the highest of heights of God’s revelation. God has done awesome things … things so gracious and merciful they are hard to even fathom. The implications are for both time and eternity. 

He foreknew us. He knew what would happen before it even occurred. This speaks of His omniscience (of the fact that He knows everything). In fact, there is nothing that can be known that God does not know. He is infinite in His understanding (Acts 15:18; Psalm 147:5). 

He predestined us to be conformed into the image of Jesus. Those whom God saved have a certain destiny; He has one goal for each and every one of us. That goal is to become more and more like His eternal Son. This is His goal because He wants more sons and daughters, and thus more brothers and sisters for Jesus. In other words, God desires to always increase the size of His family. Eternally, He has the best possible Son, the perfect Son. He wants more that are like Him. This is that He might love them in His kingdom just as He loves Jesus. 

He called (invited) human beings to come to Christ, who is the firstborn—the preeminent One—of those who have come out of death and into life. The invitation was to believe the gospel … and for as many as do that, they become children of God (John 1:12-13). 

Those whom He called and who responded to the gospel, He also justified. He made a declaration that they are now righteous in His eyes, fully exonerated and wholly acceptable to Him. Just as Jesus is righteous, so the believer in Christ has been declared righteous (1 John 4:17). We have the same righteous standing as the Son of God. 

Those whom He justified, He also glorified. He made them full of glory. They look nothing like they did in their bodies of sin on earth. Rather, they are glorious as Jesus is glorious (1 John 3:2; compare Revelation 1:10-18). 

Note that each of these amazing declarations of redemption is revealed in the past tense. That means that in the mind of God, it is as though they have already happened. Seeing things from His eternal vantage point rather than from the limitations of time, God sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), and therefore views all believers in Christ—past, present, or future—as already being in their gloried state … with Him in eternity. 

This is how we know Romans 8:28 is true … God does work all things together for good, for those who are the called according to His purpose. If God can bring the believer out of sin and into glory, then surely He is able to use everything that comes into our lives for His ultimate plan. God cannot be stifled or waylaid in His eternal purposes.

For Further Review

1.  What is the foundation of the truth of Romans 8:28? In your own words, describe what God has done for the believer.

2.  How has Romans 8:28 been misquoted? What is wrong with the various misquotations? How have they changed the intended meaning of the verse?

3.  What is God’s ultimate plan and purpose for every Christian? How does that purpose affect the way we live our lives in the here and now?

 

From Guilt to Glory!

January 11, 2015 2 comments

WeNOCONDEMNATIONlcome to this devotional on the book of Romans, the book of the gospel of God. This guided study through Romans chapters 1-8 will help you to understand the universal human need for the gospel, the message of the gospel, and the practical implications of the gospel in the lives of true believers.

Every day or two, an attempt will be made to publish the next lesson. In all, there will be 35 individual studies. Feedback or questions are always welcomed.

Get ready … this could be a life changing experience for you!

HOW TO USE THIS DEVOTIONAL

First of all, in order to get a handle on the overall message of the book, read all of Romans.  Be sure to look at the big picture of Romans before you get into the specific passages. Take a moment and actually read through all 16 chapters, which is how the book was meant to be read! This will help you to frame the book and see the forest before you start examining the trees. 

Next, carefully read each day’s Bible passage, in its context. When a Biblical cross reference is given, take the time to turn to that passage and read it as well. Be sure to observe what the passage is saying (its details), to try to understand what a passage means (interpretation), and then to focus on how the passage might apply to your life. 

ABOUT THIS DEVOTIONAL 

This part devotional, part commentary on the book of Romans chapters 1-8 was written by Bill Holdridge, Pastor and Founder/Director of Poimen Ministries, a ministry focused on helping senior (or lead) pastors of churches. 1 

All scripture quoted in this book is from the New King James Version of the Bible. 2 

Some of the material contained in this introduction is from the excellent work by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, Talk Thru the Bible. 3 

For Further Review questions at the end of each day’s lesson include all three elements of inductive Bible study (observation, interpretation, application). But the greatest focus is upon application. What does this passage have to do with our lives as believers? What does is speak into my life? This is the ultimate goal of all Bible study and devotions, to learn that we might grow more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is important to take time to go over these reflection questions and apply them to your own life.     

KEY CONCEPTS IN ROMANS 

The epistles make up the third major section of the New Testament. The Gospels are the Proclamation of Jesus Christ. The book of Acts contains the Propagation of Jesus Christ. The Epistles are the Explanation of Jesus Christ, and the book of Revelation tells of the Consummation of Jesus Christ. 

From the perspective of its human authorship, the letter to the Romans is considered to Paul the apostle’s greatest work, his magnum opus. Its logic, flow of thought, depth of theology and doctrine, and thorough explanation of the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ make Romans the go-to book for discovering the implications of the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Once its message is learned, it provides the interpretive basis for understanding the rest of the New Testament letters. 

To quote author Bruce Wilkinson, “But Romans is more than a book of theology; it is also a book of practical exhortations. The good news of Jesus Christ is more than facts to be believed; it is also a life to be lived—a life of righteousness befitting the person ‘justified freely by His [God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (3:24). 3 

The epistle to the Romans was written from the city of Corinth near end of Paul’s third missionary journey (55-56 A.D.). He wrote this epistle through an amanuensis (a dictation secretary) named Tertius (Romans 16:22). After it was written, the letter was carried to Rome by a woman named Phoebe, who was a servant in the church in Cenchrea, a city close to Corinth (Romans 16:1). 

The historical importance of the book of Romans cannot be overstated. The great Protestant reformer Martin Luther came to understand the gospel of grace and led Germany and other parts of Europe into true faith in Christ through studying Romans. John Wesley was converted to Christ after hearing a reading of the preface to Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. 19th century Bible scholar Frédéric Louis Godet commented that “The probability is that every great spiritual revival in the church will be connected as effect and cause with a deeper understanding of this book.”

Paul’s purposes for writing Romans are evident from other places in the New Testament. Overall, the epistle served as a great preparation for his eventual coming to them.

We know from Acts 19:21 that he wanted very much to see this city, the greatest city in the Roman world.

Acts 19:21 When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

He also wanted to teach the church there and be encouraged by their faith (Romans 1:11). 

Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established…

When in Rome, Paul wanted to win more people to Christ (1:13). 

Romans 1:13 Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. 

He desired that the Roman church help by supported his intended travels to Spain (Romans 15:24). 

Romans 15:24 …whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while.

From Romans 15:24 we also learned that his purpose was to enjoy the company of the Roman Christians, at least for a time (Romans 15:24). 

Overall, a main purpose of the book was for Paul to prepare the Roman Christians for his visit by laying out a systematic presentation of the gospel he had been preaching for over 20 years.

The theme of Romans is the gospel of God (Romans 1:16-17). After having studied the Psalms to discover how one could be saved, the reformer Martin Luther asked the question, “Is righteousness something I must strive for to gain it, or is it something I receive?” It was while pondering this question that Habakkuk 2:4 almost flew off the page at him: “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). This same O.T. verse was quoted by Paul in the key passage of the epistle:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. {17} For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

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1 “Poimen” (pronounced poy-main’) is the Greek word for pastor or shepherd. Poimen Ministries is featured at www.poimenministries.com

2 The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

3 Talk Thru the Bible by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa, © 1983 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

 

Outline of the Book of Romans

January 11, 2015 Leave a comment

outlineHere’s an outline of the book of Romans, which is good to review as you read through the entire book. 

The devotional itself will start tomorrow morning, so this and yesterday’s introduction may serve as adequate introductions to this great epistle. We’ll be studying Romans 1-8 in this series, which will consist of 35 lessons (not counting yesterday and today’s introductions).

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INTRODUCTION 1:1-17  (Paul greets the church with an introduction of himself and his desires for them)

Paul, separated unto the gospel 1:1-6

His addressees: the church in Rome, and his desire to minister to them and they to him 1:7-17

 

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 1:16-17 (Paul’s purpose in this epistle is to explain the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ, and all of its implications related to how we live)

 

MAIN TEACHING 1:18-16:24

 The universal sinfulness of all mankind 1:18-3:20

  1. The heathen or practical atheist 1:18-32
  2. The moralist 2:1-16
  3. The religious man (the religious Jew) 2:17-3:8
  4. All have sinned 3:9-20

God’s solution to man’s sinfulness: justification by faith 3:21-4:25

  1. Righteousness apart from the law 3:21-31
  2. Old testament examples of justification by faith: Abraham and David 4:1-8
  3. Justification by faith: available to both Jew and Gentile by faith 4:9-16
  4. Justifying faith exemplified in the life of Abraham 4:17-25

Implications of justification by faith 5:1-21

  1. Peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ 5:1-11
  2. The gospel of Christ overwhelms the effects of Adam’s fall 5:12-21

The believer’s relationship to sin 6:1-23

The believer’s relationship to the law 7:1-25

The believer’s victory: the ministry of the Holy Spirit 8:1-27

  1. Life through dependence upon the Spirit 8:1-13
  2. The Holy Spirit’s ministry to the believer 8:14-27

The eternal purpose and love of God toward all believers 8:28-39

The problem of Jewish unbelief (or, what about Israel?) 9:1-11:36

  1. Israel in the past, and God’s sovereign decision Romans 9:1-33
  2. Israel in the present: how the Jew can be saved today Romans 10:1-21
  3. Israel in the future: the fulfillment of God’s covenant for the true Israel 11:1-36

 Response to the gospel: living lives of submission and humility 12:1-15:7

  1. Present your body as a living sacrifice 12:1-2
  2. How to live with others in the body of Christ 12:3-16
  3. Overcome evil with good 12:17-21
  4. Be subject to governing authorities 13:1-7
  5. Owing nothing but love to anyone 13:8-14
  6. How the strong and weak in faith should treat and regard each other 14:1-15:7

 Personal words in preparation for Paul’s visit to Rome 15:8-33

 

CLOSING

Paul’s personal greetings, exhortation, and encouragement to the fellowship in Rome 16:1-24

 

Our Debt to God

worship-response-to-gods-grace.pngTherefore, brethren, we are debtors; not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:12-17)

We may not often think about it, but every believer owes something to God. After all, God is the One who redeemed us and saved our lives in time and for eternity. In reality, we owe everything to Him. 

The big question is, what exactly do we owe Him? According to today’s passage, we owe it to God to walk in the Spirit. There are loving reasons for this indebtedness: a choice to live in the flesh produces nothing but spiritual death (which is the absence of life; no love, no joy, no peace, etc.). But a choice to trust the Holy Spirit to deal with our sinful body appetites produces God’s life in our experience. 

Those who make the consistent decision to walk in the Spirit and to be led by Him prove themselves to be His [mature] sons and daughters. By inference, those who do not walk in the Spirit prove themselves to be [at best] carnal believers, like immature little children. At worst, they are demonstrating that they may not, in fact, be true believers at all. 

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of adoption. That is, He is the One who places us as adult children into God’s family with all of its privileges … much like an unwanted orphan who is fully made a part of a loving, caring family. Chief among those privileges is that we have an endearing relationship with God the Father. We call Him “Abba,” similar to “Daddy” or “Papa.” The Spirit’s ministry to us is to testify to our human spirits that this is the relationship we have with God. It is the Holy Spirit providing assurance of our salvation. 

As God’s children, we are His heirs, with the promise that we share in the inheritance that belongs to the Lord Jesus! The inheritance itself is [at least] partially determined by our suffering with Christ. Since we are brothers and sisters of Jesus (as well as sons and daughters of the Father), we should expect the same kind of treatment experienced by our Lord. When we suffer as a Christian, we bear a striking resemblance to Him who died for us.

For Further Review

1.  What does the believer owe to God, and why?

2.  What are some benefits of living a Spirit-filled life? In what ways are you enjoying those benefits in your own life?

3.  Application: ask the Holy Spirit to send you assurance of your relationship with God. Record your thoughts and impressions for a few days to track God’s answer to your prayer.

4.  While Jesus was on earth, what were some of His sufferings? In what ways have you experienced similar kinds of suffering?

 

The Purpose of One’s Life

November 7, 2014 5 comments

purposePaul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:1-4)

It’s a wonderful thing when an individual can sum up the entire purpose of his life in a brief, simple statement. That’s exactly what Paul does here. He was a slave of Jesus … out of love, and by choice. He was called as an apostle, sent out to preach, teach, establish new churches, and oversee the spread of the gospel. He separated himself wholly to this gospel (Greek: euangelion- good news). His passion was a Person, none other than Jesus Christ Himself.

This Jesus—the passion of Paul and countless others after him—is none other than the Son of God. Proof of Jesus’ Divinity is His resurrection from the dead. He rose, therefore He is all that He claimed to be, and all that was predicted of Him in hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Jesus is Lord!

It was through Jesus Christ that Paul discovered his meaning and purpose in life. From the time of his conversion until his eventual martyrdom at the hand of the wicked emperor Caesar Nero, Paul was on a mission to please his new Master. His passion for a Person has been a blessing to us all.

For Further Review

1.  Notice the pattern of Paul’s summary of his life’s purpose: his allegiance, his calling, his focus, his main theme. Identify this pattern in the first few verses.

2.  Can you summarize your purpose in life in a single statement, as Paul the apostle did in Romans 1:1-4? Why not try to do that right now, using Paul’s words as a pattern.

3.  Why is it only right and proper to name Jesus as our Master and Lord? What are His credentials, and why does this make sense for us to do?

4.  Is Jesus your Lord and Master? If so, what evidence is there in your life to demonstrate that relationship?