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2. Does it matter what you believe as long as you believe in something?

2. Does it matter what you believe as long as you believe in something?

Sermon Notes

Main Verse: (Romans 1:8-17)

Key Thought: Rome was a pluralistic society. Her city limits teemed with all kinds of religious groups and philosophies. Paul quickly asserts the only truth that can save the world is Gospel in his letter. This is a radical and exclusive claim. Yet, being exclusive does not mean it is not true. And if Jesus is who he says he is, then this means we can trust in His saving power through the Gospel message. Today we will explore Paul’s extraordinary claim to see how we should respond. Also, we will examine the high priority Paul placed on relationships with his church. Here, we will see a balance of his desire to be with his fellow believer and clarify the main goal- preaching the Gospel.

What about tolerance?

Here is one way to break down the good and the bad of tolerance:

Good Tolerance

1. Nonviolence and nonaggression between groups

2. Open dialogue about ideas and concepts

3. Assisting the community in a time of need

Bad Tolerance

1. All viewpoints are equally valid

2. To disagree is to be disrespectful (I should not be forced to validate the truthfulness of your position to validate you as a person)

3. Inclusion of all, except those who have exclusive truth claims (And yet, this statement is itself an exclusive truth claim)

Why I Believe in the Gospels:

1. Early dates of the writings

2. Early success of the church

3. Collaboration between sources

4. The Resurrection makes the most sense

Supporting Points:

  1. Counteracting false teaching best happens in the context of meaningful relationships (1:8-13).
    • The Blessings of Community:Pursuing this value will produce gratefulness
      • Together our impact is greater
      • Community will increase your faith“Doing faith completely by yourself is completely putting too much faith in yourself.”
      • Meaningful community can happen even when real differences exist.
  2. Paul believed no matter who you are the Gospel can change you (1:14 3:22, 10:4)
    • Righteousness, (δικαιοσύνη)-  a term used in the legal system to mean justice or the virtue. If something is righteous, then it means justice has been served.
  3. Paul was not ashamed of the preeminence of this message even though there was some opposition to this message (1:16-17)
    • It saves people (any kind of persons)
    • It shows God’s righteousness- that is how God is putting the world back together
    • The only way to assert that you are not ashamed of the Gospel is explain the Gospel by word and deed. (For Paul, not proclaiming the Gospel is the same thing as being ashamed of it.)

Application:

  • Memorize these two questions: What you do think it takes for a person to go to heaven?  Do you know what it means to be right with God?
  • And then make sure you understand the Gospel.

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT:

  1. Pastor Rusty makes the point that there is a good and a bad side to tolerance. He says when tolerance teaches nonviolence, fosters the sharing of ideas, and assists the community in time of need it is good. However, tolerance is bad when it teaches that all points of view are equally valid, that to disagree is to be disrespectful, and that everyone should be included, except those who believe they have exclusive truth. How can we embrace good tolerance and reject bad tolerance?
  2. Counteracting false teaching best happens in the context of meaningful relationships according to Romans 1:8-13. How has God has protected you from making big mistakes through your relationships with godly people?
  3. Pastor Rusty says two of the blessings of community are: 1) Together our impact is greater and 2) Community increases our faith. How has God used Concord and other churches you’ve been part of to strengthen your faith?
  4. Meaningful community can happen even when real differences exist according to Pastor Rusty. What valuable lessons have you learned from others who had a very different perspective than you?
  5. No matter who you are the gospel can change you. How has the Gospel and what Christ has done for you changed your life?
  6. Paul was not ashamed of the preeminence of the gospel message even though there was some resistance to the message. This was because the gospel saves people. In your own words reflect on what it means to be saved.
  7. Pastor Rusty says, the only way to assert you aren’t ashamed of the Gospel is to explain the Gospel by word and deed. To Paul, not proclaiming the Gospel is the same thing as being ashamed of it. How are you proclaiming the Gospel?

LIVE IT OUT

  • Let’s memorize these two questions:
    • What do you think it takes for a person to go to heaven?
    • Do you know what it means to be right with God?
  • Reflect on Romans 1:8-17 and Pastor Rusty’s message and then write out your understanding of the Gospel.
  • Ask God to help you be alert for opportunities to share the Gospel with someone this week, then ask Him to help you have the courage to share.