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Sunday, 6 August 2017

'PEACE WITH GOD'

Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/   

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PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, August 6th, 2017:
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Broadcast Notes:
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Today’s Subject:  Peace with God

Good morning and Welcome to Good News in the Morning. I am so glad that you have tuned into the program today. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church here in Ottawa. I have been pastoring there for 27 years. One of the things I love to do is show how God’s word that was written a long time ago, connects with our world right now.

           

This morning’s program sponsor, Bruce Newman, salutes Jericho Road Christian Ministries. Jericho Road is a local registered charity that exists to serve the poor, the addicted and the mental ill. They do an outstanding service for our community. Thanks Bruce for recognizing them!



            I know that some of you who are listening have been followers of Jesus for a long time, and I know that others of you think of yourself as spiritual, but you are not really sure of this Christian thing, and I know others of you just curious how people of faith think. I trust that wherever you are on yours spiritual journey, that you will find this program interesting and informative, and I believe that for those of you desire it, God can use a program like this to take you another step closer to Him.

Peace with God


            This morning I want to talk to you having Peace with God. I am going to be looking at a passage of scripture that the apostle Paul wrote. It is found in his letter to the church in Rome. I am going to read Romans 4:25–5:11 (NIV) I need warn you that Paul writes, he often says a lot using very few words.

            But I think it will be helpful for you to hear the whole passage.

Romans 4:25–5:11 (NIV)
25 Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


            I love it when you are in a class and you before you go into an exam, the teach takes the time to sum up a all that he or she has been saying. Basically , I have been teaching you all semester, but here are the big important points.

            That is what Paul is doing in Romans 5:1-11. He is saying, let me put together for you, all that I have been saying in the previous 4 chapters. And I want you to know it is really good news.
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            How one looks for a job over the years has changed. Right now it seems like your social media account is as important as your resume. In fact your Linked-in account may be more important than your resume.

            For those of you who don’t know, a Linked in account is about connections.. It is about who you know, and who knows you and who they know. The thought is that if you are looking for work, your social network is important. Maybe someone you know, or maybe someone your friends know is looking for your skill set. Finding a job these days, seems to be a lot about who you have a relationship with.
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            Now if you, in the course of your lifetime, have made some enemies – I wouldn’t suggest that they be part of your linked in account. I wouldn’t suggest that you put them on as reference on your resume. If you view someone as your enemy, you don’t expect them to do any favours for you. Can you imagine a potential employer going to your enemy and asking – so what do you think of so and so for this job. You can just imagine the conversation.– I don’t think you are going to get the job. Your enemies probably will not going to do you any favours.

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            Now imagine if you kept on insulting your enemy. Every time you see him, you throw an insult his way. If you use every opportunity  to trip him up, slander him, obstruct him. If that is the case then he is especially not going to do you any favours. In fact, you would expect the same treatment back.

            With this in mind, we are going to go to the passage of scripture we read in Romans 5.  I am not going to go through this passage, in order. Rather I am going to go through it in the order that events often unfold.

Romans 5:10 (NIV)
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies.

            Notice that  Paul says, we were God’s enemies. God wasn’t our enemy,---- but we were his enemy. Face it, if the all-powerful God of the universe was our enemy, we would be nothing but a splat on the floor. However, we were God’s enemy – and being his enemy You wouldn’t expect him to do us any favours.----- But that is what is so amazing about God..

            If you were here back when we looked at Romans 1, you might remember what happened.

            The short answer is we sinned. Humanity sinned. If you take a close look at what that sin looked like, it is this.

            Instead of worshiping God we worshipped the things that God created. Instead of giving thanks to God, we ignored him and attributed what he had done to other things. In short what we did was made idols, we committed idolatry.

            Now I know that when most people think of idols, they think of statues that people worship. But idols come in many different forms. An idol is anything that we ascribe more importance to, than God. An idol could take the form of money or power, or sports or family, or indifference to God and anything else. We can give our career, or our popularity, or our hobbies idol status. We can make ourselves, or our own personal comfort an idol.

            An idol is something that reigns over our lives. Some people will do anything for money, or for power, or for safety. Those idols dictate our choices. Everything else takes a second seat.

            If you read scripture, you realize that you were made to have a relationship with God, you were made to live in good relationships with the community around you, and you were made with to have vocation, something that you do to cause the community and the world around you. You made to worship God and you were given the authority to make choices to carry these tasks out.

            But when you create idols and worship not God, but the things that God has created, you  give the authority that you were meant to have over the created realm. Now instead of you coming under God, and ruling over creation in a way that causes it to flourish, YOU come under something in creation that something takes on spiritual power.
           
             Idols themselves don’t have power but there are usually demonic forces behind idols. And when you worship, when you put yourself under, what was created you hand over your authority to spiritual forces of darkness. They use that authority to mess up this world. That is why we live in a broken world, and we ourselves are broken people.
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            So what was God’s response to not worshiping him, but rather, worshipping the things he created. The bible talks about the wrath of God. What the wrath of God looks like is that he abandons us to what we want. He says, you want to do life without me, then I am going to let you do life without me, I am going to turn you over to your own lusts.

            And he did. The result of that is that we were very inventive in ways to be bad.

            So we were behaving badly, and we were under God’s wrath, which meant he was abandoning us to our own lusts. We and our world became more and more broken. Our relationship with others go messed up. Our relationship with ourselves got messed up. Our relationship with the world around us got messed up.

            You would think that through this process that God would stop loving us. He didn’t. Some people think the wrath of God and love of God are irreconcilable. But they are not.

            It is like the story of the Prodigal son that Jesus told. A son comes to his father and says give me my share of your estate. What an insult to the father. Dad, I know that someday you are going to kick the bucket, and I am going to come into an inheritance, and I can’t wait for that to happen. So give me what is mine now. The father in the story amazingly says, if that is what you want, it is yours, I’m taking my hands off. (that is like the wrath of God – abandoning us to what we want)

            Well the son took his inheritance and squandered his wealth in wild living.

            If you know the story, it wasn’t that the father stopped loving the son. He abandoned his son to his own desires, but when the son came back he was welcomed with open arms. He threw a party for him. It was a demonstration of his deep love for his son. The wrath of God and the love of God are not incompatible.
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Music – Because of your love – Paul Baloche – 4:05

            Back to the story of God’s love. We had worshipped what God had created rather than God, God abandoned us to our own lusts as we made idols out of what he had created.

            The problem with idols of course, is they always demand more. If money is your idol, then how much  money is enough money – just a little bit more. If power is your idol, then how much power is enough power, well just a little bit more. If you yourself are your idol, then you make life all about you – and you demand from those around you, just a little bit more.

            So we were under the authority of idols, and we did all kinds of evil things. We were powerless, because the idols reigned over our lives and we were not good people.

Romans 5:6 (NIV)
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

            We were powerless, and we were ungodly. And yet even though we were enemies of God. Even though we had abandoned God, by worshiping idols, and even though we were powerless to do anything about our position, and even through we were, to put it nicely, we were ungodly – Christ died for us.

            That just seems weird to me. It seems weird to Paul as well.

Romans 5:7–8 (NIV)
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

            Why did Jesus die for us. It was a demonstration of God’s love. Even though we abandoned him, he still loved us.

            So what does that mean – Come back with me to

Romans 4:25 (NIV)
25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

            God demonstrated his love for us so that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

            Christ was delivered over to death for our sins. Remember our sins are more than the fact that we broke the rules. Our sin is more than the fact that we miss the mark of God’s perfection.

            We were made in the image of God, to reflect the character of God and live out the purposes of God, and in failing to worship and give thanks to God, but rather worship the things that he created, then the image of God within us was shattered, and we could no longer reflect him, and the purposes of God, could not be lived out in our world. We became broken and our world became broken. That is the result of our sins.

            Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins. He died because of your idolatry and mine.

            He was raised to life for our justification. Justification is the idea of being made right. Although we had committed idolatry, and were left to do all kinds of evil, and did – Although the image of God was shattered in us, and we were broken and we live in a broken world – He was raised to life for our justification – He was raised to life to make us right. He was raised to life to take care of our sin, the broken image of God in us, the power of idols over us, the evil that we have done to ourselves and others – it was made right.

            Because it was made right

Romans 5:1–2 (NIV)
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

            Therefore, because of all that I have just said. Since we have been justified by faith – faith is believing that God will do what he said he would do. Believing that Jesus took your sin on the cross. Believing that you have been made right with God because of what Jesus has done for you.

            Since you have been justified by faith – You have peace with God. We have peace with God.

            From our perspective we were God’s enemies, from God’s perspective we were under his wrath – he left us to ourselves. There was no relationship. But because of what Jesus did, you have peace with God.

            There is peace in your relationship. But more than that. You have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and you gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.

            So it is not only that a relationship has been restored. But because you have put your faith in Christ you have gained access into this grace which is where we now stand.

            Grace here is seen a place to stand. It is a status conferred on us. Grace  means unearned unmerited favour. You now stand, not only in a place of peace with God, you are no longer God’s enemy, and you are no longer under his wrath – but you stand in a place of grace – you are highly favoured by God. It is not that you are just tolerated by God, God really likes you.

             A couple of months ago I went into Service Ontario to get a sticker for my Motorcycle License. If you have had the pleasure, you know you walk in, you take a number and you wait until your number is called. I got my number and there were about 70 people ahead of me. I sat down to wait, and I always have a book with me, so I was just reading my book.

            In a little while this lady who I don’t think I have ever met before, (Although if you know me – you know I am really bad with faces) This lady walks across the room asks me what my number is. – I am surprised – I tell her my number – she says – her have my number – she hands me her number and she walks out the door. In stead of having to wait for 70 numbers to go by, now I only had to wait for 15 numbers to go by.

            I have no idea why she picked me out of a packed room. But I took it as an act of grace. Unmerited, unearned favour – and I was thankful. I got my sticker faster than I might of and I was out of there.

            Can you imagine not only an act of grace, but standing in grace. Where the face of God was always smiling on you. Oh I don’t mean that you always get bumped to the front of the line, but where you experience God peace and love and joy, where you experience God’s pleasure. That is what it means to stand in a place of grace.

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            Maybe you are listening today and you have never put your faith in Jesus. You know that the way that you are living shows that you are God’s enemy. You are not worshiping God. You are worshiping what God has created. Your life is centered around God, it is centered around something else.

            And more than that you can sense that you are under God’s wrath. Not that God is looking to hit you over the head with a spiritual baseball bat – no you just know that God has turned you over to everything you wanted. He is letting you do all that your heart wants to do.

            But you have seen the emptiness in that. You have seen where it has broken you. You know you are a long way off from God.

            Here is what I want you to know, in spite of everything, God really loves you. Before you could ever think of loving God, God really loves you.

            Jesus died so you could have your relationship with God restored. He died for your sins so you could made right with God. My question to you, is do you want to be made right with God. Do you want to come into right relationship with God?

            If you do, if you will simply pray a prayer something like, Jesus, I need you. I know I haven’t lived the way I should have. I have sinned. I have heard that you died for my sin.

            I know I was powerless to do anything about my sin. I know I was powerless to enter into a relationship with God on my own. But your word says that if I will trust you, you will make things right with God. I am asking you to do that. Please forgive me of my sin. I give my life to you. I want to worship God not any idols. I am trusting you to do this,  Amen.

            If you pray a prayer like that then God is always faithful. He will do what he said he would do. You will be like the son in the story where the Father welcomed back with open arms.

            More than that, you will stand in grace. You will have a place of favour. God not only will forgive you, but you find that he really really likes you.

            I want to encourage you to pray a prayer like that today. So that you can have peace with God.


Let's pray

Lord, I want to thank you for each person who's listening. I'm asking, Lord, that you would speak to them and allow them to come into a right relationship with you. Lord, thank you so much for the fact that you want to show your love to each person that's listening. I'm asking though, that you would speak Grace into each person's life, in Jesus’ name, AMEN.


            And thank you for listening this morning.


Hey, I’ve got a date to save for you: September 30th, Ernie Cox and the London Trio Plus.
He is going to be doing a benefit concert for us (Good News Christian Ministries), at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church at at 7 p.m.
Now, Ernie Cox and London Trio Plus have done a couple of benefit concert for us and they are an amazing time of just coming together with some great great music to listen to.
It’s a fun evening, so mark it on your calendar, September 30th at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church.
Start time is 7 p.m.



            This program is on the air by the grace of God and donations of many faithful people. A special thanks to Bruce Newman, who gave a shout out to Jericho Road Christian ministries.

            My name is Brent Russett, and it has been a privilege to bring you Good News in the Morning.


By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:
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PODCAST LINK to the CFRA broadcast:


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