There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. –Romans 8:1-2
We are beginning to wind down our study through the book of Joshua. My hope is that you have felt challenged, you have learned a few things, and you feel better equipped to deal with the themes of Joshua and their application for us having spent six months in its pages. It has been a challenge to preach through, quite frankly, in the most positive manner of speaking. I have enjoyed both prepping and delivering the messages, and have learned much in the process as well.
I am currently reading up for a summer/early fall series through Romans chapter 8 – a series we are calling “God for Us.” Romans 8 was considered by many of the Reformers to be the highest peak in the mountains of Scripture. Martin Luther called it “the clearest gospel of all.” William Tyndale, the great British reformer and Bible translator called Romans “the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament…a light and a way into the whole of the Scriptures.” J.I.Packer, my favorite living theologian, says “all roads in the Bible lead to Romans, and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.”
Many years past, I decided to begin memorizing larger “chunks” of Scripture. I asked a mentor of mine at that time where I should start, and he suggested without hesitation memorizing all of Romans 8. I focused on that task, and a few months later had it down. It was the start of a journey memorizing chapters of Scripture that has paid huge dividends in my walk with Christ. May I suggest that you begin the discipline of memorizing Romans 8 as well? If you are doing regular devotions with your family, consider memorizing a few verses together. I know the argument that tells us that we do not need to memorize what we can look up in a few seconds by grabbing a nearby Bible. However, can you be sure that a Bible will always be nearby when you need it? Jesus clearly memorized Scripture (see, for example, his encounter with Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4 and Luke 4). I believe he serves as an example for us. The amount of Bibles you own is irrelevant when it comes to Scripture memorization. The goal and purpose is to hide God’s word in your heart, where it cannot be taken from you, and where it can be drawn upon frequently as a source of encouragement and hope. This summer would be a great time to begin that discipline if you have not yet started, and to begin it in Romans chapter 8.
As summer fast approaches, we prepare to send out our short-term missionaries. This Sunday we will pray for those who are preparing to go. If you have committed to give to missions at LifePoint through the Faith Promise, please remember to give during the summer months. For whatever reason, giving traditionally falls during the summer, and although we can ride that out in our general fund, our missions budget often grows thin, jeopardizing our regular giving to the missionaries we have pledged to support. We have never missed a payment to our missionaries; let’s make sure we maintain that faithfulness this summer. While I am talking about money, I would encourage you not to give up on your promise to the building fund as well if you have made a commitment there. We are almost ready to pay off our short-term construction loan for our recent building project. With the additional funds that come in, we can begin to knock out the outstanding loan we currently hold on the original building project from over ten years ago. Let’s work together to become completely debt free! What a blessing and a witness that will be.
Grace and peace,