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We’re a resort village church, relaxed and warm. Dress up, dress down, come as you are. We are located at 975 C Avenue, Coronado, California. Resident or tourist, you’ll be among friends who desire to know Christ and make Christ known.

 

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   Traditional Style - 9:00am

   Blended Style - 10:30am

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    9&1030

    Tuesday
    Apr182017

    Please answer me that. 

     

    Dear Theologians,

     

    The end of chapter eight marks the conclusion of the first major section of Romans. Paul has discussed the doctrines of justification, sanctification and glorification. But before Paul moves on to address practical concerns of local church life (12-15), he feels compelled to speak about God’s plan for the Gentiles and the Jews, Paul’s very own people.

     

    Had God abandoned the Jews? Paul had already resolutely answered ‘no’ to such a conclusion in chapter 3. Yet if the Jews were God’s chosen people, why did most of them oppose the gospel? If the gospel really is the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures, why don’t the Jews recognize it as such? And how does one make sense of God’s choice of Israel and his promise to bless the world through them when the Jews had rejected the gospel? Come on, Paul, please answer me that. 

     

    Paul completely understood the feelings of the Jews who refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah – he had once been so opposed to Christ that he had hunted down and imprisoned Christians. But then Paul was confronted by Christ and became a changed man. Though he was the “apostle to the Gentiles,” Paul was still so concerned for his people that he was willing to be “cursed” (9:3) to bring Jews to the Savior. Furthermore (or wherefore or therefore), Paul knew that the church at Rome had a unique opportunity to use the diverse personal backgrounds of its members to strengthen the cause of Christ. Paul tackled many of the issues in this letter for the sake of the unity of both Jewish and Gentile Christians.

     

    And, for Paul, every question sooner or later led the one asking the question to accept or reject God’s sovereignty. For those in the courtroom, it is now "sooner." The apostle faces the jury and asks a rhetorical question, answers it, gives a quick history lesson and then, wouldn’t you know it, offers another “therefore” to any juror thinking, “Okay, Paul, please answer me that.” Oh, how he masterfully drives home the answer to the “Is God really sovereign?” question. Brilliant! Next question?

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                           A                          L                           P                        H

     

     

    The Bonus Round: Fuzzywigs to the first few or so who email me the numbers assigned to the three verses referenced in that closing paragraph. 

    Wednesday
    Apr122017

    Cross and Resurrection

     

    Jesus did not die in bed.

    Daniel Migliore, class lecture, Princeton Theological Seminary

     

    Christ has not only spoken to us by his life but also has spoken for us by his death.

    Soren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Papers

     

    We live and die. Christ died and lived!

    John R.W. Stott, What Christ Thinks of the Church

     

    The man in Christ rose again, not only the God. That is the whole point.

    C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

     

    What one sees depends on where one sets up one’s shop. Mine is at the entrance of the empty tomb.

    W. Paul Jones, interview at ParacletePress.com

     

    How fair and lovely is the hope which the Lord gave to the dead when he lay down like them beside them. Rise up and come forth and sing praise to him who has raised you from destruction.

    Syrian Orthodox Liturgy

     

    If resurrection happened regularly there would be nothing different about Jesus being raised from the dead. He would be one among many, just another statistic…. If [Jesus’ resurrection] is unique, then, by definition, there will be no analogous events. That makes it a lot harder to believe. It also makes it worth believing.

    Alister E. McGrath, What Was God Doing on the Cross?

     

    Christian faith lives from the raising of the crucified Christ, and strains after the promise of the universal future of Christ.

    Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope

     

    Worship…is the most appropriate response that can be made to resurrection.

    Eugene H. Peterson, Subversive Spirituality

     

    He is risen!

     

    He is risen, indeed!

    Tuesday
    Apr042017

    Playing Favorites

    Dear Theologians, 

     

    The eighth chapter of Romans is the favorite chapter of many of you, I know -- and not without reason. Yet, the interesting thing about this is that it is not until you get to the middle of the chapter (v. 17) that Paul introduces any new thoughts. In the opening words of this chapter he is simply pacing back and forth in front of the jurors bringing his argument to focus.


    There is absolutely no question in my smaller brain that Chapter 8 ought to open with the word but. It is a contrast that shows the way out of the struggle of Chapter 7: "But there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." The only reason this verse does not open with but is because some clown put a big 8 there, and that has thrown off all the translators ever since. Now, what is Paul saying in this passage when it all is taken together like that? Well, at least three things. First, it is evident that there is a struggle in the Christian life. There is a struggle between what he calls "the sinful nature" and the Spirit. (I’m not sure I like that term "sinful nature" too well -- the word is flesh, and, as the word is used in Scripture, it not only means the body, but it means the sin that finds its seat in those bodies.) God made a body for Adam that is like ours -- with two eyes, two ears, a nose, etc., and we have these characteristics because Adam had them. But we also have inherited from Adam this principle of sin that is in us. I’m starting to wander. Stay the course, West. Back to Romans.

     

    The second major thing the apostle is saying is that not only is there a struggle, but, and this is huge, the struggle is without condemnation. Though I struggle at times, Paul says, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. The reason there is no condemnation is given in just one little phrase: "in Christ." That goes right back to our justification by faith: We came out of Adam, we are in Christ, and God will never condemn those who are in Christ. He never will! Please say it with me, “Never!” Now, we have to understand what "no condemnation" means. What is Paul talking about? Certainly, the most basic element in it is that there is no rejection by God. God does not turn us aside, he does not kick us out of his family. If we are born into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us, and he will never, never leave us. No matter what we do, he will never leave us. And God will never treat us as anything less than sons and daughters. [but,] therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.


    The third thing "no condemnation" means is…Well, you’ll need to be in class this Sunday to learn the “third thing” and to explore the rest of the chapter.


    In Your Debt,


    R               A                     L                    P                   H

    Monday
    Mar272017

    In Scrubb's Steps (apologies to Charles Sheldon)

    Dear Theologians,

     

    Staying one step ahead of the prosecution, Paul anticipated the inevitable question that would be asked during cross-examination: “Shall we sin to our heart’s content and see how far we can exploit the grace of God?” (6:1, Phillips).

     

    In other words, since we're justified and will remain so even if we sin, can't we just live however we want? “What a ghastly thought!” Paul will retort.  “We, who have died to sin—how could we live in sin a moment longer?” (6:2, Phillips).

     

    Salvation doesn't free us to sin; it frees us not to sin. As believers in Christ, we are united with Christ himself and his strength. Sin no longer has a claim on our lives. “We're alive to God, alert to him, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (6:11, TLB).

     

    The daily process of living this new life in Christ is called "sanctification.” Whereas (Were you expecting a “therefore”?) justification is God's declaration of righteousness, sanctification is our development in righteousness. Justification has to do with our position in Christ. Done deal. Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ. In progress.

     

    As growing Christians, we no longer live under the law, which showed us our sin and condemned us. Instead we live in the Spirit, who frees us to love and serve Christ.

     

    Old habits die hard, though, as we all know. Even though we're new creatures in Christ and will one day be perfect, we retain the vestiges of our old, sinful nature in this life. This war of the two natures is a struggle for the Christian who truly wants to grow.

     

    Remember another adventurer and theologian, E.C. Scrubb? And his war with those two natures? And his desire to die to sin and to truly grow spiritually? And his encounter with a huge lion? Well, that’s exactly where Paul is taking us in chapter 7. He’s taking us exactly to the solution for the struggle. And that solution……….will be discussed during class this week. And Scrubb’s adventure, too. Good stuff!

     

    In Your Debt,

     

    R                    A                    L                    P                     H

    Wednesday
    Mar222017

    The Gift of the Therefore (no disrespect to O. Henry)

    Dear Theologians, 

     

    Wherefore is that therefore there for? Paul is looking at the doctrine of justification as something that has already taken place. “Therefore, having been justified by faith (5:1).” The great truth of the “therefore” is that we can be justified now, contrary to what some religious beliefs claim. Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ do not have a prolonged wait for their justification. The moment they believe in Jesus and put their trust in him, God declares them just, once and for all. “Having been justified” refers to an action in the past, to something that has been accomplished. The work of Christ is finished. Justification is a past action. We received it the moment we believed.

     

    Sometimes we look at concepts or doctrines such as justification by faith alone, and we shrug and ask, “So what?” The so what? is set forth for us here by Paul. We see that our justification is a fait accompli (Yes, I know that is not Greek or Hebrew; try French). Our justification took place the moment we believed – and there are consequences to it. Good consequences. Try…well try finding them like this:

     

    Salvation is not like receiving just one gift* under the Christmas tree but gift after gift all wrapped up together. The first package we find is our justification, and when we open that package, we find inside it another – peace with God. Inside that package is access to his presence, and inside that gift is the ability to find there is joy in the midst of tribulation, and that very tribulation gives us another gift – perseverance. Tear off the ribbon from that gift, and there is another one, which is the character that perseverance gives us, and within that gift is hope that will never embarrass or disappoint us. Finally we open one more present, and it is the love of God poured profusely into our hearts by the grace of God. All these are the gift of justification.  Any wonder why, then, at that doxological* writing of the apostle Paul, who rejoices in these things over and over again? For Paul, Christmas never ends.

     

    In Your Debt

     

    R                      A                        L                       P                     H

     

    *So just how many times does Paul use the word ‘gift’ in 5:1-21? And what is the reference of that doxology that we read to conclude class a couple of weeks ago? 

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