31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
1. More Than Religeon
God is for those who truly believe and not for religion
· So many religious groups in the world, so many religious groups in our city.
· How can we tell which are from God?
· God did not call us to be religious!
· God calls us to be righteous!
· Religion ignores what God has to say from the scriptures or isolates an obscure verse or verses and takes them out of context—it’s not about true knowledge of God or scripture, it’s about convenience or tradition
God’s people can become religious and not be in his grace
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
5You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—
6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
7 The more priests there were,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their glorious God[b] for something disgraceful.
8 They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.
9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 “They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not flourish,
because they have deserted the Lord
to give themselves 11 to prostitution;
old wine and new wine
take away their understanding.
12 My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
1 John 4:1-6 (Gnosticism—Jesus did not come in the flesh—was like a ghost or apparition)
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
--Religion embraces and loves independence. True Godliness is interdependent.
--Religion is about self, righteousness is about relationships
--Religion blames others for their state (sees self as a victim), righteousness takes responsibility, and looks to God for answers
--Religion condemns, righteousness saves
2. More Than Courage
19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”[f]
“But my righteous[g] one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”[h]
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.