The Master’s Class, Summit Church
ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD? (Romans 3:9-12)

ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD? (Romans 3:9-12)

August 28, 2014
Almost everything in our secular world has a level of performance that is judged to be good enough to obtain a benefit from that action.  

For example, under our criminal justice system a person’s intent is often considered when making a judgment about whether they are guilty of a crime, or of the punishment for a crime that is committed.  A person who accidentally bumps into someone and knocks them down is judged differently than someone who intentionally pushes somebody to the ground in order to intimidate them.  A person’s intent is considered in making this judgment.

Our education system is built on a grade point system.  A student can pass a course by getting at least a 2.0 grade point in the class.  The person who scores a 2.0 may not have tried very hard when they studied, but they were just good enough to pass the course.  They get to pass the course and move on to the next level, as opposed to someone who received only a 1.9 grade point in the class.  

The religious world has the same type of grading system for a person’s intent.  Almost all of the world’s religions have what is called the scales of good and bad.  A person is deemed to be good enough for the god of that religion, if the number of what the religion calls good actions outweigh the number of bad actions. 

The person’s entrance into heaven often depends on that scale of good and bad.  So a person lives their lives with this mental scale in their minds.  They know that they are not going to be good all of the time, but if they can only be good enough to tip the scale toward the good side, then they will be determined to have been good enough for god.  

True, Biblical, Christianity is the only religion that says that man can never be good enough for God.  Best intent does not matter.  The fact that you have a well documented religion, full of rituals, and rules, and procedures intended to show your intent is to be a good person, is meaningless to God.  

In the area of criminal law, the term illegal per se means that the act is inherently illegal.  Therefore, an act is illegal without extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances such as a lack of knowledge or other defenses. It doesn't matter what your intent was, it doesn’t matter that you have more good than bad on your record, if you are guilty of a crime that is illegal per se, you will be judged accordingly.

This is the standard that God has set for man’s righteousness when he stands before a Holy God on that judgment day.  The fact that you have committed any sin, regardless of intent, regardless of how many other so-called good things that you may have done, you are guilty of sin and cannot be judged righteous before God.  

No one can pass this bar.  No one can live a life without committing a sin.  Therefore, God tells us in our lesson today that there is none that are righteous, no, not one.  We all need a Savior.  We all need to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Master.  All of us, every single person who has ever lived, or will ever live, needs the blood of Jesus to make them righteous before God. 

Listen to this podcast to learn why you need a Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ. 
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE (Romans 3:1-8)

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE (Romans 3:1-8)

August 23, 2014
Knowledge is power.  When you know something that others do not, you have an advantage over them.  That is why gossip is so enticing.  For that moment when you know something nobody else does, it makes you the smart one, the one on the inside, the one who has control of where that knowledge goes.  You get to choose who you will allow to join you in this exclusive club for those who have this knowledge.

At the workplace, knowledge is a leverage point.  When people refuse to share knowledge at work, it makes the company less efficient and less productive, but it can be viewed as job security for the person who has the knowledge.  If you are the one with all the knowledge of how things work, it makes it more difficult for the company to let you go.  It makes you more valuable than somebody who does not have this knowledge.  That value gives you leverage.  

Scientific knowledge is often the deciding factor in war time.  The country with the best weapons, the best training, and the best strategy, is usually the one who defeats the other.  Knowledge of how to make a nuclear bomb was the deciding factor in ending the war with Japan in WWII.  The country who got the bomb first was the victor.  

Knowledge is also power in the religious world.  When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, most of them did not know how to speak Hebrew anymore.  They spoke Aramaic which was the official language of the Babylonians.  This meant that the priests and the scribes would have to translate the Scriptures during the worship services for the people.  If the priests could declare what was right and wrong, regardless of what the Scriptures really said, then they had power over the people.  Nor could the people challenge their interpretation of the Law for they could not read the Scriptures themselves.  The religious leaders used this power to control and to mislead the people.

As Christians we have been given knowledge the world does not understand.  We have been given the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is tremendously powerful knowledge, for it is the secret of how to have eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven.  The Holy Spirit lives within our hearts and He shares the knowledge of God with us.  He opens the Word of God and He explains it meanings, it promises, and most all what God has done for our salvation.  God wants us to use that knowledge to lead others to Christ.  He has tasked us with the awesome responsibility of being His ambassadors on earth.  We have the knowledge that can help bring others into this group of believers that God calls His own.  

Our lesson today is about how those with that knowledge failed to share it with the world.  When God gave the Mosaic Law to the Jews, He gave them the knowledge of right and wrong.  He gave them something more valuable than gold or silver.  He gave them the light of God.    
THE VANITY OF RELIGIOUS RITUAL (Romans 2:17-29)

THE VANITY OF RELIGIOUS RITUAL (Romans 2:17-29)

August 15, 2014
As I have gotten older I have found comfort in the status quo of things.  Some people may call it a rut, but my life is fairly regimented between work and study and teaching.  Each week is just about the same as the last, never having enough time to get everything done, but making do with the time that I have.  

People tend to approach religion in much the same way.  Our services are regimented with rituals and procedures.  There will be periods of singing, standing, greeting each other, taking up an offering (we can’t forget the offering), and the preaching followed by an alter call.  

But we find comfort in our religious rituals when we know what to expect and we can be obedient to them.  It makes us feel like we gain a special place with God if we perform these rituals, or that they must please God in some way, or why else would we do them?

We certainly must be in better standing with God than the person who only comes to church on Easter and Christmas, if even then.  Right?  That has to be worth something, right?

However, these rituals are certainly not described in the Word of God.  We are commanded to gather together and worship, and there are certain ordinances given by God, such as the Lord’s Supper, and Baptism, but sitting, standing, and singing 4 choruses, before the preaching is not in the Bible.  I know, I have looked for it.  

Now, do not misunderstand me, I am not condemning a structured service.  Like I said, I find comfort in the regimintation of things.  What I am condemning is the condition of the heart of those who are participating in these services.  

If you come to church on Sunday, and then live like the devil on Monday through Saturday, then these rituals are just that, rituals.  But if you come to church on Sunday to truly worship God, and you live the rest of your life in the will of God, then God loves the singing of praises to Him, even if it is just the first, third, and fourth verses.  

Our lesson today is about the vanity of the religious ritual.
GOD’S JUDGMENT IS REAL (Romans 2:7-16)

GOD’S JUDGMENT IS REAL (Romans 2:7-16)

August 8, 2014
Sometimes it seems that the only things we feel are real are those things that we can instantly put our hands on and control.  It must come to us instantly, or it is not worth worrying about.  Our world is a world of instant gratification.  There are fast food, fast cars, and fast planes.  We can drive up to a little kiosk and get hot coffee handed to us through our car window.  We become impatient if we have to wait in line for anything.  We expect restaurants to provide quick and efficient service or we take it out of our tip to the waiter.  

Many people suffer from what I call the tyranny of the moment.  This is when your entire focus is controlled by the things immediately in front of you.  You know you need to plan for things, like retirement, but the car payment is due, the mortgage is due, the kids need braces or college, and so you take care of the things of the moment and let the things of the future go unattended.  

When things are promised to us at some unknown point in the future, then they fade into the backs of our mind, and if we try hard enough we can imagine that they will not happen.  

Like God’s judgment.  We are told by God that it is going to happen.  The preacher proclaims that God’s judgment is coming.  All of creation tells us that God is real, and if God is real, then His judgment must be real as well.  But we live our lives like that judgment is never going to happen.  

Can you honestly say that the way you live your life today would not change if you knew for a fact that Jesus was coming tomorrow and you would have to stand before Him?

The world behaves as if God does not exist.  But God’s judgment is real.  

Listen to this podcast to hear the Bible tell us that each person is guilty of sin, there are no exceptions, Jew or Gentile.  God would be perfectly just to condemn each of us based on our works.  Yet God has provided us with an alternative.  God has provided the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ to cover our sins, so that we can have righteousness imputed to us.  A person who has made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior can stand before a Holy God in righteousness found in Christ.