Title: Intro to Romans

Focus: True religion is not about acts of religion, but responding to God’s promise and grace with trusting obedience by emptying yourself of your will so God can fill you with his will

Function: To motivate the hearers to take time to encourage and minister to those in need.

Text: Romans 1:1-13

1.  I was once religious - Song lead, prayers, Lord’s Supper, all the moves down
2.  Religion:  (threskeia) :  “The worship of God especially as it expresses itself in
religious service or cult.”  
	a.  People religious - clothing, hair, positions, wheels & objects
	b. O.T. - Tabernacle, Sacrifice, purification rites, priests and clothes
	c.  N.T. - Services - Baptism - L.S. - prayer - Even in church 
3.  I was a champion at religious.  Even had suit - Became Religion Man
4.  Why anyone be “religious?”  Win favor of their God through religious acts. 

5.  Is that what God wants from us?   
	a.  Paul says being religious not mean you authentic Christian.  
	b.  Starts not with our actions, but with God’s
6.  Text:  Rom 1:1-13 - Reasons why religion in itself is empty

I.  Our Blessings as believers are the result of God’s promise (v.2)
	A.  Religion = what we do  ;  Gospel begin with what God does
		1.  Paul begins with what God does
		2.  All we have not result of own religions, but God’s promise
	B.  What is a promise?
		1.  Syn:  covenant, pact, pledge, or vow
		2.  Gen 22 - God went farther and swore an oath
	C.  You ever done this?
		1.  When I bought first car - Signed contract
		2.  Promise to pay what I own
		3.  Was I obligated to sign it?  No.  It was my choice
	D.  Our being saved was God’s choice
		1.  We did not obligate God to you
		2.  When he sent Jesus to die, it was his choice
		3.  Even “religious” acts not obligate God to us
		4.  It God’s promise

II.  Our blessings are the result of the Christ’s resurrection (v.3-5)
	A.  Know anyone with power to come back to life when killed?
	B.  Result of Christ’s resurrection - Received 2 things:
		1.  Grace
			a.  Syn:  mercy, leniency, compassion, forgiveness, pity, 
			     kindness, tolerance, and charity
			b.  Not something you earn, but accept
			c.  We, the human race, sin over and over, fail God
			d.  Do you know how the story could have went?  Squished 
			     Adam and Eve and they were not 
				- God had reason and the right to do so
				- We survived only by his grace
		2.  Apostleship
			a.  Def:  “One sent”
			b.  Paul also calls it being “called,” or being “saints”
			c.  You are now the people of God
	C.  ILL:  My first car - 74 Gremlin
		1.  Nearly lost Teresa Kelly out passenger door
		2.  I was proud of that car
		3.  It my responsibility to care for it
		4.  Did I earn it?  No.  My Dad let me have it.  And that was that.
	D.  It Not by our doing, but by God’s doing

III.  What is the purpose of this grace God has given?
	A.  (v.5)  To bring about the “obedience of faith.”  
		1.  It is the obedience that comes from our faith
		2.  Not the obedience to try and earn God’s favor.
	B.  Obedience of faith is not “religious acts” to win God’ favor
		1.  Have to come to terms with grace and promise to have ob of fth
		2.  Obedience of faith a whole life change, not religious acts
		3.  Worship will transform to response to God, not religion
		4.  I didn’t understand all this at first.  
			a.  Even though religious, became dissatisfied with worship.  
			b.  I thought problem with worship service
			c.  LIght bulb not go on, someone replaced it finally
	C.  James 1:26-27 - Religion, religious
		1.  Not say anything about religious acts
		2.  “Pure” religion ceremony or ritual - but ministry & holiness
		3.  PURE - Jesus say blessed are pure in heart - see God
	D.  If worship and not feel like “see” or meet God, 
		1.  Problem may not be what going on in here
		2.  Problem may be what (not) going on out there when leave
		3.  Pure in heart see God, pure religion = ministry and holiness

1.  Going through motions not fill you up
	a.  Phil 2- Jesus emptied himself, and God lifted him up - he with God
	b.  Cannot come to worship and be filled unless spend week emptying self
2.  How do we empty self?
	a.  When you care for those in need, you are emptying yourself.  
	b.  When you take the time to share the Gospel,
	c.  When you encourage your brother or sister
	d.  THIS is the obedience of God
3.  Are you practicing pure religion?
	a.  Only way it happen when come to terms with grace and promise
	b.  Then practice the obedience of faith
	c.  That involves being obedient to point of death - emptying self
	d.  God will fill you
4.  Are you emptying yourself?