This year marks the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation. In 1517 Martin Luther rediscovered the gospel of God’s grace in the book of Romans. With that discovery a reformation began in his own heart that quickly spread to the nations. Gospel truths that had long been forgotten or obscured were once again the cause of great joy and powerful change in people’s lives.
To mark this anniversary we will be taking a tour through the first seven chapters of Romans in an upcoming Sunday morning sermon series titled The Power of God. It will be more of a sprint than a marathon as we survey seven very rich and weighty chapters in seven sermons. To help us unpack and apply these chapters we will also be studying them in our home groups.
There are many excellent resources that we could turn to for help on Romans but I’d like to recommend two recent books that have been produced. The Good Book Company have published a devotional commentary called Romans For You by Tim Keller and there is an accompanying study guide called The Gift of God also by Keller. Lets pray that as we open up this part of God’s Word that lives will be transformed as minds are renewed (Rom 12:2).
Someone has shared a blog post with me that resonates very closely with what I was trying to share last Sunday morning about the purpose of God’s gifts to the church (Eph 4:7-16). It expresses the same sentiments as my sermon (perhaps more clearly!) and even uses the same illustration I used from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe!
Below is an extract of the post by Heidi Johnston but I’d encourage you to follow the link and read the full post here. I hope it stimulates you to reflect on how you are seeking to use your ‘time and talents‘ for the good of the church and the glory of God.
“There is a gift for each child – a sword and shield for Peter, a bow and horn for Susan, and a dagger and cordial for Lucy. Each gift is directly related to the personality and role of the child but each is given for the good of Narnia. Rather than diminishing the value of the gift itself, this knowledge adds a solemnity and significance that would otherwise be lacking.
While it is important to know what your gift is, I think it is equally important to understand the purpose for which it was given. Rather than simply a pat on the back from a benevolent father or a weapon in the fight for pole position, any gift we have is given as a crucial and integral part of the battle to defend, strengthen and build the Church of Christ.”