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                                     WELCOME to the                  CORNERSTONE                   INDEPENDENT                          CHURCH             A Non-denominational,                     Bible Based,                   Online Ministry

                Romans Sermon Series                                          Romans 4:1-5                                                    Sermon #27                                    Posted 9/16/21

Romans 4:1-5      
Sermon #27-4814 (RW-91021)

 

1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. 
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 


Does God owe you?
You say you've gone to church every Sunday---You tithe from your income---you even helped serve turkey dinner at the church for Thanksgiving.
Well ain't you special!
Surely all that you have done and have no problem crowing about will get you into heaven.
But may I ask if you will make the same claims at the pearly gates? Will you stand before God and tell Him how much you have done for Him?
Matthew 7:21-23
21 Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out demons? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 
23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 
Many times I have repeated this phrase: God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
And what is the qualification for serving without boasting?
Faith.
Faith plus nothing.
Someone may say "Well Pastor Freede, I've heard you preach many times about faith and obedience. Isn't that faith plus works?------No!
Obedience comes through faith. It is the demonstration of your faith. The active result of total belief that God is and will work in and through you for His glory.                       Once again, if you busy yourselves with all kinds of projects that you think or know you can do and claim they are from and for God, you boast in your own abilities.
Praying for a ministry and then stepping out and doing what God gives you is obedient faith. A demonstration of your faith. How will you know? Because it will be what you never expected or thought you wanted to or could do, and it will take faith in God to do it.
Remember, Paul is using Abraham as an example because Abraham lived and served before the Law was given.        So obviously works here refers to ones actions to appear or gain righteousness.
Over and over God made promises to Abraham and against all reasoning Abraham believed God could and would at some point in time fulfill those promises.
Was Abraham totally obedient?----Not always.
Did Abraham question God?----Yes.
But through it all Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. 
James says in 2:21-24 
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Let's not be confused here. James is not contradicting Paul in any way. He is actually confirming Paul's statement.
God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.               Can you imagine someone commanding you to do such a thing to one of your most beloved family members?          Abraham was just a man. He had feelings just like us.     Do you think Abraham didn't ask God why or at least say to himself "God promised me descendents as many as the stars in the sky and now he wants me to sacrifice the seed that He gave me that is to bring this about. I don't understand!" 
I've actually heard people say Abraham obeyed God without hesitation, actually joyfully doing so.
Get real Folks! God will test you! He will give you challenges that will require you closing your eyes to what you see and step out in faith. Actually doing the works of faith ---Get it!
This is what James is talking about.                                   James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?     and our text reads;                                                   

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
Against all feelings, against all instinct, against all that he knew to be right Abraham rose up early and followed God's instructions with great anticipation that God would be true to His Word even though what He asked of Abraham made no sense. 
That, my friends, is the Faith that leads to action that glorifies God.  That is the works that proves your righteousness.
Romans12:1-2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Folks many believe that Isaac was the sacrifice that God was asking for but it was not. God was asking Abraham to sacrifice every human feeling and present himself at the altar. Abraham was the sacrifice and that is what God is asking of you and me. 
God wants us to set aside all our human reasoning, all of our selfish feelings, all that the world wants us to believe is right and wrong and believe that God's promises are far and beyond what we can understand and the way He fulfills them is the same.
Isaah 55:8-9
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  
You see, faith without doubt is the first step toward the works that leads to righteousness.
Our text reads;                                                                                      4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.                                                                If you are working to serve the Lord without                           Sacrificing your feelings----casting off your fears,                     Sacrificing your instincts---casting off your human thoughts of what can and cannot be.                                                        If you are not sacrificing what the world has taught you----what you should and shouldn't do to be accepted; ----then you are working within your own strength, expecting a reward from God. God does not owe anyone His righteousness for the work they do in His name.
God gives His righteousness through Jesus Christ, to those who sacrific themselves, to allow Him to do His work through them. 
 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Praise the Lord, Give glory to the Lord, Give sacrifice to the Lord, Give yourself.   Amen! 
And what does that mean to the believer? God will be there every step of the way. When you choose in your heart to be a Christian; when you open your heart to the truth of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ you are saying to God, “I believe you”. You are saying “The world has lied to me long enough and I have followed the wrong path for too long. I am putting my faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. I trust in the Lord and I will be His disciple!”  
Well, if you put that much faith into your salvation through Christ then it should not be difficult for you to put your faith in stepping out to serve God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit is Christ in you and He is there for you to be guided and strengthened and taught and encouraged. He is the one who increases your faith every day you rise to honor and obey and glorify God.
Setting aside your fears and doubts and excuses is your sacrifice.
Rising up to walk and work in the guidance and strength and provision of the Lord is your reward. 
The problem most Christians have is the work that comes with being a Christian. It’s not a spiritual movement like salvation. It is actually obedient God honoring productive activity. It is not what a person can do in their own abilities and comfort zone. It is what God does in you and through you that you would not even think of doing on your own. God will test you to bring you to that point of obedience. Like Abraham with his son Isaac. But He will always lift you from your fears and provide whatever you need to honor and glorify Him in the work He has for you.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Pastor Steven Freede
Cornerstone Independent Church Ministry
Original Sermon Date 4/8/14
 
                                            

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