New Hope UMC

Lessons 1: We Now Have Peace With God (5:1-11)

June 7, 2018

Key verses:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

It may seem unusual to start the study of a book in Chapter 5. Wilson says "From a practical standpoint, however, an in-depth study of the entire Letter to the Romans is a daunting task that would take many months. So we’ve focused on four chapters that may well change your life. Disciples throughout the centuries have found that these core chapters 5 through 8 provide tremendous help in learning to live the Christian life." But first, as in any study, we should look at the context in which the scripture was written. Keep in mind that when Paul wrote his letter, he did not divide it into chapters and verses. That was done much later by scholars. What's more, he probably dictated it to a follower, maybe Titus or Luke, because his body had suffered many injuries.

What was Rome like in AD 55 when the letter was written? It was, of course, the most important city in the world. The Christian church had many members, mostly gentiles but some Jews. The Jews had been granted the status of a religion when they sided with Julius Caesar again Pompey in 49 BC. They greatly outnumbered the Christians at the time. But they ran into trouble with Emperor Claudius, probably due to disturbances over the Christians and were banished from Rome, at least for a time. Paul was later arrested in Jerusalem, but insisted on being tried in Rome by Caesar. He was eventually transported to Rome, imprisoned there, and was executed in AD 62.

We will also take a brief look at Chapters 1 - 4 and then commence with Chapter 5. The study is 8 weeks, but we don't have to hurry. As usual, the discussion question links are provided. We won't spend time in the lesson looking at the answers but we will ponder the questions posed. It is probably a good idea to look up the discussions on your own in order to get the most out of the lesson.

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 5:1-2) According to verses 1-2, faith is a key to salvation. For Abraham (4:3), what was the relationship between faith and justification? For us (5:1-2), what is the relationship between faith and justification? In your own words, what does it mean to be justified?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 5:2-5) According to this passage why should we rejoice in our sufferings and tribulations? One by one, what is the importance to our lives of perseverance, tried character, and hope?

Discussion question 3. (Romans 5:6, 8) Why is it so important to embrace the truth that “Christ died for the ungodly” (5:6), that “Christ died for sinners” (5:8)? According to 5:8, did Christ die for us at our best or at our worst? How does this give us assurance against the devil’s lies about us being too bad to forgive?

Discussion question 4. (Romans 5:9-10) What does “reconciliation” mean? Why is reconciliation with God necessary? We understand our having been saved by Jesus’ death (5:10a, past tense). In what sense are we being saved (5:10b, present tense) by his life? What is Jesus doing for us in the present?

June 14, 2018


We completed Lesson 1 and also Lesson 2 on the Second Adam. Interestingly, Monty Felix had preached on this very topic on June 10. Jesus as the Second Adam is not a topic that gets a lot of attention in the Christian study discipline. As Wilson puts it, "these are difficult concepts for us to understand, especially for those of us immersed in a Western world view. Paul’s discourse on the relationship of Adam to Christ may seem irrelevant to you, but hang in there. You’ll find that it will begin to make sense, especially when we come to understanding baptism (6:2-4). Sin and Death Came through Our Progenitor Adam (5:12) 12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (5:12)" Jesus, the Second Adam, represents a new beginning for us, one free of sin, with a proper relationship with God, just as the First Adam had before his original sin. So until Jesus came, all of us, descendants of the First Adam, were in sin. Jesus changed all that. 
in 5:15-19, Wilson presents an interesting take on the scripture, utilizing the voices of Adam and Jesus. We were fascinated by Paul's words and they are repeated here for everyone. 

Adam: “15 But the gift is not like the trespass.  Adam: For if the many died by the trespass of the one man,

Christ: how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: 

Adam: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation,

Christ: but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

Adam:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man,

Christ: how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 

Adam: 18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men,

Christ: so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.

Adam: 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, 

Christ: so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.


Lessons 3:United with Christ, Free from Sin’s Slavery (6:1-11)

June 21, 2018

Big Concept. The truth is that we have become so united with Christ, that the “old us” died when Christ died and the power of our “flesh” or sinful nature was broken. What’s more, we now share the power of Christ’s life in our lives. We must believe this enough to live our lives accordingly.

The first topic in Lesson 3 is "Unbridled Sin is Incompatible with Christian Life". We seem to be following Monty's sermons as he preached about this on Sunday. We are free from sin with Jesus death on the cross and our baptism. But free from sin is not free to sin. 3 “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (6:3-4) We are buried with Jesus and rise up with him in a new life - one which does not include sin! We are Alive in Christ, Dead to Sin. (Topic 2). Wilson: When we came to faith in Christ and were baptized into union with Christ, we were united with him in his death on Golgotha, in his burial in the garden tomb, and in his resurrection on the Third Day.

Paul introduced the concept of slavery - as in being slaves to sin. We are all slaves to something, so he replaces our slavery to sin with a New Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are united to him. We share in his victory over sin as well as his fullness of life – both spiritual (communion with the Source of Life now) and physical (victory over physical death and an eternal resurrection body that will never die). Hallelujah!

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 6:3-5) In what sense does baptism bring about our union with Christ? In what sense does baptism symbolize our union with Christ?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 6:3-4) In Paul’s reference to baptism in 6:3-4, what does “buried” (6:4a) correspond to in the act of baptism? What does “Christ was raised from the dead” (6:4b) correspond to in baptism?

Discussion question 3. (Romans 6:1-7) Is Paul referring to a figurative “death” to sin, or to a kind of historical, actual death? Whose death is he talking about? How does this death become our own? To what degree is this just theological mumbo-jumbo or does it have some basis in reality?

Discussion question 4. (Romans 6:6-7) In what way has our “body of sin,” our “flesh,” our old nature been made powerless because of our crucifixion with Christ? In what way have we been freed from slavery? What difference does this understanding make in our struggles against temptation?

Discussion question 5. (Romans 6:11) What does it mean to “reckon, consider, count” in verse 11? Does this actually mean that we are convincing ourselves of something that isn’t really true? What will be the effect in our lives if we actually do consider it to be true that we died with Christ’s death with regard to sin?


Lessons 4: Slaves to Righteousness Rather Than Sin (6:12-23)

June 28, 2018

Big Concept. Slaves do what they’re told. But sin doesn’t “own” you anymore; God owns you now. You no longer have to sin! So give yourself wholeheartedly to serving God. You can do this!

In these 12 verses in Chapter 6 Paul takes us from being slaves to sin to another type of slavery. Most people find the term "slavery" objectionable. But at the same time, Christians acknowledge Jesus as the "master" and us has his "sevants'. True Christianity means that we serve a Higher Power, that we are obedient to his commands and follow his teachings. In earlier lessons, Paul has taken us through the steps of freeing ourselves from the clutches of Satan, even relating the experience to Adam and original sin. Paul wants the Romans to understand how they got where they are. So he goes back to First Man. We are crucified with Christ through baptism and enter into a new life with him through resurrection. We are united with Christ. Now he begins to tell us what it means to be one with Christ. We hare never quite free from sinning, but are free from serving Satan. Jesus is now with us to resist the temptation of sin. We now come under the control of "righteousness" and shed the control of sin. We are slaves either to one or the other. No man can serve to masters. A slave of righteousness – which you are, by God’s grace – is one who is accustomed to obeying God and doing righteous or upright deeds. It becomes a way of life, with only occasional slips.

But this is a new kind of slavery. This is not a slavery of drudgery and resentment, however. We are love-slaves. And we are beneficiaries of a health-producing way of life. One that leads to holiness and eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (6:23)

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 6:12) What does obedience have to do with the “reign” of sin?

Discussion question 2. (Q2. (Romans 6:13) In what ways do you “offer the members of your body” to either sin or God multiple times in a day? Why is it that we can sin unconsciously? How can we begin to offer our members deliberately to God? What changes will it take in our daily life to do this?

Discussion question 3.. (Romans 6:15-18). What does obedience have to do with slavery? In what way does doing acts of righteousness demonstrate your slavery to God? In what ways does doing bad things demonstrate a slavery to sin? How is such a slavery or bondage broken? What part does obedience have in breaking this bondage? In what areas is God speaking to you about a fresh obedience in your life?

Discussion question 4. (Romans 6:17b) How does good doctrine affect the way we live? Why should we honor good doctrine? If we shouldn’t look down on doctrine itself, what kind of teaching should we be avoiding?

Discussion question 5. (Romans 6:18-22) In Paul’s analogy in these verses, is there a place of independent freedom apart from “slavery” to sin or to Christ? Why do we long for this kind of independent freedom? Why do we hesitate to firmly take sides and make our allegiance clear to all?


Lessons 5: Struggling with Sin in Our Own Strength (7:1-25)

July 5, 2018

Big Concept. The law, the knowledge of right and wrong is good, but it doesn’t have the power to keep us from sinning. Even will power is inadequate to keep us from sin. We only end up frustrated. The problem lies with our corrupt human nature. Fortunately, there is help in the Spirit.

In this lesson, we cover the entire chapter 7 of Romans, consisting of 25 verses. It is not for the faint of heart as Paul goes deeply into why we sin. He offers help in "taking away our bent to sinning" but it seems that this chapter gets personal, maybe at times a bit too much. Remember though that we are learning about how a Christ Powered Life should look to us. if we can take these teachings into our own lives, so much the better. But if we have trouble doing that, it doesn't change Paul's teachings or make them less important.

Verses 1 -6 are about our release from the Law to enable us to serve in the Spirit. Paul covers our sinful "in the flesh" nature once again. The Law is helpful in that it reveals sin for what it is. Remember Paul is writing to people who don't have the advantage of the Gospels, only the Old Testament scriptures. In verses 8-13, he discusses the holiness and rightness of the law. The “the law is holy and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good” (7:12). But the Law was hijacked by Sin, as Paul will explain. In verses 14-25, Paul covers our failure in the flesh, i.e., our sinful nature, to fulfill the Law. Paul refers to his own struggles to emphasize this point. So who will help us through this. "Who will deliver me? he asks. The answer: Jesus Christ our Lord. Praise God that there is a Deliverer from this miserable state of Romans 7. His name is Jesus and he has sent his Holy Spirit.." - Ralph Wilson.

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 7:5) Paul uses the word “flesh” (or NIV “sinful nature”) many times in chapters 7 and 8. In your own words, what does Paul mean by “flesh” in these verses?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 7:7-8) The law reveals sin for what it is. Why wouldn’t we be better off just not knowing that we should not covet, for example? Why does the flesh respond to being told “Do not covet” by coveting all the more?

Discussion question 3.. (Romans 7:12; 8:3) What does the law do well? What does it do poorly? Why is the law (knowing right and wrong) powerless to save us? What is the problem here?

Discussion question 4. Q4. (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:18-20; Romans 7:24) What is the doctrine of “total depravity”? Put it in your own words. Does it mean that none of God’s original goodness shows through? Then what does it mean? Why does modern man tend to believe that man is basically good? How does this differ from what the Bible teaches?

Discussion question 5. Q5. (Romans 7:14-25) Christians disagree about who is the “I” in Romans 7. Is Paul referring to himself or others? What is your opinion? (We won’t all agree here, but we’ll learn what the issues are by taking and arguing for a position – lovingly).


Lessons 6: Learning to Walk by the Spirit (8:1-17)

July 12, 2018

Big Concept. 6. When we become Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us in all his power – really! When we turn our attention to him rather than to our own devices, he gives us the power we need to have victory over sin.

In this lesson, we cover the verses 1 through 17 of Chapter 8. This is a good news, bad news story. The bad news is that you can't overcome sin alone. The good news is that you don't have to. The Holy Spirit is there to help us. In fact, it is the only way to remove our selves from the clutches of sin and temptations of the Evil One. Paul continues his theme about the Law. "It’s not the law that is to blame. The law is holy and righteous and good" (7:12). The problem is with us, with the “sinful nature” But the Law was powerless to help us because it was weakened by the sinful nature. Without Jesus, it is powerless to save us

Wilson tells us "If you get nothing else from this study, seek to understand this – what it means to walk by the Spirit!" Paul exhorts us to set our minds on things of the Spirit. This is powerful image of focusing on what is good while controlling distractions. This is not easy, given all of the worldly things around us, but it is essential if we are to live life in the Spirit. Next, Paul again warns us of the problems of the flesh, i.e., yielding to our sinful nature. "And those who are in the flesh cannot please God". 8:8.

So we must be led by the Spirit and in doing so we will experience its fruits. The fruit of the Spirit are covered in Galatians and the author takes us to those passages. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-25

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 8:3-4) Why can’t obedience to the law save us? What is the weak link? What then does it take to save us?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 8:5-6) Exactly what does it mean to set your mind on the things of the Spirit? How do you do this? How can you recognize when the things you’re setting your mind on relate to your sinful nature? How much of this is deliberate? How much is habit? What part does the Holy Spirit have it this? Or is this primarily right living by force of will?

Discussion question 3.. (Romans 8:9) Is it possible to be a Christian without the Holy Spirit residing in us? What is the difference (if any) between the indwelling of the Spirit and the fullness of the Spirit? How do we remain “full” of the Spirit?

Discussion question 4. (Romans 8:12) Do we have to sin? Are we compelled to sin? Is it possible to live for two hours of wakefulness without sinning? Four hours? One day? Two days? Where do we Christians get such a defeatist attitude towards sin? From Scripture?

Discussion question 5. (Romans 8:13-14) What does it mean to “mortify” or “put to death” the deeds of the body by the Spirit? What would it look like to watch a person do this? What does it mean to be “led” by the Spirit? What does this look like in actual practice? How do “putting to death” and being “led” by the Spirit fit together? How much of this is the Spirit and how much is us?

Discussion question 6. (Romans 8:15-16) How does the Holy Spirit inspire us to pray “Abba, Father”? What is the significance of us referring to God as our Dad? What happens in our lives if we don’t have some kind of personal assurance of our salvation? How do we receive this kind of personal assurance?


Lessons 7: Revealing the Children of God in Future Glory (8:14-28)

July 19, 2018

Big Concept. The Fall of Man corrupted not only us, but the whole creation. However, we Christians, as sons and daughters of God, are harbingers of the New Age. The Spirit strengthens us in our weakness at present and causes us to look forward to the Day of Christ’s return when we and the entire creation will be restored to our intended glory.

This lesson covers Chapter 8, verses 14-28, so there is some overlap from Lesson 6, i.e., the last 3 verses. The lesson is presented in four main themes. These are 1. Full Sons and Daughters of God; 2. Present Sufferings; 3. The Spirit of God Helps Us in Our Present Weakness and 4. Great Glory is Coming. So the Apostle, as is his style, builds to a climax which in this case is the Glorious Appearing, the New Creation, New Jerusalem, etc. This is a common them in the New and even the Old Testament which does not get that much attention, although, of course, is central to the theme of Christianity: that we as Christians look forward with great anticipation to the Second Coming of our Lord.

As we are the children of God in the future, we need to understand how this parent - child relationship was consummated. That is the subject of the first theme. Next Paul takes us through the idea of suffering along with our Savior in Theme 2. The Spirit helps us deal with those sufferings and that is the subject of Theme 3. And finally Paul elaborates on the coming of the Lord in Theme 4.

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. In Romans 8:14-21, 28, how many times is the idea of being sons and daughters of God alluded to? What are the promises made to these sons and daughters? What do we learn about our future and our role in the future of all creation?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 8:17-22) In what ways was suffering Jesus’ lot in life? Why do we suffer? Why does all creation seem to be suffering? What will signal the end of that downward cycle of suffering, decay, and death? Is there anything good to look forward to in this present life?

Discussion question 3. (Romans 8:26-27) How does the Holy Spirit act as a Helper or Mediator or Intercessor in verses 26-27? What similarities do you see between the Holy Spirit’s ministry here with Jesus’ teaching of the Spirit’s ministry as Counselor/Comforter/Paraclete in John 14:16 and 15:26)? Why do you think we tend to take the Holy Spirit for granted or fail to understand His ministry to and through us?

Discussion question 4. (Romans 8:24-25) What are the characteristics of a person who has lost hope? How does this person typically conduct his life? How does this differ from a person who holds an eager expectation of a better future? What is the “Christian hope”? How should it motivate us and affect our lives now?

Discussion question 5. (Romans 8:18-25) In what sense do we expect to experience God’s glory when Christ comes? How will the suffering creation experience God’s glory? How will our mortal bodies experience God’s glory? In what way will our spirits experience God’s glory?

Lessons 8: More than Conquerors (8:28-39)

July 26, 2018

Big Concept. Though we Christians go through all sorts of struggles and persecutions now, God is still in charge. Nothing can turn away his intense love for us. And on the Last Day when we stand before his throne we will hear his final word of pardon and feel the embrace of his love.

We come to the final lesson in our study of Romans 5-8. The Apostle Paul has been building to this it seems in these 4 chapters of his letter to the Romans. This series is entitled "A Christ Powered Life", and Pastor Wilson has taken us on a deep die into what that looks like in a scriptural sense. In this lesson, we start with the concept that "all things work together for good to them who love the Lord". This leads to a theological discussion of predestination, with its positives and negatives. Wilson concludes that the Bible does indeed support predestination, but we must be careful to accept it as fatalistic “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (8:30)

Then we go to the idea "if God is for you, who can be against you?". The writer gives other references which lead to the Final Victory in Revelation, that no charge will stick against us, that is we who are saved Christians. in the Last Judgment, who will bring the charges? Not God, as he is the one who has declared us righteous. Not Jesus, since it is he who died for our sins and not Satan, who was vanquished prior to the Great While Throne and thrown into the Lake of Fire. (Revelation 20:10).

So no one can separate us from the love of Christ.

Discussion questions.

Discussion question 1. (Romans 8:28) What is the actual promise contained in verse 28? What does this promise mean? Put it in your own words. What are the two qualifications to the recipients of this promise? How does verse 28 give you hope?

Discussion question 2. (Romans 8:29) What does it mean to “be conformed to the likeness of his Son”? In practical terms, what does that involve in our lives? Why does Paul support this statement with ideas of our destiny? Why does he support this with ideas of brotherhood with Jesus?

Discussion question 3. (Romans 8:31-32) What is the significance of the statement: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Who might our enemies be? What is the evidence presented that God is for us? How does this statement make you feel? How does it affect hope? How does it allow you to act? What might: “...graciously give us all things” refer to?

Discussion question 4. Q4. (Romans 8:35-36) What kinds of perils were the early Roman Christians likely exposed to? What kinds of perils are Christians exposed to today? How does this passage reassure us? In what sense do we Christians “overwhelmingly conquer” (NASB) despite the obstacles we face?