Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 October 2021 Romans 8:35a.

Romans 8:35a.     Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? 

A good Sunday morning to you my fellow believers in Christ Jesus! And am I ever so glad that you joined me for some praise, worship and thanksgiving on this the Lord’s Day. Now that is a must, as the Lord decreed to the Israelites when He handed down the Ten Commandments to them. Prominent amongst the directives was this: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) And that’s what we are endeavouring to do this Sabbath Day. 

And as always, let’s begin with a song, a song of praise. Today’s song is a Contemporary Christian number ‘Give Me Jesus’ written by Fernando Ortega, but his version is too slow, (smile) whereas the live, more up-tempo version by Danny Gokey suits our purposes admirably. So let’s sing that song which shows how desperately we need Jesus, that it has us crying out to heaven for Him. And we better had be sincere, because He’s not only going to listen to our pleas and praise, but also check our hearts to see if what we’re singing is really true. 

Therefore, in soulful harmony, let sacrificial praise flow from our hearts and mouths …and don’t forget the sweet background vocals from the choir, and the majestic sound of the orchestra, for those are what raise the song to a higher level. (smile) ‘Ohhh ohhh, Give me Jesus… In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise Give me Jesus. (Chorus: Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus.) When I am alone, Oh When I am alone, When I am alone, Give me Jesus. (Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. For He is all that I need. Just give me Jesus) 

When I come to die, Oh, When I come to die, When I come to die, Give me Jesus. (Ohhhh Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Oh it’s all I need, all I need is Jesus. So Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, You can have all this world, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus, He’s all I need. He’s all I need. 

Give me Jesus…in the morning when I rise…when I lay my head down… when I wake up, when I lay my head down, said I need him, said I need you… said I only want Jesus…when I wake up… Just give me Jesus. All I need is him. We worship you, we worship you, say we worship you Lord. You’re the answer to my prayers, you’re the calm in the storm, you’re my rest and my refuge…oh yeahhh… Just give me Jesus…’ 

Ah mih people, that was beautiful…and made even more so when the heavenly host joined us in offering sacrificial praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wow! What a magnificent person He is, when we call for Him in any and every situation. When we rise up, when we lie down, when we are alone, when we die… The only name we’re calling out is Jesus! 

Bruh Paul learned that lesson the hard way when Jesus accosted him on the road to Damascus to persecute the believers. He tells the story thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as I made my journey, and was come nigh (near) unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth whom thou persecutest.’ (Acts 22:6-8) 

And we all know how he was blinded by the light of Jesus and had to be led to Damascus where the Lord commanded one Ananias, a devout believer to go and heal his blindness. And despite the Lord’s command, even Ananias was afraid to go and confront Saul, such was his reputation for persecuting the brethren. But he perked up his courage and went and confronted him and returned his sight. And it’s interesting to hear some of the words that Ananias said to him. ‘And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.’ (Acts 22: 14-15) 

Two thousand years later, we are still relating that story, as Ananias promised. Bruh Paul also turned out to be a mighty witness for Christ, journeying all over the known world with the single-minded purpose of spreading the gospel, which seems to have been burned or branded into his psyche, into his soul and spirit. You can’t consider anything else when he says stuff like: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom. 1:16) 

And later on in the letter to the church at Rome, he confidently proclaims: ‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life; nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, not things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Rom. 8:35, 38-39) 

Can you imagine all that from a man who encouraged the demise of Christians, even supposedly stood by and watched them being killed? And he eventually became so engrossed in Christ that he considered all his earlier accomplishments of no account. ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:7-8, 10) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul was very much into Christ. His zeal for Christ was amazing, more flaming that any of the other apostles. The scholars offer this explanation. ‘3:10. This verse may also be paraphrased: “In order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus I will be more conformed to His death.” Paul wants “the righteousness…of God (vs.9) so that he can obtain a personal relationship with Jesus in actual day to day experiences. This knowledge of Christ is obtained by experiencing in daily problems, needs, ministry, and so forth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. 

Knowing Christ also entails participating in His sufferings. Paul desires to share in the Lord’s sufferings because they bring him into a deeper and more meaningful relation with Him: companionship in sorrow establishes the most intimate and lasting of ties, as afflicted hearts cling to each other. The result of participating in Christ’s sufferings is that Paul is being made like Him in death. The word “death” has a double meaning here, including inward and outward, ethical and physical death. As Jesus died in regard to sin on the cross, so Paul is doing more and more in his daily life. As Jesus was bodily slain, so the apostle, should Caesar’s verdict go against him, is prepared to be slain.’ 

Awright, that was long, but I thought it necessary for us to get a better understanding of the scripture and Bruh Paul’s desires. Now we don’t need to become that zealous, though we must remember that suffering is a part of the Christian’s lot. But we do need to heed what he says later on: ‘this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Oh my fellow saints, we do need to put all our past glory and credentials aside and move forward to new ground, that of knowing Christ deeper with each passing day, so when we get to heaven, we will be greeted by Jesus with ‘Well done, oh thou good and faithful servant!’ Much LOVE!

…you can’t really know and appreciate Christ…without undergoing some pain and suffering…                                                                                                                 

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