Teaching Series
The Judged

Series: The Judged
Message: None
Preacher: Jessyka Albert
Reflection: Jessyka Albert
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Romans 3:9-20 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions. 

Reflect: Paul starts diving right into what I would call the ”You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” edition of the Bible. He uses verse after verse from the book of Psalms to prove his point and to compile a string of words showing that we are all guilty of sin.

It’s a bit harsh, if you ask me. Can you imagine if I got up on Saturday to preach and began to accuse the congregation of all the wickedness that Paul has shared described here? This section of Scripture can be seen as quite discouraging. Romans 3:9-20 seems to take the reader down into a dark valley rather than up to the mountaintop. But while it doesn’t necessarily leave us feeling refreshed, it really is the bottom line. It is the place where we realize our need for Jesus and the importance of having compassion for one another. This section of Scripture should be one that binds us together rather than pulls us apart.

In 2012, Emma Seppala, the associate director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, wrote an article for Scientific American titled, “How the Stress of Disaster Brings People Together.” She states:

The classic view is that, under stress, men respond with “fight or flight,” i.e. they become aggressive or leave the scene, whereas women are more prone to “tend and befriend,” as has been shown in research by Shelley Taylor. A new study by Markus Heinrichs and Bernadette von Dawans at the University of Freiburg, Germany, however, suggests that acute stress may actually lead to greater cooperative, social, and friendly behavior, even in men. This more positive and social response could help explain the human connection that happens during times of crises, a connection that may be responsible, at least in part, for our collective survival as a species.

Romans 3:9-10 strikes me as a crisis text. When someone else is going through a crisis, it is easy to show sympathy, maybe even empathy, but when we all go through something together, it can strengthen our connection to each other. Paul reminds us that indeed we are all going through something together.

Recalibrate: Has this text helped you to empathize and be more compassionate with those who you might have viewed as “not as good” as you?

Respond: Ask God to show you ways to draw closer to Him and to others during times of crisis and stress.

Research: How does stress affect different personality types?

Remember: “There is no one without sin. None! There is no one who understands. There is no one who looks to God for help. All have turned away. Together everyone has become evil. None of them does anything good” (Romans 3:10-12, ICB).

Jessyka Albert is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church, leading Live Wonder (ages 0-3), Live Adventure (ages 4-11), and Live Purpose (ages 12-17), along with their supporting ministries. She grew up in Washington State and has a degree in theology from Union College in Lincoln, NE. Jessyka has served in various areas of ministry, but her passion for discipling kids has taken center stage in her career.

Exploring how our world works is such an adventure. Play with your little one and discover the law of gravity. It’s always fun for small children to drop things, especially food that they are supposed to be eating, while they are in the high chair. Build up some blocks and then knock them down. Put toys together and pull them apart. Encourage your little one to take part in the activity (this shouldn’t be difficult) and delight in their play.

Why do we have rules? Rules, if you know what they are, point to a way of doing things. Look at the rules you live by that you wrote down yesterday. Try putting the reason why each rule is needed next to each one. Here is an example:

My rule: I don’t do bombs in the public swimming pool.

Reason: Because if someone was under the water and I landed on them, that would not be good.

Ask for help if you don’t know the reason for the rules that you have.

Think about the first time you heard that we are supposed to “fear God.” What did you think about?  When Paul talks about fearing God, it’s not to run or hide from him—it’s noticing our sin and acknowledging our need for Jesus. The Message version of this passage explains it well. It states that those who are sinful “never give God the time of day.” In other versions, it states “there is no fear of God before the eyes who sin.” Both versions sound different, but both lead to the same point.  If we are happy in our our sin, we don’t give God the time of day. Why would we? Think about how you integrate God into your day. How do you give Him your time? How does your behavior change when he is part of your day?

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