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Romans Chapter 5 Verses 1 – 2 • Two of the most wonderful verses in all of scripture, Paul opens this new chapter with a profound therefore… • Whenever there is a therefore, always think to yourself, ask yourself, “what is it there-for?” Therefore what? Well therefore, in other words, in light of…in light of the marvelous truth that Paul has shared in the previous four chapters…the truth that has absolutely set him free and what’s more, entirely set him on fire. • You ever find a deal that is so good that you become somewhat of a spokesperson? Recently I began to fly Spirit Airlines. I bought the ticket because it was the only flight out late night so that I could go to Madison’s school program. She was going to be signing man and I had to be in Texas the next morning and I was not going to miss her performance! • And so I booked the flight and it was odd. Very cheap ticket but I had to go online and pay for my bags, even my carry on…and I had to pay for my seat. That is their business model. Cheap ticket initially but you pay for everything, your seat included. Well I discovered that to fly first class, the price difference was only $15 and so I said, “hey…bigger seat…I’m in!” After it was all said and done, round trip the entire cost including first class was about $250. • Then I went. New plane. High Tech plane at that. Large, super reclining seat…smooth flight…it was awesome. I proceeded to tell everyone at the office about Spirit Airlines man! The deal. The seat. The cool plane…it was just too good to keep to myself! • Well paling in comparison is my story to the love and the realness that had entered into Paul’s heart through God’s abundant grace. You know Paul was always after that. Why do you think he was so zealous as a Pharisee? Why do you think that he spent countless days and long nights studying the scriptures with Gamaliel being brought up as a Hebrew of the Hebrews? Because he was after truth…but he settled man…he settled for religion when after all of his studying, all of his tutoring, all of his testing and professing…he didn’t find it man… • It was only after he was made blind man…only then was he able to see…Saul of Tarsus, encountering Jesus on the road to Demascus…God touches him and says see as you’ve seen…no more…and Paul was born man…born into a relationship with Truth Himself…filled with God’s unrelenting, unearned and unrestrained love…and what he almost forgot he was looking for…arrived in a moment…. • Truth that is so good that he is just poured out bent on telling the world…that just like Abraham, just like Moses, just like David, he has found grace man…he has found what every human heart is looking for…he found The Way…the One that all of scripture points to…the Truth…the very Son of God risen from the grave…man he found the life…the Messiah…the Savior of the entire world…and man he says here…in light of all that…therefore having been justified by faith… • Not earning it, not learning it…not even discerning it…simply being declared righteous is literally what that word “justified” means in the Greek…simply by God’s open and public declaration by the perfect sacrifice upon Calvary’s cross and the proof of His sufficiency in that the grace could not hold Him…check this out…through my redemption in Jesus Christ alone, I have peace with God! • You can never have the peace of God in your life until you have peace with God folks…why? Why is life void of peace other than simply being saved, citizens of heaven…the sure steadfast promise of inheritance sealed up in your heart of hearts…well, it’s simply really…this world in its fallen state is actually arranged in such a twisted and distorted fashion…that peace is fleeting… • This world is not able to offer you and I peace. From birth, throughout all of history, babies and children and adults have been taught existentialism…be all that you can be…you can do anything that you’d like, if you simply put your mind to it…you have the freedom for the pursuit of happiness as all men are created equal…nothing wrong with that at all! That is pure and good…the problem is…we aren’t. • From birth man, growing up, science projects, school electives, class elections and talent shows…we have all been encouraged and this world system allows each person to see the world uniquely…differently…creatively…and therefore there is no universal truth of how things ought to be…Movies are made without endings, paintings are completed and hung as masterpieces and they are pointless or chaotic which allows the viewer the right of interpretation…to craft their own perspective or resolve. In a world ruled with righteousness, love and purity…this is wonderful. • But in our world, existentialism (which is the only way man in an apple-eaten state can be) this results in disunity and that disunity drives isolation. Isolation indefinitely leads to defense and eventually aggression. The chips are stacked from birth in this fallen place…but Paul has found…peace. Jesus said in John 14, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives…My peace is actually real. It begins and ends at peace with My Father.” • Paul searched his whole life for peace…maybe you’re searching today. Peace from the booze, peace from the pipe, peace with your children, peace with your wife…peace with your coworkers…please hear me…peace is not to be sought out, its to be freely received. What you need is peace with God yourself. You need your heart opened to relationship with the Father through the indwelling Spirit of Him who accomplished your rescue. What you need is surrender man…and until you’re ready to simply believe in Him, trust in Him…even if it costs you greatly…there will be no peace… • But Paul, stoned several times, shipwrecked three times, beaten with rods three times, often laboring without sleep or food, thrown into prison time and time again, well accustomed to being cold and naked…yet his heart cry…I am full, man…the power of peace piercing mightily through any hardship that would befall him… • And notice verse two, the wonderful trifecta of faith…Paul has been given the peace that he’s always thirsted for and faith has also delivered access man and so he rejoices! The inexpressible, inexhaustible wonder of the man or woman filled with the Holy Spirit! They have peace, they have access and they rejoice! • And not only that, Paul would say…but they are unreasonably strong man…look at the next verse… Romans Chapter 5 Verse 3 • “Glory in tribulations?” Paul that’s unreasonable! Of course it is…unreasonable to the short-sided…to the one who is concerned with convenience and comfort rather than wisdom and abiding stability and strength! The child of God sees deeply into the circumstance and trusts God at His word man! Gives God the place of God in their lives! What a novel idea and by watching God be continually continually continually faithful…always always always true to His Word and enjoying even what Paul would call the “fellowship of suffering,” in Philippians 3, when its only you and the Lord man…no one else knows, no one else sees…the pain man that comes from simply suffering for righteousness sake…when you have outs but all of them are unfaithful and so you choose God’s way, even to your own hurt as David would write in Psalm 15… • You know what you find? No one comforts like Him…no one grows you up like Him…no one is faithful like Him…and that kind of faith in tribulation…well Paul tells us here…is power. The storm hits, you stand. The circumstance crushes, you surge! The hearts of the people melt, just like they did at Jericho…yet Joshua marched forward to an impossible victory! Following after the Ark of the Lord. Paul says here bowing the knee to Jesus and honoring all that He is all that He had done…solidifies the lasting and eternal peace with God from which comes access to the Father and a heart filled with rejoicing…so when the storm comes…faith’s face flourishes! • What does it look like? Is the faith real? Enter test…hard times…hard nights…hard people…and the face is exposed (faith’s face)…what’s the faith really look like? Is it real or just sensationalism? Do I really believe? Am I really empty of self? Do I really trust in the Lord with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength? The truth is…we don’t know…not without difficulties…not without tribulation and therefore Paul glories, why? Because he sees…perseverance man…and his faith…even to himself…is proven genuine…and most of all, worship occurs. Romans Chapter 5 Verse 5 • And so perseverance reveals the inward work of the Holy Spirit…and character shines forth. Integrity, strength, honor, power, love…a sound mind…you never know what’s in the sponge until you squeeze it…but once character in Jesus advances…blooms just like fruit on a well rooted tree and your heart is filled with hope! • Why? Because you’ve waited on the Lord…you’ve trusted in the Lord and therefore the Lord has an opportunity to show you His love and power and faithfulness. If you trust in self and hope in self then what opportunity does God have? And then when God shows up, you miss Him! You’re eyes are on you! You get the glory! And so very often God withholds His blessings, His provision…He had to! Lest you misunderstand that He is Jahovah Jirah…The Provider…that He is Jehovah Rapha…The Healer…that He is Jahovah Shalom…The peace in not only the situation but the only real peace there is…not you man…and God desires for you to make it…not fail or falter…He desires for you to live and live abundantly…not settle for the scraps when He has prepared for you sufficiency! • Hope in self is forever fickle…”Oh I hope that this comes about…but I fear it won’t.” It’s a fearful hope…this word that Paul uses here, the kind of hope that we are filled with by God is completely different…literally it means, “anticipation of a sure thing…in pleasure!” • It does not disappoint, not while you’re hoping and not at the end of the matter…and that kind of hope is, as Paul says here, “poured out in our hearts.” Not rationed, not enough for today, not enough for this test, not enough for this tribulation…MAN POURED OUT by the Holy Spirit who was earned by us? NO! Given to us! How? Why? • By Jesus giving Himself. We had no hope….we couldn’t even hang out with the Holy Spirit because before Jesus giving Himself and dying for our sins, in our place, we were enemies of the Holy Spirit…but God so loved you and so loved me that He gave His Holy Son…and by that gift, we receive another…the communion in our hearts with the Holy Spirit. Romans Chapter 5 Verses 6 – 8 • Paul had found life…a deal so good, he was set ablaze. And today he stands in the eternal presence of God Almighty when if left to himself, he would be banished to outer darkness where the fire is not quenched and there is incessant weeping and gnashing of teeth…know who said that, Jesus…why? Because He is desperate for you to be with Him. So desperate, that He paid the highest price…He died to set you free. • Call upon His name! You’re so thirsty! All of this trying and reaching….what has it gotten you? You can’t even sleep through the night, your mind is tormented with dis-rest and peace is missing…what’s holding you back? God has not stopped calling to you since the day you were born…you even heard Him once, didn’t you…hear Him again, today…and come alive. Its time you were declared righteous and its time you enter into the power and peace of Your Father who loves you so much!
Romans Chapter 4 Verse 13 • “For the promise that he would be the heir of the world…” Now remember the week before last, Paul had just finished educating the church there in Rome, the believers and his brethren, that the blessedness of God which he describes way back in Chapter 3 verses 21 – 26 as the righteousness of God apart from the law is through faith alone in Jesus Christ and therefore justification through redemption that is in Jesus is available to all and on all who believe!” The gospel, the promise, accessible to all! • He presented the matter theologically…the doctrine of justification, “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned,” right…remember the supporting precept? That Greek word for “redemption?” That all of mankind, slaves to sin having inherited a fallen state, a sin nature from our common father Adam, have been set free, released as it were from the power and the penalty of sin, by the purchase of our new Master Jesus Christ with His own blood however that purchase, that redemption was not from one master to another but the price Jesus paid, the redemption that has been provided, is unto freedom, man… • And then Paul goes to make his case historically and heroically as he delivers to them undeniable, irrefutable, absolutely tangible proof that the root of the root, (remember?), not only has the law (speaking of Moses) been satisfied in that man indeed has fulfilled the law, the Man Christ Jesus that is…but Paul also describes the righteousness of Abraham was indeed by faith…simply believing God, man…and then even David, their great king…Paul shows them how David could even have been described as a “man after God’s own heart.” Because he surveyed his life, and he saw great sin, great unholiness and yet by faith he trusted in God’s imputed righteousness through the promise of the coming Messiah and he wrote, “blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin!” • David said, “I can’t keep the law, I’ve got no chance of being righteous in the presence of a holy and perfect God…but God has made a way…a way for my sins to be removed from me as far as the east is from the west…oh how blessed, how amazed and joyed is the man whom trusts in the Lord!” • And so Paul has made the case very well that the righteousness of man is a promise of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ, not a payment from God for man’s following of the law…no…God’s love, His salvation, His rescue is no payment to man for services rendered…but His promise to His creation that He swore by Himself through His own blood… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 13 – 15 • I love the idea that practical Paul presents here. Practical Paul. As we read through Paul’s epistles, we find a man that can articulate the deep truths of God with immense excellence and intelligence, but what we also find is that Paul is able to present the same deep theological truths in simplicity. • He says here, “if righteousness is found in man…then faith is bankrupt. No need for it. Walk it out bro, you got this…” But as he’s already presented theologically, historically, heroically, practically…that’s simply not the case. And he gives us a great practical idea here in that he says, “for where there is no law, there is no transgression.” • Now remember, there’s a bit of a clever trick involved whenever Paul goes this route…whenever he makes a statement implying, “no law.” We’ve seen this before haven’t we? Reminds us of Chapter 2 verse 12 doesn’t it? And the Jews there in Rome would immediately get this whereas we could easily miss this…the truth that “no law” this idea of “lawlessness” is impossible in a world, a cosmos, a creation of the God of order. • He stated earlier that whether one has heard of the law or not that built into them is a law unto themselves…God’s law written on their hearts and made manifest by their conscience and so all men are completely without excuse whether they’ve read the law or not if they do not bow the knee to their Creator. • And so this idea presented by practical Paul is that because there is a law and because man is unable to keep the law, we have no other option but to break it… • Years ago, when the Susan B. Anthony dollar was issued, no one could get rid of them. No one wanted them! Folks like the paper money. It’s light, it doesn’t make noise when you walk…but one bank in Georgia was selling out! Moving immense numbers of the coins! And so the feds sent a team to find out why and they discovered that the banks simple secret was a sign on the window that read, “Susan B. Anthony dollars available. Limit two per customer.” They interviewed the bank manager and you know what he said? “People kept sneaking back in hoping to get MORE than their LIMIT!” • That’s what the law does man…It not only undermines faith but it also underlines failure because in our busted state, unable to keep the standard of the law, we have not other recourse…but to break it! • And so Paul says you better believe and you best be very happy believer, Jew, my brethren that righteousness does not come by you “trying your best” but it is God’s promise man through Jesus. Because that is the only way we can be certain, the only way that we can have any solid hope that we are saved. Because if redemption was predicated on me or my works or my efforts or my faithfulness…if salvation and justification was predicated on any of that then I could never ever be certain you see because day by day…what happens? I…Fall…short. • But Paul says no no no, justification, salvation, redemption, my freedom, man…it is by faith because if it was by works…look we would always wonder if we were really saved. We would walk around beat up, cast down and filled with fret…but when we understand that our salvation, our inheritance in heaven is not based on anything we do or don’t do other than simply believing…just like Abraham, just like David…then salvation becomes something we are not afraid of losing every week. • I love what Courson says…he says, “Salvation: the Father thought it. The Son bought it. The Spirit taught it. The Bible brought it. Satan fought it. But, glory to God, by His grace, we got it!” And by grace, through faith…man we can be certain! Romans Chapter 4 Verse 16 • And so Paul uses that wondrous all inclusive word here, “all.” Not just to the Jew, but also the gentile… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 17 • And what is available to all?...LIFE! God is in the very business of raising the dead man…just like Paul says here, “God gives life to the dead,” your Bible might say “He quickens,” and I dig that because put that though together, life…quickly and what do we get…the rest of the verse…”He calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” In other words, God doesn’t see me how I am, but as I forever will be! He declares it! Just as He declared the light and the light was! He declared the earth and the earth was…He declares me clean and clean I am…quickly! • I see my failings, I see my flailings, I see my falterings, I see my futility…God says quickly turn from all of that stuff and live! I see beauty! I see a masterpiece! I see the love and salvation of My Son all over you so come to life! Leave sin behind and watch what I will do with your life! I will cause you even to see others not as they are in their humanity but as they are in My grace! Man what a tattoo mark of one who is walking with the Lord…patience, kindness, no envy, nothing to prove, their courteous, polite, not easily provoked, taking no pleasure in sin but rejoicing in truth…strong man…bearing all things, believing God in all things, hoping in all things, enduring…never failing…the resume of one who is closely and quickly following after God in intimate relationship with Him…all found in 1 Cor 13. • Look here, Paul tells us Abraham had discovered this… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 18 – 22 • One thing I notice in all that Paul credits to Abraham, all the wonderful fruit of the Spirit that Abraham showed as He believed God and pressed into Him…as Abraham was strong, unwavering, fully convinced of God’s faithfulness and therefore God counted to him for righteousness…one thing missing, one thing that is almost always missing in the life of one who is utterly dependent upon Jesus Christ for their sufficiency… • No where in this wonderful scripture set did Paul say that Abraham understood how God was going to do it…Abraham did not count his own body dead or Sarah’s womb dead but he believed God…unwavering, but not once did God say…”Abe, this is how I’m going to do it…” • Isn’t it interesting that we demand the “how?” God has promised you life, He has promised you peace, He has promised to bring you into the fullness of His will and His presence and yet so often, we pull back…demanding the how. Why? Why would you say we do that? I’ll tell you why…we lack faith. God tells us to do something…He tells us so clearly in His Word how to conduct our lives, our selves, our days, our decisions and yet so often I see so many not willing to simply take Him at His word and their lives are filled with turmoil and tough nights…hard days and situations stacked with difficulty and confusion… • When God’s ways are all together past finding out. His knowledge and wisdom…His plans…unsearchable…and the requirement children…is faith. Trust in Him! We call ourselves the church, we speak of ourselves as His followers yet as our neighbors offend us we take matter into our own hands! As our husbands and our wives fall short of what we think we need…we take matters into our own hands! As a situation is clear in the Word of God…we cut corners to protect our homes, our jobs, our cars, our television service… • Television service? Someone in here knows what I’m talking about. You haven’t given to a charity, given to a friend in need, given to God’s work in months but you keep paying that TV bill…you count the questionable items each year on your taxes to make sure you get that extra couple of bucks back in your return…this business is worse than dangerous. Man anytime you make a move outside of God’s direction, and you know it…that eery feeling of “oh I wonder could this be wrong,” or “I’m the only one that will ever know,” man that is God’s pre-installed design in you to bring you into faith! • You’re trying to keep that money coming, keep the house, pay the rent, keep the TV, keep the car…but acting unfaithfully, I’m telling you…mark my words…you will lose it and more…but if you just trust God…trust Him at His Word…not understanding the “how” its not yours to understand anyway…if you did you wouldn’t even need faith…but if you just confess you sin of disbelief and call out for God to help your unbelief…just as that broken man did in Mark 9:24, then God can work with you man…He can work with your life! • I call it “batting left handed.” Its not natural…not at all…it’s called sowing to the spirit man…and once your life is filled with trusting God and not even questioning His plan because just as Abraham did not waver in unbelief…then pretty soon you will find yourself and your life strong, filled and strengthened in faith and a life that gives glory to God…not just you thinking you do but others testifying that you do! Ever ask someone…does my life bring God glory? We may be surprised at how we’ve fooled ourselves… • But man that is what I’m after…unwavering, surging with strength faith so that I might bring God glory trusting God not only at His promise but all the way to the performance of the promise and therefore not just proclaiming myself righteous but being the real deal man…filled with the righteousness of a sure and powerful God! • And Paul says that was Abraham my brothers…my fellow Jews, my fellow believers…even you non-believers…that was him but he wasn’t some super man…he was just like you and me…this is also God’s will and plan for you…to find faith apart from the law and then walk in righteousness as God becomes more than a fact, more than an idea, but the very leader and liberator of your life! Romans Chapter 4 Verses 23 – 25 • And so right before Paul tears off into Chapter 5 to teach them and us on the joy by faith in God’s grace, hope and glory, he delivers the simple gospel…one last time. That Jesus was delivered up, He endured the cross, the crown of thorns, the shame, the sneering of the people…because of our offenses…not just our offenses yesterday, but even today…and the offenses in our weakness we will commit tomorrow…sin in total man…He took upon Himself and gave up His perfect life so that He might shackle my sin to the grave and allow me to go free as He was raised for my justification… • Understand, no law is comparable to the love I have for the Lord…for what He’s done…that while I was His enemy, yet He still set me free…not only free to live alive now in such a way, such a form that sin has no legitimate power over me….just the power that I give it…not only to live alive not but also free to live forever man without the penalty of my sin! • If you wrote me a list of rules, do’s and don’t regarding what April finds acceptable and unacceptable…I’d follow them closely…if I didn’t love her…but you see my love for her, my heart filled with desire for her and identity in who we are as one…needs no list…needs no law…man I will exceed that list a million fold…and so the law is overcome man…overcome by relationship…by love you see… • And that is what God did for us. That He so loved us and desired us…that He made a way for something so much more powerful than the law…so much more effective and freeing…He made way for relationship…and it cost Him everything…but even so…even as Jesus prayed in the Garden, nevertheless…Our love for them is so great…this cup cannot pass…even as it cost Him everything, His heart broke for us…to save us man…to rescue us… • Once you glimpse that…once your heart opens to the Lord and His Holy Spirit in light of all that He has done…Paul says here to the Jews, and to us…the law is fulfilled…life enters and relationship with the Father will lead you into all things that pertain to life and godliness…and all of that, because of His great love for you and for me.
In the previous chapter, Paul presented something that went way beyond radical. No doubt the Jewish reader would interpret Paul’s epistle as heretical. Without a doubt the unbelieving heathen would have had eye brows raised to the sky in shock as they, (along with their religious and pious Jewish neighbor), read that salvation does not come from keeping rules and regulations…from trying to be “good little boys and girls,” from trying to be mystical or spiritual…but by faith, apart from the deeds of the law! Well then, “for what purpose was the law given?” his readers must have wondered! Years ago a Hindu philosopher came forth after a ten year silence and declared to his followers at an ashram (a Hindu religious retreat) in India that the whole world runs by the Ten Commandments. Even the completely estranged from God, the Hindu who worships everything…millions of gods…can read the law and make that correct observation. And that is correct by the way…just not complete. Paul said that the law is not made void through faith but rather it is established! It is completed! It is satisfied and the debt is put to rest! Paul presented the completion of the picture for the heathen, for the religious, for the entire world in revealing that the sole reason that the law was given was to show people that they are desperate sinners…we can’t help but sin because sin is not so much what we do…it is our condition! And in that condition, our works cannot make us right and so we, us, all of us…are in desperate need of a Savior. “We’re not voiding the law,” Paul insisted, “we’re fulfilling the very reason for which it was given…to make you see your need for a Savior and to drive you to the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ…because His work…has settled the debt!” So after arguing theologically in Chapter 3 that justification and salvation come simply by believing, Paul makes his point historically and heroically here in Chapter 4. Heroically? Yes, now he takes his truth and he strikes at the root of the root within the hearts of the religious elite. Jesus, when rejected publically and being resisted openly by the Jews, actually there in John Chapter 5 verse 16, John writes that, “the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him,” when that was going down, how did Jesus plead with them? He proclaimed that in Him there is no condemnation…no accusation…but only life…and then He told them that there is one who accuses them…Moses! What? Right there in John 5 verse 45…Moses in whom you trust, in other words, the law…it does not save you, it accuses you! And oh by the way, the law and everything that Moses wrote about, mighty Moses in whom you boast and trust, all that he wrote about…was about Me, Jesus proclaimed! But Paul is going to go even deeper. All the way to the one whom they called their father…Abraham. The root of even Moses! The predecessor to the law…the primary character in the story of God’s dealings with the Jew…and so he begins his history lesson…practical Paul, there in Chapter 4. Romans Chapter 4 Verses 1 – 3 • Verse 1 is worded by the translators in an awkward way and so looking at the original text in the Greek, what Paul is saying here is more practically phrased, “think about our father Abraham…do you think that he observed and progressed in the things of God according to his works?” • And immediately the thoughts of the Jews would go to the recorded and traditionally-taught works of Abraham. Was it when Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees at the command of God, a place of sophistication and wealth to go to a place of risk…that he knew nothing of just because God commanded him to go. Was it then that God declared Abraham righteous? No. • Was it when Abraham took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah in order to offer him as a sacrifice just as God had commanded…was it then that God declared him righteous? No. And what’s interesting is that these Jews knew these stories, this text, these Genesis accounts front and back. If they were Jews in any middle to upper level of their communities then they had the entire Book of Genesis memorized! And so they were probably with Paul completely as he brings to their remembrance when precisely Abraham, their father, their hero, the root of their confidence and trust…Moses…was declared righteous within the pages of scripture. • It’s Genesis 15; they know that! God declared Abraham righteous when Abraham simply believed Him. It’s not works folks, Paul is pleading. It’s not our own external righteousness Paul is even exposing historically. Those things are good. Those things will be there but understand, and we know this, the mind and the hands and the feet and the intentions and the actions and the works…they are all slaves to what? The heart! • If I say I love my wife and then I don’t pour my life out to learn her and to serve her and to protect her and to please her then I lie! In my heart there is love for sure…but it is for me! If a person says they love God and yet they live their life patterned after precisely what cost Him everything then folks, they lie…and John would write in 1 John that the truth is not in them man…they have a heart condition you see… • The heart is the origin, the place, the connection point where true belief either exists as shown by its servants (the mind, the hands the feet, the works) or it doesn’t exist as shown by its servant…works. And Jesus told us to watch for this. Look out for this. That we would know who does love the Lord, who are His disciples by their lives man…we can identify you see by their abiding in the Word and their peaceful, graceful after taste…that wonderful power that comes from just being free. • Jesus said that in John Chapter 8 verses 31 and 32. “If you abide in My Word (speaking of works man…works driven by what is in the very heart of a person…the Word) if you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed, and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free!” It all begins in the heart man. • Paul says, think about it. Abraham was not pronounced righteous when he was doing something spiritual or sacrificial. He was pronounced righteous by God when he simply believed. That is why he left Ur. That is why he was ready to offer up Isaac…not because he was a good man…but because he believed God, trusted Him…his life simply followed suit. His works simply obeyed his heart. And it’s the same with us. Romans Chapter 4 Verse 4 • So think of it this way, and we talked about this last week. If Abraham would have been counted righteous for any of his acts of obedience…for leaving Ur of the Chaldeas, for sacrificing his son Isaac…then salvation would be his reward. In other words, God would owe him…which completely nullifies grace. Simply not the case. • Works are good. Following the Lord and obeying Him will certainly brings about blessing…because in doing as the Lord has commanded, He is well able to bring you into circumstances of abundant life! • Works are natural for the believer, for the righteous. Good works and a life that honors God will just flow man…a manifestation as we talked about of what is in the heart…but the works don’t make you righteous….your righteousness makes ya work! You don’t HAVE to love your neighbor, you get to and in that there is freedom. You don’t have to read your Bible, you get to and in that there is wisdom. You don’t have to come to church, you get to and in that there is blessings! • And so you see it’s Abraham’s belief man, his trust in God that produced these wonderful acts of obedience…it’s faith alone…the works are just the fruit on the vine…not the vine itself. Paul clears it up for us in verse 5… Romans Chapter 4 Verses 5 – 8 • So Paul is just churning and burning here. He is preaching such a powerful sermon right now to his brethren the Jews! Our father Abraham got this y’all, are you better than Abraham? Nope. Our hero Moses got this my homies, are you better than Moses? Nope. Well guess what, our king got this to, David. Has there ever been a king so great as King David? In the eyes of the Jew, not a chance…and so Paul just delivers what I like to say is the conversion catalyst! I wonder how many Jews hit their knees in bankruptcy after reading this and opened their hearts to God’s grace apart from works and the righteousness that even David spoke of which is only found in Jeshua Meshiach! Jesus Christ! • Paul gives us such a wonderful wonderful practical, theological and historical hope and truth! He says our lawless deeds are not simply outweighed by our lawful deeds, he says they are forgiven! The word there in the Greek is aphiemi which literally means, to be put away as in a divorce…in God’s righteousness apart from works, apart from the law…our sinful fallen state has been utterly cast away from us in the eyes of God. But how Paul? • Through the everlasting and sufficient covering of sin…covering of sin? Yes that is lingo that the Jew would readily understand. Lingo that David used in Psalm 32…but how could all the sin of all men of all time be covered in one sacrifice? The Jews would know, the scripture would foretell, the prophets would proclaim…by the perfect and eternal sacrifice of God Himself providing the Lamb…just as the angel spoke to Abraham upon Mount Moriah… • And then the gift, the blessed assurance, the hope, the firm and unchanging truth that Paul had found that Saul had missed…verse 8, how filled with joy and approved of God the Father is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin…and the implication is rather than sin being imputed…given freely, counted on his account…rather than sin…righteousness! • And now for you Jew, for you gentile, for us, for all men and women who would believe in Jesus Christ and be filled by Him, God’s blessings are given eternally and immediately on the basis of God’s abundant grace and not on the basis of my good works and THAT WAY, He and His loving blessings…His presence, His truth, His hope, His joy, His power…are always available to me. • I mess up, but He doesn’t. I sin, but He never did. I fall short, He ascended into heaven! And so in Him, being born again by His indwelling Spirit, even though I am a busted formation of dirt, the breath of life from God in me is restored to all of the glory of the perfect garden and I am alive unto Him. Knowing Him, talking to Him, hearing Him, watching Him, hanging out with Him, just being near to Him who created all things and near to Him whose glory fills not only my own heart to overflowing but every place that I go! He is forever all around me why? Because the door is never shut! I can always come to Him on the basis of God’s grace towards me… • And that is utterly apart from works. That is the root of works Paul has pled. That is to place your belief and life in Jesus Christ and be saved from all of this toil and tragedy…and walk with Power on High!
Romans Chapter 3 Verses 19 - 20 • So by now the Jews are in upheaval. Paul has broken down how the unrighteous heathen has a problem and that same problem is shared by the self-righteous Jew. And right before he gets into what true righteousness is, how a man truly can be restored to a right relationship with God the Father…he delivers the knockout punch. • “You see my friends,” Paul would say, “the law, the ten commandments, the Mishna, the hundreds of particular do’s and don’ts that the Jews had extrapolated from the ten commandments and the Torah, (the first Five Books of the Bible, or the Books of Moses), you’re not made right by them, you’re made wrong by them!” • Made wrong? Yea, made wrong and not only the contemporary to Paul Othrodox Jew that sought to follow the law but also contemporary to us religious…anyone who has established a false idea, a false righteousness based upon works. Well how’s that? I thought that if you lived your life well, were gracious to the poor, went to church and said your prayers before bed…you know stayed out of trouble and really tried to do well…I thought that is good. Well it is! There is certainly value in all of those things in that God is able to bring about His purpose and plan for your life. Through those types of things God orchestrates our moments to bless us and reveal more of Himself to us. • I mean if all you’re ever doing has been to ignore the poor and not attend church and not ever acknowledge God in prayer then how is God going to bring blessings in your life such as the pure tears of a hurting person as they eat the first meal they’ve had in weeks…or the shear priviledge of fellowshipping with other believers in church…He’s not…you’re boxing Him out by your lifestyle, you see…and so those things are good, they are wonderful, they are essential in your life as you seek the Lord…but those things don’t wash your sins away…that’s the issue. Following the law was never the purpose of the law and that is the heart of what Paul is saying here to us… • In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that we may have the external regulations down pat but sin remains within us. Sin is not what we do…sin is who we are. Man is fallen and estranged from God and therefore the law was never to make a person right, that would actually trample the righteousness of Jesus under foot…don’t need Him…but rather the law was to reveal to us, all of us, that no matter our religiousity, no matter our pure intentions, no matter our self-generated and self-perceived goodness…we can’t do it. We can’t keep it. We all fall short and its interesting here Paul uses the phrase, “that the world may become guilty.” • Become? Better stated, that all eyes would be opened…opened to what? A specific and unique Greek word. Another one here in the Book of Romans that you will not find elsewhere in the entire Bible. It’s the word hypdikos (paa-di-kas). It literally means “one who has lost their suit.” We all as one have been weighed, we have been measured and we have been found wanting…the writing is on the wall man…what wall? The wall of our hearts. We all know don’t we…that we’re sinners and we fall short of perfection… • The law of what to do and what not to do would have God chasing us around all of the time like a wild dog off of a leach…I just witnessed this with the family a few days ago…we came around the corner on a street and we see this dog just running for it with a grown man sprinting after it yelling “Fifi nooooooo” as it got closer to the road that we were on…that is not God’s desire for His children! That is what religion teaches though. Paul would say to the Jew, that is what following the law will get you, a tight leash…but instead, His desire from the very beginning has been for us to not be in bondage to the law but alive unto Him! • But we have a problem don’t we? hypdikos (paa-di-kas). We know we have fallen short of perfection, we all even though we strive to be good, we strive to do well, we all still make mistakes and we all still have the disease of sin within us… • Well the Jew knew it too but they made their boast in circumcision, they boasted in the external keeping of the law…they were so meticulous and calculated in all that they did, in every move they made…to the point that they had fallen into self deception that fooled them into believing that when they stood before God they could demand entrance into heaven based on their own righteousness…Paul pretty much pukes here and he says, “shut up!” He does! It’s right there in verse 19, the translators have just been PC…he says, “pas stoma phrasso,” and the translators tell us that means “every mouth stopped,” but what he’s saying here is “shut yo mouth!” • Why? Because that insults the very goodness and love and grace of the Father that has saved him and us you see. That is to stand in front of the righteous King, and reject the loss of His Son for the sake of your own merit. No no no, I’d advise you to, well just as Paul said here, shut your mouth... • And that is the type of righteous indignation that Paul expresses elsewhere in his epistles of those who would take suit even against eachother. Those that would be offended by a brother or a sister in Christ and then when offense is not considered in light of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, how you yourself are in need of much much much grace…you know what happens? Sin. And sin brings division, strife, death, regret and loss. Not innocence, sin never brings innocence. Accusation never brings innocence. It only always brings…guilt! Maybe not immediately, but it’s a coming… • You’re all upset at someone, maybe they corrected you (that’s typically how folks in a church get offended), maybe they didn’t open the door for you, maybe they sat in your seat (oh the horror!), do you think that bitterness you’re allowing will bring about innocence and life? You’ve forgotten bro, you’ve forgotten ‘lil sister that we are all sinners and that Christ showed us what it is to honor Him in that He laid down His life for His friends. You’re in sin…and death is at the door man. Time to love hard, serve for real, and let the Spirit live through you…let the Spirit lead you…lead you right on into victory! • That’s Paul’s plea here…they’re not guilty alone you see…they are godless heathens but you jews, you religious elite are self-righteous mirror worshippers! Circumcision, the law…its all good…but you’re not! • And then practical Paul delivers the smelling salts… Romans Chapter 3 Verses 21 – 23 (and into verse 24) • The Jew, the heathen, the Muslim, the Mormon, the Budhist, the deist, Paul says to all and on all…righteousness is within reach…justification has arrived but quit looking to the law, Paul would say to his Jewish brethren…quit looking to a man, Paul would say to the Muslim and to the Mormon and to the Budhist…look somewhere he would say to the heathen! And that somewhere, is a Someone…Paul delivers the answer to the fret of all mankind right here…righteousness of God, peace with God, justification and redemption…is apart from the law > all laws > and is through faith in Jesus Christ! • Justification man…just-as-if-I-never-sinned. No other name under heaven by which man must be saved. Why? No other name under heaven has ever even claimed to have that power! Judaism, goods outweigh the bads…Islam, goods outweigh the bads…Mormonism, keep to the doctrine and covenants, Catholocism, faith AND good works…all of them! Dealing with everything but the issue of man is utterly fallen and must be utterly redeemed…not by the work of fallen man but by the work of Perfection…or better said…Perfection Himself. • Being justified in through placing your hope, trust…your life in the hands of Jesus Christ does not only mean that your sins are forgiven…that is mercy…it doesn’t only mean that God just loves you and blesses you even though you are a mess…that is grace…it means much much more than that…it means your sins are forgotten! Satan brings accusation against you and God the Father opens the book and says, I have no record of that! That is only only only ONLY found…Paul says it here…quit trying to be good enough Jew, quit suppressing it heathen…you both know that deep down your hope is on wishy washy shifting sand…that clearing away of your sin just-as-if-you-never-had-sinned in the first place…only found in Jesus Christ! • Paul says no matter what, in all men there is no difference. Jew or gentile, black or white, male or female, young or Chin…no difference. Whether you keep to the law or whether you’re a rebel without a cause…all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God…”but now” he says there in verse 21. NOW! Now what? Romans Chapter 3 Verse 24 • Did you catch that? Now what, Paul? What’s the price, what are the rules? If its not the law, if its not circumcision…then tell us, how can we have this justification? Paul says, “freely!” But that’s not just a price tag on our contribution…it is also the destination! What! • You can’t earn it! You can’t learn it! You can’t steal it and you can’t make a deal for it! Paul said back in verse 21 that this righteousness apart from the law is what? REVEALED! Bingo! • How can I grow in my understanding of you? One would awkwardly say it this way, “how is it that the secrets of you, the rhythm of you, the deep secrets of you, how is it that those things are able to revealed to me?” The answer? Relationship! Being with you, talking to you, watching you, staying tight with you…man I will learn the secrets…we will begin to know eachother…the deep truths of you, what makes you tick…all those things are revealed! • I cannot buy information about April. Information that’s worth anything. How can I know her, how can I love her, what does she love, what does she hate…I can buy information that tells me what she likes…but not what she loves you see!? That can only be revealed by my drawing near to her, seeking her…see that? And Paul says here that true, genuine righteousness is not for sale, but it is free…What’s the cost, what must we do, what are the do’s and don’ts they ask… • Paul says here in verse 24, this justification that doesn’t just deal with sin…it erases it…that doesn’t just procure the favor of God and the blessing of God…it restores it to all of its grandor and purity…its free by His grace through redemption…revelation…relationship with and in Christ Jesus. • But what did you mean by destination? We are freely justified by Jesus…all of the law, all of the prophets, all of the Old Testament heros and types were not meant to save us but rather to point us to the Savior and by Him, and Him alone are we made right, for ever in the sight of God the Father and all of eternity…and therefore the gift of God to man…man’s salvation is free…the free gift of God…BUT…by this redemption we also arrive at free! We call it freedom! • Freedom from what? Freedom from decay man, regret…loss…death, stack it up! There’s so much! And the reader would have perceived this readily by what Paul wrote. You see Paul used a specific word here for redemption. There are three words he could have used. • Agorazo means redemption in the Greek. It is a word that draws the picture of a transaction. This slave is $10,000, pay the $10,000 and you have paid the redemption, paid the price for this slave. Congratulations, you have redeemed a slave, bought a slave and now they are your slave. Not the word Paul used. • Exagorazo means redemption in the Greek. It is a word that draws the picture of a final transaction. Congratulations, you have bought a slave and you will never again sell him. Congrats on your new slave for life. Not the word Paul used. • Apolutrosis. Specific word. Odd word to the Jew and the Greek. Hardly ever used. It means redemption in the Greek but it speaks of a slave being bought with the sole purpose of elevation. The sole purpose of making that slave a part of the family and giving him a portion of inheritance. Buying a slave…without rights, without means, without hope, without family…simply to set him free…to give him or her all of those things…never to be sold again. That is the word Paul uses here. • Jesus said in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, but friends.” Redemption found in the law is redemption to the law, Jews. From one tyrant to another. Redemption found in self is redemption to self. From one tyrant to another. Redemption found in the cults is redemption to the cults. From one slave master to another. Redemption found in Jesus Christ is redemption unto absolute everlasting and eternal freedom and inheritance in the very house and family of the Father of all eternity. • Free to you because the price was paid already…by the precious blood of God Himself…His only Son…all He ever had that was just His…there in verse 25… Romans Chapter 3 Verse 25 • God set forth Paul says there….God gave Him to us…because that was the only way…God set forth Jesus as a propitiation by His blood…what is propitiation? Just what we’ve talked about! Beyond mercy, beyond grace, beyond any law…Jesus restored us man…Jesus has become our worthy sacrifice because He was and is and will always be the only One righteous so that Paul could say here that God has passed over our sins…Jesus has paid the full price, purchased us all for the purpose of setting us free… • Not covering the sin like the law did…not ignoring the sin like the heathen did…not outweighing the sin like all the religions try to do…erasing the sin man…God has moved on you see…that is the thought here…we use the word forgotten because that is all we have in the limitations of human understanding…but the idea is that Jesus has walked you into the courtroom of righteousness and although there is one who has kept a book of all the wrong that you have ever done…that book is not permitted as evidence…and the judge dismisses all charges due to a lack of evidence…and then He sits you right next to Him upon His wonderful bench…amazing. THAT is propitiation…and it is only by Jesus, God makes that clear in verse 26. Romans Chapter 3 Verses 26 – 31 • Paul places the “and so” upon the conversation for us…after shedding light on the state of fallen man, even in light of the laws they believed they were keeping, he comforts them…in Jesus Christ, God Himself, the Messiah…my brothers the law is established. • Galatians 3:24 says that the purpose of the law from the mountain top with Moses to the Book on your laps was always and forever will be to bring us to Jesus Christ. Therefore placing out trust in Jesus, exercising our free will of choice to commit our lives and plans and purposes to Him…to place our faith in only Him…the very purpose for which the law was given is utterly accomplished. How’s that? • The law was a debt. A debt that no man could pay…and so it stood. Mankind must accomplish all of these things perfectly, lest mankind be estranged from God. Because perfection cannot dwell with imperfection. And so God became a man, and just as through one man, sin entered…through One Man sin was defeated. The law was perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He humbled Himself, took on the form of man, walked as we walk, hungered as we hunger, suffered as we suffer, loved as we love…yet without sin. • You shall have no other Gods before Me. He didn’t. You shall not make for yourself any idols. He didn’t. You shall not take My name in vain. He didn’t. You shall remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. He did. You will honor your father and mother. He did. You will not murder, not commit adultery, not steal, not bear false witness, not covet…these things never even entered in His heart. And the law observed, the school master watched…and upon Jesus’ gift of His body and blood for all of mankind…the law looked upon creation and sighed with relief and rested… • Jesus said it is finished. Your slavery. Your separation from your father…it is finished. Walk with Him into the courtroom of your heart…your day…your life…your eternity…don’t go it alone…take His hand, walk with Him…and be free…NOW.
In Chapter 1, Paul addressed the unrighteous heathen. The ungodly character trait of the carnal minded man that lives out his life suppressing the truth in unrighteousness and serving self…and in that we looked in depth at who indeed is being served. Just like Eve was not serving herself when she took of the apple, right? She was indeed serving the serpent, she was serving the enemy. Such is the condition of the heathen. In Chapter 2 Paul deals with the self-righteous hypocrite. Talking about hey you who condemn the heathen for stealing, yet you steal…and the hardness of your heart towards the things of God has led you into trusting in works rather than living a lifestyle of repentance…which is absolutely inevitable when one is cognizant of the goodness of God. So Paul has gone from zero-righteousness, to self-righteousness and now he will address in Chapter 3 genuine righteousness. And there’s only one kind of that…only one place that true righteousness is found…Paul calls it out in Chapter 3 verse 21, “the righteousness of God.” And what is it? This righteous of God? A most shocking statement to the Jew, a most shocking statement to the cults, a most shocking statement maybe even to some of you today, Paul says there in verses 21 and 22 that “the righteousness of God is revealed…apart from the law…which is through faith alone in Jesus Christ!” Paul declared in Chapter 1, “Creation condemns the unrighteous.” He proclaimed in Chapter 2, “Conscience within a man condemns the self-righteous.” And in Chapter 3, we will hear him say that the law itself even condemns the ultra-righteous Jew. One man living life worshipping evil, completely given over to the things of evil. One man living life worshipping self, and one man living life believing they are right by who they are, what they do…all of them, dead wrong…because the reality is, man is made right by who Jesus is and what Jesus has done! Paul is leading us in the fundamentals, man. And he continues that lesson for us here in Chapter 3. Romans Chapter 3 Verse 1 • Paul is one of the most practical guys we’ll find in scripture. He just told the Jews that having the law does not justify a person. It is in the keeping of the law that one may find justification. Ah, but he is leading us to an end isn’t he…because in just a couple of verses, in verse 20 he will say that no flesh is justified by the law. It’s an impossibility! • So what is he saying here to the Jew and to us? That physical circumcision really has no value in just the ritual itself. It is the circumcision of the heart…spiritual circumcision that is the real will of God in a person’s life…cutting away the things of the flesh. • Therefore, if a person is really walking after the Spirit, though he may not have had the physical rite of circumcision, still God counts what is in his heart. And so if circumcision doesn't really do anything for me, if having the law doesn't really do anything for me as far as giving me a righteous standing before God…if the Jew is on the same level as the gentile, then the question would naturally arise, and Paul brings it up in chapter 3, verse 1. What good is it? • So Paul answers there continuing in verse 2… Romans Chapter 3 Verse 2 • You gotta imagine how that any Jew reading this letter from Paul by now would be so messed up that their clothes are torn, ash is on their head and they’ve probably even plucked their beards out! Circumcision is useless now? Having and following the law is useless now? The gentile dogs have righteousness equal to mine? The sky is falling, man! • But Paul puts up an umbrella here, lest the Jew be drowned in sorrow…I mean their whole life, from birth even, they’ve been taught how to be quite different than their gentle neighbors…especially in Rome where gross idolatry is rampant, and now Paul is asking them to declare bankruptcy on who they are…who they have raised their children to be…who they have aspired to become…and that is precisely what being born of the Spirit is all about! • We are not right with God because we are good little boys and girls. We are not blessed of God and given an inheritance in heaven because we simply believe as fact that He is Jahovah, Yahweh, God of all the ages. We become the family of God when we are born again by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit… after not just believing that God is but by receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “who is My mother, who are My brothers?” and He stretched His hand out towards His disciples and He said, “here they are, for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12) That’s family talk. • And what is the will of the Father in heaven? Or maybe better said this way, what kind of person is on the finger end of Jesus’ outstretched hand as He identifies His disciples? John 8:31-32, Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed,” and the kicker, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.” • We must declare bankruptcy on self. On selfish ambition, self-filled concessions we have made with sin thinking we are covered by some “special grace, some sort of grace that says even though sin continues, so too does closeness with God.” When the Bible is so very clear that submission to God’s plan and repentance of sin, turning away from it and turning on to the things of God, is our only path to relationship with Him. • But you see, so many find that so difficult that they miss relationship and settle for religion. But that breaks the heart of God because just as I desire to know my children, even more so, eternally more so, God the Father desires to know His. • His will was never for the Jew to be a battery powered law-abiding robot…no. His plan was to bless them by revealing Himself through them…you see it was never about them. It was never about Abraham…it was always, in all ways, about Jesus Christ. The Word made flesh. And Paul is pulling out all of the stops to lead the Jew, and even us today, in utter bankruptcy out of our own righteousness which is filth in the presence of a holy God and into the righteousness that is only to be found in Jesus Christ…that’s called brokenness in Biblical terms…so that we might simply place our hearts in the hands of the One who bears the scars of our freedom. • And so Paul here pops open his umbrella and comforts the confused Jew. What advantage? Much! And in every way…but chiefly, or most importantly, the oracles of God, or better said, the Word of God, the truth of God was committed unto them and that is a tremendous advantage! Never underestimate the advantage of having the Word of God! • The entire race of mankind actually owes a great debt to the Jewish people, why? Because not only was it through them that the Oracles of God were given to the world, but it was also through their painstaking effort that the Word of God has been preserved for centuries upon centuries…what is their profit them? Much Paul says! Romans Chapter 3 Verses 3 – 4 • Paul is saying here that the oracles of God, the Word of God is just that…God’s Word, man, and really, in the reality of it, even if someone, anyone, anytime, anywhere doesn’t believe God’s Word…their unbelief, or maybe even your own unbelief, doesn’t make God’s Word less true at all! Man will still reap what he sows always in accordance with God’s Word, believer and non-believer alike. • That is one of the things that has strengthened my faith over and over again as the years have passed because no matter who the person is, no matter even what my own personal situation or circumstance is, God’s Word is always true. What God’s word says will come to pass. Consistently, every time. Why? Paul tells us here, “the faithfulness of God is effective, man!” Nothing changes that. It has never changed and never will change. Not for one moment through the entire history of time has God been unfaithful. He keeps His promises and His Word, in every situation, is true! • And that is why when there are issues in my life or in yours’, I turn to the faithfulness of God. What does the Word say? Your marriage struggling? Ephesians says “wives, come under the covering and leadership of your own husbands as unto the Lord, and husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.” There it is. The answer for every marriage! • Your young children misbehaving and disobedient? Proverbs 29 says to discipline your child and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. Hebrews 12:11 tells us how, with pain. Hebrews 12 says for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Proverbs 13 says whoever spares the rod hates his child but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. And while that diligence in discipline persists physically, the Bible says spiritual discipline must also be there. Proverbs 22 says to train your child in the way he should go and when he grows old, that will be his way. Invest in your children, man. Discipline, Bible reading, prayer, that is all investment…and it is non-negotiable if you desire your children to not only delight your heart but make it in a terribly darkening world… • Hey but if you’re not willing to love her husband, if you’re not willing to respect him wife, if you’re not willing to spank them dad, if you’re not willing to read the Bible with them mom…then guess what, even so…God’s Word will be true…and your marriage will be a mess and your children will be a mess. • Oh but submission to God’s Word, God’s faithfulness will produce what Paul says here in the end of verse 4, you will overcome…the only only only question is are you going to follow man (which last I checked we are all of the order of man) which Paul says here everyone is a liar, or are you going to choose to follow God, who Paul says here, and we know, is true? • Now, how on earth are you going to choose God’s Word and truth over the lies of this world if you yourself have no idea those verses that we just covered even exist? So be in the Word of God, devouring it, investing in your family and your children and God Himself…that’s what time in the Word is man…it is investment, storing your treasures where they cannot be stolen…and when the time of judgment comes, just like it says there in verse 4, you will overcome. Romans Chapter 3 Verses 5 - 8 • Paul anticipates the question…he understands his audience and the Jews reasoning would have been then why not do as we please since God’s righteousness will prevail? This is just the kind of counter-intuitive, ridiculous and outright silly type of arguments that you will encounter when you are sharing the wonderful faithfulness of God and His abundant grace. • You know, you give a truth of God to someone, and that person maybe on the street, maybe in the office, maybe even in the mirror begins to give hypothetical cases or they begin to try to reason out with the human intellect. No, doesn’t work that way. God is bigger than our intellect. It’s a heart connection He desires, not a connection of agreement, He wants hearts cause the heart drives us…and so God’s truths…they are understood in the heart, not the mind. But the carnal heart of a person living after their own affections always tries to mold God into their own image rather than allowing God to transform them into His image… • This is the particular argument that Paul is saying. Here I am. God declares that all men are sinners and that the grace of God abounds to sinners, and God loves to show His grace in the forgiveness of sinful man. Therefore, by my going out and sinning, I am giving God an opportunity to show His righteousness through faith and His glorious grace. Or by my ignoring my wife and being a calloused towards her, I’m giving her an opportunity to grow…pastor said growth only comes through difficulty! And so my unrighteousness really is magnifying the righteousness of God, therefore, why would God judge me for being unrighteous? I am just showing how good He is when He forgives. And Paul says, man you have got it all wrong and you’re condemning yourself… • In fact Paul speaks in a particularly serious tone here and he says something that is found nowhere else in all of scripture. He uses the phrase, “condemnation that is just.” Wow! Twisting scriptures man, taking the truth of God and manipulating it for personal justification of sinful indulgence and lifestyle…results in condemnation. It’s actually the word krina in the Greek, which could also be translated, damnation…and that condemnation, that destruction…is just. That’s scary. Why? • Because Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 12, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but one…you see one will receive what we could call just condemnation…and that is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” This is it. Rejection of the Word of God man. Rejection of Jesus Himself as it says there in John Chapter 1 that the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst men. Twisting the word, wrapping human postulation around God’s Word and justifying why we are the way we are…man this is the only place you find this language in the entire Bible…that business will bring about just damnation. • Upon our marriages. Upon our families. Upon our careers. Upon our churches…because we have rejected the truth for the lie and we sleep well at night having justified in our minds why we are not following Jesus…let that be not so here, amongst this body of Christ. In Jesus name. • But it is our natural bent. To defend our sinful nature and to justify our independence from God. When He has created us wonderfully to need Him…and to depend upon Him…but we condemn ourselves as we run…and here Paul tells us God’s indictment against all men…look at verses 9 – 20. God is hereby declaring the condition of man apart from God… Romans Chapter 3 Verses 9 – 18 • Did you catch the details of that indictment? First of all that it includes all men…Verse 9 started out that whether Jew or gentile we are all under sin man…and we would be swift to defend ourselves against these charges…that all of man, all of us, are void of righteousness…that none of us understand or seek after God…that we have all turned aside to error. Our hearts are deceitful and we are bent, we have a bad habit, and its called destruction…we collect misery like baseball cards and peace flees…why? Because we do not heed God’s Word…we have not the capability to… • So what are we to do? The Jew would ask this of Paul, we would ask the same…what are we to do…we’ll see this in depth next week, as Paul answers that question for us…but the answer is found in the second half of Chapter 3…through faith in Jesus Christ…justification freely enters and redemption arrives… • Through Jesus man, knowing Him, loving Him, trusting Him, drawing near to Him, accepting His truth and rejecting our own rational lie…we CAN be righteous and intimate with a holy God…we CAN understand and see His salvation…we CAN seek God…We WILL not be destroyed by misery but rather WE WILL destroy IT! And peace will be the after taste of our days…as we by His indwelling Spirit, trust in His Word and follow hard after Him…
Romans Chapter 2 Verses 12 – 16 • So in a nut-shell, what we like to call the bottom-line-up-front or BLUF in the workplace, Paul is answering the age old question that maybe even you’ve gotten, “well what about someone who has never heard of Jesus…what about the pygmies in Africa?” Paul makes the answer clear here… • We serve a just God. He just said back in verse 11, the verse that leads into this present discussion, that “there if no partiality with God…no favoritism, no unfairness.” And therefore to those who by patient continuance seek and do good…glory, honor, peace and immortality. But to those who obey unrighteousness, turmoil, wrath, fret, trouble and anguish… • But what if there is no knowledge of the perfect law of liberty? Law of liberty? Yes that is what James calls the commandments of God in James 1:25. But I thought the law was the detailed for us in Exodus 20…you know the handwriting of requirements for mankind, the rules of engagement…the word law sounds a lot like rules and rules and liberty don’t seem to go together, man… • Ah now you are glimpsing something that surpasses understanding aren’t you? James puts three words together that don’t seem to belong…perfect, law, AND liberty and our rational hearts and minds corroborate our conflict in fully understanding that the more rules we have, the less free we are…and so we arrive at a precept. One that is hardly taught and most often must be caught…that as you follow the Lord, His will and His ways…obeying His word and trusting in His plan…what you actually find, in following hard after Him…taking up your own cross, denying your own self, what you find is precisely what our mind, body, soul and spirit all yearn for…liberty. • A couple of thoughts for you, to illustrate this concept, this truth of the law of liberty. If my kids are out playing and I tell them, look kids, stay out of the road, if you see a snake, don’t pick it up and above all else, play nicely. Now, those seem like a bunch of rules don’t they? Don’t do this, do this, don’t do this…but remember, what their hearts desire is…what they’re even outside to do…to play and enjoy the day, enjoy each other, even enjoy the front yard that I have provided for them and maybe a kite or a ball…again things that I have given them, provided for them… • And my hearts desire as their father is for them to enjoy all of those things too…yet if they run out into the road and are hit by a car, does the enjoyment continue? If they find a snake and are harmed by it, does the enjoyment continue? No! In either of those circumstances…tragedy! If they play maliciously with one another, just harping on each other, being bitter or fighting, is liberty not stolen? Of course it is! • And so the rather elementary illustration hopefully reveals a truth that the laws of the Father are not set in place to capture liberty, but to provide liberty! The laws of the land are what captures liberty man…and I’m not talking about laws that are signed into force, I’m talking about the humanistic law of social acceptance, the law of reputation, the law of sensual pleasure and indulgence…Matt, what are you talking about? What are all of the commercials on TV about? Food, fashion and merchandise…and what is used to entice, to sell these things? Sex and status. • You see this fallen world desires to enslave you to itself and remove from you that which will provide what it is you truly desire, liberty…it’s the age old carrot on a stick man…hey, this double whooper, come buy it man…have it your way, it will make you sooooo satisfied…then what happens, you eat it and feel gross. Or hey this new car, this new guy, this new gal, all the sitcoms teach us and the reality TV shows indoctrinate us with this thought that there’s something there for us…and so many go that way in their own life just to find not liberty, but trouble, turmoil and anguish…liberty is ripped away by this world and the things in it, man… • So what are we to do? Set our minds on things above. Allow the Lord to reveal to you truth that cannot be seen or found apart from the Holy Spirit revealing it to you. Preoccupy yourselves and focus your lives not on serving yourself but in loving the Lord and serving others…and in that you will be fulfilling the laws of Christ as Jesus said to His disciples, “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength…and love eachother fervently, as you love yourself.” Oh the liberty of staying away from snakes and the street and being gentle with eachother. How pleasing to the Father…all wrapped up in holding the perfect….law….of liberty. • But I’ve learned, it never fails, we’ll each try it our own way…some the circumstance, some the day, some the season of life…some their whole lives…but it doesn’t work. Compromised Christianity, hokey pokey convictions…certainly a life lived sold out to self...just doesn’t work man…and we know it! • I have a regular route to work each day but there are alternates and there is specifically this one alternate route that temps me all the time. Its like this cut through street that just seems so much faster but EVERYTIME I take it, something slows me down. A school bus, a red light, a pedestrian! And no matter what it always turns out…frustrating. But hey, about once a month or so, guess what I do…yep…I take that alternate route again…and each time I regret it! Just like trying it my own way man…it doesn’t work. And we know that if the Creator has a path for His creation then what could be better? Obviously nothing…we know it in the depths of our hearts man… • And what if someone has never heard these things…what then? Well do they still have the same depth of heart that you and I do? Of course and so Paul says here for as many as have sinned without the law will perish without the law however that doesn’t really happen…because Paul says here what we read in Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16, that God has not only written His laws on our hearts…all men, whether deaf, blind, remote or obscure and He has also hung His laws up for display in all of nature! • In the rushing of the water, in the bowing of the trees under the wind…in the beauty of a newborn dependent upon its mother and father, in the dawn of the mornings and the dusk of the evenings…Paul says here that by nature all mankind perceives the law of God…and therefore even if someone has never sat someone down and explained to them the 10 Commandments or the commandments of Christ, God’s truth is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. Look back at verse 20 of Chapter 1… • For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse. And so leaving the subject of indigenous remote African tribes, where so many want to go and try to take you when you’re sharing Jesus with them…what about you? What about your secrets? Isn’t that what we’re really talking about here? • Paul says whether you hear or not, whatever…there in verse 13, its not the hearers of the law that are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law that are justified. And so we look into the mirror of scripture and the question…always…what about you? Romans Chapter 2 Verses 17 – 24 • Paul says here to the Jew, indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things which are excellent, and are confident that you are even a guide to the blind…but understand this also goes for us… • Paul writes to us also, you are called a Christian and in that title you are confident that you are “good” with God…Look 82% of Americans claim the title of Christian nominally. 4 out of 5 people you ask randomly will say that they are Christian…but what does that mean? Does it mean they go to church? Certainly not! Only 21% of Americans, or 1 in 4 “Christians” go to church on a regular basis. Does it mean they read their Bibles? Certainly not. Only 19% of “Christians” read their Bibles on a regular basis. Do those things make you a Christian? • Does it mean they make their everyday decisions based on Biblical truth? In this world, what we’ve made Christianity, it doesn’t even mean that! Well then what on earth does being a Christian mean? In this world system…nothing! That is what Paul is saying here to these Jews. He’s saying all of your confidence is in the cotton candy…simply calling yourself a Jew and man we have fallen into the same mold as Christians. • How’s that? Well Paul says here to these Jews that they approve the things that are excellent…but he goes on to say…man approval is not enough…because approval is not agreement. Agreement is solidified only in conformance. Your life tells the story, man. • Get past the label man and take on a lifestyle! That is what believing in the Son of God means. That is what trusting the Lord looks like! It costs nothing to agree…it costs everything to follow. You and I always hear…get involved, get involved, get involved…man get real! Get committed! The difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: The chicken was involved, the pig was committed! That’s the diff man…that is to give your all to the Lord man…all your heart, soul, mind and strength…that is to find pure liberty, that is to be born again! Yet we are lost in our “me” centered, “Christia-me-ty.” • And that’s the thing Paul is bringing right to the front door of their hearts and our hearts today that if we agree that a man should not steal yet we steal…then we don’t agree at all! And if we say or feel that we agree that a man should follow the Lord yet we ourselves are unwilling to follow Him…then man for real…we don’t agree! We approve, we teach, we condemn but we ourselves are not taught, we ourselves are condemned and in that the kicker there in verses 23 and 24, not only do we ourselves dishonor God but we lead others around us right into blasphemy. • That is the horrific result of a carnal Christian. One who misrepresents Jesus Christ. One who approves of Jesus verbally and yet denies Him physically… • I have an iPhone as my work phone and I get emails all of the time…some are more important than others and often when an important one pops up…I read it right away…but sometimes the server is hung up and when I open it do you know what it says, “this message has no content!” Man that is what we are showing the world of Christ when we walk in overt hypocracy. Approving the Word of God yet disobeying its very precepts and statutes. We show the world that there is nothing to be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ as we profess to know and love Him and then fold right in with our own lusts and our own way. • “This God has not content” is the message that we display…when everyone out there is looking for content. The most important message of all eternity…the email arrives…they grab you, their communication device with Jesus Christ and they open that email…and it has no content. Horrible. • Let it not be so with you. Live your life for the Lord man. Obey Him, seek Him, and you know what is awesome? You’ll find Him! You’ll come alive man and then this won’t even be a question for folks around you…They’ll see your unwavering gladness…gladness? Yes, its Hebrews Chapter 1 verse9, “you have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness!” They’ll see you, they’ll see Jesus…But its not a name tag, its nothing you say, it’s not the shirt you wear or the church you rep, its your life man…and these Jews had it all backwards… Romans Chapter 2 Verses 25 – 29 • Circumcision was an identification of God’s covenant people, an outward sign of what was to be an inward reality. You find in the Old Testament several illustrations of the spiritual implications of the physical rite of circumcision. Exodus 6:12 speaks of the circumcision of the lips. Jeremiah 6:10 speaks of the circumcision of the ears. Ezekiel 44 speaks of the circumcision of the heart…and so much more than just physical identification but you see the spiritual implications of how God deals with sin…cutting it away…that is the work of the Spirit in your life and in mine. • God’s people are to speak with tenderness, hear with sensitivity and feel with compassion. All along, from the institution of circumcision it was meant to be a picture externally of the transformation that takes place internally…in the hearts and lives of God’s set-apart people. • Yet although the Jews were outwardly circumcised, they were far from where they should have been internally. Paul says here, clears it up for us here, in verse 29, he says circumcision, the mark that you are a member of God’s covenant people, is that of the heart, in the Spirit…not in the law or approval from men…but in that you are approved by God! • You see Christianity in our minds and in our world today has decayed into something utterly monstrous. Even our own selves, we pray, we read our Bibles, we worship the Lord corporately, we listen to Bible studies and we serve in the church and then we go out those doors and we live for ourselves…not even understanding the mind of Christ. Not even regarding what God would have me to do…”well doesn’t God want me happy? Doesn’t he want me to get what I need and have what I want? Doesn’t he want my husband to love me and so I need to press for that? Doesn’t he want my wife to respect me and so I need to press for that?” WRONG! • Paul says it here…God’s will is not for you to seek the praise of men…praise from men…but from God. We don’t even know the mind of Christ man…why? Because it is precisely what Paul has laid out for us through Chapter 2…that we approve of the Word of God, yet we have no desire to obey it…and so we don’t read it…and when we do we mentally craft our checklists of what we will and will not obey…and we suffer. Strife abounds, turmoil abounds, weakness abounds…when power, love, gentleness, kindness, patience, purpose, satisfaction and liberty lie in wait…for us to ditch the checklist and meet the Lord right at the cross… • Eternal and everlasting life have no direct ties with things such as circumcision, baptism, confirmation and communion. Not directly. Eternal and everlasting life, saving faith is just that, its faith man…not of works lest man could take credit…no we are to boast in what the Lord has done...people think that because they’ve gone through a baptismal ceremony, been christened as an infant, or come to the Lord’s table that they will be especially blessed or that by that they will be saved. Not so. • Outward expression means nothing if not accompanied by inward experience. Approval is not agreement man…it certainly isn’t commitment…and many will be stunned when the Lord looks upon them in utter pain and says “depart from Me, I never knew you.” That is His one desire and His one commandment. That you would know Him. That you would come to Him. That you would turn from that which murdered the Son of God…turn from that which today dishonors the Father and the Son…and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into the perfect law of liberty…today and forever.
• Many have read through the first Chapter of Romans and clearly seen the wrath of a righteous God. Even Paul says back in verse 18 of Chapter 1 that the “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness…” but as we stepped through that first chapter, I hope you saw, or at least I was trying to show you, that the later half of Chapter 1 is all about God’s broken heart. • You see, where we halted in our remembrance of verse 18 (above) is where most yield…and in so doing, they stop short. Because what verse 18 says is that yes “God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness,” but look, don’t miss this, Paul finishes the precept by saying…, “of men!” • You see the righteousness of God, the holiness of the Almighty roars as the Eternal Lion against the sin and evil of men…yet His heart, the heart of a Father, the heart of a Savior, breaks into pieces for those men and women that are taken captive by that sin…they are His children…His beloved, His creation…taken, abducted, kidnapped…stolen from Him by the exceedingly sinfulness of sin…and so His wrath that is spoken of is not him dashing people to pieces…man He loves them! No its His wrath against the wretched evil of sin that rips them off and ultimately rips them away from His eternal presence… • You see, upon the cross, experts say what actually would have caused Jesus’ physical death…was a broken heart. When the soldier pierced His side, out of Him came flowing blood mingled with water…as His organs systematically shut down due to a condition known as hypovolemic shock, eventually causing cardiac rupture. And so as God watched His only Son, Jesus Christ die upon that cruel cross in excruciating pain that no one forever and ever will ever understand…please understand His sorrow and torturous grief is the equivalent to His ferocious wrath against the sin that initiated the entire circumstance. • And Paul says…God has shown us…from the cross, through creation, by even our own conscience…He has shown us His invisible attributes, He has given us His Word which is so very clear concerning sin…yet man in their indulgence and obedient worship of all that is evil, and especially the one creature that is evil embodied, men select self, which ironically ultimately involves folks losing themselves…and so Paul says in verse 20 of Chapter 1, “they are without excuse.” • And that is the simple case man. When we stand in front of the throne of God and the books are opened, what excuse will be found for the sin? What excuse will be found acceptable to the Father who endured the slaughter of His Son to give you and I the opportunity of being made holy and righteous for all of eternity? What excuse? • “God knows my heart?” “God, you and I had our own thing?” “God, You understand, I couldn’t give up my girlfriend, my boyfriend, my investments, my reputation, my pleasure?” Those excuses are an offense, man…to the One who withheld nothing from you…but many are foolish…professing to be wise…fools man…and have traded the truth for the lie…and God’s heart breaks…again, just as it did as He hung on the cross for the very sin which many and maybe even you continue in proudly… • And Paul here has made this point quite clear in the later parts of Chapter 1…that all men and all women are without excuse in their failure to glorify God, when it comes down to it man, standing at the last judgment…we will have no exucse…and what’s interesting is that the self righteous Jews there in Rome would be quick to agree with Paul. You know, surrounded by millions of slaves and thousands of false gods and goddesses, the Jews would read over this and immediately indict the gentiles…the pagans…just like what we do with our own sin… • Man we read the Bible so many times or hear a sermon so often and we think, this is for them! No! It’s for you man, it’s for me! And Paul jumps right into Chapter 2 correcting this repulsive hypocritical mindset…look at verse 1 of Chapter 2. Romans Chapter 2 Verse 1 • That word there in the Greek for inexcusable is the same word, in the same tense that Paul used earlier in Chapter 1 verse 20. It’s the word anapologētos and quite interesting…it does mean “without excuse” as its used there in Chapter 1 but here in the first verse of Chapter 2 we see another contextually correct application…they are “inexcusable.” Or in other words, they are not defendable. God has lost custody you see…He is not able to defend, He is not able to excuse…Why would Paul say this? Because His heart IS to defend, His heart IS to excuse and God has done it all man…so that you and I could be both… • But Paul says here, in your sin, without repentance, without the salvation that is to be found only in Christ Jesus…man you’ll stand before a holy and a just God…and He will weep as He will be unable to excuse… • And so leaving the precept of the word and returning to the context of the application, Paul says here to the Jews, “you who are judging the pagan nature and homosexual culture of the gentiles…man…look into your heart…full of anger and bitterness over someone else’s sin…you are also guilty…you are also inexcusable! Man this is body rocking! • This word judge in the Greek is krino. This is the one type of judgment that we are not to do…to judge in such a way to condemn…to judge with a sneer on one’s face and a finger angrily pointed at him, at her, at them…that is not the heart of God man…the heart of God is to judge sin first sacrificially, with a heart of love and restoration…which occurred at the cross and finally to judge sin by the removal of it, the abolishment of it, which will occur at the White Throne Judgement seat of Christ. • And so too we as ministers of His grace, we warn, we persuade, we reason with folks trapped in some sort of sin with a heart that desires them to be right with the Lord, restored to fellowship with the Holy Spirit…and then ultimately when sin is chosen over the Savior, we withdraw…man. A horrible outcome however one prescribed by the Bible because sin in a person’s life will continue until there is accountability. • Now while we are not to make judgments in condemnation, we are most definitely, certainly, absolutely, Biblically to make judgments for identification. Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 7, “By their fruits you’ll know them,” and “beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” How are we to know and beware lest we be actively making judgments? Exactly. That is precisely why Jesus said (commanded us) in John 7:24, “when you judge, judge righteously.” And what does that look like? Judge just as God judges, in accordance with His Word, in the Spirit of love and salvation. • And so Paul says, “hey folks, your condemnation of others is unjust, because while you condemn them of sin, you yourself are in sin worthy of condemnation.” This idea of “don’t correct me, what about you? Don’t rebuke my sin, what about their sin…” just heaping sin upon sin upon sin upon sin in that kind of attitude. No, we are to accept rebuke, repent and turn from sin, and man worship the God who showed His love for us and (at the same time, with the same action), His wrathful rejection of all sorts, types and circumstance of unrighteousness…and we do that in accordance with His word, that is to judge rightfully…check out the next verse... Romans Chapter 2 Verse 2 • The judgment of God is according to truth…Jesus said, “I am the Truth,” against those who practice, (the thought is “continue in”), such things…And so check it, the judgment of God, which is righteous and right…holy and just, is according to the truth man…Jesus Christ, the penalty that He endured…you see the broken heart of God the Father is equal to his unwavering wrath against sin…and so you see how we cannot play with this…we are indefensible, we are unable to be excused…and so we must as a Christian, as a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister…as a church…we must and will always stand against unrighteousness and in so doing, we will stand with the Truth…Paul continues… Romans Chapter 2 Verses 3-4 • Man how our own sin, or any sin for that matter, looks so nasty on others…while we ourselves justify sin…we all do it…we shouldn’t…but we’re the only ones behind our eyes and so we’re kinda bent on ourselves…partial to ourselves and just like us Paul says to these folks who are condemning while themselves performing the same sin, have mistaken God’s longsuffering for apathy, or approval and what happens is that we begin to lose sight of the fact that we ourselves are in need of repentance. • God cannot bless compromise. Knowing what is right and you settle for less…that is compromise. Compromise only leads to…compromise… • Folks, we begin to take our eyes off the cross, off of the price that was paid, and we dwell upon what we call “grace.” Thinking it some sort of blank check for sinfulness. When Biblical grace, as we saw in Chapter 1 verse 5 provokes us to apostleship and obedience. When we think upon the love that God has poured out on us…there is no way we can go on offending Him…no way…and so Paul says here, “you’ve lost sight of His goodness, and in that you have forsaken repentance.” • Man never do that. Repentance is the principal gift of God to a fallen man. “Matt, I thought that was salvation, I thought that the principal gift was Christ.” I want you to think of it this way. The Principal is Christ…He is the head, He is the Object, He is the Gift and the Giftor…and it is only by repentance, the willful laying down of our sin, rejecting our natural and self-ful ways, it is only by repentance that we come to Him…that we can know Him and receive His grace. • A.W. Tozer once taught, “The promise of pardon and cleansing is always associated in the Scriptures with the command to repent. The widely used text in Isaiah, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18), is organically united to the verses that precede it: “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17). What does this teach but radical reformation of life before there can be any expectation of pardon? To divorce the words from each other is to do violence to the Scriptures and to convict ourselves of deceitfully handling the truth.” • Jesus said in Mark Chapter 1, “repent and believe.” Notice the order. Peter preached in Acts 3:19, “repent and be converted.” Notice the order. Man when we miss God’s goodness, we miss repentance…and in that we completely miss Jesus. And Paul is saying here that a primary contributor to that air ball, is a condemning attitude…scripture is for us. Each Biblical truth and its application is for each of us personally…. • You want the situation changed…YOU change. You want him or her to change…YOU change…you want her to respect you more…repent of your selfish sin of demanding respect, you want him to love you more…repent of your egocentric sin of demanding love…and just serve God…have you forgotten what you’ve been saved from? Have you forgotten what your eternal life cost? I think you have… • You’re wrecking yourself you see…he’s not wrecking you, she’s not wrecking you…I’m not wrecking you…you’re wrecking you…Paul says this in the next couple of verses… Romans Chapter 2 Verses 5 – 6 • Keep in mind these folks think that they are just fine. These are the folks that are condemning others of sin and so they know sin man…yet they themselves lack repentance. Paul continues and now reveals to us a for real, practical pattern… Romans Chapter 2 Verses 7 – 11 • Glory, honor and immortality to those who by patient continuance…do you know what that means? Patient Continuance…it means its hard man! It’s the word hypomonē in the Greek…literally defined as one who is not swerved from his or her deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and honoring God by even the greatest trials and sufferings…man that means come turmoil or treasure, we will serve the Lord! Put in work! Building a home for the Lord within our own hearts. • To them, glory unto God, honor unto the Most High and immortality, right now!! • But to those who walk in their own way man…according to their sensual pleasure and “human nature,” justifying sin and rationalizing their own evil while even being offended by the sins of others…Paul says wrath…offense man…tribulation, troubles…and anguish…meaning in the Greek there, hopeless calamity…no end to it… • But then Paul footstomps again, love God, remember His goodness and he repeats glory and honor but he adds, “peace.” And there are no exceptions, no excuses…no homie hookup deals from on-high…because God does not have favorites…He doesn’t make deals and cut breaks…there’s no pulling out your “holidex” and looking up a patron saint or an angel and having them petition God for you…no it is what it is…and there is only one Way to God, one Mediator between God and man and that is the man Christ Jesus…no one comes to the Father except through me Jesus said…and so we either serve the Truth, or serve the lie…man it’s only one way or the other…
Romans Chapter 1 Verse 24 • This is heavy. As God considers His Word from heaven and even while Paul was penning this epistle, no doubt this portion of the scripture was one written in the ink of suffering. This business of God giving them up… • Now this doesn’t mean that God “threw in the towel” as we might perceive…we might think. Remember, God neatly folded the towel and left it there in the tomb on the third day…signifying that He’d be back, He’s not through…and He’s not through with these folks either…He’s just lost custody. • The word there in the Greek for “gave them up” is “paradedome” which has two root words, “para” and “dedome.” “Para” meaning “by” and “dedome” meaning “given reward,” or “giving due wages.” And so don’t think of this as God throwing His hands up in the air and proclaiming with frustration, “ah, I give up!” That’s not the idea at all being presented here by Paul. But rather it is that they have been ripped away from Him…as in a nasty and tragic custody battle with freewill and man’s sinful nature…the illegitimate and cruel parents of God’s lost children. • And these folks, having chosen poorly, selecting sin and death over righteousness and life, God the Good Father, the Gentleman Kinsman Redeemer, the One who can accomplish absolutely anything save forcing Himself upon us…delivered to sin and death the wages due…those that refuse to choose Him because, as Paul just wrote, although they knew God…they rejected Him and became futile, foolish and dark… • And so there God waits, in the courtroom of the custody battle, waiting for His lost ones to appear again so that He might have a chance to take them home…You know, its so interesting because as I was studying this and seeking out the Greek and searching the scriptures for the heart of God in this manner, I couldn’t help but remember my own father… • I met him in a courtroom. My biological parents called it quits when I was 2 years old…and it was a vicious and violent split…sin is so destructive…addiction to this world and the things of this world…so malicious…after only a few years of swearing before God as their witness that for better or for worse, they’d love each other…they had split and that split tore a gash in our family that unfortunately as a family, we never recovered from. • I was too young to remember it all…I was smaller than Lincoln, my little little…which makes it all the more confusing for me…and even as I grew older there were late night conversations that I had with my dad who had received the Lord later in life and really was a wonderful man and father to me in my adulthood…but in those conversations I remember just being so close and so open with him and he with me…and I remember saying, “dad, I love you and its amazing how alike we are…but there are some things, some decisions, some actions of your life…that I’ll never understand…and that’s ok…” We were very close leading up to his death and I’m thankful for the years we had… • But I was about 5 years old…my mom and my stepdad got my sister and I ready, got us into the car and we drove…I remember arriving at the courthouse and walking into a waiting room of sorts and there I sat, next to my stepfather. I remember, (it’s so odd what you remember), I remember kicking my feet back and forth as they dangled from the chair…I was wearing white shoes…Nike of course… • And then I saw a man across the room. It was probably less than 20 feet away but in my mind’s eye it was a great distance. And he was smiling at me…not like a polite smile, but like he was really really thrilled…it was almost a laughing type smile…about as big as it gets…and he just watched me…and I watched him. Man its so odd how this is all still there, locked away inside of me… • Then he motioned to me. “Come over here,” he mouthed from across the room…not audibly, just with his lips and he made a beaconing movement with his hand…he did that a couple times as I watched him. But I had been taught well. I was always told, just like you maybe, even at a very young age, “Matt, never talk to strangers.” And so I sat there a little confused and finally I pulled my stepdad’s shoulder down and he looked at me and, I’ll never forget this, I asked Jim, “who is that man?” • And Jim looked at me, looked at the man across the waiting room, and he looked back at me…and he said, “Matt, that’s your father.” My legs stopped kicking…I remember my heart pounding…what did he mean, “that’s my father?” Jim’s my father. I felt confused and I must have showed it because my dad stopped beaconing me over…and his smile turned into concern…it was an odd moment for me that day…I didn’t go over to him… • I did however leave the courthouse that day with him. As soon as the judge heard that it had been years since he had seen me…that my mom had kept my sister and I from him, threatened him and used us as weapons to keep him at a distance, the judge immediately ordered that my sister and I be delivered into his care for the afternoon…and that is the day that I met my father. At a custody battle, in a cold and confusing courtroom… • And that is not unlike the scene that Paul describes here with this phrase, “God gave them up.” What else can He do? I had no say in my parents’ battle over me but I have all the say in God’s battle for me…its called freewill. It is the gift of God by which we are able to choose Him and know Him and really have a real relationship with Him but it is also the great eternal burden by which we have the power to condemn ourselves…and worship whatever we please. • And the most interesting attribute of freewill in my opinion, is that we become just like that which we worship. If we worship animals and creeping things…we become animals ourselves and we creep. Creep about looking for our next meal, our next hunt, our next mate…driven by instinct and hunger. If we worship money we become cold, calculated, prideful and greedy. The list goes on and on, and so could I, y’all know that… • But if we choose Jesus, the only One who is worthy to receive our worship…the only One who has such robust quality about Him, such light emanating from Him…that from the poorest to the richest, the educated and the common…all people heard Him gladly and the masses followed Him…surrounded Him constantly…they left everything wholeheartedly to follow Him because there was substance and reality within Him…if we, with our gift of freewill, choose to follow and worship Him then it is as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18, we will not be lost to the brutal and merciless illegitimate parents of sin and death, but we will be “transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the inner working of the Spirit of the Lord.” • That is a choice we each make, individually. And Paul here is speaking of those that have chosen poorly… Chapter 1 Verse 25 • This is crazy! This is major! Yes we can read this quickly and what we will catch is true…that in context of verses 18 – 24, Paul is saying here that many abandon the truth and bow down to false gods that are powerless in eternity…money, others, sex, animals, possessions…which are all things that dwell within creation. • But if we apply the Holy Spirit spy glass man then what we see here is “the” issue. The one single lie…because Paul here says, “the lie”…the “pseudos” in the Greek, the fake man…the one single falsehood that from the beginning has been hand-holding humans right out of the presence and protection…the custody…of our creator. • Paul says that they have “changed” which is the word “metallasso”…where we get our word metasticize which is the action of cancer man…its only used twice in the scriptures, right here and in the next verse…and its meaning is grave. That sin was let in…it wasn’t stopped at the door and what’s happened, slowly but surely, its spread, its hardened, its deceived, its led you to a point where you won’t listen to God’s Word…you just do what you do…you won’t listen to me or to another brother or sister in the Lord…you just do what you do…and you figure God knows you? God has some sort of different, idolatrous grace for you? You’ve changed man… • Changed the real truth…into personal truth. That’s the lie! Boom! Bang! That’s the one! That’s the one that got Eve in the garden man! Satan told Eve, “psssshhh don’t listen to God, for He knows that in the day that you eat of it, you will be like Him…you will be like God…glory to man in the highest! Take a bite.” Satan kept his promise you see…in a sick and twisted and dark and destructive and disgusting way! • Because when Eve was deceived and subsequently Adam ate also, together they chose to be their own authority…that is called idolatry man! And idolatry to immorality is just a short step isn’t it? If man is his own god, then he can do whatever he pleases and fulfill all of his fleshly desires without fear of judgment! • Now this is the sick and twisted wile of the devil, check this out…when you have exalted yourself, placed yourself in the position of eternal authority…we read this and say, worshipping the creature rather than the creator…that must be me…what Paul is saying here is that I am worshipping me…and that’s bad…man I’m not god! But its even worse! • Who, other than you and all of us humanoids was created? You’re right, the angels…and what is Lucifer…a fallen angel. And so look we may think or feel or perceive that in idolatry we are worshipping self but the truth is, the fact is, the banger is…we’re worshipping the creature…man SATAN! • What! I don’t worship Satan, Matt…I just do what I want! Man you are blinded…you’ve gobbled up the pseudos man and your deceived…who was Eve serving when she ate the apple? The one that gave the commandment you see…and who was that? Satan! Who was Adam obeying when he took from his wife and ate…wasn’t God…kinda himself…but WHO ON EARTH gave the commandment….you gotta see this! It was SATAN! • Why on earth am I so intolerant of sin? Why on earth do we as a leadership team offer just as much correction as we do exhortation…because we love God and we love you…that’s why and in that idolatry, man…Satan is being obeyed. He is receiving worship…do you not know that the Spirit within me cannot stand that? The Spirit within me REJECTS and OBJECTS to that! • Satan’s desire from the get has been to steal worship from God. Isaiah 14 says of Satan, “For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will also sit on the mount of the congregation…I will be like the Most High.” Satan took Jesus and he said to Him there in Matthew 4, “All of these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me!” And many have bought this lie man. For money, for financial security, for sexual gratification…for themselves…making themselves their own false god…their idol. • But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 that we are not actually serving self, we are not actually worshipping self…we are worshipping the creature who created evil man…Paul writes, “is an idol anything? Rather, the things offered by the gentiles, they offer directly to demons and not to God.” • THAT is the lie man. To not worship, to not serve, to not obey God…and to obey anything at all else…is not self service, is not harmless white little sins…its straight up worshipping the creature…its straight up evil man…but God cannot force you, that is the choice, the only choice really that’s even possible to make…serve Satan, or serve God, who is blessed forever Amen… • And here we see the almost instantaneous connection between idolatry and immorality… Romans Chapter 1 verses 26 – 27 • What is Paul speaking of here? That’s right, homosexuality. Type in “where does the Bible say…” in Google and it will auto-full for you…”gay is wrong.” 2.3M websites answer that question. Type in “what does the Bible say about…” and it will auto-fill for you…”homosexuality.” 1.8M websites answer that question. What I find amazing is that Paul answers it right here…two verses! Why on earth do we need 4.1M websites…all we need is two verses! Because just like homosexuality, just like pride, just like any sin…we seek to justify it…and in that search (and find by the way b/c in this world you will find good rational pleasurable justification for sin), who do we serve? The enemy. Romans Chapter 1 verse 28 • Notice Paul does not say that they didn’t want to let the knowledge of God in…but rather they didn’t want to retain God in their knowledge…in other words its there, its present, its all around…yet it is not unseen, it is not unperceived, it is just plain rejected…it’s the word “echo” in the Greek…they didn’t want to reflect God you see…which is what…to glorify Him… Romans Chapter 1 Verses 29 – 30 • Your Bible might say, “sexual immorality” but understand in the Greek that is the same word for fornication or any type or form of sex outside of wedlock…it’s the word, “porneia…” • And mind you these are all forms of idolatry and we have defined idolatry in Biblical terms and that definition is straight up worship going to the enemy… • “Haters of God” is the word “theostugas” in the Greek…only used once in the entire Bible and it quite literally means those who turn from righteousness to wickedness… • “Violent” in the Greek is “hybristes” where we get our word “bristles” and so this means simply unpleasant man…bristly… Chapter 1 Verse 31 • And the devolution continues as folks grow undiscerning (blind man), untrustworthy (you gotta watch your back around them), unloving, unforgiving (grudges are held for days, even years), unmerciful (harsh)…man these aren’t characteristics of joyful, peaceful, strong folks…see what sin does to you man? Chapter 1 Verse 32 • They know, they don’t care and they not only do these things but misery loves company, they take pleasure in others doing them too…this invokes the types of books we read, the shows on TV we watch, the music we listen to, the movies we go see…all of this sex and violence and sin…and we say, “I’d never do that, pass the popcorn” well maybe not but its in your heart…and by watching and viewing and listening and reading…are you not approving? Paul here says the same consequences are upon you…you too will see the effects of sin cancer…undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, harshness, man…nobody wants that but for some reason, many choose it. • There’s another choice you can make…a choice that can defeat and reverse all of this…even reverse the original fall man…in your own heart. Jesus took all of this, all there ever was, is and ever will be and He condemned it to the grave…and then He rose from the grave, leaving my sin and your sin in the tomb. He paid the price so that we might be free…and He calls us to Himself.
Matt Janzen, a Senior Years teacher at LCS, brings today's message as the church celebrates 25 years of having Linden Christian School.
Chapter 1 Verse 16 • Paul says I am not ashamed. He has made other “I am” statements already also…he has said, “I am a slave, I am an apostle, I am distant and different from the world, separated to the gospel of God.” All in the first verse of this epistle. • And then there in verse 8, “I am thankful,” In verse 14, “I am a debtor,” and finally in verse 15, “I am ready.” Ready for what, Paul? Well that’s easy, Matt…says right here…ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. And you’re right, but do you know what that means? What are the implications of preaching the gospel in Rome? Quite literally, due to the risk…the danger and peril and treason that awaits him there in Rome, quite literally…what’s he ready for? Anything… • He’s ready for anything! To give his life if that’s what is required…to live his life (oh the horror!) precisely as he’s introduced himself…as a willful slave to Jesus Christ, a rescuer of sinners on behalf of the one that rescued him…thankful for that rescue and a debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, both to wise and unwise…in other words, living soaked in humility and valuing others above himself…valuing the Lord above all… • Paul could have summed it all up and just said, “I am a Christian.” I am one who follows the Great I AM! That was the title given to God but man we have claimed that title for ourselves in these last days! The Bible says that in the last days a great falling away will take place. Men will become lovers of themselves, lovers of money, proud, boasters, blasphemers…turn over to 2 Timothy Chapter 3 (read verses 1 – 9). • God says “I am!” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life! I am the bread that has come down from heaven! Take Me in. I am the Good Shepherd…I’ll lead you to good pasture…but we as a world have fired Him and hired ourselves as the “I AM!” The great falling away…is right here man… • We as a people, as a society, as a nation…we have dressed up capitalism in a fine white robe and have taught our children and ourselves a false Christianity centered on self and that Christianity has no power, that is a Christianity that is ashamed of the gospel of Christ. • (Show J. Osteen video if available) • Folks we are living in the last days. The man that you just saw preaching a false gospel based on a Sunday message he gave titled, “the power of I am,” boasts a church of over 40,000 in physical attendance each week and millions who watch on television. $75M was spent renovating his church in Houston, Texas but not one dime was spent on a cross…that’s right, there is no cross there…(there is a rotating globe on his stage), why? Because suffering doesn’t sell…but it equips, man…Paul was ready…how many of us are? How many of us are ready to live for Jesus…ready even for His return? • I find it tragic that so many just blend in man, doing what the world does, watching what the world watches, consuming what the world dishes out and all the while, demanding…Jesus wasn’t like that, never did any of that…yet even in the church, you take a stand against sin…no I don’t watch that kind of movie, no I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, yes I make even my smallest of decisions based on Biblical truth…you’re called a legalist, a Jesus freak… • Paul would have been called much worse. Yet here he takes a stand. Paul you are intolerant, uncaring, close-minded…judgmental, harsh…man, you’re a jerk. Maybe you’ve been called the same…if you’re living contrary to the world, which Jesus did…you certainly have been. But in this time, in this culture, following this Jesus of Nazareth…Paul, you’re a traitor, you’re an enemy, you’re beyond imbecilic, to leave a life of leadership and luxury…high esteem and admiration for what? For a man that was crucified on a criminals cross? You’re a dead man, Paul. • He had to be one of the gutsiest guys in all of history to write this and send it into Rome. Rome was the home of Caesar Nero, the madman who was bent on exterminating Christianity. The one who dressed thousands of Christians in the skins of lambs and threw them to the starved wolves and famished lions and as they were ripped to shreds in seconds, he would cry out, “Where is your Good Shepherd now, little flock?” • Nero was the one who dipped Christians in hot wax and lit them as candles in his garden while he shrieked, “How does it feel to be the light of the world now, Christians?” Yet Paul, in preparation to send this mighty letter, this authoritative letter, this risky letter, quickens his own heart…filled and even surging with the courage and strength and purpose of the Holy Spirit, pens, I am not ashamed! • I am not ashamed of a Lord who commanded no army. I am not ashamed of a Lord who made His triumphal entry on the back of a donkey. I am not ashamed of a Lord who was pinned to the cross by Roman soldiers. And even now our hearts are to fall in rank. Join Paul’s rescue mission…take up our crosses and follow hard chanting…”1-1-6! 1-1-6!” And yet our letters never get written, our epistles are never dispatched, and we continue to live our lives for ourselves. Bowing down to sin and sipping the poisonous drink mixture of self and ease…as we coast down the wide and easy path. • Not Paul. Paul was much wiser than to waste his life, his only opportunity throughout eternity to serve Jesus in difficulty and suffering and realness. You ever think about that? Once we arrive on the crystal seas and golden streets of heaven, that opportunity is gone. Then we will serve Jesus face to face, we will know Him without any sin or difficulty. Now is the time we much choose you see because now is the only time when choice is possible. And Paul has chosen wisely. • I want to show you something awesome before we move on, something that Paul knew and something that gave him great strength and assurance…the gospel is absolutely prophetic…it is truth. It is not something that was new at his time or is new now. It’s not a fad. It’s been in style since the beginning. The beginning of what, Matt? The beginning of creation! • In Genesis 5, the first ever genealogy is given. We see Adam, whose name means “man.” Adam had a son named Seth, whose name means “appointed.” Seth had Enosh, whose name means, “subject to death.” Enosh had Cainan, whose name means, “sorrowful.” Canain had Mahalelel, whose name means, “from the presence of God.” Mahalelel had Jared, whose name means “one comes down.” Jared had Enoch, whose name means, “dedicated.” Enoch had a son named Methuselah, whose name means “dying he shall send.” Methuselah had a son named Lamech, whose name means “to the poor being destroyed,” and Lamech had a son named Noah, whose name means “comfort.” • Together, in order, the names read, “Man, appointed subject to death, filled with sorrow. From the presence of God, One comes down dedicated. Dying, He shall send to the poor being destroyed comfort.” Do you see it? It’s the gospel man! The gospel of the Christ! And so interesting, the gospel is given through the first 10 names of the first 10 generations and of course the number 10 is the number of the law! • Paul is saying here look, the law…from which I preached and raged for so long is death! But there has come One who has fulfilled the law, just as it was prophesied. Perfectly Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets! 332 specific prophecies perfectly fulfilled by Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection! • Paul is not ashamed of that which set him free…brought him alive and he says here that he has found power, man. All that he had before…all the money, all the position, all the pomp…and no power…yet here, the gospel…he says is the power of God unto salvation! Literally that word in the Greek is dunamis…where we get out words dynamite and dynamic…this Jesus, this gospel has the exploding power to turn people around and give them great reason for being… Romans Chapter 1 Verse 17 • The gospel, the good news that Jesus has overcome sin and the grave, reveals the righteousness of God, Paul says, because in it we see that God doesn’t just wink at sin and say, “boys will be boys.” I mean if we lived in a community in which righteousness was not enforced, in which police officers and judges and magistrates simply said, “people will be people, lets just close our eyes to murder and kidnapping and crime in general,” if that was the policy of the community that you lived in…you’d move! Look, the gospel reveals the righteousness of God in that God neither winks at sin nor wipes us out because of sin but rather, he washes away our sin by the Blood of the perfect sacrifice… • And within that righteousness of God, love dwells…because the only way for us to be saved was for Jesus to come, His only beloved Son, in whom He was and is well pleased. And God did not restrain. He did what had to be done…because of his supreme love for us individually! • And Paul says that rightousness of God, that love of the Father is revealed from faith to faith and here is where so many err. We all know and accept and grasp that salvation is from faith as each person begins a walk with the Lord…simply embracing the gospel and believing in Jesus by faith…but then it seems that we transition right to works. I mean whole religions are set up based on routines and religious rites and repetitions! • We all start off so well, just trusting in God, enjoying the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit and then we maybe make a mistake or we find ourselves one day saying, “I don’t read as much as I’d like, I don’t do this enough or that enough,” and we feel the wooing of the Holy Spirit to just return to simple worship, to turn from whatever it is that is distracting and come back to just intimacy with God…knowing Him. • We’ve wrapped scary words around what I just described. Conviction and repentance. That sounds so negative doesn’t it? Truly they’re not…both are wonderful in the life of a believer. Let’s redefine them today…lets call conviction “texting” and repentance “responding.” And so you’re saved, you’ve placed your trust in Jesus and you’re moving along in faith, being faithful and then…distraction enters…sin entices…zeep zeep…God’s texting…you unlock your phone, “son, daughter, will you come meet Me please at My place? I want to fill you and free you again. I can see that you’re drifting…” And then you type back, “I’m on my way…no actually, I’m there!” • So simple. The Holy Spirit calls for your attention…and calls for you to stop whatever it is that it is…whatever you’ve got going on that is not at all God honoring…and your responsibility to be made free is simply to respond. I mean the very root of the word responsibility is “respond!” Do you see it? • Yet many turn their phones off. Some even take their batteries out…and so what happens…they stay at home in their own lives and they clean…just for it to get dirty again and again…that my friends, is religion. • Paul does not say here that the righteousness and love of God is revealed from faith to works…he says faith to faith. You came close to the Lord and you were set free…how do you think you will be set free today as you drifted back at home in your life? Being again…close to the Lord. Faith is not only the starting point of your salvation, it is the staying power of your liberty and strength. • Paul wrote to the Colossians, “even as you have received Christ, so walk in Him.” And he wrote to the Galatians, “have you grown foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” No the key to this Christian experience is not religion and business…you know doing this and not doing that and now maybe I’ll feel better about myself…the enemy would love to see you locked into that destracting deprevation…the key is simply simply simply living faith to faith in your moments, days and weeks…placing your trust in the finished work of the cross and the resurrected presence of Jesus Christ. • Forgiving and being forgiven…loving, serving, worshipping, walking circumspectly and gently…despising evil and loving righteousness…bearing fruit worthy of God…and being free, man. Rescued from hopelessness and free to live and love unto God the Father…that is the natural effect of one who is simply close, and I’m talking about physical, mental, spiritual proximity, all three…one who is simply close to the Lord. Paul calls them, “the just.”