Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Universality of Sin

Text: Romans 3.9-18

Introduction: We’re in Romans 3 this morning; Ephesians 2; Psalm 14; Isaiah 59; Psalm 5

I have a friend. Some of you know her and might even call her your friend. In the past year she went to the doctor for a routine visit. As many of you know, when we get older, we’re scheduled for routine, timely exams. It was time for her. She wasn’t having any problems per se, except that which are common to women who are getting older. In the course of her examination, the doctor asked her how her treatments were going.

Treatments? She asked. What treatments?

The treatments for your stomach cancer… how are they going? Are you feeling well?

She thought for a moment he must have her mistaken for some other patient. She doesn’t have cancer. She could tell, though, by his response to her confusion that this wasn’t good. It had been 14 months since her last check up. It had been 14 months since she last any medical personnel had paid attention to her.

You guessed it: she has had stomach cancer for more than a year and no one told her. Somehow, someway, everyone thought it was someone else’s job to tell her. And someone else’s job becomes no one’s job. She went 14 months with this cancer growing in her body. Now, it is in the later stages. They’ve asked her family to begin working with Hospice and to help her bring her life to a close.

When I heard this, I was upset. She’s taking it so well. She isn’t bitter or angry toward those in charge of her care one bit. At least she hasn’t displayed that to me.

What if you had a cancer (that was treatable) growing in you and no one even told you about it? Would you be upset? Would you be bitter? Would you call your lawyer and get the paper work rolling. Maybe this won’t save your life, but at least your children or grandchildren will be set financially?

Today’s message is a little like this story. I have a great responsibility to tell you something. It is my job. I can’t rely on anyone else. It isn’t easy to tell you this, but it is very necessary. And, this thing I need to tell you – it’s harsh, but there is more hope in this dilemma than if I were to tell you that you have cancer!

Transition: Think about this: some doctor can tell you that you have cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease or some other illness  – and, even with the best of hope, there will still be doubt… concerns, fear. The message I have for you today has even scarier news and yet the hope I have to offer is far greater and even guaranteed.

This morning in our text, Paul is preaching an old fashioned sermon. He’s making a statement and now backing it up with Scripture.

Would you stand with me this morning as we read the text? Our text this morning reads: What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

       “None is righteous, no, not one;

11         no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

12     All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

13     “Their throat is an open grave;

they use their tongues to deceive.”

       “The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14         “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15     “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16         in their paths are ruin and misery,

17     and the way of peace they have not known.”

18         “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Transition: The first thing Paul does is re-present or restate this ‘charge’ against, not only the Jews, but against the whole world.

The Charge: (9-10)

Rd v 9a again; He’s rebuilding his argument from v1; it makes it pretty obvious that he is bringing this 1st section to a close. Rd v 9b; All are under sin. There is a power, as it were, called sin of which we are under its persuasion. But even that doesn’t sound strong enough: persuasion. For it is so much more powerful that just persuasion. It commands us. It is a weighty bond that enslaves us. It envelops us. It consumes us. So much so, that sin is a part of our very nature, leading us, commanding us to do its bidding. We are corrupted by sin. This is the charge he has presented since 1.18.

Listen to what Paul says about this lost, sinful state of each human in Eph 2.1-3: And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked (a dead man walking), following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— (a classification of every person: sons, daughters of disobedience) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind – There is a natural enmity that we have with God. That means we are against him: enemies in this state of sinfulness.

So Paul says, here is the charge… let me illustrate this as we see it in Scripture, and then he quotes from multiple OT texts. If you have a reference column in your bible, you can see these citations from the OT in that reference column. At first, this seems really cool…until it isn’t.

If you take the time to read these verses and gain the context, you’ll find that it looks like Paul is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He says there is none righteous, but the OT text he quotes says God’s people, the people of Israel are righteous. The Gentiles are not. That doesn’t fit his charge!

Let me show you what I mean. Turn to Psalm 14; the citation by Paul is v1-3; v 5 tells us there are a righteous people. Well, who are the unrighteous then, if it isn’t everyone. V 7 tells us that the righteous people are the people of Israel. So, the unrighteous people are the Gentiles. Ok – that sounds like it doesn’t support his charge – that all are unrighteous and none is righteous, no not one.

To be sure, though, let’s keep going and see some more context. The next passage I want to look at is a quote from Isaiah 59. Turn there with me. Now, I know Isaiah 59. I love Isaiah 59. Rd v 1-2; Sin separates! Our quote is from v 7-8; He’s talking about the Jews. So, maybe he’s adding them in here.

Let’s test this theory. Let’s keep going: The next Scripture Paul uses is from Psalm 5.9. Turn to Psalm 5. This is a Psalm that David composes as he flees from Saul. Read Psalm 5.1-3: David’s Cry; 4-6: unrighteousness can’t abide in God’s presence; 7-8: because of God’s mercy (hesed), David can dwell in God’s presence through God’s righteousness; 9-10: here is our quote. So, in this text, it is the Jews who pursue evil and wickedness, who speak lies and are blood thirsty, deceitful men. Even David himself would be considered like them, but because of God’s (hesed) steadfast love – making him righteous – he can dwell in God’s presence.

When studying my commentaries this week for some help, I came across a scholar named Davies of which, other commentaries referred. Davies suggested that these verses do not condemn all people as sinners, but rather that some are sinners. That doesn’t sound Biblical to me…

Here’s my presumption: Paul isn’t using these verses in an individual sense, but rather as a collective group to make the charge that all are sinners. Taken, then, as a whole, these references make the statement that none is righteous, not even one. What these passages do say is that apart from the saving grace of God on his people, everyone is considered unrighteous.

But why would he pick and choose like this? What would be his motive or goal?

First of all, it appears Paul refers to the Gentiles in the text he uses and the Jews next. This follows his presentation in Chapters 1 and 2. But there is something else he does here.

With these Scriptural references, Paul says this charge against all of humanity is demonstrated in the following ways. Sin manifests itself in the life of an individual through:

  1. What one thinks
  2. What one does
  3. What one says
  4. The way one lives out his/her life.

Transition: Let’s take a moment to look at each of these within the context of their OT meanings.

  1. What One Thinks (10-11)

exp.: Paul says no one understands; in Ps 14.1a, 2, 4;  thinks, understands, knowledge; David says the fool thinks in his heart that there is no God. The reality of sinful behavior is that it is conceived in the mind, it is planned out or fantasized about in the mind and then, when opportunity presents itself, sin is birthed into action. It all starts on the inside. James 1 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

app.: that’s the reason we need someone to intercede for us, to interrupt this corruption in our minds.

t.s.:  And this is Paul’s next focus as he quotes in Psalm 14 about what the corrupt person does.

2. What One Does (11-12)

exp.: In Romans 3, we pick up in 11b: no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. From Ps 14.1 & 3;

…They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;

there is none who does good.

    The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,

to see if there are any who understand,

who seek after God.

    They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;

there is none who does good,

not even one.

exp.: Where no one knows the thoughts of man except God, our thoughts are soon made known through our actions. Consider this: when you’re younger and you do something stupid… you dad says to you, what were you thinking. Even those actions done in secret, the one’s we think no one knows.

ill.: We’ve seen different news stories over recent years of crimes committed 40 years ago where the culprit thought he got away with the crime. And yet, DNA evidence identified the criminal.

app.: our sinfulness makes its way out of our heads and hearts into the world through our behavior…what we do.

t.s.: But both David and Paul identify another way our sin manifests itself… and that is through our speech

3. What One Says (13-14)

exp.: you see this in v 13-14 of our text this morning in Romans 3: throat, tongue, lips, mouth. And note the imagery; grave, deception, venom, cursing and bitterness. Jesus said in Mt 12.34: For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And in Mk 7: 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Maybe that is why David prayed: let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Oh, Lord.

ill.: It is amazing how the heart and the mouth go together. Sometime in the last few years someone made a comment in a Bible study time. I think it was in Paul’s class and I think I remember who said it, but I’m not sure. The comment was that this man writes in his bible the letters H&M everytime he comes across a verse that has a reference to both the heart and the mouth in it. ex.: Proverbs 4, 15, 16. I’ve marked in other places too and the man was right. There is an uncanny, mysterious, really incredible supernatural connection between the heart and the mouth – just as Jesus said.

app.: What you do is connected to what you think, say and do. There is this inter-connection to it all. The spirit thinks and the body does… or says… or acts.

t.s.: which is the connection here with this last section…

4. The Way One Lives (15-17)

exp.: rd 15-17; there is one word for way, path, road in the Gk; it is used twice here in this text. Note the presentation by Paul demonstrating one’s activities: feet, path, way; feet shedding blood is a way to describe a person’s life of bloodshed. Listen to Isaiah, whom Paul is quoting: Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.

app.: this really is a beautiful way to bring about his charge – and I mean beautiful in how much thought and preparation Paul puts into bringing this all together.

t.s.: You can see his brilliance and intellect pouring through his preaching and teaching and illustrating here.

Conclusion: The conclusion of this matter is that we’re all sinners. There is no fear of God before their eyes. I know that isn’t Good News: we’re all sinners. I know that is offensive, but for me to remain silent and not tell you is no better than a Dr. who won’t tell you that your sick and your sickness will lead to death.

You and I are corrupt in our nature and it comes out in all we do. We need someone to intercede for us. We need God’s grace to be poured out on us that we might be able to have a relationship with him. You see, in this story, that is the Good News. That’s why Jesus came. He came to earth as a little baby, born of a virgin. This season is why we celebrate as we do, because of what God has done through Christ. And this hope is so much greater than any doctor can give you as a remedy for whatever sickness may ail you.

So, what will you take home with you today?

Application:

  1. We are all under sin.
    1. There is no one righteous: not even one!
  2. Sin corrupts us.
    1. It damages us as individuals. It leads to depression and an unhealthy psyche.
    2. It hurts our relationships.
      1. 1st, with God. We cannot have a relationship with God in our sinful state. We need Christ to remove the barrier of sin and guilt.
      2. 2nd, with others. At the heart of every damaged relationship is sin. Divorce, separation, estrangement – you name it, sin is the culprit.
    3. Sin separates us from God.
      1. V 18 says that there is no fear of God before their eyes.
      2. You don’t have to stay separated… that is why Christ came. That is why we celebrate this time of year.
    4. And that’s the Good News! Your sickness of sin has a cure!

If you’ve never accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, I offer you him today. In a moment, we’ll be dismissed and I’d like to invite you to the Cornerstone Area to meet with me or maybe one of the elders or staff. We’ll have some coffee and cookies and can visit for a little while.

5. If you have, then don’t let someone who doesn’t know die without hearing the Good News… tell them.

Whatever is on your heart, let’s sit quietly before the Lord and reflect upon what God is doing: drawing you closer to him, calling you to repent and come to him for forgiveness, sending you to tell someone about him, maybe he’s calling you to join the church… whatever, let God have his way in your life today. I’m going to ask… ______ to pray for us after our moment of silence and then we’ll all move toward the Cornerstone area for some coffee, cookies and fellowship.

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The Absolutely Incredible Greatness of God!

Text: Romans 3.1-8

Introduction: What do you do when you encounter two truths in the bible that seem to be contradictory? Surely you’ve crossed some. Surely throughout the time you’ve been reading Scripture, either you’ve encountered it or someone one brought it to your attention – maybe in a dialogue or a debate about something: two immutable truths that contradict each other…at least as far as you can see.

That’s what we have today: something that looks like two irreconcilable truths about God. The question for us this morning is: what do we do when that happens? Here is my answer and the direction I’ll be headed all morning: Your confusion should lead you to the Absolutely Incredible Greatness of God.

In the text today, Paul will introduce an imaginary person to debate with him. I say imaginary. He may have been a very real person from one of Paul’s discussions with the Jews at one time or another. Or maybe these are different arguments raised by various people at different times.

Scripture Reading: Let’s read this short text. Read: 3.1-8

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

Boy, let that last sentence resonate in the air: Their condemnation is just.

If you’re confused here, join the crowd. This is a tough passage. Tom Schreiner, professor of NT at Southern Baptist Seminary, says in his commentary on Romans that this is the toughest passage in Romans. I hope to make it not so tough by the time we’re through.

To start out, I don’t want you to focus on the relative pronoun their. Typically, I think one would ask such questions as who, what, when, where, why, But let’s take this differently. I want you to focus in on what. What is happening here or what is going to happen?

Someone is being condemned for their behavior, for their actions and God, who does the condemning, is just in this action.

And don’t forget v6 which says God will judge the world. This is where the text is headed: condemnation. That is really where Paul has been headed all along. That’s why he so desperately wanted to preach the gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles. It is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, but for the Gentile also.

But back to the beginning of this text, he’s just been declaring in 2.25-29 (the passage we looked at last week) that God will regard uncircumcised Gentiles who keep the law as circumcised Jews. And, to add insult to injury, circumcised Jews who do not keep the letter of the law (which is impossible) will be judged by those Gentiles. If that is so, Paul’s imaginary friend asks, then what advantage is there to being Jewish? Which is what we see there in verse 1.

 

Objection #1: what advantage has the Jew?

Paul, you’re wrong. If what you’re saying is true, then there is no advantage in being Jewish. It would appear that Paul is being trip upped here. You’d expect him to say that there isn’t any advantage, but he doesn’t. Instead, he begins a list of the advantages the Jews have. rd v 2; It sounds like he is starting a list here. And, he really is, it just that he only mentions the first item on this list at this time. Turn to chapter 9 in this book where he continues this list. We pick up in v 4: They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Now you know where the list is… let’s get back to our text. 1st off, Paul says, the Jews have the oracles of God (lit.: τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ). So, they have God’s Word and in that Scripture, they have His promises to them.

That is huge! No one else has recorded what God has said. It was given to them. All of his promises and predictions. Their heritage, his love, his intercession.

Transition: Well then, speaking of his oracles, his sayings…with that in mind – if the promises of God are true and Salvation is of the Jews, then what if some of the Jews are unfaithful? What if they never turn to him through the Messiah? He said he would save the Jews – He said the Messiah would come and save them… what if they never do respond? What if they are unfaithful… as the overwhelming majority of them appear to be? Rd v 3;

 

Objection #2: What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?

This sounds like a pretty good question. If the advantage is theirs in every way, then what if some Jews are unfaithful? If 1) salvation is of the Jews, and 2) you can only be saved by coming to Christ, then will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? Yeah, Paul! If indeed the advantage is theirs, then can they jack all of this up by not following God? Does that mess up what God is doing?

Paul, answers quickly in v 4: μὴ γένοιτο; May it never be! Let God be true though every one were a liar! Paul is saying that it doesn’t matter what anyone does – God is faithful, that’s his nature. He can’t be unfaithful. His promises will stand and it doesn’t depend on humans. At All!

Then, to clarify and put an exclamation point on his declaration, Paul quotes from David to back up his statement. His quote comes from Psalm 51. Let’s go there. Rd Psalm 51.1-4 …so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. David is saying that his sin is what God uses to magnify his own glory. David sinned and God now uses that sin to show his own perfection. He alone can judge that sin. He alone can condemn that sin. Do you catch that? He says: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Wow! This is some pretty deep theology here. I act according to the will of God. And God, then, is justified and blameless in his judgment against me.

Here’s the conversation: Paul says the unbelieving, circumcised Jews will be judged by the believing, uncircumcised Gentiles. These Gentiles will get into heaven and the Jews will not. “So, Paul, let me ask you a question then: if that’s true, then what advantage is there in being Jewish?” They expect the answer to be none which they know is wrong. But Paul says what they know to be true. Every advantage! I mean, they have the very oracles of God! The Jews know the oracles of God promise salvation to Israel. They then offer a very real possibility: What if some Jews are unfaithful? Won’t their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? You can’t have it both ways! Paul says: No! It isn’t just if some Jews are unfaithful, but even if every single man who ever lived were found to be a liar, God is still righteous and true and faithful!

Here is what Paul is saying: God doesn’t need man to do anything to vindicate Him. He is vindicated in himself. He is perfectly sufficient in himself.

David, a hero to the Jews, says that God uses this sin of David’s to glorify Himself. David, a man after God’s own heart! God is just to judge his sin of murdering Uriah. He is just and blameless to judge his adultery with Bathsheba.

So, let us sum up what Paul has said to this point:

  • Yes, Jews have advantages, like having the very Word of God entrusted to them.
  • However, that doesn’t bring entitlement. If they are unbelieving, then they will be judged for their unbelief.
  • This action by God does not call into question God’s faithfulness (his truth or his righteousness). Let every man be found a liar and God will still be found faithful!
  • Instead of God being found unfaithful, the sin of those God judges vindicates God in his judgment. David teaches us this truth in his colossal failure. The sin of Israel is the very thing that magnifies God’s righteousness in judgment. God is justified and blameless in his judgment.

Transition: Ok… You’re saying that when we Jews who are the elect of God and have all of God’s promises and covenants, when we sin, God is justified in his action against us.

Contradiction: If God is vindicated in his judgment against our sin and our sin brings glory to God, then what right has God to judge us for our sin? You said it yourself, Paul: we’re glorifying God and you can’t judge God Glorifiers!

This is their third objection. We see it in v 5:

 

Objection #3: But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us?

Paul adds this little parenthetical statement: I speak in a human way. It is his subtle way of saying that the Fear of God fills him just to utter these words – to speak against God in this manner. What person in their right mind would make such an objection!?! But these Jews who debate him utter such words. They say: Paul, if you’re saying that our sin glorifies God, then isn’t God wrong to judge us for the very thing that brings him glory? Paul screams out: μὴ γένοιτο. May it never be! Rd v 6; If that were the case, then God couldn’t even judge the Gentiles (which, of course, the Jews are fine with).

I think some would consider v 7 another objection, but it appears to me to be a repeat of the previous arguments, only pushed further. Rd v 7;

This can be seen in two ways:

  1. This is Paul’s defense against their accusation. Paul is saying, if you truly believe this, then why do you accuse me of being a liar, and condemn me as a sinner? Why don’t you call me a God Glorifyer? You, are the one talking out of both sides of your mouth. I don’t think this is what he’s doing. I don’t take v 7 this way. Here’s how I see it:
  2. This is a repeated argument of v4, which is their objection and pushed to the extreme. My sin, my unfaithfulness, my lie glorifies God, huh? Then, why am I condemned as a sinner? And v 8 clarifies. Rd v 8; And, if that is the case, then why not sin all the more to bring God even more glory?

Paul’s answer is in today’s jargon: Really?

You see, these are not new objections being raised at all. These are the same arguments, only pushed to the extreme with the hopes of making Paul’s thesis look lame.

Here is their problem:

  1. They think too highly of themselves.

a.They think they’re entitled because God chose them to be his people. And this comes in spite of the fact that they’ve been told that it has nothing to do with them. Deuteronomy teaches us that it wasn’t because they were larger than other people groups. Indeed they were smaller. It wasn’t because they were already successful and independent. They were slaves! They had forgotten from whence they came. They had forgotten the rock from which they were hewn.

b. They think they’ll avoid the judgment of God because they have his law, ceremony and the temple. But this is what that means: They began to love the things of God and not God. They began to love his laws and use them by which to measure his love. They loved their ceremonies – because they were festive and fun and traditional. They loved their rituals, because they were memorized and they followed them so closely. And it all became about them. They thought too highly of themselves!

2. They don’t think highly enough of God. I think it is so easy to replace God with God things. And this is something they were guilty of, too. We have to be very careful… watchful, even, that we don’t begin to love the things of God more than we love Him.

Application: Paul is showing us how great God is, but these people just don’t see it. This is all about God and how Great He is.

  1. God is Good. He has been so good to the Jews to choose them as his own. He gave them an inheritance. He made them into a people, a nation. He gave them his word and his promises. He has, likewise, been so good to us in much the same manner.
  2. God is faithful. Though all humans through all of human history fail God and prove themselves to be liars, their actions would not nullify the faithfulness of God. You can bank on that today. What he has said, he will accomplish. God is faithful and true!
  3. God is righteous. He is righteous in all of his deeds. He is righteous in his judgment. He is righteous in his punishment. He is perfectly righteous in all His ways.
  4. God is sufficient in Himself. God doesn’t need us to do anything to get done what he wants. Sure he uses us to accomplish what he desires, but he doesn’t have to. He isn’t lonely. He didn’t create us because he was alone. Paul will get here in chapter 11. We don’t have any counsel he needs. We don’t have any gifts or talents to bring that makes him say, ‘Oh, thank you, I needed that.’ God is totally sufficient in Himself.

Can I ask you this morning some questions:

  1. Do you think more highly of yourself than you ought? Is it too rude of me to say: Get over yourself! God chose you, but not because there is anything particularly good in you. You don’t have anything to bring him, except this filthy bag of bones and flesh.
  2. Have you replaced your love for him with God things? Is Christian music your devotional material? Do you listen to preachers on the radio listening for sermons that make you feel good about yourself? Motivational Preachers? Or is your first love God and do you run to his word to hear from Him?
  3. Do you see God for the Great God He is? Are you awed by His majesty? Overwhelmed by his mercy? Overcome by his goodness? Swept away by His glory? Don’t let the things you don’t understand push you away from God. Instead, let the things you don’t understand demonstrate your weakness and his profound greatness.

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Fulfilling the Law

Text: Romans 2.25-29

Introduction: Good morning. We’ll be in Romans chapter 2 this morning – finishing up chapter 2. Later we’ll turn a couple of pages forward to Romans chapter 8. Romans 2 & 8.

I learned an outline of Romans from Bill Howery. This isn’t my outline. You don’t know Bill, but he was church planter in Italy for 40 years. He lost his wife to cancer in Italy, while serving there, planting churches. I love missionaries and the sacrifices they endure. So, this is a shout out to him…of sorts.

Sin (1-2)

Salvation (3-5)

Sanctification (6-8)

Sovereignty (9-11)

Service (12-16)

It might be a little over-simplified, but that fits me just fine. So, today we’ll finish out section 1 of Bill’s outline.

A preacher is taught in seminary to answer three questions when presenting a message. It works well for those who lead a Bible Study, as well. This was brought home to me in an interview I heard between Mark Dever and John MacArthur. Denver asked McArthur how he prepares his messages and his basic answer was answering these three questions:

  1. What does the Bible say?
  2. What does the Bible mean?
  3. What does it mean for me?

I’d like to outline my message around these three questions this morning. So, let’s begin with question #1.

 

What Does the Romans 2.25-29 say? Let’s read that together:

Romans 2.25-29: 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps (fulfills) the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

(Prayer)

Well, we read the text, but what does it say? Paul is in the midst of his argument toward the Jews. His argument is simply this (this is what the Bible says): God will regard uncircumcised Gentiles who keep the law as circumcised Jews. Gentiles are regarded as Jews if they keep, and the better word is fulfill, the law. Rd v 26; the answer is yes, and I’ll show you later why that is.

Since Paul has been laying it on pretty hard about works and obedience, this would be a good time to review how we got here.

You probably remember from the last few weeks that Paul has been presenting his case against the Gentiles and the Jews who dishonor God by their behavior. Jews have no room to be judging the Gentiles when they behave in the same manner. Paul says: Your behavior dishonors God in the same way the behavior of the Gentiles dishonors God.

I shared this flow or outline with our Community Group Wednesday night as we sat down to dig in a little deeper and it went well. So if you guys don’t mind, I’d like to get the flow of the passage to pick up on what Paul is saying:

  • Romans 1.8-15: Paul tells the Romans that he longs to preach the Gospel there in Rome.
  • Romans 1.16: Is the thesis of his book: The Gospel is the power of God for Salvation!
    • V 17: the Righteousness of God is revealed.
    • V 18: the Wrath of God is revealed, also.
  • Romans 1.18-32: The Wrath of God is revealed against the sinful behavior of the Gentiles and thus, they need the Gospel. What is their sin? Immorality and Idolatry.
  • Romans 2.1-16: As the Jews are getting excited at Paul’s preaching against the Gentiles and their sinful behavior that dishonors God, Paul pulls the rug out from under them and turns the tables on them. You Jews are no different, he tells them. You dishonor God by doing the same things they do. And so, you justly deserve the wrath of God that is coming.
  • Romans 2.17-29: Paul continues with what makes this so bad: you have the law! Paul tells the Jews not to think for one second that they are exempt from God’s judgment because they have the law and (and, he’ll continue in our passage today) because they have the sign of circumcision that they are his people.
    • So last week we looked at the Law portion of this text: v17-24
    • This week we’ll finish up this little section with a look at circumcision in v 25-29

Transition: So this is what the Bible says: God will regard uncircumcised Gentiles who keep the law as circumcised Jews. Now, let’s answer the 2nd question:

 

What does the Romans 2.25-29 mean?

At this stage, Paul’s argument against the Jews can be summed up in two of these verses (26 & 29): 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And, 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

So, simply put: anyone can be a true Jew by being obedient to the Law, or fulfilling the law. Because, being a true Jew has nothing to do with external signs (circumcision), but rather, an internal commitment – it is a mater of the heart.

At this point there should be some confusion. Paul’s stuff can be weighty. I’m reminded of what Peter said in reference to Paul: 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. He almost sounds contradictory, but if you’ll follow his argument through to the end, I think you’ll begin to understand what he is doing.

Does this mean that we’re supposed to want to become Jews? Are we supposed to follow the dietary plans, enjoy the feasts and festivals, and practice the law as the Jews do?

If Chapter 1 is Paul’s declaration that he wants to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles because their behavior dishonors God and Chapter 2 is Paul’s declaration that Jews do the same and need Jesus, too. Then, why would he say such things like: He will render to each one according to their works and if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision. Why does Paul say they need the Gospel and then intimate that their salvation will be through works… by keeping the law?

I think it will help us if we’ll take the whole context into play. It looks like Paul’s argument is as follows:

  • Jews are sinners (just like the Gentiles they judge) and are in need of being saved from the wrath of God (just like the Gentiles they judge). Jews need his righteousness and that righteousness doesn’t come (and indeed it can’t come) through a bunch of do’s and don’ts.
  • Being Jewish isn’t a matter of external signs that show election, it is a matter of what one lives out (i.e.: obedience to the Law). So, Gentiles are truly Jews when they live out the spirit of the law. And, Jews who do not live out the spirit of the law are not really Jews. For having the law, and, as he says in these verses, having an external sign of God’s election upon them (namely, circumcision), doesn’t make them true Jews, either.

app.: So, here’s what I think Paul means and what he’s doing: Paul’s desire here is to get the Jews to see that they did not understand the Law and the prophets. By their actions, they think simple possession of the Law and circumcision is the key to their salvation. They miss… from their very own law… that salvation comes through faith in the grace of God. Faith is seen in the action of one’s life. A changed heart is detected by a changed life.

This was Jeremiah’s message. Allow me to read it: The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

“For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

They’re still holding on to the law, their traditions and the temple!

But there really is more here: Paul wants to push the Jews off of their fence called tradition. Sure, they’ve accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but they also are still clinging to the Law and ceremony, circumcision and the Temple. Paul is teaching them that the Gospel isn’t Jesus plus anything (i.e.: Jesus plus circumcision; Jesus plus dietary laws; Jesus plus ritual; Jesus plus tradition; Jesus plus…)

Think about this – that is what I’m asking you to do and that is what Paul is trying to get them to do – think about this: if Gentiles can get saved without the Law and a record of dos and don’ts, and if they can get saved without circumcision, then it stands to reason that the Jews have totally misunderstood their Bible! Now that, is a slap in the face.

But that statement means even more than that! Paul is gonna really pile it on think: it implies that the Gentiles are getting into the kingdom ahead of, and even in place of the Jews! And here’s where you should respond: (Pause) No! That’s right! Natural born Gentiles who don’t become Jews by tradition, but rather through a life change are taking the place of Jews in the Kingdom of God.

What does this mean for me?

How would you feel if I said: You’re not getting into heaven. No, the Mormons will go in your place. Feel that? That is why he is pushing the Jews like this. He wants them to feel the weight of their sin and the incredible message of the Gospel. For, in it the righteousness of God is revealed and so is His Wrath!

Look back with me at v 27: 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. This is your yes to v 26. Now look at v 28; for…

28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. Jews, don’t miss this, no one is a Jew… a true Jew through rules and rituals (the law & circumcision). And it brings it home in v29:  29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

By the Spirit: this prepositional phrase brings it all together. Jews, this isn’t the work of your hands through ceremonial exercise. The Spirit of God does this on the heart, not by the letter (of the law) on the body. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes Gentiles Jews. Jews don’t make Gentiles into Jews by external practices to the letter of the law. No, The Holy Spirit circumcises the heart and changes Gentiles into Jews.

The former brings death: 2 Cor 3.6: Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’re clinging to the hope of heaven through anything other than the Spirit’s life changing infilling, then you’re headed for a certain death … for the letter kills, but the Spirit brings life. The Spirit brings us into this wonderful new covenant. Where God promised in Ezekiel that he would replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh and give us a circumcision, not of the body, but of the heart. It is like there is this old, crusty hardened part of our hearts and God cuts that away, revealing the soft, healthy, fleshly tissue.

This new covenant is made available to you through the work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. His shed blood at Calvary washes away sin through the faith that is placed in Christ.

When Paul says in v 27: 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? He is saying that the Christian Gentile has had the Holy Spirit circumcise his heart and the Law has become to him low hanging fruit in his life as he lives by this new moral code.

Let me tell you what this is not:

  • This is not legalism.
  • This is not salvation through good works.
  • This is not ceremony which has to be observed.

This is a changed life by the work of the Holy Spirit.

I want to show you where Paul is headed here: Turn to chapter 8.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. So there are two laws here: freedom and life or sin and death. For those who are in Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. Rd 3a: For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do.

The Law doesn’t bring life. The Law is weakened because people can’t keep it. It is impossible! But God has done for us what the Law could never do. And what is that? rd 3b: By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, Jesus who God in the flesh, lived this perfection of the Law. In him no sin was ever found. Keep reading in v4: in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled (here is that word for us again) in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

I have to admit: at this point I was intrigued! What is it about this thing called the law, it’s fulfillment of it and how Jesus fulfilled it and how we fulfill it?

Listen to this repeated theme:

fulfills NEAR law

Rom 8:4

 

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

 

Rom 13:8

 

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

 

Rom 13:10

 

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

 

Gal 5:14

 

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

Gal 6:2

 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

 

James 2:8

 

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.

 

John 15.13

 

13 Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

 

   

 

To love is to fulfill the law. Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And, Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s Jesus. And that’s the fulfillment of the Law. And we fulfill the law when the Love of God changes us and we begin to love like him.

1 Jn 3.14:  14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.

What is the first fruit of the Spirit: love…. Gal 5.22: against such things there is no law.

1 Jn 3.20: 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; 1 Jn 4.8: he who does not love does not know God.

 

Application: Having answered these three questions, what will you do?

  1. We are born into this life lost. Lost is a good word. If you were raised in the church, then get on your knees and thank God for your heritage – but many of us wandered through this life early on without a sense of purpose or meaning. We were lost and headed nowhere.

I’m reminded of John 3.16 – probably the most popular verse in Scripture. Say it with me: For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. What we miss is the next part in v17-18: 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. We’re condemned already…we’re born that way…all of us! We’re born into this life lost. That is your starting point.

With this in mind, let me ask you: have you ever done anything about it? A good way to know is to see if you love others. Do you love others more than you love yourself? I’m not asking if you love some people. I’m sure you love some people – people who are close to you. What lengths would you go to in order to show others that you truly love them? An honest assessment of this concern will reveal your heart – either of stone or of flesh.

  1. If you’ve never confessed your sins to God and found the forgiveness, you stand condemned today. Don’t let this moment pass. If you’ve assessed your heart and found that you are not a loving person – toward other believers or the lost, don’t let this moment pass. Come to Christ!
  2. Maybe you’re sitting here this morning and you’d say: you have, but you’re not where you should be. If so, would you pray that God would take your unloving heart of stone and replace it with a loving heart of flesh.

To be honest, there are always decisions God leads us to as he convicts us. I remember being convicted of my sin of not surrendering to the ministry when he had clearly called me. Maybe that’s where you are today. Maybe God is leading you to join this church and join us in ministry.

Whatever it is, I’d like to invite you to come talk with me or one of the staff members or elders. In a moment we’ll have a moment of silence to contemplate these questions. After a moment of silence, reflecting upon whatever God is doing in your life, I’m going to ask Frank Burgess if he’ll lead us in our closing prayer. When he is finished, I’d like to invite you back to the cornerstone area for some coffee and cookies and fellowship. Come talk to one of us, we’d love to help with whatever is on your mind.

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Filed under Romans, Sermons, Sin, The Law

The Unyielding Glory of God

Text: Romans 2.17-24

Introduction: This morning I’m in two texts: Isaiah and Romans. Turn to Isaiah 50 and mark your place there. Then, turn to Romans 2, beginning in v 17.

Last week we looked the first part of Romans where Paul pulled the ole’ bait and switch. He took a page from Amos and got the Jews riled up and excited against the Gentiles. In Chapter one of Romans, Paul confronts the Gentiles for their gross immorality and their vile idolatry. And the Jews are just lovin’ it. They think they’re safe because they’re Jews. They’re God’s people. They have the law and they have circumcision. They have the Temple of God.

After Paul has pulled them in and got them acting all Pentecostal with Praise the Lord and Amen and Hallelujah! Paul then turns on them and says, Hold on, now, you’re not any different. And then, Paul unloads on them. And yes, he’s pretty harsh.

 

A Word of Caution:

I think this would be a good time for us to talk about anti-Semitism. These passages and others like them have often times throughout history led people to act hatefully toward the Jewish people. That isn’t Paul’s point. That isn’t his goal.

You’re probably most familiar with the holocaust, but there have many times throughout history where God’s chosen people were targeted and attacked with the attempts to wipe them off the face of the earth. We hear that cry coming from Iran and other Muslim groups today.

But Paul is Jewish. He himself says later on in this letter: For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Jesus is Jewish – our Messiah! So, don’t misinterpret what Paul is doing here.

So, what is Paul doing here? Where is he going? At the moment, Paul’s point is that even though the Jews have the Law of God and the Ceremony of Circumcision, they are not exempt from needing the Gospel. He’s already made the point that the Gentiles need the gospel, but so do the Jews. Paul is pointing out the fact that we all need the gospel. And, yes, he’s being harsh, but that is the goal – a shock, effect if you will.

 

The Goal: The Unyielding Glory of God!  

So the one point of this passage is the honor and the glory of God. And the way we see God dishonored and not glorified is through the bad behavior of our lives.

If you go back to Romans 1.21, you’ll see that Gentiles dishonor God through their behavior; rd 1.24, 26; And last week we looked at this Chiasm presented in 2.7-10, those who honor and glorify God and those who don’t. Paul’s referring to the Jews, who here in 2.23, dishonor God through their behavior. Rd 2.23; 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

Evil, wicked behavior dishonors God. It does not glorify him. And we’re so quick to amen the 1st section about those who through idolatry and immorality dishonor God. We hear about the homosexual, the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender persons in chapter one and we stand behind Paul and shout, Amen!

But he gets our attention when he says such things as, God’s Righteous Judgment is:

  1. Unexpected for those who think their religion makes them exceptional.
  2. Rendered according to each one’s works.
  3. Perfectly impartial.

Application: Bringing it home

For me, this passage hits closer to home than the previous passages. I say closer to home because I’m standing behind Paul eggin’ him on, shoutin’ “amen’s” and “praise the Lord’s”. The offense of chapter one is blatant and in your face. Many today don’t care if their immorality offends. Gay marriage, Cohabitation, Adultery, Fornication…all of these are flaunted today and even encouraged in our society. But for most of us here this morning, we don’t struggle with these very public sins. I didn’t say all of us, but rather, most of us. In reality, we would be classified more in this 2nd group, the Jews (even though most of us here this morning are not Jewish) because it is the principle that is applied.

So Paul has unloaded on the Jews. Let’s read that text together: 17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

I’m going to take this passage out of context – for just a moment. I want you to see this like they see it. I want you to read this like they read it. Maybe even to feel a little bit like they’re possibly feeling. See what happens if I read it this way (I’m going to put it up on the screen, follow me in 2.17ff):

17 But if you call yourself a Christian and rely on the bible and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the bible; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the bible the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the bible dishonor God by breaking its teaching.

Paul’s message is relevant for the Church today. We’re being bombarded by messages of moral relativism. The cry is for tolerance – that is we should be tolerating the sinful behavior of people. And, we should tolerate it in our lives, too. And the one argument the world has against us is precisely what Paul accuses the Jews of here: You talk a good game about the Bible, but you don’t live it!

As the Church, we’re doing a pitiful job of preaching the Bible and living it out what we’re preaching. Countless pastors caught in sin; The Catholic Church and the story of its priests and their abuse of children; Pentecostals and their abuse of finances and/or women. Our purpose is to live out the honor and glory of God before a lost and dying world. But that is precisely Paul’s point. This will lead us in turn, as we see is Paul’s goal in chapter three, to rely on the righteousness that comes from Grace.

Yes, Grace is so important, but so is the behavior of those who live in God’s Grace. Evil, wicked behavior dishonors God.

And Paul drives this home with a quote from the Old Testament. The quote comes from Isaiah 52.5. Understanding this verse in the context of it’s original use will allow us to understand more of what Paul is trying to drive home for us.

23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Context: to gain context for this verse, we have to that portion of Scripture in Isaiah. The people of Israel were not in exile, yet. But Isaiah is talking to them of future events as if they were currently taking place…in the present tense of future events (i.e.: like it has already happened). He speaks to them this way because he sees it that way. And, they do eventually go into exile. And of course, his prophecy of them comes to pass. In Isaiah 50, 51, and 52, Isaiah has been telling them of their salvation. It sounds in the present tense, but that is to say for them what will be has already happened. For them, they are experiencing the wrath of God as a cup being poured out on them. But, one day – on that day – salvation would come to them. The wrath would end and salvation would be eternal, salvation would be everlasting. That is the hope they have for the exile they will endure. But that isn’t the way it is in that moment of exile.

Rd Isaiah 52.3-6:  3 For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their exile displeases God. He doesn’t like at all. Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised.

God is displeased because the Gentiles hold God with no regard. There is no honor. There is no glory. The actions and behaviors of the Jews have sent them into exile. God has kept his promise to do so if they rejected and rebelled against him. They did and so God did exactly what he has always told them he would do: vomit them out of the land! This isn’t God’s fault – No! It is the fault of the Jews who have lived their lives worshipping idols and committing immorality (which if you remember, is the very thing Paul has been accusing the Gentiles of in Romans 1). And it breaks God’s heart that his people are in this position: that their behavior has caused the Gentiles to dishonor Him.

Looking at the Jews in their pitiful state, who would want to worship their God? He can’t take care of them. He can’t protect them. He can’t provide for them. And so God’s Name is despised. God’s Name is blasphemed by the Gentiles.

And really, the Jews are to blame. Their behavior, their actions have resulted in all of this. That’s Paul’s point – and quoting from this passage, Paul brings it all home. Not only have the Gentiles exchanged the glory of God for idolatry and immorality, but so have the Jews. They are no different in their behavior and action. And Paul will conclude in 3.10 – none is righteous, no not one. And in 3.23, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God exchanging it for idols and immorality.

 

God’s Unyielding Glory!

Isaiah 42.8: 8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. God isn’t going to share his glory with anyone or anything. Period.

The context of Isaiah 52.5 is so fitting because Isaiah is telling the Jews how bad it is going to be, but there is hope because they have salvation eternal. But, how – how is this possible? How in the world will God get them there? Turn with me back to Isaiah.

How is this possible? Isaiah 52.13-53.12;

Here’s the thing: where you and I have failed, Christ has been victorious. You and I have reflected the image of God poorly. You and I are sinners and our sin plagues us. But Christ, however, reflects the image of God perfectly. He has restored honor and glory to the Father.

As Paul works his way through this letter entitle Romans, listen to his conclusion in this matter: (Begin Reading in v 4: For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Romans 15.For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

Christ came to restore God’s glory and honor among the Jews and the Gentiles because that is what He is most interested in: His Glory.

Application – take-a-ways:

  1. Nothing is more important to God than His Glory. That’s a bold statement, but I believe it is accurate. Nothing is more important to God than His Glory. And my guess would be that no one here puts God’s glory on the same level of importance that God does. So, let me ask you a question that might help you be honest with yourself: Am I glorifying God with my life and my actions? Let me ask it another way: Do the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart honor and glorify God?
  2. If you’re like me, then you’ll answer no to that question. At some point you recognize your utter failure to glorify God and honor him as you should. Do you know why? Romans 3.23 tells us: Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That is why Christ came! Remember Romans 15.8? Romans 5.8 tells us that Christ died for us – the ungodly. Isaiah said in our passage this morning: we all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – everyone – to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Do you understand that is why Christ came? God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us – so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.
  3. Invitation –

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Filed under God's Glory, Romans, Sermons