Category Archives: Judgment

1 Timothy 1.1-3

*Note: the audio begins late… for the full audio version, you can visit our church’s Facebook page and view the service.

Title: 1 Timothy: An Introduction

Text: 1 Timothy 1.1-3

Introduction: Erin Brockovich is now famous for her legal work against a giant company. She herself was not a lawyer, but rather a legal clerk who worked for a small law firm. Her story inspires most because she represents many of us – at least that is the way we see it.

She didn’t look the part. She wasn’t educated. She had made many mistakes when she was young. She was judged on her appearance and not on her work. The snobs with the money judged her incompetent because she didn’t dress like they did. She didn’t have the law degree they had. It was a modern day David and Goliath story. Pacific Gas and Electric Company had been poisoning the land around Hinkley, California. Their reckless behavior made the people the people of Hinkley and the surrounding area sick – many even died.

Her story inspires because she stood up to the mammoth of a company that had money and lawyers to fight. But she never backed down. She spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of that company. She met and got to know the people of Hinkley. She knew the sick by name. She knew their spouses and what their spouse did for a living; she knew who their kids were and what grades they were in. She knew where they lived. She knew where they shopped; who their doctors were; the most intimate details about their lives. She knew the company was dumping hexavalent chromium and contaminating the water sources the people of Hinkley were drinking.

Her story inspires because she spoke out and defended the ones who could not stand up for themselves and won.

For me, the Pastoral Epistles inspire like that. Paul writes to these young men who are serving as pastors in their local churches and encourages them to speak out against those who are killing the people around them. He writes to Titus in Crete and to Timothy in Ephesus. Our focus this morning is on Ephesus and this letter to Timothy. The Letter is entitled 1 Timothy. If you’re using a pew Bible, you’ll find the letter on page ???

Paul states his purpose quite clearly in 3.14-15; rd 3.14f; you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Sound Doctrine is vital to a church’s existence. Unhealthy doctrine destroys a church. Sound Doctrine teaches a church 1) how to behave, 2) it represents God, and 3) is a pillar and buttress of the Truth!

Over the next 4 months, our church will be looking at 1st Timothy. I have invited 8 men to walk this journey with me, 6 of whom will preach to you at one time or another. I did not choose the sermons for the guys, nor their texts. It was all very random. The only part to this that I did know were the dates that needed to be filed. In some ways, I feel like Paul – and these men are like Titus, Timothy, Tychicus, Apollos, Zenas, etc.

Our basic goal this morning is to look at the introduction. We find the introduction in 1 Timothy 1.1-3 or on page ??? if you’re using a pew Bible.

Basic Outline: First, we will look at the writer (who the letter is from), then the recipient (who the letter is to), and his purpose, which he alludes to in v 3;

  • From: Paul
  • To: Timothy (and the church at Ephesus)
  • Purpose: you may charge…

Transition: that outline looks short, but the truth is, there is so much here, so let’s get to it.

  1. From: Paul

exp.: Paul wrote this letter somewhere around the years 62-66 AD. Consider the following

  • Paul was martyred by Nero in Rome. That is the historical tradition and has strong backing.
  • Nero died in 68 AD, so, we’ll start with that date.
  • Paul was near his death when he wrote 2 Timothy, his last book or letter that we have. If Nero put Paul to death, then Paul died before Nero. Make sense?
  • So, let’s put Paul’s death around 67 AD – that means 2 Timothy was written near that time.
  • There are at least two winters recorded in the Pastoral Epistles (Titus 3.12 and 2 Timothy 4.21).

Titus 3.12: When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

2 Tim 4.21: 21 Do your best to come before winter. Another winter is fast approaching. Each reference is a different context. So: at least two different winters. They could be one year apart or more; winter of ’67; the winter of ‘65. So, that would put 1 Timothy somewhere around 62-64 AD. These are rough guesses, of course – give or take a few years on each side the largest span would be 62-66. You probably have a good guess at the introduction in your Study Bible at 1 Timothy.

Next, Paul is imprisoned in 2 Timothy, but in 1 Timothy, he appears to be writing after his imprisonment as mentioned in Acts 28. I tried to locate times and places mentioned in 1 Timothy with Acts and I can’t reconcile them. Allow me to show you what I mean:

1 & 2 Timothy place Timothy in Ephesus. I jokingly say that he is the pastor of the 1st Baptist Church in Ephesus. 1 Timothy has Paul going to Macedonia (1.3). In the book of Acts, Paul does travel to Macedonia from Ephesus (Acts 20.1), but Timothy has not been left behind in Ephesus. Instead, he is sent ahead to Macedonia (Acts 19.22). Added to this, Timothy accompanies Paul on his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20.4). It is possible that Paul left at Timothy in Miletus when he was meeting with the Ephesian elders; however, Paul’s journey was toward Jerusalem in the opposite direction of Macedonia.

So, I can only conclude that Paul was released from prison after Acts 28. He ministered and wrote his letters (1 Timothy and Titus) between the dates of 62-66 AD. Then, at some point after those letters, he is thrown into prison again. According to 2 Timothy, he must have gone eastward after his Roman Imprisonment and not on to Spain, because he left his cloak and books at Troas. From his prison cell, during this 2nd Roman Imprisonment, he wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy.

app.: Paul has a sense about him that the end is near. Verse 1 tells us about his calling: apostle. That means he is a missionary, a church planter. His authority is from God, who has called him and commissioned him. But, as the years have gone by, he finds himself unable to keep up with his previous pace of planting churches and discipling new believers. Jail time has put a toll on his body. Long hours, long travel, persecution, stress, these all have aged him.

So, he has strategically placed younger men in places of service. 1.3: Timothy at Ephesus; Titus at Crete (1.5); He sends their replacements. 2 Tim 4.12: Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Before that, in Titus, Paul sent Tychicus to Crete – evidently to carry that particular letter. Paul mentions that Zenas, the Lawyer, and Apollos have been there with Titus and that Titus should send them on their way to Paul. Crescens is in Galatia; Titus served in Dalmatia, as well as in Crete. Mark is serving somewhere along the way between Ephesus and Rome. It would be a hard, but fun study to locate all of the names of these young men and see where Paul had located them for service – with both locations and dates.

Now, added to their placement as overseers in their respective churches, Paul has given them instructions about how a church should look and act. Now, this is so important! Don’t miss that! That is what these letters, 1 Timothy and Titus, are all about; more on that in a moment.

t.s.: For now, let’s turn our attention to Timothy

  1. To: Timothy

exp.: rd v 2; he uses the same language with Titus; my true child in the faith. The Gk word here is legitimate. I think this means that Paul had a hand in their conversion to Christ and their foundation in discipleship. My guess is that Timothy was converted to Christ on Paul’s 1st MJ. We first meet Timothy in the book of Acts (16.1). Paul and Barnabas had finished their 1st MJ and had returned to Antioch to report their mission work. After some days and some disagreement about how they should handle things, Paul and Silas take off on Paul’s 2nd MJ. Their first stop is in Galatia, at Derbe and on to a small town called Lystra. This is where they meet a young Timothy, who has impressed the people of Lystra and Iconium – and Paul, too. Paul immediately recognizes his potential and wants Timothy to accompany them on their journey. And so begins a mentoring relationship between the two men that will last for the next 15 years or more. So great is this relationship, greater even than any other relationship Paul will have with many men, that Timothy appears in all but three of Paul’s letters. Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus. An interesting side note about that: Timothy was from Galatia and he was the pastor at Ephesus.

The rest of v 2 is a typical salutation – if there is such a thing. Paul has worked at refining his introduction through the years to reflect a high Christology. And, built upon that Christology is the authority given to Paul. It is typical in nature to other letters, but of course, reflects the change and growth in his faith. Listen to Gordon Knight:

This form of salutation reflects three factors: first, the teachings of the Christian faith have molded Paul’s adaptation of the standard form. Second, there is a great uniformity in this molding, especially in the grading section, which reflects a certain crystallization of his manner of expression of the essential Christian truths in these salutations. Third, there are certain variations that either reflect the recipients’ situation and need or anticipate and emphasize that which will be presented in the letter proper.

In all of his letters except the letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul refers to the recipients’ relationship to Christ (i.e.: to all the saints in Christ Jesus, as here – my true child in the faith, etc).

ill.: but here is where we can’t see the bond and what has forged it. As you read through acts you see Timothy right there with Silas and others, learning how to stand for Christ, learning that persecution will come. He is watching Paul as he suffers: in Philippi, in Thessalonica, in Berea as he watched Paul sail away alone – alone for his own safety; he is there in Corinth when the city erupted and wanted Paul’s head. Timothy was at Ephesus the first time Paul spoke there. He probably heard Paul’s promise to return if the Lord willed it. And the Lord did and Paul returned and stayed for two years. He watched as the people jumped up and down, screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” He watched as Paul begged to address the thousands of people who wanted him dead. Paul saw a crowd where he could preach Christ. I’m sure Timothy was one of the men who begged him not to do that. The crowd yelled for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

We have a bunch of material from Acts where Timothy watched and learned from Paul. But what about the “so much more” that we don’t have. What was it like in those prison cells as they had time for some one-on-one discipleship? What was it like for Timothy to listen to this brilliant man who knew the Scriptures and how to apply them? What was it like to watch as the man went from reading the Scriptures to quoting them because his eyes were failing him? What was it like to hear the story of Paul’s conversion and calling – to hear him tell it – the story we read about in Acts Chapter 9 without the inflection, without the emotion of Paul’s voice?

app.: As a pastor, I’m in awe of this relationship. Paul loves the people of Ephesus. He detests false teachers coming and leading people astray. He trusts Timothy to serve those folks – to teach sound doctrine and protect them from the foolishness that others try to bring into a church.

t.s.: which brings us to this last section… it deals with what I touched on at the end of the 1st section… the purpose of these letters, and this one in particular.

  1. Purpose: charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine

exp.: rd v 3; Paul gets straight to the point. This is why I left you there in Ephesus. This is why I’m writing to you! Paul deals with false teaching repeated through his ministry. We see it in just about every letter. We’ll see it in this letter, so you’re going to see it again and again (1.3-11; 13-20; 4.1-7; 6.3-10; 20-21).

  • Myths (1.4; 4.7)
  • Genealogies (1.4)
  • A concern with the Jewish Law and its application (1.7)
  • Empty sounds and contradictions referred to as ‘knowledge’ (6.20)
  • Deception (4.1-3)
  • Immorality (1.19-20)
  • Financial Gain (6.5)
  • Harsh Asceticism (4.1-5) through denying the self what God has blessed us with; rd; 4.1-5

ill.: false teaching is alive and well in the church today. Consider the following for us:

  • For the first 1500 years of the Church’s existence – teaching came only through hearing the Word. Very few people could read it and very few people had access to it. The Word of God was spread through copies and often times, those copies were chained to the altar at the church. Regular people did not have their own copies. The only time they got God’s Word was through the preaching.
  • Along come Guttenberg and his printing press, making it possible to have a copy of God’s Word. So, for the next few hundred years, the word of God could only be spread reading it and the public preaching of it. As the Word of God became more and more prevalent, it was outlawed in certain countries. The Church didn’t want it in the hands of normal people because they might teach falsely. I think it was more about control.
  • The Advent of Radio and Recording makes it much easier to access the preaching part. But today, with the internet and TV, with its 557 channels and nothing on, you can hear multiple preachers in any given hour. False teaching can be pumped into your homes and into your head anytime you want to listen to anyone who tickles your ears.

app.: For me, it is a scary time.

  • Consider Mayor Pete Buttigieg: the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, IN. He’s the next big thing for liberals because he is gay and he is married to a man. And, he is a very nice young man. He’s intelligent and articulate. He went to Notre Dame, Harvard, and Oxford. Ok, so far not too very different from most liberals. But, here’s the thing: he spouts his faith and declares his Christianity unashamedly. And this is where I think Sound Doctrine is of great importance to us. Just look at our text, down in v 8-11. Now, there are some, probably more on the internet than here in this room, who would say it is wrong from me to ‘judge’ him and his faith. I think to some degree that would be true. But this is where we need to be very careful. Scripture is clear on this issue. He may be sincere, but he is sincerely wrong according to Scripture. What is scary for me is that there is a group of young, progressive Christians who are pushing and supporting his rise through the Democratic party.
  • Al Mohler recently shared an article which came out in the New York Times questioning the foundational doctrines of our faith: the Trinity, The Virgin birth, The Resurrection of Christ. I’m guessing it was Easter and all – and that’s the perfect time to attack Christians. Nicholas Kristoph interviewed a Seminary president: Serene Jones. She is the president of Union Theological Seminary. And the article basically boils down to throwing out the main tenets of our faith. Serene Jones doesn’t believe in a resurrection. She says the empty tomb illustrates that “the ultimate love in our lives cannot be crucified and killed.” She says there isn’t a resurrection in Mark – only an empty tomb. Kristoph challenges her, not really, but just so she can expand on her thoughts: But without a resurrection, aren’t we left with just the crucifixion? She answers: “Crucifixion is not something that God is orchestrating from upstairs. The pervasive idea of an abusive God-father who sends his own kid to the cross so God could forgive people is nuts. For me,” she said, “the cross is an enactment of our human hatred. But what happens on Easter is the triumph of love in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that reason for hope? Well, according to Paul – No! If all we have is the crucifixion, if Christ is not raised, then we are to be pitied above all men. If Christ is not raised, then we are hopeless and our faith is futile.
  • Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker who masquerades around as a preacher. I’ve chosen not to slam other preachers, but I don’t think Osteen lands in this category: a preacher. Joel Osteen’s teaching revolves around the self. There is no guilt and shame – those things don’t belong at his church. He will not talk about sin – that is so degrading. What he focuses on is making you feel better about yourself when you walk out those doors.
  • The following is from CBSNews.com this morning:

Rachel Held Evans, a popular, progressive Christian writer who challenged the traditional evangelical views, died Saturday, her husband confirmed in a blog post. She was 37.

Evans was hospitalized in April for what she described in a tweet as “a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me.” Her husband, Daniel Evans, had been updating on her blog about her health, writing that she had been placed in a medically-induced coma.

On Saturday, he wrote that she had been weaned from coma medication, but seizures had continued and severe swelling of her brain had been found, which he wrote caused severe damage that “ultimately was not survivable.”

“This entire experience is surreal,” Daniel Evans wrote. “I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story.”

Evans was the author of several books, including “Faith Unraveled,” “The Year of Biblical Womanhood,” “Searching for Sunday” and “Inspired.” She spent more than a decade writing about what she described as “faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt” on her blog. 

Her popular writing and views on Christianity often enraged traditional evangelicals. In 2015, The Washington Post called her the “most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.” She was an advocate for LGBT membership in the church, urged fellow pro-life Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton and wrestled with the role of the patriarchy in the church. She served on former President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 

She eventually left the evangelical church, writing in 2016 that “church universal is so much bigger than white American evangelicalism, and that’s going to become ever more apparent in the months and years to come.” 

I’m sad that this young woman died.

But the saddest part of her story is that so much of her ‘ministry’ was much like Hymenaeus and Philetus. She rejected the hard parts of the Bible and followed how she felt. Many have been led astray. She had a great point. I too have been sickened at the organized church; the power plays of individuals; the segregation that is most evident on Sunday mornings.

t.s.: So, how do we handle this? Well, a guilty man should feel guilty. Sin is what separates us from a holy God and we have to deal with our sin. Most people just don’t want to change. But God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

Conclusion: We must act and respond like Paul, who is being very clear that Sound, Healthy Doctrine is vital. It is what should guide the church. It isn’t enough to just babble on and place your focus on things outside of Scripture, like how you feel. We must be clear about what is in Scripture. And that is the whole purpose behind 1 Timothy.

Application:

  1. The Charge: someone has to confront those who are teaching something other than sound doctrine. Someone has to cry out that the water has been poisoned. Don’t drink that water, but rather, come to the life-giving water. Here at Calvary, that is the elders’ responsibility.
  2. The Word of God is our Standard: It has to be the standard. Culture changes; laws change; emotions change; The Word of God is unchanging! For Timothy, he had the letter to the Ephesians, and he had this letter. This letter closes with a plural “you” – that is ‘the church’, so it appears that Paul had the intention for this letter to go to the church, too.
  3. The goal of this charge is love… v. 5; it isn’t to win arguments, but people. I’ll expound on this next week, but how can we say we love someone, but don’t love them enough to tell them the Truth.

As I think about Ms. Rachel Evans, I’m reminded that her passion was for those who were being rejected by the church. Something has got to change! But what must not change, is the Word of God on which we stand. What must change – is us. Love must drive us to understand God’s Word and use it as the standard for our faith.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Doctrine, Ephesians, Evangelism, Gay Marriage, Homosexuality, Judgment, Scripture, Sermon, Sin

God’s Righteous Judgment

Text: Romans 2.1-16

Introduction: We’re in Romans 2 this morning beginning in v1. Turn there and mark that place. But let’s begin in Amos. I’ll give you a moment to turn there. Romans 2, where we’ll be most of the morning and Amos, beginning in 1.1; The book of Amos begins with the Jews witnessing the judgment of God upon their Gentile neighbors. Amos 1.1 tells us a little bit about Amos and then launches into Prophecy. Rd v 1-2;

I’m sure that at 1st the Jews listen closely. But then, Boom, the hammer is lowered and the Jews start lovin’ it! Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab. These are the neighbors of God’s people. Amos has lulled them in and by 2.1, they’re amen-ing the preacher! But then Amos catches them off guard and let’s them know they’re not safe from the Judgment of God, either. Rd 2.4-5; The Gentiles didn’t have the Law of the Lord and were going to pay dearly for their behavior. The Jews had the Law, so they are without excuse! They thought that just because they were on God’s side that they had no worries. They figured the Law, the Temple, and being God’s people was enough to avoid God’s judgment. Amos uses the ole’ bait and switch!

In our text today, Paul is using a form of argument that Amos uses in his book. Paul has been preaching to the Gentiles and the Jews are standing behind him shoutin’ “amen,” “hallelujah” and “preach it!”

Turn back to Romans. Let’s begin back in 1.18-20… Amen! And it continues down through v. 32; rd 1.32: Amen! Then, without warning, he hits the Jews right between the eyes, just like Amos did. They never see this coming. Rd 2.1;

What we find in chapter two is an indictment upon the Jews for trusting in their religion and not in their obedience born out of a heart for God. I’ve divided this first section up into three parts which explain God’s Righteous Judgment to us. These three explanations are:

  1. God’s Righteous Judgment is unexpected for those who think their religion makes them exceptional.
  2. God’s Righteous Judgment is rendered according to each one’s works.
  3. God’s Righteous Judgment is perfectly impartial.

So let’s begin with the 1st word of warning,

God’s Righteous Judgment is:

I. Unexpected for those who think their religion makes them exceptional (1-5)

exp.: Let that sink in. Read that again. This truth should grab us. It should cause us to stop and think. I’m sure most of us here this morning are thinking that we’re Gentiles, so in this story, we’re not really the one’s being addressed. And concerning the context, that would be true. But if you apply the principle from within the context, I think you’ll see that this really applies to anyone who relies on their religion to save them. The Jews weren’t safe just because they were God’s people. And you’re not safe just because you’re a Baptist or a … whatever you claim to be.

exp.: rd 2.2-5; This isn’t about who you are, but about what you do because of who you are. Don’t miss that. Lots of people go to church, but that doesn’t make their Christians. There are a lot of people who serve as pastors, but that doesn’t make them Christians. Please don’t confuse your salvation with a denomination or a building. AND, don’t confuse your salvation with your baptism or church attendance.

Paul was telling these people that, while they’re saying Amen and Praise the Lord, they’re not exempt from God’s judgment when they do the same thing their Gentile neighbors do.

*This was the classic warning – the warning their forefathers had received: when you enter the land, be careful not to behave like the people I am kicking out of the land. Deut. 4.1-6.14; Chapter 7 is all about cleaning the people out of the land and making a place free from their idols and evil practices.

Paul is saying that they haven’t changed. The principles are the same and they still don’t get it.

ill.: Now, apply this thought, this principle to your own life: Don’t you find in yourself a bit of irony? That it is ironic how we can see so well the sins of others, but we miss it in ourselves. I mean the very same sins.

2 Samuel 12; Nathan to David; What an incredible set up! David is furious. He wants to know what man would do something so evil and wicked. Death! Death is the only true, right and fair judgment that can be assessed upon that man. And then Nathan hits him right between the eyes. You! You are that man!

app.: For some strange reason, we can locate the sins that plague us in other people – really, so much easier than we can see those sins in us.

That is what Paul is doing here:  You amen and shout praise the Lord at this preaching to the Gentiles and yet those very same rebellions ways are in you. Do you think you’re safe because you’re Jewish. Do you think your racial or ethnic heritage offers you some free pass? Uh-uh! Your sin, Your disobedience is storing up “wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” It isn’t just about having the Law, it is about practicing the Law in your life.

t.s.: and that’s Paul’s 2nd warning to them.

God’s Righteous Judgment is:

II. Rendered according to each one’s works (6-10)

exp.: you see that statement in v 6; rd 6; v 7-10 are set up in a Chiastic Structure delineating the difference between these two types of people: the people of good works in v 7 & 10 and the self-seekers, self pleasers in 8 & 9:

  1. Accordingly (6)
  2. To those who through patience in well-doing (7)
  3. To those whose works are self-seeking (8)
  4. Tribulation and distress (9)
  5. Glory, honor and peace for those who ‘do’ good (10)

Please don’t mistake this to think for one second that Paul is preaching a ‘salvation by works’ message. He isn’t. I think Paul does this to place emphasis on the life of one who is saved verses the life of one who isn’t. As a matter of fact, Paul will conclude this section in chapter three with ‘all are sinners’ and ‘all are justified only by God’s grace’. That’s what he started this section with, too (cf. 1.16-17 – it is the righteousness of God for everyone who believes). So, what exactly is he saying?

Simply this: Salvation isn’t just a thing of knowledge. It is a thing of change. Salvation in the heart of each believer changes that person. They live differently, they love differently, and they act differently. The change is something that is experienced on the inside and then exhibited on the outside – it is seen. It is observable.

ill.: I think the perfect illustration is baptism. It is a public testimony expressing externally what has happened internally. It doesn’t save you, but it is a sign of obedience.

app.: Herein lies the principle: the work of the self-seeker will end in tribulation and distress. If you’re not getting this let me be very frank: this tribulation and distress is the eschatological Day of the Lord. Don’t confuse tribulation here on earth with that. For these people who live life to very selfishly, there is reserved the wrath and fury of God. However, For the one who seeks glory and honor and immortality through patience, that will end for them with eternal life.

t.s.: Paul offers one more explanation here:

God’s Righteous Judgment is:

III. Perfectly Impartial (11-16)

exp.: rd v 11-12; note: both groups sin and both groups experience judgment and death; will also perish and will be judged; Paul is clear throughout this epistle that sin leads to death, but faith to life. Rd v 13; hearing vs. doing; Man, that sounds awfully close to salvation by works; But I think Paul is echoing James here: Jas 1.22-26: 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

exp.: rd v 14-16; Some have the law, but some do not. Their actions are born out of a real sense of duty. The conscience acts as a law, if you will.

ill.: During the World Series T-Mobile had a fund raising event for Hurricane Harvey Relief. #HR4HR. Text #HR4HR to a certain # and $2 was donated to Hurricane Relief. Show video.

app.: Now, why would a secular organization do this? There is an innate, instinctual reaction to do good to people who are in need. Southern Baptist already do this, and I imagine for most of these volunteers, there is the law of God at work in their hearts, as well as, a clear understanding of our duty as believers. But for lost people, why do they this? Paul tells us: They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness.

app.: that is what makes God’s judgment impartial. You really see this in Matthew’s Gospel. Listen closely and tell me if this doesn’t match what Paul has been saying.

The Final Judgment

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

t.s.: sounds like…He will render to each one according to his works.

Conclusion: My favorite basketball team is the San Antonio Spurs. I’ve been a die-hard fan since I was at Kirby Junior High back in the 70’s. There is a trait the Spurs have that I just deplore, abhor. Every single time my Spurs get a big lead in the game, they sit on it. Invariably, do you know what happens? They lose.

I remember one year the Spurs were beating the Lakers by 24 points in the 3rd qtr and still managed to lose. They did it again this past Thursday night: Spurs were up by 19 points and still lost by 10.

Why do you think that is? When one thinks they have the victory, they sit back and rest on their laurels.

Application: I sometimes feel the church is guilty of just such a reckless creation. I wonder if we’ve made people think they’re saved because they said a prayer when they were 8 or 12. They said a prayer and maybe got baptized, but they’ve never followed through with their life. They have their religion – maybe even a certificate, and so believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they behave or what they think. They think they’ve got victory in hand and so they sit on what they think is their lead. When all the while, they’re lost. They’re trusting in a piece of paper or their denomination or their …

Invitation: Good works are wonderful… I hope you’re not trusting in them to save you either. But, I sure hope your faith is demonstrated in your life by your good works. Remember:

  1. Do not trust in your baptism or your denomination any more than you would trust in your good works. Salvation comes through faith in Christ alone.
  2. I’d say we must be careful to practice the Law in our own lives: that is – to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and 2ndly, to love your neighbor as yourselves.
  3. God will render his judgment of us all impartially, according to each one’s work. And for those who think that they will receive some exception because they’re Baptist or Catholic or Jewish or American. Well, as Nana used to say: you’ve got another thing comin’

 

Let’s pray.

Leave a comment

Filed under Judgment, Romans, Sermons