Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P7 (11-04-19)
Are you ashamed of the gospel? There is no need to be ashamed. Why? It is the power of God unto salvation of all men. The gospel of righteousness in Christ Jesus is the only way man is to to be saved from God’s wrath. The righteousness of God has now been revealed. Paul also describes this wrath of God that is being revealed. Follow along in Romans 1:18-27, as Bob continues sharing from the book of Romans.
Bob shares also from Genesis 2, the origin of this wrath of God against sin. He explains how sin entered this world and what happened to the first created human beings on earth, of Adam and Eve in the garden, and the consequence of death to all men because of sin. He explains how the root of sin is the suppression of truth. Man suppresses truth in their unrighteousness and wickedness. From Romans, we come to understand this futile thinking of man that leads to greater and greater depravity. Man is born dead to God, born alive to this world but dead to God.
Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. The fool says in their heart that there is no God. For what can be known of God, in all that God has created, is clearly plain to see.
Bob provides an illustration to explain this condition of man and how this futile thinking came to be. He uses an illustration of a driver’s education car with two steering wheels, with Jesus behind one and you behind the other. Man has decided, since the garden of Eden, to drive his own life independent of God, thinking he can do this on his own and comes up with his own way of living. He chose to define for himself what is right and wrong and what is good and what is evil. God will not fight man but let man face the consequences of his choice, running into all sorts of things in life. God created man with free will. So his design is out of love, and for man to choose to love of his own free will.
Bob also answers the age old question, ’What about the heathen in Africa?’ through a conversation with a man who was a heathen in Africa, worshiping idols made of wood. This man knew his father made the idol from wood, but wanted to know who made the tree. From this question, he wanted an answer. God sent a missionary to explain who Jesus is, the creator of all things, and what he came to do. He believed the message of the gift in Christ Jesus and was saved.
All men have been darkened in their understanding and need to be born again. We may not make idols of wood, but we make idols of men, of drugs, sex, or even church, almost anything. Man has decided to do things his own way, and that he does not need God. Some have even become fools to the extent that they say there is no God. There are those who try to explain away that God created the world by coming up with the theory of a big bang. They have made science their God and made up their own ideas of how the world was created. There are many who say that what happened 2000 years ago is old fashioned. They have come up with their own ideas of reality. Now man today is no different than Adam or Abraham or Moses. Man have become fools. They have suppressed truth in their unrighteousness.
From Romans, we read how perversion of all sorts comes to be accepted, even the perversion of women with unnatural relations with women or men with men. It is a lie to believe that you are born gay. You do not abandon natural relations that God designed man to have in the context of marriage between a man and a woman. God made them male and female with natural desires. If you decide for yourself what is right and wrong, good and evil, your futile minds have been darkened. There is progression of this futile thinking, with a greater and greater depravity.
Bob shares what this darkness of man is like. It is like a man in a restaurant with the lights turned off. He just comes into a world that is dark and is groping around trying to see and thinks nothing wrong with that. He has become accustomed to the dark.
God has made known to us the way of life through his Son Jesus. He is the light of the world. Come into the light that you might be saved from your condition of death. Come into the light so you will receive His life and let Him direct your paths so you may have an abundant life he has promised.
Let us turn to the book of Romans. We talked about last week where Paul is talking about “I am not ashamed of the gospel”. We discussed how that he went into Rome. This is a place that was full of pomp, full of tradition, powerful armies. They were the epitome of what you would think of as a powerful nation, even more so than ours, in many respects. In the midst of this, were all kinds of philosophies, intellectualism. It was into this group of people, who thought they were wiser because they were more powerful than any nation of the world. In many instances, they thought they were wiser than any one in the world. Paul went into that environment and said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason I am not ashamed is because it is the power of God for salvation”. There is no salvation for being strong. There is no salvation for being pompous. There is no salvation for being right as we would call it, being politically correct. There is no salvation in any of those things. There is only one place for salvation to occur and that is in Christ Jesus. So he says, “I am not ashamed of that gospel. It is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes, for both Jew and Gentiles”.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
As we discussed last week, God has categorized humanity in only three categories; Jew, Gentile, and the Ecclesia, the church made up of the born again people, both from the Jewish world and from the Gentile world. He does not have all the denominations and sizes that we have, but just two categories, the Jew and the Gentile. Both were born lost. Both in need of salvation. And when any are saved, they are called the church, the Ecclesia, meaning the called out ones.
First this gospel is going to the Jew, which it did. On the day of Pentecost, the gospel was announced in its fullness (Acts 2). To who was it announced? It was announced to the Jewish community throughout the whole world. Then you see Cornelius, as the first Gentile convert (Acts 10). Thus, the gospel opened up to the Gentile world And Paul was called by God to be the one to take this message to the Gentile world (Acts 9:15).
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man (Paul, formerly known as Saul of Tarsus) is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We talk about how unusual that is. Here is Paul, probably the most intellectual Jewish scholar the world has ever known. “Oh, there is a man to reach the Jews.” “No, I am going to get this fisherman, who does not have any education to reach the Jews. I am going to use Paul, the intellectual Jews to reach the dumb Gentile.” Not something we would come up with. So God uses people not in accordance to their natural talents (Ephesians 2:10). He uses people who are available to be used by Him. You cannot be used by Him when you are depending upon your own assets for the accomplishment of God’s work.
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
So this is the gospel that is going first to the Jew then the Gentile. In this gospel, this is an unthinkable thing for a Jew to think, a righteousness from God to be revealed. A righteousness from God has been revealed. Until the righteousness from God had been revealed, there was only one kind of righteousness and this is self righteousness. That is what the religious community built its life around, making myself right in the sight of God by keeping the law, through my obedience to the law. That is why we build law on top of law, on top of law. That is what the Jews did. They kept diligently at it, saying, “I am keeping the law and also pointing my finger to others saying they are not”. So their righteousness became self righteousness. So Paul said all that righteousness is dung, or garbage, to him in comparison to knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-9).
1 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh – 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
There is a righteousness from God I have plugged into. Our righteousness does not come from anything we do but from what He did. Righteousness is a gift from God, a righteousness imputed to you from God as a gift. We cannot improve upon God through our works. Here is righteousness from God that has been revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, and just as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith.
1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
In the next number of verses in the first chapter of Romans, from verses 18 down through 30, he is going to be talking to the Gentile world. This book is the book of Romans and the book is written to Gentile people in Rome. Even though it is applicable to the entire world, it basically focuses on the Gentile world. So he is saying that the wrath of God is being revealed.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
What is the wrath of God? The wages of sin is death. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who do what? Suppress the truth. Folks, that is the root of sin. You are suppressing the truth. What does that mean? I am keeping it down. I am suppressing it. I am keeping it under wraps. I am not paying any attention to it.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So this has become the thinking of man since sin entered the world in the garden of Eden. What I am going to pay attention to is what I believe is right and what I believe is wrong. Let us look in Genesis 2 as to what happened in the garden of Eden. If you go back to Genesis 2, you will read in the garden of Eden where God said, “on the day you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you will surely die”. (Genesis 2:16-17)
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
He did not say I am going to spank you. He did not say he would send you to the woodshed. He said you were going to die. On the day you decide to determine right from wrong, good from evil on your own, that you do not need God, saying, “I will do it on my own”, you will die. Who will you die to? You will die to the God who said that you cannot determine that. You died to the truth. You suppressed the truth of God and said, “I will do it my way”, just like Frank Sinatra’s song, “I will do it my way”.
The day you die, you are going to die. God is saying, “When you did it your way instead of My way, I am going to pull out of here”. Salvation is like the two-steering wheeled car, the driver education car. You get in the car and look over and there is another steering wheel over there, and Jesus is sitting in it. He says we are going to take a trip and says, “Bob, I am willing to drive us there. Now, if you let me, we will have a good time. But if you decide to put your hands on the wheel, then I am going to take my hands off the wheel. When I take my hands off the wheel, and you put your hands on the wheel we are going to run into stuff and I will run in there with you. But I am not going to fight with you on controlling this car. If you want to control it, I will sit back and let you do it, and whenever you decide you are tired of bumping into polls and you let go of the wheel and let Me drive, then we are going to take a good trip. Let go of the bus and leave the driving to us.
That is exactly what happened in the garden of Eden. On the day you hold onto that wheel and drive, God says, “I am pulling out of here”. That is what happened to Adam. The Spirit of God was designed to live in Adam, and in man. The Spirit left Adam. God in the man is indispensable to the humanity of the man. The very day man said, “I do not need you God”, God pulled out of the equation and said, “you are on your own. You are going to drive the car yourself and I will show you the result of it. You are going to see the result of trying to run your life apart from God“. On that day, Adam died. What did he die from? The life of God departed from Adam. In his human spirit he died to God but he was very much alive to himself with his own resources. The spirit in him says, “I will do it my way and not God’s way.
19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
So we have another dealing in the book of Romans with that very problem. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against this godlessness and wickedness of man that suppresses the truth: “I do not need you God. I will determine it on my own.” This truth from God can be known about God. You do not have to wonder if there is a God or not because it is plain to all of us. You look around and see the magnificence of His world and say, “this happened by the big bang”!
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
We have people who suppress the truth of God, saying “Oh no, God did not create us. We came through the big bang theory”. That is like two Cadillacs bumping into each other to make a Volkswagon. That is about as smart as that thinking is of the big bang. There is no way to look at a human being, seeing how intricate we are made, and say man was not made by an external being. You put food in your digestive system a certain way and it goes into the body a certain way. You look at the human body and say “this is by accident.“! That is suppressing plain truth that can readily be observed and seen.
Those who have the privilege of watching the birth of children or grandchildren, what are you thinking? Can you take a look at that birth and say there is no God? I defy a person to watch the of birth of a baby and not cry to see the magnificence of God in His creation! It is plain to you. You have to be a fool to say there is no God. That is how the bible defines a person who says there is no God, a fool.
1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.
On a sign was written, “God is dead“ and was signed by Nietzsche. On another sign was written “Nietzsche is dead”, and was signed by God. You have to be a fool to say there is no God, according to scripture. It is made plain to us.
20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
So people are without excuse. I think of my early days of being a Christian, of being met with the question, “What about the heathen in Africa?” I questioned that. What about those people who may have not heard? I was very excited when I went to a conference and was sitting next to a guy from Africa. He was a little guy about five feet tall. I could not wait for the break. Joshua, I got a question for you. What about the heathen in Africa?
Joshua replied, “Let me tell you about that. I was one of those. We worshiped an idol that my dad had carved out of a tree. I knew where this idol here came from. I saw dad care for it. We sat that in the middle of our table and we worshiped that idol. One day a I was thinking about that. I know who made the idol. My dad made it out of the tree. What I want to know is, ‘Who made the tree?’ I looked up into the sky, and said ‘Who ever you are up there, I want to know who made this place. I know who made the idol, but who made the tree?’”
Joshua said, “I was sitting there crying out, ‘I want to know you.’. God was putting it on the heart of some missionary in New York. One day he walked in and the first person he met was me. And he told me who made the tree. He said, ‘God made the tree. He told me about Jesus, the one who created all that we see.’ I became a Christian. I told my family and they became Christians. Then I told the other villagers over there and they became Christians. Then I went to Los Angelos, trying to save the heathen in America.”
That is the answer I got to the question, “What about the heathen in Africa?” You are without excuse when you deny the sovereignty of God. You are without excuse when you are suppressing the knowledge of God. Do not make up excuses. It is clear to you. You can see it. When you refuse to see it, you are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
They knew there was a God. They have seen the evidence of it. If you are like me, I do not remember a time in my life I did not believe in God. You just kind of grew up believing in God. It was obvious to me there is a God and I was not it. It was pretty obvious to me. But I did not know Him. I did not glory Him. I did not give thanks to Him. When a person continues in that mindset, there is a consequence to that manner of thinking. Yes, I know there is a God but I do not want to listen to Him. I have my intelligence to rely on. He says God did something. He said their thinking was off. Because of the mindset of “I do not need God”, it causes something to happen to our thinking.
but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
He says our thinking became futile, our hearts became foolish, and our hearts became darkened, a darkened heart where it has no conscience any more. A buddy of mine remembered a time he and his wife walked into a pizza parlor, so dark that they could not see the table. The waiter came up and showed them to the table. After a while they saw the checkered table cloth. After a while someone handed him a menu, and he could read the menu. No one turned on the lights. They just became accustomed to the darkness. That is what happens. We have no awareness of good and evil, right and wrong. We think we can do anything we want and that is okay. Our hearts became darkened, insensitive to the things of God. That is a product of denying, not denying God, but denying God is truth. It is not denying the existence of God. It is denying the fact that I do not need to listen to Him and that I got my own standards. I got my own ways of looking at things. When that occurs, something happens to our hearts. It becomes futile. It becomes foolish. Man thinks he is wise and God says man’s wisdom is but foolishness to God. Our hearts become darkened.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
That is exactly what happens. When man says this is what God says but that is old fashioned, they became fools. The foolish man says, “Do you understand that the bible was written down thousands of years ago but we live in the 20th century”. Just how different do you think you are from Adam, except you got clothes on? Just how much different do you think you are from Moses or Abraham? Just how much different do you think you are? Mankind is mankind and that hasn’t changed a bit according to the bible. There is no such thing as that is old time stuff. No, that is real stuff.
And so he says they claimed to be wise and became fools. So this is what started happening and that is what is happening today, not only in this country but in unbelievable proportions all over the world. Nothing new. It also ruined Rome. It came to the point where the Roman empire was having difficulty because there was no population being created because people said, “I do not need God to determine right from wrong or good from evil. It feels good so do it.” So their heart became foolish. It became darkened. What happened? They became fools.
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
They began to be idol worshipers. Folks. you know there is more idol worshipers than what you can carve out of wood. We can make idols out of booze, drugs, sex, and church. We can make idols out of anything, can’t we? That is what happened to them. Therefore, he says, a continuation of that mindset, whether you or me, that says “I do not need God to determine right from wrong and good from evil”. God says, “You are on your own. You let go of the wheel. I let go of the wheel and I will give you over to drive the car. You want to be independent then I will let you be independent. If you want to do it your way, then I will let you do it your way and you are going to see the results, but I will let you do it your way.”
Is that love? God gave us a free will, did he not? God also says, “I will not violate your free will. You have the right to choose right from wrong. You can choose right from wrong from what I said is right and wrong or you can choose it on your own. If you choose to do it on your own, then I will let you do it on your own.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
It is the ultimate that could take place because of a darkened heart and a darkened mind and a mind that says “I am going to do it my way”. He say that God turned them over to these sinful desires of their hearts, to sexual impurity and the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.
They served and worshiped what God created rather than the one who created them. God created man and I began to worship man instead of the one who created man. No, the Creator is forever praised, meaning this is truth.
26 Because of this,
Man is saying ot God, “I am not going to listen to God. I am going to determine what is right and wrong, what is good and evil. I do not need You.”
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.
That word, “lust”, is a passion, an uncontrollable desire.
Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
What are you talking about? Sexual relations. It even says that it starts out with the women who exchanged their natural desires. What is a natural desire? A natural desire is for a woman is to desire a man. And the natural desire of a man is to desire a woman. In marriage, to have sexual intercourse is a natural desire, and to have a relationship with one another, naturally. What happens when a person says, “No. No. That is not right. I want to do it with a man.”?
Folks, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. He never intended for sex to be done with the same sex. That is a perversion of the mind. That starts first of all with a mind that says “I do not need You. I do not need to listen to what You have to say what is right from wrong, good and evil. I am doing it my way. That is where it starts. Then the mind becomes darkened to the point where there is unnatural affection for one another. So even their women exchanged natural relations. He is saying even the women! Men will do anything, but even the women exchanged natural for unnatural ones!
27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Now, he says the males also abandoned natural relations. Folks, when it says you abandoned natural relations, it means you are born with natural relations. No one is born liking someone from the same sex. You are born with a natural relation for the opposite sex. Otherwise you cannot abandon it, can you? To abandon something, you have to have something. So that annihilates this idea that I was born this way.
This person said that when they were three years old they were attracted to a man. Three years old? What are people thinking about at three years old? You do not know who you are and what you are attracted to. And boys, until they get a certain age, they do not like girls. That does not mean they are homosexuals. They just do not like them. If I were to say to my grandchild, “Do you have a girl friend?” “Ugh. No.” Just wait until they get to twelve. And good if they don’t, if you know guys.
So it says men abandoned natural relations and were inflamed with lust. In the Greek language this is an uncontrollable emotion. You are inflamed. That is all you think about. It says that these men were inflamed with lust for one another. The men committed indecent acts with other men.