Thanksgiving P2 – Bob George (11-23-20)
Turn to Romans and read along as Bob explains its meaning. The book of Romans is a book of contrast between law and grace. The purpose of the law is for man to recognize his sinfulness, his condition of spiritual death, that he might seek a Savior in Jesus Christ. There is so much that the apostle Paul explains concerning the law; its purpose, it’s inability to make one righteous before God, it’s ministry of death to make man realize his sinful state. The law is like a mirror. A mirror can show dirt on the face but it has no power to remove the dirt. So too is the law to show man he is a sinner but there is no power in the law to make anyone righteous before God.
The law demands perfect obedience, which no man in his weakened sinful state could ever completely obey. As James said, if a man obeyed all of the law but failed at just one point, then he is guilty of breaking all of the law. A law without a penalty is no law at all. The law would have no meaning. God’s penalty for sin is spiritual death.
If one understands that the root of all sin is unbelief, or lack of faith, in a God who created you to be in relationship with Him. Anything that does not come from faith is sin. Sin is rooted in an attitude of independence and rebellion, an attitude that says I can decide for myself what is right and what is wrong and sees no need for God. That attitude is what the first created man, Adam, chose and whom God had warned that the day he chose for himself, he would die. Adam chose to disobey God, and he died to what vacated him, and that was the Spirit of God. All men since have been born in the image of Adam, in a dead state, without the Spirit of God.
God, in his desire for man to be restored to a right relationship to Himself, as He intended in creation, sent His own Son to do what man could never do for himself. Man cannot obey the law, was enslaved to sin, was in bondage to the law, without hope of ever obeying the law. God sent His Son to completely obey the law for man, not by the letter but by living in love, to show man His righteousness, and by so doing, showing man his unrighteousness. He also was sent to lay down his life to pay the price for sin the law demands only to take it up again. Jesus shed his blood on the cross to take upon himself the sins of the entire world.
Now sin is the cause of death, and without the penalty being paid, man has no hope of eternal life. But since Jesus paid the price in full for man, when he shed his blood on a cross, sin is no longer the issue. Man’s more serious problem is death. His problem of death can only be solved by the giving of life as a gift. Man certainly cannot earn it. All he has is self righteousness, which is really nothing at all but man’s attempt at obeying a law that he keeps failing to obey. So until Jesus rose from the dead, the righteousness of God, the life of God, could not be offered. Jesus, being God in the flesh, being an eternal being, with life in Himself, and with no sin of His own, death has no hold on him. God raised him from the dead so that the life that raised Jesus from the dead can raise you and me from the dead. But this life must be received by faith. Man must want the life of God and ask God to receive this life. He must believe in the work of Jesus Christ alone, through what his death, burial and resurrection accomplished for you. This is the grace of God, by which man must be saved. Salvation is the receiving of new life, God’s resurrected life. This is the message of good news, the gospel that the apostle Paul preached.
Consider now what the apostle Paul shares on how a person who is born again, who received the life of God, is to live. He is being led internally by the Spirit of God, who has taken residence within him. The child of God, and that is what we are, is to live by faith. When a man walks by faith, being led into all truth, and who allows himself to be led by God, then the attitude of thankfulness is evident. That life bears fruit that the living Christ produces in you and through you. You could not love before but now you can choose to let the love of God be produced through you into the lives of others. Yes, as believers we are instructed to be devoted to one another in brotherly love, and to even love those who persecute us. It is God’s job for revenge. But we are instructed to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. We are told to share with the Lord’s people who are in need and to practice hospitality. The fruit of the Spirit is at work in us and through as we allow Him to.
10 Be devoted to one another in love.
Devote to one another. There is nothing that irritates me more than when you hear people say, “I do not like what you are doing. I will not come here anymore.” I feel like saying, “Good”. Is that brotherly love? No. If there are things that are done that you do not like, discuss it with people, but do not come up with that stuff, “I do not like it here anymore because I do not like.” That is not brotherly love. You are not practicing brotherly love. If you are practicing brotherly love and let love decide that, that is one thing. But if it’s just an ego deal that I just do not like the way you do things then talk to us about it. You might find that you are right. And maybe you are. I do not think so, but maybe you are.
Honor one another above yourselves.
What is it saying? As it says later, “Do not be conceited.” Do not sit around thinking you know it all. There are some people that have never made a mistake in their life. They are a know it all. How many of you have ever known a know it all? How many of you have ever been a know it all? There are people that I do not care what it is, will always say, “I know the answer to it”. You are not honoring one another above yourself. You do not even want to listen to their opinion. “I already know the answer.” That is not an attitude of God according to these scriptures. That is not an attitude of love. We should honor one another above yourself. Listen to the opinions of others. Have the willingness to do so without having to share your opinion on everything dogmatically. So we ask, “Is the attitude I have of God, or is it of Satan?”
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
This group shared joyfully in a project that we had for the soldiers. I personally want to thank those who were involved in it, both with money and time. I have been in service and overseas at Christmas time. It is lonely. I was not in combat. That saved me from going AWOL. But I know many of you who were in combat and you will testify to the fact that it is not fun. These guys and gals need all the encouragement they can get from us. I am just grateful to be able to use time and treasure and talent in order to help those guys and gals and put a smile on their face at Christmas time. I want to thank each and every one of you for participating in that. It was a blessing to me. I think it unifies the assembly to be honest with you.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
How many of you have had somebody who persecuted you or was not kind to you or did something to you that you did not like? How many of you experienced that kind of thing? What does He tell you to do? Bless them. Does that sound normal? I want to crucify them. But He says to bless them and not curse them. God says “vengeance is mine. It is My business to take care of these people.” If someone has done something to hurt you, get off of trying to get even. Recognize that if there is justice to be done, believe Me, I will do it. So I do not have to. Is that goodness? Does that enable you to walk in a thankful spirit? What am I thankful for? God is going to take care of this and I do not have to. What does flesh say? Get even. Get revenge, don’t we? Is that what our flesh says? God says, “No. Get out of it and let Me take care of it.”
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
Be happy when people are joyful. When someone is sad, be sad with him.
16 Live in harmony with one another.
Where is the best place to test this one, to live in harmony with one another? Where is the best arena to test this one? Where would that be, guys? Marriage. To be in a situation where you are living in harmony with one another. What keeps us from living with harmony with one another?
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each one of us wants to do our own thing. Is that not right?
I want to be right. I want to do what I want to do because what I want to do is the right way. There is a right and a wrong. There is my way and a wrong way. Am I right? Yea. Now you are not going to live in harmony like that. If we realize that because I am a man and because Amy is a woman, which is, quite frankly, as God intended marriages to be.
He did not make Adam and Steve. He made Adam and Eve. The way God made it to be. If people think that is not politically correct then get a life. Just get a life and start seeing what the bible has to say, “hate what is evil and grab a hold of what is good.” Homosexuality is not good in the bible and even if you know nothing of the bible, you know it is not good. In your own heart, you know it is not good. So do not call it good. So you do not hate a person involved in that any more than you hate a person involved in lust. If that is the case, you would have to hate everybody. Just hate the guys and get rid of them. I am not talking about that.
I am talking about the activity. Stealing is not good. Lying is not good and not just the little white ones. Lying is wrong. We have to look at what the bible says is right and wrong. Grab a hold of it. I am not condemning those people. We have no right to condemn but I am condemning the practice. There is a lot of perversion. That is not the only one. I am sick and tired of the world saying that is good and trying to get marriages around it and it is a little hard to propagate. Nothing angers me more than what I see in the world where people call what is good bad and good bad. It says that in scripture.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Yet that is the world we live in and that is acceptable and it should not be.
Now back on where I was. In marriage, you have a guy and a gal. When, in a popular book, it talks about one from Mars and one from Venus, that is true. We look at things totally differently. When looking at the moon, I am looking on one side and she is looking at the other side. I am saying it is bright and she is saying it is dark. Well, I am looking at the moon, what are you looking at? Well, the moon. Normally opposites attract. How many of you in marriage where one of you likes to get up early, go to bed early and the other one likes to get up late and go to bed late? How many in marriages, have marriages like that? Opposites attract, don’they?
God says I want to create unity in that. I say, “God, you may be able to split the sea, but I do not think you are going to be able to accomplish that one?” “Yes, I will. If you let me, I will show you how I can get unity in that in the midst of this unbelievable diversity of a man and a woman living under the same roof together. But you cannot do it if each of you wants your own way.” That is why I have to forget about this is just a man thing and Amy has to forget about this is just a woman thing. What we have to say is, “What does Jesus have to say about it?” It is not what I as a man say about it or what does a woman has to say about it, but what Jesus says about it.
If you center your life in Him instead of hanging on tenaciously to your own desires to be in control and to be controlling everything. Let go of that. God did not call you to control. He called Him to control you, not you to control the world. Let go of that. What I want to know is what does God want me to do? You will have a successful marriage. You will have some problems because you are man and woman. But God says “if you will let that go and let Me control these things then I will show you how I can bring unity in this unbelievable diversity.” Can you think of anything more diverse than man and woman in the same house together? We have been together for 50 years. We have been arguing for 50 years, wanting our own way for 50 years. You talk about tenaciousness. But that is true. He says in these passages here that He wants us to live in harmony with one another. How do you do that?
Do not be proud
You will not live in harmony with somebody when you are proud. “I think I know more than they do. I am more intelligent than they are. I think I know how to accomplish things better than they do.”
Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
That is such an important thing.
Do not be conceited.
I have seen churches. How do you become a deacon? By checking your financial records. If you make over a hundred thousand bucks you are in, especially if you are tithing. People just associating with people of high financial status. That is all you want to associate with. Do not be that way. You are not going to experience love if just associating with people just in your financial status. Learn to love all people, rich and poor, the white and the black. Learn that from God’s standpoint. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ and learn to love one another. Is that not wonderful to love each other and not be wondering what your financial record is.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
What does that say, in the eyes of everybody? Not everyone thinks the same thing about what is right. But he says to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. In other words, do not be a stumbling block to people. For example, some people think it is a sin to eat meat. He says such people whose faith are weak, for that is really true. But the issue is if that is the case, do not try to share Christ with them chopping down on a pork chop. If someone thinks it is total sin to have a glass of wine, do not go to share Christ with him drinking a glass of wine. Do not give the appearance of evil. It may not be evil to you. But if you know it gives the appearance of evil to someone else, do not do it.
I recall a person very active in Christian work. Her eyes were as big as dollars. She said, “Oh, I saw so and so in the restaurant and they were having a glass of wine.” You feel like saying, “Have you heard the passage of scripture that says to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business”. Have you read that scripture? What do you care if someone had a glass of wine? I personally do not drink a glass of wine because I do not like it. Also, after I learned that alcohol kills brain cells, I figured I do not have any more to lose. But that is not the reason I do not drink. I do not drink because I do not want to. Do I look down on you because you do. But if you have a problem with it, that you become an alcoholic in your life, then brother, I tell you, do not touch it. But I do not look down on you because someone has a glass of wine. I am not going to sit around with you and drink wine and get drunk and talk about Jesus. These are things to think about. You can become a stumbling block. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
What is it saying there? You may desire to live at peace with someone else but that does not mean they want to live at peace with you. Do not think this scripture is saying that if I want to be living in peace with you then the automatic to that is they want to live at peace with me. It does not say that. As far as you are concerned, live at peace, but that does not mean everyone wants to live at peace with you.
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[Deuteronomy 32:35] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
Give him all the spinach he wants. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[Proverbs 25:21,22]
In other words, by doing good to someone who has treated you in an ill way, it burns like burning coals on his head.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
These instructions are all given to us. We look at those, and I do not know about you, but I say it is condemning in some ways and it is convicting in some ways. I look at some attitudes and say “I am not always that way.”
But this is saying this is what God’s righteousness is, what God’s truth is. This is a goal. I know I may not be sincere all the time, but “Lord Jesus, I want you to be sincere through me. I want to have sincere love for people. I want to learn to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. I want to be devoted to people in brotherly love. I do not want to be fearful any more. I want to put that dumb fear away and put that block off of me.”
I have counseled enough people to know that people put walls around themselves. Take them down. It destroys relationships. You can live in fear of being hurt or rejected. If you do, you will never learn to love with a sincere heart.
I wonder what would happen if we treated our bible like we treated our cell phone. What if we carry around in our purse or pocket? What if I flipped through it several times a day? What if we turned around to go get it when we forgot it? What if we use it to receive messages from the text? What if we treated it like we could not live without it? What if we gave it to our children as it fits? What if we used it when we traveled? What if we used it in case of emergency? And one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we do not have to worry about if the bible is disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. This makes you say “Hmm. Where is my bible?”
Let us turn back again to the book of Romans, and guys, think that where the difficulty comes in, many times in biblical understanding, is we forget that, as an example, this whole book of Romans is dealing with the contrast between law and grace and showing us the purpose of the law and how we have misused its purpose and made it a means of righteousness instead of a means of showing you your sinfulness.
All through scripture, I circle things when I read. Turn to chapter 2, starting in verse 12. I just circle the word “law”.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
So he is talking about the law. But he said, “you call yourself a Jew, if you rely upon the law.” Here is the definition of people who have never escaped from the law. Whether you are in graceland over here or law land over there, if you are truly born again, as we described last week, you have been taken out of this realm over here altogether. You have been transferred over here into the kingdom of His Son that we love and whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. You have been removed from the demands of the law.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Folks, if you are in law land, you are miserable. The things you want to do you do not do. The things you do not want to do you do them anyway. It is a miserable existence. You are in slavery. You are absolutely enslaved by the demands of the law. Because if you are under the law, then you are under the penalty of the law, which is spiritual death. It is not a desirable condition to be in. Yet people will hang on to what kills them tenaciously. Just like our cell phone. Hang on tenaciously to what kills you, and come over here in graceland and say, “you people are nuts. Too good to be true.” The issue is you are in bondage. You are miserable. You make people around you miserable because you are in bondage. That is what it says about law.
It says these kinds of people that they like to make people think they are under the law and doing good under it. Why would you hear people on the air say, “You mean to tell me you are not under law?” I say to them, “You must believe you are doing good under it. Why would you be calling to defend the law unless you thought you were doing good under it? You are dead. You are lost. If you are saved, you would not be under that law. This is how people act.
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and boast in God;
People who rely on law, they boast. That is what people do, brag about their relationship with God. “I am one holy dude. I love me too. I am so good.” I say, “let me interview your wife.”
18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark,
We are going to tell everybody what to do. We will tell everybody how to obey the law because we are law-abiding. Anybody here law-abiding? Anybody here want to stand before God absolutely without any sin in your life? For that is what it takes. If you are under the law, Paul said, you are under all of it. James says if you kept the whole law and violated one point of it, you violated all of it. You want to stand before God like that? That is His requirements, not yours. For you have got self righteous requirements, not His, bragging of how good you are.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
What is he doing there, guys? He is burying you, if you are able to be buried.
You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Do you ever steal time? Do you ever lust? No need to raise hands, but if you have you committed adultery in God’s sight. This is how God looks at you, not how we watered it down. This is how God looks at it. Are you free from guilt?
23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
If you are going to uphold something and brag on it, you better keep it. Otherwise, what do you call that? Hypocrites. That is what most Christians are called. Do you know why they are hypocrites? They are saying they are under the law and I am obeying the law when they are not and people see that. If teaching the grace of God, then nobody will call you a hypocrite because you are not saying that you are good. You are teaching He is good. It could be church attendance, tithing records, circumcision. It could be anything.
25 Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.
You have not been baptized or not been a church goer or whatever it might be.
26 So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27 The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
28 A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
That is just one passage in there about the law. We go over into chapter 5. We talk about the peace of God that surpasses understanding. It talks about how we have been justified when we were God’s enemies, lost. It talks about being saved by His life.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Let us close in prayer.
We want to thank you for the truth of the word of God. We read these things and really it is a definition of your attitude toward us, saying that if I live in you then I can produce those same attitudes in you. For that we say, “Thank you”. So Lord, help us to become loving people. Put bitterness away. Forgive one another just as you forgave us. Many times we have had almost a lifestyle and many times in our marriages of being angry and bitter. Put that away. It does not do any good. Lord Jesus, I am tired of trying to protect myself. I am tired of having this wall around me. I want to be able to love with your love just like you did. You were not fearful of loving others. You knew full well that in so doing some would accept and others would reject. But you loved us anyways. Father, free us from the fear that keeps us away from the perfect love of God. Let us learn to walk in that newness of life, refreshed by God’s word. In Christ’ name we pray and for His sake. Amen.
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