Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P41 (02-11-20)
Do you really grasp the unconditional love and acceptance of God? Are you complete in Christ? If you are single, do you think, if only I get married, then I will find true happiness, that she will love me unconditionally? If you are married, have you realized that your spouse cannot meet that need? Are you sucking the energy out of each other, placing unrealistic expectations on each other? You see, your real need is a spiritual need that cannot be filled by people. Unconditional love and acceptance can only be met by God.
Now, do you have Christ in you? If not, then you are incomplete, unable to function as God intended. You have a longing in your heart to have meaning and purpose in life. You spent all kinds of time at work to get accolades or recognition of others. But, after trying to find fulfillment in what you do, you still have an emptiness in your heart. You have an insatiable desire for love and acceptance, for meaning and purpose in life. But those needs are spiritual needs, and nothing on this earth, whatever club, activity or work you do, cannot meet that void. Some turn to alcohol or drugs or sex to try to meet a need for happiness, only to find themselves addicted or unsatisfied, and much more is required to find the same feelings you are looking for. Or, you are never tempted by such stuff, but you strive to be a millionaire in a year, and have even found some success in that, but then you realize that all that is meaningless, just to go to work, to make more money, and then go home, just to do it all over again. Such goals do not satisfy either.
Then, one day you realize that you are a sinner, and in need of life, and you accept the life of Christ. But have you discovered your real identity? Do you identify yourself as a Baptist, a Presbyterian, or a Methodist? Are you a doctor, carpenter, or garbage collector? No. None of that is your identity. Your identity is a child of the living God. That is the only identity God has given you. Have you discovered, and been convinced, that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus?
When you discover that you are complete in Christ, knowing your identity in Christ as a child of the living God, you learn to walk in that new identity. You learn to rest in Christ, and let Christ produce in you what you could never produce. You have been given everything you need for life and godliness. Knowing that, that in Christ, you have everything, you are now free to love your spouse, your friend, or your co-worker. You are no longer striving to get them to meet your need, which they are incapable of providing. You truly serve them from the power of Christ in you, from out of that relationship of unconditional love and acceptance in Him.
That is what people do. They have this theology of just a little dab will do you. They say, “I just need a little dab of Jesus and that will do it.” No, you don’t. You need a 100% Jesus. There is not one thing in the ten commandments that we are not capable of committing, not a one. The issue is is that we have to realize that. Jesus came when he was here on earth to amplify that truth. He amplified the law.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[Exodus 20:14] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
All the men say “I have had it.” Yes. All the women say, “I have had it, too. For you are fantasizing.”
1 John 3:15
15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
The bible says do no commit murder (Exodus 20:13). Jesus said, “But I say to you that if you get angry at somebody, you already committed murder in your heart.” How many of us have gone through life without getting angry at somebody? If you are capable of getting angry, you are capable of murdering. That should not be discouraging to us. That ought to tell us truth. That is what Jesus came to do. He came to prepare us for what he came to do. He came to take away the sins of the world and give life to the dead. If I do not see I am dead, then what do I need with His life? If I do not see I am a sinner, then why would I need His forgiveness?
16 “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Now, this whole Mel Gibson film that everybody went to see. People are talking about the Jews being offended, for the Jews killed Jesus. I killed Jesus. I am not a Jew. My sins killed Jesus. He died for the sins of the world, both Jews sins and Gentiles sins. Do you think the Jews were behind the death of Jesus? Absolutely. Paul said they killed him. They were the instigators behind the death of Jesus? Who carried out the execution? The Romans. That means we are all guilty (Matthew 20:19).
1 Corinthians 2:8
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
If you are going to get angry because Mel Gibson has a dramatic film on the fact, showing how Jesus died and who was instigating and killing him, then quit showing movies about the Holocaust because that is an offense to me because I am a Gentile, and you are talking about Hitler, for he is a Gentile, and that makes me feel bad as a Gentile. That is nonsense. We have to understand that is nonsense. But that is how people are, so sensitive about these things. I do not care what Hitler did. I had nothing to do with Hitler. Just because the Jewish leaders, back in those days, instigated the death of Jesus, that does not mean that if you are a Jew today, that you are a part of that. There are a lot of people who feel that way. People are so scared to death that there will be a retaliation against the Jewish people because of the film. So why is there not a retaliation against the Gentiles because of films about Hitler? It is time for us to sit back and to start thinking, to use our minds God gave us to think these things through. Praise God there is a film that has come out, that is going to depict the death of Jesus as it is. He was beaten as no man, and tortured as no man.
13 See, my servant will act wisely;
he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him –
his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being
and his form marred beyond human likeness –
15 so he will sprinkle many nations,
and kings will shut their mouths because of him.
For what they were not told, they will see,
and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Let us turn now to the book of Romans.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;
So you are saying the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, got it? Yes, you got it. Why is that so? They received a righteousness that is by faith.
31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.
Yes, you got it.
32 Why not?
Now, is that not a logical question? Why haven’t we, Jews, who have been trying to be righteous, why have we not obtained righteousness, when these Gentiles over here have not been trying at all? And you say they have obtained righteousness? Does that sound fair? It does not sound fair. Someone says, “I am trying.” You cannot obey the law. “I know but I am trying.” That is like trying to jump over a hundred foot crevice. You are not going to make it. It makes no difference if you get two inches to the other side or you trip as you jump. You are not going to make it. Trying is not the issue.
The issue is, do you want to stand in the presence of God righteous? You are not going to stand in front of a righteous God unless you are righteous. So how many of you want to be righteous? How many of you are going to get it on your own? Nobody. You are going to have to stand clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. The Jews are saying, “We are working at it.” They are not. Yes, you say you are working at it, but you did not get it. You failed. We have all failed. We all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God, have we not?
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
They have not obtained it. Why not?
Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.
They were trying to work their way for acceptance in God. Think about this for a moment in relationships. If you have to work at being accepted, how many of you have tried to work at being accepted, by your parents or by your mate? Does it work? No. It seems the harder you work, the more you get rejected. You cannot work at acceptance. Do you love one another? Is that a sign that someone is going to love you back? Did Jesus love people? Yes. Did they all love him back? No. So when we love people, will they all love you back? If you go out and do something nice for somebody, are they going to say, “Oh, that is good. I will do something nice to you.”? Some might but others don’t.
So you have to keep your eyes off the results. The results are always in the hands of God. You can never produce the results. I can make a decision to help somebody or be nice to somebody. But what are the results of that going to be? That is up to God. I do not control that. Sometimes I like the results and sometimes I don’t. Don’t you? So he is saying to us that it does not matter how hard you are working, it is not going to work.
They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
Who is the stumbling stone? Jesus. They stumbled over him. They did not want to think that there is a man that you can come to that will provide for me everything my heart has ever wanted. Every desire of my heart has been met in Christ Jesus. It cannot be met in my wife. It cannot be met in my children. It cannot be met in you. It has to be met in Christ Jesus. Every man has an insatiable desire to be loved unconditionally, to be accepted unconditionally, and to have meaning and purpose to your life. Every person sitting in this room has an insatiable desire for that, to be loved and accepted unconditionally. Will someone just accept me for who I am and to have meaning and purpose to life? Why do I get up in the morning? Am I right or wrong?
Here is the catch. Satan comes along and says, “that is a need of your soul”, what you got from mom and dad. Satan says, “You can get that from people, places and things.” So we get married. And we think, “She will provide unconditional love for me.” Is that true? I am not talking about my wife. I am talking about yours. (laughter) “Oh, my husband will accept me unconditionally. And when I get married I will have meaning and purpose to life. If I would just get married, I will have meaning and purpose to life.” I had some people sitting in my office, saying “If I could just get married, I would be the happiest person alive.” Then I have the next person come in, saying, “If I could just get divorced, I would be the happiest person alive.” You feel like saying, “I would like to get you two guys together.” (laughter).
Folks, the desires we have to have meaning and purpose to life, and to have the need of unconditional love and acceptance, is not a need of the soul. It is a need of the spirit. What separates the human kingdom from the animal kingdom is the fact that the dog has a soul. Your soul is your internal personality with your mind, will and emotions. The dog has a will. It has a mind, and that is debatable. And they have emotion. You see their tails wag when they are happy. But they do not have a spirit. A dog is not sitting around contemplating God. A dog does not have a God-shaped vacuum in his heart. Man does. That is his human spirit. There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that can only be filled through Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (TLB)
11 Everything is appropriate in its own time. But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men, even so, many cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
You walk through this life in a vacuum, a desire to know something you do not know. You just know something is missing. You do not know what is missing, but you know something is missing. You go through life like that.
At the age of 36, I accepted Jesus and everything was fulfilled. I think to myself, “I could have done that at age 6. Why do I have to wait until I was 36?” It is like God said to me: “So you can have compassion on those who are lost.” The things that happen to us is so that when we receive the comfort from God, we can pass that same comfort on to others that we received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
That is a need that cannot be met through the soul. It is a spiritual need. Your need of unconditonal love and acceptance and meaning and purpose to life is a need that can only be met in Christ Jesus, period. That cannot be met out here. We need to understand that.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
We do not need to argue about whether there is a difference between soul and spirit. There is a difference. The spiritual aspect has needs just like your soul has needs and your body has needs, and if they are not met, you will die. So, too, your spirit has needs. You have a need to be accepted unconditionally. And you have a need to have meaning and purpose to life.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Satan comes along and says that you can get those needs met out here. God says, “no, you can’t.“ You see, when I do not understand that that need of unconditional love and acceptance cannot be met in my wife or my children, I am unfulfilled, burdened or heavy laden. It can only be met in God. If I do not understand that, we become like tics on a dog in marriage, sucking the life out of each other, trying to get our mate to meet those needs. I got a need of unconditional love. My wife says “I can’t meet that need.“ I got a need to be loved unconditionally and accepted. Will you just accept me the way I am? “No, it cannot be done.” Can you give me meaning and purpose to life? “Well, go in the ministry. That will give you meaning and purpose to life.“ No, that will give you headaches, but it will not give you meaning and purpose to life.
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
2 Peter 1:3
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
There is only one person who will give you meaning and purpose to life, and that is Jesus. Until you have come to rest in Him. I am talking about abiding, about resting in Him. You have come to Him saying, “Lord, there is no one else that can give me unconditional love, unconditional acceptance and meaning and purpose to life except you and you alone. I am getting rid of these concepts that somebody else can do it. That my wife or husband or children can do it. I am getting rid of that. It is not true. It is an unrealistic expectation. I am counting on you and you alone to bring to me the needs of my heart. The basic needs of my heart are met in you.”
That is what we talked about before we left. What did Paul say? I am convinced of something. What is he convinced of?
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[Psalm 44:22]
What can separate us from the love of Christ? Trials can’t. Tribulations can’t. Death can’t. Hardships can’t.
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So Paul is saying, “I am convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God.” What is Paul doing? He is putting his dependency for meaning and purpose to life, and of acceptance and love, on God alone. Once that is done, then, in marriage, you are able to take a deep breath and say that need is met. Now I can start thinking about how to serve one another in love, which is what we ought to be doing in marriage. Do not get married to get. Get married to serve. Here is a woman I want to serve for the rest of my life. Here is a man I want to serve for the rest of my life. Why? My need for unconditional love and acceptance, meaning and purpose in life, has already been met in Jesus. So I do not need to look to her to meet it. So now I can take a deep breath and think about how I can serve someone else in love
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
1 John 4:19
19 We love because he first loved us.
As an example, you come to me and say, “Bob, I really need counseling. I have not eaten in three weeks.” How interesting do you think I am going to be in your marriage problem. Give him a McDonald’s hamburger and a milk shake. Then we will talk about your marriage. So I meet the physical need then address the spiritual need. Until that need is met spiritually, you are not in a position to serve one another in love. You are just not. You are not ready. That is why it is so important to come to Jesus, not just with verbiage, with words, but to come to Jesus with our whole hearts, and to come to Him to receive what He came to give you.
2 Peter 1:3
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
God is saying, “I have given it all to you. So, now rest in that. Love me back. I loved you perfectly. Love me back.” That is the most natural thing for us to do. “Let that need be met in Me and you will be free to love one another, and to let the love I have given to you spiritually to flow through to the body of Christ, on the level of the soul and body of marriage.”
So, he says you have stumbled over this stumbling stone. You tried to get religion. How many times do you hear people say these things. I am a Lutheran. I am a Baptist. I am a Presbyterian. I am a People to Peopler. I am a whatever. Why do you identify yourself as where you spend an hour on Sunday? Is that who you are? I am not a Lutheran. I am not a Baptist. I am not a Presbyterian. I am not a People to Peopler. That is where I go. I tell people I go to the bathroom too, but I do not want to be called a toilet (laughter). You have to understand that your identity is not based on where you go. Your identity is based on who you are. I am a child of the living God. That is the identity that God gave me. The Presbyterians did not give that to me. The Baptists did not give that to me. Jesus gave it to me.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
A child of the living God is who I am. I am a child of the living God that happens to be in the ministry. I would be a child of the living God if I was a garbage collector. I would be a child of the living God if I was an attorney. (Well, I am not sure about that. Laughter.) I would be a child of the living God if I was in the medical profession. Those are things that I would just be doing. I say this to people sometimes. “Who are you? He answers, ‘I am a surgeon.’ Who would you be if your hands were cut off?” You cannot answer that. Those are temporary things. But I am going to be a child of the living God throughout eternity. Each one of you, who are in Christ Jesus, you have a destiny. You will enter into the presence of God one day. “Come unto me” is the good news of the gospel.
So he said to the Jews, that you are stumbling over things. They were trying to get their acceptance through their religion, their acts of righteousness, their good deeds, their tithing records, just like us today. So you stumble. You missed the point.
33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[Isaiah 8:14; 28:16]
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
Now Paul is saying that even though it is God’s will that none should perish, and all to come to repentance. Is that God’s will? Yes, we are told that (2 Peter 3:9). That is God’s will. Yet, are all going to? No. Even though that is God’s will, not all will. Some people put this sovereignty stuff in there. “See, if that isn’t God’s will, that is it.” That would be it if we were all made robots. Were you made a robot? Were you given a free choice and a free will to choose right from wrong, good from evil? Didn’t Adam choose? Did he have the right to choose right from wrong, good from evil? What did he choose? He chose the wrong way (Genesis 3).
So we were given a choice. Because of God’s sovereignty, He gave His creation a choice. That is a part of His sovereignty, of God, in essence, saying, “I gave you the ability to choose, just as I, God can choose. That means that even though it is my will, that you would not perish, and all of you would come to repentance, that does not mean all of you are going to choose to come to repentance. That does not mean that.”
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
That means some are going to say, “I am not going to do that. I do not want to do that. I do not need Jesus.” Even though it is God’s will, and God is sovereign, but part of His sovereignty was giving man a choice. All of you have choices. All of us have choices. So because we have the ability to choose, even though it is God’s will that none should perish and all come to repentance, He knows full well that all are not going to. So does Paul. Unfortunately, there are people today that do not know that. So they go out and teach that everyone will be saved because that is God’s will. That is the most nonsensical teaching you can come up with.
1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.
I pray that they would be saved. Recall earlier where Paul said he would give up his own salvation for the sake of his own people of Israel.
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
You have two camps of people. You have those who have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. Then you have those who are constantly studying but never coming to the truth. You have those two extremes.
39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
The peril of the pendulum. There are those people who are constantly studying but never coming to the truth. Then there are those others having a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.
You can see that in denominations. I can name denominations, but I am not going to. They have a zeal for God, but do not have an ounce of knowledge. Everything is experience. They say, “It does not matter whether it is true or not, but it is all experience.” Then there are those people where it is all tradition. They say, “I do not know if it is true or not, and do not care. It is tradition. That is our tradition.” Jesus spoke to that issue, saying “You follow tradition, but you do not come to the truth.” These types of things Paul talked about here, as it related to the Jew and the Gentile, is still relevant in our society today.
3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.
You got two kinds of righteousness, self righteousness and God’s righteousness. Self righteousness makes God sick at his stomach. People walking around thinking they are so righteous. I do not know, but maybe it is just me, but I have difficulty getting my arms around anybody thinking that we are so good, that God would accept us because of our goodness. I would have trouble with that. If you knew me, you would know I would have trouble with that. How could anybody be deceived to think of the purity of God and that I could walk in His presence wih His purity, to walk in there with no thought at all that I ever did anything wrong, that I have been good as gold all my life. There is nothing wrong in being good, but if you think you are good then there is something wrong with you. If you lived a life where you have been sheltered from all of the things of the world, then praise God for that. But do not sit around thinking, “look at me and see how wonderful I am.”
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Recall the parable Jesus told. “Thank God, I am not a sinner like him.” That is one attitude. Then the other guy said, ”Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Which one is going to get into heaven? The one who said, “Have mercy”, and not the one who said, ”Thank God, I am not a sinner like him.”
So we have these attitudes. We get our standards: “I have never done this or this so I am better than you because you have done this, this and this.” Now, if you have not done this, this, and this, then praise God. You have been saved from some garbage in your life. If you have been saved from anything, then praise God for it. I never used drugs. I do not think you could tempt me with drugs. You could put me in a room full of drugs, and it would not tempt me at all. I have never used them and never had a desire to. That is the only thing I can think of that I would never be tempted about. I thought about that too. I have given some thought about that. That is the only thing I can think of. It is not a temptation.
So what if I sit around someone who had taken drugs, thinking “Oh. I am much better than you are. I do not take drugs. But you do.” What kind of attitude would that be? Yet, there are people who carry those kinds of attitudes. Those are the kind of attitudes that God wants to get underneath the skin and to show us they are not attitudes of God. If you had not done something, if you have not been tempted to do something, if you have not fallen into temptation to do something, then praise Jesus for it. But do not look down on others who have, because they are going to look down on our weaknesses as well. And we all have them, don’t we? So, instead of establishing a righteousness that comes from God, they sought to establish their own.
4 Christ is the end of the law
How much clearer does this statement need to be? Do we need the Greek on this? Christ is the end of the law. How come Christ is the end of the law? What does it say?
so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
For everyone who does what? Believe. Will anyone ever be declared righteous in the sight of God by observing the law? No. So, that is why Christ is the end of the law.
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.
Then what was the purpose of the law? To show us we do not have any righteousness.
Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come
7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
The purpose of the law is to show a man his sin so he may turn to Christ for salvation. The law is like a mirror. You look into the mirror and it says your face is dirty. Have you ever tried to wash your face in the mirror? You cannot wash your face in the mirror. You hear a tapping on your shoulder, and you turn around, and there is Jesus, who says, “Bob, what did the mirror show you?” “My face is dirty.” “Do you want it cleansed?” “I sure do.” “Then turn to me, and I will cleanse you of all unrighteousness, and give you life.” The mirror has done it’s work. Now, He is going to do His.