Community Bible Chapel
Monday, September 16, 2019
A place to grow.... where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord.
 1/18/15 Romans 1:18-32 – Those Who Reject Christ
 
Last week we started our study of Romans.

          -Paul introduced the Book by focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

          -The key verse for understanding the book is:

                “The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”

-And the key to life is that:
“The righteous will live by faith.”

-Since our faith in Jesus is what defines us as people, as we live our lives

in faith, we have an amazing opportunity to proclaim the gospel.

Paul has begun this letter to the Romans by talking about the Gospel.

          -And it’s important to give you a mental picture of how he will proceed with his

 proclaimation of the Gospel.

          -As we talked about a conceptual faith last week, Paul starts his proclaimiation

of the Gospel with the concept that
“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Romans 3:23

                   -That is a foundational concept to the Gospel.

                   -Until we know that we are sinners and that sin separates us from God,

 we will not see the great need that we have to trust in Jesus.

          -And Paul systematically works through this concept of sin in chapters 1-3.

-In Chapter 1 - he starts with folks who rejected God from their  
worldview.

-The first half of chapter 2 speaks to those who have some understanding

that there is a God.

                   -And the second half of chapter 2 speaks of the very religious Jews, who

                             have the law.

                   -The conclusion he comes to is given in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned”

-No-one is righteous and we are all in desperate need of trusting in Christ.

          -Now, we will be looking at these various groups over the next few weeks,

       but for today, let me invite you to Romans 1:18 as we look at this first group

that has rejected God.
                            

READ Romans 1:18-32

 X  The Wrath of God

          -The wrath of God is not something we like to talk about, but this passage

begins with it.

          -We see God’s wrath being poured out on the earth in the Genesis flood,

                   It came to Pharoah in the plagues of Egypt, and we will see it poured out

 with fire as Revelation details.

          -And we usually associate wrath with punishment and pain.

          -But here we see God’s wrath being revealed in a very unusual way.

          -God withdraws from those that have rejected Him.

                   -That sounds like every child’s dream – being able to do

whatever they want.

                   -But I assure you that when God withdraws from a relationship and

leaves us to our own devices, it’s not a good thing.

          -As a parent, discipline has great purpose.

                   -It is meant to bring restoration and change.

          -Hebrews 12:7 speaks to how God disciplines His children.

“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!   They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

          -Heb. Speaks to a discipline that has purpose in our lives.

                   -The purpose of turning us to God and growing in holiness, righteousness,

 and peace.

                   -Understanding that concept helps us with one thing that someone who

has rejected God doesn’t have.

                   -A relationship with our Creator God.

                   -Although we usually see it in the wrong way, God’s discipline is a constant

reminder that God loves me.
-As David said – “your rod and staff, they comfort me.”

          -But that is not how God is dealing with this group of people that have

rejected Him.

          -And notice that God’s wrath begins with their rejection of Him.

-First they “suppress the truth”.

-We might wonder what truth they suppress – it’s the truth of God.

-God is truth and these folks have rejected Him.

-Out of sight – out of mind!

                   -With no God, I am free to see the world through the kingdom of jack.

                    -Where I am the center of;  not “the” universe but “my” universe.
-The more I push God out of the way, the less condemnation I feel
and I am free to do what is best for me at the time.
-The conscience is seared and God is pushed farther away.
-And that is the worst thing that could possibly happen.

-We might wonder, PJ why doesn’t God reveal himself to them.

X  God Has Revealed Himself  v. 19

          -God has revealed himself to them in the same way He has revealed himself to us             -I wake up in the morning and see the sunrise, just as it always has.

                             -I should be able to see God’s faithfulness.

                   -I look up at night and see billions of stars and infinite space.

                             -I should be able to see God’s infinite nature.

                   -I look at man and how he has created a system of law.

                             -I should be able to see that God is moral.

                   -I look at how people break the law and can even personalize it.

                             -I can’t even keep the rules I set for myself – or I set them so

low that anyone can achieve them.      

                             -I should be able to see that I condemn myself.

                   -If I come to the conclusion that there must be a God, I have only one

choice – to fall on my face and beg for mercy.

                   -And we get all that, just from observing what we would call:

God’s General Revelation.

          -I can’t count the times that I have heard: 

“what about the people who have never heard the gospel?”                  

“God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature are all clearly seen” –Even a tribal person from the deepest parts of Africa can observe God in His

creation and come to this conclusion that they are lost and separated

from their concept of God.
          -That is wonderful, but it’s not sufficient.

-Any thinking person can come to the conclusion that they can’t make

 themselves righteous before God.

-Therefore God has to be the one to save them.

                   -But where General Revelation is sufficient to bring us to that point,

it is not sufficient to bring us to Jesus.

                   -And so, God came to us as the Living Word.

-He has given us Special Revelation in the Bible.

                   -The Bible makes it very clear.

                   -Jesus came to us and died in our place so that through faith in Him,

our sin is forgiven and we are made right with God.
-If I have thought hard on my plight, and then I hear the gospel
–it’s a no brainer – God has made it simple.
-Romans tells us that God has revealed Himself and
                                       “we are without excuse”.

                   -Not one of us will be able to stand before God and say

                 “you clouded my need and didn’t reveal yourself to me, so it’s not my fault.”

We all have a choice to make and if we decide to reject God, the progression advances.

          -And remember, even in this progression, the God is gently calling those who

 have rejected Him to come to Him in faith.

                   -God knows that sin brings hardship and that hardship has great

 opportunity to turn us to Him.

          -But it also hardens the heart more.

X  Sin’s Progression
       -Verse 21 tells us just what I’ve been saying, “they knew God” but ignored Him.

                   -Hard heart!

                    -CS Lewis called it the “fatal flaw”.

                    -Biblical counselors call it the “noetic effect” of sin.

-Whatever we call it, sin deceives and corrupts our thinking so we can’t

think correctly anymore.

-And sinful thinking breeds sinful actions that we seem totally logical.

          EXAMPLE  -If I come to a conclusion that my wife doesn’t love.

                             -I somehow forget the fact that she cleans my dirty socks       

and underwear.

                             -I somehow forget that she has willingly placed herself under

my not so perfect authority.

                             -I somehow forget that she does all kinds of things that she

doesn’t enjoy to make our home comfortable and clean.

                             -And I focus on the fact that I missed the football game because

she wanted to watch American Idol.
-And that is all the proof that I need to feed my thinking
that she doesn’t love me.

                   -And worse than that, then I act on that sinful thinking.

                             -I turn the cold shoulder and I don’t talk to her for a week.

                             -And since we don’t talk, our intimacy turns cold, and I

gather that all up as more evidence that she doesn’t love me.

                             -Then I do the thing that is the most logical thing I can do.

–I call my mom and complain about my wife.
                   -That’s what sin does.

                             -We are blind to our own sin that is so powerfully at work in us.

                   -If I was thinking and living by faith, if I thought my wife didn’t love me.

                         -I would renew doing all the things I should be doing all the time.

                             -I would be down at the flower shop in a flash.

                             -I would be cleaning her socks.

                             -I would be working hard to lead her in a way that is God glorifying

and restore her trust in me.

                             -I would be seeking her forgiveness for my selfish heart.

                             -I would turn off the game and the TV for that matter

and spend trying to communicate with my wife.

          -But that is not the nature or progression of sin.

                   -And we see it in this passage.

          -Verse 23 – “they exchanged the glory of God for images.”

                   -The result was that God “gave them over” to themselves.

–The “desires of their hearts.”

                   -And it’s interesting that when we are given over to our desires

–They turn sexual with a lust for more.
-God created marriage to reflect Christ and His church and

     as best and safest context for sexual intimacy and faithfulness.

-If I eliminate God then I eliminate the need for marriage.

          -Verse 25 – “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie,

and worshiped the creation”

                   -God has designed us with a capacity for worship and we always worship.

                             -The question is what or who are we worshipping?

                   -And I’m not talking about some worship experience, but the everyday

                             living our lives by faith.

                             -Since God doesn’t exist, they make “idols made to look like man

 and the creation”.
-In short, they worship themselves or the creation.

                    -And God responds by letting them go their own way,

and the sexual desires and rejection of God turn homosexual.

          -Verse 28 – “They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God”

                   -The effects of sin continue to digress in their lives.

                   -Education, knowledge, strength, power, and lust become ruling desires.

                 -And again, God gives them over to themselves.

                   -And the natural progression of sin takes them farther from God

and His righteousness and look where they end up.

                    -Verse 28 “a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

                   -Verse 29 – “filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed

 and depravity.”

-Verse 32 tells us that “although they know God’s righteous decree that  

      those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do  

         these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

                    -They do what they want even though they know that judgment is coming.                         -How sad!    

          -Now, allow me to play the part of Captain Obvious for a moment.

                   -When I read this, I can’t help but insert our Nation into the equation.

 

                   -Our culture has been at war to remove God for most of my lifetime.

                   -The result:

                             -Sexual revolution of the ‘60’s.

                             -Homosexual revolution of the early 2000’s

                             -The pursuit of approval of evil in the culture in the present.

                   -We might wonder when God is going to judge our nation?

-Wonder no more – we are in the last stages of His judgment.

                             -Don’t fool yourself into thinking that since we are enjoying amazing

prosperity, that we are living under God’s blessing.

                             -This passage would certainly speak otherwise.

X  How Do We Live?

          -It’s a little hard to end here today, because Paul doesn’t end his letter here.

         -He is in the middle of a thought about the depth of sin and still has much to say.

                   -We have questions of how to respond to the people and the culture.

                   -We have questions of how God could allow such evil and not act in

judgment on it in a way that would eliminate it.

                                       -Lightning bolts would be a nice touch!

                   -And Chapter 2 will answer these questions in a way that is again

astounding – a deep look at our hearts that desire to judge others.

Now, knowing that I might be leaving you with more questions than when I started

 today, and the fear that Romans 1 might bring,

and the wonder of how we are supposed to live in such a place, where evil

is allowed to advance and even prosper.

          -Since God’s Word is sufficient and since Romans 1 doesn’t exist in a vacuum,

let me answer our fears today by stretching our study.
READ Ps 73

          -The writer looks around the world and sees evil prospering.

-He can’t understand it and he’s tempted to give up living for God.

-But verse 17 signifies a turning point in His thinking.

          -Just what we talked about today.

          -He didn’t reject God and push God out of this thinking

and from the culture.

          -Instead, he turns back to God and soaks himself in God’s truth.

                   -God does see.

-Evil will be punished.

                   -God will be just.

                   -Through faith, God is my refuge.

 
We go back to Romans 1:17 – “the righteous will live by faith”

          -That is our key for life.

-We don’t live in response to what the world is doing, we live by faith in

what God has already done and what He is still doing in our lives.
-We live by faith in the concepts of the Gospel.

-We live by faith in a dynamic and very personal relationship with God

through His Son.

-We live by the practice of our faith every day.

          -We view the wrath being revealed as God being faithful to Himself.

          -And we renew our heart for the lost and who are deceived by their own sin.

-We live our lives in the righteousness of Christ before a dying world.

-We renew our desire to “proclaim Christ” to those who need to come into

                             a saving, dynamic relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

                  
 

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