*Man whose wife took her life.
*”How did you do it?”
Rom. 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
*If you read chapter 1 then 2 you would notice a shift from “They, them” to “You, your.”
*Who was the “They” (chapter 1) and who is the “you” in chapter two?
*The “they” are those who have been exposed to General revelation, God had made himself known to them through what he had made so that they were without excuse when they made the “terrible exchange.”
*The exchanged the truth of God for a lie…the Creator for things created…Freedom for bondage.
*The “They” were those who did not respond to the light God had given them and so he gave them over to the dark that they demanded.
*Brings up a question…what about those who have never heard the gospel…those who only have general revelation?
*You can be justly judged by rejecting general revelation but you cannot be saved by it.
- God is good, God is just…we don’t understand all of his ways…but because of what we saw on the cross…we know he is trustworthy…he will do what right.
- God gives more light to those who respond to the light they have been given.
-Acts 8: An important African official was traveling through Palestine…he was reading the in book of Isaiah a prophecy of Jesus.
-The Holy Spirit instructed Philip to go run alongside the chariot.
-He heard the man reading Isaiah and asked him “Do you know who Isaiah was referring to.”
-“No” said the man.
-Philip started in Isaiah and shared the gospel and the African became a follower of Christ.
-Acts 10: A similar story happened to a Roman soldier named Cornelius…God sent someone to him.
-African who was to be sacrificed.
*What these stories have in common, besides people responding to what they know of God and then God sending them more…is that he sent someone to share the gospel with them…
*We must not sit back and say “God will send more light”…he has sent us…we might be the one he uses in a person’s life to be the next step in coming to faith.
*So the “they” were those who did not respond to the light they had been given…they made the terrible exchange.
*Okay…who is the “You?”
*Paul is using a writing style that was common at the time called a “diatribe”
*It is setting your position against an hypothetical person or people.
*Hypothetical in that he was not addressing specific people (Bill, or Jane in Rome)…but he was addressing real kinds of people that were there and everywhere.
*The “you” here were judgmental moralizers…Jews mostly, but really anyone who thought that they themselves were above judgment…but were more than happy to judge others.
*By this time Paul had been preaching for 20 years, there are no surprises for him by now.
*As he talks about those who have rejected God though they only had limited knowledge of him…he knows where the self-righteous in his audience will go in their minds…
*”This stuff doesn’t apply to me…I’m good…God is good with me…I don’t do that bad stuff.”
*As Paul outlined the rejection of God and the fact that the “theys” had turned from God to idolatry…the “you’s” were cheering him on…
*”Yeah, that’s right…they are depraved, they exchanged the truth for lie…they do all that other bad stuff Paul said.”
*”I’m so glad I’m not a ‘they’.”
*Paul says,”Well in fact they is you…you are the same.”
*He has learned that after laying out the case that all are in need of the gospel…some will think…”Everyone except me…”
*So he goes from “they” to “You”
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
*Not that everyone does every one of these sins…but that everyone sins.
*Remember in chapter 1:18 to the end of chapter 3…He is laying out his case for the universal need for the gospel…the “You” are those who believe they are above and beyond judgment.
*If they really believe they are beyond judgment…then they are putting themselves beyond salvation.
*There always have been those, still are, who believe they do not need to be “saved”…they are just fine as they are.
*I’ve started watching a PBS series called the “West”
*In a part of one episode there is a woman and her husband who are saved through the 2nd Great Awakening…also called the Frontier Revival.
*They left their safe lives out East and around 1820 went to the untamed West to evangelize Native Americans.
*They were eventually martyred, killed by a tribe they were living with…but of course the way the story is presented is that she was woman who had no idea what she was really doing taking her religion and unsuccessfully trying to impose it on a group of people who did not want or need what she offered.
*The perspective on this woman is that she was a well-intentioned but ignorant woman who believed these people with their own spirituality needed to have her religion imposed on them…when in fact they were just fine…but where they?
*Chuck Colson, a Nixon henchman was went to Prison because of his part in Watergate.. .was mocked when his autobiography came out entitled “Born Again”
*He really had been born again in 1973….and lived as faithful follower of Christ until his death in 2012…he was a different man.
*He was the laughing stock of the D.C. elite, of which he used to be one of…”Born again” is the stupid, naive, silly talk of religious fanatics.
*Colson used to be smart, ruthless, but smart…now he was a joke…but was he?
*Maybe his pre-christian life of self-serving, ruthless disregard for God was the ultimate joke?
*What if all people are hopelessly lost without Christ?
*What if “Born again” is a real thing, a real need…Jesus said it was a pre-requisite for life in Kingdom.
*The “You” Paul is addressing are the ones who hear of the need for grace and believe it doesn’t apply to them…they don’t need what they presume they already have.
*This group has experienced God’s kindness, patience…he has been patient with them in order that they might turn to him and receive grace.
*But instead of responding as they should with “repentance”…a change of heart and mind leading to a change in life direction…They show contempt for his rich kindness.
Rom. 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
*God’s kindness towards them was not an invitation to take him for granted…but rather an invitation to receive his free gift.
*God in his kindness calls all people to “repent”.
*Last week I talked about the word “Wrath”…the wrath of God is a phrase people react strongly against.
*Repent is likewise a word that receives strong, negative reactions.
*”Repent” stirs images of a strange, dirty, silly man holding a sign…totally out of sync the real world.
*It is a word that implies I have a deep need that I cannot meet…that I am, not ok…this is offensive to many…even though it is obvious that we are not ok on our own.
*”Repent” is a word that means to “turn around and go a different direction…mind, then life.”
*When you turn a wheel on a large truck you turn the entire truck.
*Repentance is the turning of a person’s heart and mind to God…”I am sorry I have gone my own way, I choose to go your way.”
*When the heart and mind turn…like the wheel on the truck…the life turns…like the truck itself.
*It is not a silly word…it is a transformational reality.
*For all who have turned from their sin to God and have experienced freedom…the fact that God’s kindness leads to repentance makes perfect sense.
*The opportunity to repent is a very great kindness of God…even the sadness, regret, pain…that sometimes leads us to see our need…is his severe mercy.
*So the “you” that Paul is addressing show contempt for God’s kindness by refusing to turn God’s way.
Rom. 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
*Here’s how I picture this.
*”Paul, I hear what you are saying about those wicked unbelieving pagans…they are disgusting…but I’m a good person…I believe in God…God believes in me…I’m good.”
*”But God is going that way…and you are going the other way.”
*”Yeah, I see what you are saying…but I believe in God, I’m a good person…I don’t do all that bad stuff you mentioned.”
*”Yeah, really you do do the same stuff…see, the direction of your life is heading away from God toward the same cliff as the other…you are walking away from God…do you hear that?…that is God calling you to turn around and head his way.”
*”Thanks, but I’ve walked this way for sometime and have yet to fall off a cliff…I’m good, because God is good.”
*”God is good, and you are not, and you should not take his invitation to turn around for granted…it won’t always be there…turn around and head towards him.”
*Let’s stop…and try to think of this like we think about electricity or gravity or a flat tire on your car rather than how we tend to think about…”religion”
*Either Jesus and all his followers, including many of us are deluded…or those who do not follow Jesus are lost.
*What is not a real option is that the gospel may be “true” or needed for me, but not for others.
*Francis Schaeffer’s circles…man starting with man…could discover truth and meaning.
*Then the endless rows of circles and the crossing out was broken…man gave up his optimism for pessimism…truth does not exist or is not knowable.
*Now, there is “your truth” “My truth”…but of course…this is never applied in the real world.
*We don’t handle electricity or gravity or flat tires that way…because electricity can kill you even if you have good motives as you touch it, gravity makes things fall down even if you wish they would fall up, and flat tires do not roll even if you have a really good attitude and are driving to help out a friend…doesn’t matter…realty is it is what it is apart from what we feel or believe about it.
*People may discuss “their religion, their truth” but then when they decide to leave the coffee shop they all walk through doors, not walls.
*This is the nature of real reality…some things are true (real) and some things are false (not real)
*This is true for how you exit coffee shops as well as ultimate realities like heaven and hell that you might discuss in a coffee shop.
*It doesn’t really matter if people like the idea of wrath or the need to “repent…it only matters if these things are real (true) and if so…they are super important…all important.
*To throw around verbiage like…”You are narrow minded, mean spirited…trying to convince others to believe what you believe.”
*The only question that matters is this…is the gospel real or not?
*Electricity is not mean if you grab it and it kills you…but it is real…and because it is real it must dealt with as it is not as we wish it were.
*Next Paul makes another statement that on the surface is surprising.
Rom. 2:6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”
*Okay, now that’s confusing.
*I thought Romans was the “faith alone, grace alone” book…and Paul is the mortal enemy of works based salvation.
*Did Paul forget himself here?
“God will give to each person according to what he has done.”
*We know what this doesn’t mean…it doesn’t mean we can earn salvation…so now it only remains to know what it does mean.
*Here’s how he said the same thing in another letter he wrote.
Eph. 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
*Here’s how James said it.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
*I think these verses have sometimes been unnecessarily confusing…do we have to work in order to become a Christian or not? NO
*Do we have work in order to stay a Christian or not? NO
*But does Christianity work? Yes.
*It works because it is real, true…change follows conversion because conversion is a spiritual reality…because God is real.
*Paul said in Eph. 2:8,9…we are saved by God grace, apprehended by our faith…so we have nothing to boast about…it is all a work of God.
*Then in the next sentence…we are his handiwork…created anew in Christ Jesus…to do his good works.
*Once again the order is important…He saves…Then we work…because his salvation works.
*We are not working for his love, we are working out his love that he has put in our lives.
*And the motivation is important as well…He loves us first…then we love him…and our love for him is the engine that drives our efforts to please him.
Rom. 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
*To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality…he will give eternal life.
*Isn’t that a clear statement that we don’t know if we are really ok until its all over?
*No its not…its a statement of the reality that those who have been born again…will persevere to the end.
1John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
*We are not left guessing as to our eternal condition.
*What Paul is saying is that those who belong to him will change, and the change will endure because the change is real
*The presence or absence of saving faith in our hearts will be disclosed by the presence or absence of good works of love in our lives. John Stott
*Angela Mayo “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
*God of course knows the heart…but the heart is revealed, ultimately in the way we live our lives.”
1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
*Faith that fizzles at the finish was faulty at the first.
*God empowers his people to keep his commands in growing fashion.
*This doesn’t mean that we won’t stumble, or even take longer forays into the wilderness away from him…but we will have conviction, we will be miserable…we can no longer wallow in the mud because are not longer made that way.
*This passage is not about the evils of judging people.
*Paul is making a judgment about people who judge others but do the same things themselves.
*We are not able to judge motives and intents…but clearly we are to judge certain behaviors and beliefs as wrong or right.
*This is about the kind of person who is quick to judge others but fails to judge their own condition accurately.
*It is about the failure of accurate self-judgment…in chapter 1 and chapter 2…Paul says…”we are without excuse.”
*Here Paul says, you have no excuse if you see clearly enough what is wrong and right that you judge others…but fail to apply that judgment to yourself.
*Here and in chapter 1, Paul is removing excuses…showing how the need is real and the need is obvious…or at least should be.
Change shows up in our lives…perseverance is evidence of salvation.
*Security of the believer (those who are saved cannot be lost)
*Perseverance of the believer (those are saved will persevere)
*Two practical realities here:
- We should see change is overall life direction not choice by choice perfection.
*It is possible to live in sin…but not happily so…and not continually so.
- Those who have been born again have changed and will change and their faith will endure…but God is the one who began it and he will keep it.
Rom. 14:4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
Phil. 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
2 Sam 9 King David asked if there was anyone left in the family line of Saul that he could show kindness to because of his dead friend Jonathan’s sake.
*Turns out there was…Jonathan had a crippled son alive living in a place called Lo Debar…a place that means “no where”
*David had the man, Mephibosheth brought to him and said “You will always eat at my table.”
*Mephibosheth bowed down and said “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me.”
*David made Mephibosheth royalty…gave him the property of his grandfather, he lived out his life a prince.
*Here’s the picture… A crippled man, whose family had been disgraced…living what would have been a horribly difficult life…not knowing the access he had to the King…and the privileges that went with that access.
*We can and do live like Mephibosheth.
*We are invited to the King’s table…to live in fellowship and friendship with God.
Romans 2: “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”
-Glory: the manifestation of God himself.
-Honor: God’s approval
-Immortality: the unending joy of God’s presence
*The one who is born of God will throughout life and beyond…continue to pursue God…not perfection in action but perfection in direction.
*Their lives are pointed his way…we will continually be reoriented to him by him.
*My friend: “How did you do it?”
*I was not looking for new answers, I was looking for confirmation of old ones…exactly what I got.
- A close friend did not leave his side for the 4 days he lay shaking. Many others came alongside as well…no surprise there…he lived in community.
- He turned to not from God…he was confused, disoriented…but his heart turned to God.
*Left of the Bang*
*we are not to nervously question ourselves throughout our lives as to whether we belong to God or not…here’s the right answer to how we live.
Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
*Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector…the one who began it and who will make sure you finish.
*What does that even mean? Fix your eyes on Jesus?
- Pay attention to him…what does he want
-mess up fess up move on
- Pay attention to others…love him by loving them.
- Do this in community…he puts his people in bodies so they may thrive.
*But how do I KNOW…we are left at his mercy, we must trust him…if he fails us we are doomed…he will not fail us.
2 Cor. 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.