Romans 1-3 continued...
"The wrath of God is being revealed from
heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who
suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may have
be known about God is plain to them, because God has made
it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's
invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have
been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts
Why do we need the righteousness that
is by faith? Our problem in the presentation of the gospel
is that we don't make people see that they are needy before
we present the gospel. The gospel need the preparation of
the fact that we are lost and need Jesus Christ. Many people--most
of the world today--doesn't even know that they're lost! The
gospel is You're in trouble, sick in sin, and you need
Jesus Christ. The Bible tells you the truth about yourself
and the truth isn't always pretty. The Law of God in the Bible
is a spiritual mirror. James, Jesus half-brother said so in
his letter. James 1:22-25. "Do not merely listen to the word,
and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says. Anyone who listens
to the word but does not what it says is like a man who looks
at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes
away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man
who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,
and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard,
but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." So we see
James, Jesus' brother, defining the Law of God as a spiritual
mirror. Just as a mirror can't cleanse us, neither can the
Law all by itself. The Law doesn't cleanse us of the dirt,
it only shows us we're sinners, in need of Jesus Christ and
His righteousness, His transforming power and healing. Sin
is like the Aids virus. You can have it a long time and not
know you're sick. The Law, when used properly shows us where
the sin is in our lives. Then we're supposed to go to Jesus
and get his help to overcome the sin. We can't do it by ourselves
in our own power. Our righteousness is by faith, through the
power of God working in us. Our law-keeping is in the power
of Jesus dwelling in us through the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit. John Newton was a slave trader--a rotten person who
did rotten things. He wrote "Amazing Grace" after he was saved,
but not before he realized what a wretch he had been. He wrote,
"Amazing grace, how sweet that sound that saved a wretch like
me." John saw what he was. John saw what the Bible says about
all of us--that we're sinners. Satan tells people the lie
that we're not sinners. It goes right back to Eden.
Paul in Romans 1 goes on here to show the world is lost in
sin. Verse 18, "The wrath of God is being revealed from
heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who
suppress the truth by their wickedness..." Paul puts sin
into two categories: 1) ungodliness, and 2) unrighteousness.
- Ungodliness is "living like there is no God."
- Unrighteousness is "living against the will of God. Even
without the Bible we have a sense or conscience, of what
is right and wrong.
The Great Awakening which swept across the
United States and back into Europe began with Jonathan Edwards
reading in a monotone a sermon titled "Sinners in the hands
of an angry God." The people were frightened by this knowledge.
God's aim is to get rid of all evil. He is outraged at the
evil, the sin, which is wrecking and taking peoples lives.
The Flood in Noah's time was universal. It was God's wrath
manifested against ungodliness and unrighteousness. Look also
at Sodom and Gomorrah. John 3:16. "For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only [begotten] Son, that whoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." 1
Corinthians 16:22. "If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse
be on him. Come, O Lord!" Ephesians 2:1-3. "As for you, you
were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used
to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the
ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at
work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among
them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
[or our flesh] and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
You don't break God's laws, in reality, they break you. You're
broken by them. Look at what God's planning for sinner's.
God is a righteous God. If we do not repent, here is what
he's planning. Psalm 7:11-17. "God is a righteous judge, a
God who expresses his wrath every day. If he does not relent,
he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming
arrows. He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble
gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops
it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes
recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness
and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High." As
you can see, nobody gets away with anything. It says in Romans
12 that we should be good to those who treat us with evil,
so that we make room for the wrath of God if they don't repent.
Don't be caught in the cycle of evil, but destroy evil with
good. God will repay evil for evil if repentance isn't forthcoming.
God's wrath will eventually come upon this world. It is going
to come upon this world. The Bible says the wrath of God will
come when people at a time when people are calling for the
very rocks to fall on them to hide them from the Seven Last
Plagues. [To see what this wrath entails, go to http://thesource.khouse.org
and order the cassette series titled "Iron Mixed With Clay"
and go to http://calvarychapel.org
and order the cassette series titled "END TIMES, World Events
& The Return of Jesus Christ." The Biblical "tribulation"
is none other than the coming World War III, the deadliest
war mankind will ever go through. Some Bible prophecies indicate
that only 1/10th of the world's population will
live through this deadly world war. If you are not presently
a Christian, born-again, it would behoove you to investigate
this, and take a serious look at where this present world
and its' societies are headed.]
How do we escape the wrath of God? Look at 1 Thessalonians
1:9-10, "...for they themselves report what kind of reception
you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to
serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from
heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us
from the coming wrath." Paul's talking to this brand-new baby
church. Jesus who delivers us from the wrath of God--let's
continue the thought. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. "For God did not
appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through
our Lord Jesus Christ." God has provided a way for us to escape
his wrath--a relationship with Jesus Christ. How do you escape
the wrath of God?--you go where the fire's already burned.
Jesus took the wrath of God, took the heat, had it burned
out on him. He took our place. If we are in Jesus, under grace,
we are where the wrath of God has already been. The fire of
that wrath has already gone out and we are safe. Our ultimate
salvation is secure in Jesus. We will be in that beautiful
resurrection to immortality Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians
Romans 1:19, "...since what may be known about God is plain
to them, because God has made it plain to them." The wrath
of God is for those who think they're getting away with something.
Now you may say, 'How can God get down on someone who hasn't
even seen a Bible? Well, God has put within the consciousness
of every man and woman the fact that He exists. We instinctively
know that there is someone out there who is not of us, not
human, but beyond human. Secondly, the Bible says that 'it
is the fool who says there's no God. Someone else has said
that there are no atheists in a foxhole. Eddie Rickenbaucher
said "There are no atheists on a life-raft." God has given
us his creation to prove his existence. Verse 20, "For
since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his
eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being
understood from what has been made, so that men are without
excuse." One of the biggest proofs of God's existence
is the creation. A close examination of God's creation, the
physical world we live in and the universe around us disproves
evolutionary theory. [Be sure to order Dr. Mark Eastman's
book "Creation by Design". You can order online at: http://www.thewordfortoday.org/product_nav.html
. CLICK ON "Other Material", and then on "Calvary Basics."
You will find Dr. Eastman's book listed here.]
Psalm 19:1-4 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they
pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out to the ends of the earth, their words
to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a
tent for the sun..." Today even more than in the past we have
no excuse, what with the Hubble Orbital Telescope taking billions
of spectacular photographs of the heavens, to the very end
of the known universe. The Hubble Space Telescope has even
seen to the edge of our known universe, some astronomers believe
to the very observable point of the Big Bang, the Beginning
of time and space as we know it. There is incredibly complex
order out there--a universe of laws. Pagans even knew of God's
existence. 100 years before the birth of Christ this pagan
Roman, who didn't believe in the God of the Bible, wrote:
"When we lift our eyes to the heavens and consider the celestial
bodies, what can be more manifest, more obvious, than that
there must be a supreme intelligence by whom they are governed.
For the life of me I cannot understand why a man who doubts
this should also not find it natural to question the sun exists.
The evidence is not more convincing for the sun's existence
than for God's. If mankind were not deeply and unalterably
convinced that God is, our conception of him could not have
endured, steadfast, unwavering and ever growing in power as
the centuries roll on and the generations of man come and
go. All other ideas founded in the shifting sands time bears
away before our eyes." Now that's a pagan Roman! He's saying
"Look at the sky!" "The vast majority of mankind, though they
never knew of Moses, nonetheless [to them] nature is the teacher,
the soul is the pupil" said another.
The reformer John Calvin commented on this verse: "Man was
created to be a spectator on this formed world. And eyes were
given him that he might, by looking on so beautiful a picture,
be led to the author Himself." No wonder one of the devil's
great masterpiece's is the theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution goes against everything you can see
and observe about nature. The Hubble Space Telescope shows
there was a beginning. Decay of radio-active elements shows
there was a beginning of space and time as we know it. Space,
time and matter had a beginning. Hebrews 1:10 states, "In
the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands." Look at Acts
14:17, which says, "Yet he has not left himself without testimony:
He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops
in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and
fills your hearts with joy." The entire ecosystem as we know
it did not exist 65,000,000 years ago. It was totally different
and unsuitable for mankind. Then, as a famous geologist-paleontologist
pointed out (Sprague de Camp),"It was as if a curtain was
wrung down on the old and all of a sudden, the new appeared..."
referring to the flora and fauna that is suitable for mankind.
This evolutionary paleontologist-geologist was amazed at the
total lack of connective evolutionary evidence between the
two types of ecosystems and the geologic suddenness of the
demise of one and arise of the other (understand that suddenness
for a geologist and paleontologist is measured in millions
of years! But for any kind of evolution to work, if that is
even within the realm of possibility, it would require multiple
billions of years, not millions.). He didn't want to admit
it, be the evidence pointed to the two ecosystems having arisen
through an act of creation!
We have been taught in the past that man's concepts about
God has evolved to where it is now, in belief about one
God. The idea was that man evolved into monotheism.
But do you know, something happened in 1930 that just blew
that theory apart! Independently working archeologists, socialiologists,
and anthropologists discovered in cultures all over the world
that the actual truth was, there societies all began
with a belief in one God. And instead
of evolving into monotheism, they de-volved into polytheism
and idolatry, just like the Bible says. This is proven very
thoroughly in a book titled: "Eternity In Their Hearts" by
Don Richardson. He documented all these cultures and how they
worshipped the "Good Sky God." [This can be ordered online
for under $10.00]
[This expository study was written based on
sermon notes taken from a sermon given by pastor J. Mark Martin
of Calvary Community Church, Phoenix, AZ.]
Romans 1:21-23, "For although they knew God,
they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him,
but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts
were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became
fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images
made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."
The problem with humans beings isn't that we have to know
God, the problem is that we need to know
God. The problem isn't about God revealing himself, but about
people rejecting God. Even though people knew God, Paul was
saying, they rejected God. What did God tell Jeremiah about
the human heart absent from the guidance of God's Holy Spirit?
Jeremiah 17:9. "The heart is deceitful above all things and
beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
These things happen when you don't worship God. If you reject
the truth of God, don't expect to see any more in the future.
The Bible teaches that man's religious beliefs have de-volved
into polytheism. Man now worships himself and his self-image.
The Egyptians and Romans worshipped eagles and birds of prey,
and four-footed creatures. The problems with India are religious,
not food. Cows and mice eat up their grain stores while people
starve, worshipping those same creatures, not daring to kill
one of them. To have a cow come marching into ones living
room in India and relieve herself, is considered to be an
honor. The Egyptians worshipped the scarab beetle. This is
the beetle that eats cow manure. God says something about
images in Exodus 20:4-6. "You shall not make for yourself
an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the
earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down
to them or worship them; I am the Lord your God, punishing
the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth
generation of those who hate me, but showing mercy to a thousand
generations of those who love me and keep my commandments."
People want to worship something, so they worship bleeding
statues, weeping statues... Isaiah 44:12-20, "The blacksmith
takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an
idol with hammers, he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water
and grows faint. The carpenter measures with a line and make
an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and
marks it with compasses. He shapes it in the form of a man,
of man in all his glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. He
cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let
it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine,
and the rain made it grow. In is man's fuel for burning; some
of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes
bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes
an idol and bows down to it. Half of the wood he burns in
the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat
and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, 'Ah! I
am warm; I see the fire.' From the rest he makes a god, his
idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and
says, 'Save me; you are my god.' They know nothing, they understand
nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand. No one stops
to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
'Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing
from what if left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?' He
feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save
himself, or say, 'Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?'"
People never thought of Who gave the rain that watered the
tree they cut down to make their idols, much less of Who created
trees in the first place. Let's look at Deuteronomy 7:25-26.
"The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do
not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it
for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable
to the Lord your God. Do not bring a detestable thing into
your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction.
Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction."
1 Corinthians 10:19-22, "Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered
to an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are
offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be
participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the
Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in
both the Lord's table and the table of demons. Are we trying
to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"
Strong advice from the apostle Paul. Unbeknownst to the
owners, demons often accompany the possession of these things,
yes, totally unknown to the owner. Don't open yourself up
to demons by possessing idols, even thought you may view them
as precious artifacts or art. I'm not kidding, demons,
unknown to the owner, have come into households because they
"belong" to the owned artifact or idol. They feel they have
a right to accompany the idol that represents them. God was
telling them that, when they went into the Promised Land,
they would find a lot of idols. Why did God says this? He
tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:19-22, which we just read. Because
demons inspired the making and use of these idols. When you
worship these things, or bring these things into your home,
you bring demons in. The Navajo cachinas are idols fashioned
after demonic manifestations the Navajo's have really seen.
Unicorns have demonic origins. Demons can actually accompany
the possession of these things, unknown to us. Don't open
yourself up to demons by possessing idols, even though you
may view them as "art".
We pay a price to follow Christ. He paid the ultimate price,
and he asks us to forsake what's bad for us. Is that so high
a price to pay?
Another form of idolatry is putting something ahead of God.
Satan can also stuff God out of our lives by all the activities
that tend to get crowded into our daily existence. How much
time do we give to God, and also Godly fellowship with God's
people? As it gets close to the end, Satan is going to try
to crowd God out of our lives more and more. We have to put
Him back into our lives more and more to offset this. You
could say Deuteronomy 7 is old covenant stuff, but you can
turn to the book of Acts and see where they gathered up all
this pagan stuff they had, books of magic and had a huge bonfire
with all this stuff. They burned it all. It's New Testament
also. Don't become fanatical, but listen to God's Spirit.
Satan the devil is not bothering you or me, I assure you.
We're not that important. He's a created being. He can only
be in one place at a time. As the saying goes, he's got bigger
fish to fry. But if you've got this junk in your house--if
your worshipping images or venerating images--you've got Saint
Jude buried in the backyard, so you'll sell your house--give
me a break! Is anything more idolatrous than that? Guys, if
you think this advice is crazy, then maybe your foolish heart
has been darkened.
"Professing to be wise, they became fools and worshipped idols."
Let's not do that. Let's clean house. Just one more word,
if you're husband isn't a Christian, and the cachina collection
is his, don't you dare go home and burn it! Use wisdom. Some
of you may be in the position where you can't do anything
about the stuff there. When we go to a Chinese restaurant
and there are Chinese gods all around, we can't burn them
or destroy this artwork. Reading your fortune is fortune telling--eat
the cookie, yes, but don't read the fortune. Following Jesus
is 100 percent or nothing. Jesus says "If you're not with
me, you're against me."
[This expository study was based on sermon notes
taken from a sermon given by pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary
Community Church, Phoenix, AZ.]