January 23, 2011

Romans 1:19-32

(Scripture, Ps 19)

This started out to be a short message, but because of several news reports, it got lengthened.

Attempts are made today, even from many pulpits, to assure us of the greatness of man — he is basically good and moral, and is getting better. We particularly like to think this of our children and grandchildren. But Paul shows us that such thinking is a total lie.

Man has no strength in himself for good and salvation. God does not come to strengthen the sinner so he can be good enough. Rather, he came to provide his righteousness through faith in Christ, which is a major theme of Romans.

Now God will be very blunt as he honestly describes how deep into wickedness man has fallen.

Three times we read that God gave them up...

V. 24, to uncleanness...
V. 26, to vile affections...
V. 28, to a reprobate mind...

When a man turns his back on God, God turns his back on man, and he falls deeper and deeper into his evil thoughts and actions.

V.17. As we mentioned last time, Paul builds upon one of the key passages of the Old Testament, Habakkuk 2: 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Faith means stability, faithfulness to what is revealed in the Word of God. The apposite of living by faith is living in unrighteousness.

V. 18, wrath from God upon all unrighteousness, which includes against both saved and unsaved. Unrighteous Wrath from heaven is seen today in the turmoil of nature. World wide, man is at war against God, so God's nature is at war against man, as promised in Deuteronomy 28.

Then Paul starts his list of unrighteous actions.

V. 19 gives the justification for God's wrath against all unrighteousness.

Paul will tell us in 2:13-15, that at creation, God wrote his law in the hearts of all men, and no matter how hard man tries, he cannot erase it. That is, man was made in the image of God, and he has built in a basic understanding of God and his requirements upon men.

But the natural man willfully suppress the knowledge of God. Some are more sucuessful at suppressing that knowledge than are others. And the Spirit must remove that suppression.

V. 20, not only is the knowledge of God written in the heart from Creation, but God's glory is seen in all his creation.

from the creation. At creation I believe God took Adam out and showed him the heavens and explained the gospel to Adam from the star (Ps. 19:1).

I have a series of messages on this very thing, I think Romans 10:18 (But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.) as well as Psalms 19:1-6, 7-14 and many other scriptures speak of the gospel written in the heavens. Many names of stars still survive to this day that point to Christ and the gospel.

The constellation ORION (name means, "He who cometh forth as light, the brilliant one), has one of the brightest stars in the heavens in it. This star is Betelgeuse and is a major navigation star. The name mean, "The branch coming." There are still hundreds of names surviving on all star navigation maps that point to God the Creator and his Son Jesus Christ.

V. 20, Those who want to understand about the God they see in creation, will be made to understand. Paul is clear, so they are without excuse.

How will they be made to understand? Ask Paul.

But fallen man does not know because he does not want to know. He has blanked God out. He has willingly suppressed the knowledge of God. Fallen man does not want a God he must answer to. Man wants to be his own god, and he does not want competition in his godhood.

It is interesting that God never justifies his existence.

V. 21, Because when they knew God they glorified him not as God.

Every person since Adam, whether saved or unsaved, knew God. This knowledge is built into every person. Yet fallen man does not want to know God in the sense that he must obey God. So though he knows God, he suppresses that knowledge, and refuses to glorify God. Paul will have a promise based upon glorifying God:

2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Many Christians consider salvation not much more than a vaccination against the results of their sins, as listed in v. 29. Salvation many times is nothing more than a fire escape, which will leave many surprised in that day.

In other words, vv. 18-32 applies to ALL UNGODLINESS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS that remains outside of Proverbs 28:13, 14.

13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

I Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Christ redeemed us to free us from having to obey our lusts (Romans 6:11-14) not to free us from the results of sin. He frees the believer from the cause not from the results.

God's wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and we are seeing that wrath falling in illnesses of all kinds, as well as natural disasters world wide, as the whole world has gone after the lusts of the flesh,

Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Of course, not all illnesses can be traced directly to sin, but all reap the results of sin.

The physical result of sin is no respecter of person (2:11) as God renders to every man according to his deeds (2:6) here in this present life.

In Christ, the believer escapes the wrath to come (Romans 5:9), but we are not immune to the results of our sin here in this life.

There are many examples in Scripture of the results of sin even in the best of men who allowed their children do as they pleased, such as Jacob and David.

Vv. 18-20, the basic knowledge of God's righteousness is built into everyone, leaving man without excuse.

No one will be able to plead ignorance in that day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, 2:16.

Throughout Scripture, God argues from the saved to the unsaved. That is, he points out the judgment that awaits his people for their indifference and paganism, and then he points out how much worse will it be for those outside of his people. We will not look at it, but Hebrews 12 and Psalms 73 are good examples.

V. 21. Even Christians, and we should know better, fail to glorify God as God, and be thankful.

We are seeing today that a society is never destroyed for the wickedness of the heathen; it is always destroyed because of the worldliness of God's people. God's people refusing, failing to glorify Him as God in every thought, word and deed.

Maybe they are not taught to glorify God, but we see in vv. 19, 20, that is no excuse.

V. 21, God turns the lawless mind over to its desires, which results in a completely lawless body. Sodomy reverses the very basic of God's established order.

Instead of glorifying God as God, man sees himself as god able to decide for himself apart from God's word. The end result is that God simply allows man's vain thought to control him. God withdraws his restrain and man rushes headlong to destruction. 1 Corinthians 5

Sin is punished by more sin. The reward of good is good; the reward of evil is more evil. Sin follows sin as an avenger, which we will see in chapter 2.

Our natural tenancy is to blame God for the results of our sins. But Paul shows in this letter that the mercy of God holds back the results of sin, giving us a chance to repent and change. In the end, however, if man remains hardened in his sin, the natural results will come to pass, as defined in 24-28.

We see throughout Scripture that God does not give up on man until man gives up on God.

V. 25, the truth of God has been subtlety changed into a lie for many reasons. It has taken place so slowly that the change has been accepted by the vast majority of Christians.

If anyone should know about glorifying God as God and the judgment of God against all unrighteousness, we should. It is God's people who must get back to glorifying him as God before we can expect any kind of return of society to godliness.

The fallen nature is shown in Abraham. He was born only 292 years after the flood. Noah and Abraham were alive together for 58 years, Shem lived for 502 years after the flood. The destruction of Sodom happened 400 years after the flood or 102 years before Shem died.

In fact, Shem lived for 150 years after Abraham was born and for 30 years after Jacob was given Rebekah for a wife.

All of that to say this. Shem lived through the wrath of God revealed from heaven in the flood. Though he was still alive as a living testimony, men still became completely wicked to the point Abraham was the only one who believed God enough to walk by faith, and became so wicked that Sodom had to be destroyed.

So we can see from Romans 1:21-28, that though men know God, they refuse to glorify him as God, and the result is all manner of wickedness and uncleanness to where everything they do is against nature, v. 28.

Man wants a God who:

* will allow him to sail to heaven on a smooth sea and following whichever win blows the hardest.

* Will allow him to go to heaven without no real commitment on man's part.

* Who does not demand a clean holy life of them.

* Who will allow man to live as he feels he should.

into a lie. Anything that is not what it pretends to be is a lie.

GOOD MAILING

V. 26, for this cause. Man willingly changes the truth of God into a lie. The result is that God removes the restraints, and lets man destroy himself:

1.) For even their women... The first sign is that women turn their backs on men.

I will have to admit that the real men are few and far between today.

The women are the last to be affected by moral decay and when we see corruption among the women we know that virtue is lost.

I am not that old, but I am shocked to see the downward slide of women just in my few days on earth.

Drudge report at times has news of what is taking place on college campuses. I am always shocked to see beautiful young women given over to complete abandonment to evil of all kinds.

Women used to take pride in their modesty. Now its just the opposite. They take pride in their nakedness as they reveal as much skin as possible, and still keep vital parts covered. And that includes professed Christian women.

God's restraints have been removed from the entertainment industry, particularly from TV.

The new MTV series, SKINS, has been the butt of major protests. From what I have read, it uses 15 year olds to depict drunkenness, drugs, sodomy, sex and all kinds of debauchery.

The young female star, who portrays a lesbian, justifies the show:

"It's what teens are doing. It's the way teenagers believe, I think, especially you know in certain situations when you come from home lives where your parents don't really support you or really listen to you. That's what most of these kids are going through. And so, um, the drugs and the sex, they're vices, and that's what teenagers have." (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/skins-star-defends-shows-racy-74455)

Under parental pressure, Toco Bell, GM, and others are pulling their adds from the show.

In the mean time, VIACOM, who owns MTV, is raking in a lot of money, and has increased their CEO's compensation to $84.5 million.

The Parents Television Council is calling for congregitional investigation into the show for its child pornography because of its use of 15 year olds as actors.

But the problem is the parents who pay for MTV to be brought into their homes, so their children can watch it.

God's restraints have been removed from the education establishment.

Just under the Drudge headlines about SKINS, is another headline:

Teach suspended after 2nd graders ‘Sex Acts In Class...'

The article states:

"I think everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident," Troy Flint, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, told CBS 5. "Of course, it is hard to understand how that could have occurred."

(http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/01/21/oakland-2nd-graders-reportedly-engage-in-sex-acts-teacher-suspended/)

Romans 1:28, And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Of course, it is hard for those who have consistently rejected the God of Scripture to understand what is taking place. There faith in their god is failing them.

2.) The next step is men with men. Women are concerned with women. Men are concerned with men. Women lusting after women. Men lusting after men. HOW WICKED. It is total revolt against God's order.

V. 27 receiving in themselves---

These who God has allowed to go into the lust that they wanted to now receive in themselves the recompense of their error. The payment comes due: Distress, sickness, terrible disease.

I believe that in our day we can even include the corruption of our food supply, as men seek to play god over our food supply: GMO, manufactured food, and many other things. The payment comes due in the name of hugely expensive medical costs.

V. 28 is the third time they push God aside. Then God gives them up to their debased mind, or to their perverted way of thinking, which leads to v. 29-31.

The public schools, with Christian support, have continually refused to retain God in their knowledge, and then they and the parents stand amazed that things like this take place in their domains. They have become so perverted in their thinking, that they cannot understand what is causing the evil.

V. 28, reprobate – that is, "that which does not prove itself such as it ought." The word is also translated as castaway, and rejected, both by God.

Reprobate refers to anyone in a school room or in life who cannot pass the test. It means a failure, and goes as far to pass itself off as a success, or good.

A good example is the sodomites, both female and male. They reject the truth of God that is built in them, and now consider what they are doing as good, and demand that everyone else also accept them as good.

Men, both saved and unsaved and for whatever reason, desert God in order to be their own god, able to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. We should say, they desert God for the god of this world, money. God then deserts them, leaving them to reap what they have sown.

However, we know that there is still:

Isaiah 5:25 Therefore is the anger of the LORD kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them: and the hills did tremble, and their carcases were torn in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
Isaiah 9:17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.

In other words, up until the time when there is no breath left in the sinner, the Lord's mercy is still available if he is willing to turn to the Lord.

If our actions do not stand up to the "Christian" test, we are also considered reprobate.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

They profess Christ but their actions fail the test.

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (Or reprobate.)

In other words, God can give up even his people who insist on worshiping the creature rather than the Creator.

Lawlessness will have the same results whether in the saved or unsaved.

Let me quickly sum up this section:

Vv. 23, 24, When people abandon the glory of the incorruptible God and replace him with a god more like himself, one who will all them to pursue their own lusts.

Even Christians have changed the Lord God Almighty into an image made like to himself.

Psalms 50:16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? 17 Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee. 18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. 19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. 20 Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. 21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. 23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

The result of every man serving his own god fills the news reports, and are seen all around us even in our small community.

V. 29-31 gives a list of where man goes when he serves his own god. These things are prevalent even here in our own small, out of the way community.

Many things are excused under "alternative lifestyle", and we are told over and over that even Christians are to accept these evil lifestyles. We must not be judgmental, for these people are only doing what is best for them.

However, God is certainly judgmental, and God does not condone any kind of alternate lifestyle other than the one he laid out in his word. He is not such an one as we. The wicked are receiving or will receive their just reward in themselves.

Israel could not blame God for allowing, even sending, Nebuchadnezzar to come against her, destroy Jerusalem, and carry captive those he did not kill:

Jeremiah 2:17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? 19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Hosea 13:9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.

There is no one to blame today for the terrible mess we are in but My people which are called by my name who have turned from God.

There is a news story out of PA of an abortion practitioner who killed 7 babies who were born alive, and one lady patient. His excuse is that he wanted to help those whom he grew up among. He has absolutely no conscience nor remorse.

(http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110123/ap_on_re_us/us_abortion_clinic_investigation_8)

The same can be said of those in vv. 29-31. They know the judgment of God against those things, because the basic knowledge of God is built into every man. Knowing his judgment, they continue on in their evil.

V. 32 goes further. Those who have turned from God not only do things worthy of death, but they fail to condemn those who are doing those things.

This is a very serious incitement against Christian parents who send their children to the government education system.

V. 19 clearly tells us that those who do these things, including sending their children to government schools, know that God condemns these things, but they do not care. Rather, they live their lives as they please, and find others who will agree with them, and who live the same way.

Honoring and serving the creature more than the Creator receive in themselves the just rewards of their error.

God made man to serve him, with their lives, bodies and children. When he does, he will experience joy and happiness. But when man refuses to serve God and keep his commandments, then God gives him over to vile affections to do those things that are against nature itself.

The truth of God is being changed into a lie, even in supposed western Christian countries. And then those who speak out or stand against the unnatural things that are taking place face persecution or even prosecution.

There is a pastor in California who stood publically against the sodomites, and they burned his house down.

V. 28. The unthankful, vain and foolish continue to push God aside.

Many of us were like the ones described in vv. 29-31, but then Christ changed all of that.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

At the time, their may have been a certain amount of pleasure in these activities, but then the Spirit of God revealed differently.

Because God gave them up, took his restraint off this does not release man from his responsibility.

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Christ took our eternal death, not our physical death. He suffered and died to free us from the present power of sin over us. Not from the present result so we could go on in our own sinful ways, as Paul points out here.