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Romans 1:18-32

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“God is Exchanged”

Romans 1:18-32


Q&A 6

Q&A 10


This is Paul’s basic understanding as he approaches

            God created people good – in his own image

                        So that they might:

                                    Know God

                                    Love God

                                    Live with God


            But … in the same breath … the creator God is angry about man’s sin

Paul is going to deliver the bad news first before the good news

Bad news: v. 18 – “The wrath of God is being revealed”

            Wrath of God

The wrath of God should never be confused with human anger for it not something that is uncontrolled.  God is able to control his anger – even in the midst of being angry.  God’s wrath is justified: it is a holy response to the unholy, a pure rejection of the impure. In fact, for God not to express wrath at much of what goes on in our world would be wrong. Not only is His wrath justifiable by his very nature—failure to respond in wrath would be doing a disservice to his very character.

                        Going to talk about until 3:20

Paul writing to mixed group: Jews and Gentiles

            Specifically targeting Gentiles

                        That’s us

                                    This is great finger-pointing passage – let’s not do it

                                                We need to see ourselves here in every word

                                                            Even if we are not guilty of the specific sins we are under God’s wrath b/c of our first parents, Adam and Eve  -- H.C. Q&A 7 – “we are born sinners—corrupt from conception on.”

Cut to the chase – homosexuality – we will not be pointing fingers and saying, “You bad, bad, bad people!” 

Want us to do – take that homosexual that you know – might even be related – put him right next to you – put your arm around them and say, “We’re in this thing together.  I am no better than you.  My sins deserve the wrath of God just as much as yours do.”

So in our text tonight…


1 God’s revelation and Man’s exchange (18-23)

            Paul begins right where we would expect him to: God can be known

                        General revelation: general knowledge of God

                        Not special revelation: specific knowledge of God

            But even this general knowledge was sufficient – so that there would be no excuse


            But they exchanged the glory of the immortal (eternal) God


                        Christmas – get a sweater – don’t like – so I take it back and get a different one

                        Same here: exchange = “to change one thing for another”

                                    But not dealing with a simple sweater

                        Illustration: Somebody demonstrates for you

                                    A machine that makes money – real money

                                    In the course of the demo – they stamp out some $100 bills

                                    Then make you this offer:

                                                The machine (going to take some maintenance)

                                                The money – can go and buy anything right now

                        Which do you choose: the wise man chooses the machine – the money produced is endless

                        This is exactly what happens:

                                    Man exchanges a relationship with the Creator/Maker/Sustainer of the Universe for a relationship with the mortal creation.

We do this all the time: anytime we place a greater value on that which we can hold in our hands – that which we can see and touch – we are exchanging a relationship with the Creator God for a relationship with what we can create.

            Car, boat, money, or prestige, recognition

                        Anything that can be tangibly seen here on earth

                                    You fill in the blank for yourself

As a result of the exchange…

2 God gives them over (24-25)

            Not immediate

Even in the days of Noah, “when the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5),

The Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 3:20: “the patience of God waited.”

            But God here doesn’t actively hand them over

Instead, he abandons

            “God gave them over” other translations – “God gave them up”

He abandons sinners to natural consequences

            Galatians 6:7

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."

                        What this means: there’s a natural order to consequences


But even so, Paul says that “the Creator is forever praised. So let it be!”

                        God cannot be blamed

                                    Might be some who would say, “God cannot do this!”  “Is not God a God of love?  Where is the mercy?  Where is the grace?”

            The grace and mercy is right there in God’s wrath

                        God’s wrath is corrective in nature

                                    That it might lead to repentance

                                                And lead to healing

As it says in Isaiah 19:22:

Isaiah 19:22 (NIV)

22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.

3 What God gives them over to (26-32)

            Not going to go into the details

                        I believe they are self-explanatory

                                    But pay special attention to vv. 29-31 – a catalog of common sins

                                                This is why we cannot point fingers – esp. at those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality – b/c even the sins that are common to man bring out the very same wrath of God

                        Natural progression – a downward spiral

                                    Hits rock bottom

                                                Not only do these things – but give approval to those who do them


Fred Phelps -- Westboro Baptist Church

            Don’t let the name fool you – every brand of Baptist denomination has disowned

                        He takes this passage in quite a different direction

                                    Yes, this is the guy who pickets the funerals of servicemen

                        Uses it to promote hatred towards those who are homosexual

                                    If you ever listen to one of his sermons – available on the internet

                                                You will hear hatred laced with profanity – all from a “pulpit”

                        But to be honest – I can see where he gets his interpretation – it’s all there

                                    But he lifts it out of its context

                                                The context is the gospel – the good news – the power of God that we see in v. 16 – “for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

John 3:19-20 (NIV)

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Humanity has chosen not to know God

Humanity has chosen the darkness over the light

John 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

But God has chosen to know humanity

            This is why he came in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ

                        He came to know … to live … and to walk among sinful man.  When we realize how sinful man is and how sinful we are – we see anew the power of the good news of God.

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