Faithlife Sermons

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The Accusations
Does anyone watch, or read courtroom dramas?
Books, movies or TV shows based around court trials?
Court room drams can be exciting.
As the trial plays out you do not know who is going to win.
You root for one side or the other, and there are twists and turns.
Usually, one of the lawyers really starts to appear brilliant, the questions are rapid fire, someone is on the stand, sweating, fumbling for answers, the attorney fires off question after question, Isn’t it true that you were secretly involved in know how it goes.
This draws us in.
We have a favorite side, and we think Aha! he has got ‘em now, there is no way for him to weasel his way out of this.
Then what happens?
The defense attorney jumps out of his seat, and exclaims, I object!.
Your honor, the prosecutor is clearly badgering the witness.
Then the judge tells the defense attorney to re-phrase the question, and the whole thing starts over again.
In the Book of Romans, the apostle Paul is carefully building a case for guilt of the guilt of the human race.
It started back in chapter 1, verse 18,
The wrath of God is being revealed against mankind.
Paul starts to lay out his case, first against the Gentiles, or those without God.
Then in chapter 2, he places the Jewish people on the stand.
Paul points out that the Jews are a bit hypocritical,”you who pass judgement do the same things”.
in Chapter 2, verse 1.
He presents a case that they are in fact sinners too just like those that do not know God.
These are serious accusations, if true.
The Jews think that they are not subject to God’s judgement in the same way as the Gentiles, because they are His sons and daughters.
They are already in the kingdom.
In the Jewish mind, you are born a Jew.
You are either born as God’s sons and daughters, or you are not.
In or out.
Then he concludes chapter 2, with this Bombshell.
We talked about it 2 weeks ago, it echos all the way back to the Ezekiel prophecy in Ezekiel 36:26.”I
will give you a new heart and a new spirit...
Here it is again, in Romans 2:28, and 29.
Now, if we could leave it there as only applying to 1st century Jews, we could just put it aside, and move on and say it does not apply to me, I don’t have to worry about it, not applicable.
I wish it were that easy, but it’s not and here is why.
Remember this letter is written to the Church in Rome.
The “Jews” that he is talking to, in their sinfulness are in the church.
If they are in the church, but do not have a new heart, they are unconverted.
They are false converts.
Do we have false converts today?
Churches are full of them.
Jesus in talked about them in Matthew 13, churches will always contain false converts.
What do false converts in the church look like today?
Every Sunday, all over the world people gather in churches.
In those churches are those that know Jesus Christ.
They are the ones, that have genuinely repented of their sins and gave their life to Christ with a whole heart dedicated to the Lord Jesus.
But some of the people in those churches are like the Jewish people that Paul is talking about.
They think they are in because they are part of the external church.
They mistakingly think salvation depends on what the externals.
Maybe, they don’t say it in those terms, or maybe they do not think about it that way, but they behave that way.
It goes like this.
They were born to Church going parents, perhaps baptised as an infant.
They then think that the baptism does something to effect their position in God’s kingdom.
Some, surely went to Sunday School, were confirmed, and became members of the church.
Thinking that doing those things causes God to look on them with favor.
Yet their heart remains unconverted.
They have not repented of their sins, and they continue on in sin.
Maybe they do not love their neighbor, or they are engaged in some type of immorality, or lying or stealing.
And it does not bother them.
Their sin causes them no sadness.
They do not love Jesus.
I am going to read those for us, but rather than saying Jews, I am going to use Christians so that you get the feel of how this applies to the church today.
And instead of circumcision, I am going to use baptism, since that is considered a parallel.
“A person is not a Christian who is one only outwardly, nor is baptism merely outward and physical.
No, a person is a Christian who is one inwardly; and Baptism is Baptism of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.
Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. “
Now, think about this for moment, both in their context and in ours.
These people have spent their lives being a Jew.
Their circumscision is important, it is a physical symbol, in the flesh of their membership, and Paul is saying that they are under God’s judgement?
This is not going to go over very well.
Likewise, imagine standing in front of whole Church and telling them that even though they have spent there whole lives coming to church, and doing what they think is what they need to do, then telling them that they are not saved.
Imagine telling them that Baptism is not what saves them.
This is hard stuff to hear.
So it is at this point that people would want to jump up and say I object!
Paul, you mean to tell me , that there is no advantage to being a Jew?
No advantage to coming to church for all theses years?
All this is a waste of time and money?
This is what is happening in Romans 3. The apostle Paul is anticipating that objection.
Paul is skilled at presenting an argument, and skilled presenter anticipates questions people might have.
So Paul, poses this question as if he is engaging with someone in a dialogue.
He actually does this many times through out Romans, but here in these 8 verses he offers three responses to potential objections.
The First Objection
The first objection is found in verse 1, and it goes like this.
If being a Jew does not save you, if going to church and participating in all the rituals does not save you, then there is no advantage to it, no benefit.
Actually, for those that are Paul’s side, we would expect Paul to answer None!
There is no advantage.
But that is not what he says.
There is an advantage, and the biggest advantage is that they have the word of God!
That is big advantage.
The Gentiles are out there without law, without any moral standard.
That is a great advantage.
That is true for us also.
A person being around the Church, being exposed to the word of God is of great advantage.
They have opportunities the rest of the world does not have.
They have the opportunity to hear the gospel, and believe.
They have the fellowship of the believers, that are living according to the word.They have the moral standard to live by.
They are not subject to the lawlessness or the suppression of the truth like the Gentiles.
God’s word does not go out void, even in the lives of the unbelievers, it has a positive impact.
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