Faithlife Sermons

Another Narrow Road II

Turn to Romans 1. As I stated earlier, I will be on vacation for the next 2 Sundays. So it did not make a lot of sense to get back into the Book of Acts - we’ll pick that up in July. Now we spent the last two Sundays talking about this narrow road. And the idea is to make certain we are in alignment with how Scripture tells us to live. We need to listen to people, especially with those whose shoes we’ve never walked in. We also need to remain steadfast to Scripture and be careful that we do not support false or ungodly narratives. And so this morning I just want to expand that a little and answer a question that a lot of us are asking - “What are these people thinking.”
When we look at what's happening to our nation many of us are shocked by the insanity . What are these people thinking?” So let's look at Romans 1 and gain a little insight into the mindset of a society that rejects God, and then what is our response.
Romans 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Wrath (orgē) is the consequences of rejecting Yahweh / God, His morality, His boundaries, His law. These consequences can be natural and/or predetermined by God. And really has nothing to do with God being angry.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven …
Present tense - continuous. Consequences are always being revealed or experienced as individuals or society moves along. Revealed against all ungodliness (contempt, disrespect, hatred of God and His institutions) and unrighteousness (contempt, disrespect, rejection of morality and God’s laws) of men (humanity), who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. There is a truth, but it is suppressed, pushed down
Romans 1:19 ESV
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
Why is it evident? Because God wants it to be. … because God has shown it to them.
Romans 1:20 ESV
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Let's be clear, God wants to be known. He wants relationship. Therefore He has revealed Himself in countless ways. Through creation, the heavens, through miracles, through his Word, through lufe, and ultimately through his son Jesus Christ (Heb. 1). What more does God need to do? So everyone is without excuse.
Now, in verse 21 - here’s we start to see the effects of continuous rejection of God. We're not just talking about individuals, but really humanity. There is this progression of moral erosion.
Romans 1:21 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This does not mean that they had a relationship with God, but at least acknowledged He existed and that there was a common societal understanding of what was right and wrong. But, the more a society rejects the reality of God … but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Futile = worthless, nonsense. The more a person or a society rejects God, the more worthless or nonsensical their thinking and heart (seat of conscience) becomes. It doesn't mean they're not intelligent. Doesn't mean that they’re not nice people or whatever. But they do not have the mind of Christ. Their thinking becomes morally nonsense. And if thinking is morally nonsense, then what happens to behavior?
Much of what is happening in our world is because people cannot think or behave morally correct because they have rejected God. So,
Romans 1:22 ESV
Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
What’s a fool? Someone devoid of good sense or judgment. They think they're heading in the right direction but ...
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Now here's the thing, way down deep inside most people know that what they're doing is wrong, but they suppress the truth. So, they became fools
Romans 1:23–24 ESV
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
It doesn't say God gave up on them. God loves us. He does not give up on humanity! The cross of Jesus Christ is evidence that God does not give up on us, but what does humanity do to God?
To give them up means to deliver. God delivers humanity over to what humanity wants. And if society wants a nation without God and His laws, then that society will reap the consequences - which is what’s happening.
Romans 1:25 ESV
because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
In the next 2 verses, pay attention to the word natural. The word natural in Greek is physikōs. Where we get our word physical - the physical or natural world. This should give us a clue, that even if we took God out of the picture, there is still a natural order to life and behavior. And to ignore that natural order or go outside its boundaries procures consequences.
Romans 1:26–28 ESV
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
This is my own interpretation here. We acknowledge that the world has gone crazy, but the problem can't be because we have rejected God. That's silly! There must be another reason.
They did not see fit to acknowledge God. This is humanism. Humanism purports that humans are inherently good. But, even when humans are the problem, humans are the solution. We humans are capable of fixing ourselves - we don’t need God. Given enough time, we humans will work everything out and we'll be just fine. According to humanism, we've had millions of years to work it out - how’s it working? Nonsense.
What’s a debased mind? It’s similar to the word futile, but a much stronger word. A mind bent on evil and wickedness because it is incapable of moral and ethical judgment. Question - can good people or nice people have a debased mind? I think so.
Romans 1:29–32 ESV
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
A majority of leaders in our country and even some of the faith communities have given approval to all sorts of practices that are evil and wicked. How long can God put up with the nation who continually rejects Him and embraces sin?
So what do we do? We know we're supposed to pray. We know we're supposed to stand for the truth. But let's look at something some of us often miss. Go back to verse 14. The Apostle Paul wrote,
Romans 1:14–15 ESV
I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Romans 1:16–17 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
What we are experiencing in our nation and even throughout the world is simply the result of a continuous rejection of God’s Kingdom. And if society rejects God’s Kingdom, there is only one other kingdom to embrace - the kingdom of darkness. Yet, we have an obligation to the civilized and uncivilized, to the wise in Christ and to the fools who are not.
How, where, and when will you and I fulfill our obligation?
For me, right now it begins with the words of Jesus while He was bleeding and dying on the cross.
Luke 23:34 ESV
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
Before we close, what is your take-away this morning?
Receive Christ.
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