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The Inward Reality

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The Inward Reality                                                                            February 8, 2009

Romans 2:17-29                                                                          

Pastor Chet Klope

Introduction: DNA

I am going to assume that most or all of us have heard of DNA

Deoxy-ribo-nucleic acid (DNA)

It is impossible to study biology with including some investigation of

          Deoxy-ribo-nucleic Acid  or DNA

I won’t bore you with a science lesson today

          1.  Because many of us would not be that interested…bore you

          2.  Many of our young people already are getting this in school…bore you

          3.  I really only have the smallest bit of knowledge on it anyway

                    And few things are more boring

                              Than having someone talk on something

                                        They don’t really know anything about to begin with

But let me share just a couple things I think I know about DNA


is the fundamental building block

for an individual's entire genetic makeup–our hereditary blueprint

determines our physical characteristics, such as

eye and hair color, height, and bone structure

is a component of virtually every cell in the human body.

          Except red blood cells

is the same in each cell and

it does not change throughout a person's lifetime.

          Same in your blood, skin, saliva, bones, hair, etc

It can be damaged but it is very difficult to do

          But your Body actually has processes that are repairing

                    The DNA continuously is repairing

                              Always on the look our to repair DNA damage

And I think one of the most amazing things about it is

That it is both complex and relatively simple

is made up of 4 different A T C G nucleotides

          This four molecules form the bases for virtually everything in DNA

combine in various ways to make tens of thousands of different

          DNA---to---RNA---to ---Proteins

DNA Size illustration

Ink Dot=1 Millimeter  (1,000th or a meter)

100 human cells in that width

DNA in each cell- if unwound= 2 meters

If all the DNA in your body was stretched out

          From here to the moon and back 70 times


When it is all said and done…

          The DNA in our body simplest, smallest and most specific

                    Identifier of who we are…

The DNA in your cells is so specific to you,

          That it has revolutionized criminal prosecution

                    People have been convicted because of it

                    Others have been set free after being wrongly convicted.  

You may be wondering why all this about DNA?

          When we think of the human body

                    And what it looks like…and how it functions

                              The reality of all that our bodies are

                                        DNA is at the core of that discussion

It is DNA that drives the fundamental aspects of who we are as humans

          You are male or female…tall or short…

          You have brown eyes or blue eyes…dark skin or light skin…

          You have straight hair or curly hair…lots or it or little left…

because of your DNA


Theme Point:

While there is much research into Gene Therapy

Making your DNA act differently to cure disease

Currently the only tools we have to change our physical bodies

are clothing, tattoos, body piercings, cosmetics or cosmetic surgery

No matter how much money you spend…currently you can’t fundamentall

          Change your physical body

But there is good news…

          In a spiritual sense…change is possible

                    And that is what I would like us to look at today

Please open you Bibles this morning to Romans 2:17-29

Two weeks ago…Fred mentioned this passage in one of sermons

          On the book of Hosea…in his current sermon series “A Divine Divorce”


He made a reference to the reality that

                    God’s having chosen one group of people

to be the recipients of his particular favor

                                        did not imply that he could not also remove that favor

In this passage…one of the early Christian leaders…Paul

Is writing to a mixed group of both Jewish and non-Jewish

          People living in Rome

Many would be Christians, but not necessarily everyone who read this

          Many of the believers in Christ were Jews…but not all

Earlier in this chapter he makes the argument

          That just because you claim to know God

                    Doesn’t mean He won’t judged you at the end of your life

          The Bible is clear that at the end of our lives

                    Every one of us will face a time of Judgment

                              When we will stand before God

                                        And be held accountable for our lives.

In today’s passage he is going to build upon that as he speaks to

          The very special relationship Jewish people have with God.

Prayer: Lord, once again we are taking the time to open the Bible, your Holy Word communicated to us for our good and your glory.  We ask that you, Holy Spirit would come and guide us in this process.  Lord, guide my mind so that the words I speak are the ones you desire to be said.  And Lord, guide our hearts that the words we hear would be more than just head knowledge to us, and that we would live according to what you reveal.


The Privilege of Being Jews   (V 17-20)

The first verses of this passage  talk about the privileges of being a Jew


1.  They are called Jews

          Throughout history this name has been significant

          For all the empires that have come and gone

                    Through all the persecution and the horror of the Holocaust

                    There are still Jews in our world

          A Jew may be very unreligious…but he or she is still a Jew


          There is something special about being a Jew

                    It goes beyond in national heritage

                    There are Jews in almost every country of the world

                    A person who is a Jew…Is always a Jew.

2. They have the Law

          They have the written communication of God

                    The Words of the almighty one

                              Written in a language that is all there own

                                        Distinct in content

                                                  Timeless in impact

3. They have a Special Relationship With God

          This is a unique thing

          God spoke to them and led them out of captivity in Egypt

          The Jewish people exist to this day

                    Because of this special relationship


Read V 18

4. They know the Will of God

          This is not an insignificant thing

          All humanity longs to know there is a God

But God’s relationship with the Jewish people goes beyond that

Because they have the Law…They not only know there is a God

They Know God

                              They know his very being…

His Will- what he desires

His Ways- what is the superior or perfect in His eyes


Read V 19-20

5. They are Guides to Truth

          Because they have been trusted with the very Word of God

                    They are trusted to guide people to that Truth

With all the Jewish people have…all that their special position with God entails

          They still struggled at times to understand the universal truth that…

 “With great privilege comes great responsibility”

We know that they are not alone in this problem

          We see it all around us…

                    It confronts almost daily in our newspapers

                              On the TV

                                        Or our favorite online new source

                    People of power or public trust

                              Abusing that trust

The Responsibility of Being Jews (V 21-24)

What Paul goes on to describe here beginning in verse 21

          Is the breakdown of the Jewish people’s understanding

of their responsibilities.

Read V 21-23


          These are all the verbal communication of something

          In this case the verbal communication of truth

                    When that truth is not being practiced themselves

          There is a word for that Hypocrisy

And it doesn’t matter what period of history we are talking about

          Whether the time of Hosea...

                    Where the northern ten tribes of Isreal

                              Claimed a knowledge of God but did their own thing

                    They walked away from Jerusalem and Yahweh their God

                              And turn to and embraced other gods as well

          Or the time of Paul in this passage…

                    Where they did said one thing but did another

          Or in our time…

                    Where Christians act in ways

inconsistent with what they say they believe

It doesn’t matter when the Hypocrisy takes place.

          It has a negative effect both us

                    And those around us.

Romans 2:24
As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

This is a reference to Isaiah 52:4-5

          Where the Prophet Isaiah communicates the great damage

                    That has been done to God’s reputation

                              Because of Israel’s turning their back on God

                    And God returned the favor by removing His blessing

                              And allowing the Assyrians to take them off into captivity.

When the people of God’s favor…Whether Jews or Christians

          Act in ways that is contradictory to His Word and Will

                    Others around them…harden their hearts

                              And even blaspheme God’s name.

          Blasphemy= curse, ridicule, defame

or even just to dismiss as unimportant

This is what was happening in Hosea’s time.

And this is what happens to all who knowingly or unknowingly turn their back on God…Eventually, His blessing is removed and that is not a good place to be.

And if Jews take pride in their being Jewish

          And in their possession of the Law and the privileges they have

                    Out of their special relationship with God

They also take pride in their physical sign of that relationship

          In the covenant keeping act of Circumsion

The Mark of Being a Jew (V 25-27)

Read V 25-27

From the time of Abraham…God had commanded that each male child born

          In a Jewish household should be circumcised

Done on the eighth day of their life…This permanent physical sign

          Would be a life time reminder of the covenant or agreement

                    God has made with His people…the Jews

The Significance of Circumcision at The Time

In years prior to Paul writing to the Romans…

Circumcision had become as important an issue as ever.

In both a political and cultural way…Jews were under attack

          The influence of Greek culture was pushing into Jewish Culture

          The influence of Roman politics was pushing Jewish Culture aside

There were some among the ethnically Jewish people who were no longer

          Actively practicing their faith…and some…

                    Not continuing the practice of circumcision

But…For those who did…It became an even more significant part of their lives.

          It was done with an understanding

that this permanent…physical…mark

          Was more than just something God would see…


                              To embrace this mark of the covenant

                                        Meant you would live differently

                              And though the world wouldn’t easily see

the physical mark of circumcision

          The would see that difference in the way you lived


While Paul is speaking to Jews specifically in this passage

          It is the same message he spoke to Gentiles…Non-Jews

          Simply Put- Circumcision is useless…unless…

                    it is accompanied by an obedience to the Law

God has repeatedly said this to His people

          The prophet Samuel conveyed these words from God

                    To King Saul  Recorded in

1 Samuel 15:22
Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

This theme of obedience to God’s Word

          Being preferred to a mere lip service

followed by some religious practice

          Is repeated numerous times in Psalm, Proverbs & the Prophets

The Inward Reality of Being a Jew (V 28-29)

The final two verses in today’s passage go to the very heart of what it means

          To be named among God’s Chosen people

                    Rather than deal with the outward reality, signs or symbols

                              That mark one as a follower of God

                                        Paul points to the inward reality which must be present

Romans 2:28-29
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

If you have been around Pascack Bible Church long enough

          I think you have heard this theme before

A relationship with God is not something

that any human being can manufacture on their own

The fact that you were circumcised

          Or went to CCD or some other religious instruction

                    That you were born into a religious family

                              That went to church, synagogue, mosque or temple every week

                    Has nothing to do with whether you are truly in relationship with God

                    That relationship is not about something you do

                              It is about something you are.


                    It is about a fundamental transformation that takes place

                              Within your very heart or soul

                    It is a transformation that takes place

                              Through an act of God himself…The Holy Spirit

                                        In essence doing a Spiritual Circumcision of your Heart

When that takes place…you no longer look for praise from men

          But unexpectedly receive it from God

                    You understand the very closeness and relationship

                              That God desires for you.

Taking It Home

I started this sermon by talking a little bit about DNA

Every one of us has a mother and a father

          The DNA in our bodies is the combination of the DNA material

                    We received from them. 

Half from one parent…half from the other

                                        Our unique DNA is actually linked to our parents

But the complexity of information in our DNA

          That two meters of information in each one of our cells

                    Links us not only to our parents

                              But to their parents…and their parents…

                                        In fact to all of our ancestors

The reality right now is that we can not change our physical DNA

          We can use a variety a things to try to change how we look on the outside

                    But fundamentally…we can’t change who we are physically

But the good news is that the same is not true when it comes to our

          Spiritual natures

          True spiritual change can take place

Paul mentions in this passage how that happens

          He mentions the Spiritual

Romans 2:28-29
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.


Plan of Salvation


On Going Need For Spiritual DNA adjustment



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