Why do we need the gospel? Is it so we can be better parents, have better marriages, experience greater happiness? Sure, these are benefits of receiving the gospel by faith. But no, they do not get at the real reason that we need the gospel. We need the gospel because we have offended God’s righteousness. We have rebelled against God and we have gone our own sinful way. That’s what sin is. lt’s an attitude of disobedience that says, “I will do things my way, not God’s way.” As a result, Paul says that God’s wrath is already upon us. The apostle Paul spent the first 17 verses of his letter to the Romans introducing himself and reminding them of the power and righteousness of God found only in the gospel. Having introduced this great theme, Paul spent the rest of chapter one explaining that the wrath of God is already being revealed against the ungodly and the unrighteous who have not received the gospel. We can faithfully respond to the revelation of God’s wrath against those who have not received the gospel.
Below is an automated transcription of this sermon:
Thanks for listening to the podcast from gary combs and the preaching team at wilson community church in wilson, north carolina. Check us out on the web at wccnc.org for more and now here’s the sermon.
Good morning church. We’re going to be going continuing through our series through the book of romans that we’ve entitled righteousness revealed, righteousness revealed. We’re going to attempt over the next few weeks to go through the first four chapters and it’s our desire over the next few years to cover all sixteen and future installments so that’s, our plan
the book of romans requires a careful approach. It’s a challenging book but it’s a book that deepens our understanding of salvation perhaps more than any other book in the bible. As we looked at the book of romans last week, we discovered in chapter one the theme for the entire book it’s found in romans one sixteen and seventeen where paul writes, for i’m 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 in the gospel, the righteousness of god is revealed from faith for faith. As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith.
And so we find the theme in chapter one that the book of romans was written that we might understand the gospel, and that we might receive the righteousness of god. Now, what is the righteousness of god? We touched on this last week, but it’s important. Remind ourselves as we go forward, that it speaks of god’s righteousness. You see the word right in there, right? It means he does right, and he never does wrong. He thinks right. He never thinks wrong. He does, right. He never does wrong. He always, always is righteous. And so it means that but it also means that he offers his righteousness through the gospel.
John stott gives an analysis of this that i think is helpful. He says, the righteousness of god can be thought of first of all, as a divine attribute. In other words, our god is a righteous god. And then, secondly, that can be a divine activity. In other words, he comes to our rescue he’s the kind of god that rescues. And then finally. And perhaps this is the one that comes closest to what paul’s talking about a divine achievement, he bestows on us a righteous status through christ he gives us in other words, it is at one in the same time equality and activity in a gift he gives us the righteousness of god through christ.
Okay, so that’s the gospel that’s great news, right? That he offers the righteousness of god through jesus through those who believe in the finished work of christ. And so why do we need the gospel? So he offers this righteousness, but why do we need it now? That’s where paul’s headed over the next few weeks, he’s going to be talking about why we need the righteousness, why we need the gospel and from chapter one, verse eighteen all the way up through chapter three, verse twenty he’s going to dig down into the to the ugliness of the human condition in order to answer the question why we need the gospel, because perhaps we’re not convinced that we need it.
And so this morning will be talking primarily about that group of people who would be called the irreligious or the pagan of the gentile would be how paul might describe it. And then next week we’ll be talking in chapter two about the moralists, those who claim to have morality and then in later in chapter two we’ll talk about the jew why does the jew need the gospel? And then finally in chapter three we’ll talk about why everyone needs the gospel so that’s where paul’s headed? Why? Why the pagans need the gospel or more or less need the gospel why do the jews need the gospel? Why do we need the gospel? I hope you’ll come back next week after you are here today because paul, after rising to the heights of verse seventeen, that the righteousness of god is revealed in the gospel, then he’s going to dive down into the ugliness of humanity sin in order to explain why we need the gospel.
Now i don’t know what kind of god you worship perhaps it’s a god of your own making i feel today that many of us worship a buffet. Got a little bit of this a little bit of that. Most of us want a whole lot of love. Got a whole lot of love in my god. Not much judgment, not much wrath, not much anger just love and acceptance we worship a grandfather god hey, he goes you shouldn’t do that he’s a grandfather but if you want to worship the god of the bible. You got to read the bible here. The bible preached and then believe it i want to worship that one true god, don’t you? I don’t want to worship a buffet God of my own making that’s idolatry and so today we’re digging in on that. Why? Why do we need the gospel now?
Some of you might have come to christ because you wanted to be better parents. I feel like i need God because i want to be a better dad a better mom, better husband i need to get off drugs and alcohol and come to god some have said, first of all, as a higher power. And then i came to god and all these are reasons to come to to god that we need the gospel. I need the gospel because i want to be happy and i wasn’t happy these are valid reasons but friend, these are benefits of believing the gospel. This is not the reason for the gospel, the reason for the gospels that we are lost and we’re dying understand in god’s wrath which is god’s judgment is already against humankind ever since the fall. That’s why we need the gospel.
let’s get ready to talk about that god’s wrath is already being poured out even at this moment upon the unrighteous. So in paul’s writings, the first seventeen verses is oh, my goodness! He introduces himself and he talks about how much he loves the romans and how much he wants to preach the gospel. And then at verse eighteen he starts talking about the wrath of god that’s already being revealed on the ungodly. And as we’re looking at the text today, i believe that we can faithfully respond to this word as we hear about the wrath of god and we hear how it’s already being poured out. I think we can we can faithfully respond to this.
And as we look at the text, i think we’ll see four ways that we can faithfully respond to the revealed wrath of god. So we’re going to be looking at roman’s chapter one starting at verse eighteen are you ready? Get your seat belts on for the wrath of god is revealed from heaven against all in godliness and unrighteousness of men who by their own righteousness suppressed the truth for what can be known about god explained to them, because god has shown it to them 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, for although they knew god, that 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, claiming to be wise, they became fools, 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 lust of their hearts, to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about god for a lie and worshipped, and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 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. 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. This is god’s word.
Four ways that we can faithfully respond to the word that we just heard that i just read, how do we respond to this particular message? This is not an easy passage here, but yet it couldn’t be more timely in our culture today to hear it
here’s the first way we can understand the revelation of god’s wrath, we can understand what paul means by this revelation of god’s wrath. We’re going to focus for a moment on verse eighteen the word for notice the word for that’s the first word in verse eighteen paul is using that word to say, because he’s explaining what’s going on before you have what you have here is kind of a logic tree, he said. For I am eager to preach the gospel to you. Why four? Because i’m not ashamed. Why for? it is the righteousness of god revealed and here comes the next because the next for have righteousness without wrath, they’re connected. You can’t have the righteousness of god without the judgment of god.
What kind of a righteous god would he be if he allowed unrighteousness you see, you can’t have darkness, you can’t have light without darkness, you can’t have love without hate. You can’t have righteousness without wrath, which is god’s righteous response to unrighteousness. His holiness cannot tolerate it. And so we see these two intentions in these two verses verse seventeen the gospel is the righteousness of god revealed verse eighteen but his wrath is already presently being poured out upon the unrighteous What how long has this been going on? Because it says this for the righteousness of god is revealed it doesn’t say will be we’re not talking about eschatological wrath in other words, we’re not talking about end times
now there is a time where god is storing up judgment, storing up his wrath for that day when he will separate the sheep from the goats. Yes, but here paul is talking about the judgment of god. The wrath of god that’s already at work on planet earth. It’s been going on ever since the fall of adam and eve. He said, the day you eat of that fruit, you shall die. Did they die that day? Well, no, not exactly. In fact, the bible records that adam lived like nine hundred years. So did god lie no death was already at work in their bodies. The very moment the wrath of god includes these bodies will die that’s already at work already happening.
It motivates me to think about this as i’m preaching the gospel that there are those of you in the room right now that are experiencing the judgment of god on your life, because of your unrighteousness because you’ve not received the righteousness of god through the gospel. And you keep on living according to your own pattern, your own decisions, and everything you touch, dies, it’s dying everything you touch, everything you want, it’s just falling apart. It turns to dust it’s already at work. This is the wrath of god it’s coming from heaven the wrath of god is being revealed from heaven where it’s against ungodliness and unrighteousness.
This wrath, Chuck Swindoll says his wrath is nothing less than the reasonable expression of his righteous care after and his unfailing love when confronted with evil. This wrath some have called it the judicial abandonment in other words. His wrath. Is this that he’s, letting us have what we’ve asked for. How’s that judgment, because with sin comes suffering he’s, letting us have what we’ve asked for he’s given us over to it. It’s being revealed.
Look what it says in the book of revelation as it speaks of that future wrath it’s being stored up, that people will say following us they’ll say to the mountains, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the lamb for the great day of their wrath has come. And who can stand that future wrath? But this that paul speaking of it’s not that this is that which is already at work today against ungodliness, the word ungodliness and the greek means not to revere god, not to worship him as god. Ungodliness means you don’t respect god, and then unrighteousness speaks of not being righteous, and it primarily speaks of horizontal, how we treat one another.
You might look at this and say, here’s, why the wrath of god is being already poured out on planet earth for two reasons it’s against two reasons. One is we don’t love god with all our heart all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength, and we don’t love our neighbor as we love ourselves that’s why his wrath is already being poured out continually from heaven against those who don’t love god and those who don’t love one another that’s what he says
what is the wrath of god? It’s god’s response, his righteous response to unrighteousness and if we look closely, we’ll see that it’s also his mercy, because this wrath allows us to keep on living and getting a chance to hear the gospel by allowing us to get what we asked for. We get a good taste of it, and perhaps we go, i don’t like the way that tastes, i think maybe i will drive, i’d rather do it god’s way so even the wrath of god that’s being poured out right now, it’s also the righteousness of mercy of god.
Do you understand that? It’s not final wrath, it’s not ultimate, but it’s happening now, he’s, letting us have what we’ve asked for and here’s what we do. Who, by their unrighteousness, suppressed the truth. We suppress this. We pretend it’s not true. Wait, no, no, i can put that off on, we suppress it, and we deny it way. Hold it back. We hinder the truth of god.
Paul he’s, writing to the romans. He’s, never met them. Hey says, i’m not going to suppress the truth. I’m gonna tell you the truth. This is why i am so eager to preach the gospel, because the wrath of god is already being poured out continually upon the earth and it’s created in me an urgency to get the gospel to as many people as i can, as quickly as i can, as often as i can, clearly as i can.
Wasn’t it Jesus who said this in john chapter three, whoever believes in the son he has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of god remains on him. The wrath of god is already on those who have not believed in jesus it’s on them right now. What will we do about it?
Here’s the second way that we can faithfully respond to the revealed wrath of god? We understand now i hope what this topic is about. What is the wrath of god let’s dig in further as to the reasons for god’s wrath we’ve already touched on that it was against ungodliness and unrighteousness. But he gets more detailed about it starting at verse nineteen through twenty three in fact he gives three reasons paul gives three reasons for God’s wrath he’s got another for word See it in verse nineteen for it’s just like this logic tree if you want to read it along with last week’s chapter for he’s explaining each part of the gospel why it’s eager why it’s righteousness why it has power and what it’s in response to and now he says he’s going to say here’s why god is angry let’s get detailed about it here’s why he’s offended here’s what we’ve done to offend god when i say we i mean humanity which i think includes everybody in this room and as we look at verses nineteen through twenty three i want you to notice that some teach what’s called the evolution of religion, in other words, that we started out in caves worshipping nimals and snakes and such. We started out like in over time, somewhere along the line, monotheism became the most elevated form of religion, that’s the evolution of religion, that’s taught in schools, but that’s, not what the bible teaches.
What the bible teaches is that we started out knowing god, adam and eve knew god, their children knew god, their children’s children, knew God and so forth. But over time, it was not evolution, but devolution. The decline of mankind. We lost the knowledge of god over time. This is what the bible teaches, and it says in verse nineteen, they knew god for what can let’s just dig in here in verse nineteen for what can be known about god is plain to them because god has shown it to them for his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world now they knew god. What this is talking about is not only adam and eve not only their children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s children through the years, but they had creation. This is what theologians call general revelation or natural revelation, that if we will look we can see there’s something bigger than us there’s, some invisible god, that’s being proclaimed in the visible creation when you look at a sunset, which is how my son stephen captured this, i was like, righteousness revealed, and i was like, i’m thinking of the sun coming up or something like that. I think he did a wonderful job in a sunrise we see something that causes the heart to pound and the beauty of it
ask an atheist to define beauty. What is beauty define love these are invisible things that come from god and is revealed and it says his glory what’s revealed in nature. What does he say is one of these? And it says his eternal power in his divine nature, that somebody powerful put this together, the one who first looked through the hubble telescope some years ago and saw that not only was there a milky way galaxy, but there were infinite numbers of galaxies, he said. I didn’t know what to do but to fall on my knees And even the one who first looked in a microscope and saw the intricacy of the human cell had to say, this is much more complicated than we ever realized.
It looks as if there’s an intelligent designer. Someone walked in on a design of a solar system that was a mechanical solar system that isaac newton had on his desk. And this was a well known atheist who came in and said, wow, that is so beautiful and so precise who made it? And isaac newton said to the atheist, no one made it and he goes, what do you think? I’m a fool? Someone had to have made that? And he said, no, this is just a poor model of the real thing that you say no one made no there’s, there’s truth in the creation, and we have to suppress the truth in order to believe the lie
And so we live in a culture today that is actively suppressing the truth, that god is revealed in his creation so we know god through creation and then in verse twenty this is so they are without excuse literally, that means without defense no, this answers the question that some people asked. What about those who has never heard how’s, god fair. When the native in the third world countries never heard the gospel how is god fair? God has given them creation. He’s given them revelation. He’s revealed himself to them, and he will hold them accountable for the amount of information because we , don’t even live up to that, which we do know. This is what he’s saying. This is what he’s saying, there’s, no one who can say, yeah, wait a minute. I didn’t know about god. He’s built it into the dna. We have to suppress it on purpose. And we’re really good at it americans, we’re really good at it, with our western philosophies and science, we’ve replaced god with our own suppressed human explanations, and this is what paul’s talking about two thousand years before we got really good at it because apparently they were good at it, too, and so he keeps going.
Paul gives three reasons, he says they knew god, but they did not honor him as god. And secondly, they knew god, but they did not give thanks to him for although they knew god, they did not honor him or give thanks to him, and as a result they became futile in their thinking in other words, stuff stopped working out like it should, because if you don’t, if you’re not true to what’s going on in the planet earth, if you take god away, then your ideas of how to do things fall apart because you’ve pulled out the intellectual foundations. well, let’s try to have education let’s try to have a network where we take care of the poor let’s try everything we try if we leave out. God, it doesn’t work as it should. It becomes empty and futile, right? That’s. What he’s saying in their thinking. But it comes futile , and their hearts were darkened. Can you see the decline?
And then it says in verse twenty two, claiming to be wise, they became fools they exchanged the glory of the immortal god for images and so that’s. The third reason that god’s offended as they exchanged the glory of god for images for creation look on down in verse twenty five he gets more specific about it. They exchange the truth about god for a lie and worshipped and serve the creation rather than the creator. They lowered their eyes.
Now, listen, i think we should be stewards of the creation i think the bible teaches. That starts off in the book of genesis. He tells adam to care for the garden. He puts him in charge. We’re supposed to care for creation. But we’re not supposed to confuse the animals in humanity for god to make them to make the creation our god it affects the mind It darkens the heart whenever we do that, because we make the creation our idol.
This is what paul is teaching us in romans verses twenty four and twenty five just looking at that again, it says therefore, god gave them up because they exchanged the truth about god for a lie and worshipped and served the creation rather than the creator who is blessed forever. Amen. So god’s offended. Does it bother you that god’s offended? Does it bother you that gods angry? Yeah, but when we hear that we’re thinking of some human attributes. So this is the closest thing. But our human anger is always mixed up with their selfishness, with their pride, our ego. Whatever.
God’s anger is not like human anger. Ours is almost always. I mean, like ninety nine percent of the time sinful anger. God’s anger is completely under his control. And he’s very specific about why he is offended he’s, offended because of our own righteousness and because of our ungodliness. And now he’s mapped it out. He’s talked about it.
Some see here the fall of man in the garden, that you can see that they had creation. They knew god. And then, even though they knew him, they didn’t honor him. And they decided in verse twenty two to be wise the serpent said, if you will eat this, you’ll be wise and so they they took it to be wise and instead, they became fools. You can see the decline, some see that there in this picture
and then i want you to take note as we move forward, i want you to remember this part where it says, they exchange the glory of the immortal god for images resembling mortal man, certainly birds and animals and creeping things. But it starts off by making a god of man. This is humanism to make a god of man. And by the way, i don’t know what it is about detroit, but they seem to name all of their cars after animals and birds and and so forth. You just think about all you know, it’s, like it’s, our favorite thing to do. I’m not preaching against cars, i’m just saying we like to name them after animals and such, and so this is what we’re talking about
here is the third. Be aware of the results of god’s wrath. You might have noticed so far we’re just learning about god’s wrath. We’re not hearing necessarily an application like, what do you do about this? Because he told us before he started god’s answer to what you do about this, you can’t do anything about it. God’s done something about it’s called the gospel and here’s why our culture needs the gospel here’s, why pagan culture, our religious culture needs the gospel just reminding us of this because it’s challenging to keep hearing it and maybe you’re not used to the pastor preaching through the book of romans verse by verse and i told some that i was working on this week. I’ve worked on this passage longer than perhaps any i’ve ever worked on, and i i’m concerned i might just break down crying as i preach it, because i think i feel something from the holy spirit that i hope you feel in the pain that we’ve caused our father the pain we’ve caused god, the offense, and yet he loves us and he sent jesus.
And because of these offenses verse twenty four we have this word therefore you see it, therefore god gave them up. Beware of the results of god’s wrath. Be aware of it. I want you to notice there are three god gave them up phrases coming this speaks of what i was talking about a minute ago. That god’s present wrath that’s being revealed in the present is not what you think it is, it’s that he let us have what we asked for that’s how he’s revealing his judgment is he’s giving us over to the thing we said we wanted. He gave them up.
You’ll hear it three times what you look for it in twenty four through thirty two just look at your text right now and circle god gave them up. You’ll see it in verse twenty four. You’ll see it in verse twenty six. You’ll see it in verse twenty eight. God gave them up. God gave them up. God gave them up let’s, see how he gave them up.
It’s what i’ve mentioned before charles swindell In his commentary on Romans, he says judicial abandonment is not the same as eternal rejection or condemnation to hell. It is instead, the first step in god’s plan of redemption by giving us what we asked for. Maybe we’ll get like i said, before, a good taste of it i don’t want that So god gave them up what’s the first what’s the first thing that god gave them up, too lust we’re looking at this. The first thing he gave them up to is found it says in verse twenty four. He gave them up to the lusts of their hearts. Then we touched on this one. Went through the book of galatians last year, it’s that greek word ( ) which means over desire, epi means overthrew mia has to do with heat or passion and that he gave him up to their desires. Now listen, he gave us sexual desires. He gave us sexual desires and they’re beautiful. They’re powerful. They’re appropriate within marriage between a man and a woman. And he did it so that the two would become one flesh and represent christ in the church. That they would have pleasure in it. But also that that there would be procreation so that we would fill the earth. He had a purpose for sexuality. God made it. He made it beautiful.
But here’s what he did because we began the worship. Mortal man, we began the worship. Sex, we made sex an idol, and you can’t tell me you don’t know this. You listen, you can’t see a single advertisement without them using the most powerful idol they can use to get us to look at it. They and so advertisers know this, and they will bait and switch. They’ll pop something up on facebook that looks like and this gets men i think men, especially because we’re visually oriented more than women, women tend to be more oriented, according to to hearing they hear words that are sweet to their ears, but men see things and there, and so they’ll see something of of a partially nude woman or something like that, and they might have just been just as nice as they could have been that day. Like being a good man, you know? And then they see it, they go? Yeah, i just click on it, see what happens just take your clicker and just click on it. And then all of a sudden they’re in a new world here because of you. This wrath of god is that he gave us up to it.
Godet said this. God ceased to hold the boat as it was dragged down the current of the river. He was holding it back, but he let go and just let the river of sin take us where it would go. Our problem is not desiring bad things. Sex is not a bad thing. Our problem is over desiring good things. And so the first way gave us up was so that it says, if says in verse twenty four, therefore god gave them up in the lusts of their hearts, to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves. And so the first place he gave us up was, does it dishonor our bodies? So that we this speaks of over desire, not just for sex. I would say it would be anything you do with your bodies, that you have a lust for, because it doesn’t say sex. It says, lusts of the heart, that’s over desire of your heart to impurity which would certainly include sexuality. But anything that you put in your body do to your body that involves your body, so that your body has been misused, but over desire for something you still here?
This is the first way that wrath of god is being worked out on planet earth. So we see suffering in people’s bodies. They put things, do things use their bodies in ways, thinking it will make them feel happy feel better because they’ve been given over to an over desire. And yet all it ends up doing is dishonoring them. They dishonor themselves now
here’s the second place, the second result that god gives them over to do you see it in verse ? Well, i should say twenty five before i move on. Why is this happening? Because they exchange the truth about god for a lie and they lowered their worship to the creature rather than the creator. Delicate verse twenty six here’s. Another explanation for this reason. This is the second reason this is the second way that god’s working out his wrath god gave them up to dishonorable passions. So the first was he gave them up to over desire to lusts of the heart and so that affects their bodies where now it is gonna affect their emotions. He’s going to give he’s going to give mankind over to faulty desire of passion, to love something with such a burning desire. And here we have the clearest in scripture that’s not my purpose today, to work out what the bible says about homosexuality, but but paul gives here not just a clear description of it, but kind of a diagnosis of why it happens. Because if evolution were true, there would be no homosexuality because it doesn’t produce another generation. It we go country like evolution is the desire to keep your genes going forward, right? That’s what evolution teaches that for survival of the fittest and the fittest survive and then they produced there so that their genetics go forward. Homosexuality cannot be explained. This is what? I want you to notice about this.
The condition of the world is best explained by the bible. The bible’s worldview best explains why the world exists, as it does now, paul’s going to give a diagnosis of of gentle culture where he sees this happening, he says, for this reason, god gave them up to dishonorable passions, so that women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature. So they gave up natural for unnatural. This means it was it’s, a sin against god’s design. Isn’t it obvious? And biology that the man’s body is made for the woman and the woman’s body is made for the man that’s all process, making a very simple observation here that for women with women it’s unnatural, that’s, what he says, he says, it’s, dishonorable!
And then he says, it’s, contrary to nature, i’m just reading the bible to you. I know where this is going because of our culture today i’m aware of that it’s not my job, to preach the culture it’s my job to remind us of every sunday to remind us what god’s word says in verse twenty seven now he’s going to deal with men, and he’s a little bit more detailed about it and the men likewise, in other words, in the same way gave up natural relations with women natural meaning biologically appropriate according to the nature of creation. So they’re going to get creation the way god made us and we’re consumed with passion for one another consumed men committing shameless acts with men dishonorable contrary to nature consumed a natural shameless.
These were the words that paul uses to describe homosexuality. Now listen, here’s, what i’m aware of in every congregational setting such as this, their are those present who are struggling with their sexual orientation. I would first observe that paul is not talking about sexual orientation. He’s talking about homosexual acts, homosexual practices, he’s talking about the behavior, here’s what i would say, everyone in this room, believers and unbelievers believers who are redeemed because of christ’s righteousness. we all have problems in her sexuality because we were given over to lusts and so heterosexuals and homosexuals in terms of frame of mind, we all have a bit to our sexuality source.
Sexuality is not perfect, it’s. Not exactly the way god designed it. So paul is saying let’s, be clear about this, he is saying the bible is saying homosexuality as a practice is a sin, it is a sin, it’s not the worst sin it’s one among many because you get ready to give us a list of twenty one why does he spend so much time? I asked the lord about this this week. Why do you spend so much time on homosexuality? what i’m convinced of is because they need our love and they need the gospel perhaps more than anyone because they are overwrought with a burning passion because they were given over and they have such a hard time of breaking out.
And so here’s, what i would say there are those who give you an example from another place there are those i’ve met who are struggling alcoholics who prayed to receive jesus and they’ll say, and the lord jesus took the taste for alcohol out of my mouth the day i received him, and i’ve never given it another, another thought, and i’ve heard that testimony but i’ve heard more often the testimony when i came to christ, he gave me the power to overcome my alcoholism, but as long as i’ve been alive twenty years, thirty years, i still desire it. But i don’t partake of it because of the grace and power that jesus gives me. I’ve heard that more often, here’s what i suspect about those who are struggling with this. I think paul is saying here’s why homosexuality exists in humanity it’s because we replaced the creator god for mortal man, and then we lowered it one we’re not should we made sex our god, and so the person identifies themselves primarily by their sexual desire rather than by who god made them to be. This could be any other area, but i think this particular area it’s important if we really want people to come to christ, we have to be honest about this issue in our culture today
Homosexuality is a sin it’s not the worst sin it’s one among many so that’s the second place he gave us over, and then i would point out that he says and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. In other words, they experience in this life by choosing to follow that lifestyle, i would say to the person who’s struggling. Maybe you’re a young teenager today. Don’t listen to the world that says, just because you’ve got that struggle, that must be your identity. Teenagers are always confused about what they are just don’t practice, give it to jesus don’t have premarital sex before you’re married heterosexual desire people and don’t practice homosexuality, give it to god, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice to god. I think there may be people here today that have done that. I know some of them who had these desires and maybe still have them, but they don’t practice them because they’ve given their life to jesus.
Okay verse twenty eight and since they did not see fit to acknowledge god, god gave them up to a debased mind, to do what not ought to be done so so he affected the body. He affected the passion, the emotion he affected the mind. How did he affect it? But taking his hands off not by intervening but by his wrath says so our distant this news to you that his wrath is being released and revealed in this world today by taking his hands off of us. Why didn’t god do something about hitler? Why didn’t he do something about this? Why didn’t he do something about this problem of he’s taken his hands off and he’s, letting us get what we asked for? He gave them up, and then he gives this list.
I don’t have time to go into this list. I don’t think paul did either. He ran out of ink on this one and had to go get some fresh ink and just said, i will just go to chapter two. You said they were filled with all matter and i don’t need to read it to you again. Here it is. Some have tried to organize it into groups. It seems almost it’s, almost like impossible to organize it. It’s like god. It’s like god, said paul throw a whole lot of mud at the wall.
He does it over in galatians too. When he says works of the flash there’s fifteen of them he’s got a list of twenty one. The one that cracks me up the most in the middle of all this is disobedient to parents. Like the kids are out there. Going what, like it’s in the same list is homosexuality. It’s in the same list as adultery and the same. Yeah. You know why? Because it’s unrighteous it’s not right. So let’s, be careful as we look at these things because we all used to be that way. inclinations of our simple nature. By our very nature, we were subject to god’s nature, god’s anger just like everyone else. We used to be under this
first corinthians says do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of god? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revelers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of god. We all used to be that before we came to christ now would I remind you that paul wrote this letter from the city of corinth.
I just want to pop this picture up. This is a photo that robin and i had the wonderful privilege in two thousand thirteen to follow the footsteps of paul throughout the the land of turkey, and by the way, we’re all thankful for the pastor that was released from turkey. we’ve been praying for him, and he’d been there twenty years.
Turkey is a beautiful place and it’s where so many churches were founded but this is the city of corinth we have here the remains of the temple to apollo paul right on the other side of this. Probably had his shop set up with aquilla and priscilla. They’re right there in court. And every day that he was working in court, he was looking up. There at the Acrocorinth, which had a temple to Aphrodite. And as he would look up there, he was aware that every day in the streets he would see the temple prostitutes and that men were coming from all over the known roman world to go to that place. And so this is what he was seeing when he wrote this letter and he was seeing the open practice of men with boys, that he would see the elite nobles of the land holding hands with young boys that they had purchased as sex slaves. He saw it every day. His heart was broken. This is where he was at when he’s writing and it was true throughout the roman empire.
Now i’m going to give you a fourth way by going backwards to where paul started in verse sixteen and seventeen he says I am not ashamed of the gospel for I receive reconciliation from god’s wrath I receive reconciliation from god’s wrath let’s, go back and read the theme one more time, because that’s where he starts. And now, he’s explained why we need the gospel. We need reconciliation, he says. I’m not ashamed, it’s, the righteousness of god. So the wrath of god has been revealed ever since adam and eve. But the righteousness of god has now been fully revealed through jesus christ, his son, and those that believe in christ, who receive him as lord and savior. There is no more wrath for you. You’ve come out from under that that’s not being it’s being revealed all around you. But the wrath of gods been given over to christ on your behalf.
First, thessalonians says, for god has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our lord jesus colossians says put to death therefore what is earthly in you Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil, desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these, the wrath of god is coming put on the new self, which is being renewed and knowledge after the image of its creator.
Are you here this morning, and you struggle with some addiction that harms the body, some over desire for a drug or alcohol or pornography, or some… You can be reconciled, the righteousness of god is revealed in jesus. Are you struggling with your sexual identity today? But you haven’t acted on it yet? Don’t. give it to jesus your best identity your truest identity is in christ, not in your appetite, not in your desire but in christ
are you here today and you’re thinking about committing adultery in your marriage relationship don’t open yourself up to the wrath of god on your family and on your kids i’m just begging you to hear this explanation of why there is suffering in the world today the world needs the gospel and so i would say there are those in the room that need the gospel but then what about us who have received the gospel? Why are you sitting on it? Do you see the pain and suffering around you? They don’t need to be better people we don’t need to pass laws to stop people from doing wrong things we don’t need more laws what we need is changed hearts one at a time to the gospel so we’ve gained this understanding what do we do with it?
I want to give you three final responses quickly Recognize that the bible’s picture of the world is the best explanation for the world why is there suffering in the world. And why is there this mixture of beauty and brokenness? So that’s. The first thing, the biblical worldview is the best explanation of reality.
Number two. Refuse to hear this devastating diagnosis of humanity and feel you’re better than them refuse to be judgmenta, Looking down your noseon those people that are under god’s wrath refuse to be a judge for those poor irreligious pagans.
And then here’s the final thought you don’t have to be afraid of god’s wrath. You don’t have to be afraid of this description. You can receive god’s righteousness in jesus today you can exchange the life for the truth. That he is the truth.
Let’s pray lord jesus, we come to you now we thank you that you are the revealed righteousness of god that as we come to you, you give us our truest identity because you made us for yourself. So, lord , pray for that person that has been given over to their desires, to their own thoughts, to their own way. Because that’s what? It’s sin. it’s us choosing our own way rather than your way. Is that you, my friend today, would you surrender today and say, i don’t want to live according to my own way anymore I have had enough. I need jesus. I want to come out from under this suffering that’s already present in the world today i need jesus come into my life. I believe you died on the cross. You could pray this right in your seat right now. I believe that you died on the cross jesus, and that you rose from the grave that you live today, i believe you died for our sins, that we might receive your righteousness. Would you come into my life? Forgive me, give me your righteousness, your acceptance before the father. I want to be a child of god. I want to come out from under this wrath , this suffering that i see in the world today. Lord, i need you, if you pray that prayer right now believe in the lord will save you. Others are here today. Would you put away whatever the lord’s told you, put away judgment? Put away, put away sitting on the gospel. Recognize it’s, the only hope for man oh, lord, set our hearts aflame today, knowing that the time is short, that you would make us a people declaring the truth to the world in christ’s name. Amen.