1. By now in Romans, it’s easy to look at CH 1 and breathe a sigh of relief… thinking: “Wow, I’m glad I’m not that bad!”
a. I’m sure there were those in Rome, maybe even those who are reading & studying this book today thinking…
b. “Yes, others, sinners, unbelievers, backslidden people are really, really, really bad… but not me.”
c. “I go to church. I’m good. I give my tithes to God.”
d. Thoughts swirl around like I’m not one of them!
e. I’m a real good & moral & upright person!
NOTE: But we’re real good at making excuses for our bad behavior.
• Have you noticed how easy it is to see bad behavior in others but really think the best about ourselves?
Romans 12:3 (NKJV) 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
• THERE R Always: Excuses. Reasons. Explanations. Justifications.
AN EXCUSE: (‘to grant an exemption OR to release from’.)
• They are often our response to conviction & confrontation.
• You are a gossip! (NO I’m not, I’m just trying to help.)
• You’re just lied! (NO I didn’t, I just stretched the truth a little.)
• You stole that! (NO I didn’t, I just borrowed it for a time.)
NOTE: So much of our potential falls by the wayside with excuses.
• So much of what God wants to do in and through us simply disappears with a explanation of why it can’t happen.
• It seems like the easy way out at times… The quick fix!
• YET the Lord Jesus Christ is looking for that man or woman who will rise above the excuses, the reasons, the exemptions.
2 Chronicles 16.9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”
NOTE: It’s my prayer that He finds those men and women here, in our fellowship, in our spiritual family!
I think of King David was anointed of God to rule & reign.
• 1 Samuel 11 opens with David at home…
• He sees a woman bathing, requests her, commits adultery with her, a baby is produced… and thus begins the cover-up.
• Bathsheba was the wife of one of his mighty men… so he recalled the man home so that he might sleep with his wife to cover…
• Then he sends him back into battle with orders to put him on the front lines… where he died. To cover…
• AND for a time all seemed to be going well and it seemed as if he covered his sin as he continued to rule and reign, giving leadership and judgment in Israel as if nothing happened!
• THEN SUDDENLY & SEEMINGLY out of nowhere Nathan shows up!
It’s all too easy to become angry & judgmental at other’s people’s sins and very explanatory of our own!
• That’s where Paul is as he opens CH2… addressing the moralist, the person who thinks he’s OK with God by comparing himself with others. Even though the Bible teaches…
2 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV) 12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
• TRULY the moralist lives in a cloud of hypocrisy!
I. (2:1-3) NO ESCAPING GOD’S JUDGMENT
1. (1-3) You Condemn yourself.
a. The first chapter ended with a list of grievous sins…
b. And it’s so easy to look at them and condemn the sins and the sinners that commit them…
c. But 1:32 is key isn’t… because the issue is not just outward, but it’s really inward!
d. You don’t have to do them personally, in order to be guilty of them… all you really need to do is APPROVE OF THEM.
This is where Christianity really meets the heart of a person.
• It’s all about our hearts and what we approve of…
• Get the study last week.
APP: The judgment of God, notice, is according to truth! (v2)
• God’s judgment doesn’t come democratically by a vote!
• God’s judgment doesn’t come by popular opinions of the day.
• God’s judgment doesn’t come to others and not us.
• It comes by truth…
But there is that inward tendency in us to DENY OUR GUILTINESS.
Let me list 4 different ways we conveniently avoid our guilt.
#1 – We simply IGNORE them. I can’t be guilty because what I’m doing isn’t wrong.
#2 – We make EXCUSES by renaming our sins.
• The thief is now a borrower. The gossip now a helper
• I’m not legalistic, I’m just living by conviction!
#3 – We are BLINDED toward many of our faults.
• We are just not aware of them We don’t see in ourselves what we so easily pinpoint in others. We all have blindspots.
#4 – We QUICKLY FORGET our wrongs.
• We may have been aware of our sins at one point, but we quickly assume that well we’re Christians & God loves us so He’ll forget and since He forgets we can let it go too.
Remember Jesus teaching His disciples on the Mt. of Olives?
• MATT 5-7 record for us what is known as the Sermon on Mount.
• Over & over Jesus says, “U have heard it said, but I say to you…”
• It’s a heart issue before the Lord guys…
• Jesus said God looks on the heart and judges on that basis, not on outward appearances…
• We learned that if in our hearts we are angry, or bitterly resentful, then before God we are guilty of murder.
• SO no excuse… INEXCUSABLE (v1) & there’s NO ESCAPE (v3).
II. (2:5-10) TWO FINAL DESTINIES OF MAN
1. (5-10) In Trouble!
a. So the person that thinks they are OK with God because they live a good, moral, & upright life are in trouble!
b. Why? It’s not enough to be just good.
c. We need to be perfectly righteous before God!
d. There is no security in our good works, only in Jesus!
e. Flip over to Romans 3:10…
If you want to live by works, then you have to do it perfectly!
• God wants us to realize that we are spiritually bankrupt!
• If you are MORALLY SAVED, then you must be perfectly moral.
• But none of us, not one of us qualify!
• So God intervened… He entered into our lives.
• Jesus came into the world and God punished Him for the wrong things that we did!
• The wages of sin is death… Jesus took that death.
• The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!
EVERY OTHER RELIGION ON THE PLANET today says try harder, do better, work more, serve more, give more…
• Finally you just throw up your hands and say I can’t do it!
• I just can’t do all that you’re asking me to do religion!
• But the good news of the gospel is that GOD DID FOR YOU!
• Jesus died and ROSE AGAIN from the grave and if you put your faith in Him you don’t have to trust your morality to save you.
• You are trusting God to live His life through you!
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
But if you refuse to trust in Jesus Christ… then your heart gets harder, your heart gets impenitent (unrepentant)… & instead of drawing closer to God, you treasure up for yourself more & more wrath!
James 4:7-8 (NKJV) 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
• The author of Hebrews describes believers as…
Hebrews 10:38-39 (NKJV) 38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
And so the 2 destinies of man are clear…
#1 – Indignation, wrath, tribulation & anguish. OR
#2 – Glory, honor, and peace!
And that’s why I saved v4 for last… I love it so much.
• Here we have the pathway to repentance… the open door of change, the opportunity to have a real life… God’s goodness!
• I know that sometimes God gets a bad rap for being mean, distant, uninterested… But the Bible is clear, and personal experience confirms… God is good!
Psalm 86:5 (NKJV) 5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Psalm 86:15 (NKJV) 15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
Psalm 36:7 (NKJV) 7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
AND so how can we DESPISE GOD’S GOODNESS?
#1 – We can despise it when God’s goodness is shown to others.
• Our hearts become covetous & jealous when we see others blessed and as we despise God’s goodness in them, we are surely going to see barrenness in our souls and fruitlessness in our lives.
#2 – We can despise it when God’s goodness is taken advantage of.
• This is where we think God is asleep or winks at our OWN sin.
• And when judgment doesn’t come swiftly, our hearts continue on the road to rebellion and rejection of God’s love.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NKJV) 11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
#3 – We can despise it when God’s goodness is extended to others.
• God’s love and grace goes out even to the most hardened sinner.
• Remember, His longsuffering Peter said is for salvation.
• But we can become impatient with God and demand justice.
Psalm 73:1-3 (NKJV) 1 Truly God is good to Israel, To such as are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
#4 – We can despise it when God’s goodness is ignored.
• Sometimes things are so heavy & hurtful in our lives, that we actually have the potential to turn against God in anger.
But the truth is God’s goodness… (kindness & fairness)
God’s forbearance… (temporary suspension of wrath)
God’s longsuffering… (self-restraint, patience, putting up with)
• They all are tools to lead you, to lead me to repentance!
INEXCUSABLE oh man is how v1 began…
• There’s no excuse for you not to surrender your life to Jesus Christ today… to repent from sin, to turn to God.
• A good God out of love sent His only begotten Son so that your sins might be forgiven…
• So that your lives will be lived in the light of Jesus and not the darkness of excuses & hypocrisy.