Summary: In this sermon we look at the recent decision to allow transgendered people access to the bathrooms of their choosing, and how God's Word addresses this and other issues of our time and culture.
Given Over, or Getting In?
Text: Romans 1:18 – 32
Well, let me just start this morning by saying that I had intended to continue on with our current sermon series… but something happened this last week that just… well it just really caused my soul to ache. On Friday… the Obama Administration announced that it would be sending a letter to every single public school district in the United States, demanding the schools allow self-identified trans-gender students to use whatever bathroom and locker room they wanted, and if the schools did not comply they would lose federal funding. The week before the Obama Administration announced that it would be creating America’s first monument celebrating homosexual rights. Let that sink in for a moment… we recently had to remove the 10 Commandments from the capitol, but now our federal government is going to use our tax dollars to build a monument to celebrate same sex rights.
Take your Bibles and open them up to Romans chapter one… Look with me at verse 18… I’m going to be reading and going over these verses, so you’ll want to follow along in your Bibles. (READ Romans 1:18 – 32).
So the Apostle Paul here in verse 18 says that the wrath of God IS BEING revealed. That means it is being shown right now… and we might have all kinds of ideas about the wrath of God and what it would look like. Some people think that every natural disaster that takes place is the wrath of God being displayed… some people think that tragedies like the 9-11 terrorist attacks was the wrath of God… And I’m not saying that those things are a type of God’s wrath… I’m not saying they are, but what Paul was talking about here in Romans is something different. What Paul is talking about here in Romans when he says that the wrath of God is being revealed is what I would call the “wrath of abandonment.” And we actually see several examples of this throughout Scripture. Hold your place there in Romans and turn with me to Judges 10:10 – 14 (READ). Now turn with me over to Proverbs 1:24 – 31 (READ). In Hosea 4:17 God says, “Ephraim is joined to idols… let him alone.” There comes a time when God gets to the point where He lets a people go… He lets them go to the consequences of their own sinful choices. They won’t listen to His Word, they won’t obey Him, they won’t repent of their sin… so God pulls away from them. In Matthew 15:14 Jesus was speaking about the Pharisees and He said, “They are blind leaders of the blind… let them alone.” And usually when God says something like this, He’s saying it about a people. Like the Pharisees, or the nation of Israel, or other groups or nations. And it’s very relevant for us to talk about this, because we can see from our text in Romans that we as a nation are right there.
So what exactly does it mean for a nation to be abandoned by God?
Well… C.S. Lewis in his book “The Problem of Pain” said this, “The lost will forever face their horrible ‘freedom’ they have demanded.” Let me explain what he meant by that. He was saying that the lost, those who reject God and His Word, and His ways… are saying they want nothing to do with God, they don’t want to follow Him, they don’t want to obey His commands… they are saying they want freedom from God, and as they continue to demand that, eventually there comes a time when God pulls away from them. He pulls His hands back. But in doing that, His restraining grace is also removed. And there is no longer anything restraining them from being totally controlled by their sin nature. And so what happens is that they sin more and more, and as they sin more and more, society and culture become more and more sinful, and all of us see the consequences of this. And what this is – is the wrath of God. So in other words, a form of God’s wrath is to let sinful men be more and more controlled by their sin, and because they are controlled by their sin and sinning more, that means that more wickedness is perpetrated upon society. This is exactly what romans 1 is talking about.
Go back to Romans 1:24 (READ). Now verse 26 (READ). Now verse 28 (READ). Three times we see that statement “God gave them over.” And this isn’t just God giving them over to their sins… but to the consequences those sins bring.
And notice the progression here. First of all; in verse 24 we read: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.” That’s sexual immorality. The first indication of a society that’s been abandoned by God is sexual immorality.