Summary: Special message for the 4th of July, 2014.
This past Friday, we had the annual celebration of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America.
The men who founded this country believed in personal liberty and rejected a monarchy and demanded individual freedom.
This nation was built on the ideal of personal independence.
However, those same men did not believe that such independence relieved a person from his responsibilities to his Creator.
In fact, the Creator is invoked in many of our founding documents, not the least of which is the Declaration of Independence itself.
QUOTE: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
One could say they consented to the divide between church and state.
But they never conceived of a division between God and government.
George Washington “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.”
Just in case we wonder what religion Washington was invoking, he is also believed to have said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
John Adams “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In fact, Adams also said that the 4th of July “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
These men fought and bled for independence from the British, but not independence from God.
The problem is that here, over 200 years later, we have reached a point in this nation wherein people are essentially demanding their independence from God.
As a result, we have seen an entire generation which is actively engaging in a level of moral depravity which would have been beyond anything our founding fathers could have envisioned, and would have been unthinkable even one generation ago.
Who would have believed a generation ago that a person could be forced by law to undergo mental reeducation (called “sensitivity training”) for choosing to not bake a cake for a homosexual couple who wanted to be married in a state wherein it is not even legal for same-sex couples to be married?
Who would have believed a generation ago that schools would be forced to allow boys to use girls locker rooms because they “identify” as girls, and vice-versa?
Who would have believed a generation ago that a film would be made that not only was meant to soften the reality of abortion, but would essentially turn it into a joke?
Now, I want to be clear that I am not saying things were perfect a generation ago - we have always been rebellious sinners, and all human history is marked by rebellion.
But there is obviously, as Al Mohler has described, a “massive moral revolution” happening in our nation.
What once was lauded as virtuous is now considered heinous.
What once was considered heinous is now lauded as virtuous.
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
If that verse does not describe the current state of our nation, then what does it describe?
We have a president who goes before the leaders of Planned Parenthood, one of the most murderous groups in human history, and has the audacity to say, “Thank You and God bless you.”
We have a media which will spend weeks glorifying an athlete who “comes out” while with the same mouth vilify one who chooses to openly display his Christian faith.
The pronouncement of “Woe” is the pronouncement of judgment… and judgment is here.
We are seeing what some theologians and Christian commentators have noted is the downward progression which is detailed in Romans 1.
What happens when a people reject God and turn to idols?
They are given over to their own desires for moral depravity.
So, today I want us to study this passage of Romans 1 and discuss the progression of the text and demonstrate how it also follows almost in lock-step with the progressive downward spiral of our nation.
AS WE BEGIN OUR STUDY, ALLOW ME TO FIRST ADDRESS THE CONTEXT: Paul is introducing his “Magnum Opus” which we call the letter to the Romans.
In this letter, Paul is laying out the closest thing in the Bible that we have to a systematic presentation of Christian Theology.
Following his introductions wherein he defines himself and his audience, and makes his initial greeting, he makes an important proclamation which establishes the theme of the entire book:
Romans 1:16-17 “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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”