Summary: A 10 week study on the book of Romans to help every Christian be all they can be

Welcome back to Basic Training. We have 9 weeks remaining in our study of the book of Romans.

My prayer is this, as we go through the book of Romans, each of us will begin to experience personal revival in our lives. In order for this to happen I challenge you to read through this book during the next few weeks. Read through the book of Romans 2 or 3 times.

Allow it to stir up that which is in you.

My prayer is that Prairie Family Church will be stirred up by the power of God.

Let’s pray,

Father,

Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.

Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.

And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive.

AMEN

Today we will be examining the wrath of God.

How many of you think that sounds good? It doesn’t sound good. Think about this, would you like to have the wrath of God poured out into your life? I don’t think so.

Paul finishes his introductions and he wastes no time moving into the doctrinal issues. The first issue that Paul brings before the Roman church is the moral condition of mankind.

Paul has some good news and he has some bad news and he was going to bring the bad news first.

Here was Paul’s bad news… All of mankind needs to have atonement for their sins.

Before we can really appreciate the good news we need to know the bad news. So before Paul tells us about the gifts of God we hear about the need of man.

In Romans 1:18-32 we see the condition of mankind. According to Paul the whole earth is morally bankrupt.

Now remember, Paul is writing this about AD 56. Basically 2000 years ago before any of our modern modes of communication were thought of. Before television, before movies, before internet; Paul calls the world he lived in a depraved world. He called it a world that lacked morals or Godly values.

He says that the world was morally bankrupt then. To be bankrupt means to have nothing.

I want you to grasp this because when Noah was alive God destroyed the earth because it was morally bankrupt.

This is important to note because when God saw the moral condition of Sodom and Gomorra, He destroyed those two towns.

Now compare the days of Noah and the days of Lot with what Paul is seeing and then compare those with the moral condition of our day and age.

What do you see?

When you take a careful look at things not much has changed. The world we live in today is just as morally corrupt today as it was in the days of Noah, the days of Lot, and the days of Paul. Maybe even more so.

Paul brings all this up in Romans 1. Last week we looked at Paul’s opening comments to the Roman Church. He told them that God has set for a righteousness in the Gospel message.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17 NIV

But before he can explain the righteousness and before he can explain the grace he has to talk about something that is not popular. That is what we are going to look at today.

In Romans 1:18-32 NIV

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Romans 1:18-32 NIV

Reading Romans 1:18-32 is like looking into the mirror of our world today.

It is possible that people are oblivious to the lack of morals and the problem of sin in the world today? Some people are na├»ve to them. Some people have never had to deal with the problem of sin. Some people don’t know what sin is because they have never been taught Godly principles.

Most of us have experienced sin in our lives and probably more than we would like to admit.

It is easy to fall into sin and that sin can be pleasant for a season but when that season is over the sin in our lives leaves us feeling lonely, deserted, hurt, unfulfilled, guilty, empty and longing for something more.

It has been that way since mankind first sinned and it hasn’t changed. Paul shows us this reality in the Scripture we just read.

Paul believed that the world that he lived in was a mess. I wonder what Paul would think if he walked this planet today?

Spiritually speaking our planet is a mess. According to George Barna of the Barna Research Group, “In some ways, we are creating the ultimate ecumenical movement, where nothing is deemed right or wrong, and all ideas, beliefs and practices are assigned equal validity. Everyone is invited to join the dialogue, enjoy the ride, and feel connected to a far-reaching community of believers. Screening or critiquing what that community believes is deemed rude and inappropriate. Pragmatism and relativism, rather than any sort of absolutism, has gained momentum.”

People today don’t know what Biblical absolutes are, they don’t think that being a Christian means being set apart from the rest of the world. We have blurred the lines of right and wrong, we have stopped thinking in moral absolutes and the result is sin becomes more prevalent and righteousness becomes less prevalent.

Christianity has become less effective and people turn more to spirituality.

For much of America’s history, the assumption was that if you were born in America, you would affiliate with the Christian faith.

The Barna Group, however, indicates that people’s views have changed. Their study discovered that half of all adults now contend that Christianity is just one of many options that Americans choose from and that a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs.

Evidence of people’s willingness to part with church teaching was shown in other data from the survey regarding what people believe.

Among individuals who describe themselves as Christian, for instance, close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on earth, two-fifths say they do not have a responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, and one-quarter dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.

The result of such thoughts lead to a world in which sin becomes more prevalent because there are no absolute truths. This is a dangerous place to be.

Especially when you consider the opportunity that we in America have to learn the absolute truths of God.

There are approximately 300,000 Protestant and Christian churches in America. The average size of these churches is 75 attendees. Gallup Research says that only 40% of all American’s attend a worship service a week on a regular basis. Another research group only found that 20% attend on a regular basis.

There are plenty of churches out there that are preaching the Gospel message but the trend to attend is not the same as it was 30 to 50 years ago.

Less and less today are understanding what it means to a have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

If these statistics are true then out of the 82,000 people in Bismarck, Mandan, and Lincoln; 32,800 are unchurched.

Statistics say that at least 8200 of those would come to church if asked!

Most of the people in our area have most likely heard about God, they know who He is and who is Son is. And yet, there are still people in our cities who are like the people described in Romans.

Paul described them as a people who know about God. They had heard the message. It was made plain to them but instead of following the truth, the embraced wickedness.

One translation says they became fools.

They took the truth and exchanged it for lies. The truth that was meant to set them free was rejected for a life of slavery and imprisonment to sin.

They didn’t want to worship God they wanted to worship the things God made. They didn’t want to worship the Creator they wanted to worship creation.

Then they took their sin to a new level and began to pervert God’s gifts to man.

Sex is God’s gift to a man and a wife who enter into the covenant relationship of marriage. It is a beautiful thing when done according to Godly principles.

But they exchanged natural relationships for un-natural ones. Yes, I am talking about homosexuality. It is not natural, plain and simple.

Paul then concluded this section by listing all these other things that people were doing that were sinful.

29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Rom. 1:29-31

They knew the righteous decrees of God and yet they continued to live in sin and approved of those who did the same.

It’s not that they didn’t know. It was that they didn’t care.

And whether people today will admit it or not, the same is true. They have heard the truth that can set them free, but they don’t care and they live life as they please.

Paul was convinced that a person living in sin was never without a witness to the presence and the personality of God. He stated this in verse 20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

People know when they make mistakes. People know when they sin. God put it in us to know those things.

What God wants man to know, man willingly ignores and suppresses. He does this through the addition of beliefs, customs, and traditions that cloak the truth.

The truth is still there, hidden behind a screen of falsehoods that most never attempt to remove.

Because of this Paul says that God’s wrath will be poured out on them.

God poured His wrath out during the days of Noah. God poured His wrath out upon Sodom and Gomorrah. But God isn’t pouring His wrath out upon us now in those ways.

Because God is holding back now, many think they are "getting away with sin".

Because of God's patient mercy now, this is an easy error to fall in to. But every sin ever committed will be accounted for. No one is "getting away with" anything.

C.S. Lewis said, "God is the only comfort, He is also the supreme terror: the thing we most need and the thing we most want to hide from. He is our only possible ally, and we have made ourselves His enemies. Some talk as if meeting the gaze of absolute goodness would be fun. They need to think again. They are still only playing with religion. Goodness is either the great safety or the great danger--according the way you react to it. And we have reacted the wrong way."

Is there any hope for such a person?

Do we continue to witness to them?

Do we continue to pray for them?

Do we continue to show them God’s love?

Yes, yes, and yes!

Paul calls this kind of a person a depraved person, another translation uses the word reprobate.

The Greek meaning of this word is a very wicked person who is destined to eternal punishment. It is a person who has rejected God, formed their own god and continue to move away from the true God.

Is there any hope for this person?

Can such a person find Christ?

Can this person have a renewed relationship with God the Father?

Yes, yes, and yes!

The reason I can say yes is because with God all things are possible.

We serve a God who according to Numbers 14:18, “is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

The prophet Joel said, “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love,

and he relents from sending calamity.” Joel 2:13 NIV

God does not desire for anyone to spend their eternity in hell. The Apostle Peter wrote this in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

God wants us all to know His love and forgiveness, His grace and His mercy.

He offers those things to us freely. That is the Good News that Paul will share with us at a later date. I am jumping ahead a little bit but I don’t want to leave you thinking that there is no hope because there is hope. And that hope is found in Jesus.

My prayer is that we would be a people who desire to seek God’s righteousness and share that righteousness with the world.

That we would turn to Jesus and do all we can to turn others to Him as well.

Turn to Jesus and avoid God’s wrath.

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