Summary: Before one can understand salvation, he must understand why we need it! Our series is named, Salvation Why? and How? Paul lays the foundation for his treatise on salvation in chapters 4 and 5. Mankind is hopelessly lost!

Salvation: Why? and How?


Romans Chapters One to Five

Calvary Baptist Church

Series Begins Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sermon 4: A World Condemned

November 4, 2012

Romans 1:18-23


• In our 1st three sermons, we were in the section of Romans that I have called the salutation (1:1-17).

• Now we move into the section of Romans that we call "Sin."

• Paul is laying the foundation of showing the need of salvation.

• This part of Romans is divided into three parts.

• In Section 1, found in Romans 1:18-32, Paul reveals that the Gentiles are lost and condemned before God.

• Then, in Section 2, found in Romans 2:1-3:8, Paul writes that the Jews are lost and condemned before God.

• Finally, in Section 3, Romans 3:9-20, Paul concludes that all the world is condemned.

• We are preaching this first section, the condemnation of the Gentiles, in two parts.

• Today, we look at the reason for condemnation.

• God is a just Judge, He is not arbitrary in His judgment.

• Next time, we look at the results of condemnation.


• What a world we live in!

• Take out Hiltler and Saddam will arise.

• Take out Saddam and a Muslim radical will take his place.

• Innocent human life is taken before it ever leaves the womb, for the convenience of the mother.

• Men live with men and women live with women and want to call this marriage.

• Isn't anybody going to do anything about this!

• God says, "Yes, I am."

Sermon 4: The Gentiles Condemned (Part 1)

THEME: God's Anger at Sin!

OBJECTIVE: To show that a just God must be angry at sin.

STATEMENT: Somebody needs to do something about that!

I. The Reason for Condemnation (1:18-23)

A. The Declaration of Condemnation (1:18)

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

• This verse is an introductory statement to the entire section to come.

• The word "for" may be one of the most important conjunctions in all of the Bible.

• Paul has just told us that he is a debtor to all men.

• He wants to preach the gospel in Rome and then go to Spain.

• Why such a burden?

• Because men are lost and God will punish sin!

Wrath - Orge - God's punishment of sin which stems from His anger against evil.

QUOTE: "God's wrath is his divine displeasure with sin. We call it 'wrath' because it shares certain basic characteristics of human wrath. But because it is God's wrath it can have none of the sinful qualities of its analogical counterpart." Mounce, quoted in Tom Constable's Notes on the Bible

1. The Source of Condemnation: The Righteous Judge

a. The Person - God

Romans 3:5 (KJV) But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

b. The Place - Heaven

• Previously we learned that the righteousness of God is revealed (v. 17).

• Now we learn that the wrath of God is revealed.

2. The Subjects of Condemnation: The Righteous Judgment

"Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

a. The Ungodly

Asebeia - To live in a manner contrary to proper religious beliefs and practice. Louw and Nida

b. The Unrighteous

Adikia - Activity which is unjust.

Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

• Notice that these are not only wicked in themselves, but they add to their sin by attempting to suppress the truth, to keep it from reaching others.

Hold the truth - katecho. "To prevent someone from doing something by restraining or hindering."In Romans 1:18 the meaning is, ‘the people whose evil ways keep the truth from being known’ Ro 1:18. Louw and Nida

QUOTE: ". . . whenever the truth starts to exert itself and makes them feel uneasy in their moral nature, they hold it down, suppress it. Some drown its voice by rushing on into their immoralities; others strangle the disturbing voice by argument and by denial." Lenski, quoted in Tom Constable's Notes on the Bible

B. The Details of Condemnation (1:19-23)

1. God Revealed (1:19-20)

Wiersbe labels this, "Man's Intelligence." BEC

• The word "because" introduces each of the two main points in Paul's arugment.

Romans 1:19-20 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

a. The Certainty of the Revelation (1:19)

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them."

Known - gnostos Acquired knowledge.

Manifest - phaneros - Evident, plain.

Galatians 3:11 (KJV) But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

SHEWED - cf., Mt. 6:4

Matthew 6:4 (KJV) That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

b. The Clarity of the Revelation (1:20a)

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made."

Understood - naeo - To think over a matter with care. To ponder carefully. L&N

• Unless one is "messed with" by his biology teacher, by PBS, etc., the Heavens will point him to Christ!

• While the eye that God made works perfectly, the heart of man does not.

• It is blinded by Satan.

QUOTE: And Nature, the old nurse, took

The child upon her knee,

Saying: "Here is a story book

Thy Father has written for thee!"

"Come, wander with me," she said,

"Into regions yet untrod;

And read what is still unread

In the manuscripts of God!"

And he wandered away and away

With Nature, the dear old nurse,

Who sang to him night and day

The rhymes of the universe. Longfellow as quoted in Exploring Romans, Phillips

QUOTE: "Many missionaries point out that the heathen know more than we think," says Leith Samuel. "They know that there is a God. There are no atheists among heathen tribes. There has never been discovered upon earth a tribe of people, however small or depraved, which has not believed in some kind of god or had some system of worship.... The heathen found in so-called primitive tribes know that they have sinned. When a Christian comes to them and talks about sin he often finds ready acknowledgment that this is true. The heathen seem to know that their sins must be punished. They seem afraid of punishment, and afraid of death (as are most men everywhere). They know that sin must be atoned for, and they seek ways of appeasing their angry deities or deity." Leith Samuel, "The Heathen—Lost?" HIS, student magazine of InterVarsity Fellowship, May, 1961, p. 2. Reprinted by permission in Exploring Romans, John Phillips

c. The Content of the Revelation (1:20b)

"Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead."

• When we look at the Heavens ...

• When we ponder what we see ...

• God says we can learn three things:

1) There is an eternal being that predated our world.

2) This being is very powerful.

3) This being is not a man, nor even an angel, but He is divine!

d. The Conclusion of the Revelation (1:20c)

"So that they are without excuse."

Without Excuse - Anapologetos. Having nothing to say in one's own defense.

QUOTE: "Napoleon, on a warship in the Mediterranean on a star-lit night, passed a group of his officers who were mocking at the idea of a God. He stopped, and sweeping his hand toward the stars, said, 'Gentlemen, you must get rid of those first!'" Newell, quoted in Tom Constable's Notes on the Bible

2. God Rejected (1:21-23)

Wiersbe labels this, "Man's Ignorance."

Romans 1:21-23 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

a. The Characteristics of Their Disobedience

4 Problems:

1) Their Acknowledgment (1:21)

" Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God."

Knew - To have information about, the be acquainted with.

• When they knew who God is, and what He is like ...

• They do not give to Him the honor due!

2) Their Appreciation (1:21)

" Neither were thankful."

3) Their Arrogance (1:22)

"Professing themselves to be wise."

Professing - phasko - to speak about something with certainty—‘to declare, to assert.'

4) Their Actions (1:23)

"And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."

• Uncorruptible - Not subject to decay or death.

• Image - An idol.

ILLUS: Micah, Mama and the Money Minister

QUOTE: Idolatry is the fundamental sin. images. In addition to the images housed in great temples, Roman families commonly kept representations of individual “house gods” in their homes (examples found at Pompeii are particularly striking). Mediterranean and Near Eastern pagan religion worshiped idols in the form of beasts, or in the likeness of mixed beast/human deities such as the ancient gods of Egypt. Modern “idols” don’t look like ancient ones; images served today are often mental rather than metal. But people still devote their lives to, and trust in, many things other than God. ESV Study Bible

Romans 1:23 (MSG) They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

b. The Consequence of Their Disobedience

1) Loss of Reasoning (1:21)

" But became vain in their imaginations."

• Lit., they became worthless in their reasoning.

• Or., Their reasoning became utter nonsense.

2) Loss of Understanding (1:21)

"And their foolish heart was darkened."

FOOLISH - lack of capacity in insight or understanding.

3) Loss of Wisdom (1:22)

"They became fools."

• The focus here is upon behavior.

• Stinkin' doctrine leads to Stinkin' thinkin' leads to stinkin' livin'.

• The word means to act the fool.

• It could literally be said that they are stupid.

• NOTE: Here we see a failure of their mind, heart, mouth and hands.

• They traded the sovereign from Heaven for Souvenirs from China.


• The verses reveal the futility of Evolution. Man is not moving up. When he perceives God he moves away from Him. (Cf., McGee)

• The verses reveal the futility of Education. Making men smarter doesn't bring men closer!

• These verses reveal the necessity of Examining the light that God gives us!

• These verses reveal the necessity of Evangelism.

QUOTE: [TEXT BOX] "There is a God!" says nature, pointing to seasons, stars and suns; "He is eternal in His power." But man needs much more than that. Man needs a personal Redeemer, and nature cannot satisfy that need, for nature knows nothing of forgiveness. Its rules are relentless and ruthless, visiting swift retribution on all infringement of its laws. It teaches no moral codes. Savage tribes have dwelt with nature for ages and produced cannibals! Nature has a voice but it has no heart, and it offers no solution to man's greatest problem, that of sin. It makes no mention of a Saviour. There can be no comparison between God's witness to Himself in creation and His witness to Himself in redemption. Creation will tell us somewhat of the work of His hands; Calvary alone unveils His heart. Exploring Romans

II. The Results of Condemnation (1:24-32)