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Summary: God’s judgment on the pagan man

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Romans 1:18-32

John Shearhart

March 21, 2010

Introduction

Over the last several weeks we’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans, and we’ve seen that Paul is not ashamed of this urgent message because it is salvation for those who believe.

The next question, then, is salvation from what?

Tonight we’re going to look at…

God’s Judgment in the Pagan Man

1. God’s wrath is prepared against every sinful man. (:18)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…

There are several points to be made from this text. First, it should be obvious that the wrath of God is real. No theology is complete without an acceptance of this truth, and salvation can’t be gained without it.

The modern evangelism strategy is to preach heavily on the love and acceptance of God but not on His wrath.

In his sermon, Ten Shekels and a Shirt, Paris Reidhead preaches on how humanism has affected the presentation of the gospel. He says that now even fundamentalists are saying,

"Accept Jesus so you can go to heaven! You don’t want to go to that old, filthy, nasty, burning hell, when there is a beautiful heaven up there! Now come to Jesus so you can go to heaven!" And the appeal could be as much to selfishness, as a couple of men sitting in a coffee shop, deciding they are going to rob a bank to get something for nothing! There’s a way that you can give an invitation to sinners, that just sounds for all the world like a plot to take up a filling station proprietor’s Saturday night earnings without working for them.

Why have we dropped the wrath of God from our preaching when the Bible hasn’t? The first three chapters of Romans deal almost exclusively with man’s brokenness and God’s wrath.

Jesus spoke often of hell and warned that the unrighteous would join the devil and his angels there if they failed to repent (Mt. 25:41).

We have treated evangelism like a doctor who won’t tell his patient he’s sick. We pick up the cure and say, “Oh, doesn’t this look good? Wouldn’t you like to try it for a little while and just see how much better you’ll feel?”

Preachers are preaching seeker-sensitive sermons hoping the so-called “unchurched” will hear and buy-in. It’s almost like we’re treating the gospel like a used car lot: “Hey, come take Jesus for a spin and see if He fits your needs.”

And the lost man, unaware of his spiritual condition and unconcerned for God’s terrible wrath says, “No, thank you. I enjoy my life and I think I’ll keep on.”

Wouldn’t it be better if that doctor grabbed the sick man by the collar and said, “Listen to me! Your sickness is going to kill you; there’s no hope of survival! You need a cure!”

Once that sick man realizes his condition he’ll BEG for the cure. There’s nothing to sell him, there’s no convincing necessary; he doesn’t want to die.

In our churches we should stop seeing the lost as “unchurched.” What a horrible word, because it seems to say that if we can just teach them our ways and get them to agree with our morals and theology then they can be happy and confident like us.

They don’t need to know our ways; they need to know their predicament with God!

God is angry, they are guilty, and a price will be paid!

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)

What if we put this on all our brochures instead of John 3:16?

I wonder what God would do for us if we decided only to give the message of coming judgment and leave all the convicting to Him.

It’s actually rather freeing. I used to feel unsuccessful if I couldn’t convince a person to turn to Christianity. I’d tell him all about God’s love and forgiveness if he’d only repent. When that didn’t happen, I walked away wondering what I had done wrong.

Or sometimes I came across a man who knew more than I about the world’s religions and about science and I simply couldn’t win the argument.

But since I’ve discovered that God hasn’t called me to convict, convince, or convert I’ve been free to just talk freely about the coming wrath of an angry God who will punish men for their sins.

It is God who convicts and convinces. When He does, I’m then free to begin preaching the love and mercy and grace of God because the lost man sees his situation clearly.

But before that point, there is no room for grace because “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE (Jas. 4:6).

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