Summary: This message examines the indictment Paul brings against the human race. This is is his first round of evidence to support the indictment.
If we are honest, there are just some subjects that we absolutely do not like to talk about. We prefer to avoid any subject that may cast ourselves in a bad light or make us feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, these same attitudes have been carried over into the church. The list of subjects we would prefer be avoided include: giving, judgment, divorce, sin and hell. Today, as we return to Paul’s letter to the Romans we find sin, judgment and a new one to add to our list, God’s wrath. We accept that God was a God of wrath in the Old Testament but in the New Testament we picture Him more like a giant teddy bear. Who is there to comfort us when we need it and who kind of winks at our sins and other indiscretions. In fact, thinking about the wrath of God makes us kind of uneasy. Paul shows us that God has not changed, His wrath and judgment will still be poured out upon those who choose to reject Him and His gracious gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ. In our text Paul strips away the excuse of ignorance and presents the first round of evidence that proves the reality of our sin problem. Whether we like it or not, we are all sinners in need of the grace of God. In fact this is true of every member of the human race. So let’s weigh the evidence and see what lessons God would have us take to heart from this uncomfortable but important text.
I. God’s wrath is still a reality.
A. Paul reminds us of the reality of God’s wrath.
1. As history unfolds Paul reminds his readers that one cannot ignore the fact that God’s wrath can be seen being poured out against sin.
2. The tense of the verbs in the Greek is progressive making the correct translation to be “is being revealed.”
3. Just as salvation is a present reality God’s wrath is a present reality as well.
4. What is this wrath that Paul is talking about? God’s deliberate judgment against sin in the world.
5. The reality of God’s wrath is seen in the curse that sin brought upon the entire creation.
a. Sickness and death.
b. Pain in childbirth.
c. The necessity of hard work.
d. Feeling of guilt.
e. Pain and sorrow.
f. Penalties imposed by the government for wrong behavior.
B. The reason God exercises His wrath against the human race.
1. Mankind has made the choice to rebel against God perverting life from what God had intended it to be.
2. The departure of man from God’s intentions can be traced throughout history.
a. Man started out knowing God and enjoying an intimate relationship with Him.
b. Man made the choice to disobey God and go his own way.
c. As man continued to turn from the truth he ultimately rejected God.
3. Consider Adam and Eve when God confronted their sin in the garden, they tried to pass the buck and make excuses.
4. God cannot ignore sin or be passive about it. His righteous nature demands that He takes action against it.
C. There is no way to claim ignorance of God’s existence.
1. God has revealed Himself through all that He has made to such an extent that the only way to deny God is to ignore the evidence for His existence.
2. Paul uses the Greek word “phaneros” which the NIV translates “plain.” A more accurate translation would be evident or easily seen.
3. Although people often want proof that God exists, Paul states that all the proof that anyone needs can be clearly seen around them.
4. 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth. (Psalm 19:1-4—NIV 2011)
5. Since God’s invisible qualities have been made obvious by Him in creation, unbelief is unexcusable.
II. The evidence that man is deserving of God’s wrath.
A. Mankind has chosen to either ignore or reject God.
1. Paul explains the problem by saying despite the overwhelming evidence of God’s existence man has made the choice to not act upon it.
2. Paul explains that man’s greatest sin is idolatry. This is a familiar word throughout Scripture usually referring to the worship of false gods.
3. The question would be, “How am I guilty of idolatry, I don’t bow and worship statues.”
a. Any time we put something ahead of God we are guilty of idolatry.
b. The moment we choose our will over God’s will, we put ourselves in the place that God should occupy.