Summary: It's easy to judge others but can you honestly evaluate yourself?
Show the video “A Servant’s Heart.”
Did you find her annoying? I did. And often those we are trying to share the Gospel with find us annoying also, often because of our approach.
Last week I taught on Romans 1: 18-32. We discovered what an evil people the Romans had become. We may have left here feeling sorrow for the direction of our nation but feeling good about our personal relationship with Jesus. We could list of all the sinful actions and lifestyles we stand against.
But in Romans 2 Paul turns the mirror so the church could take a good look at itself. Let’s begin with Romans 2:1-3. You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?
Wait a minute. Is Paul saying that I am just as bad as these despicable people he described earlier? Yes he is. And when we sit in judgment over their sins we have elevated ourselves to a Godly status. We don’t deny their wickedness but we have no right to condemn them for that evil. Even Jesus said “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” (Matt 7:1-2)
Our next thought might be “But I don’t do these same things.”
Let’s look at verses 17-20 “You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him. You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.
The Jews were considered the chosen people. God made a promise to Abraham that his descendents would be those chosen people. We also are a chosen people. Here is the way Peter stated it; “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, and God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
Like the Jews we are called to be a special ‘nation’ of people. So this criticism of the Jews applies to the church also.
We boast about our relationship with Jesus, of our assurance of salvation. We listen to a teaching every Sunday so we can know what is right and wrong. We are called to lead others out of the darkness, to open their blind eyes to God’s truth. We instruct those who know nothing of God about their sinful lifestyles and those who are ‘Christians’ but do not follow Jesus the way we do. We are certain that the knowledge we have received is absolutely accurate.
However Paul thinks different “Well then, if you teach others, why you don’t teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?” (Romans 2:21-22)
In today’s language he might be asking “Do you goof off at work, stealing your pay from your company?” “Do you allow your mind to embellish sinful thoughts?” “Have you ever received items or services that you know were not properly purchased?”
Jesus said that “If you are angry with anyone, you have committed murder. If you have looked at someone with lust in your heart you have committed adultery.” (Matt 5: 21, 28) Even though we are forgiven by the blood of Christ, we are still capable of sinning daily. We are not above sin.
Continuing with Paul’s commentary. “You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it. No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.” (Romans 2:23-24)
The word “Gentiles” refer to those who are not God’s chosen people. Today we call them the lost. Let me tell you about the lost. They know the Ten Commandments. They know that as a follower of Jesus that you are not suppose to steal, lie, use foul language, check out the ladies (or men). But when they hear you tell that little white lie that does no one any harm, you are immediately labeled “hypocrite”. And your chances of reaching them are greatly diminished. They may even reject God because of your actions or words.