Summary: Let’s live lives that honor God in every way.
THE PROBLEM WITH RELIGION
Text: Rom. 2:17-24
1. Illustration: When we Pastored in Yellville, AR there was a little restaurant that I used to like to hang out at called The Hill Top. One day a man from a nearby town called Zinc stopped in for lunch. The town of Zinc was famous for one of it's residents, he was the Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, and this was the gentleman that had stopped in for lunch that day. While he was there, he was overheard saying, "If there are any...I want to use the term he used, but if you use your imagination you can imagine what he said...in heaven then I don't want to go. I've always thought since then that if he doesn't change his attitude that God will someday take him up on his offer.
2. It's human nature to think that we are somehow better than others. We point to something that makes us stand above others around us, perhaps a successful relative or a past accomplishment.
3. For the Jews it was there family tree. They thought that being the ones that God gave the law to made them God's favorites. In Romans 2:1-16 Paul makes it clear that Jews and Gentiles are equal before God as sinners who cannot keep the law.
4. The Jews knew they were sinners, but they thought that having the law gave them special privileges. But in our text today Paul bursts that bubble too!
5. Paul talks about...
A. Four Advantages
B. Four Obligations
C. Four Failures
D. Insulting God
6. Let's all stand together as we read Rom. 2:17-24.
Proposition: Let’s live lives that honor God in every way.
Transition: First, Paul talks about...
I. Four Advantages (17-18).
A. You Who Call Yourselves
1. Paul here is addressing the Jews who saw themselves as superior to the Gentiles because of the fact they had the law.
2. In v. 17 Paul says, "You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law..."
A. The first advantage the Jews believed they had was relying on the law. Paul starts out saying, "You who call yourself Jews."
B. This was a name that was given to the Hebrew people by pagans and was later adopted by the Hebrews as a way to refer to themselves, and it has both national as well as religious meaning to it.
C. When you think about it the Jews are unique in the fact that they are both a religion and a country.
D. By saying that they were relying on the law Paul means that they depended upon the law for the religious identity.
E. Now Paul's comment is positive in the sense that they should rely on the law by living their lives according to it.
3. The second advantage they thought they had was they "...boasted about their special relationship with God."
A. Now taking pride in our relationship with God can be a good thing, until we start thinking it's because we deserve it.
B. People like that have a lack of humility because they focus status rather than having an actual relationship with God.
C. It's like the self-righteous deacon of a church that walks around lording it over everyone that comes through the door.
D. In fact, we once Pastored a church that apparently, at one point in their past, the deacons would stand at the back door and decide who could come in.
4. In v. 18 Paul says, "You know what he wants..."
A. The third advantage they thought they had was that they knew the will of God.
B. Since they had the law, they assumed that in all circumstances they knew what God wanted.
C. Again, in one sense this can be seen as a positive because having the law gives someone the basis to know what God expects of us.
D. But the context of the passage seems to imply that the Jews relied on their knowledge of the law and thought that alone made them right with God.
E. However, Paul brings out later that it's one thing to know what to do and another thing to do it.
F. Have you ever been in someone's house where they cuss like sailors, drink like fish, live together even though they're not married, but they have a family Bible on the coffee table that is big enough to choke a hippopotamus? What's wrong with this picture?
5. The fourth advantage they thought they had was they knew what was right and wrong because they had been taught the law.
A. By this Paul means that they believed they knew what was truly superior or excellent.
B. They discovered what was best because they were taught the law, meaning the law of Moses was the only basis by which they made decisions, which it should have been, but any study of the New Testament shows that this was not always the case.