Summary: Our trust cannot rest in our heritage, our knowledge of the Bible, or outward symbols of faith but must rest in Jesus Christ.

TEXT: ROMANS 2:12-29


INTRODUCTION: A. What if I asked you to go flying

with me? You would probably ask

me if I was a pilot. I say, “Sure.” You ask, “Where did you learn to

fly?” I pull a photo out of my wallet and show it to you. You look at a

man in the picture next to an old bi-plane. I say, “That’s my

grandfather. He was a pilot in WWI.”

You ask, “Your grandfather taught you how to fly?” “Oh, no. He

died when I was 10 years old. But I’ve got flying in my blood!”

You laugh and ask, “Then who taught you how to fly?” I pull out a

thick book and say, “I’ve read the pilot’s manual.” You say, “You

read a book on flying.” “Oh, yeah. Better than that, I also took a

course on the history of flying at a community college. We went on a

field trip to Dayton, Ohio to Wright-Patterson AFB and the Air Force

Museum. I’ve seen all kinds of planes. I even met a real Air Force

captain and shook his hand. C’mon, let’s go flying!”

You shake your head and say, “I don’t think you’re a pilot.” I ask,

“Do you want some real proof? Take a look!” I take off my coat and

say, “Look! I’ve got a regulation flight suit with pilot’s wings pinned

to my chest! Now, that’s the mark of a real pilot.”

I can tell you’re not very impressed. You say, “Is that all the proof

you have?” I say, “What else do I need? I’ve got flying in my blood,

I’ve got the book, and I’ve got the regulation uniform and wings. Let’s

hop on the plane!”

--Would you go????

B. Paul has spent a good amount of time in the first part of this letter

dealing with the godless Gentiles. As the Jews listened to the reading

of the letter, they probably had a lot of “Amens!” and “Preach it,

brother!” when Paul spoke about those pagan, evil uncircumcised


1. Then, he surprises them. He says: “Now, I’m talking to you!!!”

2. UH OH! Now he’s gone from preachin’ to meddlin’!

3. Don’t you just hate it when you think the preacher is talking about


C. Paul was talking to some people who had the same problem I did flying

the plane. Their ancestors didn’t share the same seat on the plane but

they did share the same seat at the temple or synagogue. They didn’t

have a book on flying but they did have a book called the Torah. They

did have the regulation symbol – circumcision.

1. They had some great blessings from God. Things they could point to

and say, “We’ve been treated in a special way.”

2. However, they began to worship the things instead of the God who

provided those things. In Paul’s own terminology, “they worshipped

created things rather than the Creator.”

D. Paul provides some very important principles in this passage for those

of us who would claim to worship God and be His servants.


A. The Jews could claim possession of the sacred scriptures. After all, they were the people

that God had spoken to and through.

B. They could also claim that they had been taught the scriptures since they were old enough

to listen. After all, we faithfully attended synagogue services.

C. Paul quickly reminds them that they could listen all they wanted but it didn’t make them


1. We have people in churches all across the U.S. that believe just because they attend

Sunday School and church, they’ve met their obligation to God. They step out the door

and go merrily on with their lives oblivious to the call of God on their life.

2. I call those kinds of people – “pew potatoes”.

--They never do anything significant for the kingdom. They think that the work of the

Lord belongs to someone else. Not them. They refuse to acknowledge that God has

called them to something other than planting their behinds in a pew.

3. Don’t get me wrong: it’s important to be in Sunday school and church. It’s important

to listen to the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.

4. James 1:22-25 – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what

it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who

looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately

forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that

gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it –

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