Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Revelation of God's Wrath (Part 2)

SERMON:             GM15-057

SERIES:              Renewal Through Romans: The Gospel Defined, Explained & Applied

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (May 10, 2015)

SECTION:          The Perversion of Righteousness (Romans 1:1-18-3:20)

SUBTITLE:        The Revelation of God’s Wrath (Part 2)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans1:18b-23

SUBJECT:          The wrath (anger) of God

SUMMARY:       God wants you to know he is angry with mankind

SCHEME:           That each member of NKBC feels relief knowing that Jesus Christ has born God’s wrath in their place


Our theme is:  The wrath (anger) of God

 Proposition:  God wants you to know he is angry with mankind

Interrogatory Sentence:  Why is God so angry at mankind?

Transitional Sentence: Our text reveals three reasons why God is so angry at mankind.

·        …because mankind has suppressed the truth of God
·        …because mankind has subverted the truth of God
·        …because mankind has spurned the truth of God

The Perversion of Righteousness
Romans 1:18-3:20

Title:           The Revelation of God’s Wrath (Part 2)
Text:           Romans 1:18b-23
Theme:       The Wrath (anger) of God
Thrust:       You should know God is angry at sinners who pervert righteousness
Transition: Our text tells us that God has revealed his wrath against…


Paul alluded to the gospel of Christ in verse 16. He said he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He also stated that the gospel of Christ is the power of God fully capable of saving sinners.

In verse 17, Paul alludes to the fact that contained in the gospel is the righteousness of God. We discovered there were at three (3) major views about what Paul meant by that phrase. We concluded that it seems Paul is talking about the righteousness that God requires and has provided for those whom He is saving or redeeming.

Now as we move into this second section of this letter Paul is going to go into depth and detail about this righteousness that God demands and provides in order to bring sinners into a right relationship with Himself.

Righteousness and its derivatives are used some 24 times in this section. These words are used six times in 3:21-26 to emphasize His point. Faith and its derivatives are used 27 times in this section.

This enormous usage of these words convey the central theme that God’s righteousness is the righteousness of faith.      

As we began this section last week, we made the point that this section, 1-18 to 3:20 is a preparation for Paul’s emphasis about the righteousness that Paul wants the Romans to understand and to appropriate. Paul must show the overwhelming and desperate need of the human race and that this righteousness can only be appropriated or obtained by the vehicle of faith.

And so, Paul will take this section to condemn all men, both Gentiles and Jews. Paul indicts the entire human race. Paul systematically demonstrates that all men have perverted the righteousness of God and are in need of the righteousness that God demands.

Toward this end, in 1:18 to 3:20, Paul addresses three groups or types of people:

·        He addresses the Sinful Gentiles, whom I call The Sinful Heathens,
·        He addresses the Sinful Jews, whom I call The Sinful Hebrews
·        He addresses both groups combined, whom I call The Sinful Humanity.

Paul’s argument is this – God is revealing His anger towards or against all those who have perverted the righteousness of God, all Gentiles and all Jews.

Our theme continues to be:  The Wrath of God

 Proposition: You should know God is angry with those who pervert righteousness

Interrogatory Sentence:  Who is the first group it that has perverted righteousness?

Transitional Sentence:  Our text tells us that God has revealed his wrath against…

1A     The Sinful Heathen (18-32)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (18a)     

The Greek word used for men is the Greek word that includes both men, women, even children. It is inclusive. Paul is not limiting those whom God has revealed his wrath against to just males. This is the word where we think of all peoples. This word is used for mankind. Particularly the portion of mankind that has perverted righteousness

Hence, God has revealed his wrath against the sinful heathen.

So, God is angry at the heathen. Remember, David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

We have to stop and ask ourselves, “Why is God angry at the wicked, or the heathen?

The answer is, “The wicked, or the sinful heathen has perverted the righteousness of God.

So, how does the heathen pervert righteousness? The sinful heathen perverts the righteousness of God when they…    

Suppresses the Truth of God (18-22)

“…who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…” (18b)

How does the sinful heathen suppress the truth of God? Our text reveals that first of all, they suppresses the truth of God…                       
By their Impious Attitudes (18-21)

The heathen holds impious, or ungodly, or unrighteous thoughts about God’s word.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…” 

The heathen, the unsaved, unredeemed man in his natural state thinks he knows more or better than God. So he suppresses the truth or he hinders, or restrains, or stands against the truth of God. He opposes it. He pushes it “down” or “away” from himself.

This word has built into it an “emphasis” that makes the holding much stronger. It means to hold back. It was also used in the sense of engagement, or engaged in something. So the heathen is engaged in an active sense of denying, pushing down, or restraining the truth of God about God.

Because of the sinful nature of mankind, every human being apart from Christ has a natural built-in and compelling drive to resist God and His truth in order to follow after sin.

Paul goes on to say:

“…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”

IOW – The things that can be known about God, is evident inside them, because God made it known or made it evident. Paul’s purpose is to show that the knowledge of God that the heathen, or all people have through observing the created world is actively pushed away and distorted so that all of the heathen are without any excuse possible.

The Greek word gnwstos means “knowable” and “known.” The idea built into the word is “clearly recognizable.” They are without excuse because God’s character is recognizable.

Regardless of whether people ever hear a “gospel message” or regardless of their opportunities to know or hear God’s word, they have a built-in, internal, God given evidence of God’s existence and of God’s character. But they are wired to resist God and to restrain, hinder, or stand against or to suppress God’s truth.

How do we know this to be true

How do we know that all men, whether in the darkest jungles of Africa, or to the most enlightened and educated place in the world, have the knowledge of God and His character? How do we know this?

Look at verse 19 – “…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.”

Every human being, all of mankind, all of the heathen no matter how far apart from Scripture, the gospel, the church, or other Christians have enough truth within them and outside of them to know God and to be reconciled to God.

The problem is that the heathen refuse to respond to this evidence and that is why they are under the condemnation of  God and why he has revealed his wrath against them. This is why God is angry with the wicked.

Just for the record, in case there is any faulty thinking here, God is not obligated nor has he promised to reach each and every individual in this world with the gospel message during this period we call the church age. There is nothing in Scripture that tells us that God must get the gospel to or give the native in the deepest, darkest jungle the gospel before we raptures the church.

The promise of the universal preaching of the gospel to every creature is reserved for the tribulation period. God will use man, the 144K Jews, and even angels to proclaim the gospel to the entire human race. But not during this age.

The native or the aristocrat who have never heard a gospel witness or the name of Jesus is still required to repent and seek God because God has revealed enough of His character or nature, his invisible attributes to hold them responsible for failing to repent.

Paul is not suggesting that knowledge of God’s existence is the result of any long drawn out careful study or reasoning process. Paul is saying this knowledge is a reality and people come to it by seeing or observing creation. Why? Or How?

God makes it known to them. Mankind observes creation and God makes it known to them Himself.
By the way – Paul is not telling us at all when the heathen rejected this knowledge of God in their own individual personal history of their lives. The suppressing of this truth is concurrent with the knowledge of the truth.

It is an amazing thing – When mankind is confronted with the inner voice of God somehow demonstrating the truth of His existence, the heathen refuses to submit to this revelation. It seems that the more the conscience is informed by God the more the sinner hardens himself against the truth of God.

[As we move to verse 20, Paul goes into more detail and informs us exactly what the heathen suppress; they suppress…]

The Content of God’s Revelation       
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 

Since the time that God has created the world, God states that He has made his invisible attributes or characteristics visible to mankind. As a matter of fact God has made at least two (2) specific attributes evident enough that mankind can perceive them through his natural senses that that is:
·        God’s eternal power
·        God’s divine nature

God’s eternal power means his never-failing omnipotence which is reflected in his creation. It is that power that brought things into existence that did not exist out of nothing and then sustains or keeps them in existence.

God’s divine nature refers to the kindness and graciousness of God towards his creation and creatures.

Charles Hodge wrote: “God therefore has never left himself without a witness. His existence and perfections have ever been so manifested that his rational creatures are bound to acknowledge and worship him as the true and only God.”

Keep in mind, that God’s revelation of himself is not obscure or tricky

Nor is it only available to or known by a special, select portion of mankind.

This revelation of God can be clearly seen by every human being by what God has created.

But, the heathen suppresses the truth by his impious or ungodly attitudes toward or about God.

[There is a second way the heathen suppresses the truth.]

Our text reveals that, they suppresses the truth of God… 
2C     By their Impious Actions (21)

21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” 

God is justified when he is angry at the heathen and he is justified when he judges them and condemns them because the heathen willfully rejects the knowledge that God has revealed and they reject God in place of idols.

In verse 21 Paul gives us three (3) ways that the heathen suppresses the truth of God by their impious or ungodly actions; they dishonor God, they are ungrateful towards God, the speculate incorrectly about God.

First of all – the heathen dishonors God:  by refusing to value God as being God

Here is the root sin of pride. Pride is at the very core of man’s sinful nature, it is the root of his fallen condition.

The text says, “…they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God…”

First of all, let me remind you they did not know God salvificly. These are not believers by any stretch of the imagination. This means that they were aware of God and his character because God revealed his invisible attributes to all of mankind.

It means that when they knew God to be God they refused to acknowledge, treat, or respond to God in the way that God is worthy to be responded to. IOW, they refused to worship God. They refused to acknowledge God to be who he said he was.

They refused to acknowledge God as supremely worthy of praise, worship and adoration. The word honor comes from a root that referred to weight or to heavy. It was originally used of dignitaries, high ranking officials and such. It meant to give to them the weight of recognition that their rank or status deserved.

If God exists and if God is real and if God has clearly revealed himself to be all powerful and gracious then the only response is to treat God as God.

So the bible, particularly the Psalms are filled with commands, exhortations, and examples of praising God because God is worthy to be praised.

For example:

David said, “Ascribe to the Lord Glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.” (Psalm 29:1-2)

Paul told the Corinthians, “Whether, then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Don’t forget that the Westminster Catechism tells us that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

Mankind was created to glorify and worship God. Refusing to glorify and worship God as God is the greatest offense and sin man can do against God.

Adam and Eve’s great sin was that they desired to take upon themselves glory and honor that alone belonged to the Lord and so they sinned against God.

Secondly the heathen disrespects God:  refusing to give thanks where thanks is due

“…nor were thankful…”

God is a gracious God. God is worthy to be thanked for his gracious provision. God is the source of every good thing than mankind ever has. God gives life, he gives rain, sunshine, food, and everything thing else you can think of.

But unredeemed man, the heathen, fails to admit that God is the source of everything that they have ever had, have now, or ever will have.

Ingratitude is a terrible sin against God.

Every time you fail to thank God for the day, or for safety, or for your food, you slapping God in the face, you are dishonoring God because you are failing to be grateful and to express gratitude for what you have. In reality you don’t deserve a single thing.

Thirdly, the heathen distorts God: by speculating incorrectly about God & everything else

“…but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Mankind has become futile in his speculations. When the heathen rejected God they rejected the only reality and the greatest realty in the universe. God is the one who gives true meaning to anything and everything, God gives true purpose and God gives true understanding.

So when mankind has rejected God then they are doomed to guide their minds by their own fallen and sinful speculations which leads to falsehood which leads to further unbelief and sinfulness.
When you reject God, you in essence exchange truth for the false, you trade meaning for hopelessness and you trade satisfaction for emptiness

Here lies the real and ultimate tragedy – the heart or the soul of man does not remain empty – it sucks in falsehood and darkness to fill the void left by rejecting God and his truth.

So the heart then, the foolish heart, becomes dark. It becomes enslaved to sin and wickedness.
The foolish heart, the foolish man does not know that spiritual darkness and moral wickedness go hand in hand. When mankind rejects God, he accepts sin, wickedness, and darkness.

I think this is why Paul warned the Colossians when he said, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” (Col 2:8)

An example or illustration of rejection, false speculation leading to darkness is seen when truth and light came into the world through the incarnation, and unbelieving men rejected the light. The deeds or works of the heathen were evil and the heathen who has a dark heart loves darkness rather than the light and so they are left to vain speculations which darkens the heart. This is the terrible judgment of God – letting man love hid darkness.

So, the heathen suppresses the truth by their impious or ungodly attitudes and they suppress the truth by their impious or ungodly actions.

There is a third and final way the heathen suppresses the truth of God. The sinful heathen suppresses the truth of God…

3C     By their Impious Adoration (22-23)

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.  

When the heathen, or mankind rejected God’s clear revelation of himself through creation, and they failed to ascribe glory to God, and they failed to be thankful, and they became futile in their speculations, and they became foolish with darkened hearts, they concluded that they were “wise.”

With this darkened, sinful, and godless wisdom they actually became fools.

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools.

I wish I could spend some time here but let make a couple of observations and comments.

David said this, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1, 53:1) He said it or recorded it twice.

Men who deny God are foolish and this foolishness deludes them into thinking that they are wise or smart or enlightened.

They can’t think righteously about anything! But the heathen cannot think anything righteously about spiritual things. The main reason is that this is where sin has done its most devastating work.

The human mind apart from the redeeming benefit of Christ’s work on the cross and the indwelling HS cannot think in a manner that is pleasing to God.

This leads then to the refusal to worship God and to the worship of idols. The unsaved are not righteous, but unsaved man is religious.

“…and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”      

According to a World Almanac survey, 2.6 billion people in the world claim an identifiable religion of some kind.

Did you know that the Hindu religion has 330 million gods? That is about 8 gods per person.

The Heathen are idolatrous. Listen to Isaiah – 44:9-17

Unsaved men worship anything and everything. Spiritually blind, depraved, darkened man worships creatures and creation rather than God who is the creator.

Look at what the heathen or sinful mankind chooses to worship:

First – they substitute the worship of God for the worship of themselves.

“…an image in the form of corruptible man…”

Instead of worshipping God, man tries to deify himself. Men love and worship themselves.

Second – they substitute the worship of God for birds, and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.        

Many different types of birds have been idolized and worshipped by sinful men.

Eagle was worship in Rome (Jews refused to display them)
Stork and the hawk were worshipped in Egypt
American Indians worshipped birds including the Thunderbird

Many animals were worshipped by sinful mankind throughout history

Egyptians worshipped the bull-God Apis,
The cat-goddess Bubastis,
The wolf-god Ophois
Israelites worshipped the golden calf
Canaanites worshipped bulls
Various cultures worshipped mice, rats, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and even the sun and the moon

Many crawling or creeping bugs and such were worshipped

Egyptians worshipped the scarab beetle
Assyrians worshipped snakes
Canaanites worship flies – Baal-zebub means “Lord of the flies”
Hindus refuse to kill most animals and insects – they might be a either god or a relative
Modern man worships things like astrology, the occult, horoscopes, and stars
Modern man worships idols like: Wealth, Health, Beauty, Pleasure, Prestige, Power, Sex, Sports, Education,  Entertainment, and/or Success  
So, how does the heathen pervert righteousness?

The heathen, the sinful, wicked, darkened, and unsaved man suppresses the truth of God by his ungodly attitudes, actions, and adorations.

[What do you say we wrap this up, shall we?]


J. H. Clinch wrote a very provocative and powerful poem:
And still from Him we turn away
And fill our hearts with worthless things;
The firs of greed melt the clay,
And forth the idol springs!
Ambition’s flame, and passions heat,
By wondrous alchemy transmute earth’s dross
To raise some gilded brute to fill Jehovah’s seat

When man rejects God’s revelation, whatever the form of that revelation might be, and when he suppress or hinders, holds back, rejects the truth, mankind sinks into the darkest of darkness through sinful attitudes, sinful actions, and sinful adorations.

 So, I exhort you as genuine believers to: thank God for the fact that he redeemed you and saved you from this life of darkness.

Remember, Paul wrote in Romans chapter 5 “…having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1, NKJV)

Let’s pray! J
Benediction Blessing:

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Philippians 4:23, NKJV)

1 comment:

nashvillecats2 said...

These post's of yours Gregg do me a power of good. Yesterday I didn't go on line as it was a day I was utterly unhappy, it was my birthday, not cards(expecting one from Spain in the week) no phone calls except a text from John in Spain, but nothing from my other two offsprings or grandchildren even though my grand daughter was celebrating her birthday,
To day I read your post and feel up lifted, Thank you my friend you truly are a God send.