Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Bird's Eye-view of Chapter Two

SERMON:             GM15-060

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

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (June 14, 2015)

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

SUBTITLE:        A Bird’s Eye-view

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 2, Selected Scriptures

SUBJECT:          The analysis of chapter two

SUMMARY:       The objective of chapter two is to establish the same charge against the Sinful Hebrews that had been brought against the Sinful Heathen

SCHEME:           That each member of NKBC understands the intent of this chapter in           order to demonstrate that the Jews are as equally under the wrath of God as the Gentiles.

Our theme is:  Jews are condemned as sinners

 Proposition:  God wants you to know the Jews are also under the wrath of God

Interrogatory Sentence:  How does this chapter deal with the condition of the Jews?

Transitional Sentence: Our text demonstrates that the Jews are as equally under the condemnation of God as the Gentiles 

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

Title:           A Bird’s Eye-view
Text:           Romans 2, Selected Scripture
Theme:       Jews are condemned as sinners
Thrust:       God wants you to know the Jews are also under the wrath of God
Trans:        Our text demonstrates that the Jews are as equally under the condemnation                              of God as the Gentiles


Romans 1:18-3:20 deals with the theme of The Perversion of Righteousness. In this section Paul demonstrates the reason behind His statement in verse 18,

           “For the wrath of God is revealed from against all ungodliness and unrighteous of men…”

In this section Paul teaches two very specific truths:

·        Who it is that God has revealed his wrath against
·        Why He has leveled His wrath against these persons

First of all – Paul told us who God has revealed His wrath against – “men”. Paul is specific in this particular section with the identification of these men. In these verses Paul is demonstrating that the wrath of God is leveled against the Gentiles. For my outline I have designated these Gentiles as “The Sinful Heathen.” Men is inclusive of all mankind, but it seems that in these verses men refers more to the Gentiles than anyone else, such as the Jews.

Second – Paul told us why God has leveled his wrath against these Gentiles, these sinful heathen. God has leveled His wrath against them for three (3) reasons:

·        Vs. 18 – these sinful heathen suppressed the truth of God in unrighteous, or sinful acts or deeds. They have suppressed the truth – to hold back, to restrain, to hinder, or to push down the truth.

          By their sinful acts the sinful heathen have pushed down and away the truth of           God.

·        Vs. 25 – these sinful heathens subverted the truth of God in the unrighteous undermining or corruption of the truth of God by refusing the truth of God in order to worship and serve idols rather than God.

·        Vs. 28 – these sinful heathens spurned the truth of God in the unrighteous rejection of God’s truth by refusing to retain and accept God’s truth as truth. So, Paul has made an airtight argument against the Gentiles, The Sinful Heathen, who rejected the truth that God had revealed about Himself.

o   Paul has demonstrated that the visible revelation of God’s wrath upon the Sinful Heathen is clearly seen in their moral perversions of the truth of God

o   Paul has demonstrated that these perversions are the direct result of their exchanging the worship of God for the worship of creation, i.e. idols

o   Paul has demonstrated clearly that these sinful heathen are under the judgment of God

o   Paul has demonstrated that these sinful heathens who have rejected the truth of God are without any excuse whatsoever because they rejected the knowledge of God that God had revealed of Himself

Even though Paul has demonstrated so clearly that the Gentiles, the Sinful Heathen have perverted the righteousness of God and that they fully deserve the wrath of God that hangs upon them, he isn’t finished.

Paul hasn’t shown that another class of men are also under this condemnation and wrath of God. Paul now will demonstrate that God’s own chosen people are under this same wrath.

 [And so…]

Our theme is:  Jews are condemned as sinners

 Proposition: God wants you to know the Jews are also under the wrath of God

We will see this as we look at our…


We are now going to begin to move in to chapter two of Romans. I think in order to understand this chapter I think the first thing we need to do is understand the overall and underlying setting of this chapter.

We are going to be looking at the second major point in my outline of this section of Romans – I call this second point; The Sinful Hebrews. We will looking at this section beginning in 2:1 through chapter 3:8. For today, let’s take a bird’s eye view of the chapter.

As we come to this second chapter, our job is to understand its setting. It looks like Paul has given us a major clue with the very first word – “therefore.” I want to open with at least five (5) conclusions that help us see the setting of this chapter:

First of all – let’s look very closely at this first word.

This actually tells us that Paul is continuing his thought in what he had been saying in the previous chapter. It also can serve to alert us to what he is going to say next.           Actually it serves to tell us that what he is going to say will stem from what he has already said. So, this word, therefore, is actually a very crucial word.

Second – Paul has given us the theme of his letter in 1:16.

·        The Gospel, the good news is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. The gospel is available for both the Jews and the Gentiles

·        This theme, the statement of vs. 16 answers the age old question of how a man can be right or brought into a relationship with God.

Next, (third) – in verse 18 Paul tells us why this is so necessary. It is necessary because God is angry with sinners and God has the revealed the anger that He had to them.

Fourth – Paul describes the position and condition of the Gentiles. He tells clearly that God has abandoned them to their own sin. He has actually abandoned them to a worthless or useless mind. God has abandoned the gentiles who rejected His truth to a mind that cannot think correctly about God or His character. The sinful heathen cannot make sound judgments, accurate conclusions, or understand anything about God.
In regards to spiritual things their minds are worthless and useless. Because their mind is so useless and worthless in regards to spiritual things, this mind leads them to the most gross, unnatural, despicable, and foulest of sin.

Finally (Fifth) – Paul, like an excellent or outstanding lawyer anticipates a “jury” from immediately concurring with a loud, “Amen, or that’s right, yeah go get ‘em!” Paul anticipates a hearty agreement that the Gentiles are horrible, sinful, and should be judged harshly. But Paul says, “Whoa! Hold your horses!”

Look at it – “Therefore you are inexcusable O man…”

So, that is the setting that the rest of this section 2:1-3:8 stems from. This is the background that enables us to understand this next portion of scripture. You must understand completely what Paul taught in verses 16-32 of chapter one.

Now, let’s look at…

The Identification of the subject

First of all look at some pronouns with me…

Ø Vs. 1 –

o   you are inexcusable
o   O man
o   You judge another
o   You condemn yourself
o   You who judge

Ø Vs. 3 –

o   You think
o   O man
o   You who judge
o   You will escape

Ø Vs. 4 –

o   Do you despise
o   Leads you to repentance

Ø Vs. 5 –

o   With your hardness
o   Your impenitent heart
o   For yourself

The question that you must answer is – who is the “O man, the “you” the “your?”

There are two (2) schools of thought as to who the “O Man” is:

·        There are a few who state that the O Man refers to the Gentiles.

o   They claim that these Gentiles are not the same as the Gentiles in 18-32

o   They claim that these are Gentiles who although are pagan and unsaved are morally good and not as bad as the Gentiles spoken of before

For the record, there is no indication in this letter, in this passage, in the grammar, or in the context that would support this idea at all.

·        There are many who state that the O Man are Jews.

o   First – Paul brings the Jews into the mix as early as verse 9

o   Second – Paul states that there is no partiality or distinction by God in verse 11

Let me say at least three things in support of the fact that I think Paul is talking about the Jews now:

·        Paul is going to address and condemn the Jews who have heard or read this first section and who are now condemning the Gentiles as Sinful Heathens

·        Paul has shown how God demonstrated His wrath against the Sinfulness of the Gentiles and immediately anticipates the Jews who would be incomplete agreement with him

·        Paul stops these Jews and says to them, “Wait a minute, you are misunderstanding me. You have misunderstood at least two (2) things:

o   First – the Jews thought Paul was condemning the Gentiles simply because they were Gentiles. They already believed the Gentiles to be vile, despicable, sinful, and even beyond redemption. They thought the Gentiles were vile, mangy, vicious, diseased, and filthy dogs.

o   Second – the Jews thought Paul was not talking about or including them in this condemnation of the wrath of God. It was true of the Gentiles but was not true of the Jews. Why would the Jews think this? Well, they were Jews. They thought they were special people, God’s special people, chosen by God and peculiar to

As a matter of fact, the Jews believed that no circumcised Jew would ever condemned and would never go to hell. They believed that Abraham stood at the gate of Hell and was there to stop and turn around any Jew who might have gotten on the road that led to hell.

This is like when Robert De Nero in Taxi staged the now famous impromptu scene where he asks, “Are you talking to me?” They Jews would have been very surprised to learn that Paul was talking to them. Picture the Jews as a group looking at Paul and saying, “Are you talking to me?”

So, this section is addressed primarily to the Jews. Paul is going to address the Jews who are condemning the Gentiles.

Paul has shown how the wrath of God has been revealed against all sinful ungodliness that men do, first the Gentiles, and now the Jews.

Let me add one more thing here if I can. This is an important distinction and I want you to get it. The Jews thought that Paul was demonstrating God’s wrath on the Gentiles because they were Gentiles and not because of the way the Gentiles lived.

Why is this so important?

The Jews did not think that this wrath was against them and that it did not apply to them because of the fact that they were Jews, not because of the way they lived. Do you get it? As we will see the Jews sinned the same way these Gentiles sinned.

So if the God were angry at the Gentiles then they should have been aware that God was angry at them.

They didn’t consider their sin or lifestyle at all because they didn’t consider the Gentiles sin or lifestyle. They simply thought God condemned the Gentiles and was angry at them because they were Gentiles.

They left sin and sinful actions totally out of the picture and they determined God’s anger was based on the question of, “Are you a Jew or are you a Gentile?”

Having said these things thus far, and there has been quite a bit said, let’s use the rest of our time to take a bird’s eye view of this chapter.

A bird’s eye view of chapter two

As we take this bird’s eye view we are going to make at least five (5) observations:

The First observation is this - it is very obvious that the Jews believed themselves to be secure in the fact that they were Jews. The Jews thought that was good enough. But, just in case it wasn’t the Jews;

The Second observation notices that the Jews placed their confidence in the fact that God had given them the law. This fact was “proof” to them that they were God’s people, were “safe” and could not be condemned.

Our Third observation is that – the Jews had even a greater argument to “prove” they were not condemned and that God was not mad at them, and that was circumcision. They would say that they could not be mixed in with uncircumcised Gentiles.

The Jew would deny the thought that they need to be justified in order to be reconciled with God. The Jews thought they were in an absolutely different category.

The next observation is (Fourth) – Paul deals with these three ideas.

·        In verses 1-16, Paul will deal with the first argument put forth by the Jews. He will deal with their contention that they were OK and right with God because they were Jews.

·        In verses 17-24, Paul will tackle the Jew argument that they are safe because they were given the law
·        In verses 25-329, Paul will deal with the argument that they Jews are safe because they are circumcised.

·        In 3:1-8, Paul will deal with these “advantages” and show that the Jews are God’s children but they still need to deal with the revealed anger of God against them

Let remind at this point remind you that we today, here in this place need to remember that we are in need of the same grace. We need to examine our own hearts in the clear understanding of verses 18-32.

Don’t forget 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

We can profit from these truths. We can be taught by these truths. We can be reproved by these truths. We can be corrected by these truths. We can be corrected by these truths.

This is the work of Scripture and the HS –

·        To show us what these truths meant to those first century Christians
·        To show us what these truths mean to us today in our everyday life

To sum up this chapter think of it this way. In 1:18-32 Paul revealed the sordid description of sin. To quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

          In the first chapter we seemed to be walking through the gutters of life, and felt we needed a bath afterwards, with all those terrible, unnatural perversions, and all those other things that are almost unmentionable and yet were nevertheless there. Indeed, he has dealt there with the vileness and foulness of sin.” [1]

Now in 2:1-3:8 Paul reveals the subtle design of sin.

Sin seems to have at least four (4) subtle designs revealed in chapter two (2)  

First – Sin Subtlety blinds us to personal application of truth

The classic example of this is the Jews. They listened as this passage was read or they read it for themselves and were 100% in agreement with Paul concerning the condition of the Gentiles. They did not see the real truth, Paul’s real argument – they did not see that these truths also applied to them.

The Jews did not see how this section applied to them. We need to always come to understand what the biblical writer was saying to the biblical recipients, but we cannot miss what is being said to us.

We must constantly guard ourselves against the same sin of the Jews. They heard or read of the condemnation of sin and failed to see that this applied to them also. They failed to see their guilt and need.

Remember that the Jews were the people of God. They had the law. God had made a covenant with them through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and even David. Yet, they eventually crucified Christ. Why? Because sin was so subtle and it blinded them from seeing any personal application.

Whether you are hearing a sermon, reading your bible, or being taught scripture you must understand how it applied to the original recipients, but you also must not miss the application to you.

Second – Sin subtlety binds us to the categorization of ourselves

We have a tendency to put ourselves into special categories. The Jews said, “I am a Jew, not a Gentile.” We have a tendency to give ourselves labels. The three (3) most popular categories that we try to stuff ourselves into are:

·        Race – I am a Jew or I am a Gentile, I am an American

·        Rituals – I have been baptized, christened, circumcised, or do good works

o   This is the category of “I do”
o   This is the category of “I don’t”

·        Religion – I am a Baptist, I am a Methodist, I am a Presbyterian. Because I am one of these things I am OK, but the other guy is not.

Third subtlety of sin brings us to apply truth to other people

We hear a message or read a passage and we say that fits so and so or that applies to them. We often fail to see just how it applies to ourselves. It is funny how we can so clearly see the sins of others but cannot see our sins.

We can see the smallest of slivers of wood in another Christian’s eye but we cannot see the huge piece of wood in our own eye. We are all guilty of it at some time or another. We can clearly see what scripture, commands, principles, or truths apply to someone else ever totally miss the application for ourselves.

For example – story of the little, old lady who constantly said, you gave it to them this time!

Let me quote a second time Martyn Lloyd-Jones, because he says a mouthful in this little sentence:

          “We tend to be blind to our own sins. All this was true of the Jews, as we shall see. But there is no pint in our going on to consider what was wrong with the Jews if    we fail to see it in ourselves.” [2]

We sure can apply truths to other people. But we have the tendency to protect or shield ourselves from the truth. Otherwise it might mess with our lifestyle.

Fourth – the subtlety of sin causes us to deny biblical truth of justification by faith

Don’t forget that this, justification by faith, is the foundational theme of this entire letter. Re-read verse 17 of chapter one with me. This is Paul’s theme. This is biblical truth.

But from almost the moment it was written men have tried to avoid, deny, refuse, and refute this cardinal truth. By the end of the second century this truth was all but obliterated. 

Men have desired to save themselves from the fall of man in the garden.

o   Adam and Eve hid from God and attempted to cover their sin with fig leaves

o   Cain tried to worship God and cover his sin with an offering of his doing

o   Men have added to salvation by faith with any number of rituals, works, teachings, and

§  Men added baptism to salvation in the early second century
§  Men added penance to salvation in the third century
§  Men added good works to salvation almost immediately
§  Men added monastic and stoic life and practices

When deny the doctrine of justification when they rely upon anything but Jesus Christ and His perfect work for justification.

This was the great sin of the Pharisees and most of the Jews. Jesus fought them and Paul fought them- the battle ground was usually justification through moralism. Men who are smug, self-satisfied, and contented with believe that they really aren’t that bad and by doing a few good deeds that they can be justified before God.

How tragic! How frightening! How deeply and darkly deceptive. The Jews never saw the fact that they were sinners that Paul was talking to them. This section will show God has revealed His wrath against the Sinful Hebrews as well as the Sinful Heathen (Gentiles)

Justification is a very key issue and doctrine. Justification is either, declared by God on the basis of the atoning work of Christ and received by the instrument or vehicle of faith or it is received by some type of work or effort on the part of the sinner. It ain’t both!

And so, if you rely on your race, rituals, or religion and you deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone by adding baptism, circumcision, catechism, confirmation, penance, sacraments, or good deeds you are not justified and nor are you safe. You are in danger of hell-fire and the wrath of God abides on you at this very moment.

Fifth – sin is so subtle that it blinds us to taking daily living into consideration

The Jews believed that they were safe and all right because they were Jews. The never took their daily lifestyle into consideration. The Jews did not think that the sin they were practicing would condemn them because they were Jews.
Paul addressed this in verse one (1)

          “…you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for n whatever you            judge another you condemn yourself, for you who judge practice the same things.”

The Jew said, “It does not matter how I live or what I do. I am a Jew and because I am a Jew I am all right.” But the Gentile, he is condemned because he is a Gentile!

We must not be blinded to our practice of sin. We must be aware of those sins we love, cherish, take out now and then and pet and caress. There are people who say I am a Christian I am OK but they practice sin.

We can separate what we believe or say we believe and what we do.

For example:

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.(John 13:17, NKJV)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.(Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

…if you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.(John 8:31-32, NKJV)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14, NKJV)

The Jews began with the idea that they were Jews, and then they began to rely on the law and then on ceremonial duty. The Jews were so self-centered and proud and blind to the fact that they thought they could be justified simply because of the fact that they were Jews.

This is what Paul will show us in this coming section. 

So, Paul will show the same charge against the Jews as he did the Gentiles. He will show that the Jews, the Sinful Hebrew is also under the wrath of God. Paul will show that the Jews are not only guilty but not exempt because of being Jews, because they possess the law, or because they are circumcised,

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


Paul warned the Galatian Churches that, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9, KJV)

This is God’s case against the sinful Hebrews. They too are without any excuse. Regardless of whether the sinners are Heathens (Gentiles) or Hebrews (Jews) all are sinners and are guilty before God.

Dr. Ralph Sockman writes about an experience he had while standing on the edge of Niagara Falls one clear, cold March day. Wrapped in white winter garments, the falls glistened in the bright sun. As some birds swooped down to snatch a drink from the clear water, Sockman's companion told how he had seen birds carried over the edge of the precipice. As they dipped down for a drink, tiny droplets of ice would form on their wings. As they returned for additional drinks more ice would weigh down their bodies until they couldn't rise above the cascading waters. Flapping their wings, the birds would suddenly drop over the falls.

What better illustration could there be of the subtlety of sin. Sin can so easily sneak up on us one little ice particle at a time until it weights us down and destroys us.

 So, I exhort you as genuine believers to: guard against the subtlety of sin!

Remember, Paul wrote, “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.” (Romans 7:11, NKJV)

Let’s pray! J

Benediction Blessing:

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

[1] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Righteous Judgment of God, (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989, 2009,) p.7-8
[2] Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Righteous Judgment of God, (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989, 2009,) p.10


nashvillecats2 said...

It took me a long time to read this Gregg but well worth it.
As I have said before I do enjoy your writings. Another excellent one.

nashvillecats2 said...

Gregg I have nominated you for "The Creative Blogging Award.
see my post for all the rules.