Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 4)

SERMON:             GM15-064

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

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM (July 12, 2015)

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

SUBTITLE:        The Righteous Judgment of God (Part 4)

SCRIPTURE:     Romans 2:17-24

SUBJECT:          The Jews Guilty as the Gentiles

SUMMARY:       Paul denies the Jews a refuge from God’s judgment by demonstrating that the possession of the law is of no advantage.

SCHEME:           To enable my people to share with Jewish people that they are as                                guilty as the Gentiles of sin against God, thereby warranting the                                  judgment of God.

Theme:                The Jews are guilty
Thrust:                because the law has limitations

CPT:  In spite of the Jews covenantal position and their covenantal privileges, the Jews are as guilty as the Gentles due to the limitations of the covenantal relationship

CPS:  God will judge the Jews

Interrogatory Sentence: Why will God judge the Jews?
Transitional Sentence:    This passage announces that God will judge the Jews for two reasons:

1.     Because the Jews misunderstood their status (17-24)
2.     Because the Jews misunderstood their symbol (25-29)

Outline:      2A     The Sinful Hebrews (2:1-3:8)

                             1B     The Judgment of God Declared (2:1-16)

                                      1C     The Jews deserved the judgment of God (2:1-5)
                                      2C     The Jews determined the judgment of God (2:6-10)
                                      3C     The Jews doomed by the judgment of God (2:12-16)

                             2B     The Judgment of God Discussed (2:17-29)

                                      1C     The Jews Misunderstood their status (2:17-24)

                                                1D     They relied on their relationship (17a)

                                                2D     They rested on their resources (17b-18)
                                                          1E     The resource of the law
                                                          2E     The relationship with God
                                                          3E     Their responsibility of discernment
                                                          4E     Their ritualistic instruction in the law

                                                3D     They reneged on their responsibilities (19-20)

                                                          1E     They were to be guide to the blind
                                                          2E     They were to be a light in darkness
                                                          3E     They were to instruct the foolish
                                                          4E     They were to teach the immature

                                                4D     They redefined their reality (21-24)

                                                          1E     They were guilty of sanctimony
                                                          2E     They were guilty of stealing
                                                          3E     They were guilty of sexuality
                                                          4E     They were guilty of sacrilege
                                                          5E     They were guilty of scornfulness

The Righteous Judgment of God
Romans 2:17-24 * (Part 4)
A.      Introduction

Three sons were discussing the gifts they had bought their mother. The first had bought her a big house. The second had bought her a Mercedes with a driver.The third knew she loved the Bible so he said he'd bought her a parrot which had been specially trained to recite Bible verses. All she had to do was suggest a reference and the parrot would start reciting.

The first son got a letter saying that it was a very nice house, but it was too big and   took all her time to clean.

 The second son got a letter saying the car was much too big for her and besides, the driver was rude.

The third son got a letter saying, "You're the only one who understands me. Your      two brothers give me stuff I don't really want. But you're such a good son. Thank you. 

The chicken was delicious."

What have you misunderstood in the past? What cost or price did you pay for that misunderstanding? Misunderstanding can lead to some very expensive or painful consequences.

Today, I want to remind you once more that God will judge the Jews.

B.      Sub-Introduction

Announce the Text: Our text for today is Romans 2:17-24. Please take your bibles and turn there.  

Review Last week we began looking at the fact that the Jews are doomed by the judgment of God. Paul will deal with every conceivable objection that he can anticipate to demonstrate to the Jews that they are also under the judgment of God. 

Secondly, we saw Paul classified all of mankind into two different groups, those who have been given the law of God and those who have not been given the written law of God. Paul made it clear that all those, meaning Gentiles, who sinned without having had the written law God will still be judged and will perish.

Thirdly, we saw last week that those who do have the written law of God, iow the Jews, they do will be judged by God and will also perish. The reason Paul gave was very clear. As a matter fact Paul gave reasons, on for each group as to why they were guilty and would be judged by God.

·        The Gentiles did have a law and it was written on their hearts

·        The Jews could not be justified by hearing the law, but only by keeping it perfectly

Finally, Paul worked his way back to the Gentiles to show why they were judged and doomed by the law. Paul gave us four (4) reasons why the Gentiles are judged even thought they had the written law of God like the Jews:

·        God revealed enough knowledge of Himself in creation for the Gentiles to know that God existed and that they should seek Him out

·        God inscribed His moral will, or His law on the hearts of the Gentiles providing them with enough information to judge between right and wrong

·        God provided the Gentiles with a conscience to bear witness to His law

·        God rejected the Gentiles based on their rejection of His revealed moral will

Background to the Text:

Preview – Our text this morning divides itself into four (4) parts; 17a deals with the relationship of the Jews, and vss. 17b-18 deals with the resources of the Jews and vss. 19-20 will deal the responsibility of the Jews, and vss. 21-24 will deal with the results of the Jews.

Repeat CPS – Today I want to remind you that God will judge the Jews!

And so, we have to ask ourselves, “Why will God judge the Jews?”
The text provides us with two reasons why God will judge the Jews:

  • Because the Jews misunderstood their status
  • Because the Jews misunderstood their symbol    

[This brings us to this section, vss. 17-29. In this section Paul reiterates that the Jews are under the judgment of God. We see this as we look at…]

2B     The Judgment of God Discussed (2:17-29)

In this next section, vss. 17-29 Paul is going to resume his literary style that we identified as a diatribe. Paul will direct speech through a number of rhetorical questions. The person that Paul is having this “imaginary” conversation with is now clearly identified as the Jews.

Paul is going to get very direct with the Jews and even criticize the Jews. He will condemn them for not practicing what they preach. Paul will actually  question whether or not someone who does not obey the law can even call   themselves a Jew.
So the purpose of this section, vss. 17-29 seems to be to continue to “indict” the Jews on the charge of sinning against God while possessing the law of God. In other words, it seems that Paul emphasizes the fact or the truth that the Jews cannot claim to be “doers of the law” and therefore they cannot claim to be or expect to be justified by the law that they were given and possess.

Vss. 17-29 proves the point that Paul made in vs. 3, that the Jews do the very thing that the Gentiles do. Meaning that they commit the same sins.

As a matter of fact Paul is careful because he knows that he must show the Jews why their privileges do not exempt them from the judgment of God. Paul will discuss two of those privileges in vss. 17-29; the law and circumcision. Paul will argue that knowledge of God’s law and physical circumcision has no value for the Jews is the law is not obeyed perfectly.

[So, we now are ready to see the first reason provided by our passage in order to discover why God will judge the Jews, is that…] 

1C     The Jews Misunderstood their status (2:17-24)

The most important question is being addressed in vss. 17-24. This question might not be clearly expressed, but it is certainly implied, and that is, “What value, or what good is the law?”

It is sad to see just how badly the Jews did misunderstand their status. The first way that they misunderstood their status is in seen in the way…                            

1D     They relied on their relationship (17a)

“Behold, you are called a Jew…”

This is a very significant designation. The significance or the importance of this name, Jew, is clearly revealed in its covenantal implication. The Jews were God’s chosen people and the people that His favor fell on.

It seems that Paul is using the term “Jew” to include all Jews. Further down the line we will see Paul narrow and define this word in spiritual terms. But the Jews relied on their ethnic lineage from Abraham. They considered this relationship to Abraham as a great advantage.

Paul, however, makes a case that this relationship is “null and void” if and when the law is disobeyed.

The problem is when an Israelite said, “I am a Jew,” he was actually implying, I am better than you, I have a special relationship that you do not have.

The Jews were relying on their relationship as God’s chosen and special people rather than relying on God.

What was wrong with relying on the fact that they were Jews?

First of all, the Jews did take great pride in being named a Jew. They had been called Hebrews because they spoke Hebrew. They had also been called Israelites, of the land of Israel.

During the time of Jesus they were called Jews. The word came from Judah, one of the twelve (12) tribes of Israel. It also was the name of the southern kingdom that came into being when God ripped Israel into two kingdoms when Solomon died.
During the Babylonian Captivity, and of course after they returned to Israel, the term Jew came to be applied to all of those who had been descended from Abraham through Isaac.

No descendant from Abraham through Ishmael was ever called a Jew.

The name came to represent their racial and their religious heritage. It actually branded them as distinct from any other        race, tribe, people, or religion on earth.

This term, this name was like a great badge of honor for them. As a matter of fact, according to Kent Hughes, the Jews used the term as a surname to emphasize distinction.

For example:

If I were a Jew introducing myself to you in those days, I would say, “Hi, my name is Gregg, Jew. Of course it would sound better in Greek, it would be gregorios, Ioudaios

[So the Jews misunderstood their status first of all because they relied on their relationship with Abraham through Isaac.]

[Secondly, the Jews misunderstood their status because…]

2D     They rested on their resources (17b-18)
1E     The resource of the law

“…and rest on the law…”

Of course this is the root problem that Paul is trying to bring to their attention. There is no doubt that having the law was a real blessing. The problem was that they relied     on simply possessing the law.

The prophet Micah made a very similar point when he rebuked the leaders of Israel for their sin, and he said this to them:

“…yet they lean on the LORD, and say, ‘Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us.” (Micah 3:11, NKJV)

The Leaders thought they were immune to any danger because they relied on the presence of God. But listen to Micah…

“Therefore, because of you, Zion shall be plowed like a         field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, and thmountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest.” (Micah 3:12, NKJV)

Relying on God’s presence then was a real mistake. The enemy came and they suffered loss even though they relied on their relationship with God.

And apparently the Jews did not learn from that experience. Here they are once again thinking that their reliance on the law would exempt them from judgment.

[So God will judge the Jews. He will judge the Jews because they misunderstood their status. The relied on their relationship and they rested on their resource of possessing the law.]

[Secondly, the misunderstood their status because of…]

2E     The resource of their relationship with God

“…and make your boast in God…”

First of all, boasting is not in and of itself wrong or sinful.

For example:

…as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” (1 Cor 1:31, NKJV)

“But he who glories, let him glory in the Lord. For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:17, NKJV)

“Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this that he understands and knows Me…” Jeremiah 9:23-24, NKJV)

So, when to boast in God is not wrong because God has blessed you with so many good things, but human pride and boasting simply in the fact that you will not be judged by God because of your relationship is a sin.

The problem and their sin lies in the fact that they disobey and disrespect the God that they are boasting in.

God will judge the Jews. He will judge them because they misunderstood their status. They misunderstood their resource and their relationship.

[Thirdly, the Jews misunderstood…]
3E     Their resource of ritualistic instruction in the law

“…and know his will and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law…”

The sentence structure here in English is a bit confusing.        The main thought is in the phrase, ‘being instructed out of the law.”

This is a major resource for the Jews, and this of course is what Paul is addressing, their possession and use of the law. Being instructed from the law was to produce at least two (2) things:

1F     Instruction from the law provides insight into God’s will

          This clearly states that the Jews do not have to wonder what God’s will is on any matter, because the law informs the Jew of God’s will.

This instructions gives the Jews the ability to distinguish between things that go against the will of God

This instruction gives the Jews the insight to know what really matter and what doesn’t matter

This instruction gives the Jews additional information about God, which is above the general information God gave in creation

Instruction from the law provides insight into what is excellent. This means things that are better than other things.

For example:

The law would say it is better to obey than to offer a sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22)

It is better to honor your mother and father than to disrespect them and be stoned
It is better to not commit adultery than to commit adultery and be put to death

God’s law would inform and instruct the Jews in what is God’s will and what is better for them to do nor not do in order to please God and maintain a relationship with God.

Our word is the same word used in relationship to “testing or trying metal.”

God will judge the Jews. He will judge them because they misunderstood their situation. The misunderstood their situation because they relied on their relationship, they relied on their resources.

But the Jews also misunderstood their status because…                                    

They reneged on their responsibilities (19-20)

The Jews did have a high position. They were privileged. But with privileges come high responsibilities. But the Jews reneged on them. Paul lists four (4) blessings that were to be enjoyed by the Jews by being God’s covenant people.

These are blessings that are related to other people, including – not excluding the Gentiles.

The Jews were to have a ministry to the world. Remember God      had told Abraham that he would be a blessing to the entire world. When God said that the world, the nations would flock to Jerusalem to hear the law of God that included the Gentiles.

The Jews were to have a priestly ministry among the Gentiles. Paul is now actually questioning whether the Jews have actually fulfilled this ministry or h have the regened on it.

[First of all…]
They were to be guide to the blind

“…and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind…”
The Jews were to “open the eyes of the blind, they were to disseminate truth to the children of the earth. (Isa 42:7) 


2E     They were to be a light in darkness

Also the Jews were to be like a light that lit up the darkness enabling people to see. Isaiah wrote that the Jews were to be a light to the nations.

 The Jews were to illuminate the words of God in order for people, Gentiles who were blind and living in darkness could see the Words of God.


3E     They were to instruct the foolish

The way the Jews were to carry out this priestly ministry, and to open the eyes of the blind and to give light to  those in darkness was by the teaching of the law of God.

The Jews would be able to teach the foolish, or those apart from God was because they have all of the truth and knowledge needed contained in the law of God.


4E     They were to teach the immature   

And just like the foolish, the Jews were to teach the immature, the very young in the knowledge of God.

So Paul is really in a slight sarcastic way actually informing them not of their duties, which they already have known for centuries, but that they failed to carry those responsibilities out. They reneged on them.

God will judge the Jews. He will judge them because they misunderstood their status. They misunderstood their status because the relied on their relationship, they rested on their resources, and they reneged on their responsibilities.

[Fourthly, the Jews misunderstood their status because…]
4D     They rejected their reality (21-24)

These four sentences are probably rhetorical questions. Remember Paul is using a literary style or device to get his point across. He is engaging an imaginary adversary by anticipating objections with the use of asking questions.       

Paul’s design here is to expose the Jews as being both inconsistent and hypocrites. We would say, they were not practicing what they were preaching.        

Quite frankly Paul is very focusing on “doing” in order to please God, rather than just “hearing.”

So sadly, the conclusion to make at this point is that all of the gifts, privileges, responsibilities, and claims are empty, useless, and without any value if there is no consistent sincere obedience.

1E     They were guilty of sanctimony

“You therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?

Sanctimony is “play-acting; pretending; it is religious hypocrisy.”

Paul is saying if you as a Jew are going to teach others about the laws of God, you had better teach yourself first.

The taught one thing but were guilty of disobeying what they taught. The Jews were like crooked cops or judges who are responsible to uphold and enforce the law but actually broke the law.

Even God through the Psalmist warned the Israelites who taught in God’s name –

“…to the wicked God says, what right have you to tell of My statutes, and to take my covenant in your mouth? For you hate discipline and you cast your words behind you. When you see a thief you are pleased with him and you associate with adulterers. You let your mouth loose in evil and our tongues frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander you own mothers son.” (Psalm 50:16-20, NASB)

Matthew 23:3 says, “…for they say and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay the on men’s shoulders but they themselves will not move then with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:3-4, NKJV)

[Secondly, Paul asks rhetorically and makes the point that…]

2E     They were guilty of stealing

You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?”

Even though the law forbade stealing, stealing was very prominent at the time of Christ. Theft was common place in Judea. The Jews took bribes, stole land from less savvy Israelites, stole from God. They had dishonest weights and scales, stole from out of town Jews by selling sickly animals, high money exchange rates, and charged taxes. The Jews stole regularly including the  Pharisees and religious crowd.

The Jews devoured widow’s houses and Jesus had to cleanse the Temple twice.

[Third, Paul makes it a point to uncover the fact that…]

3E     They were guilty of sexuality

You who say do not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?”

Many Jewish men tried to get around the adultery commandment by divorcing their wives and then marrying another woman.

But Jesus stated that divorce and remarriage for any reason other than adultery resulted in adultery.

Not only does remarrying cause you to commit adultery and to become an adulterer or adulteress, but even lusting after an individual causes you to become guilty of the physical act in your heart or soul.

[Fourth, Paul informs the Jews that they will be judged because…]

4E     They were guilty of sacrilege

“You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

Paul knows that the Jews hate idols. At least the idols they don’t make use of anyways since we know the Jews were guilty of idol worship.
The root word behind the word abhor means “to stink or to reek.” The Jews as a whole had a strong aversion to the stinking or reeking idol worship. To rob Temples might have meant that Jews robbed their own Temple in Jerusalem. They might have taken some of the offerings, tithes, food, wine, herbs, meats that were given.

There is a story from Josephus that says a group of Jews talked a very wealthy woman into giving a large sum of money to the Temple. When she did, rather than putting     the money in the Temple treasurer, they divided amongst themselves.

It also could have meant that the Jews made gain or profit from idols that they had seized after they had conquered enemies. They probably melted down the silver and gold and kept the value for themselves.

No one is completely sure what Paul meant by this question. But we do know that if the Jews were teaching that no one was to be sacrilegious, Paul wanted them to know by this means that God was accusing them of being sacrilegious.

[Fifth and finally, we see that…]

5E     They were guilty of scornfulness    

“You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? ‘For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you’, as it is written.”

First of all the charge in verse 24 tells us that the question in verse 23 was rhetorical.

Second, many hypocritical Jews were blatantly breaking  the law that they were so proud of and that they boasted of. But this just dishonored God. Every sin by anyone dishonors God.

Christians do the same thing. They brag about their “worship” and raise their hands and sway back and forth to the music on Sunday and then live as if God didn’t the week.

Because the Jews obvious self-righteousness and blatant breaking of their own God-given law, many stories and accusations developed and were spread around. 

For Example:

The Jews were accused of offering Gentiles during certain religious ceremonies.

They were accused of being descended from a band of leper slaves who escaped the rock quarries in Egypt

God will judge the Jews.

He will judge them because they misunderstood their status.

They misunderstood their status because they relied on their relationship, they rested on their resources, and they reneged on their responsibilities, and they rejected their reality rather than relying on the God they claimed to know and worship.

[What do you say that we wrap this up?]


"A Misunderstanding"

"A couple was dressed and ready to go out for the evening. They turned on a night light, turned the answering machine on the phone line, covered their pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.
They phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and the couple opened the front door to leave their house. The cat they had put out into the yard scoots back into the house.

They don't want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird. The wife goes out to the taxi while the husband goes inside to get the cat. The cat runs upstairs, the man in hot pursuit.

Waiting in the cab, the wife doesn't want the driver to know the house will be empty for the night. She explains to the taxi driver that her husband will be out soon. "He's just going upstairs to say good-bye to my mother."
A few minutes later, the husband gets into the cab. "Sorry I took so long," he says as they drive away. "She was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off so I grabbed her by the neck. Then I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked. I hauled her downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!" The cabdriver hit a parked car...”
Yes the Jews had a unique status. They were God’s chosen people. Their status included specific responsibilities. But they failed to live up to or keep or administer those responsibilities. God will judge them even though they misunderstood their status.
The Jews had built a false wall of security that enabled them to believe that they would always be exempt from the judgment of God.
Before we criticize or condemn the Jews, what false sense of security are you depending on? What are you relying on instead of relying on God?
Paul’s goal was to expose that false wall of security in order for the Jews to quit relying on it so that they might rely on God himself as God always intended.
Today I want to motivate you to examine your own status with God and make sure you are relying on Him and not self.

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...

Oh Gregg you have made my day. As always I love what you write and find it comforting.
I couldn't stop laughing at "The Conclusion". Thanks for the laugh.