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#7 God’s Righteous Judgment

September 8, 2008

We pick up where we left off in Romans today and the theme that is running through our text is that of no excuse. We all stand naked and without excuse before a Holy God who judges us according to His perfect Holy Standard. The bible sets forth the heavenly decree of God, who demands His creatures to be perfect if they want to be with Him.

 

Now even though there are no perfect people, there are people on this earth today who think they are perfect! Pastor Blake Lasslett had a visitor one day who proceeded to tell him that he hadn’t sinned in 40 years. But what doest the word of God tell us? It says in (1Jo 1:8) “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” And in (vs:10)If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

 

Those who would have the audacity to say such a thing aren’t Christians. Instead they are the Pharisees of our day who believe they are literally doing God a favor by letting Him spend time with them. The arrogance of sinful man knows no bounds does it! This is what we are up against when we try to declare the gospel to sinful men. Proud, arrogant wicked mankind! They are full of themselves. And they exalt their sins to the heavens, each group thinking they have reached the pinnacle of the temple of sin, the zenith of evil. They shake their fists in God’s face and proudly proclaim “WE ARE THE SINNERS! Now as we go through this lesson consider it a template for declaring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with lost sinners.

 

The first thing we must do is declare the bad news. We must present the truth of their case before them so they understand the predicament they are in. Only then will the good news be just that! Consider a thought for a moment; you know that the homosexual community is up in arms over the preaching of the gospel. They believe themselves to be the main target of Christians. In other words, they think themselves to be the worst sinners there are. But verse 11 tells us, “For there is no partiality with God.”

 

What does that tell us? It tells us that all men are sinners. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD. All men are naked and open before Him with Whom we have to do. So while homosexuality is a particularly ugly sin bottom line is; it is sin! Sin is any violation to the commands of God. Spurgeon’s Catechism defines sin in this way: “Sin is any want of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God.” And he sites {1Jo 3:4}   Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

 

I am not trying to minimize the ugliness of certain sins because there are some sins that are worse than others in the magnitude of their violation of God’s holiness, but we must understand that it is sin nonetheless. And as there is no partiality with God, we read in verse 12 “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law…” Everyone will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of their lives before the great and Awesome Judge of the Universe. None will be exempt. From the petty thief to the mastermind of the Brinks Robbery, from the nasty little kid on your block to Adolph Hitler, from the adulterer to the homosexual, all will face Him.

 

Now to emphasize my point I would like for us to look to (Lu 13:1-5) and hear the words of Jesus.  “Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? The idea here is that of comparison. Jesus is placing these Galileans alongside the rest of the community and asks, “Are they worse than the rest?” He answers His own question saying…3 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. In other words all have sinned and all are guilty before God as such and all are subject to judgment unless they repent!

 

He gives another example. 4 “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” You see, we can be like the religious leaders. We can become pharisaical; we can stand around and compare ourselves to our fellow man and almost always come up smelling like a rose. That is because we are comparing ourselves with other sinners.

 

But remember this was the case with Isaiah according to R.C. Sproul. Looking at his fellow man brought him no worries, no heart palpitations. Indeed, when compared to his fellow man Isaiah looked pretty good. It was when he stood before the blazing glory of the Holy God of the Universe that he was knocked prostrate. Beneath that all searching gaze, all his presumed righteousness, all of his false hope was swept away. Suddenly he saw himself aright. He saw that he was a sinner and guilty before God with whom there is no partiality.

 

It is interesting that it was Isaiah who penned the words found in (Isa 64:6)  As he stood before that great Throne this is what he learned: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

 

This truth is the same for all men. all stand as beggars before the perfect holiness of Almighty God. And a day is coming, a day that has been foretold since the beginning, a day of judgment when the world will be called to give an account. Notice what is written to us in (Re 20:12)  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, Sinful man will face God’s righteous judgment.

 

They will all be measured by the same Standard, God’s Holy Standard. And they will all understand that they are as an unclean thing, as a pile of filthy rags; that all of their supposed good deeds are like dung in God’s sight. We need to keep this truth in the forefront of our minds, that we are all monsters before a Holy God who is of purer eyes than to behold evil. We all have the same sinful stamp upon our hearts; we are all guilty of breaking His Law and we are all in danger of hellfire unless we repent and fall upon the mercy of God. Jesus said we stand condemned already because we have not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God! This is the bad news.

 

But notice, and here is where we make our transition, notice how our Savior is described in (Ps 86:5).  It is in a manner that should give all men hope! The Psalmist says. “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon You.”   

 

The word of God is not just a book of hate filled diatribes against sinners. It is also full of words of hope. God declares to us the bad news; that we are wicked and guilty already and judged already. But then He tells us the good news; that we don’t have to meet such an end, that Jesus Christ paid the price for sinners. We have but to call upon Him and He will deliver us! This is a message of hope.

 

But it is not a message of decisional regeneration. The problem with that doctrinal position as that is that you merely have to ‘repeat’ a formula to be saved, whether you believe it or not! It puts the sinner in the driver’s seat of salvation. But the song I sang this morning demonstrates the fallacy of such a humanistic doctrine. 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

 

It is not merely those who go along with a notion or agree with some facts who are children of God. But it is those whose lives have been literally transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not those who go to church but those who are the Church. It is not those who hear the word of God but those upon whom the word of God acts in a transforming way.

 

The scriptures tell us that “many are called”; many hear the word with their physical ears. “But few are chosen”; few hear the voice of the Lord calling them forth from the grave of self in to life everlasting in Christ Jesus. The terrifying thing is that many hear the voice of a familiar spirit telling lies; few hear the Holy Spirit leading them to the truth.

 

Consider the case of Pastor L.R. Shelton. He is the founder of Mount Zion Bible Institute. Now you’d think that a Pastor would have to be saved. But Pastor Shelton declares that not only was he not saved, he was demon possessed! This is a frightening prospect to ponder and it kind of clears up a lot of what is going on in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ today. There is much being said and done in the name of Jesus that is clearly not right!

 

There are pastors in pulpits across our land today who are preaching another gospel! Things are being added to and taken away from the word of God simply because, to coin a phrase, God’s truth is an inconvenient truth!

As in all generations there is a faithful remnant; those who love God and His truth. But there are also men who say Lord, Lord, but who cannot endure sound doctrine and who have heaped to themselves teachers in accordance with their desires. They have decided that the church is a place where ideas can be tried out, where we can have brainstorming sessions to see what we can come up with to “fix the church.”

 

Paul described them as having itching ears. This means they want to hear something “pleasant.” They are tired of all that hellfire and brimstone preaching and they want to have a ‘kinder gentler god!” They want to have a church for all the people! “Imagine all the people, sharing all the world!” There is a church in Globe called ‘Big Fish” and it is billed as “church for the rest of us.” Now what exactly does that mean? It means to me that the scenario that I have been painting is a reality in our own community!  

 

People want their church to meet their needs, their wants and desires. Again, ‘church people’ have a design in mind of what they want their church to be about and unfortunately their model preacher is Joel Osteen. Now how does one deal with this? Because ‘church people’ are passionate about Joel. They think he is a marvelous expositor of scripture when in fact he rarely cracks open the cover of his bible.

 

His message is a message of ‘positive thinking’ where everyone is led to feel good about themselves, where Jesus Christ doesn’t matter and the message is relative; it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you are making people feel good, like they are somebody, like they matter.

 

I ask you; is this teaching scriptural? Does God want all of His creatures to shout “I am somebody?” I think not! There is no place for self in Christianity. Self is abased and Christ is exalted. Joel Osteen declared that sin ‘is a negative subject’ therefore he doesn’t deal with it. He teaches that Jesus isn’t necessary for salvation. This one point alone indicts him as a false teacher. There is nothing new about Osteen’s teaching though. All false teachers, all cult leaders, all false prophets deny the necessity of Jesus Christ for salvation and instead exalt man and his works.

 

All false religions teach that ‘you can get to heaven on your own.’ You don’t need any outside help. There is a formula, steps to follow, etc. to get you into heaven. On top of that is the idea that ‘heaven is what you make of it’ and ‘hell is here on earth; you die and that’s it!’

 

All this is clear evidence that the devil is alive and well, and doing his best to destroy the work of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. His ministers, masquerading as ministers of righteousness are laboring hard, and like their master they are subtle, subverting the truth in such a way that, if you don’t know you bibles, you too will go down the wrong road.

 

But their very actions condemn them 14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, they deny the truth of God’s word and yet instinctively prove by their actions that they indeed know the truth. And so once again we see the suppression factor. They are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness; they are holding to a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Notice what verse 15 says: in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

 

Once again we come to the place where we see that all men are without excuse before a Holy God who will judge all men without partiality. He will deal with all men on one issue; the standard. Did they fall upon the mercy of God and plead the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins or did they continue in the rebellion of unbelief?

 

In a sense the question included in some forms of evangelism is a valid one: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH JESUS CHRIST?  In other words, having seen the truth, having heard the gospel, what have you done with the information you have received? Have you cast it aside, received it with joy only to fall away, heard the message and disregarded it due to the cares of this world or have you fallen prostrate and cried out in anguish as you have seen your sinful self in the blazing light of God’s glory?

 

Many hear the gospel but would rather not for whatever reason. Others take a dip in the pool only to decide that ‘it’s too much work’. Still others can’t see risking all they have for a gamble that they have a soul and there is a God who will judge sin.

 

This brings us to the faithful remnant. In (Mt 22:14) Jesus said “For many are called, but few are chosen.” That is, many hear the gospel in various ways, through various mediums. But because God is not drawing them to Himself there is no effect. Some respond for a time but fall away because ‘it didn’t work for them.’

 

It is only the called and chosen of God, the God drawn individuals who ‘stick’. These are the faithful remnant, the ones who love Jesus Christ and who are bound to Him by the unbreakable bond of the Holy Spirit who will not let them go.

 

Keith Green wrote a song entitled “How can they live without Jesus?” In the song there is a line which speaks of the love of Jesus for His own and their love for Him. “And love just like that will bring Him back for the few He can call His friends; the ones He’s found true, who made it through, enduring until the end. Once again we are drawn back into self examination. The statement is made of Abraham ‘that he was the friend of God.’ Why? Because he believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

 

Abraham wasn’t a fair weather believer or a sometime believer. He wasn’t perfect but as much as was humanly possible, and by the enabling hand of God, Abraham followed God and obeyed Him and demonstrated absolute, utter devotion to God to the point that he was willing to sacrifice his own son to prove his faithfulness. He loved God so much that he didn’t care what it cost; he’d go to the ends of the earth to prove his devotion.

 

Take the Apostle Paul. Here was a man who hated Christians but claimed to love God. God Himself came down and set Paul straight about his supposed love and devotion. Paul, seeing the error of his ways by the grace of God became a changed man. All that he had done in the past he sought to undo. It is probably one of the templates used by Charles Dickens to demonstrate the before and after pictures of Scrooge. Remember that Scrooge was driven by his god money and he would go to the utmost part of the earth to get one more dollar. When he was transformed in a beautiful picture of repentance, suddenly he sought to undo all the evil he had done!

 

Paul had sought to destroy the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ and had devoted all of his vigor to the task. But when God saved Him he was truly a changed man, a transformed man and sought for the rest of his life to undo the damage he had done to the church. He was tireless in his efforts and fearless in his devotion to Jesus. Death to Paul meant going to be with Jesus. So he threw himself into service with the abandon of a man condemned to die, a man therefore with nothing to lose. He had striven to be the driver of his own vehicle of life and when it was shown that he was only making a mess of things, he went to the back of the bus and submitted to Jesus.

 

Let me give you one more illustration. I had a friend in college who claimed to be a Christian. In fact we had gone off to Grand Canyon College together to be trained for ministry. Somewhere along the way things began to fall apart.  His profession became an anchor around his neck getting in the way of another dream; that of being a gigolo. He had told me of his ‘idea’ and I told him what I thought about it.

 

But one night he had a dream that is an excellent picture of what I have been saying. He was a locksmith and in his dream he was driving down the road in his locksmith truck. Suddenly he found himself in the back of the truck. It was still going down the road but it was all over the place. He struggled desperately to get back behind the wheel but couldn’t make it.

 

I remember when he told me that dream that the first thing that popped into my mind was ‘This is an illustration of what life is like when we are trying to do our own thing. Chaos rules and destruction is imminent. It is only when God is in control that life is ordered.

 

Examine your life right now and see what kind of picture you get. Do you see yourself in the back of a truck with no driver chaos as your companion and destruction in your future or do you see yourself humbly obedient to the will of God as He drives you through the pitfalls of life? Are you leaving all the driving to the Chief?

 

We saw at the beginning of this lesson the character traits of the lost. They are proud and self sufficient. They are full of themselves and there is no room for God in any of their thoughts. But we know better! We know Jesus and we know ourselves. We know that apart from Him we can do nothing. I call upon you today to renew your devotion to Jesus Christ as the Lord of your life, to turn away from yourselves and be filled with Him. The only way you will ever be able to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ, the only way you will ever be able to bring glory and honor to the God you love is from a life of absolute surrender and a heart of total devotion to Him!

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