#9 Is There A Jew In Your Heart?
It is interesting that this lesson could almost be a sequel of last week for in it we see the same exact thing; there are people who say and don’t do, who call themselves believers and yet furnish no proof, no evidence, no fruit to substantiate their claim. They are partakers of the adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
But it is impossible to be a Christian and life such an inconsistent life. You can’t say, “I am a Christian” while at the same time you are living like an unbeliever. A tree is known by its fruit. Jesus said, you can’t call Him Lord, that is, you can’t say that Jesus Christ has saved your soul and made you a new creation and then not live for Him, or do what He said. That would be like trying to prove your relationship to someone to partake of the will without proof. You must furnish uncontestable proof or your claim will be thrown out.
In the movie, Prince Valiant, there was a knight by the name of Sir Brack who claimed that he was a direct descendant of King Richard the Lionhearted. This would have put him on the throne of England, except for one thing; he could furnish no proof to substantiate his claim. Therefore Arthur reigned as King as he was able to furnish proof that he was indeed part of the royal family and as such was the rightful heir to the Throne of England.
Now let me use an argument that has been around for years. It goes like this, “If you were put on trial because of your claim to be a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Another way to state this question is to use the title of this message; “Is there a Jew in your heart?” What I mean by that is, are you a true son or daughter of Abraham? I don’t mean do you have a legitimate physical Jewish heritage. I mean do you have the same faith that Abraham had? Remember how God tested Abraham and how he came through the test successfully!
This is what Paul is getting at in our text today. There were those in Paul’s day who were physical sons and daughters of Abraham who wanted nothing to do with Abraham’s God. They would rather worship anything other than Yahweh! The Pharisees would rather please and gain the favor of men. Men worshiped themselves. They worshiped power, money, sex, whatever they could dream up; anything but the true God.
It is no different today. People declare allegiance to the state, to money, to Allah, Joseph Smith; any number of different ‘deities.’ Many who call themselves Christians are in reality false converts, demon possessed men women who have been sown as tares by the enemy to corrupt the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. These people are known by their fruit. They make a show before men, giving God lip service and saying “Lord, Lord.” But the evidence is in. those who say they are in the light but walk in darkness are liars and the truth is not in them.
They may swear loving allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ with their lips. They draw near to God with their mouths and honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far away from Him. The proof of the state of their hearts is seen in that they do not do what Jesus has commanded. They go through their ‘religious’ activities with all the zeal of a prisoner on a chain gang. What do you say to such people who still call themselves Christians? Do you pat them on the backs and say, “you’re still a Christian but you’re a carnal Christian? You’re a second class Christian. You have failed in Gods plan A for your life and so you’re probably working on plan B or C right now.”
We are not doing anyone any favor by saying such things! God has spelled out the truth of the matter in (1Jo 1:6) when He says that “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;” And (1Jo 3:10) declares, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” That is the truth according to God. It is not the forgetful hearers but the faithful doers of the word of God who can call themselves Christians.
We are approaching the Christmas Holiday when people put up trees, buy gifts and some even go to church! Could you say that all of these people are Christians? Of course not! There is the faithful remnant sprinkled in among the ‘worshipers’ but the majority are lost and undone and in need of the Savior they have come to ‘adore and worship.’ Consider an illustration from Pam’s life. She has said that when she was growing up her family were two timing Christians. That is they went to church on Christmas and Easter.
Many, many people do this very same thing. And they think they are alright with ‘the man upstairs.’ They believe that when they die they will be going to a better place. But like Paul said, ‘they hold to a form of godliness but deny the power thereof!’
Consider our text found in (Romans 2:17-24). The exact same thing was going on in Paul’s day. There were those who worshiped all sorts of idols or who denied the existence of God altogether. Then there were the Jews who believed that because they were physical descendants of Abraham that somehow they were assured of a place in heaven.
I don’t know how they thought this was going to work. Did they think that Abraham was going to be up in heaven saying who had been naughty and who had been nice; who would go to heaven and who would go to hell? Did they think that they were born with a special mark that would gain them admission to the heavenly Jerusalem?
We know what the word of God says; not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God. Paul begins in our text saying, “But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?
Here is what I meant when I said this lesson could have been called a sequel to last week. Notice what Paul has just said. He says to his hearers; “You are Jews, physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You say you are relying upon the Law of God as your rule and guide to life. You boast that you know God; that you have an established relationship with the Almighty. Notice this next statement: you claim to know His will!
Holy Toledo! This in itself is a mouthful. Talk about boasting! We’re Jews therefore we’re special! We are obedient to the Law of the Lord for we believe that our sacrificing and rituals are scoring points with God. Not only that we know God! We are His people and He has revealed His will to us.
These Jews have made all of these claims and yet they were denying our only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They were boasting in themselves. They really believed that they were special to God even when they were living in open rebellion against Him. Now there is a sense in which the Jewish people are God’s chosen people. God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and made from him a nation separate from all others. He was their God and their King.
But we know from our studies of the Old Testament that many of them didn’t want God reigning over them. As is always the case there was the faithful remnant who loved Him and sought to live for His glory. Even during the time of Ahab and Jezebel, there was Elijah the prophet and 7000 others who had not bowed the knee to Baal. But Paul has told us that not all the physical descendants of Israel are His children.
Sadly, such people claimed that they knew the Lord and were living for His glory when in fact their god was their bellies, and their end was the same as it is for all who are not found faithful, destruction. And the characteristic scripture puts on them is a mind set on worldly things.
They claim faith in God but are trusting in themselves. Paul says, “you claim knowledge of God and His will, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, and then he says, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?
You claim to teach others, have you ever been taught yourself? Have you ever listened to the message of the truth? I am reminded of John Wesley who lamented, “I am going to the New World to teach the Indians but oh, who will teach me?” Martin Luther was struggling with the truth and said, “I can get the facts into my head and speak them out of my mouth but the message has not reached my own heart.”
Many hear the Word of God but few receive it. They claim to have special knowledge, special insight into the truth but in reality their foolish minds are darkened. To such an one as this Paul says, “You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? Do you see once again the title of last week’s message? Do as I say and not as I do! Chuck Smith related an incident from his childhood that is a wonderful illustration to the point I am trying to make.
He said, “One day when I was a little boy, a limousine pulled up to the front of our house and a man got out. He came to our door and my mom let him in. (He was some relation to Chucks mom.) He sat down in our parlor and called all of the kids together. When we had all assembled the man pointed his finger at us and said “Never smoke! If you never smoke I’ll come back when you’re 18 and give you a gold watch.” With that he stood up and walked out of our house. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was the fact that he had been smoking the whole time he was there. I said to my mom, “What did he mean, ‘never smoke’, I mean he was smokin.’ I never smoked but I also never got my gold watch.”
Now do you see the insanity of telling someone, “Don’t do what I’m doing. Do what I tell you to do.” The man was smoking like a train and yet he was telling these children not to do what he was doing. Action speaks louder than words. If you are going to tell someone to follow Jesus you had better be following Him yourself or your message will fall on deaf ears. It is those whose lives are a living testament to their profession whose words will bear weight with those to whom they speak!
Returning to the title of the lesson before us, it is not those who are the physical descendants of Abraham who are children of God but those who have the faith of Abraham.
You can say, “I’m a Christian” all you want but saying it don’t make it so. It is not the one who says but the one who does. It is not the one who says, Lord, Lord, but it is the one who bows before God, pledges allegiance to Him and then goes out and lives like he means what he said.
Indeed, of such horrible witnesses as are in the world today the condemnation of God rings as true as it did when He directed Paul to pen these words…24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” Do you remember when Jesus came into the temple and saw all the merchandising going on? He made a whip of cords and drove these wicked men and women out declaring that “My Fathers House will be a house of prayer…
Paul is leveling a charge of hypocrisy against his hearers. They say but don’t do! They make boastful claims of fidelity, they tell of their mighty acts performed for Jesus including healing the sick, raising the dead and casting out demons. And yet their lives are totally contrary to the manner in which Jesus Christ lived. And the holy standard of the word of God stands firm. (1Jo 2:6) “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. Let me paraphrase that verse for you. The man or woman, boy or girl who claims that he has been saved from his sins and raised to walk in newness of life in Jesus Christ, ought to have the visible evidence of a life that is lived in the same manner that Jesus Himself lived. His testimony ought to match that of Jesus Christ in that he should always do that which is pleasing to God the Father!
Do you see what we must be about? We are called to a life of total devotion to God the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. We must strive with all of our might to be about our Father’s business just as Jesus our Lord was. In His life He left us an example to follow and that in all manner of things! In (1Pe 2:21) we read “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
What example are you leaving behind as you walk through this world? The testimony of many can be summed up in verse 24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” Now we must ask ourselves the question; is this my testimony? Remember how Jesus told us to let our lights shine before men so that they would see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Can we say that this is our testimony, that men praise and honor and glorify God as they behold our manner of living? Or is the name of God blasphemed because of us?
I would like to bring to your attention a piece of news that should cause your hearts to rejoice. Ted Kennedy’s hate crime legislation has been dropped. This is good news for us! But I must ask, what brought such legislation to the floor in the first place. You may say that it is the wicked Ted Kennedy but I think we must go deeper. I think that believers or pseudo-believers are partly to blame.
Consider; when men go around proclaiming that this group or that group is going to hell, when men proclaim a ‘gospel’ that does not contain the whole council of God, when people preach a gospel that Jesus didn’t preach, we have a problem. In fact, what we have here is failure to communicate. Many times the ‘gospel’ being preached is a gospel of hate.
Consider the message of Paul. In (1Co 2:2) he declares, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” Now what is the greatest love story ever told? It is the story of Jesus Christ who came to earth and died in the place of rebels who hated Him and cried out for His blood. John says, “(1Jo 4:10) In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (Ro 2:4) says, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
This is such a far cry from what is being proclaimed in pulpits and on street corners in our land even today. The ‘gospel’ begin perpetrated in many cities in our land today is a message of hate. Is it any wonder that people are seeking protection from such a hateful message! And you can see from the above examples that Paul didn’t run from city to city and declare; ‘Your all going to hell!’ indeed Paul went from city to city and proclaimed that the Messiah had come, the One who can forgive our sins and give us eternal life. He has come that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly. What kind of message are you proclaiming? Now as a personal testimony, I have had to rethink a lot of what I used to call the gospel because I was of the mindset that you must attack the sinner and make him squirm. Pull the guns and fire in the hole! It could be said of me that THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU…!
Isn’t it wonderful how merciful God is. While we have gone around preaching judgment upon sinners, we forget how God called us. Again, consider some of my personal testimony.
When Pastor Wilkerson witnessed to me, he proclaimed the whole council of God. He declared the love of Jesus and salvation that was to be had through Him. He explained to me the state of my soul and the danger I was in. And he left me with the call to repent and believe the good news.
What happened next was the power of the Holy Spirit. God had directed Pastor Wilkerson to plant the seeds of the Gospel and then He watered them and brought forth the fruit of a saved soul. There was not an ounce of hatred or viciousness in the pastor’s message that could have been construed as hatred.
Indeed he had been moved by the love of my eternal soul to direct me to the wicket gate. And when I got there I found nothing but love, immense, omnipotent, everlasting love in the person of Jesus Christ.
And now by the grace of God there is a Jew in my heart. I am a true son of Abraham; that is, I have the same faith as Abraham had; not that I have been asked to sacrifice a child but I have the same God who called me out of spiritual Egypt just as He called Abe out of Ur of the Chaldees. I have been given new life in Christ and I am part of the true seed of Abraham, the faithful remnant.
Now I walk by faith just as Abraham did. He lived by faith, not seeing the fulfillment of the promise. But He believed God and trusted that He who had promised is faithful. I haven’t seen heaven but I believe that I am even now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
I walk though this world of sin and yet I stand justified and glorified before my Heavenly Father on the basis of the finished work of Christ on my behalf. I stand un-condemned, with full assurance that my sins have been forgiven and that Jesus Christ has prepared a home for me in Heaven: that my name was written down before the world was created.
And I believe that He who has begun a good work in me will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day! “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2Co 1:20)