If there's one thing that will kill your Christianity and your spiritual life, it's being totally self-centered. Jesus was the ultimate model of being other-centered, wasn't He?
I've heard people mistakenly say things like, I'm not going to do this because certainly God wouldn't want me to be uncomfortable in this. Just remember we're following Jesus who made His way to Jerusalem to die for you and I. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. David is the senior pastor of The Bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. In a world obsessed with me, myself, and I, it's often hard to be humble, but it's very important if we're going to seek after the Lord. Find out how we can do that today as Pastor David continues his study in the book of Romans chapter 2. But before we get into today's teaching, from beginning to end, the Bible shows the special nature of God's relationship with the nation of Israel.
But what does that have to do with you today? Romans chapter 11 tells us that God's covenant relationship with Israel has huge implications for you. To help you understand more, Pastor David wants to send you his teaching video recorded in the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible, and You. This powerful resource will encourage and strengthen you as you learn how connected you are with God's chosen people. Israel, the Bible, and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com to request your copy.
Again, that's crossthebridge.com. Now here's David McGee with part four of his teaching, Judgment. We're looking at the book of Romans, and Paul is writing to the church at Rome.
He's not yet been to Rome. He's writing to encourage the believers there, and it's just an incredible book that not only has changed lives, but it's really changed human history. Martin Luther, for one, was incredibly impacted by the verses that are in this book, John Wycliffe as well, and in many others.
So these are people who really started the Reformation hundreds of years ago. Now the awesome thing is it's the same Word of God, the same Spirit of God that changed their lives is available this morning to change your life. So as we look at this, that's our hope and prayer.
So let's pick it up. We left it off with verse six, but let's go back to verse five for context's sake and read there, Romans chapter two, verse five. It says, But in accordance with your hardness and with your impenitent heart, you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality. And let's understand, you know, in talking about these first six verses of chapter two, it keeps drawing us back to the mercy of God. We talked about the fact that, you know, chapter one deals with the unrighteous, which really we all qualify for that. Maybe we haven't done every sin, but we've certainly taken part in at least one in chapter one, especially at the end of that chapter. Chapter two is dealing with the self-righteous. So, you know, after you look at chapter one, you can go all those messed up people, but then chapter two says, Hey, you know, wait, time out. All of us in some way are messed up.
That old saying, you know, of everybody's normal till you get to know them kind of a thing. And remember that even David, David just pointed out as a godly man, a man after God's own heart, David said, he didn't say, Lord, have justice on me. He said, Lord, have mercy, have mercy on me.
And each one of us stand in that place of being desperate for mercy. Now, first glance, verse seven would seem to say that if you do good things, then you inherit eternal life. This points out once again, why it's important to take the whole Bible and not to isolate a scripture, because obviously from Ephesians two, eight, nine and other places, it's not by works that we go to heaven.
Now here's the thing. People that overemphasize works need to learn more about grace. People who overemphasize, if you will, grace need to consider works a little bit more.
And here's what I mean by that. The way to get into heaven, the way to be forgiven by grace and grace alone, once you understand that grace in your head and your heart, it should begin to change your life. It should begin to change your life. And so we can read this and go, I don't have good deeds, but I'm all dependent upon grace.
But time out, friend, if there's not fruit in your life, then you should be concerned about that. The Bible in first John points out that if we say we love God, but we don't love the people around us, has strong words for us actually says that we're lying about love and God. So as we look at this and we think about the things that we can and should be doing for the Lord, we should think about this. And obviously it mentions glory and honor and immortality, awesome things, things that stir the heart. It also mentions doing good, doing good, doing good works, doing good things. Remember you're bound for glory. And part of that, we talked about eternal rewards some last week, but the first life lesson here is we should live and work for the glory of God.
We should live and work for the glory of God. Now, maybe you look at that and you go, well, pastor, I don't actually work in the ministry. I'm not full time in the ministry. I work a secular job. What a great mission field that you've been given.
Let me, let me help you with this. If you know, if you're in here and you believe that you know Jesus as your savior, I'm going to warn you, this is kind of a trick question and you're in full time ministry. Raise your hand.
You can put your hands down. God gives you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He's told every one of us to engage with our culture, our society, our workplace, and at every turn, at every hour of the day, not just myself being a professional Christian, but all of us should be sharing these things. So friend, it's not a select few who are in full time ministry. It's anybody who has ever accepted the forgiveness and grace from Jesus Christ are actually engaged in the ministry full time.
So how many of you in full time ministry? Raise your hand again. Awesome. All right, cool. Got big staff.
Staff just grew here. Praise the Lord. So we need to think about these things. And the Bible even says, see, we tend in our mind, we think, okay, there's Sunday morning. We go worship God. We go learn about God.
And then there's the rest of my time. The Bible doesn't really support that view. As a matter of fact, Paul says something interesting. First Corinthians chapter 10, verse 31. He says, therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God, whatever you do, do for the glory of God. I don't know how many of you have ever seen me eat. I eat for the glory of God.
I enjoy, I enjoy eating because if you think about it, even eating, you know, God could have had us sustain ourselves through, through breathing, but he gave us the gift and the blessing of sitting down to a meal with other people to be able to glorify God in that moment. So I encourage you to do that, to glorify the Lord. Now, leave your finger right there in the book of Romans for a second. We're going to go do the book of James for just a minute. That's towards the back. You get back towards the book of Revelation and you've gone too far.
Take a left. James is before 1st, 2nd Peter, 1st, 2nd, 3rd John, Jude, Revelation. James, let's look at chapter two because it speaks about these good works we're talking about. I'm going to read a long passage. I'm not really going to, I'm going to try to restrain myself from doing a commentary because we're not in James, we're in Romans, but this is a great commentary on the, on the good works.
So let's pick it up. James chapter two, verse 14. It says, what does it profit my brother? And if someone says he has faith, but does not have works, can faith save him? If a brother or sister is neck and destitute of daily food. And one of you says to them, depart in peace, be warm and filled, but do not, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body.
What is a profit? That's also faith by itself. If it does not have works is dead, but someone will say you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works. And I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that there is one God you do well, even the demons believe and tremble, but do you want to know a foolish man that faith without works is dead. Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar. Do you see that faith was working together with his works and by works faith was made perfect when the scripture was fulfilled, which says Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. You see them that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.
Likewise was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Let's go back to the passage in Romans. So the real question I guess that James brings up and Paul kind of brings up here, kind of brings up, is do you have a dead faith or do you have a living faith? See James is pointing out there's no really, there's no such thing as a dead faith. A dead faith is not faith at all.
And I think sometimes people, you know, I've had conversations and they say, well, you know, I prayed a prayer a few years ago and said the right words and so I'm good. I don't serve God. I don't serve people. I don't attend church.
I don't give financially. I don't do any of those things, but I'm okay. That person should be concerned. If you're sitting in here this morning and you don't really have fruit in your life, friend, you should be concerned. Now I'm not saying that fruit is what saves you, but that fruit always follows salvation. I'm not saying overnight everything's going to automatically be changed the next day after you pray the prayer.
No, it takes time. But again, according to the Bible, these things should be occurring and if they're not occurring, then friend, you should be concerned and we want to help you walk this road. So if you're struggling with this or you're in a place and you go, well, I don't really have fruit.
I don't really see much fruit in my life. You can call us. You can email us and we'll encourage you along the way and following the Lord and doing things for the Lord. You're listening to Pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's Word in just a moment. But first, God's grace and mercy is greater than any of us could ever fathom. That's why he's been so faithful to the nation of Israel throughout the ages and he's not finished.
He's promised to remain true to them to the end. We want to show you what God's faithfulness toward Israel says about his relationship with you by sending you Pastor David's teaching video, Israel, the Bible and You. In this exciting teaching recorded in the heart of the Holy Land, Pastor David unpacks important truths from God's relationships with Israel that impact your life today. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com to request yours. Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. This is Pastor David McGee with Cross the Bridge.
You know, I want to thank you for listening to Cross the Bridge. I also want to tell you about an exciting website. The website is lostlovedones.org and it works very simply like this. You go to the website and you put the first names of up to 10 people that we begin praying that they get saved. Now it takes two things to get saved, presentation and prayer. And what we're offering is prayer and also there's different tools there to help you present the gospel to them. So we're there with you, helping you with the presentation, helping you with the prayer. There's over 920 people that belong to the prayer team on Lost Loved Ones and you can join the prayer team as well and help us to pray for others who don't yet know Jesus.
And together we can see a huge revival starting with your lost loved ones. Now back to today's teaching. Verse 80 says, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. Self-seeking over and over and over in the Bible is painted as a bad thing. You need to understand, and I know there's, you know, last 20, 30 years ago or so we've come to the unique conclusion that the real problem with each and every one of us is we lack self-esteem. I don't believe that. I do not believe that. If you've ever ridden on any major highway in the United States, that is such a stretch.
Why? Because do you see a struggle with a lack of self-esteem on the highways or do you see people cutting each other off and beeping at each other and considering themselves more important than anybody else? See, part of being a believer, according to the Bible, is considering God and other people first. I've heard teachings, you know, that said, hey, you need to love your neighbor as yourself. And then some people have twisted that around and said, well, you actually need to learn to love yourself first so you can love others. We already love ourselves.
We already take care of ourselves. This morning, when you got ready to come to church, who did you think about as far as what clothes they were going to wear? You thought about you, right? You thought about what am I going to wear? Some of you probably thought, gee, I wonder what Pastor Dave is going to wear. But for the most part, for the most part, you thought, what am I going to wear? Now, if you're a mother in here, you just said, well, no, I was thinking about what the children were going to wear. Okay, but let's walk through that even. Why were you concerned about what your kids were going to wear?
Because if they showed up in pajamas, everybody would say, whose children are these? And it would come back to you. So even then, there's kind of a self-seeking of you. Here's another, here's another great. When you look at a photograph and you're in that photograph, who do you look at first in that photograph? You look at yourself. And then if you look good in the photograph, that's a good photograph. That is good.
Can you email me this? This is really good. Everybody else can have their eyes closed and grimacing, but if you're having a good hair day, that's a good photograph. And conversely, if everybody in there looks wonderful, but your eyes are closed or you got the red-eye glare or anything, well, that's a horrible photograph.
I need to buy the negatives. Please don't show this to anybody. Because you're looking at yourself in that photograph. So there is something about us that considers ourselves in this, but the Spirit of God is in us that we might consider other people. See, our life should be changing.
And here's what I found. If there's one thing that will kill your Christianity and your spiritual life, it's being totally self-centered. That'll kill your Christianity.
Because see, we're following Jesus, and Jesus was the ultimate model of being other-centered, wasn't he? I've heard people mistakenly say things like, well, you know, I'm not going to do this because certainly God wouldn't want me to be uncomfortable in this. God wouldn't want me to be stretched. God doesn't want me to get tired or feel pain or hurt. Let's remember we're following Jesus.
Jesus who made his way to Jerusalem to die for you and I. I wonder how our prayers sound. Certainly God doesn't want me to feel pain or be tired or be put out for other people. It seems kind of inconsistent with the life of Jesus, doesn't it?
Verse 9 says, tribulation and anguish on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek. This chapter is very judicial in the sense it almost has the feel of a courtroom, if you want. And each one of us, we want to escape being charged with doing wrong. We don't want something laid at our feet that we've done.
I don't think anybody ever really looks forward when they've been charged with something of going into the courtroom. And we've got different things that we do to kind of help us through this. One of the common things is to point out to somebody that's worse than you, you know, well, yeah, I've done this, but I haven't done that. Well, I may have done that, but I didn't do as many times as him or her. Why do we do those things? Well, to make ourselves feel better. But it still never really cleanses us, does it?
You never get to that point where you talk about people long enough and talk about them bad enough where you actually feel cleansed or forgiven. See, and here's the thing. He's speaking in Chapter 2 a lot to the Jewish people because the Jewish people started to take some pride in their religion and their religious activities. Okay, and before you sit here and go, oh, well, you know, they're silly Jewish people, time out because it's also kind of an apt description of American Christianity, if you think about it. There's people all over this country that take a certain spiritual pride in going to church or doing this and doing that. Now obviously I'm a pastor, I want to encourage you to go to church. But if just going to church is all you do, then friend, you're missing out on a lot.
You're missing out on a lot. Now when you read through the Hebrew Scriptures, you see that these Jewish leaders actually killed many of the prophets. And obviously some of the leaders were engaged in the execution of Jesus.
Not all of them. You can see that in the Bible, not all of them. But it's interesting because see, as we read Chapter 1, and yet I just so love the balance of the Bible.
Not just the individual books, but also the order the books fall in, but individual books. You read Chapter 1 and, you know, if you're religious or grown up in a church or you don't struggle outwardly with some heavy things like Chapter 1 talks about, you read Chapter 1, oh, amen, Paul, you give it to them. Then you get to Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 begins to point out that not only are the people in Chapter 1 guilty, but we all stand guilty. Jesus told this story about the prodigal son. A lot of us may have heard that story before, but let me review for just a second. There was two brothers, and one of them decided he wanted his inheritance and he wanted to go out and party and do whatever and live his own way. And he goes out and he blows his money. He lives a hard life. He winds up. He's feeding pigs for a living, which, you know, in a Jewish setting, in a Jewish son, pigs are unclean.
So that was a, you understand, that was a really dirty job. And he comes back home. And when he comes back home, his father says, oh, I'm so glad you're here. We're going to throw a party.
We'll kill a fatted calf. But then the other brother that stayed home has a serious issue with that. He says, I can't believe you're doing this. I've been here. I've been faithful. I never left you. He comes home.
You throw him a party. I wonder, I wonder if the real prodigal son never left home. Why do you think Jesus told that story?
I think I know. Because a lot of times when God does something really dramatic in somebody's life, do you understand who stands up against that? It's people within the body, people within the church. Somebody gets saved maybe out of a, I don't know, whatever, drugs and alcohol, same-sex relationship, all these things that God can do a credible work, pull us out of.
And God does that work. And then who stands up? I don't know.
They're really safe. I don't know. I don't think we should kill the fatted calf.
I don't think we should party. And who are we acting like in that point? Acting like that son who doesn't look so good in that story. See, and here's the thing, all of us, all of us, the unrighteous, the self-righteous, we all fall flat before the Lord. None of us can really stand before the Lord. You know, as a pastor, most of the time when we're sitting and talking to somebody that's messed up, they won't really debate whether they're messing up or not.
The struggles come when somebody will sit there and argue of whether they've really messed up, of whether they have made mistakes. That's called self-righteousness. And self-righteousness, to be honest, is probably a lot harder to deal with in a ministry capacity. Again, we talked about the fact, you know, there's people that think they have this ministry, the ministry of condemnation. That's not really a ministry. As a matter of fact, God calls our enemy, the adversary of our soul, the accuser of the brethren.
It's kind of an interesting title. But see, what happens is we all get very concerned with the sins of other people, don't we? This is the reality. We're more comfortable talking about the sins that other people or the sins of the world or what we see in the newspaper or on television than going to God and talking about our own personal sins. Why is that? Because when you talk about the sins of other people, you don't really have, you're not led to action.
You're not convicted. You're not convinced that you need to change. You're just, oh, those people are so messed up. And again, Jesus tells a very pointed story when he points out that there was two people in the temple, and one of them said, oh, God, thank you, I'm not like him. And the other one said, God, I don't deserve your mercy, but I'm asking for it.
Which one describes you, friend? Are you thinking, God, that you're not like this person or not like that person, or do you understand that we all fall flat before a righteous God? So we should take a look at our lives.
And this is what chapter 2 is encouraging. Don't think you've arrived and no longer have problems. I don't know where we got to the point that we think the church is somewhere you go when you don't have any problems or any issues or you're not struggling with sin anymore. You only come to the church when you're perfect.
You got it all worked out. You understand there's no perfect church? I've thought, and I've said, I've shared this before, you know, I wonder what would happen if we put out a sign out there that said only perfect people allowed.
What would happen? Would anybody come? I mean, besides me.
No, I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidding. There is no perfect church. Do you understand that? A lot of people roam around, they church hop and church shop looking for the perfect church. There's no perfect church. There's no perfect pastor. If there was a perfect church, you couldn't go do it because you're not perfect.
The moment you showed up, you know, they'd look at, oh, it's going downhill now. He's not perfect and now we're no longer perfect. We no longer have the perfect church. So look at our lives. Look at our actions.
Why? To the Jew first and also to the Greek. Jesus said something about witnessing and making sure that the Jewish people heard about salvation first. We saw in the book of Acts, there was an ever expanding circle, but to the Jewish person, there was a responsibility and accountability because they knew the Bible and they knew some of these things. And again, we can sit off and go, well, you know, they should have known better.
Time out. If you've grown up in America, you've grown up going to a church, guess what? That same responsibility, accountability is for you as well, because the more, you know, according to the Bible, the more responsibility you have. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned and I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. So congratulations, friend.
You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we go, we want to encourage you in your faith so that you can experience more of the grace and love of God for you. That's why we'd like to send you Pastor David's teaching video recorded in the heart of the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible, and You. This encouraging look into the history of Israel and God's covenant faithfulness to His chosen people will help you take bold new steps in your relationship with God. Israel, the Bible, and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com now to request your copy. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee to hear more from the book of Romans. We'll see you then.
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