Friend, over time as you follow Jesus, you shouldn't get more calloused about the world. You should get more sensitive about the world. You shouldn't care less about people dying in their sins. You should care more about people dying in their sins. You shouldn't care less about the poor and the hungry.
You should care more about the poor and the hungry. Let your heart and your actions be changed. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. David is the Senior Pastor of the Bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. The amazing thing about a relationship with God is that after He saves us, He doesn't just leave us where we are. Find out more about this amazing life in Christ today as Pastor David continues 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 Magee with part 2 of his teaching, Be Changed. Turn with me to chapter 2 of Romans and we're reminded that Paul wrote the book of Romans.
At this point, Paul has not actually been to Rome, so we are peeling back a few years from the close of Acts where we find him in Rome and he's writing to these people about spiritual truth and things that he's learned. And we're going to pick it up, verse 25. For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law. But if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Circumcision, talking about here, a couple of different ways. There's a physical circumcision, if you will, and a spiritual circumcision. Physical circumcision was given by God as a covenant with his people. It happened with the male child on the eighth day and we now have learned that those clotting ability of the blood is that one of the highest points in a person's life on that eighth day.
It's kind of interesting. So there was this special covenant or arrangement with God through the circumcision, but it was supposed to be a symbol of something deeper. And the danger was that the symbol became the whole thing. In other words, okay, I'm circumcised, I'm good. I don't really have to have a relationship with the Lord.
Don't have to love God, love people. I'm just doing this ritual symbol. Now we look at that and we go, okay, well, that doesn't really apply to us.
Time out. We do the same thing with things deep and meaning things like baptism, which we believe here in what we call a believer's baptism. That is when you come to the Lord, you ask him to forgive you of your sins, then you should be baptized.
Okay. And I would encourage everybody if you've asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, to be baptized. But what have we done with that beautiful symbol of going into the water, of going down at death of Jesus Christ and being resurrected in his power? What have we done with that wonderful, beautiful symbol?
We've turned it into sometimes an empty ritual. I so appreciate parents that want to dedicate their children to the Lord and sometimes that dedication comes through sprinkling them at birth and some of them refer to it as baptism, but how deep and meaningful is it for that baby? Is that baby saying, I'm going to follow the Lord. I've made a personal decision.
No, a six week, six month, two year old can't really make that decision. What about communion? Same thing, a deep, deep meaningful thing. There are those of us who've asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins and who are following him. And yet again, what have we done with that? Well, you know, a lot of times we we've actually, there's some places that say, well, that that's, that's how you're forgiven actually when you take part of communion and that's, so that's what was intended to be a symbol now becomes the totality of the thing.
Okay. You take communion and that's it. You're done. Now we're supposed to be considering the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in the body of the Lord Jesus Christ. So while we look at this, we can go all those silly Jewish people back then. No, no, no, no.
Let's make the personal present day application. As we look at this, Philippians chapter three verse three says this, for we are the circumcision who worship God in the spirit rejoiced in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. So here in the book of Philippians, Paul who wrote the book of Philippians kind of lays out, Hey, you know what? Circumcision isn't just those who are physically circumcised in that sense. It's those of us who have been spiritually circumcised. In other words, and not to get too graphic, but to cut away the flesh are bad desires and to say, you know what? We're going to die to those and we're going to live for the Lord. And Paul points out in this verse, so the circumcision, if you will, are God worshipers, God worshipers.
So if you're a God worshiper, if you understand that God created you and you've asked him to forgive you of your sins, then you are a God worshiper. You're of the circumcision, if you will. Paul is saying, look, if you keep the law, in other words, if you desire to be obedient to the Lord, then yes, there's some pro there's a prophet, if you will, and being a Jewish person, because you you're brought up with a knowledge of God, you're brought up with a reverence and the scriptures and whatnot. Verse 26, therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? This is kind of interesting. On one hand, you can say, well, if somebody is uncircumcised and they keep the righteous requirements of the law, well, how can we just said that nobody can keep the righteous requirements of the law?
Absolutely. So in a, in a way, Paul's kind of presenting a hypothetical discussion here. If you could keep the law, then if somebody was uncircumcised and could keep the law, then they would be declared circumcised. Now, where it's not hypothetical is if we, as the Bible points out, we are cleansed through forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. And Paul is saying, you know what? If you've been cleansed of your sins, it's not uncircumcised anymore.
There is no uncircumcised circumcised. We're all one in Jesus Christ. And let's remember, and we've talked about this before, part of what Paul's dealing with here in the book of Romans, and we looked at this prior, the book of Acts records that one of the emperors, one of the Caesars actually said all Jewish people had to leave Rome. And so they were cast out. They had to leave. And then whether they were Jewish or Jewish Christians, they had to leave.
And then what happened is the next emperor came in and he said, well, no, they can come back. So obviously you kind of have a social thing then where you have Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. So already there's really kind of like two denominations, which now we splintered into hundreds, right? But, and so Paul is trying to deal with this and say, no, no, no, no, no, no. We're all one in Jesus Christ.
And Paul again is saying, you know what? It's a symbol of a reality, the circumcision thing. So let's remember baptism, symbol of the reality or it's meaningless.
Circumcision, symbol of the reality or it's meaningless. Communion, symbol, but without meaning, without, without a commitment, it's meaningless. So think of it like this, and this is kind of interesting thing when, uh, you know, I wear several rings and, and, uh, three of them are Hebrew, uh, the, uh, I've loved you with an everlasting love for, I know the plans that I have for you. And then, uh, this one is the Lord bless you and keep you on the heap in Hebrew. And, um, and it's kind of commitment to the Lord, to this church and I wear it all the time.
It reminds me of that. Um, and then over here, of course, is my wedding band. Okay. So what if, what if I go, well, look, I'm not pastor anymore. There's no, I just took my ring off.
They go, well, that's pretty silly cause you're still up there. You're still teaching. Yeah. Right. Why? Because there's an inward reality that I am pastor here, but now most of us are going, Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I see that.
But wait a minute here. You understand when, when people go to cheat sometimes in their marriage, they do this like, okay, well I took the ring off. I'm not, I'm not really married.
You know what? The ring is a symbol of the, of your state. And now I'm, I took my ring off. I'm still married. I'm still married. I just don't have the ring on. Put the ring back on. Oh, I'm married now. No, no, no, no, no.
There's my present state is I am married. So again, baptism, communion, circumcision, all those things are really incredible and have awesome deep spiritual meaning if there's a reality to it, but if there's not a reality to it, then it's nothing. It's an empty ritual and assemble. So that's part of what Paul is saying here in verse 27 and will not the physical physically uncircumcised if he fulfills the law, judge you who even with your written code and circumstances are a trans aggressor of the law. This is, this is great stuff. And Paul is saying, you know what, if you're not desiring to follow the Lord, if you're not desiring to do the things the Lord has you to do, then don't take pride, arrogance, consolation, comfort in these empty rituals.
Now again, it'll spring into the present day. Do you understand how many people take comfort in going to church even though it really is an empty ritual for them? I know most of the folks here, we come, it's a deeply meaningful experience with the Lord.
You're worshiping God, you're learning about the word. I'm not saying that's an empty ritual. I'm saying there are people who go through that empty ritual who take a spiritual pride and comfort that is dangerous or a baptism.
They take a pride or the fact that they were baptized as an infant, even though they aren't really in the church or serving the Lord or, or doing the things the Bible talks about. Be careful with that. Be careful with that. That's what Paul's talking about here is these things need to be an outward sign of an inward reality or it's an empty ritual that becomes an outward sign of an inner deficiency of, well, this is all it is.
Then it doesn't really mean anything. And you know, what happens is man over time tends towards increasing the ritual and decreasing the relationship. Before 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. Now back to today's teaching. Verse 28, For he is not a Jew who was one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Now, this is interesting. And again, you know, we can just we can just read through this and we could just study this and, and really, if I didn't make the present day applications, we could all just have this little teaching and then, you know, leave and not be changed, not be challenged and go, Oh, silly Jewish people because they did this and then, but you know, I'm not going to do that. And what we have to do is we have to sit here and go, Okay, well, what are the symbols or the rituals that we have?
And what is the meaning? Again, coming back to baptism, because it's such an obvious connection. The baptism is a symbol of dying to ourselves.
Okay. I've talked about the symbolism before the Bible talks about the fact when you go under the water and we, we baptized by immersion, baptism in the Greek means to be immersed literally. And we see in the Bible that it says, you know, Jesus came out of the water. So we came out of the water. What do we know?
He was in the water. Okay. Baptism is a funny thing. And I understand that we have splinter groups. People believe this by people believe that there's some people that believe your whole salvation is tied up in baptism. We don't believe that here, but I also believe that if you've asked the Lord to forgive you of your sins, you should be baptized. When somebody comes to me and say, Hey, you know, I got born again and I love the Lord. And some of you are going to be surprised by what I'm getting ready to say. I love the Lord. I've been born again. And after I was born again, I was sprinkled. You know what?
I can live with that. We, again, we practice baptism by immersion. I believe you should be baptized. I believe, according to the Bible, that you should be immersed. So I was, you know, I was called upon somebody within the hospital and had come to the Lord and we thought that they were getting ready to be with the Lord.
They've actually recovered and they're actually in church here. But, um, you know, I was kind of challenged because he wanted to be baptized. And I thought, well, can't how I can't, I mean, I can't immerse him. I can't, what am I going to bring a huge aquarium in the hospital?
And I'm sure they'll do that and go for that. No, no. I was forced to think, okay, well, God knows mercy, God knows grace. Now again, I fall back on, we believe in baptism by immersion, but here's the important part is the baptism is the, is it more than assemble? Because baptism is dying to your old self and being resurrected in the newness of life.
In other words, when you're baptized, it's assemble. You're no longer going to live for yourself. You're going to live for the Lord. You're going to die to the old way and you're going to live in the newness of life. That's the important thing that after you come to the Lord, that you understand that and the real proof of your baptism is really in the way you live in it. If you're living for the Lord, Hey, your baptism took, if you're not, then wasn't an empty ritual. But Paul is talking about circumcision here and there's kind of, I went through and there was interestingly enough a couple of different aspects of circumcision and living the new life and Exodus chapter six, verse 12. It says, as Moses spoke before the Lord saying the children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me for I am of uncircumcised lips. Interesting phrase there uncircumcised lips.
Let me ask you a question. A book of James talks a lot about the tongue and what we say and how we say it. And James talks about, Hey, you know, sweet and bitter shouldn't flow out of the same fountain with your mouth. Are you living in the newness of life? I'm not just talking about profanity or blasphemy.
Obviously that's something that you should be dying to and living in the newness of life. But do you speak words of love? Do you speak words of encouragement to other people? See, God wants to change the way not only we live and our attitudes, God wants to change what we say when we say it, how we say it. The life lesson here is let your mouth be changed. Let your mouth be changed. So God wants to change the way you talk. God wants to change the things that you say to people.
And so an aspect of circumcision is allowing that change to occur. When you mess up, when you say the wrong thing, repent to the other person, repent to the Lord, ask him to help you, that you would be changed. Another one, Jeremiah six verse 10 says to whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear and deed. Their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the Lord has a reproach to them. They have no delight in it.
Why is this interesting? Jeremiah is saying, you know what? They're not taking joy in the word of the Lord. They don't like it.
They're not taking the delight in it. This is another symbol or a sign of the newness of life. When you hear the word of God and you treat it as the word of God and you have the light in the word of God, that is a supernatural thing. It used to be when I didn't know the Lord, I would open the Bible and I would be like, I'd be confused. So, well, what is all of this?
Beget, beget, beget, beget, beget, beget, beget, beget. Much later, I learned that there's things in there and the genealogies of Jesus are other interesting things. And so now, instead of being in a book where I just, now it's like, oh, look at that. Oh, that is so awesome. Look at this.
Probably that's happening in your life as well. Ezekiel 44, verse 9 says this, thus says the Lord God, no foreigner uncircumcised in heart or uncircumcised in flesh shall enter my sanctuary, including any foreigner who is among the children of Israel. Now this is an interesting concept and, and to be honest, when it comes to circumcision, this is one of the most powerful things. The Bible seems to indicate that our heart itself needs to be circumcised.
In other words, that fleshly outer core, that selfish part of us, that the Lord wants to cut that part away and give us a tender new heart. Friend, over time as you follow Jesus, you shouldn't get more calloused about the world. You should get more sensitive about the world. You shouldn't care less about people dying in their sins. You could, you should care more about people dying in their sins. You shouldn't care less about the poor and the hungry.
You should care more about the poor and the hungry. Life lesson here, let your heart and your actions be changed. Let your heart and your actions be changed. Allow yourself to be circumcised, if you will, with your mouth, with your ears, with your heart, with your actions, that it not be just an empty symbol or ritual that you would speak with compassion.
She would hear sensitivity that you would feel with the tenderness, and that your heart would never be calloused. And if your heart ever becomes calloused, that the Lord, through his Holy Spirit, maybe through your pain or somebody else's pain, would come and circumcise your heart afresh. Because I've seen people in ministry and Christianity that over time, because they get hurt or, you know, one thing about sheep is they actually bite.
They will bite you. Of course, the Bible talks about the people of God being sheep. So it doesn't matter if we got sheep bites scars.
You know, some big bad sheep Lambo has bitten us and left a big chunk. No, stay soft hearted. You know, to be honest, earlier in life, I thought, you know, at some point I won't feel so I won't feel this so much. I won't have so much pain from them. And then I thought, you know what? I don't want that because then I will end up as this cold heartless individual that it doesn't bother me at all.
I don't want that. And maybe you're very sensitive. And if so friend, that is a blessing from God that you're sensitive. And when you feel pain or hurt, praise God, bless God, you're soft hearted. As believers, we should be thick skinned and soft hearted, thick skinned and soft hearted, especially in ministry.
But maybe you're in here and you're, you just look at people with an indifference. You can see somebody that's hurting, doesn't bother you, doesn't say, yeah, you can see somebody that's that's struggling and you just, you need to ask God to soften your heart, to circumcise a fresher heart, if you will. Verse 29, but he is a Jew who was one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit, not in the letter whose praise is not from men, but from God. Paul bowls it down here and says, okay, basically, what do you trust in him? Are you trusting in empty, meaningless symbols or is there something behind the symbols? Are you trusting just in the act of baptism?
Are you understanding that that was a outward sign of an inward change and you were desiring to live in the newness of life? Are you trusting in communion just as an empty ritual or does it occur to you at that time that you're remembering the price that was paid for you to shed blood, the broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross? Are you trusting in the fact that you go to church? See, that's what it all comes down to because see, if you're trusting in your own, in these acts and the fact that, and again, you should go to church, I'm glad you're here, but if you're trusting in just going to church to forgive you of your sins, you're trusting in essence, really you're trusting in your own righteousness and the Bible's pointing out here, you can't trust in your own righteousness, but we love rituals and we love thinking that we do something or have done something that causes our righteous standing.
I'm talking about just simply works and let me clarify. There is something that you can do to be declared innocent, be declared righteous. You can come to Jesus and say, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins. I've done wrong. I am sorry. Please forgive me. And I know that you can forgive me through your death on the cross.
That is one thing that you not only should do, but you need to do. And you have to do, if you're going to be declared righteous, you have to fall back that Jesus died for your sins. So friend, I ask you today, right now, where's your confidence?
Where's your trust? Is it in Jesus and Jesus alone? I guess really Christianity is a lot like the business world in a sense.
It's not what you know. It's who, you know, do you know Jesus? Do you know him as your savior? Deuteronomy 10 16 says this, therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff neck no longer or in the new living translation. It reads, therefore, cleanse your sinful hearts and stop being stubborn. This morning, you've got incredible opportunity to ask God to continue to change you, change your mouth, change your ears, change your heart. If you're sitting here this morning and you're trusting in rituals and you're trusting in your own righteousness, friend, that trust is misplaced. Trust in him, trust in Jesus. 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. Jesus said he would not turn anybody away who comes to him.
And he came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. 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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