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Religion Can’t Save You

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2020 9:00 am

Religion Can’t Save You

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 15, 2020 9:00 am

In Romans 2, Paul goes after religious people who think they’re better because they know the Bible and go to church–and he’s talking to us. Pastor J.D. continues in the “Romans” series in this message as he explains why, on the final day, God will look beyond outward performance of religion to our inward motivations and how both religious and irreligious sinners are welcomed back into God’s family through the cross.

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With Katie.

Your mouse is your born-again is your life say that your born-again your mouth says your new creation. Your actions say that your new creation. Your mouth says you love God does your heart say that you love God so this is the million dollar question.

What does your life declare about your belief in your surrender to Jesus not what does your mouth say but what does your life say your living pastor JD Invesco in Romans chapter 2 paths after religious people who think they're better because they know the Bible and go to church is talking to a pastor. JD explains why on the final day God will look beyond our performance of religion to our inward motivations and how both religious and irreligious sinners are welcomed back into God's family through the cross. Why religion can't Bible this weekend and I hope you Romans chapter 2 as you are turning there. There is a book in my library that has the name on Christian. It is the analysis of the survey that was done a few years ago nationwide survey done by the Barna group in which they sought to compare the lives of Christians and non-Christians in our country to see what the actual differences in their lives work.

By the way just so you know I am usually very skeptical of these kinds of things because I always want to know will. Who did they count as Christian because you and I both know that not everybody in our country that says their Christian really is aggressive and you know it's like sometimes people get to these things alive while not Jewish.

I'm not Muslim I'm not an atheist.

Ergo, I must be a Christian but you and I know that it takes more than that, but in this survey they didn't tell you a Christian.

If you identified as one of the ecology was a Christian only. If you could articulate the gospel say that you believed it, and then affirm that you attended church on a fairly regular basis so that's at least a little higher of a threshold here. The survey was entirely anonymous so that people would be honest about their lifestyles. Here is what they found they found first of all, the Christians cost less in public beta specified by the way, it's private, not so much. But just when you're around manner when your own grandma you cost less in public. Non-Christians give a little bit more to the poor Christians are less likely to recycle because you know you'll just gonna burn up. Anyway they think. So what you are inside non-Christians give more money to religious nonprofits and Christians on the whole, by fewer lottery ticket so that's all super encouraging really putting Jesus on display in those areas and so were survival for that, however. However, the survey found Christians are just as likely to visit a pornographic website as those who are not Christians were just as likely as non-Christians to get drunk just as likely to do illegal drugs or to take prescription medicines not prescribed to them. They were just as likely to be willing to live to get out of a difficult situation. They were just as likely to have intentionally done something to get back in somebody within the last 30 days and they were just as likely to set an unkind thing about somebody behind their back. In the last 30 days. In this study, 84% of non-Christians said they knew at least one believer personally, yet only 15% thought that that person's lifestyle was significantly different than their own in any way. One non-Christian in the survey was fairly typical describe his perception of conservative Christians as illogical empire building prone to violence and people who cannot generally live peacefully with those who do not believe what they believe and know. I realize that there's a lot of mischaracterization out there that come from a narrative, but the media pay paints in the movies playing and I was mad about it as you are, but can we not own that we are at least partially responsible for some of this perception many things in reporting you hear from this book. Non-Christians are self-reported things about our lifestyles. Is this really what Jesus had in mind when he died to create a new race of people. First Peter two did he say that he would that they would know that we were his disciples by how much less we cuss around grandma and by how few lottery tickets we buy. Didn't he say that we would know us for something fundamentally different and that is our love for God and our love for others. Paul's point in Romans two, is that religion get. This is often just a thin veneer that is papered over a heart that is still every bit as simple as anybody else's. And that religion by itself is powerless to change our hearts. Religion might change certain aspects of your behavior, but it doesn't go much deeper. If you remember in Romans one, Paul has laid out his case for why all people need the gospel he is painted a graphic picture of the corruption of the human race, and now has the open shepherd to. He anticipates an objection from his religious Jewish readers. You see, Paul taught the gospel now for about two decades to religious Jews, so he knows exactly what's in their minds is exactly what to say in response to what you say. By the way just so you know every time he says Jew. In this chapter, you can sub out for that churchgoing Christian because Paul's focus in this chapter is on religious people, not Jews.

In particular, he just had grown up with religious views of most of the people in his congregation that had had religion in their past work religious Jews and so that's why he always goes to that.

But his real focus is non-Christians and these religious Jews as he gets the Romans one talk about all the problems around the world, all the corruption folders religious Jews are sitting there shaking her head. One, yet you tell Paul you tell those Gentiles are some messed up people all that idolatry and that sexual disorder and that societal chaos and all that stuff you tell a ball preacher preacher chapter 2, verse one. Therefore, therefore, by the way there is any things you were there for the body. Always look to see what it's there for you for them forgive therefore therefore me he's going backwards right he say hate Romans one all that stuff that I just laid out is also true of your heart. Religious person. Therefore, because it's true of you to everyone you judges is without excuse. You see when you judge another you condemn yourselves into the judge. You have to be the same things. Mother was look within your heart religious person. You'll see that your heart is the same jealousy when people tell me you miss her sweet spirit about this you like oh pastor I'm just so enjoying the book of Romans. I'm like what are you a pay attention yet okay because I'm nothing encouraging in this book anywhere meet wicked encouragement. Chapter 8 okay so right now it's is nothing but a full out assault on you is not a lot a men's and here there's an old miser.

Here is what you should be saving it through this book with an religious person.

Look within is your heart really any better than anybody else's boss is you know you religious people think a better revision of the Bible because you know the right answers to theology questions because you thought you vote in the correct ways and you go to church but verse six God will repay each one according to his works. Araiza might be a little confusing.

So hang on eternal life. He says to give eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory and honor and immortality. In other words, those who in their heart have developed a habit of doing good. Hey, a persistent habit of doing good from the heart, and they seek glory, honor and immortality, not from created things were from the creator because they were all really ultimately seeking these things and so if you are seeking them from the creator, that's one thing but if you're seeking meaning and security from created things are from your religious accomplishments. That's quite another. He says God gives eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek music from the creator verse eight.

The other side of it is, but his wrath and anger.

To those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness. Again the focus.

There is the heart of God to give wrath to those people who are seeking their own will and seeking their own glory. Even if they do it in religious garb, but they're trying to bring glory to himself in the trying to do their own thing, even if externally they have conformed themselves to the dictates of religion in their heart they still obey what they want to do. They don't like to get corrected, they ultimately are just kinda living in themselves and living out what their preferences are pieces. This is what God is going to do.

There will be affliction and distress for every human being religious or not, who does evil first of the religious person but also to the Greek. The nonreligious persons can be both. There's only one, person before God the glory, honor and peace for everybody, both religious and nonreligious. Who does what is good truly does what is good from the heart first to the Jew and also to the green because you see, there is no favoritism with God for Paul says his God sees the heart and when God evaluates us what counsel God is not external conformity and religion. What counsel God is inward transformation from our now I know what you're saying you're like Lloyd a minute Paul just change his mind about the gospel didn't Paul just get done explaining in chapter 1, the salvation is not earned through good works, but salvation is given instead as a gift through faith alone, and now there in verse six he is saying that God will repay each one of us according to our works in that the opposite of the gospel that is teaching.

That's a great question. Verse six.

Following verse six is a quote from Psalm 62 lesson in which the psalmist is complaining about a group of religious people who honor God with their mouths while their feet are quick to go after violence. In other words, they give an external demonstration of religion but internally in their heart they are still filled with all kinds of wickedness. Paul's point lesson is that external practices of religion do not equal inward transformation reset again external practices of religion imposing divine doom never equal inward transformation and when it is all said and done on that final day God is to look at the inward works of the heart is good to go beyond outward performance of religion down to inward motivation and that means that some people who look really good on the surface are not really gonna look good when you get down into the motives for why they did what they did because it is often the motive seen the motives that determine the true quality of the academic sense. So when I graduated high school. There was a girl in my life that was I guess you might call her a girlfriend but that was the problem.

We didn't really know we going out a few times. We never had the what are we conversation so I was going to college.

Several states away for college I went to was up in New York and so you know the site well I didn't know what to do do we do have a relationship that are no slides left and so we wrote a few times because he got first time I saw her was a Christmas I come back. Back in North Carolina and decided that I was going to go and see her. We arrange to get together three days before Christmas so I give a car to drive to Searcy, lived about an hour away for me as I did in the cars and driving on Interstate 40. I had this horrendous thought and that is a minute if she is my girlfriend and I show up at her house three days before Christmas I have to have a Christmas present right because of me. She's got a Christmas present for me and I will have want to get back to her that I would like a total slimeball but also mean a man I'm on a fixed income so I want to drop 75 books of some girl that I got near future with.

Can you understand my dilemma. You see, all hard it is to be a guy and so I on the way I stopped at Haynes Mall in Winston-Salem and I want a little store there called Arnhem sporting goods because they had it displayed on the front rack. It was the neck warmer and that you were when you went skiing. It was really decorative.

It said Adidas in great big letters. It costs seven dollars mean the kind of gift that really says you're special to me and I thought I thought minutes perfect seven dollars. It looks like a lot more spent and seven dollars note, by that thing. And I'm in a have them for her and she gives me a Christmas present I give this to her and she didn't give me a Christmas present that puppies mind so buy a ticket on the Nordstrom's. I have them wrap it up in this really nice gift wrap to get dressed and went to her house. I go up a knock on the door.

She answered the door she says big on her face. How are you good to see you and or she first Lily first thing out of her mouth. I got you a Christmas present. And I'm like you genius talking to myself. I got your Christmas present to and so on. Thankfully I didn't get out of the car as she went up and underneath the Christmas tree and opened this competency has her open up this present and I opened the box and to my horror, I'm looking at this I am not super the clothing that you can probably just portable address and tell them that the eye could see it was like this is like like a jacket or sweater that it cost me look like a call $7500 and I got a seven dollar net warmer for her in the back of my car and I thought this is like the worst moment of my life and so she says where's my gift and I was like I left yours alone, you're like thinking I had time to go back later and bite mail it to her and she said all what she said my parents are not home tonight and us we can't really stay here. That's against the rules and I am a senior prince and while one way to draw back to your house and I thought this is for the judgment of God feels like to be caught in it and so in the car and drive back an hour to go home and walk in the house and walk in your kitchen for minute and and I go for my mom and my mom and now have a sister who is three years younger than me and I was at mom you have anything that you can give Christie that Kristi did know about yet. And mom's like why you ask in a like a questions please just do. We are going so we go under the Christmas tree and find a gift for my sister that has her name on it.

We take my sister's name off of that.

We put this girl's name on it.

She put it in my hands. I want back and I put on the table.

She starts open and I'm you know it is time she starts to open it up to cycle what is in Opelika just open it you know so I'm as curious as he is looking in the back seat.

This, again, it's like a jacket of something. It was beautiful. It was like it look like an equivalent gives you cycle this is a beautiful thank you for thinking of me.

Now here's the question that I would ask that screw the you would ask first of all, you would ask.

Has she ever found out the truth of that story and my answer is not to my knowledge at some point, I imagine she may be in some audience from told the story and I will have a very awkward conversation.

As soon as the service is over.

But to my knowledge, he does not know had she known the circumstances behind the giving of that gift.

Do you think she would've been flattered to receive it know because I'm not giving it to her because out of any affection for her lover her I was doing it to try to rescue myself from a bad situation to try to salvage my reputation. You see is possible to do some things that look really good on the surface what you're doing for entirely the wrong reason, and in light of why you did them. They don't look that good.

What Paul is trying to show you in Romans two, is that there's a lot of people do a lot of religious things but they're not done a love for God or love for others there done to protect the reputation there, done that show that you are better than other people there to try to earn heaven and admit since they're not pleasing to God at all and so is like. Just because you are religious on the surface doesn't mean that God is pleased with what's going on in your heart. One day God is can expose the secrets of your heart and on that day, he can evaluate you on that. And that's not going to be a good day for anybody nice in your say what what does that mean I'm going to be judged in heaven by my works, you will be paid back.

According to his work and I can be judged that way.

Is it my inward motivations that are to determine whether or not I get into heaven pay very close attention to what I'm about to say is not you to miss the whole point here in Romans to write in one sense, the answer to that question is no, because it is by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourself. It is a gift of God not of works of the nobody can boast. Since no but in another sense, yes. Because, listen. Your life is the best illustration of what you actually believe you see, faith is more than just words. Faith is more than just a creed faith is a heart change. Repentance is not just walking and I'll repentance is not just praying a prayer for raising a hand.

Repentance is our change conversion is not joining the church conversion is not getting baptized. Conversion is the Holy Spirit taking up residence in your heart and making your heart new and what that means is that after you have been truly converted truly saved good works will always follow that conversion because when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life it will make a difference and other people will be able to tell it what you say it like this. Paul teaches that we are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

It always comes a company with good works. Paul teaches that we are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone, is always accompanied by good works are hello how Jerry Bridges says it holiness is not a condition for salvation, but it is always part of salvation. In a sense God could put each of us on trial in heaven, and he could say has this person's works demonstrated the effects of a true conversion is either to testimonies to what you actually believe there's the testimony of your mouth and there's a testimony of your life and of the testimony of your life disagrees with the testimony of your mouth and God takes the testimony of your life has a more reliable indication of what you actually believe to them that since yes you will be evaluated by your works, your mouse is your born-again is your life say that your born-again your mouth says your new creation.

Do your actions say that your new creation. Your mouth says you love God does your heart say that you love God, to this is the million dollar question.

What does your life to clear about your belief and for your surrender to Jesus not what does your mouth say but what does your life say because on that final day. It is your works, that will show the reality or the non-reality of what you believe is what you get away from the church service.

What you do inside your heart. The conversations you have with your friends when nobody else is listening.

That's what the best indication of what you actually believe about the Lordship of Jesus and your love for God. You see, Paul says in verse 13 the hearers of the law in our day, he might say the possessors of the Bible, the possessors of the Bible are not the ones righteous before God is the doers of the law that will be justified. It's not not having the Lord knowing about the matters is whether you obey the laws from the heart defamation right with God drive the point home from another angle.

Verse 14 he says just have the Lord and Savior will prove it to you. You Jews are not the only ones with the law, follow his logic here is like if just having the wall saved you then if you were the only ones with the law than that would make a difference but you're not going to the law when Gentile to denominator how the law the law demands. There are a lot of themselves and mother do not have a law, they show the work of the law is written on their hearts, their consciences confirm this the Gentiles and another had a Bible with a law so that God stamped on their conscience.

Paul says the Gentiles have the law written on their hearts and hate the Gentiles a bit. I will sometimes sue just like you do so of having the law and obeying it sometimes is enough Gentiles in the same boat with you because they knew all that. Sue they got a law written on their hearts and sometimes they obey it, but possessing the law is not what makes a person right with God is only doing the law from the heart. If that were even possible. That would make somebody right with God. He's pointing to the fact that underneath the heart of the religious person is the same corrupt heart that exists in the Gentiles, just a religion five version about art and when you pull back the external layers of religion. One day you find the same corrupted mass in the heart of the religious person that you found in the Gentile world usually says not for 16.

On that day when God judges what people are kept secret. What religious people kept secret. The motivations of their heart.

What they were like on the inside. According to my gospel through Christ Jesus. One day God is going to expose the hearts of both Jews and Gentiles alike, and on that day were to see that all that religious observance was one thing working to get down into what their hearts are really like, and that's not to be a good day for anybody. Neither Jew nor Gentile because the heart human heart. All of our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked on that day when our hearts are revealed. Neither Jew nor Gentile is going to have a leg to stand on his own.

The 16th-century reformer John Calvin summarizes versus this is great we can prove from this passage Romans to that nobody is justified by works birthday alone or just above of the law who fulfill the law follows that no one is justified for no one can be found who can boast of having fulfilled the law. In other words you say to religious person.

Stop thinking of your Christianity stop thinking of the prayer that you pray to the amount you go to church an amount of Bible you know is if it's going to save you because it is not it's not it's not there's things would make you right before God.

Religion is a message today from Pastor Greer's message is devastating to the book of Romans will be bringing a series in three parts throughout the year Jenny this week we are introducing a new collection of resources. A box set of Bible studies through Romans. We can only get the first one to start with right that is correct, that is correct.

We started a Bible study through Romans asking to be. This can be encapsulated in three different study books and you can get the first book right now including the box in the sleeve that will house all three of them.

It's really a great resource to me it looks great.

It's exclusively to Summit life to category thing to sit on your shelf.

That sort of memorializes that no it holds the content actually gives you a picture of the importance of the book of Romans and the role it is supposed to play not just in the Bible, but in your own spiritual life.

Each studies get to begin with some key verses and key principles for each passage followed by devotional introduction that will prepare a thinker heart mind to hear the message and engage with it to study the text.

The study guide will incorporate a series of questions that are specifically designed to really like to say complement the things that are being taught in the message or just eligible security and stereo picture.

It took a diamond you're turning around and coming at it from different angles. The diamond in this illustration is not of course my sermon the actual text of Romans the first book is going to cover the first five chapters of Romans, which honestly might be the most essential most important part of the whole book. As it lays out who God is who we are what Jesus is done to save us.

Romans answer so many questions like knowing how can you be saved but but do people want to hear about Jesus in order to be saved more often than when people asked me questions about Christian doctrine I'm headed to the book of Romans. So it's the best book to get to you to explain to somebody who doesn't understand anything about the gospel and maybe even question whether God exists.

It's also the book that you turn to grow them in the Christian life to grow deeper if there were one book that encapsulated the heart of Summit life. Taking people deeper into the gospel.

It would be the book of Romans so great how to become a gospel partner because gospel partners are are what partner with us getting messages like this out there if you go to JD you can find out about all these kinds of opportunities to go there today and we are excited about this new Bible study box and let the first current city can work through this with your small group mentor or with a friend or spouse and easy working to study it will encourage you to align your life. Your love and to request the Romans part one things when you donate today to support this ministry takes friends like you partnering with us to make Summit life that more people can hear the gospel centered Bible teaching on the radio and went. Will you join today suggesting anything is $25 or more and we need to remember to ask your Romans Bible study how 866-335-5220 866-335-5220.

Waking up online. JD inviting you to join us tomorrow and we can message, religion on life with JD Greer


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