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"Best Of"-Finding Purpose: Romans

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
December 20, 2023 12:30 am

"Best Of"-Finding Purpose: Romans

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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December 20, 2023 12:30 am

Today's guest speaker Kenny Jones, brings our fourth lesson from the book of Romans.

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This is Stu Epperson from the Truth Talk Podcast, connecting current events, pop culture, and theology, and we're so grateful for you that you've chosen the Truth Podcast Network. It's about to start in just a few seconds.

Enjoy it, and please share it around with all your friends. Thanks for listening, and thanks for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Looking at Scripture will help us answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living.

For more information on the ministry, please visit online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook. Let's listen to guest speaker, Pastor Kenny Jones, as he leads us through Romans, teaching us how to be a Christian without being religious. Men, if you've got your Bible, and I trust that you do, turn over to Romans chapter 2. Romans chapter 2, and we are going to close out chapter 2 tonight, and tonight we are going to look at how Paul is just about to close his argument of how God's wrath is being revealed upon sin, how his hot indignation being poured out on sin is just about coming to a close. The argument that he started in Romans chapter 1. Now remember, if you recall last week, in chapter 2, we were introduced to Paul's different people that he was arguing about, his arguing to. In chapter 1, he was pinpointing to the Gentiles. In chapter 2, he was honing in on the Jews, and that's what we're going to look at through verses 17 through the end of the chapter through 29. In the second half of chapter 2 though, Paul is going to turn up the heat a little bit, and he's going to turn on the heat on the Jewish people because their identity is upside down. Their identity of being a Jew, of having the law, and being circumcised all accounts for nothing.

It all accounts for nothing. Because what they fail to realize is that their justification before God is not about their inheritance, not about where they came from, who were their moms, who were their fathers, or their deeds that they've done. What it's all about is faith in the Son of God who transforms the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so Paul is writing to the Jewish community, to Israel, and to show them how they have made an idol of their religion. And because of this idol that they have created, gentlemen, it has blinded their hearts. It has disguised their heart. It has cloaked their heart. And now they can't see the road right before them, which is, of course, pointing to the God of the Bible.

The lawgiver, pointing to God who was righteous, just like how you called out. How God calls us to live a righteous life. They fail to see it. And then tonight, that's what we're going to be looking at, of how we're going to look at the issue that Paul is getting to, is an issue with the heart. Tonight what I want us to do in verses 17 through 29, I want us to look at four points.

I want us to look at a matter of the heart and how their Jewish religion has made this idol really just be a blockade right before their eyes. And what we're going to look at is, first we're going to look at the blindness and the damning effects that it has. Number two, what we're going to look at is the blasphemy, the error of the false ways, the false truth that they are propagating and following. Number three, we're going to see that circumcision, what they hold dear to them, is a heart issue.

It's not a fleshly issue, it's a heart issue. And the fourth thing we're going to look at, what Paul is getting to at the end of the chapter, is that it is a spiritual issue. That's what he's getting to tonight. And that's what we're going to look at this evening through these remaining verses. So if you will, before we go any further, we need the Lord's help. And so, let's go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to guide us tonight. Eternal Lord and Heavenly Father, God we need your help as we close out chapter two.

Father this is a weighty text. So Lord I pray that you will help us to see, Lord, how the Jewish nation got caught up in traditions and pastimes. And Lord we too can get caught into, as Russ has said for years, churchism and works righteousness based upon our own good deeds. But Father how your word says all of that can get us into the kingdom of heaven.

It's null and void apart from faith and Christ alone. So Father help us to see the gospel, help us to see Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible. And Lord we love you and it's in Christ we pray. Amen. Let's look at our first point tonight.

Blindness of the heart. Men, as you're getting to know me over the next couple of weeks, I love to play golf. I'm not any good at it, but I like to play golf. And when I was in middle school, even if you're not a golfer, you can hang with me on this story. Callaway came out with a new brand called Big Bertha.

Remember that? A lot of you golfers out there, Big Bertha. And I saved all summer long to buy a driver, a Big Bertha Callaway driver. And my dad took me to the pro shop there.

I'm from New Bern, which is about two hours east. And I saved my money, but he couldn't take me to the driving range to let me wear that thing out. And so he had to go home and my parents loved for me to play golf, but here was the one rule. No golf balls in the yard.

But since I knew I was the next Freddie Couples, which he's a golfer, young guys. Since I knew I was the next Fred Couples, I knew that if I just placed that ball just on the other side of the yard, I'd be fine. If you could put the picture in your head, my parents' house sat just on about an acre of land and it sat off to the right of the property. So they had basically a football field on the left-hand side, staring from the road. Well, one day I teed up, but what I'd failed to realize is though I thought I was aiming towards the backyard, that straight, just beautiful fairway into the backyard, but what was in my way was a tree. And the tree was blinding me from the house. And so when I teed off, and it was a perfect tee shot by the way, and so when I teed off, yeah, you see that?

Even with the wrist turning? And when I teed off, guess where it went? Right into my mom's guest bedroom. Shattered the window. Right into the men. Yeah, I know.

But men, here's the thing. The tree got in the way. It wasn't my fault. It was the tree's fault.

And so, but that's the reality of what was happening with Israel. Something was in their way. Though, for example, that tree, yes, I didn't see the house behind the tree, but what was in their way was their own traditions, their own sinful nature.

That was what was blocking with them. And as Paul starts off with his argument, he first says with the first claim of their blindness, it all starts off with their heritage. It says, you call yourself a Jew. And that statement brings that they are God's chosen people. That they are identified with the law. That they are circumcised. That their justification is found in their works. But what it also brought, as we've seen over the course of the last two weeks, is it also brought an inflated view of themselves.

A prideful view of themselves. And through that, Paul says, okay, you say you're a Jew, but in fact, you're not claiming to be the thing that you say you are. You're not measuring up to what it means to be a Jew.

Paul here in the text, he's not mocking Israel. What he's telling him that is that he's putting them on the spot to see if they measure up to their own identity. And look with the four things he states. He says, they rely on the law. They boast in God. They know his will and they approve what is excellent.

But look where it's all anchored. Because you are instructed from the law. The law was the basis of their identity. It was the world view how they were able to see everything pertaining to life and godliness. That was their world view, was the law. But what they failed to do, just like we saw last week, is even though they had the law, they knew the law, they're going to taste it right before their eyes and see it right on the tip of their tongue.

Yet they broke the law just like the Gentiles. Broken in a sense, as Paul says, that they are blind. He calls them blind right before their eyes. And the Greek word for blind is tufos, which means it has an uncertain origin. It means to be physically or mentally blind.

It comes from the Greek phrase darkened by smoke or opaque. But often times when you see it in the New Testament, it means mentally blind. And what Paul says here in verse 9 is that you have smoke in your mind. You have failed to see the importance of the law. How the law helps you to see how sin has separated you from a holy god and that you need a savior. You fail to see how it has a civil use. How it restrains evil within the midst of the tribe of Israel.

And you have failed to see even the normative use. How when you obey the law, you have fellowship with man. When you obey the law, you're able to worship the Lord. Israel has pushed all that off to the side and they have forgotten who is giving this law.

They have forgot that the anchor is in the Godhead. The law was a function for Israel to see and to see God. God as their savior. They failed to see how the law calls them to believe and to trust in him. And they failed to obey. They failed to see that the law was not binding them to some unfair life. But it was showing them that God was able to lead them on this righteous life.

Giving them life. Remember that song by the platters? The smoke gets in your eyes. And remember the premise of that song is basically about how love is blind. And that's one of the lyrics of the song goes.

That they will say someday you will find all who love are blind. And that's exactly what was happening. Smoke got in their eyes. Smoke got in their mind. And that's what's happening. They're blinded. They've blinded their heart. And then Paul then states four parallel items in his rebuke. So he says everything that has been instructed from the law. Look what also is happening. Number one, like I said, they're a guide for the blind.

Number two, look what it says. They are a light to those in darkness. Three, they're an instructor of the foolish in verse 20.

And a teacher of children. They're in verse 20. The Jews knew that they were to be a light to the Gentiles. Isaiah chapter 42 verse 6 plainly put that before them. They are supposed to be examples, to be instructors, teachers. Yet Paul says that you are an instructor of the foolish. Now remember back in Romans 1 when I said that when you think of that word foolish, you need to think of morality.

They don't have any morals. That's what Paul is saying. So you're an instructor of your immoral and you're instructing the immoral.

That's like the blind leading the blind. And then he says you are a teacher of children. You can't even teach adults.

Little children won't even follow you. You ever taught a child? It's very hard. Whether you've got kids or you don't, I would love to put you about five minutes into our Cap Kids ministry before every theology that you have in your mind goes out the door. Because you're just trying to get everybody into a room and everybody's settled down for just two minutes so that you can talk to them.

It's hard. And Paul says right before their eyes, you're blind. You're a light to the ooze and darkness. What a rebuke that he gives them. And men, don't be remiss to forget that Jesus calls the same, calls Israel out for the same error. In Matthew 15, 14, Jesus says, let them alone. They are blind guides, and if the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into a pit. Matthew 23, woe to you, scribes and Pharisees. Here's the word we saw last week, hypocrites. For you travel across the sea to make a single prostalite, one convert, and when he becomes a convert, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourself.

What a kind word to say to somebody, to call someone a child of hell. Woe to you blind guides who say, if anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath. You see where their priority lied in Matthew 23? In gold versus what was supposed to happen in the temple. Worship before God.

They got their priorities wrong. They were blinded right before their very own eyes. And then in verse 20, look what he says. The embodiment of the knowledge of truth. Having the law and the embodiment of the knowledge of truth. What Paul says there, is that even though you have the knowledge, you fail to act on it. You fail to act on it.

Let me give you a better way to understand it. Write down 2 Timothy, chapter 3, verse 5. This is what Paul's getting to. Having the appearance of godliness, but deny its power.

Avoid such people. That's what he's saying. You say you're godly, but when I look at you, you're the exact opposite. That's what we see here. That's what Paul is calling them out, and they are blind to it. Which meant, a couple of points of application, we need to see something on this side of the cross. We need to see that our actions matter before God. Our actions matter before God. Israel is supposed to be an example, yet they're not.

They're supposed to be the team leader, but they're not. And men, it's the same thing for us. If you claim to be a Christian, and you're putting all of your weight into being just a faithful church member, that you tithe, that you come to worship, that you participate in ministries, if you begin to think for one second that that is what saves, you are far from the truth.

That doesn't save. When you begin to measure yourself up to the cultural norms, or base what the world says as righteous, versus what the Bible says as what Paul's getting to, men, you are utterly wrong. You know, in October, to give you another point of application, we celebrate the Protestant Reformation. And you don't have to know much about the Protestant Reformation to hear about a guy named Martin Luther. But if you dig into the life of Martin Luther, you realize pretty quickly that as a doctor of theology, a teacher of the Bible, when you see when he's sort of digging into the Old Testament law, what happened to Martin Luther was that he was frightened for his soul. Because what did he see? He saw sin. He saw how far away he was from sin.

And then over time, by God's grace, he knew he needed a savior. And men, that's exactly what the law does for us today. If it wasn't for the laws, Paul says, how would I know I even coveted?

How would I know I was a liar? And men, that's what we, as you look at the Old Testament, the Old Testament is never unhinged from the New. You have to read it together. There's so many false teachers out there in the Old Testament. Just stick to the New Testament.

No, you have to read all 66 books of the Bible. And men, and in the Old Testament, that's where we see God showing us that he is righteous and he is holy, he is perfect. But will we also see in the Old Testament that he is a God of grace and mercy and love?

And that's what we see. And men, the application for us to see here is that God cares what's going on in the inside of your heart. In Luke chapter 18, the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee, remember the Pharisee, he loved works righteousness. Remember he went up to the wall, praising himself, even saying, thank God I'm not like one of these. But remember the tax collector off to the side, what was he doing?

Beating his breast, couldn't even look up and saying, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Men, never forget your beginning. Never forget your beginning.

Never forget your origin. If you're a Christian, never forget the God who saved you because that will never, ever lead you down a blind path. But in fact, have given you open eyes to see the truth of who God is and who the God of the Bible is, which leads us naturally to our second point in verses 21 through 24. The blasphemy that can be put on the heart.

Look with me in 21 and 24. You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, dishonor God by breaking the law.

For as it is written, the name of God is blaspheming among the Gentiles because of you. Paul starts off there in our second point in the series of self-examination questions. You know when you go to the doctor and you have an ailment, they always go to that first. Well, what brought you in today? And then you begin to tell them about your eyes and your ears or maybe something wrong with your joints.

What you're doing as they're listening to you is they're in their minds processing not only the diagnosis but also the prognosis all at the same time. And men, what we find here in these self-examinations, Paul is getting to the result. He's getting to, in this section of scripture, that you don't practice what you preach. You don't practice what you preach. I mean, those are words you never want to hear as a Christian.

You never want to hear you practice what you preach. When I grew up in a little town, like I said a few moments ago in New Bern, which if you know New Bern, it's pretty much sandwiched in between Havelock and I know those cities there are two big, there's a Marine Corps air station and yeah, two Marine Corps air stations right there sandwiched in between. And when I was growing up, there was a man down there a long time ago that got caught impersonating a general like a two or three star general and he was getting accolades and people were saluting him and giving the whole nine yards all because he was a general. But what came to find out, I don't remember how, but I remember in the story he got caught and he got prosecuted because he was an imposter. He really wasn't a general.

In fact, when I looked at the story, he never even served time in the military. What an egregious act, egregious act to do. And men, these guys are saying, yes, you call yourself a Jew, but you are an imposter.

You are an imposter. Remember that word we talked about last week, hypocrites? The Greek word there, remember, is the Greek word where we get our word actor, they were actors before God and what this shows us, this is blasphemy before a holy God. Blasphemy, as Merriam-Webster says, it's a crime of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God. Even the dictionary knows it's a reverence before God.

R.C. Sproul, the great theologian, says it is something that we say that denigrates the character of God. It denigrates the character of God. And that's exactly what we're doing. That's exactly what the Jewish people are doing because then if you look in verse 24, look what he says to him.

Look at the charge. For as it is written, the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. Because you boast in the law, you dishonor God because you break the law and because of your hypocrisy, God is blasphemed. And what Paul is saying is because you have dishonored the Lord, you broke the law, your example has led to the heathen Gentiles to sin.

You've led the Gentiles to sin. Men, take a journey with me in your Bible. Turn over to Matthew chapter 15. Matthew chapter 15.

I want to hear those beautiful pages flip and it will help you keep awake at 8.30 at night. Matthew 15. I'm going to start at the top of the chapter. Look at the correlation between what Jesus says here and what Paul is saying in verses 21 through 24.

Chapter 15. Then the Pharisee in disguise came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat. He, Jesus, answered them. Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? Man, Jesus cuts right to the heart, doesn't he? For God commanded honor your father and your mother and whoever reviles father and mother must surely die. But you say, if anyone tells his father or his mother what you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honor his father. So for the sake of your tradition, you have made void the word of God.

There it is, you hypocrites. Well, did Isaiah prophesy of you when he said, as people honor me with their lips but their heart is from me? In vain do they worship me, teaching his doctrines the commandments of men. You can turn back to Romans chapter 2. Man, Jesus is saying the same thing Paul is.

You've led people astray. Even there in the context of 15, you have added all these things unto the law, which is sin. It's not in the Old Testament law that Paul is getting to. And there, just like Jesus says, even Jesus quotes Isaiah chapter 29, verse 13 there in verses 8 and 9, which is always going to be closely referenced to Ezekiel 33 verse 31, where Ezekiel says, and they hear what they say, but they will not do it.

For their lustful talk and their mouths they act, but their heart is set on their gain. Jesus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, all of them, are charging Israel for their hypocrisy. They added to the law, and God's name is being blasphemed. And God takes us very seriously, men.

They're being a stumbling block. And Paul warns of this in Romans 14, 13. Therefore, do not let us pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or a hindrance in the way of a brother. Do you remember in Matthew chapter 16, Paul reviewed Peter? Remember when Jesus is getting to about his death and his resurrection, and Peter says, Far be it from you, Lord.

Don't ever let this happen. What does Jesus say to Peter? Get behind me, Satan. You have your mind on man, not on the things of God. Men, do you realize when you deny the truth of Scripture, this is exactly what can happen.

You can begin to deny the truth of who God is. When you begin to justify your sin, and you say, well, listen, I know the text says this, but I think this is what the text is really saying. So just like the Jews, you say it's okay to commit adultery.

It's okay to steal. Men, you're guilty of the same thing the Jews are doing. Men, when you begin to truth, when you begin to mold truth by the way you want to hear it, you are guilty just as the Jewish people.

Men, when we inflict this kind of damage on our heart, we inflict this and we deny the truth. When we deny the truth of who Jesus is, when we deny the truth of all of Scripture, when we deny this, men, it is blasphemy. And Jesus even warned about this in Matthew chapter 12, about the unforgivable sin to the Pharisees. Remember, the unforgivable sin is all about how they, the Pharisees, were denying the work of the Holy Spirit. They said the Holy Spirit was a work of Satan. And what Jesus said, the reason why that's unforgivable is because they rejected what they knew to be God. They rejected what they knew to be truth. And men, when you begin to unpack Scripture and put it in a way that is justifiable to you, just like I said a moment ago, men, we are on a dangerous, dangerous road right before our very own eyes.

And it can happen. When we begin to twist Scripture the way we want, when we begin to deny the truth of Christ, just like we learned last week, when we begin to press down on our conscience and suppress our conscience to allow our sin to be okay before our eyes, and then what happens, always is going to happen, when we suppress our conscience so much that it disappears and our heart is hardened, men, I'd be remiss not to say it, that is a dangerous and a deadly road. So men, if you begin to feel the Lord by the Spirit pricking your heart, maybe I have been denying Scripture. I've been walking according to the counsel of the Word. I've been like opposite of what Psalm 1 says, and I'm supposed to be in the counsel of the righteous, and it's that I'm in the counsel of the wicked. I associate with the wicked. Men, it goes back to what I said a couple of weeks ago, which person, this question has been coming around in my own mind, what do people say, when people know that you're a Christian, do they really know that you're a Christian?

When someone mentions your name, do they think of the Lord Jesus Christ? Men, it's a serious question. But when you begin to deny truth, it's blasphemy, it's error, and Paul calls it out, and Jesus called it out. There in Matthew chapter 15, which leads us to our third point, circumcision.

Look with me in 25 and 27. Paul gets to circumcision, and circumcision is a heart issue. So Paul's moving now from the law to being circumcised. Circumcision is first seen in Genesis chapter 17 between Abraham and God, and it was a covenant that God had and established with Abraham, and what it showed was that when the cutting of the male flesh was to take place, it was a sign to the Jew, the Israelite, that they were a part of the promise of God. It was a sign to them that Israel would follow God and God in turn would be faithful. He would give the grace and the mercy to allow them to be able to walk according to his law.

But when you look at the detail of Genesis chapter 17, you see the words seed and offspring, because what it shows, as we all know, men with circumcision, it deals with a part of the flesh that resulted in procreation. Being a Christian is not about being religious, but about having a dynamic, alive relationship with Jesus Christ. You've been listening to Finding Purpose with Pastor Russ Andrews, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. You can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to Finding Purpose on Facebook. Pastor Russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study God's Word together every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in downtown Raleigh. Find out more at findingpurpose.net.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-20 02:13:00 / 2023-12-20 02:25:28 / 12

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