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Religion--What is it Good for?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
January 17, 2020 9:00 am

Religion--What is it Good for?

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 17, 2020 9:00 am

You’ve got a problem. We all do! Salvation through Jesus has always been available, but many people still have not received it because they’re not willing to admit that there’s a problem with their heart. In this message, Pastor J.D. walks through Romans 3 and helps us see how the law showed us our need for a Savior, but that we cannot do anything to be made righteous except believe in Jesus who kept the law in our place.

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Today on Senate life with Katie Greer when everything is known about who we are, not a single one of us is going to be a good place. That includes the most righteous people who have ever lived in our mind, Moses, Abraham Jobe, Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, whoever it is in your book. Whoever is the most righteous person when all the secrets are exposed. There is nobody that is give stand before God and be righteous down problem we all do salvation through Jesus is always an available people still have not received it because you're not willing to admit that there's a problem with her heart.

Today Pastor Jaeger helps us to see how the lawsuit is our need for a Savior, but that we cannot do anything to be made righteous. Except believe in Jesus, The law in our place on this message. Religion is what I most enjoy about parenting. Now that I've done it here for is what 15 years is that I'm getting my kids are getting aware of how to anticipate the objections they know that I'm going to have whatever request or making of me. So they go ahead and include the answers to those objections in the original quest and so be like Teradata want to go to our friends house and I know I know I've been a jerk my siblings all day long.

So how does one bear and reorganize my sister's closet, but all her shoes in alphabetical order and I know I know you and six about all my homework but that of Artie set my alarm for 4 AM tomorrow morning to make sure that I get up in enough time to finish it up before school, they anticipate the objections and they raise them and then they deal with them. What we see the apostle Paul doing in the book of Romans is laying out his case for why the gospel and Paul's been doing this for about two decades. At this point in his life and so is very aware of the objections that people are going to raise to the gospel and so along the way, he will raise the objection. He will voice it, and then he will spend some time addressing. It begins in chapter 1 by showing that all mankind, all mankind has a problem that is a deep inner rebellion that corrupts every one of our relationships when it goes into chapter 2. He anticipates an objection that's going to be raised by religious people, particularly religious Jews. He knows that they're going to say well yeah Paul's course members Gentile, such as meat, people who are Jews. Those pagans member some really messed up people. That is for sure, but not now. We were raised on the Bible we were raised on religion. We got the word of God. We got the heroes of the faith we got the temple where different, so Paul takes an entire chapter Romans chapter 2, to try to show that religion doesn't really remedy our problem.

In fact, in many ways. Religion just makes her problem worse.

Now I know that a lot of times people get confused when they hear a church leader. Whether it's the apostle Paul, or whether it somebody like me thinking confused when the Hero's rail on religion as a way to minute in Christianity religion in yours a religious job is it going to church, by definition, a religious activity course the answer all those questions are yes and so they say well why you hate non-religion so bad is because in this is crucial crucial for you to understand it is because Paul draws a distinction a very important distinction in Romans between religion and the gospel. Let me introduce you to a chart on this is a chart that originally Mrs. outcomes regarding Tim Keller. Living is really helpful in understanding what Romans is trying to teach you is trying to teach you that there is the gospel which is the power of God. And then there's this man-made substitute for it and are not the same thing.

Okay sources walk through this religion operates off this premise, I obey therefore be accepted if I bear well enough if I keep the precepts whatever religion you're talking about. I obey him because I obey enough I will be accepted. The gospel flips that on his head. The gospel is the only religious message in the world that operates by saying that no your accepted your accepted by gift of God's grace and in response to that you abate, you obey in order to be accepted, you obey with grateful joy because you have been accepted, which is the second thing in religion. Motivation is based on fear and insecurity. I've got to do more so that God will bless me. I've got to do more so that God will let me in the habit I got to do more, so I'll be a good Christian.

But in the gospel. Motivation is based on grateful joy. I obey because God has maybe this because I love him and I want to please and it's totally different than religion. I obey God in order to get things from God. If I do enough.

He'll give me blessing, but with the gospel. I obey God to get God to delight in God and because I just want to resemble him and I want to want to live my life as a loving response to him, and religion. When circumstances in my life go wrong.

I get angry at God or myself since I believe, like Job's friends that anybody who is good, deserves a comfortable life. So when things go wrong and I will gobble from you or maybe was wrong. Me, but with the gospel in circumstances in my life go wrong in our struggle. Nobody want stuff and I feel wrong right and a struggle but I know that all my punishment fell in Jesus, so I know that whatever is happening in my life is not because God is paying me back for anything. Does God pay Jesus back for everything in my life and that while he may allow this suffering for my training. He will exercise his fatherly love within my trial and goodness and mercy will follow me all the days my life and all things working together for good. That's the difference in religion when I'm criticized when criticizing or criticizing him right. I never get criticized by them for those you to do you criticize I get criticized if you're a religious person you get furious you get devastated because it is critical if each critical your identity that you think of yourself as a good person.

Threats to your self image must be destroyed at all cost because you built your identity on being seen as good with the gospel. However, when I'm criticized the struggle. Nobody likes to be criticized.

Obey, but it's not critical for me to think of myself as good person because my identity is not built on my record if not billed my performance, but it's built on God's love for me in Christ. Therefore, I can take criticism I the absolute approval of the only one whose opinion really matters anyway and so I can handle criticism from you because I've got assurance and him with religion. My prayer life consist largely of petition to be gimme gimme gimme got any disregard to me that and it only heats up when I'm in a time of need.

That's when you really start praying when you really got something you need from God. My main purpose in prayer is to try to control my environment make it work out the way that I needed to proceed with the gospel. My prayer life consist of generous stretches of praise and adoration. Because my main purpose in prayer is not just to get something from God.

The main purpose in prayer.

Spend time with God because I love him, and religion, and religion myself. You swings between two poles. If and when I'm living up to my standards. I feel confident but then I'm also prone to be proud and unsympathetic. The failing people like him to be awesome like me. If and when I'm not living up to my standards. However, that's when I start to feel insecure and inadequate that the other pole. I'm not confident I feel like a failure pursue the gospel myself you is not based on my view of myself as a moral achiever in Christ. I am single. Use this at pickup tour. I know if you have no nub on your Latin recently you don't understand what that means it is simultaneously. I am a sinner but I'm also accepted in Christ. I am righteous at the same time and I I'm simple but God has declared me righteous. I am so bad.

I realize that Jesus had to die to save me but I'm also so loved that he was glad to died to save me. That leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Those are two qualities that never go together anywhere else except for the gospel deep humility and the confidence usually there, at odds, but in Christ I'm humble and confident the same time and neither swaggering nor sniveling in religion, identity, and my self-worth are based on mainly how hard I work or how moral I am So I gotta look down on those are perceived as lazy or immoral. I just came and feel superior to the other, whether that's the other religious or the other race or the other political party. I just feel like the other is not as good as me. The gospel means that my identity and my self-worth are centered on the one who died for his enemies was excluded from the city. The community for me.

I'm saved by sheer grace, so I can't look down on those who believe or practice something different for me because I was the outsider would Jesus save me only by grace you see I am what I am. I have no inner need to win arguments with religion since a look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual X acceptability memo heart manufactures idols. It might be my talents were more record my personal discipline.

My social status. Whatever. I absolutely have to have these things because they serve as my main hope they serve as my main meaning my happiness and security. My significance whatever else I may say I believe about God. These are the things that I gotta have and these are the things that I pursue with the gospel. Yeah, I got many good things in my life love my family. I love my job. I have spiritual disciplines I work on, but none of those good things are ultimate things to me there good things but are not God. Things none of them are things I absolutely have to have to see there's a limit is a limit to how much anxiety how much bitterness how much despondency despair that they can inflict on me when they are threatened or they are lost.

That is the difference between religion and the gospel.

The gospel Paul says, which is the message that because you could not save yourself. God sent Jesus to die in your place and save you. That is the power of God into salvation religion. On the other hand, is a man made it substitute that stands in the way. And rather than remedying the problem of our sin, it actually makes it worse. You see the core of our sin is the sense of pride, rebellion and independence from God, as the core of our sin, pride, rebellion and independence from God. Religion caters to those things and if anything it does make those things worse. So now as we round the corner to come into chapter 3 Paul hearers in his head.

Another objection raised by his Jewish readers. So what he does in chapter 3. Is he stages a mock argument where he plays both sides of the argument and he says we are the Jewish version rose the religious person and and here's how I respond.

This mock argument. He pictures the Jews standing there with their Hebrew Bibles open say will wait a minute, wait a minute Paul, are you saying that all this is worthless. I'm the one this book when it inspired by God. How could it be worthless if it was inspired by God.

Are you saying that all those stories about Abraham and about Moses and Daniel and David Queen Esther, they were all no benefit and that we should unhitch ourselves from these stories or the way we might say it today. You might save me. Lloyd and Jenny are you telling me that growing up in church was no advantage you tell me to teach my kids to be religious, maybe even paying thousands of dollars for them to go to a Christian school, you're saying that that's all worthless.

Maybe even harmful to them.

By the way, the fact that you and I feel ourselves having this objection shows that we are reading the apostle Paul correctly. I noticed a lot of people seem to try to soften up what Paul is saying throughout Romans 5:12 PM Paul doesn't think the religion is actually that bad. But Paul intends to make his case against religion so strongly that he brings you to this question. Which is why you have to stop feel what it said about you and I have this objection to your void must be read and write. Does religion have any value religion. What is it good for right is absolutely loving what is it good for that's false? The streamers want to what advantage, what advantage this is Julie religious person would have. What is the benefit of circumcision from Paul's answer will considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the very words of God. It is true God himself inspired this book be stories word for word, but their purpose and this is key. Their purpose was to point Israel and us to our need for Jesus not to equip us with some strategy or technique that would remove our need for him all the things that God gave to us all the stories all the rituals they were designed not to give you something to master, by which you could earn your place before God. They were designed to bring you to the place where you would cry out. I have no hope of ever being accepted by God and restored you apart from your grace. In other words, the rituals were not to drive you up with pride in your accomplishment. They were designed to drive you down with humility aware of your need, but verse three Paul imagines the Jewish religious person saying in response.

But Paul if the law was supposed to lead us to Jesus and had God failed because so many Jews have have not believe the gospel.

Paul's response verse four. Absolutely not. Even though Israel in large part is failed to believe God is still kept his promise to bring salvation. In fact, God took Israel's unbelief and is turned that into an opportunity for Gentile salvation because the Jews in large part walk away that created this open space for Gentiles non-Jews.

People like you and me mostly come to be able to come into this into experience salvation so what Paul says, verse three is God took Israel's unfaithfulness and used it as a way to show even greater faithfulness on his part. Well, then the religious person responds in verse five it Israel's rebellion with the Gentile salvation, and that was all part of God's great plan. How can God still be angry at the Jews or the Jews just playing their part, Paul's answer verses six and seven that's a stupid objection because God will judge each person for their own unbelief and rebellion how God's sovereignty works through human choices to accomplish his purposes is indeed a mystery. It is, but the fact that it's a mystery does not remove the fact that God will always hold us each accountable for our own choices.

You get that right. MEI sovereignty is a mystery but you get that that even in the midst of sovereignty that were responsible, I was traveling back on a trip I was on trying to get back toward the back in plenty time to speak at NC State.

No condensate about 2000 students at night and so I plenty time in my travel schedule, but my airline Delta which others were the better airlines.

For whatever it's worth right into Alanna because it's always Rego point out is looking good work on the tarmac at work in line when the pilot comes on and says unit or something wrong with the plane. If I remember it being relatively minor in my mind something like a toilet not be able to flush correctly or something like that, like them.

If we get there we can still get there like a 44 minute flight or something and so these IDs that we had to get it fixed until you we can take off until it's fixed. And evidently the only tool that can fix this problem is located in Madagascar are and they're good at this and the plaintiff to get Edward's connectable office out of tarmac wait to get there with the tool to fix this thing.

I've exaggerated that last part but that's what it felt like because we had to pull over for me was probably to three hours that we just sat there waiting on some tool, fixes little part of our plane well II i.e. I binge that figured out it was not an appeal to make it back on times are called up a friend and I was.

I cannot be a monk is not to be there tonight. There's 2000 students are to me in this place and some as I speak to them. Can you pinch-hit for me.

Well my friend was able to do it. He goes in the reports I get back. Is he just did an unbelievable job, preach a great message I S I give.

Our people coming to faith in Christ.

That night they ended up here in a much better sermon then had I actually made it back.

So now, in retrospect, it seems apparent to me that God was sovereign in having my plane get delayed so that my friend to preach a better message for me and I recognize God's sovereignty. But does that remove Delta's responsibility in the debacle. Should that repair guy who was apparently taken a three hour nap and ignoring all of his text messages to the city suddenly declare himself some sort of spiritual hero for making this happen know I can still be frustrated at Delta, which is again among the better the airlines in my opinion. I can still be frustrated at the inefficiency of their repair process. In other words, I can say God is sovereign but Delta is still responsible. Amen. That's what Paul says here but more on that in chapter 9. This little section is just supposed to be an appetizer of what he's in the spin like the real chapters get into and in Romans 9 to 11 okay so Paul ends this little imaginary Q&A begins as little imaginary Q&A with his fellow Jews by concluding verse nine what then what then are we are we are we Jews, you have the law, are we really any better off in our hearts then Gentile sinners. Not at all, for we have already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are both under sin. Romans one Romans two as it is written that what Paul does next is he compiles a list of quotes from Old Testament Hebrew Scripture sources that talk about the depravity of man and the reason he puts them all as quotes from the Hebrew Bible is he trying to show these religious Jews that this is not some new teaching he's introducing that the law and the prophets.

The whole time had been trying to point out that man has a need that religion cannot fix. And it's only God himself who can fix it so he begins this list of quotes by quoting from Psalm 53.

There is no one righteous, not even one. Righteousness here refers to our legal standing before God. Sin, he says, has ruined everybody's legal standing before God when everything is known about who we are, not a single one of us is going to be in a good place. That includes the most righteous people who have ever lived in our in our mind, Moses, Abraham, Daniel, Esther Job, Billy Graham, your grandmother, Mother Teresa, whoever it is in your book. Whoever is the most righteous person when all the secrets are exposed. There is nobody that is going to stand before God and be righteous. Just think about it right me what you can be like when all of your thoughts are displayed in all the secrets of your life or noon, and how would you like to now, there was little monitor on the side of your head that just put in the text form. Everything that you were thinking at any given moment, I will be like if people knew what was in your migraines what you can be like when all get exposed to mess was coming. The days come in all the secret tricks Rosetta a friend. His name was Daniel when he was in the seventh grade, he said, use of my as part of a big family.

We had like six kids in the family so it was a people my family go to Olan Mills human about we skip family pictures Olan Mills dosage with same sweater and you lean on each other and submit within you have like digital pictures back then so you can take a thousand you took a limited number.

He said so he said right before the photographer would snap into the picture. He said every single time every single time at the last second, I would make some person, goofy face trouble top of the distance red bunny ears or something because we had so many kids he couldn't get anyone noticing. Every time I did that. He said I was thought that was so funny. He said six weeks later when the proofs come back to my mom goes into look at them and realizes that this hundred dollar photo session that I've ruined every single one of them. He said you know it when you're in seventh grade you think about things being funny now you don't think about what they're gonna be like in six weeks when everything gets expose what Paul is.

It is alluding to here is there is a day when that kind of moment happens were all the things that we thought were done in secret or fully told him fully expose and on that date. Nobody is going to stand there and say that they are righteous. There is no one righteous, no one who is ever been born in the world except for Jesus Christ. Nobody has ever been righteous, not even one, there is nobody he says, verse 11 who understands sinners corrupted our minds.

We saw this in chapter 1 are self-centered, hearts were poor ability even to perceive the things of God have told you before. Think of it like the bigots whose prejudice against certain group of people causes him to look at every single member of that group in a distorted way, he can't see the virtues he can't see certain people for who they are because he so bigoted against his whole group of people in the same way our sin makes us distort and corrupt the truth about God, one of postmodern philosophy's biggest contributions to modern thought was its recognition that so much of what we perceive so much of what we perceive is determined by the shape and the biases of our heart.

That's why two people can look at exactly the same set of evidence and come to two entirely different conclusion based on the biases they bring to it.

You can see this every single night right, we just flip on MSNBC or CNN and Fox news. You have the same set evidence and you got people on one side lose in their mind, in one direction and you got the same set evidence, people losing them.

On the other direction. How you interpret the evidence has more to do with steadier heart than it does the actual content of the evidence. One of postmodern philosophers and William James wrote this essay called the will to believe in what he said. He said disease and ultimately what we believe is less determined by the evidence and is determined by what we want to believe what we will to believe, determines what we actually believe now postmodern philosophy patted themselves on the back for this great discovery about human nature.

Romans one is been saying that from the beginning right what we see about God is more determined by the shape of our hearts that it is the evidence for God. It's not our ignorance of God gives us hardness of heart for thinner hardness of heart makes us ignorant of God.

Sin warps her mind so that we are unable NaturallySpeaking even understand the things of God and because of this he says there is no one who seeks God.

Nobody has ever sought God nobody NaturallySpeaking even wants to know the true God will run from him. Religion is for the subject today from Pastor JD Greer if you missed any part of this message.

If you like to catch up on the rest of the series sermons you can listen Jenny the first message in this series was titled who's your wine at the big theme throughout the series for you to Hoosier one is just asking you to prayerfully identify one person over the course of a year that you cannot only pray about. Think about how can you move that person closer to faith in Christ. Maybe you have a chance to explain the gospel. May you have a chance actually leave the price and see them get baptized. When you think about the number of people in our country that are prayerfully approaching at least one person. Just imagine the impact this can make in our nation and we really love for you to be to be to be one of those people that are doing that so is a free resource that we want to give away this month.

There's a 30 day prayer guide that will help you pray for your one even help you.

Pray to identify your one has versus prayers of those that are written out based on verses in that sense of what you find there. So I hope you go check that out today when valuable free resource available now. you can also see photo and the new setting.

We've been talking about its Romans part line incomes as a set with a display box we can add parts two and three later this year. Let's get you a copy today is our way of saying thanks for your essential partnership with his ministry. When you give a suggestion to nation of $25 or more to Senate life all around the world dive into the gospel. We are so grateful how 866-335-2866 335-5220 or if it's easier you can give any place to study online TV Invesco next week for continuing our study through Raymond to be sure to connect next time to hear Senate life with rear

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