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October 22, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Eric Newton of the BJU seminary faculty continues a doctrinal series entitled, “What Is Man?” from Romans 1
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina this semester. We've had a really wonderful series on the theme of what is man in one of our desires and our chapels is to be able to teach sound solid biblical doctrine that will make a difference in sound solid biblical living, because ultimately we live out in our lifestyles. What we believe in our heart, our behavior is affected by our beliefs and so this semester we have dealt with the theme of what is man, understanding man in creation how we relate to God man in the fall man in salvation and all that. All that is been taking place and we had some really very wonderful messages were going to end up semester next week, which is our final week of chapel services are really dealing with the idea of relationships that we have with one another, and all the aspects of that relationship. Starting with God in the Trinity and how that there is a relationship of the Trinity and that actually is what happens in our life as we become believers and so it's been hope a hopeful help to you this semester as we cover the subjects. Today's message will be preached by seminary professor Dr. Eric Newton, the title of his message is the moral nature of man in the Scripture passage is from Romans chapter 1, April 16, 2007 was one of the darkest days in modern American history. Certainly in the history of colleges as you may recall, on that day in Blacksburg, Virginia, a senior English major name soon greeted show entered multiple buildings on the campus of Virginia Tech and opened fire on fellow human beings, killing 32 and wounding 17 others. Also that day on that campus was a man named live view. The rescue is a 76-year-old Prof. of engineering science and mathematics, a Romanian born Jew and a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust.
On that Monday Lib rescue barricaded the door of the North Hall 204, while his students escaped all but one of his 20 students that they survived Lib rescue did not. He was later awarded the order of the Star of Romania, the highest honor possible in that country for civilian how can we understand this contrast how can we understand a tragic event like this. How can we understand the public outcry in response to we can't unless we have a category of morality. The 20 century apologist Francis Schaeffer once observed that humanity exhibits both the most sublime dignity in the most awful depravity, nobility and cruelty and all of those were tragically on display that day at Virginia Tech in your worldview and mine have to account for the difference between that nobility and that cruelty even in our increasingly secular society, we cannot avoid moral discussion last week. The Twitter account of the New York Times Magazine conducted a poll asking whether or not readers if they had had a chance would have killed the baby Hitler. Now a lot of the chatter that eventuated and devolved into the ridiculous. Frankly, my point is not so much how people answered it, but that the question was raised, even in an increasingly secular society, we cannot avoid moral discussion. Now, the issue of morality has been assumed throughout our series and anthropology this semester, but we need to take focus on it today and what were talking about is the ability to distinguish between what is and what should be an innate ability and it's not just a consideration for a classroom. This is not mere theory. This is personal. As CS Lewis famously remarked there are two things that all of us as human beings know deep down inside.
One is that we should behave in a certain way and the other is that we often fail to do so, but you may ask or someone else. Mass should we be so hard on ourselves, couldn't morality merely be a cultural phenomenon, a preference mean after all the different cultures respond to morality in different ways and that is true, of course, but I think that actually testifies that there is an underlying standard to which all cultures are appealing, with varying degrees of success. As anthropologists have noted every culture in the history of the world has had moral censure for certain types of murder for certain types of lying and injustice and sexual misconduct and ill-treatment of children, but you might say, RI, I realize that this distinction between right and wrong is possible, but except in extreme cases like the massacre at Virginia Tech, is it really that necessary will actually again nearly everyone recognizes that it is necessary, even recent discussions about things like same-sex marriage actually validated. The issue isn't whether there is such a thing as morality, but who defines it. I mean, think of the the reversal that has happened so that whereas once homosexuality was outlawed same-sex marriage was not possible, legally. Now if you're a photographer and you refuse to participate in the ceremony for a same-sex couple you are in legal jeopardy and want press a little further in the most humane moments of our existence we are brought back to our senses about whose standard of morality is actually good. Last Tuesday was a very difficult day for my family.
My wife received news that are our baby that she had been caring for 20 weeks no longer had a heartbeat and so over the next 24 hours. We went to the hospital and because of how far along she was 20 weeks she had to deliver our son stillborn and there's a lot of emotion. Of course, there's been an outpouring of love for many of you, and God's people and were so grateful we have nothing but thanksgiving to the Lord.
But one of the things that I reflected on in the wake of this is that no one in the hospital regardless of his or her religious conviction regardless of their worldview. No one treated that baby as if it was just a bunch of tissue.
Everyone treated our son dead is he was as a life you know what there's a lot of discussion about abortion, but when it comes down to two to reality deep down inside, we all know what's good and we know it's evil. So how do we explain this moral nature that distinguishes us as human beings from the rest of the created world.
Well, like anything else. We have to turn the Scripture. So if you turn in your Bibles with me to Romans chapter 1. Our attention is already been drawn to this passage in this series, but this really is the one the Lord brought to mind when Dr. Pettit assignment. This topic, start reading in verse 16 of Romans one, Paul says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it's the power of God and the salvation to everyone that believe with, to the Jew first and also to the Greek and their two things that this gospel, this powerful gospel reveals one verse 17. Therein is the righteousness of God's saving righteousness revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by and to for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Paul is launching as you know into probably the greatest explanation of the gospel anywhere in Scripture the gospel as Tim Chapman reminded us last week is the solution to our problem. So what is our core problem. What problem is the gospel addressing it's a moral problem.
There is a standard to which we have to measure up, and we have we are in Paul's terms, unrighteousness, and this leads us to the first part of our understanding of this moral nature of mankind, and that is is chapter 1 explains the revelation of God is in every place God has revealed himself everywhere. Notice verse 19 because that which may be known of God is manifest in them will come back to that, for God hath showed it unto them outside of them for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seeing, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
We see that in addition to being able to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong in order to have morality, you have to have accountability. You have to have responsibility you have to be accountable to something and ultimately someone who is outside of you. Several years ago I showed up for the subject group prayer meeting as I always do just to pray with guys to get to know them a little bit better to share in their joys and sorrows in this and hang out afterward and I came in just before the bell at 1030 and sat down kind of in the corner and when the guys in the discipleship group whom whom I knew very well because of where he grew up came in just as the bell was ringing and sat down in front of me but with his back turned to me and I visited. Notice I was there and he immediately before the group leader could take control of the meeting, he immediately launched into some mockery of the resin supervisor and as he did that. Suddenly the room became sort of tense people's eyes get really big, people were cannot you know to do in this number and all of a sudden he turned around and he saw me and had the cheapest sheepish smile on his face and he said hi Dr. Newton. It was an unforgettable moment. I have not let him live that down you know that that really is is a poor analogy because I didn't create that young man and I didn't set the rules for how you should respond to.
But God has created us and he has set the rules according to his own character about how we should live. We are responsible to a righteous creator and he has revealed himself to the extent that we are again. Verse 20 without excuse.
Using God created the world in a moral way, the very fabric of the universe, not just us of the universe around us has a moral tint to it. That's why wisdom that we been studying all semester is at its root a moral skill to understand life well and live successfully in the core of this morality as we see in verse 21 is worship. It's honoring God is God, morality starts not with us.
It starts with God when they when we knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Our knowledge of him isn't merely informational. It's not like okay if I know about God that kinda helps me out in life there are moral implications. There are eternal ramifications for the fact that there is a God who has revealed himself to us. Ultimately, morality is the humble acknowledgment that God is God and God is right said again morality at its root is the humble acknowledgment that God is God and that God is right in the essence, as the passage goes on to explain of our problems is idolatry. It's rebellion against God. Unrighteousness starts in our minds and our hearts and then it plays out in our our thoughts and in our words and our actions. Eventually, and we see that this a.m. morality in its most basic sense has has consequences.
We see this pattern in verse 24 and 26 and 28 were God gives us over.
That's the same word as pilot handing over Jesus to crucifixion God gives us over first to uncleanness, then verse 26 to unnatural affections, then verse 28 to a debased mind, which means it doesn't work the right way is like a compass that shattered it doesn't point to true note north anymore. It's still there but doesn't work right and we end up. By the time we get to verse 32 and the end of this chapter it says we know the judgment of God, deep down inside that they which commit such things are worthy of death, but not only do we do these things, but we have pleasure in them that do them. We not only do them ourselves. Or maybe we don't do them ourselves that we approve of this unrighteousness is the Russian literary giant Dostoyevsky once wrote, if God doesn't exist everything is possible if you read verses 29 to 31, you've got a pretty good nonexhaustive but a representative list of everything that's possible when you take God out of the picture. Morality collapses if there is no God, we have to understand ourselves by prioritizing the revelation of God. But what do we have in addition to that, in addition to the revelation of God all around us will.
Secondly, we have a reflection evidence of the law of God. Actually, in our hearts as Paul goes on to teach us in Romans 214 and 15.
There is a replica of God's law. That's actually etched onto our very hearts. Look at verse 14 of chapter 2 when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law. These Gentiles, having not the law are launder themselves, which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness in their thoughts the mean while accusing or excusing one another there. There is a a fundamental moral law that is written on our very hearts and our conscience either accuses or excuses the conscience is not the moral law, the conscience doesn't make up the rules, the conscience is like an umpire in baseball. He calls us safe or he calls us out it either either excuses us or accuses us, and that in the frightening reality is that even if weeks after conscience.
Even if we placated it. Even if we tried to get rid of the idea of God.
Ultimately, that conscience never goes away because it's innate God gave it to us and we of course not only have this law of God written in our hearts we have the law of God, right in front of us. Not everyone in the world does that many, many of us do. We are accountable but I think there's another major question that we have to tackle and that is not only does morality exist which is questioned by many people in our world today. Does it matter does morality really matter. I think Paul gives us at least three reasons why it ultimately it eternally matters. First of all it matters because we are all under condemnation due to unrighteousness, the judgment of God is on every sinner you see what Paul is doing is he's driving toward chapter 3 verse nine look at that with me.
Chapter 3 verse nine he says what then are we the Jews better than they. The Gentiles know in no wise, for we have proved both Jews and Gentiles that they are all under sin and then he goes through a series of Old Testament citations to drive home the point. Any comes to verse 19. Notice he says we know that, whatsoever things law Seth that set them were under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
We have nothing left to say.
We will render to God our works and he will come back with a verdict on that and there is nothing left to say.
Every mouth is stopped because the law is written in our hearts. The laws been given to us in our Bibles were all accountable and so the judgment of God being on every sinner reminds us that this morality really matters, but that's not where the story ends right. Paul goes on in this section to tell us that morality matters because God sacrificed his very own son in our place to deal with our unrighteousness. Morality matters because the imputed righteousness of God liberates every believer are more rebellion against this God is something that he cannot take lightly.
What kind of world would it be if God was powerful and if he was nice, but if he was not righteous. What if he had come up with a solution to our greatest problem that somehow smooth things over, but didn't set things right in the hospital last week. It was comforting that God is love. It was comforting that God is sovereign but we had to have faith that God is righteous that he does all things well and he will ultimately make all things right and so he had to come up with a way to be both the just and the justifier of us who believe. Notice verse 26 in chapter 3, to declare, I say at this time his righteousness that he might be just and the justifier of him which believe with in Jesus, God accomplished what no one else could have done. He paid the price for our sin. He said his very own son to endure more than any of us could ever imagine and all that I got in return was a death on a cross.
But he was raised from the dead and now as we saying right before the message. Our filthy lives are clothes with his perfect robe of righteousness, and that liberates us. We are no longer under the condemnation of the law. We are free from the penalty of our sin. We are free from the dominion of our flesh. This is God's great Emancipation Proclamation. Our justification in Christ. What more personal or what stronger statement could God have made about the importance of morality than sending his very own son to obey all the law and die in our place so that we could have his righteousness. How much do you think it matters what matters that much but there's one final indication in this than these opening chapters of Romans, of how important morality is to turn your attention actually to chapter 6 after explaining the doctrine of justification. Paul raises this question. If we understand justification. Well, we should come to this question.
What then shall we continue in sin that grace may abound it seems like it doesn't matter in cyclic glorifies God.
If we actually sin, because his righteousness is so great. And Paul says, may it never be. By no means that the disastrous conclusion and he goes on in chapter 6 is as many of you know very well to talk about how we can live free from sin.
We can actually pursue righteousness.
In fact, he uses this phrase in verse 18.
Notice at the end of it he became the servants upon slaves of righteousness morality matters because the practical righteousness of God. Our sanctification governs every believer. We have been freed liberated from our sin and were free what to be enslaved to the joyful tyranny of righteousness not to use righteousness as if it were in control to merit God's favor to impress other people, but actually to understand that that that righteousness is is worth living for and to do so in the freedom of the cross to do so with joy and love of God on our hearts to do so for his glory. Believing and thinking and loving and saying and doing the right thing matters giving God glory in our lives. Instead of taking it for ourselves.
Matters using social media to build up, not tear down regardless of whether or not our identity is visible matters. Choosing to avoid sensuality instead of clicking on it matters honoring our parents instead of ignoring their counsel matters. Speaking God's truth and love about tough subjects like homosexuality. Even when they're in popular matters.
Maintaining academic integrity instead of taking shortcuts matters. Repenting of arson humbly instead of harboring it matters. You see we were made in the moral image of God and we are being made in that image in Jesus Christ.
How much does it matter God gave his very own son to live righteously to die vicariously to be raised victoriously so that you and I could live out his moral will fall Tingley but sincerely, for his glory. May he give us grace to pray with me. Oh God, we been bought by such love, our lives are not around. We want our praise are all our sincerest faith filled grace enabled efforts to be for your praise alone. Amen.
By listening friend. Can I ask you a question. Have you received the crucified resurrected Jesus as your own personal savior. No doubt God is speaking to your heart. There's a knock on the door of your heart and he's asking to come in. Would you personally individually right now call upon the name of the Lord ask Jesus to be your savior for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Let me urge you to do that right now.
May God bless you join us again tomorrow as we continue the series about the doctrine of man on The Daily Platform