You and I live in a day of the passive wrath of God. Dr. Tony Evans talks about what happens when God leaves us to do things our way instead of His way. Sin is the one reason why our lives, our world, our families, our society does not work like it was created to work.
Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oakland. Today, I want to talk to you about the passive wrath of God. In the Old Testament, you find the active wrath of God. Rain is coming down from heaven, wiping out the whole earth. You find Pharaoh's army after the Red Sea has been opened, swallowed up because God opened it and then God closed it. You find the earth opening up so that Korah and those who followed him in rebellion against God are swallowed down into the bowels of the earth.
You find fire and brimstone coming down from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. So you are finding the active wrath of God where He does it directly and judges directly. You find it also at the end of history in the book of Revelation, which is filled with the active wrath of God, where God opens up heaven and does it Himself.
But today, you and I live in what we call the Age of Grace. In this Age of Grace, predicated on the death of Jesus Christ, God's relationship to the world between the Old Testament and the end times, the book of Revelation, was shifted. 2 Corinthians 5.19 says that by the death of Christ, the world was reconciled to God because God did not count their sins against them. So the death of Christ rerouted the wrath of God.
It did not deny it or cancel it, but it rerouted it. So that now, while God is still a God who has wrath, you and I live in a day of the passive wrath of God. What do we mean by the passive wrath of God? The passive wrath of God refers to God's built-in, necessary, just, and righteous retribution and reaction to sin. It is the built-in, necessary, just, and righteous reaction and retribution against sin.
Because of God's perfection and His holiness, He cannot enter into a relationship with sin because they are mutually exclusive to one another. But because He loves His creation and has been satisfied or propitiated by the death of Jesus Christ, He no longer has to do it directly. Now the consequences for sin are built into the sin itself. So it's not that heaven is opening up and you're seeing fire and brimstone.
We don't see that today like you see in the Old Testament, like you see in the book of Revelation. And so, the passive wrath of God works because of the rejection or suppression of the true God. And so as a result, He comes to the three levels of wrath.
The three levels. Remember, the passive wrath of God—that's not fire and brimstone falling from heaven—the passive wrath of God is the injection of consequence into the sin. Phase one, level one, verse 24. Therefore, God gave them over to the lust of their hearts, to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
Amen. Notice they were worshiping. They were worshiping. He gave them over to, watch this, to their desire. Lust means desire. So the picture is, I want something for me that God does not want for me.
I desire it. I know what God has said, I don't like what God has said, I don't agree with what God has said, and therefore I'm going to reject God and what He has said. So God says, then I release you. I turn you over to the desire.
The problem is the consequence is built into the sin. So when you get turned over to the desire, the desire takes you over. So a person starts with crack cocaine or starts injecting because they have a desire to feel a certain way.
And even though the Bible prohibits that kind of drug use, not medicinal drug use, but entertainment drug use, because the Bible prohibits that and they don't like that. They want the desire. God says, okay, since you don't want my standards, I'm going to let you have the desire.
Only the consequence is built into the desire. So while it started out with you controlling the drug, now the drug is controlling you. You started out being able to say yes and no. Now the drug has so got you, you can't say no, and you better say yes or your life is going to be miserable without me, because the consequence is built into the sin. We start off with a little pornography and we may control it at once, but then the computer tells us when to show up.
We used to decide when we were going to show up, but now the computer says, no, you're going to show up now because I'm controlling what you want. And so God turns us over or releases us to the sin which has injected in it the side effects. And we wind up worshiping the created versus the creator.
And notice how he ends that. He says, who is blessed forever. In other words, we go after the blessing, but we don't need the blesser. Okay, God bless me, but you stay away. So I will release you to that.
I will release you to life without me. But you have to understand that the consequences in the sin. So you don't escape the consequence when you pursue the sin because you take in the side effects with the fulfilled desire.
Level 2, verse 26. For this reason, God gave them over to depraved passions. The first one was deceptive desires, but now to depraved passions. For their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural. And in the same way, also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another.
Men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. He says you start off with deceptive desires and then you go to level 2, which is degrading passions. A degrading passion is an unnatural desire.
That is, you weren't created that way. Now, I need to make a distinction here between sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual participation. I need to make a difference between sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual participation. He says women with women, men with men, watch this, committing acts.
He is specifically referring to sexual participation. Okay, let's get this straight. Homosexuality is unnatural. Okay, so let's start that.
The Bible says it's unnatural. Okay? However, a lot of things happen to people that confuses their identity. You got kids that were abused when they were growing up. You now go to public schools and they're now teaching the kids, you know, Sarah's dating Sarah and Bill is dating Bill. So now kids are being fed this in the public schools.
So you have a confused order for a number of reasons. Maybe there is some hormonal differences in the births of people that give their tendencies one way to another. But what the community out there is trying to make you think is sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual participation are all the same thing.
And they're not. He says it is unnatural desires. But a lot of us have illegitimate desires.
We wouldn't talk about it, we wouldn't advertise it, but it's all up in there. I want something I shouldn't want. And it's an illegitimate desire, which means it is a desire that needs to be managed and or corrected. Because God says it's illegitimate, so it's got to be managed and or corrected. There may be some people who will never be attracted to the opposite sex. That's just not their makeup, and the Bible talks about that.
So they need to manage it, even though it never changes on a feeling level. Then there is the confusion about identity. You are what your plumbing declares you to be.
Whatever your plumbing is, that's who you are. Now that may not be how you feel, it may not be what you think, but that's how you were created. See, one of the problems is to exchange the truth from a lie and call yourself something other than God calls you, because the society has now labeled you. Now, there may be issues there. That's why the church is important, because our job is not to dismiss people who have a confused identity or confused attraction as long as they want to grow in their faith, we become a hospital to minister to them. That's different than okaying participation. That's a different issue. They commit acts.
That's their participation. That must be addressed while you work with them through the identification and the attraction. But in the meantime, homosexuality, lesbianism, is a decision. He's talking about a decision to commit acts, because you can make the right decision even when you don't have the right feeling.
You may have a wrong feeling, but that doesn't stop you from making the right choice. My job is not to be popular. It's to tell you the truth. He says, so the consequence of receiving in your body the penalty of your action is built into the action. So a lot of this stuff running rampant today is because of the consequence of sin built into the sin that people don't want the sin addressed. They want you to skip the sin, rename the sin, dumb down the sin, but don't deal with it as a sin, because then I might have to change something. Dr. Evans will move on to the third level of God's passive wrath when he continues this message from his new Consequences series in just a moment.
Consequences is a look at the cause and effect relationship between disobedience and death and how to break that cycle by recognizing and rejecting the traps Satan puts in our way. Contact us right away, and we'll send you all six full-length messages in this collection on both CD and digital download as our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help us keep this program coming your way. Along with it, we'll include one of Tony's most popular and helpful booklets, 30 Days to Overcoming Emotional Strongholds, as a special bonus. This offer ends in a couple of days, so be sure to contact us right away at TonyEvans.org to make your contribution and your request. Or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by around the clock to help you.
Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you after Part 2 of today's message, coming up in just a moment. Stay with us. Nearly a decade ago, Dr. Evans released his instant bestseller, Kingdom Man. And today we're excited to announce his long-awaited follow-up book, Kingdom in Rising. Filled with authentic stories of struggle and heartfelt personal loss, Tony takes us to God's Word to show men how to clear all obstacles in the journey that leads to living a life of influence and impact. Replace hopelessness, boredom, and regret with power, significance, and influence. Get Kingdom in Rising for yourself or for someone you love. Make the great gift for husbands, sons, fathers, cousins, pastors, athletes, coaches, and more.
Grab yours at TonyEvans.org or at your nearest bookstore or online retailer. Men, it's time to rise up and claim your culture for Christ. And so the knowledge of God is dismissed while keeping religion. Level 3.
This is the bottom of the pit. Verse 28. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, they went all hog-wild, I don't want this God thing, God gave them over to a depraved mind. So we've gone now from deceptive desires to degrading passions to a depraved mind. So we're at Level 3.
Now Level 3 gives a whole bunch of listings. It is listing things like being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slanderous, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil. That one gets me. Inventive. They didn't come up with new ways to do wrong.
They did become evil inventors. Disobedient to parents without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. He gives this whole list of things that are in category 3. But wait a minute, category 3 doesn't sound worse than category 2. I mean, I can see, you know, it sounds like category 2.
The unnatural part should be the bottom line. He said, no, you didn't hit bottom yet. You didn't hit bottom when you have lost your mind.
And what makes your mind be lost in all of these categories he's listing at the bottom category? Verse 23. And although they knew the ordinance of God, they went to church, they heard it, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Level 3 is when sin is no longer sinful. And now you okay it, agree with it. See, as long as sin is sinful, then at least you're having God's view on it.
But when you lose your mind, when you've gone psychologically and spiritually crazy, it's when sin is no longer sinful so that you not only do it because it's no longer wrong, you tell other folk it's okay if they do it. You okay it, and worse yet, you legalize it. You make it official. It's okay. It's not wrong.
You should accept this. And then when you speak the truth, now you a hater. Now you a hater. So they try to box you into a corner to be a hater. No, you're not a hater.
You're just a truth teller. It doesn't have to do with hatred. We are to love all people, no matter their background, no matter their sexual orientation. We are to love all people, but we are not to love all ideas. We're not to love all thoughts. We're not to love all perspectives. Well, he has his view and I have my view. No, you're supposed to have God's view. But they try to box the Christians into a corner. Well, you just, you just, you just a hater. You just, you know, you just think you better than everybody else.
And so what they do is try to shut you up because they want to suppress the truth. So many here, many of us on one level, level one, level two, level three are enduring the consequences of sin. Maybe it's the financial consequence of sin because you rebelled against God with your resources. Maybe it's the moral consequence of sin.
So you've got multiple babies out of wedlock. Maybe it's the moral consequence of sin, a disease you're dealing with because of sexual transmitted disease, because of multiple partners. Maybe it's an emotional consequence of sin because the sin was built into the decision. The consequence was built into the decision of the sin.
So you can't get rid of the consequence and have the sin because the consequence is in the sin. Let me give you some hope. Psalm 81, verse 11, But my people did not listen to my voice, and Israel did not obey me. So I gave them over.
Okay? Remember that phrase? Gave them over. Turned them over to the stubbornness of their hearts. So they don't want me. I let them have life without me.
To walk in their own devices. All that my people would listen to me. That Israel would walk in my ways. Oh, watch verse 14.
I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn my hand against the adversaries. Verse 16, But I would feed you with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you. He says, if I could only get you to turn, then I could be gracious to you. God decides how much of the consequence He will remove, whether He will remove it all, whether He will remove some of it, or whether He'll just take you through it victoriously, because consequences come at different stripes and God responds to them, different strokes for different folks.
It's not one size fits all. Some things you still have the repercussions of, although God takes you through it and all of that. But He still says, if you turn, I will meet you. And if you're ready to turn and take advantage of God's offer to be there for you, the first thing you need to do is respond to Jesus by admitting your sinfulness and accepting His gift of eternal life.
There's nothing you can add to or subtract from how that happens. Tony will explain the process to you personally when you visit TonyEvans.org and follow the link that simply says Jesus. You'll discover what it takes to start a brand new life right now, right where you are. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. And while you're there, don't forget that if you'd like to review this lesson on your own or pass it along to someone you care about, you can get it as a part of Tony's current audio series, Consequences. As I mentioned earlier, it's available right now as our gift to you in appreciation for your donation to the Urban Alternative, along with a special bonus, Tony's popular booklet, Thirty Days to Overcoming Emotional Strongholds. Visit TonyEvans.org today to get all the details before time runs out. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. Or call us at 1-800-800-3222. Our phone center is open 24-7.
That's 1-800-800-3222. The Lord created each of us with the freedom to choose. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans explores how our choices actually have an impact on how God chooses to respond to us individually and collectively. Right now, though, he's back with a final thought for today. When you are walking on a windy day and the wind is blowing hard at your face, you're trying to get forward, but it's real windy and it keeps pushing you back. If you're tired of being pushed back, you need to turn. Because when you turn, the same wind that was keeping you back is now pushing you forward. The wind hasn't changed. You've got to change. When an airplane is flying, when it gets headwinds, it slows it down.
When it gets tailwinds, it speeds it up. As long as you are resisting God, your progress is going to be slow. But the moment it gets you to turn, there is the Holy Spirit at your back, the wind of God pushing you forward to where you should be. So if you're tired of the consequence that you're going through and you're willing to address the sin, not the mistake, not the bad habit, not the unluckiness, Jesus died for sin.
And if you're willing to address it God's way, he is ready to meet you with the sin and, at some level, the consequence. The alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions
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