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Profession but Not Possession

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
November 20, 2017 3:07 pm

Profession but Not Possession

The Verdict / John Munro

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November 20, 2017 3:07 pm

Dr. John H. Munro November 19, 2017 Romans 2:17-29 We are often concerned with our public image and how others perceive us. Yet authentic faith in Jesus Christ is not just a profession of the mouth or a reliance on religious rituals. It is the regeneration of the heart leading to a life transformed by the Holy Spirit.

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What image do you think people have of your as a pastor. Children very frequently give me pictures of myself in your drawing and give me pictures and here are two recent ones there.

They are to give me here, so maybe they know something I don't know, but this is their image of me as they look at me, standing here, they have a certain image that they tried to portray.

I wonder what image you have of yourself as celebrities and politicians have PR people and Silas try to make them look good than to sign good. They want to project a certain image they want to be known for something to be cool the way they dress the way they look where the goal who are the who they are with. But I think all of us would probably agree, perhaps reluctantly, that were no more concerned about how we appear to others than we would like to admit is the true that while we want reality and others we ourselves may not be real. I'm asking you this morning. A question but I skipped over and over again you real unit is a reality in your life that all of us make phonies from time to time, superficial people who seem to have very little under their smooth the cell shall they audit all image of no substance. They may appear to be friendly but they're not really they are in the sense we can use a religious term. They are hypocrites.

The word typically comes from the Greek word actor.

The actor in the Greek drama was called the hypocrite someone who was playing a part in the concept then was taken from drama and used to describe someone who is playing a part in life, someone who is not how they really appear they want to portray a certain image but that's not how they are really, if you're familiar with the teaching of the New Testament. You know that the fiercest Annunciation of our Lord was against the hypocritical Pharisees, the religious establishment who appeared to be very religious, very pious, but underneath her fašade.

Jesus was saying there was corruption that was greed there was dishonesty.

Jesus said they were like whitewashed sepulchers looking good on the outside, but inwardly corrupt. You may have a religious image you may have a respectable image but I'm asking you yes you are the person actually don't think of someone else on think of the Forney that you know this is a question to each one of us that we must base are you yes you are you real in your life group you like to quote Scripture you love to show how much you know by the MIMO you the kind of person who's very quick to pray in public, particularly if there's an audience and that your son quite eloquent and quite spiritual. In fact in your prayers from time to time and you even remind God put a particular verses fund I was find that strange on you. Somebody's praying to God than the telling dog where a particular verses fund as if the omnipotent God says thank you. Was wondering where that scripture was funds impressing people out with her, but biblical knowledge I'm asking underneath the religious fašades. Obviously, we want people to know their Bibles, we want people to pray passionately to God but I'm asking underneath the religious fašade is the reality could be that many of us are more concerned with the external how we appear to others rather than whether we are real before God. Paul is dealing with this in the passage and previously Paul has considered the immoral person in chapter 1 and then in the first 16 verses of chapter 2. He's demonstrated that the moral person the religious person, whether Jew or Gentile, is also guilty before God and desires the judgment of God.

But now, in the passage Romans to and you can turn their pleas Romans to versus 17 through 29.

Paul is dealing specifically with the Jews, specifically with the religious Jew. Charlie the Jew has a secure standing before God. Surely he is different separately from the pagan and Charlize different from the even the religious, moral, Gentile Jew has the Mosaic law is a sign of the covenant circumcision is greatly privileged in the Jews of that time look down on the Gentiles. They wouldn't even have a meal with you the Gentiles regarding this unclean like dogs we don't associate with them their sinful people, but no pole this penetrating questions is going to establish that the religious Jew is also guilty before God saying to the Jew are they saying to you and me today and hide under your religious fašade. All of us without exception need the righteousness of God, your religion, whatever it is will never save you. And let's not forget the overall context of this passage we seen that the theme of Romans is the gospel of God concerning his son Jesus Christ. It is, it is in the gospel. Paul is arguing that the righteousness of God is revealed.

The good news from God to us by what we going to have a right standing before a holy God. How can we achieve this righteousness that Scripture speaks of, and before Paul gives the brilliant answer.

He is preparing us meticulously. Perhaps you think over laboriously is preparing us by demonstrating that whoever we are religious, and religious wise or foolish Jew or Gentile model on MRO.

Not one of us can attain a righteousness of little but rather God in his grace through our Lord Jesus Christ has provided his righteousness that we can receive is an act of grace as we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But my question to you is this this morning. Are you trusting in the outward ritualism of your religion.

You trusting in a veneer of respectability of churchy antedate of some kind of profession.

I'm asking you is there spiritual reality.

I'm not asking you if you're perfect I know you're not Scripture tells us that every single person augment tests has not been perfect including myself. Obviously, so I'm not asking you are you perfect. I'm not asking you if you've ever failed or stumbled, or send. I know you have but I'm asking you is there spiritual reality you expect that from others about yourself. Scripture says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God searches and looks on the heart.

So this is a hard to show him asking you about your hot I can see your heart. I can see the external you can see the externals for me but I'm asking you are you real, we may have a rather impressive religious and spiritual image and people may think highly of your child. Recharge people may think highly of you in the community as a respectable religious person but is that reality, then we find out last week in the last verse. We looked at in chapter 2 verse 16 where Paul talks about the day when, according to my gospel, God judges what the secrets of men. There is real judgments not the external. But reality God judges judges the secrets of man by Christ Jesus. How important it is then that were not trusting in our religious heritage.

Some church belief that we truly have reality because we are trusting and obeying our Lord Jesus Christ called this message profession but not possession. Many profess to love God.

Many profess to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But don't possess Christ never truly saved. So let's open your Bibles to Romans to versus 17 through 19 and we want to see. First of all, in verses 17 through 24 that religion in particular in this contact text.

The possession of the law provides no security from the judgment of God. Religion provides no security on the judgment of God that the Jews first of all, in verses 17 and 18 were trusting in the religious privileges. Verse 17 but if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God, and know his will, and approve what is excellent because you are instructed from the law, the Jews were trusting in the religious privileges.

What were these verse 17 they called themselves to get aligned on the law, the Torah, they thought they were in a special category because we have the law of God, the law was their security. They posted, and in in God. Paul is saying in verse 17. They thought they had the monopoly of God. God is ours. In verse 18. They knew God's will and the law they were able to discern good and evil.

They were able to approve what is excellent. Yes, they were instructed out of the law. It is true they had superior knowledge and there were trusting in these religious privileges.

There also trusting in the religious practices verses 19 and 20.

And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness and instructor of the foolish teacher of children having in the law, the embodiment of knowledge and truth.

Religious privileges are not just religious privileges, religious practices, what were these verse 19 a guide to the blinds of light to those who are in darkness. Verse 20 correctors of the foolish teachers of the amateur teachers of children, but were they practicing what they were teaching as the points they had. The embodiment verse 20 of knowledge and truth. So here are the Jews, religious privileges, religious practices, they saw themselves very superior to the pagan Gentiles. After all, they had Abraham is the father of Paul is going to do something which must've shocked the Jewish readers. In verses 21 through 24.

He's going to expose religious profession rather than authentic possession, exposing religious profession rather than authentic possession. Verse 21. Are you ready for this is not just for the uses for you and me. You then you teach others do not teach yourself to teach a life group to teach the children to lead a Bible study that's very good that's that's actually very impressive but you teach yourself while you preach against feeling you still use say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery.

You abhor idols, do you temples you both in the law, dishonor God by breaking the law for as it is written the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you scathing convicted penetrate the fašade. These brilliant questions that Paul is asking Nepal knows the Jewish mindset from the inside that he'd been there done that. He knows exactly what he's talking about.

This is his own heritage and he had boasted about it. Furthermore, as a follower of Jesus. He interacted with Jews over and over again is it gone to the synagogues and reason with them and debated them.

He knows what he's talking about inside out, and many of them. He's saying are characterized by hypocrisy. They are not practicing what they preach was not true of the Pharisees were Jesus are not don't do what they do and do what they say but don't do what they do and Paul asks these penetrating questions that you get the event in verses 21 and 22, 23 he's demonstrating that what they say is inconsistent with how they live. For example, while you preach against feeling you still. Is there anyone here who justify stealing you teach your children not to steal. You teach your children to be honest if your boss you teach your employees that you expect integrity. That's very, very good. The question I have for you today is to you still shall not steal you on this to work. If I was to come to the place of business were you work speak your supervisor will disable your illness in terms of time and become the person comes late leads are like take the long lunch breaks. Sticky fingers take home some things little bit of embezzlement is. It was a big organization that would never miss it. By the way you do your business because once you or by the business deals was the weather.

By the way you communicate with customers with clients with about your profession. Are you someone who is honest about your tax return sale really come on John. Yes, I'm asking you what we to be subject to the laws of the country are you on this when you put your tax return.

Oh, I realize the chances of you being audited are probably pretty remotes, but is not what we get off with.

It's a matter of honest is not a matter of not stealing are you honest I'm asking you when you do your tax return.

Can you with all integrity lathers to be honest and you yourself are not on the policy rubbing temples member Molokai talk to those who love God, you see how I noticed you. We love God. When God is everything Molokai says Europe God by not tithing or giving offerings you came here this morning and you love to say people to give you an example is a very spiritual person, but when the offering came runs the drop God you zoom on the window was a secret.

I understand that understand that. Are you robbing God by not tithing by not giving generously are you depriving God of his Jew noticed the other one, do not do you commit adultery.

You see will know I haven't been adultery about the adultery of the heart. What about pornography you believe is a follower of Jesus Christ that you deliver pure life is not what you tell other people to do is not the way dad's Eurasian family is not the way you communicate to others or by yourself or no one knows about it. I understand that but God does. I'm asking you is that reality I would do you watch movies what you watch on TV on social media.

Paul's penetrating questions and make us all uncomfortable don't think that's Paul's point.

Are you using your religious privileges and practices as defense mechanisms, rather than trusting the Lord, are you deflecting and have nothing or totally recurrent I'm asking is the aspects of your life. Religious hypocrisy.

As I say, we hate that another's but so often it's true of herself is what Paul says he's unrelenting is 90 verse 24.

The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, the Jews should have been a source of blessing to the Gentiles. And now he's saying, because of your hypocrisy. Because of this religious beside the name of God is being blasphemed. Isn't that true easy Paul is unmasking the sins of the Jews with Arthur Tobin all too possible to have a fašade of religion that cultural Christianity, but not to have an authentic faith in Jesus Christ. I ask you, does your attitude does your conduct in any way cause a blot on the name of Jesus Christ and his church doesn't people who know you in the community in the street you live in your family where you work wonderful that people know that your Christian that's good. They should know you're a follower of Christ. If you are, but when they think of you do this very well and I don't agree with her.

She seems to be a bit of a Jesus freak.

But one thing I can say is just a person of integrity.

She's kind she's generous she's loving is the kind of person that I would go to in a time of crisis or the say something else to see someone who's lazy someone whose mean someone whose judge mental someone who is nasty Paul is saying the name of God is being blasphemed because of your what do unbelievers say about Jesus Christ because of you. What do unbelievers say about Calvary church because they know you are a member of this church.

What they say.

But the question Paul is saying all this religion can never produce security. Many of us here this morning and putting myself a race and religious settings. We may think that makes us secured with God that makes us superior to others because we know our Bible better.

We know that religious jargon wonderful job that heritage, but what do you trusting what is real in your life you trusting in your knowledge of the Bible you trusting your Christian heritage are you trusting that you were baptized as a baby's or spiritual reality. I'm asking you. You truly following Jesus Christ is the way you live consistent with the profession you make.

You may have a profession of faith, but is there genuine wine possession is Christ made a difference in your life you may be the kind of person that has the sign of the of the Chris lately Christianity the side of the fish on your car on your business card.

I'm not saying it's wrong to do that you may have. I love Jesus sticker on the on the bumper car. But what about your life. One thing to put the sign of the fish on your business card. That may get you some business.

Although some people say away from doing business with Christians because they're so dishonest, so can work against you. You just using the name of Jesus for your own actions is your Christian faith emphasized is like the bumper sticker I like that. If you love Jesus don't just honk time. If you love Jesus ties home to see the one you love Jesus honk that's easy to do with.

I'm not asking if you religious. I'm asking you. You truly saved by the grace of God. I know you don't want to be a phony.

That's one thing all of us not like we don't like phonies and we would not we would be very offended when weight a people looked at us and saw us as a phony, but we are deluding ourselves if we think that the only hypocrites were the Pharisees and the Jews of the first century what is one of the most common criticisms of the church, at least in my experience it is big to be able one of the most common criticisms of the church and you've heard it, and I've heard it is that there are so many hypocrites in the church. Now I realize I can be a distraction that can be deflection from someone in this easy to say and we can glibly say okay but still, there's always room for one more that's fine. But we have to deal with that. Don't why is it that people say that way as other people tell me stories of having not having done business with someone who makes a big deal that they go to church so that a follower of Jesus, and it turns out there dishonest. They use them their disreputable hypocrisy were quick to pick were quick to point out the faults of others, but as in the case were so blinds to come asking you to look at some house I'm asking you to be open to the spirit of God is. I've been praying this week for myself that will bring to the spirit of God to reveal to me in areas of high hypocrisy in that case, in the case of the road to hell is paved with religion.

Paul is reminding us that that religion provides no security from the judgment of God.

In verses 25 through 27.

He saying that ritualism in particular. Circumcision in the context provides no security from the judgment of God. Ritualism provides no security from the judgment of God. Verse 25 for circumcision indeed is of value. If you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes on circumcision so if a man whose uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law will not his circumcision be regarded the circumcision, then he who is physically uncircumcised, but keeps the law will condemn you have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

Paul knew how to put together an argument and was he saying Solomon's rituals, even when their God-given as circumcision was with the reality they are of no value circumcision was a God-given sign. It was the sign of the Abraham a covenant. It was a command of God, but circumcision had to be prince had to be performed on young baby boys.

It was the sign of a special covenantal relationship between God and his people, but over the years. Some Jewish leaders even asserted that circumcision prevented the Jew from going to hell. Paul is exposing that very very faulty thinking.

He saying if circumcision is just an external ritual. It has no value. You see your religious rituals, even God-given ones will not save you. It's possible to go through a rituals such as circumcision, but for there to be no spiritual reality is not what Paul is saying.

I just read the words Paul is saying the sign of circumcision is valid only if the covenant is kept on external rituals can never be a substitute for a humble old regions, which demonstrates the reality of one's faith. So Paul says in Galatians 5 verse three he says I testify again to every man who accept circumcision that he's obligated to keep the whole law of the externals are never enough to be uncircumcised to be circumcised and to disobey the law has the same effect. Paul has said in verses 25 and 26 is being uncircumcised.

As I say, circumcision was commanded by God as a sign of the Abraham it covenant with Paul is saying if you trusting in that external act for your righteousness you're being diluted to be like a man.

Today, pointing to his wedding ring.

I'm wearing a wedding ring. It tells you that I am manic is a right for a man to wear a wedding ring. Yes, my wife said we think so always the hiding home on their husbands to wear a wedding ring, but sadly there's many a man who's wore no wedding ring is not true to his marriage is not of the wedding ring is wrong. But if a man is wearing a wedding ring and is having an affair with another woman.

This is a travesty but is not reality. He's a phony. He's saying one thing by wearing the ring, but another way, he's unfaithful to his wife because this ring is a symbol of love and faithfulness.

You see what's important, what's of supreme importance is not the symbol is not the sign, but the reality and Paul's point here is not that the Gentiles who keep the law that the Jew is in no better position than the Gentiles. Neither Jew nor Gentile, will escape the judgment of God. So ritualism in and of itself is condemned by Paul verse 27 he who is physically uncircumcised, but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code.

The Mosaic law and circumcision, but break the law remembers a student several summers I went with an organization called Skype is for this country's evangelistic movement and we would go to small towns and villages in Scotland where there was no evangelical witness or that a very small one and part of the of the day was to go door-to-door was to speak to people in the streets with the going to coffee houses was the going to pop us wherever we could. And to tell people about Jesus Christ and to invite them to a gospel service to be held that night and so I remember going running these doors and got all kinds of receptions. Most of it pretty negative for those who would engage in conversation and the door. The most common response was this I hear what you're saying but I was baptized in the Kirk Church of Scotland Presbyterian infant baptism. All you got your fate. I got my I was baptized as a baby so always you go.

In other words, what can you tell me I'm all right with God's when I was a wee boy. My parents got me baptized and I'm all right. Don't you tell me that I need to do something else so you think people think that all right with God because they go to church because years ago.

They may have walked the Nile are because they were baptized as an adult Scripture is saying. And Paul is saying if there is no spiritual reality. These rituals these sacraments. These ceremonies are absolutely meaningless.

Now I realize people get comfort from these rituals, but these rituals will never Savior. Please give this I hope no one here is relying on their spiritual heritage will, however good it was that no one is relying on some ritual, some religious heritage to get you into heaven, the past that are the preacher of the priest may have told you that you're not a follower of Jesus Christ. But the reality is, if that was just an empty ritual in your life has never been changed.

You're still not right with God. It is still a profession rather than possession tonight as you, so hope you do. We have we have several of her brothers and sisters being baptized that the biblical command to the follower of Jesus Christ.

You need to be baptized as a follower of Christ.

But if someone signs and is baptized by immersion here at Calvary church and that is not the reality of salvation in their heart.

All that has happened is a dry person has become white and they are deceiving themselves they're deluding themselves if they think that they are right with God because they have gone through a knob and the ends of the church is the ordinance bad know was circumcision bad know it was God-given in the Old Testament, but the ritual without reality is meaningless. Don't point to your church membership don't point to your baptism doing fine to taking communion or putting up your hand in the service and to trust in these externals say, follower of Christ that is pro-fashion without possession. Religious rituals do not say you are not automatically right with God because you were baptized because you were a church member because you've taken communion you're saved.

Paul is going to say some wonderfully in this book that you are saved by trusting in Christ alone through the sacrificial work and that we can do nothing. And as we receive this give not only are we saved with our lives are transformed because God starts in salvation with the inside.

God is first concerned with your heart rather than the external know very quickly in verses 28 through 29, we see that God desires.

Paul is saying not I would religion but personal righteousness and the reality and regeneration. Verse 28. Four no one is a Jew summarizing his argument here, for no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, you got the volume circumcised.

No notice circumcision outward and physical by the Jew is one inwardly and circumcision as a matter of the heart by the Spirit, not by the Lancer's praise is not from mine but from God. You following this ritual without reality is meaningless.

Paul explains that tremendous shock to them. I'm sure he's explaining what an authentic Jew is and is not as our reality from the heart of a living, vibrant and growing faith in God to circumcision is a matter of the heart by the Spirit. I'm asking where is your heart is your heart not trusting in the eye would rituals, but the circumcision of the heart authentic follower of Jesus is not someone who merely subscribes to the Iowa trappings of religion, but one who has entered regeneration, one whose heart is changed and that brings us to the point that is none of us here who can change of heart and joining a church being baptized taken communion are all biblical things we should do them but they themselves will not change your heart. It is only the spirit of God can change your heart.

It is the inner regeneration by this veteran says Paul not buying the leather member Paul says in second Corinthians 3 verse six that the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. And so Paul saw a rather Jesus is confronted by a pharmacy and in John chapter 3 is a man who knows the Mosaic law.

"It is in experimented. He's also circumcised is a grade you invite is one of the leaders is all outgoing photo and furthermore he seems to be very, very sincere, and so he comes to Jesus by night and enters into this wonderful dialogue with them.

You can read it in John chapter 3, Jesus was listening to him. And Jesus shocks him by saying Nicodemus you got to understand that unless you are born-again you will not see you will not enter into the kingdom of God.

I understand your circumcised. I understand you know the law.

I understand you're very religious, I understand, to the best of your ability. You try to follow the Mosaic law, but you come short of what you need Nicodemus something from above to be born from above spiritual contour with God not just a externals not going through some formality, but something which changes the heart, not just a profession of the mouth without regeneration of the heart, leading to a transformation of the life to God is concerned with your heart and could it be that you been trying to reach Garden Grove right with God and deal with your sin with these externals and all the time God is there in his spirit and what's to come. And that's why Jesus says to Nicodemus and says to you and me today. You must be born again.

It is only the Holy Spirit who can change your heart. Religion can change your heart.

I can change your heart. Calvary church can change your heart.

Communion can change your heart. It is the spirit of God who changes our heart and then these externals I would demonstration of what is true internally. A supernatural work of the heart is what God's concern with God praises what the inner heart verse 29. So being religious doesn't give you immunity from the judgment of God.

God wants reality. Don't trust in your religion.

So again I ask you is of spiritual reality in your life or is the distant next time. No religiosity signs are important, but that only valid that only have meaning if they point to a reality during the week goes on the third floor. I saw the sign about some kind of dinner and it was pointing to the banquet room, I saw the sign by the why mine lasted when some dinner. Nothing wrong with the sign but I want to the sign on the back. Give me the dinner. Nothing wrong with the sign but the sign was pointing to the reality that somewhere, at some point I did was going to be sound in the banquet room. The signs with circumcision communion that pointing to the reality, the outward sign pointing to the invisible reality. So, has there been inner regeneration of work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, religion and ritualism. You see, can all be practiced without the power of God in your life.

You can go through some empties, sound money, whether it's walking and I'll weather is being baptized with taking communion and still not experience the saving power of God in your life. I ask you, do you know is a question answer before God.

Do you know anything about the payload of God in your heart you personally experience God's power in your heart, your sins are forgiven you receive the Holy Spirit. You are a new creature in Christ. How can it be that we depend on some external to get us into heaven, and that is never been spiritual regeneration is I'm speaking to many of you who claim to be and are authentic followers of Jesus Christ. Are you pursuing reality you living apart more concerned with what people think about you than what you are before God.

This is the circumcision of the heart.

Circumcision was a cutting of the flesh circumcision of the heart, its life separated nothing of the life's work separated and trusting Christ and obeying Christ. As we close. I'm asking that all of us is take a moment in the presence of God to reflect on their own sin on their own hypocrisy. Not one of us can say this does not apply to me in the opening chapters of Isaiah is usually the first five chapters of Isaiah the prophet. He is now receiving the pagan nations anything more to you or do you want to you because of the sin on the lives, then he comes into the temple of the Lord, and he says not will is you will is what's happened is in the presence of a holy God is heard the word of God. This is what God wants us doesn't who is me to be under the conviction of the holy spirit to have eyes open to the beauty of Christ, the perfect Savior who comes to us who saves us and didn't Wells us look to the wonder of our Savior who died for our sins and rose again and is alive don't trust and ritualism don't trust in some ceremonial J what I mean profession of faith, trust in Christ alone who saves you, who forgives you, and to also transform your life from the inside with spray because positive minutes, as each of us makes our own personal response to the Lord.

Father in regards we confess before your hypocrisy. Forgive us, thank you for these penetrating questions asked by Paul, thank you for the work of the spirit who convicts us for opening her eyes to our Savior who comes to forgive and to change. We want reality. Father, we want to be real. We want to be a real church, not some culturally Christian social club to experience the power of God, the power of the gospel in each of our lives into that and I pray for those who don't know Christ who perhaps a trusting and being baptized as a baby or some other virtual maybe flee to Christ, maybe understand that the blood of Jesus Christ his only hope that the trust Christ for those who are following Christ father, help us to discard all of that hypocrisy and to be real to truly have the circumcision of the heart separated from evil separated to you in the life of fruitfulness in the regions and blessing to others. Help us, O God, we pray, thank you for this mighty salvation that will dosing about that you are God who looks down in the Jesus came not to condemn us, but to save us. Maybe look to Christ the experience more and more.great salvation in his name

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