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August 27, 2020 1:00 am
You will be on the heels of some crisis some confrontation, some crossroads of decision some difficulty or trial and you will turn your back on God, and you will admit to everyone and even to yourself. You really don't care anymore having any relationship with a holy and loving God will reveal the world that you were involved in church entity, but not true Christianity, you were religious but unredeemed are you living a lie or are you truly alive because of that felt like she was fine with God, they're not truly saved but their devout and therefore they think everything is okay.
The religion of most self-proclaimed Christians in America is not Christianity. It's churchy.
And while the differences between those two are often subtle. They hold eternal consequences.
The apostle Paul confronted that belief in Romans two and that's our theme today here on wisdom for the heart Stevens in a series called got religion and today's message is entitled churchy and the gospel by March.
The Lord told a parable about the sewing of the gospel seed. He revealed four different kinds of reception to the gospel from an outward appearance.
All the soils basically looked the same but only in one case was so perceptive probably know the parable.
On one hand, the soil was hardened in the gospel could not penetrate. In another case, the soil was also filled with the seeds of thorns and thistles, and they grew up with the seat and choked it out.
Still another case the seed when in the shallow soil of the seed took root in sprung up everything look good. The soil is rich in and capable, but under the surface of the soil were rocks and the roots grew down only so far until I ran out of nourishment of the plan died off so you have the hardened hearts of the crowded hearts, you have the insincere hearts. All our hearts that are not open. Ultimately, the gospel, although they all treat of the gospel somewhat differently. Some, as in the case of the insincere hearts seem to accept it seem to believe it seem to trust in a but ultimately the appearance of good soil eroded away and expose the unbelief in the rocky hardness of unbelief underneath. I tend to think of the depth of the soil and that parable in terms of time. In other words, there are some who accept the seed of the gospel and they seem to be good soil but it only lasts for six months or maybe six years or perhaps even 16 years, but eventually the insured to deep soul is eroded away and leaving the truth. The reality of an unconverted heart.
Sometimes the reality of of sin, soil, and not capable of handling the seed in its fruit is revealed through some tragedy.
Perhaps some crisis. Perhaps some turn of the financial event are some change in health. Maybe it's a personal challenge to their way of life and they turn on their heels and they walk away from Christ and they walk away from the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they ultimately reject the gospel and they reveal their unconverted hearts, and you have heard them perhaps say I used to believe that an used to cotton to that I don't anymore.
Sometimes it happens soon after the person prays what we call the sinners prayer they pray it seems to be genuine. It seems to be true, but over time that soil erodes away and it leaves the fact the reality that there wasn't true redemption. I mean all the time you I pray that Prairie. I believe that when I was a kid I used to believe in Jesus.
I used to go to church, saving a baptized and that I don't believe anymore 10 years. Perhaps two years, five minutes in the soil is washed away, revealing the rocky stony part of unbelief.
They only pray the sinners prayer because perhaps of some benefit of a SABS conscience or they pray for salvation so they could simply add God to their list of insurances they had auto insurance and fire insurance and disability insurance and medical insurance, and now they had eternal insurance and many of them, perhaps even today is to go to church maybe there are those here today like that. But if you look under the surface you discover the church for them is simply 1 More Way of looking morally good is simply another place. The passerine business cards meet potential clients way to enhance their personal reputation. The way to salve their conscience and make them feel better about themselves and spiritual activities is nothing more than a way of self promotion.
It is simply religious words attached to selfishness, just as Paul was condemned the immoral manner. Chapter 1 and just as he is condemned the moral man in chapter 2 now he has begun to condemn the religious man and with him the shallow systems of religion that look good, look righteous, say the right word.
They have the rituals in the creeds, the candles, the water, the smoke, the prayer mats the prayer wheels.
The temples in the Cathedral. The only thing the religions of this world can do is as we look at our last discussion is whitewash gravestone Jesus Christ said the religionist of his day you have whitewash the gravestone, but underneath there is death.
You look good you look clean but you represent all that is dead. The only thing that religion can do is put makeup on a corpse might look alive but is dead. Wasn't anyone more religious in Paul's day, anyone looked more alive than the faithful Jew, and they knew it.
The thought of anybody could gain the pleasure of God within them. If anybody had the safety of paradise awaiting them.
It would be the Jew, the faithful Jew and I believe there are thousands if not millions of Americans today feel they are safe before God. Why does he do the same thing that we talked about the six things that the Jews claimed feeling safe before God. They bore the special name of Jew today we bear the special name of Christian number two because of his dedication to the law. Three.
Because of his respect for God, for because of his special knowledge.
Five. Because of his keen insight into what was essential and finally, because of his biblical education. He said you have been instructed the Greek word is cut a cooling off switch. We transliterate and get our English word catechized or catechism.
You have been catechized in religion. He says that you are on your way. In effect, to hell. The faithful Jew felt safe before God because of all of the above they knew the creeds they knew the verses they knew the law. They knew the name of the one and only true living God.
They were sincerely religious, and committed to the religion and at the same time they were unredeemed when or how many people today feel because they bear the name Christian because of the dedication of the law because of the respect for God because of their special knowledge and inside of God's will because of their basic catechism in the word of God, they they know the difference in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
A furtive know they they know of Elijah.
They know there's a heaven they know there's a hell they can even cook perhaps some of John chapter 3 verse Dickstein there sincerely religious, and unredeemed.
That's not all. The guilt of the faithful Jew was compounded further with what Paul will now reveal in chapter 2, he revealed first of all, the six reasons why they felt safe before God eternally safe before God. But now, for reasons he will give why the faithful Jew felt entirely superior before men. The text says in verse 19 of Romans chapter 2. You are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind. The first reason the Jew felt superior was that he considered himself to be a spiritual supervisor. They had the attitude of what could God do without us. We are indispensable.
All of humanity. Those poor Gentiles will never make it, unless they have us guiding them and leading them.
They will miss the path we are the guide to the blind, Jesus Christ will tell them they are in effect belying guide Matthew 1514 Jesus said of the religious leaders they are blind guides of the blind and of a blind man guides a blind man. Both will fall into a pit.
Matthew 2316 the Lord instead of the Pharisee woe to you blind guides for 17 you fools and blind men. Verse 19 you blind in verse 26 you blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish that the outside of it may become clean. Also, by the way, Paul says the same thing about the religions of this world today when he writes in second printing is for. For the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. It is the nature of the enemy. It is the nature of religion to do what to assume to presume to seem to lead the blind that they themselves are blind. They would claim to be enlightened, but they cannot see spiritual truth that leads me to the second thought of the irony of it that you really felt himself superior before men, because he believed that he was the supervisor spiritually.
But he also believed he was the source of enlightened text says you're confident that your guide to the blinding light to those who are in darkness. Now it is true that God designed the Jewish nation to be the light of the world Jewish nation by God's design gave the world the prophets gave the world the book of Psalms or song through the Jewish nation we were given the Messiah, born of a Jewish virgin girl through the nation. God had promised that Israel in Isaiah 42, six would be a light to the Gentiles. It would be given the law. The Torah, they would be given the truth from God that they would share with the world. Get the nation then rejected the Messiah who came and announced that he was the light of the world here is true enlightenment. Here is the fulfillment of the law, the nation rejected 1/3 reason, the faithful Jew felt superior was because he considered himself to be the standard of morality in verse 20 were given the phrase you also are confident then that you are a verse 20 correct or of the foolish, the word corrector here in the text has within it. The idea one who draws the boundary one who draws the line I was over here yesterday before the soccer tournament driving up to my kids. We can help and do for a few minutes I watch one of the guys pushing the little contraption with a wheeled laid down the chalk drew the boundaries straight white line you want to know any about soccer to know that everything has to happen within those white line in the libido that abounded up to the referee to blow the whistle and determine, by whom and when out in which team gets the throw it in the referee then will call the shots.
You will literally correct those who go out of bounds. The faithful Jew was saying, in effect, I am the one who blows the whistle. I am the referee I have drawn the lines and I determine the where everybody plays and if anybody crosses what I consider to be the line a couple of the whistle and call them out about they considered themselves to sorta be the moral policeman of the world will see in a moment they had failed to police themselves for threes in the faithful Jew felt superior was because he considered himself to be the spring of wisdom.
Paul writes to you are confident that you are a guide to the blind. You are a light to those who are in darkness. You are a corrector of the foolish, and now you are a teacher of the immature, having in the wall. The tour of the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth you consider yourself to be a teacher of the immature of the word immature.
He refers to the Gentile who is converted to Judaism when we refer to as a Gentile proselyte. The New Testament talks about in the book of acts, God-fearing Gentiles.
These were Gentiles, and left their idolatry and were proselytes to Judaism. They went through circumcision and began to worship the God of Israel, and they needed teaching of course the Gentiles knew nothing of Judaism. They didn't know anything about the Torah.
The law of God. The trouble was, the Jewish leaders were teaching their traditions as doctrine. They were bringing in the proselyte and they were introducing them the ritual instead of a relationship with a holy and loving God. So the Gentile proselyte, the immature one was worse off than before Jesus Christ, to the very thing in Matthew 2315, when he said woe to you scribes and Pharisees because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one you make him twice as much a son of hell is your cell. Imagine a kind of preaching that, imagine it today. His harshest words were for the religionists of his day. I could know but think of how many people in this country today consider themselves to be superior to the rest of the world because they know the truth about the Bible and of the law of God to teach a Sunday school class are concerned of the waywardness of the world and of the standards of morality, but they do not know God. Religious but unredeemed you say will how do I know if I've been deceived. How I examine my face to see if I'm truly redeemed for the next few verses the apostle Paul will take the broom of Scripture, and he will brush away what seems to be good soil and will reveal underneath the rocky soil of unbelief. He will provide five questions that will confront their and our sense of safety and security five questions that will reveal the truth of good soil and good seed which bears good fruit, or the utter lack thereof.
The first question in verse 21 asks you, and therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself. In other words, the faithful Jew knew the truth and taught the truth of the law but had not applied.
Number one the truth to his own life there religious creed had not produced righteous conduct. What they said they believed had no effect on how to behave.
Now Paul when he asks this question, you need to understand when he asked the question.
You therefore to teach another, do not teach yourself is expecting them to say something like what you mean we don't teach ourselves, we mean we don't apply the law to ourselves. Haven't you been watching us.
We wash our hands ceremonially before we we refrain from working on the Sabbath.
We won't even take a chair from one room to the next, because I would be working on the Sabbath day we will walk 20 yards past our front door. That would be journeying on the seventh day we keep all of the festivals and feasts. We never miss a sacrifice we fast and we pray and we give alms to the poor.
What you mean we don't apply the truth of our lives.
Paul says, in effect on blood you asked for specifics, because he goes on to give verse 21. The middle part you who preach that one should not steal, do you steal and you notice Paul under the brilliance of the Holy Spirit is not calling them out right. They probably close, but one way, he simply asking them.
Are you thief he's asking a rhetorical question expecting them to have their consciences provoked to you steal the Lord Jesus had already condemned the religionists of his day for turning his father's house into a den of what seems instead of it being a house of prayer do you claim to know Christ today you claim the name of Christian and at the same time, do you steal what about the workaday world of business.
According to one study by the American management Association US businesses annually lose over 10 billion to employee pilferage. Everything from staples to stamps to software products to long distance telephone calls to falsified business expense report 10 billion, do you steal over 4 billion years of embezzlement over 2.4 billion burglary over 2 billion businesses lose at the shoplifting over 1.3 billion to arson for the sake of insurance over 500,000 per incident of computer fraud. The distinction Paul would say, then between a religious person and a true believer. The difference between churchy entity and Christianity.
Paul seems to believe in a right under the influence of the Holy Spirit is seem to believe it. Of course, is honesty, integrity euros steal an unbeliever may tell a lie to get his way. A believer tells the truth, even though he won't get his way to the marks of true conversion arrangement. First of all, is not apply the truth of his own life. Secondly, he is not evidenced the quality of honesty. Paul goes on to verse 22 to ask you who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery.
So the third point would be this the religious men will talk about how sexual sin is wrong is in our society corrupt, but he will not of purified his own heart.
Do you commit adultery.
Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers in chapter 4 verse 17 so this I say in a firm together with the Lord that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk in the futility of their mind. That is, they are deceived and are mind being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, they think they're spiritually alive, but they're not because of the ignorance that is in them because of the hardness of their heart and they having become callous have given themselves over to what to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with greediness, but you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you've heard of him and you been taught in him, just as truth is in Jesus that in reference to your former manner of life you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the loss of deceit.
In other words, one of the chief characteristics of the unbelieving world is a daughter abandonment to sexual license and sexual activity and fulfillment outside the bonds of marriage. The world revolves around sensuality.
The world revolves around the physical. You've seen it is much as I have infected desensitizes us to the fact that everything from automobiles to soft drinks tells by somehow. First, attracting people to some form of sensual or sexual benefit. The Bible calls relations involving a married individual was someone other than their spouse. Adultery, not a fling in a passing affair, not a self fulfilling relationship, but a midlife crisis. Adultery, the Bible calls sexual sin between two people who are unmarried, fornication, not experimentation, not a right of passage for young people, not something that's all right if you're going to marry fornication.
Jaelyn Pearson wrote a book several years ago he wrote these words. A call for sexual integrity and fidelity is like a solitary voice today crying in the wilderness.
What once carried a stigma of guilt and embarrassment is now called an affair, a nice sounding almost inviting word wrapped in mystery and excitement. What was once behind-the-scenes, is now in headlines.
It is now movie thing is now a bestseller is now become as common as the cold if the religious leaders and said to Paul, I have never committed that he would've reminded them of what Jesus Christ had earlier said in Matthew 528 everyone looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
You see it's an issue of the heart is a matter of the heart. He suggests there that there is a line that you cross between a look in the fantasy.
The heart, the sin went off the road we could define the line between temptation, which is not soon and lust which is sin. This way, lust is the desire that conceives a plan to possess. When a look turns into desire you've crossed the line.
Adultery in the heart is lost that mentally engages in fantasy adultery in the flesh is lost that carries out the fantasy would you catch this in Romans chapter 2 Paul is basically asking the respectable synagogue going moral upstanding religious faithful Jewish person and leader of his day. Have you committed the sin of lusting and scheming about sexual relations with someone other than your spouse in your heart or have you even taken the steps and physically committed the act is a question that was asked in the first century is a question that needs to be asked in the 21st-century and I attach to the question.
The thought that it is a distinguishing mark of those who may be religious, and those who are truly redeemed in terms of evaluating true conversion. It is tragic that today the same statistics of immorality exist within the church is outside the church is there spiritual deception. It would be this principle. One of the greatest evidences of true conversion is a passion for purity doesn't mean you don't fail, but there is a passion. There is a lifestyle. There's a practice of holy living. So much so that even the thought even at less than the heart brings you to confession brings you the wagon he brings you before God. Guilt and remorse. True repentance.
Do you commit adultery. Paul goes on to say or ask in the last part of verse 22. Have you chosen God over money he says is this what you who abhor idols, do you rob temples. It's a very difficult expression to understand there are a number of interpretations all save you those for the sake of time, but I personally believe insight is what Paul means. Here's provided the two things. The first is a verse from Deuteronomy, please read it to you for the second time. God is morning. By the way the Israelite about the gold and silver gods made by the idolatrous nations around the God commands this the graven images of their gods. You're to burn with fire you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.
In other words, while the Israelite would never consider bowing down before gold and silver idle. They would love to get their hands on the gold and melted down, but the touch. The idle according to the law would be the filing accident were to keep their hands off them. Second thing that I think gives insight into this comment was made by Josephus of first century Jewish historian who wrote these words quote let no one blaspheme those gods which other cities. Esteem, nor may anyone steal, here's the interesting insight or may anyone steal what belongs to strange temples nor take away the gifts that are dedicated to any God, what I believe was happening was twofold.
First, the Jewish people were using idols for material purposes, even those defiling the reader melting down the golden and the silver and using it for their own bank accounts. It was a defiling Association.
Secondly, they were trafficking in stolen goods they would have people stealing from the idols. Those things for the temples or things you know idols, and they would trafficking this black market, it was commerce over character. It was money being more important than their holy living before God.
One of the marks. By the way of the unbeliever is that whatever the choice has to be made between money or God career or character business or face money business career usually went commerce, greed and materialism of the true marks of the unbelievers, unconverted, selfish, stony heart.
So today so we can practical. Take a look sometime at your checkbook how much of a given to Christ in his worldwide mission, and how much you become for yourself teasingly self deceived.
Look at the facts. Your answers may be a revelation that the soil in your life to be only an inch deep good-looking.
It looks religious it sounds religious, but one day it will erode away.
Maybe today is the moment where you will leave this place and have had enough to live my life out now and unbelief. Perhaps others of you. It'll be on the heels of some crisis some confrontation, some crossroad some decision some difficulty or trial and you will turn your back on God, and you will admit to everyone and even to yourself. You really don't care anymore of having any relationship with a holy and loving God, you will reveal to the world that you were involved in church entity, but not true Christianity, you were religious but unredeemed on the road that leads to hell. Stephen, are you trying to get me to question the sincerity. My faith yes return to get me to question the reality my salvation for the apostle Paul himself said we should examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith.
Second Corinthians 13 five and that's exactly what he's doing. In Romans two, he's doing it to the religious world of his day. He is challenging them.
Ladies and gentlemen to answer the most important question they will never have to answer.
He is asking them.
Are you living a lie or are you truly alive. I hope this time in God's help, less today.
Thanks for joining us this is wisdom for the heart. The Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey Stephen is the president of shepherd's theological seminary in Cary, North Carolina. You can learn more about us and the seminary. If you visit our website which is wisdom online.org the archive of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge while you're at that site. Be sure and sign up to receive heart-to-heart magazine, heart-to-heart magazine features articles to help you grow in the Christian faith in the daily devotional guide so that you can spend time with God in his word each day. Heart-to-heart magazine is a gift that we sent to all of our wisdom partners but to introduce you to it. Would like to send you the next three issues with no charge and no obligation to call us today at 86 648 Bible 866-482-4253. Thanks so much for joining us today and please be with us tomorrow for our next lesson right here on wisdom for the heart