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January 8, 2021 12:00 am
Human law and the exercising of it is an imperfect science, human law has a loophole we can plead extenuating circumstances, and even if we lose our case we can appeal the wire card and if we lose there. We can appeal to it. Even higher court. Even after all of our appeals are exhausted.
We end up in prison. We can write letters and write books and movies made about our lives and we can do anything but be quiet here at the scene silent spend a lot of time acting like their innocence or trying to convince others that they are. When's the last time you made an attempt to cover up yours. Well the day is coming when our sin will cause us to be silent because there will be nothing to say. We will stand before perfect judge. We will know that we are guilty and will be completely at his mercy.
Thankfully, mercy is what God offers us, God has constructed a bridge that spans the gap between our guilt and his deliverance here Stephen Devi with more on this in a lesson called bridging Niagara in 1848 Charles Ellet was an American engineer who was actually considered a little out of his mind. He believed that a bridge could be built across the raging rapids formed by the Niagara Falls. He planned to build a bridge just upstream from this falls where 37 million gallons of water cascade over the edge. Every 60 seconds. Over time, the water that rushed over the edge and cut a deep abyss into the rock in the basin below them sort of float onward in a series of white-water rapids through an area called the Niagara Gorge.
Charles Ellet believed that he could span the Niagara gorge. Everyone predicted almost universally predicted failure gorge was nearly a thousand feet across. It plummeted 200+ feet straight down.
There was no way to have bridge supports the raging current wouldn't allow that for very long, and so he was convinced that he can build the suspension bridge, which at that point in time in the mid-1800s was a rather tenuous idea.
In fact, only a year or two earlier, the great suspension bridge over the Ohio River had collapsed in heaving, twisting ball of metal as it collapsed into the river and so for this idea was considered rather tenuous.
Besides, has an engineering even begin to get the cable from the American side to the Canadian side to begin construction well solve that rather ingeniously. He offered to award the first person who could fly a kite across the gorge a five dollar bill on the day the competition began. The river gorge was the side. It was packed with people and they said that you could see the sun for all of the kites. People were attempting to fly over the gorge and no one succeeded on the first day on the second day little boy succeeded young Mr. Walsh. He won the prize the string of his kite was fastened to a tree on the other side there, and a light cord attached to it, and then slowly pulled back over and then a heavier cord attached to dad and returned and then a heavier rope until finally, that steel cable made its way across Niagara gorge when that steel cable was securely anchored on both sides. Ellet decided to demonstrate his faith in that cable. He built an iron basket and attached it to the cable with a series of pulleys literally pulled himself along, becoming the first man in history to across the great chasm from above. He wrote this in his journal. He said the wind was high and the weather was cold.
It was a very interesting trip for me perched up as I was 240 feet above the rapids viewing from the very center of the river. The great Niagara Falls a few weeks later, he finished the catwalk, which is just a series of wooden slats and he announced another demonstration. He gathered a rather large crowd, and then he leaped into a small horse-drawn carriage and rumbled fearlessly onto that little tiny bridge which swayed fearfully, which by the way, at this point didn't even have the guardrails and women fainted and everyone was dumbstruck at this engineer turned man but he was proving his point. The unthinkable was possible.
This bridge was soon completed. It was a marvel of engineering a steel cable suspension contraption Niagara had been bridge if you wanted to you could take your pencil or your pen in the first three chapters of Romans, and right somewhere in the margin. The summary of everything that Paul is been describing, and it would be simply this great chasm, Paul describes the great chasm between God and man.
Romans chapter 1 were first informed of how deep this abyss is and how impassable it is as he talks about mankind refusing to believe the testimony of creation as it points a universal finger to creator. That is refused. Chapter 2 we learn that man stubbornly resists the silent witness of the conscience as it whispers in the heart and mind of mankind. Your sinful your sin, your guilty. There's something wrong with you.
Chapter 3 we learned man in spite of creation in spite of conscience doesn't turn to God, he turns away from God. He doesn't understand spiritual things. He doesn't even want spiritual understanding.
He doesn't respect God he reviles God and man will say some nice things about God and maybe even show up in a church service where we go through that though the rather pious platitudes around our culture and our country. In fact, our world and everything will be okay as long as God doesn't get pushy. As long as God doesn't demand ownership.
Everything will be fine, but man is incurably religious. Sydney he has to worship something. And so Paul is informed us in chapter 1 that man worships nature.
In chapter 2, man worships his own morals. Chapter 3 worships himself. So for the entirety of these three chapters nearly the entirety of them. They form the first section in the book of Romans. In fact, you could end the chapter chapter 3 verse 20 I think a little better than continuing on in verse 21.
This forms the first section which which you can write just it. It's a simple description of the gifts.
It's a description of the chasm.
It is leading the world to an understanding that nobody will bridge this Nyack you can't get across.
You need a bridge that a divine engineer can create Paul and we've spent a lot of time and when I can review it, read a few scriptures from it but basically holds up the mirror of divine revelation. Any he says to mankind.
Listen, here's here's what you look like. Here's who you are and we looked at the description and you know as well as I do, just in our own world.
You don't get mad at mirrors. Do you cannot argue with mirrors you agreed with her this morning. Fortunately right and you took some drastic steps so that the world would not panic when they saw you funny a few days ago my eight-year-old daughter had a sleepover which is a contradiction in terms. Sleep has nothing to do with coming over and then any rate, she and her little friend were up until 3 AM. I had promised charity that I'd make pancakes in the morning. I thought you gone to bed so late here that that specialty won't be missed and 6 AM. They are up, and as frisky as those little puppies. I brought a few months ago. The only thing is I couldn't take them and put Amanda back in time to treat which I thought of doing every so often, but anyhow the doorbell rang and the father to pick up this other girl earlier than I thought and that I'd gotten up and made pancakes and went to the door and opened it and that I notice he gave me kind of a double look and after his daughter came and left. I went back and looked in the mirror and is wearing his old terrycloth bathrobe and slippers in my hair was sticking straight out and down in my eyes and well okay nothing was done. I just like the mayor laugh about it for a guy only wonders what in the world but you know the truth is we we all every day. Typically, at some point before ready to face the world. Take a look at.
We agree with and argue with mirrors what he has held that the mirror before us. Let's review quickly in chapter 1 verse 29. He describes mankind this way. He says mankind is filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, verse 30, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, everybody. Whoever reads this text enough to find himself in every phrase, but the point is, everybody finds themselves in this somewhere without understanding verse 31 on trustworthy, unloving, unmerciful at all.
Though they know the ordinance of God.
In other words, they know the difference between right and wrong.
Intuitively, even though they know that and that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do them but they give hearty approval to those who practice in chapter 2 verse four he describes mankind.
Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance.
But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his D and over in chapter 3 he describes man again in verse 10 he says there is none righteous, not even one, there is not no understand there is none who seeks for God all turned aside. They have all become useless. There is none who does good.
There's not even one is not necessarily talking about individual acts is talking about the character and nature of man.
None of us can say I am good entirely. None of us.
He says in verse 13. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips's mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood destruction and misery are in their paths in the path of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes and respective this is the inspired revelation of humanity. This is the divine description of how deep and how why that chasm is this is the raging white water of sinful behavior. This is the Niagara Gorge. The nobody will be able to leap across the matter how fast your Ryan are how good jumper you may be, no matter how you figured out the angles and taken the best launching place. You will never make it across the chasm. It must be bridge at this point, he now summarizes as he completes this particular thought that began in the middle of chapter 1.
He now ends it with one sentence and I want to look this morning that sentence is verses 19 and 20. Let's start with verse 19 now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth they be closed and all the world may become accountable to God. Did you hear that the very thing the world resists the very thing that makes people angry. The very thing the world hates to consider whatever happened, he says will happen one day. All the world will become accountable to this God product costs is the word translated accountable. It's the only time in the Greek New Testament, it appears it's a word that means under decay.
The sentence of justice under the sentence of divine justice. Kramer writes it speaks of one who is bound to suffer what is imposed for the sake of justice because he has neglected to do what is right. Evidence Smith defined it this way.
As someone who was brought to trial.
In other words, Paul is saying that all the world eventually not final judgment. We call the great white throne will be brought to trial before God and even now is under this sweeping declaration that they are in fact even now under the sentence of guilt. It includes all of humanity, of all time. Did you notice in that verse. The middle part of verse 19. How that mankind will step up to that throne and give this wonderfully articulate defense go back and look what is the world doing what is it say every mouth will be what will be closed. See, this is the exact opposite of especially the American thought of justice. This is the opposite of the court of law there in a human court of law is expert defense witness and testimony to trial by our peers but our peers are also sinful.
They can excuse sinful behavior. They may even be bribed and influence others toward a wrong verdict. Even the judges are always upright in their decision. They can also make mistakes their innocent people that have served time in prison. Shuman law and the exercising of it and the application of it is an inexact and imperfect science Shuman law has a loophole we can plead extenuating circumstances, and even if we lose our case we can appeal. Though a higher court, and if we lose there.
We can appeal to an even higher court even after all of our appeals are exhausted. We end up in prison. We can write letters and write books and movies made about our lives and we can do anything but be quiet. Paul says here at the scene. There's silence. Silence.
Wonder what the scene is like the great white throne.
He tells us there is absolute silence. Paul declares that man is indefensible so is silent and man is indefensible because man is inexcusable in sin, wise that look at the latter part of his sentence beginning in verse 20 because by the works of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
In other words, nobody will ever get to heaven by keeping the law because no one can. First of all, but secondly, one of the reasons God gave the law was to simply prove that mankind couldn't keep it. Paul says, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Now that doesn't excuse our sin, it just reveals to us that we are sinners. JB Phillips was a British scholar of the New Testament language you paraphrase the New Testament. I have a copy of his New Testament in my library because he was English he occasionally use British terms for concepts that for a wonderful light. I've always enjoyed reading his text just gives new light like Romans chapter 3 verse 20 in England, at least in his generation, a ruler or a yardstick was called a straight so when Phillips came to this verse and wanted to paraphrase for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. He wrote it this way. Indeed, it is the straight edge of the law that shows us how crooked we are. That's good.
Give a try to hang wallpaper you ever try to hang wallpaper with stripes on it that will destroy your marriage not speaking from experience that you get the picture while you're hanging out wallpaper and everything is going fine until you come to that window and can you believe the builder built that window crooked that that this terrible angle know the truth is what you hang in the wallpaper crooked new fuss and fume about it and there's nothing out you can do it taken down and start over. Lori hang pictures crooked like it so it kinda makes it disappear. Hang flowers or do something, but to the straight edge of that window frame will never straighten that wallpaper out to lend a hand. It can only reveal that you hung your wallpaper crooked fashion. When you go out and you drive and you see that speed limit sign that says 45 miles an hour that sign that declaration of law will never help you drive in law-abiding fashion. The only thing that'll do is reveal to you whether or not you go back to the analogy of the mirror, you look in the mirror and you see a dirty face. The mirror will never wash your face. It'll only reveal that you are dirty you look into the mirror and it varies specifically without apology without holding anything back shows you that you need to wash you need to shave, you need to get a comb or up or brush out. See the function of the mirror is to come. Hell, you to urge you to invite you to pick up the brush and comb your hair.
But it is powerless to come before you, so also the law is God's gift to us not to make us feel guilty, but to show us why we are. The law didn't make you guilty people try to erase the lot on our lives, they can all feel better. The law didn't do that. It simply proves why we feel that way because we are so the law will never convert they can only challenge so for the one that says I'm to get into heaven because I'm really trying to keep the laws missed the point of the law want to says I want to try my best to be moral and upstanding and clean living that person is in effect asking the mirror to wash his face but cannot do it. So the law can show you how crooked and dirty.
Your heart is, but it is powerless to wash sin away see my friends as Paul summarizes here what is about to do is introduce the Savior to the center, but he is spent nearly 3 chapters 1st preparing the soil by introducing the center to his need for a Savior. He has described in living color. The great chasm between God and man this terrible of this created by the sinfulness and depravity of mankind. But then he will and will begin with great earnestness to look at what Paul describes for us as the divine connection that bridges this deep has he will describe for us, Jesus Christ, and the bridge that began like that little kite string just the simple birth of a little baby conceived by the Holy Spirit, yes, but just a little baby.
That string pulled across a heavier string we could call Christ blameless and sinless life without a rope was then returned across the abyss. It was Christ miraculous authentication of his claim to be God in the flesh Messiah Chris Stotts then that pulled an even heavier rope. It was his unblemished living that allowed him to hang on that cross and paid the penalty for the sins of the world.
And finally, that could pull cross that steel cable which anchors our redemption. We call it the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that bridge now would be and could be constructed upon and through and in all about the life and person of Jesus Christ who would say I am the way, I am the truth, I'm the life. No one comes to the father except by me.
Another way of saying you can get to heaven unless you walk across the bridge that I have not only designed but the material of which is my life, death and resurrection. There's a British poet that I came across in one of the commentaries I was reading in this text. His name was Robert Herrick. He lived about the same time as William Shakespeare and he called from classical mythology, in which the Greek hero Hercules was given the impossible task of cleaning the stables, the filthy stables of King obvious. He compared the human heart to the stable as he wrote Lord I confess that thou alone art able to purify this all in stable be the seas water and all the lands so get if thy blood not wash. There is no hope. Paul, his under the inspiring influence of the spirit of God finished his first thought in this letter, and he has accomplished his goal. He has basically brought the whole of humanity.
Before the throne of God and shown man why. At that moment they will be able to say nothing.
There is no prayer for judgment. It's too late to pray but I want you to know that that's still a future scene. It's a future scene, which means that there is still time to pray there still time to the right time to trust Jesus Christ. Now this is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi. We have information to help you understand more of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how you can be saved. It's posted on our website and you'll find it under the about tab on our homepage, our web address is wisdom online.org we call it God's wisdom for your heart. It's also on our app for your phone or tablet so you can take it wherever you go and use that as a tool for sharing with others.
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The lesson you heard today comes from a series called the depravity of man, the deliverance of God. It's actually the eighth and final lesson in that series.
So I want to make you aware of some corresponding resources. This series is available as a set of CDs or as a digital download.
We also have a booklet called the depravity of man, the deliverance of God and again all of these resources firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us at eight 648 Bible.
I want to share a couple notes received Susie from Wichita, Kansas, said thanks for your wonderful ministry. I try to listen to the daily broadcast every day and use the sermon transcripts and Stephen's books to enhance the Bible study I lead in my home. I been a leader and Bible study Fellowship for many years and I'm so appreciative of the depth of his research in the personal applications to share with my ladies in that group.
I appreciate the opportunity to contribute in a small way. So thanks again. You almost certainly illustrate how to glorify the Lord and Savior, and you bless so many through your diligent teaching of the word. Thanks Susie and Michael from Texas, said my day would not be the same if I couldn't listen to Stephen each morning on the radio this messages are so insightful, interesting, and biblically sound. I thank God each day that he's allowing me the opportunity to tune into wisdom for the heart on BBN. Thanks, Michael.
And thanks to all of our wisdom partners who make this ministry possible were grateful if you'd like to send us a note address it to email@example.com have a great weekend and join us Monday for more list for the heart