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Choosing Oranges Over Diamonds

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Steven Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 20, 2020 1:00 am

Choosing Oranges Over Diamonds

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Steven Davey

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Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and moral man says we don't care? See Paul's point in Romans Chapter two of his four is this The immoral unbeliever and the moral unbeliever are really just the same at heart. They couldn't care less about having a personal relationship with God. Good God sends them gifts. He constantly sends them the gift of falling snow.

He writes them letters of love on the petals of flowers. He sends his kindness to them at the dawning of every new day. But they don't care.

There's a hymn that reminds us of the truth. Stephen was just referred. Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling us to himself.

He doesn't force us to surrender, but he gives us the choice. It's tempting for unbelievers to misinterpret God's patience. The fact that God is patient in dealing with our sin could lead someone to think that God will never deal with sin. That's not true. Today on Wisdom for the Heart.

Stephen Davy is going to take us to Romans, where we see the forbearance and kindness of God, but also the urgency for us to deal properly with our sin.

Let's join Steven now for today's Bible lesson.

A frightened woman on the Titanic had already been given a place on one of the lifeboats. The lifeboat was about to be dropped into the raging North Atlantic. Even those who are on the lifeboats didn't know if they would survive. And she suddenly thought of something that she wanted in light of death that was now breathing down her neck. She asked if they could wait. And if she could just run to her state room for just a moment. And they said to her, you can but hurry. If you're not back in a moment or two, we're gonna have to lower away without you. So she got out and she ran across the deck, which was already at a perilous angle. She ran through the gambling room where money had piled on the floor and she didn't stop. She didn't even reach down and pick up a few bills. She ran until she reached her state room and she ran to a shelf that was over her bed.

And on that shelf was her jewelry box filled with diamonds. And she brushed the box aside. And behind that box were three small oranges.

She grabbed them and ran back to the lifeboat. And was lowered away, Sangster wrote, Death had boarded the Titanic.

One blast of it's awful breath had transformed all values instantaneously. Priceless things became worthless and worthless. Things had become priceless. In that moment of life or death, she preferred oranges to diamond.

In the Book of Romans, Paul is describing for us the foolishness of man throughout history as he distorts the priorities of life and inverts the value of everything. Remember, Chapter one is explained the guilt and the sinfulness of immoral people. Chapter two is in the process of describing the guilt and sinfulness of moral people. In Chapter three will chronicle the guilt and sinfulness of religious people so that you come to the end of Chapter three and Paul is able to say there is none righteous. No, not one. All of the world is guilty. Now, here in Chapter two, he deals with the moral man. And what is the root of the problem with moral people? I can summarize it in a word, although they are on a sinking boat. They would rather collect diamonds rather than oranges for the sake of applying the metaphor.

Let me define it this way. If you have your notes, an orange represents those things that are permanently valuable according to God's point of view, and the diamond is something that is preferred by mankind but is only of temporary value.

And what is the moral man prefer, oranges or diamonds? Well, Paul answers that question by asking a rhetorical question. Let's pick our study back up adverse for where he asks the moral person.

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? The phrase to think lightly translates a Greek word, which literally means to look down upon to look down your nose as sort of the phrase that we use today that comes from this word Kutter friend. Oh, now, Paul here in verse four specifically mentions three things that the moral man looks down on or underestimates. And these are true riches from the heart of God toward mankind. These, by the way, are those things of infinite eternal value, even though man might pursue his diamonds that are only of temporary value. These are, as it were, the oranges of God's riches. The first valuable from the treasure house of God's heart is the gift of kindness.

Paul writes. Or do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness?

The word is often, and maybe in your translation translated goodness. The first acts of God's goodness, if you go back in the catalog of scripture would of course, be a creation. Where in Genesis chapter one, verse three, God said, let there be light. And then he said of that light, It is good. You go through that chapter and he says in verse four or verse ten again, God saw that it was good. Again, in verse twelve, God saw that it was good. The first appearance of something good appeared at the creation. The acts of creation. But the full effect of God's goodness is seen by all creation.

Did you know that every person who has ever lived has personally experienced in some way, some small, some great the goodness of God? In many ways we call this in theological terms the common grace of God. That is, it is common to all men. It is common to all women. The Psalmist wrote, The Earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Everybody benefits from the goodness of God in some way, whether they realize it or not. In Matthew Chapter five, we read that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. That is a wonderful reference to the common grace of God.

One author wrote. He gives both the righteous and the unrighteous food to eat fire, to keep warm water, to quench thirst.

He gives us all blue sky, warm sun, green grass and beautiful mountains.

One of the amazing things about the goodness of God is that it extends to the unbeliever, the blasphemer, the wicked. Man, he allows them relationships that bring love and happiness.

He gives them the ability to thrill over the excitement of the birth of a baby. He gives them a sense of personal worth and he gives to them an intuitive knowledge of right or wrong. Unbelievers can paint. Unbelievers can sing. Unbelievers innovate and invent. They write symphonies. They build skyscrapers. They invent medical cures and computer programs. And they put together a cable TV networks.

The unbeliever can to a point much greater than we would allow. Where are we, God, to enjoy life? This is one of the riches of God that the moral unbeliever looks down his nose at and underestimates. So the moral man then becomes just like the immoral man at heart, the immoral man in chapter one, verse 21, it says of him, even though he knew about God, he did not honor him or give what?

Or give thanks, but became futile in his heart. His speculations, his foolish heart was darkened.

And so now here in Chapter two, even though they experienced the goodness of God, what do they refuse to do? Give thanks.

Honor him.

If I were God, I would make people say thank you. Thank you. Or you don't get any more rain.

Thank you. Or no more sunshine for you. Thank you. Or that's the last promotion. Thank you. Or no more health.

If I were God, I would be running around the universe leading and saying what scares me? I didn't hear you.

So they said, thank you. Oh, the men would praise the Lord for his goodness. Maybe you have in fact experienced some of that yourself. Maybe you've experienced the suffering of Christ as he wept over Jerusalem. Who would not love him? Maybe you know what it's like to give a good gift to a child and not be thanked. Maybe you know what it's like to love parents. They will not respond with love. Maybe it's your spouse, maybe your coworker, a friend, and you do everything you can do, but nothing is ever good enough.

And they look down their nose at your attempts, perhaps even ridiculing you for who you are.

You are then personally experiencing what Paul said in Philippians three, verse 10. The Fellowship of his suffering. See Paul's point in Romans.

Chapter two of his four is this The immoral unbeliever and the moral unbeliever are really just the same at heart. They couldn't care less about having a personal relationship with God. Good God sends them gifts. He constantly sends them the gift of falling snow.

He writes them letters of love on the petals of flowers. He sends his kindness to them at the dawning of every new day.

But they don't care. He is the scorned one. He is the ignored friend.

He is the trampled lover of their souls as they step around him and on him and they trample his gifts under foot.

That's not all Paul goes on in verse four to mention that the moral man thinks slightly of the forbearance of God and other gifts, then from the heart of God towards all of mankind, including the unbeliever, is the gift of forbearance. Now, this now appears only twice in the Greek New Testament both times and the letter of Paul to the Roman believers, the word and access comes from the root word, which means to hold back. He might write that in the margin of your Bible to hold back that act of hatred unleashed against the Savior could have called the armies of God's angelic hosts. John tells us that even right now, there are probably more than one hundred million angels worshiping at his throne. And Jesus said if he needed to for his defense, he could call just twelve legions.

Seventy two. Some thousand angels. All he'd have to do is snap his finger. And wicked, evil, envious, murderous man would be extinguished.

But there was forbearance. You have the ongoing extension of God's forbearance over these last two thousand years of blasphemy and wickedness and unbelief. They benefit from one more gift.

Paul tells us in the middle part of this verse, he uses a word translated in my text patience to compound word macro to me as the word macro we use in our own English language for something that is great, for something that is a large for something that is big. So in other words, God's patience is big. God's patience is great.

God's patience is long. That's why often English texts will translate that word long suffering.

He has a long Fuze compared to us. We have a what? A short Fuze. God is long in his patience. God has not lost his patients, as it were, for two thousand years. The judgment that does not come is not proof of his powerlessness. William Barclay wrote. It is proof of his patience. Incredible riches of his patients. Now, what should the response of man's heart be? Well, one is defiance.

That's what it is, though it shouldn't be there like a person clinging to a bag of heavy diamonds. Those temporary valuables in life while they're in the process of drowning.

We will not give up our diamonds.

And Paul describes how they have stored up wrath for themselves in verse five and they will eventually reach the end of God's patience. His long suffering will end. There will be no more gifts from the heart of God.

But the death of man, the judgment will come, the second response that Paul would hope for them to have is the response of repentance. He said the goodness of God or the kindness of God leads you to repentance. Repentance is changing your mind about oranges. Repentance comes from a word that means to change your mind. So you change your mind about life.

You change your mind about priorities. Those things that are considered insignificant to the world are very significant to you. You change your mind ultimately about God. You no longer look down your nose at him. You love him and you follow him.

You respond to the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience by saying, oh, can I do anything less than follow you?

Oh, God, I love you. You need to understand there are two kinds of repentance. Worldly sorrow and godly sorrow, worldly sorrow is simply remorse. It's the emotional feeling that temporarily feels sorry for being caught or for for the mess that the person's in. But it's short lived. It doesn't really produce godliness. The opposite of worldly sorrow is godly sorrow. It isn't just remorse. It is reorientation of the mind, heart and will. Remorse, if I can say it this way, is being sorry you got caught in sin. Repentance is being sorry you sinned.

Paul writes to the Corinthians and says, I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance, for you are made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us for the sorrow that is according to the will of God, produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation. But the sorrow of the world produces death.

And how does God bring an unbeliever to repentance? True godly repentance by the riches. Paul writes of his kindness. 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?

No translation reads in this way, the goodness of God is gently drawing you.

God draws you in. He doesn't drive you in. He has chosen not to use a club.

He has chosen to use a cross the arms of the saviors that were stretch outward, saying whosoever will may come. My friend, do you think lightly of the riches of God's kindness, forbearance? Patients, unbeliever.

The kindness of God has been extended to you today, once again, for you've heard the truth of Christ.

Will you defy him or will you receive him? Christian friend.

It's possible to be caught up in the circumstances of life and decide that God isn't kind after all. Do you know the repentance of God or the kindness of God moves you to repentance, first of all, for salvation and through your life? It is the goodness of God that brings you to those repeated moments of repentance for fellowship.

When the values get turned around and upside down, he also works in the lives of believers through his goodness in bringing them to repentance.

Our problem is that we tend to define God's goodness in light of weeks or months or years rather than in the light of eternity. I read a story recently about a Christian who had given up in despair. He had decided that God was not really good. He was a believer, but he believed that God wasn't kind. His name was David Flood. In 1921, he and his young wife, Sylvia, left Sweden for the heart of Africa as missionaries. They were soon joined by another missionary couple. So the story goes. And together they decided on a remote village. When they arrived at the village, the chief rebuffed them and would not allow them to testify of Christ in the village. And they had no choice but to go up a hillside and on a slope, build two huts made of mud. And then they prayed for a breakthrough. But none came. The only contact that they had was with a little boy who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Servais, a flood, decided that if this was the only contact that she could have with that African village, that she would try to lead that little boy to Christ. And she did. He accepted Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation through faith in Christ alone. And beyond that, there were no other encouragements. Nothing else happened, even though they prayed and sought God. In the meantime, malaria began to hunt them down. And soon the other couple decided that they'd had enough and they left for another mission location at a more comfortable region nearby. And David and Servais, a flood with their son, who had been born before they came, and they were left alone. In the midst of those trying times, they have found herself pregnant. And when the time came for the delivery of their child. The village chief Sophon, just enough to allow a midwife to come and help her.

And the little girl was born. It was too much for Savannah. She was exhausted and weak from her bouts with malaria, and she lived only another 17 days and she died.

Something inside of David Flood snapped and he dug a crude grave and he buried his 27 year old wife.

He took his son and his newborn daughter down that slope to the mission station. And he he handed the missionaries, his daughter. And he said to them, I'm going back to Sweden. My life is ruined. God is not good. God is not faithful. He has, in fact, ruined my life. And I don't know how to raise this little girl. He turned his back on his calling and on God himself, and he left. Within eight months, those adoptive parents of that little girl were killed by malaria. And the baby girl was given to another missionary couple who brought her and raised her in the United States. She'd been given the name Ayna. They changed her name to Aggy and she grew up in South Dakota. Eventually, as a young woman attended a Bible college, North Central Bible College in Minneapolis and married a man who entered the ministry. And years went by, Aggy knew nothing of her past. Apart from the fact of her parents brief missionary journey in Africa and her own birth there and the death of her mother, she had never seen her father.

She enjoyed with her husband a fruitful ministry. Her husband, Dewey, had become the president of a Bible college in Seattle. Then one day, a Swedish magazine arrived at their mailbox.

She had no idea who sent it, and she had not asked for it. But as she in fact, she couldn't even read it.

But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photograph stopped her cold. There, in a primitive setting was a picture of a grave with a white cross and on the cross with the words servais, a flood.

She rushed to the college. She found a faculty member who could translate the article and he sort of summarized quickly.

The article is about missionaries who'd come long ago and the birth of a baby girl in the death of a young mother and the one little African boy who'd been led to faith in Christ and how after the missionaries had left, a little boy had grown up and talked the chief in the building, a school for children, and he had won all of those students to faith in Christ. And the children had led their parents to faith in Christ. And the chief himself became a Christian.

And now there were 600 believers in that village, all because of the sacrifice of David and Surveille Flood for their 25th wedding anniversary. The Bible College gave Aggy and Dhuey a vacation to Sweden, where, among other things, she was going to find her father. It wasn't difficult to find them. David Flood had remarried, had had four children, but in bitterness, he had wasted away. After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and sister, Aggy brought up the subject of singer father and they replied, Well, you could talk to him. He's very ill. But you need to know he's had one rule and our family never mentioned the name of God.

God is not good.

Aggy was undeterred. She went to his room and approached him. He was now 73 years of age. He turned toward her and strangely enough, immediately recognized and began to cry. And he said, Ayna.

I never meant to give you away. It's all right, she said, Poppa. It's all right. God has taken care of me. With that, he stiffened and turned to face the wall.

She said, Papa, I want to tell you a true story. You didn't go to Africa in vain. Mama didn't die in vain. The little boy, you wonder.

The Lord grew up to win that village to Christ. Today there are 600 African people serving the Lord because you followed the call of God in your life of. But God had a plan all along.

He had a plan.

And he didn't forget who he turned from facing the wall and tears returned, they began to talk. And by the end of that afternoon, the kindness of God.

The kindness of God had brought him back in repentance. To fellowship.

Aggie and her husband returned to the states a few weeks later. David Flood went home to heaven. I know this is a long story, but there's a little bit more I want you to hear. A few years later, Aggie and her husband were tending an evangelism conference in London and a report was given from the nation of Zaire by the superintendent of the national church who represented one hundred and ten thousand believers. And he talked eloquently about the spread of the gospel in his country. Afterwards, Aggy couldn't couldn't wait. She ran up to him and she said, Have you ever heard of David and Servais Flood?

And he said, Yes, ma'am. As a little boy, I used to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week and severe flood led me to Christ. She told him who she was. And they embraced for a long time and cried.

And then he said, you've got to come to Africa. Your mother is the most famous person in our church history. We keep her grave. And in time, Maggie did come. She was greeted by throngs of cheering villagers taking to her mother's grave without white cross with the word severe flood written on them.

And she knelt in the soil. She gave thanks to a good. Patient.

Kind God.

Who planned the death of her mother, who planned those horrible events and why she knelt?

The national church leader, that boy had grown up read from the scriptures saying those who so in tears will reap with songs of joy.

My friend, do you think? Do you underestimate. The riches. Of God's kindness.

And forbearance. Patients. The world says, yes, we do not care. But the believer says, oh, no. Oh may never be. And he brushes away every diamond off the shelf and he reaches, as it were, for those three oranges in the world, laughs at his values. And the world mocks his decision. And the world can't understand his choices. But he grasps in his hands those treasures, and he takes his seat in the life boat of his life that faces churning dangerous water. And he holds he clutches in his hands. Those three precious gifts from God's heart, the patience of God, the forbearance of God, the kindness of good and faithful God.

Thanks for joining us, this is wisdom for the heart.

The Bible Teaching Ministry of Stephen Davy. You can learn more about us online at Wisdom Online, dawg. You'll be able to access the complete archive of Stevens Bible teaching ministry as well as each day's broadcast. Wisdom for the Heart publishes a monthly magazine called Heart to Heart. Each issue features articles written to help you grow in your faith and a daily devotional guide to keep you rooted in God's word.

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