Sunday, August 30, 2009

ROMANS: Part 1 ~ Apostasy Among Us

Our Great Commission

ROMANS

Part 1: Apostasy Among Us

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS

6:00PM Evening Service at the church –

“Seminary Students will be preaching”

Monday 5:00PM Bible Study

Tuesday Women’s at Lori’s 5:00PM

Men’s on Friday at the church 8:00PM

WHERE WE ARE AT

Maturing in Christ

Understanding in Christ

Love of God

God’s Spiritual Fruit

This Series: The Book of Romans

Previously:

TODAY’S SERMON: Our Great Commission

Romans

Part 1: Apostasy Among Us

SCRIPTURE READING

Romans 1:20-21
For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His external Power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

INTRODUCTION

The first chapter of the Epistle (or letter) to the Romans was not intended to be read aloud, but to be a dreadful message to those who read it from the Word of God.

Some of the words have lost their original intent because of our changing times, and the general acceptance of sin against God under the guise of “tolerance”.

A missionary traveling to India, after reading the first chapter of Romans, was approached by a Hindu after the service. He asked the Pastor, “Did you write that first chapter to the Romans after your first visit here?” The missionary replied, “No, I didn’t write it at all. It was written nearly two thousand years ago.”

The Hindu was quite shocked and amazed at the accurate description of the sin described in Romans, believing it was a description of India because of the sinful condition there.

However, today, we are not talking about India, nor are we talking about ancient Romans from two thousand years ago. But we are going to speak about ourselves, and about some people here whom the text fits. Today I am speaking to some who are “without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were they thankful.”

I. The first charge against those who are mentioned in the text is, WANT OF REVERENCE. "They knew God," but "they glorified him not as God." They knew that there was a God; they never denied his existence; but they had no reverence for his name, they did not render him the homage to which he is entitled, they did not glorify him as God.

This unfortunately is still true today.

· They never think of God, year to year no thought of Him. Not in words or in thought.

As the Psalmist puts it, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not at all in his thoughts."

· The marginal reading is very expressive: "All his thoughts are, There is no God." Whether there is a God, or not, makes no practical difference to the wicked; they have so little esteem for him that, perhaps, if we could prove that there were no God, they would feel easier in their conscience.

Rev. Charles Spurgeon said “There must be something very wrong with you when you would rather that there were no God. "Well," says one, "I do not care much whether there is a God or not; I am an agnostic. "Oh!" I said, "that is a Greek word, is it not? And the equivalent Latin word is 'Ignoramus'." Somehow, he did not like the Latin nearly as much as the Greek. I could not bear to be an "ignoramus" or an "agnostic" about God! I must have a God; I cannot do without him. He is to me as necessary as food to my body, and air to my lungs.”

· The sad thing is, many believe there is a God, yet they “glorify Him not.” They do not give Him a thought.

My question to you is, do you go on without glorifying Him? Do you go from the beginning of the week to the end without reflecting upon God at all?

Do you feel you could do as well without God as with Him? Is that the case?

There must be something very terrible in the condition of your heart when, as a creation, you can do without a thought of your Creator, when He has nourished you, and brought you up, yet, is nothing to you, is not one you ever think of?

These people have no true conception of who God is, if God is anything, then He has to be everything!

You cannot put God in second place.

He is Almighty, All-wise, All-gracious, knowing everything, being in every place, constantly present, the emanations of his power found in every part of the universe. God is infinitely glorious; and unless we treat him as such, we have not treated him as he ought to be treated.

Shall we set God aside and say to Him, “When I have more time, I will spend it with you, when I have more money, I will attend to religion, when I can be a follower of you and not lose anything by it, then I will seek you”?

Beware your wrong thinking of God. “When they knew God, they glorified Him not.”

· There are some who think of God a little.

but they never offer him any humble, spiritual worship. Do not imagine that God can be worshipped by anything which is merely mechanical or external, but which is from the heart.

Is your conception of God that he desires your gold and your silver, and your brass and your fine linen, and all these adornments? Do you think that he is as yourself?

If so, you have a poor conception of God.

When the music is playing at full volume, but your heart is not singing, do you think God’s ears like a man, can be tickled with sweet sounds?

Why do you bring God down to our level?

Does he want candles when his torch makes the mountains to be great altars, smoking with the incense of praise to the God of creation? I fear that it has been true of many who externally appeared to be devout, "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God"!

Weep over your sin: now have you glorified him as God. Fall on your face, and be nothing before the Most High: now you have glorified him as God. Accept his righteousness; adore his bleeding Son; trust in his infinite compassion. Now you have glorified him as God, for "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

How far have you complied with that?

II. Now I take from the text the second accusation, which is certainly quite as sad as the other. Those who are mentioned by Paul are accused of WANT OF GRATITUDE. It is said of them that "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful."

We say so many times in our lives, “I wish I knew what I ought to do, which way to go…” and it does begin with being thankful.

Be thankful for each “thou shalt,” in the scriptures, and for each “thou shalt not!”

Be thankful for plain direction in God’s Word.

God’s day is dishonored by those who are not thankful to Him.

They cannot come to worship, praise and cry out to Him on His day, but that very same day will go and spend the day as a family of amusement, sport or anything other than service to God.

They rob God of his day, even though it is only 1 of seven.

God’s book is also neglected by ungrateful men and women.

He has given us a Book, so full of wisdom and love. Heaven can be found between those pages.

A father’s love letter to his son, which goes unread far too often.

God’s Son, refused by the unthankful.

God had but one Son, infinite, holy, His delight! Whom left His home in heaven, coming to earth to be a servant, and died the death of a felon, the death of the cross, and all to save us, all for the guilty, all for men who were His enemies.

I loathe my sin and wicked ways which drove Jesus to the cross…but this must be one of the mysteries that the angels cannot comprehend, that after Christ died, there were still sinners found who would not be saved by Him.

They refused God’s Son, His holy sacrifice for payment of our sins.

They chose hell rather than salvation.

So in love with their enemy, sin, that they refused to be reconciled with God.

When you are compelled to say “I’ve been lucky…” instead thank God, there is no such thing as luck, God is in complete control.

“You know, I’ve been a hard working man…” instead, thank God, who gave you the strength to do so?

“I’m really smart…” instead thank God, who placed those brains within your head.

Should we continue to have no gratitude for the one from whom all blessing flow?

III. Now I finish with my third point, which is, that THIS IRREVERENCE AND INGRATITUDE WERE AGAINST KNOWLEDGE. "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful."

You can see from the scripture that knowledge is of no use, if it does not lead to holy practice.

Hearing and not doing is fruitless.

Paul says, “they are without excuse”.

You too, are without excuse. All of us here today, are without excuse.

Whether you had godly parents, ungodly parents, or no parents at all. If you were raised poor, or rich. With or without. Whether you have exceptional intelligence, or of low caliber, you are without excuse if you know God.

On July 13th, 1890, Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon had 82 people arrive in church that Sunday evening for service.

He said of that evening, that he couldn’t help but pray an earnest prayer that that would be the beginning of a revival.

His prayer was for those who were listening to glorify the God they know.

Step into a state of constant thought and worship of the Creator.

To be thankful to Him at all times, for all things.

To turn away from sin, and to the only name that can save.

Let us not be counted among those listen in the following pages of the Epistle to the Romans.

Let us not find ourselves in the pages of text that we will be looking at in our new series.

Apostasy Among Us.