Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 5 – Romans - Apostasy

Paul's Epistles
Part 5 – Romans - Apostasy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons.
The Epistles written by Paul are Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews.

We have already looked at who Paul was, our faith being reported around the world, not being ashamed of the Gospel.

Last week we discussed being Guilty of sin.

Today we will take a look at Romans 1:21-23. Apostasy.

Romans 1:21-23
 21 ...although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Last week we spoke about the guilt of sin, and the amount of wickedness that is on earth.

We spoke about the scriptures which warn us, that in the end times, evil will be on earth as it was in the days of Noah. Paul goes on to explain the extent of this wickedness, so that we may have a full understanding of this sin in the end times, and how to recognize that the time of Judgment is near.

Society, rules, law and man do not decide what is or is not acceptable. Because the morality of man is constantly declining as liberal beliefs flood societal schools, textbooks and historical records and documents. As the ones who lead, write and pass laws, continually pervert morality to fit their own evil desires, in turn, they corrupt the next generation's views of righteousness and moral high ground.

 We live in a corrupt and confused society where a pregnant woman is ostracized for smoking or drinking while pregnant because she is causing harm to her child, yet told she has a right to chose to abort it, and that is OK.

The only way for a society to succeed and prosper, is to accept God's view of morality, and promote and teach it to the next generation. This is what our founding fathers died for, and this country did grow and prosper, until the poison of vain imaginations, self-professed wisdom, and morality of corruptible man began to write laws based on himself, rather than Righteousness.

a.      If men do not understand God in the realm of Creation, they will not understand Him in anything else.
                                                             i.      Creation establishes God as God

                                                          ii.      Creation defines its Creator as a worthy Judge
1.      As a potter examining his work
2.      An artist critiquing his brush strokes
3.      The Creator is the ultimate authority of His Creation!

b.     Neither were they thankful.
                                                             i.      Without the Creator, we would not be.
1.      John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."

                                                          ii.      We owe God thanks, for life, and the blessings we receive.
1.      1 Chronicles 16:34 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."

2.      1 Chronicles 16:35 "Cry out, “Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”
a.      Which should be the cry of all nations, and yet, we do not hear.

                                                       iii.      When the leaders sing the praise of God, and do God's will, the land prospers
1.      Psalm 7:17 "I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High."

2.      However, more often than not, we see our leaders use the name of God for favor among the people, to manipulate, and control.

3.      Their actions speak much louder than their vain statements of faith, God and Jesus Christ.

4.      Refusing to honor God results in a lack of gratitude for His Gifts.
a.      Have you ever had someone who was ungrateful for your gifts.

b.     How many more blessings would that one receive if they continued to be ungrateful for what you did for them?

c.      Before you righteously shout, forgive 7 times 70 times, and keep doing it...look at yourselves and ask, what did I actually do in that situation?

d.     If a person, church, nation, wants to see God's blessings, gifts, protection, and prosperity disappear, be ungrateful to God.

c.      A land wounded by sin, needs to repent, and cry out to God
                                                             i.      I can name many sins this country has allowed into law by its vain thinking.

                                                          ii.      None of which glorify God, nor do they show thanks or gratitude toward Him.

                                                       iii.      This, unfortunately, is not a Christian nation any longer, rather a nation with some Christians residing within it.

                                                         iv.      Jeremiah 51:8-9 " Babylon will suddenly fall and be broken.
    Wail over her!
Get balm for her pain;
    perhaps she can be healed.
“‘We would have healed Babylon,
    but she cannot be healed;
let us leave her and each go to our own land,
    for her judgment reaches to the skies,
    it rises as high as the heavens.’

                                                            v.      2 Chronicles 7:14 " 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

a.      This is the only direction fallen man can go
                                                             i.      Rejecting God as Creator
                                                          ii.      Rejecting God's law of Morality
                                                       iii.      Denying God the honor and Praise which is His
                                                         iv.      Their imaginations become vain

b.     Vanity is becoming your own God
                                                             i.      Vanity is defined as
1.      excessive pride in one's self
2.      excessive admiration of your own appearance
3.      excessive pride or admiration of your achievements or possessions
4.      conceit
5.      narcissism
6.      self-absorption
7.      egotistic
8.      boastful

                                                          ii.      If any of these sound familiar of yourself, you are lacking the glorification of God, and need to honor and praise Him with all thanksgiving, so you may restore yourself to good standing with Him.

                                                       iii.      You are in danger of losing yourself to this apostasy, and your vanity will destroy you.

c.      Vain imaginations are the fruit of apostasy
                                                             i.      In vain imaginations, you create for yourself morals based on your desires.

                                                          ii.      Your desires are wicked, because you have turned your back on God's morality and total authority, denying Creation and the Creator, you become your own God, making your own rules and defining your own moral grounds.

                                                       iii.      You then try to conform those around you to your moral stands, because sin, does not like to sin alone. Like a cancer or plague, it tries to spread, bringing those around you to a crossroad.

                                                         iv.      Some will chose to stand on God's moral high ground, while others will lose themselves into the temptation of sin.

                                                            v.      Sin, which you led them to, and convinced them of joining you in. Surly God will hold you accountable.

a.      So many profess wisdom
                                                             i.      Atheists in their vain thoughts, turning from God, claim there is no God, science created us, and therefore there is no morality other than the conscious consensus of society and the higher thoughts by man.

1.      However, history proves that the morality of man without God, become their own gods and devise wickedness to make into law their evil sins and desires, which only corrupt and destroy every society it has ever tried to rule.

                                                          ii.      Agnostics in their vain thoughts, say God set us in motion, but no longer has the desire to be part of this universe He created, therefore, we must set our own moral high grounds.

1.      Again, man's heart is full of deceit, and no one can trust it. Without God's moral high ground, we decay as a society.

                                                       iii.      Humanism in its vain thoughts, attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

1.      After 6,000 years of recorded human history, how's that working out for you?

b.     We are not wise
                                                             i.      If we were, we would not be in the situations we are in.

                                                          ii.      If we were wise, this country would be prospering, there would be no homeless in America, no substance abuse, no addicts, no gangs, no violence, no crime, no wars, and we would be lifting the rest of the world up to our human standards, solving all of life's problems simply by sitting down to a cup of tea and thinking,.

                                                       iii.      "Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools"

c.      In our vain foolishness
                                                             i.      We exchanged the Glory of the Immortal God for images (idols)

                                                          ii.      Idols which we worship, that look like
1.      mortal humans
2.      birds
3.      animals
4.      reptiles

                                                       iii.      This is the sin of the ages, not just the heathens of old, but also the vain sinners today.

                                                         iv.      This is the degeneration of man.

                                                            v.      This is the opposite of evolution. Sorry Atheists and scientists around the world. We are not getting better as a species. Only more vain, selfish and degenerate.

d.     Is this enough to cause God's emotion of wrath toward an ungodly, unthankful godless people who have turned their back on the Creator as the ultimate immortal God who is worthy of all praise and honor and is not just the Author and Creator of life, but the only one who has the Authority to Judge it?

The wrath of God

Romans 1:18-19  ~ "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them."

We must do our part as followers of Christ, to pray for this country, and its leaders, that they may turn from their vanity, confess their sins, acknowledge God, giving Him honor and praise, and pray that our land be healed, and the ungodly be cast out of offices which rule this nation.

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