First Baptist Church of Minneola
Unbeliever's Believe 1/2
- READ v.18INTRO - Our God who judges and who carries out His wrath offends people today.I recall Oprah, influencing many, going off on God of the Bible because of Scripture describing God’s wrath.Like Oprah, millions don’t know what they are talking about and most never read the Bible. Instead, many take a section of the Bible, and don’t know how to study it correctly, applying their view to God’s Word.The secular and ignorant, sadly, spew out lies and misleading views of Scripture daily.Nothing new, as much as 100 years ago people living during the time of “enlightenment” came up with all sorts of theories that distort the truth taught in the Bible.For example, one even claiming to be Christian, was led more by modern culture than proper Bible studying techniques.His name was Harry Emerson Fosdick.Fosdick, in his book A Guide to the Understanding of the Bible, basically said that man’s idea of God developed from the God of the flood in Noah’s day, to the bloodthirsty God in time of Abraham, on to the God of volcanic fire with Moses, then to the God of David’s time who was tied to ethical thought and calling down wrath on enemies.Fosdick’s view of a developing god suggested God improved by the time of the prophets hating unrighteousness and crime.When Fosdick gets to Jesus it really gets heretical claiming God took on concepts of fatherhood and brotherhood, but argued the idea of Hell must be abandoned to continue the upward curve of developing God.People really have a hard time accepting anything other than a god that does what they want.Our text is Paul’s first negative mention in Romans.“For God’s wrath...” Does not sit well with present-day sensibilities.People like Ophra or Fosdick will comment, with little or no understanding, on this text perverting it’s meaning.Therefore, I want us to understand our first three words before going any further into our message.Our word wrath or anger has behind it the original language word orge.However, there are two sepearate words in the Greek for anger. The other is thumos and we get the word “thermometer” from that one.Now, the word in our text means a controlled, settled, abiding condition.The other word for anger means an uncontrolled red-hot sort that overcomes an individual leading to loss of control. It is impulsive and not the word used in our text.Part of the reason humankind misunderstands this word is that we are distorted by the result of sin in the world.We need to learn to understand God’s message.Understand that this verse, comes right on the heals of last’s weeks discussion of righteousness from God.Understand, also, wrath is the counterpart to God’s righteousness.Lastly, God’s wrath for “all godlessness and unrighteousness” and not directed at goodness.Remember, unlike the contemporary idea of wrath, or anger, God’s anger is controlled and discriminately directed.God’s wrath is just right in amount and perfect to bring about it’s intended result.Please keep this in mind as we study this passage today.Let’s take a look now at this first part of our two part message about unbelief.Our study can help unbelievers come to believe and believers get better situated to live as Christians in an unbelieving world.Suppressing Sovereign’s SupremacyREAD - v.18 againThe word “suppress” means to hold back, restrain, or confine.Here is a reason for God’s wrath; people suppress the truth.ILL - Imagine someone holding another hostage. The hostage attempts to cry out and the criminal holds the hostage’s mouth shut with their hand.That’s the idea of suppressing the truth of the Bible; not letting the words out.The idea is a constant aggressive action against the truth.Paul helps us understand that people without belief in Jesus are involved in that process of constraining the truth.Because their lives deny the truth of God, they are subject to the wrath of God.So what is it that the unbelievers hold back?People without Jesus suppress what God shows all humanity.READ vv.19-20Unbelievers suppress the knowledge of God as Creator and Sustainer of life.The text states “invisible attributes” and “eternal power and divine nature.”In no way does our text teach that all the attributes of God are visible in nature.Nature helps humankind see the great distance between us and God.Last week we heard a man describe an argument from order.He started with the describing the chance of pulling the first coin of ten as being 1 in 10.The 2nd as 1 in 100 and so on until he got to the last one.Pulling out the 10th coin, and in the correct order, would be 1 in 10 billion.You find a watch on the ground. “It must had evolved.”Yes, given enough time and just the right circumstances, this watch evolved.Sound’s pretty far-fetched?Yet, the odds of a watch evolving are better than the earth evolving into what we see today.Do you know what irreducible complexity is?You can’t expect separate parts to come together and make a body.What are those odds?A heart, brain and spinal cord, and set of lungs oozed from the earth by random chance meet and turn into a person?Odd’s of the basic protein cell that makes up all living things alone is better than, recall our teaching, than the letters of Shakespeare’s Macbeth being dropped from a plane and rearranging into the accurate and complete manuscript upon landing on the earth.No, random chance, nor evolution can explain the existence of life on earth.How does this apply to God? His creation?The founder of modern astronomy, Johannes Kepler, the man who discovered the “Three Planetary Laws of Motion” noted that “The undevout astronomer is mad.”This highly intelligent man recognizes that such order in the universe is no random chance.Do you know the Jews were telling us this long before we had any science on the matter?How else, other than God telling humankind, is this possible? Look here:The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands. Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge.Creation reveals that God is creator who, also, sustains all things.The word “evident” v.19 means manifest; not a secret, but obvious.You don’t need to be super smart to understand; everybody can understand what they need to know.TRANS - The first thing then, we need to know about what unbeliever’s belief is that they suppress the truth about God.Now let’s look at how unbelievers treat truth.Telling Twisted TruthREAD vv.21-23The Bible tells us about the development of idolatry.People who had an understanding of God began to, instead of Him, worship images of humankind.The reduced God to their level.What was distance between God and people, humankind minimized.They made God small in their mind and this led to a progressive type of idolatry.Paul says their “senseless hearts were darkened.”An interesting word, “senseless.”The root of it is where we get our word “moron.”Not so nice a way to reference someone is it?The senseless unbelievers dishonor God by worshiping creation instead of the Creator.The progression begins by worshiping images of people, then animals, and finally goes as low as to worship reptiles.v.23 describes the result of progressive idolatry.You can’t go lower than worshiping something that crawls on the ground.TRANS - People begin by suppressing the truth about God. Next the unbeliever perverts worship by insulting God and worships what they want instead.We have to work toward keeping God’s “otherness” always before us.Don’t fail to remember God is in no way like humankind, but totally majestic and transcendent.We live in a time when even some of our praise songs sound a bit too casual.We must not sentimentalize Jesus in such a way we empty Him of His divinity.We must always emphasize the priority to approach God humbly as His created creatures and Him as the all powerful Creator.Our last point for today, and we’ll finish out this message next week, we’ll see how unbelievers lives lead to a dehumanizing of others.Lost Led LivesI don’t want a lost person telling me how to live my life. Do you?READ vv.24-25Let’s break this down.We noted that suppressing the truth about God led people to idolatry.Next week we’ll see how this messes up all of creation.For now, we’ll see how this effects others.“God delivered them over...”This is a really terrible statement. It’s not the only time we read it in this chapter.What does this mean?God does what He must by letting evil loose on people who deny Him.Could this explain why we see such disgrace all around us?God’s wrath is real!Are people are falling into sin all the time?Absolutely!Sure God’s wrath is not complete at this time.I read a story last week about a farmer that purposefully ran his tractor up and down next to a church every Sunday.Come the July harvest, he took in a great yield.He told the pastor, “God didn’t exist because he purposefully went against what he thought was a structure of God. And still, he was blessed with a great crop.”The pastor responded, “God doesn’t settle accounts until later in the year.”So, we know that one view on wrath is what happens when God lets loose evil on people.Do you know the other view?Another view is tied to the “righteousness of God” we read in v.17.Just as the righteousness of God is revealed in Jesus, so too is God’s wrath.Do you recall that just after Jesus gave Mary to John darkness came to all the earth?This was not to hide Jesus physical condition.It was not so we’d not see his blood crusted head or blood dripping from his hands, feet, and beaten back.No, Jews believed anyone killed like Jesus was tortured on the cross was cursed.Jesus always knew the Father. They were together at creation and up until the cross, never apart.When Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our sin, he became a curse and darkness covered the earth.Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.When the Son and Father were seperated in this way, even the pain of His back laid open and the piercing of His hands, feet, and the crown of thorns didn’t come close to the pain of being seperated from His Father.This is what caused Jesus to cry out.“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”--Ps 22:1In this way, we see the wrath of God against our sin as Jesus, alone, suffered for us.ConclusionPerhaps a person is not a Christian.The person suppresses the truth by pushing down God’s revelation about Himself.Then, that unbeliever turns to idolatry; to whatever that one’s heart clings, that becomes their god.Next, the unbeliever comes under the wrath of God.That one fails to acknowledge their sin and believe in their heart that Jesus died for them.If that person dies without Jesus, they go to Hell.Jesus describes that for us:The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.Two things here today.God’s wrath rightly comes on the unbelievers because they:“Suppress the Sovereign’s Supremacy”“Tell a Twisted Truth”and have “Lost led Lives”God’s righteousness from faith to faith gives believers the right to stand before God.Those are two choices.Will you select God’s wrath or God’s righteousness?Are you currently under wrath or holding to the righteousness of God?(end)
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