Spet 11, 2022


God’s Invitation to Grace ❧ Part 11

Romans 1:24-32 ❧ Pastor, Dr. John Denney

What is happening in our world? That’s the predominant question I think everyone is asking one way or another.  It seems everywhere we look the world is falling apart at a bewildering pace.  Many of our politicians, judges, leaders who have in good trust been delegated to uphold what is right and reject what is wrong for the good of our nation have literally gone off the rails.  Why is this happening? 

Our world has changed in the past two plus years faster than at any other time.  A great deal of this accelerated change took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Yet, we know Covid-19 isn’t the real driving force behind all of the rapid change we’re seeing taking place.  In truth, Covid-19 was only the battering ram to breach the walls of America and other nations to move us toward an even greater global crisis.  There are a growing number of people today who believe the global force behind many of the rapid changes taking place is due to what is called The Great Reset.  The past two plus years of covid have been the great set up for The Great Reset.  Those who are in the drivers’ seat of the Great Reset are committed globalists.  By definition globalists do not believe in God, the sovereignty of nations, or the dignity and value of human life; humans are material soulless beings, nothing more. 

Behind the scenes of The Great Reset are a growing number of like-mined leaders and businesses who’ve partnered with what is called the World Economic Forum (WEF).  Charlie Kirk, founder and president of Turning Point USA, says the WEF have put together eight stated global predictions they’re working toward accomplishing by the year 2030.     

  1. You’ll own nothing and be happy.  This is guised in the statement “All products become services.”  Private property will be a thing of the past.   
  2. The US no longer World Superpower.  America is exceptional because our forefathers made a covenant with God to be a nation under God and follow His laws.  Our nation is exceptional because we believe we are endowed with unalienable rights from God and therefore value the sacredness of human life unlike other countries.  Because of sin we would foul everything up.  So our founding fathers devised a separation of powers and a citizen government.  Remove America and you’ll have the greatest attack on Christianity the world has seen in well over a thousand years.   
  3. You die waiting for an organ donor. We can make organs synthetically.  
  4. You’ll eat less meat. (Why does the New Green Deal want to get rid of cows? 1 Tim. 4:3 Paul tells us in the end times they will say it is wrong to eat certain foods.  It will be a display of righteousness if you don’t eat certain foods. God tells us He’s given everything to eat, enjoy, and give thanks to Him for).
  5. A billion people will be displaced by Climate Change.Kirk points out climate change is a disingenuous debate.  If those who promote it really believed it, they would want natural gas which is incredibly environmentally efficient and far lest costly. 
  6. You could be preparing to go to Mars.
  7. Western values will have been tested to their breaking point.  WEF equates Western values with Judeo-Christian values.  In other words, they want to break all of the Ten Commandments.  For instance, Honor your mother and father… there is a concerted effort to break the parent-child relationship. We’ve seen it from bribing kids to get the covid “vaccine” without their parent’s consent to children being told they can be whatever gender they want at school without their parent’s knowledge. You shall not murder…from abortion to releasing murders from prison there is an intentional break down of laws to protect society.  You shallnot stealSmash and grab continues unstopped. 
  8. Fossil fuels will be obsolete.  The entire energy grid will be green (https://jackhibbs.com › the-great-reset-with-charlie-kirk).

All of this sounds horrible, and in a very real way it is.  But it is far from the whole picture.  In truth, plans of the Great Reset have run into a Great Upset.  America is “the bone in the throat” of their plans. God is purifying our faith to trust Him and not the things of the world.  God is using this crisis to get the attention of unbelievers turning them to a saving knowledge of Christ.  The Bible is very clear that the real battle in the world is not physical, but spiritual. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places(Ephesians 6:12, NLT).  The Bible is clear, as well, that God is in complete control of the world’s affairs. Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare or battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”  But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury (Psalm 2:1-5, NLT).  What is happening in our world? The Bible told us three-thousand years ago man is in a losing war with God.

This morning we’re going wrap up chapter one of Romans.  Many have described Romans 1 as a courtroom scene: The Case – is man innocent or guilty before God? The Charge – man has deliberately rejected God.  The Prosecutor – the Apostle Paul. The Accused – all humanity, including Paul. The Defense – we are “without excuse.” The Evidence – in a word, overwhelming, as seen in verses 18-32.  The Verdict – The death penalty!  We’re going to spend the rest of our time looking at The Final Exhibit of Evidence against man seen in Romans 1:24-32 (Read).  Paul is exposing the sewer lines of humanity as one person put it.  Three times Paul says God gave them over (vv. 24,26,28). Why three times? With each giving over, you can see the progression of thought.  First, verse 24, God gives fallen man over to idolatry. Second, verse 26, immorality, and third, verse 28 insanity – idolatry, immorality, insanity.   Paul’s emphasizing the fact that when you reject God, your life will go from bad to worse, descending deeper and deeper into the misery of depravity.   Three steps of Descending into Depravity.

  1. God gave them over to immoral passions. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen (Romans 1:24-25, NAS).  Paul is saying we’ve made pleasure and idol we worship. These words describe what is happening today with such startling clarity it’s hard to believe they were written two-thousand years ago.  Our sin-fallen world has twisted what God meant for good into something that damages and destroys our relationships, our minds, our bodies, our marriages, our children, our communities, and our faith.  Why in the world would we do something like that? Because we’ve made pleasure an idol.  According to a Christian Broadcast Network article: In 2019 alone, people consumed the equivalent of nearly 6,650 centuries worth of pornography on the world’s largest pornography site, which has been credibly accused of hosting child sexual abuse material, more commonly known as child pornography(CBN/News).  Someone has said that America has lost its ability to blush. 

Why would God allow this? It’s because He’s given each one of us a free moral will; we have the power personal of choice.  When we chose to reject God, God allows us to reap the results of our own choices. You think you’ll be happy, fulfilled, complete if you make pleasure your life’s pursuit.  God say, “It’s a really bad idea. But if that’s what you want, it’s your choice.”  Your free to ruin your own life if you want to.  

Does this mean there’s no hope for you if you’ve gone down this road? Does it mean God will stop loving you? No. You’re never so deep in sin that God can’t reach deeper still and rescue you.  It may surprise you, but God only saves sinners; He only heals broken people.  When we’re honest with God no matter how broken with sin we are, He will rescue us.  Paul wrote these humble words in 1 Timothy: It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all (1 Timothy 1:15).  The first step of descending into depravity is idolatry – making pleasure our god. Paul says the evidence against us is overwhelming. 

  1. God gave them over to indecent perversionsFor this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error (Romans 1:26-27).  One of the marks of a decaying civilization is the increased tolerance, even encouragement, of homosexuality.  A short time ago it was not uncommon in many circles to hear that homosexuality or lesbianism was genetic; that is your born that way (to be clear, there is no medical or scientific evidence for a “gay gene”), or it is a sickness, or a weakness, but seldom was it called a sin.  Today, it has moved from being tolerated to being celebrated. The late Chuck Colson aptly called this the Armageddon of culture wars.  

There are those who may frown at what I am saying,but history doesn’t lie.  Every fallen nation of the past – the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, etc.… practiced and promoted homosexuality.  In fact, the closer each nation came to its end the more prevalent homosexuality became.  William Barclay noted that 14 of the 15 Caesars of Rome were homosexual. Respected Christian journalist Paul Strand writes, In the 1930s, British anthropologist J.D. Unwin (an exhaustive investigation in response to the assertions made by Sigmund Freud) studied 86 cultures that stretched across 5,000 years. He found, without exception, when they restricted sex to marriage, they thrived. Strong families headed by faithful spouses made for bold, prosperous societies. But not one culture survived more than three generations after turning sexually permissive. Noted Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found no culture surviving once it ceased to support marriage and monogamy. None. (CBN “Cause and Effect: The Benefits of Traditional Marriage” by Paul Strand, Washington Sr. Correspondent). 

The Bible never says sexual perversion is a sickness, a disease, or caused by genetics.  God calls it a sin worthy of death as He does the rest of those in his list.  Paul says in verse 27 they’re receiving the in their own persons the due penalty of their error (πλάνη – deception).How are they receiving in their own persons the penalty due their error? Study after study point out many homosexuals suffer far more than others from major depression, heightened suicide rates, drug and alcohol abuse, medical disorders.  Despair and depression.  It is unfortunate the word “gay” has been used to label homosexuality.  It is anything but gay. It’s just the opposite.  God knows it destroys our relationship with ourselves, each other, and with God. 

Before we try to make homosexuality worse than stealing or greed or cheating, or committing adultery, listen to what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God(1 Cor. 6:9).  Sin puts all of us on the same level.  Notice Paul says such were some of you… but you’ve been forgiven, cleansed, made right with God through Jesus Christ.  None of us can claim we’re more righteous than another sinner regardless of the sin.  

Many of us have watched first-hand how homosexuality has painfully impacted families.  Paul calls this sin an error.  The word means deception.  Sexual perversion is a deception that will always deceive and lead its victims to a life of depression and despair and ultimately to eternal ruin unless they turn to Christ. 

One health professional wrote, To call homosexuality a sickness does not raise the client’s hope.  But to call it a sin as the Bible does, offers hope.  Probably there is no more important factor in the work of helping homosexual sinners… precisely like adultery, homosexuality is a learned behavior men and women with sinful natures are prone to wander – it can be forgiven in Christ.   The ground is level for all of us and our only hope to find healing and forgiveness is our Great Physician Jesus Christ who died on the cross for all of our sins.   The second step of descending into depravity is immorality.  So, the first step of descending depravity is idolatry, then immorality, then insanity. 

  1. God gave them over to irrational practicesAnd just as they did not see fit to acknowledgeGod any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although theyknow the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-32). Paul lists 21 examples of evidence of a depraved mind.  J. Vernon McGhee called this section of verses a “sinerama.” It all starts in the mind.  How you think affects the way you act.  Circle the word depraved(ἀδόκιμος – adokimos).  It means a mind that is worthless. Like a field that grows thorns and weeds – worthless.  This is a mind that cannot form right judgements. Notice the outcome of a depraved mind – without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful We need only watch the evening news or go to our favorite news sites to see what Paul is talking about.  How else do you explain what we are witnessing spread like gangrene?  

I think this is the most depressing text in the entire Bible.  But I’d rather hear it than not. The Bible tells us straight up what is wrong with us, with our world – we are suffering from the terminal disease of sin.  God doesn’t candy-coat it.  It’s too dangerous and too important.  I read once a cautious preacher concluded his message with the words: The sinners represented in my sermon are fictitious.  Any similarity to members of this congregation is completely coincidental.  The Bible isn’t speaking about someone else. God is talking directly to us.  He doesn’t make any exceptions; He doesn’t gloss over our sin.  And if we’re honest, we won’t want Him to.  Mankind and our world are not getting better and better.  We’re not evolving.  We’re devolving. We’re getting worse and worse.  Our only hope is to place our trust in Christ.  

How do we live in a world descending deeper into depravity as followers of Christ? 

  1. Put your hope in Christ. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Jesus did not promise it would be easy.  But He did promise we can be overcomers if we put our faith in Him. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  When Jesus was crucified two thieves hung on either side of Him.  They represent the world; both are thieves, one turned to Christ and the other didn’t.  The one that trusted Jesus asked to be part of Jesus Kingdom.  He didn’t do one good thing.  He wasn’t baptized. He didn’t go to church.  He didn’t give a dime.  Yet, Jesus saw his heart of trust.  That’s what God is looking for – a heart that trusts Him as Savior and Lord.  
  2. Gain an eternal perspective.   For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).  The best is yet to come. This world is the only Hell a Christian will ever know and the only Heaven a non-Christian will know.  The world we know now is temporary.  Heaven we will know soon is forever. 
  3. Live one day at a time.  So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him (2 Corinthians 5:6-9, NLT).  Walk by confident faith, not trembling doubt.  Enjoy the blessings God has given you.  Live your life seeking to please the Lord.  
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