Romans Series #2
Does God Mean What He Says?
> hold up Bible <
"this is my Bible …
I Believe that it is the Word of God …
Every Word is True …
God meant what he says …
Where this book is different from the way I live, I'll Change"
Now let me say up front that this morning won't be a typical tightly constructed Sermon or Talk with so many points and sub points for easy note taking.
Usually I will teach that way, but today, more so than normal, I just want to TALK with you, through this passage, about what I believe to be the real issue.
These verses are NOT difficult to understand. Those they may be difficult to hear and receive
The are NOT mystic or full of hidden meanings.
They are words FROM the Creator, written TO his Creation, ABOUT his Creation.
They are the words of an artist or inventor saying …
"LOOK this is the way I made this and here's the way I intended for it to be used and if you're not going to use it the way I intended, I'm going to wash my hands of it and you."
It was as if the Creator/Artist is saying "here is a prime example of just how FAR away from my intention you have come and I don't like what my creation has become and I'm call for a dramatic change."
But I think the HOT TOPIC of sexuality is NOT the big issue here.
There is a deeper issue with FAR reaching ramifications.
There are 3 questions that I believe you have to answer before you approach this or ANY other passage of instruction in the Bible.
There are many scriptures that are distinctively vague and apocalyptic or figurative, and whether or not we understand all of them is not as critical an issue.
This is NOT one of those passages. Most of the Bible was meant for you to understand, embrace and live by.
Now, I know that there are Old Testament laws that God freed us from in the New Testament. He was strict about what could and could NOT be eaten for instance. But in the New Testament he tells Peter to take and eat freely those same things. Paul even says that all those things are able to be eaten if God gives freedom.
However, there are some things that God said NO to in the Old Testament and he never said YES in the New Testament. He even reinforced many times the command of NO in the New Testament.
So, that brings us to the 3 important questions
1) Is the Bible The Word of God?
2) Is the Bible True? Is what you read what God meant?
3) Can I Trust God?
When I was growing up my Dad was a Pastor. He was an "old school" Pastor. That means he was a preacher before most churches had sound systems. But that didn't matter because like most Old School Pastors he didn't NEED a Microphone. My Dad could be heard easily in our church. Old School Pastors were often called "fire and brimstone preachers." My Dad was a SCREEEMERRRR. Sometimes you could almost feel the fires of Hell when he preached. That's not an altogether bad thing.
But as society and culture changed, people decided they didn't like that kind of preaching. Also, churches got nice sound systems and preachers didn't HAVE to preach like that.
So preachers began to change their style to fit the "ears" of people. We didn't want to hurt their ears or turn them off or run them off, so we changed the way we preach.
The problem is that now many have changed WHAT we preach as well. The listener decided that it wasn't the volume that they didn't like, it was the message.
So, many preachers and churches have changed what we preach.
The problem is when what we preach is different than what the Bible says.
God doesn't need a "Spin Dr." to tell you what he REALLY meant.
There are places in scripture where God speaks figuratively and uses images but when he speaks plain we need to take it plainly as the truth.
Paul predicted these type of preachers in
2 Timothy 4:2-3
Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching, because the time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching but will find many more teachers who please them by saying the things they want to hear.
Some today simply teach what you want to hear.
We don't want to HEAR the Truth
Why? Because, we read what it says and we say, "I don't believe that" ...why?
"Because I don't think God is like that" … Why?
"Because if he is, then ... Then I'm wrong, and I don't want to be wrong."
- We don't believe it because we don't want to be WRONG and need to CHANGE
Do you want to know what I think? (well I'm going to tell you)
I think we should stop teaching the Laws of Gravity.
Why? Because, I don't like the concept of Gravity.
Why? It's too limiting, it's too confining, and it's too narrow-minded.
But it's TRUE. "Well, that's your belief."
"Don't force your understanding and belief on me."
But it's TRUE!
"Not to me it's not."
Well, walk off of a building and see whether it's true.
Some people don't like these type of straight forward passages because others have used them to espouse Hatred and Violence. Well, that is just as much a sin against God.
Some people have used these passages to proclaim certain situations like AIDS as God's Judgment.
Can it be? I suppose.
Is it? Not necessarily.
The misuse of Truth by some, or the sinful response to Truth by some doesn't Lessen The REALITY of TRUTH.
1) IS this is the Word of God?
2) Does God mean what he says?
3) Can you trust God?
The Real Issue
> Obedience is a love/trust issue.
You say, "oh come on Pastor Jim don't go there"
1 John5:3 "This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith."
Jesus said, "MY YOKE is easy and my burden is light" Matt 11:30
Is God a liar? Then if his "yoke" is NOT light, who do you suppose is making it heavy?
YOU ARE. Go where God goes and he pulls the weight.
> Obedience is a reflection of my level of Love and TRUST
I don't obey God because I fear that he might not be good or have my best interest at heart.
If I trust God and know that he has my best interest at heart I will obey him even if I don't understand.
If I LOVE God I will obey him simply because I want to please him and I don't want to displease or dishonor him.
1) Is the Bible The Word of God?
2) Does it mean what it says?
3) Can I trust God?
The Bottom Line
> If the "good stuff" is true then the Bad stuff must be true too.
You need to decide if you believe that Paul speaks for GOD here.
Because if Paul doesn't speak for God in Chapter One
… How do you know he speaks for God in chapter six when he says "the free gift of God is eternal life!"
If Paul doesn't speak for God in Chapter One,
… how do you know that he speaks for God in chapter 5 when he says that God Demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
And we have been made right with God through the blood of Christ.
If Paul doesn't speak for God in Chapter One,
… how do we know he speaks for God when he says in Chapter 8 that All things work together for good to those who love the Lord, and if God is for us, who can be against us.
We must decide right here, right now if Paul Speaks for God
> Does Paul write the very words of God?
IF NOT then throw it all out because we don't know what to believe!
Let's crank up the music, party and just be a fun group of friends that get together to share problems and encourage each other as we try to make it in this crazy world.
1) Is this the Word Of God?
2) Is it True?
3) Do you trust God?
Let's read what he says …
Now I know that many of you would NOT consider yourselves to be Biblical Scholars but let's see if you can figure out what God is trying to get to in this passage. Let's see if we can wade through all of the "cryptic" language. J
Read Romans 1:18-32
Now remember, this is not an excuse to despise the sinner because YOU are one too. Did you listen to that LIST?
Redemption is freely available as we'll see in the next several weeks.
God is calling all of us to repentance
Repentance is coming back, turning around.
God is saying, "come back, turn around, you're going the wrong way, follow me!
> The issue in these verses is Distance.
We are holding God at arms length, or at the length of a football field, or maybe we're not even on the same continent! J
Draw near, crawl to his lap, and allow him to speak. He will mold you and change you
In our distance we make exchanges
a. We exchange The Glory of an Immortal God for the comfort of Idols we've made with our own hands.
b. We exchange truth for lies.
c. We exchange natural for unnatural.
d. We exchange eternal joy for temporary pleasure
e. We exchange godly knowledge for a depraved mind
f. We exchange living in the light for dancing in the dark
g. Most of all we exchange Blessings for Curses
> We make these exchanges simply SO that we can be in charge and we don't have to admit we are wrong and change
Why do we HATE change soooo much?
Because there is the understanding that I am lacking something or worse yet I am WRONG
1) Is this the Word of God? YES IT IS Every word
2) Does God mean what he says? You bet he does and bless God for that
3) Can I Trust God? YES, with your life, love, and your eternity
Live the Truth in Love.