Hypocrisy and Repentance

Last time we met we talked about what happens to those who suppress the truth

When we suppress the truth – When we ignore what is plain to us – What happens is we become numb to it – We start to believe the lie that we’ve been telling ourselves

When we ignore all that God has shown us in His creation – (i.e. the sunrises, the sunsets, the stars, the trees, the animals) – When we ignore everything that screams “God!” eventually these things will stop screaming to us

That internal motivator of ours will become silent – And what will happen is our minds will become corrupted

We will not know what is good and right – Instead we will become confused and begin thinking that bad things are good, and good things are bad

We will call evil good, and good evil

And the reason this happens is because we “suppress the truth” – We reject what is plain to us – And in the process we reject God

So, we’ve been studying Romans

This is what Paul tells us in Romans 1

In chapter 1 Paul is specifically talking about the Gentiles of his day (Gentiles are people that are not Jews)

In chapter 2 Paul shifts gears and begins to talk about the Jews

The reason he does this is to build his case against the whole of humanity (Jews and Gentiles) – That we are all under condemnation

Why does he do this?

Because before we are willing to take the medicine, we need to be convinced that we are sick

And that is Paul’s point, he is saying, “We’re all sick, and if we don’t take the medicine, we will die!” – It doesn’t matter who you are – If you’re human it means you

So, let’s get into chapter 2 and see what God has for us?

Romans 2:1-11

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

So, Paul just got finished talking about the unrighteousness of the Gentiles

That the Gentiles suppress the truth that is plain to them and as a result become corrupted

They look up into the sky and know that God exists, but they ignore Him – And as a result they heap judgment on themselves – And on the Day of Judgment they will have no excuse before God – Because what they knew was plain to them – God will hold them accountable to what they knew

But now Paul turns to the Jews, and he basically says the same thing

Perhaps, if I were to paraphrase Paul’s words they would be something like, “You Jews have no excuse either, don’t judge the Gentiles, because you do the same things as they do!”

Verse 1 says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:1-3

What I want us to consider tonight is this statement:

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

What is hypocrisy?

Hypocrisy is when I claim to have higher standards or beliefs than I actually do – It’s saying one thing and doing another

What is repentance?

Repentance is when I feel a deep sense of regret for what I did, and I stop doing it

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

You see, when Paul was writing this letter, the attitude the Jews had over the Gentiles was that of superiority

They thought that they were okay with God – I mean, they were the chosen ones of God. Right! – They had the Scriptures of God – They had the Law of God – They had the promises of God – They had the blessings of God!

So, they thought, if there was any rebuke it would be directed to the Gentiles – It is the Gentiles that “suppressed the truth” not them – It is the Gentiles that don’t know God, not them

The Jews would say, “Hey, we’re okay, we go to synagogue all the time, we don’t suppress the truth like those heathen Gentiles – We’re God’s people – We know God!”

And Paul would say, “No you don’t! If you knew God you would not be a hypocrite”

Verse 1 says, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things” Romans 2:1

You see, you can’t know God and be a hypocrite

Sure, someone who knows God can be hypocritical at times, but when he realizes it, he quickly repents of his hypocrisy

But if someone is always judging another person, and does the same things he does, he is a hypocrite – Often times, he doesn’t even realize it – It’s who he is

And Paul is telling us here that the Jews of his day are hypocrites

Why are they hypocrites?

Because they judge the Gentiles, then turn around and do the very same things that they just judged

What did Jesus have to say about this?

Well, in Matthew chapter 7 Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus basically says, “If you don’t want to be judged by God, then don’t judge others”

Whoa! What is Jesus saying here? Is He saying that we are not to judge anyone?

Absolutely not!

Verse 3 says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

What Jesus is saying is, “If you’re going judge anyone, you better not be a hypocrite” – “If you’re going to judge someone, your sight must be clear, you can’t have a ‘log’ in your eye”

The key word here is “notice”

Jesus says, “Why do you see the speck that is in you brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

This is what causes us to become hypocrites – It’s when we don’t “notice” that we do the very same thing that we’ve become a judge against

How does this look in our own lives?

What does hypocrisy look like?

One example could be when a father tells a son, “You better not smoke son” – Meanwhile he’s puffing on a cigarette

Or when mom says, “I don’t want to catch you watching those rated R movies” – Then later that night watches a rated R movie

Or when an older brother tells a younger brother, “I don’t ever want to see you drinking” – And no sooner after those words leave his lips he takes a drink

We know these statements are hypocritical, so why do we do them?

Perhaps it’s because we don’t “notice” that we are hypocritical – We don’t notice the “log” that’s in our eye

So, are we called to judge?

Absolutely! – But we better not be hypocrites in the process

Jesus says, “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye Matthew 7:5

Okay, back to Romans

Paul says in verse 3, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” Romans 2:3

Again, he’s speaking to the Jews here

And what he’s basically saying is, “You Jews, don’t think that just because you have the Law of God (i.e. The Scriptures) you will escape the judgment of God – If you have the Law, if you know what is right, then do it!

But we know that they don’t do it

We know from the gospel accounts that Jesus was most critical with those that knew the Law best, that is, the Pharisees

Why?

Because they did not do it – They did not keep the Law – But more than this, they saw themselves as keeping it – That’s why Jesus continually called them “hypocrites”

They know what they ought to do, but don’t do it – They tell others how to live their lives, and don’t live it themselves – They are hypocrites!

Well, Paul goes on, verse 4 says, “Or do you presume on the riches of his (i.e. God) kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

 

What Paul is saying here is, “You Jews, yes it’s true that you have the Word of God, but you take it for granted, you presume on God’s riches – But you don’t get it  – You don’t get that God’s riches are meant, or designed, to lead you to repentance”

In other words, “God’s goodness is not for you to control, to manipulate, to make yourselves look better in the eyes of men – God’s goodness is meant to lead you to repentance”

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

The goodness of God is meant to lead us to repentance, not to set ourselves above those that don’t know God

This is easy to do, isn’t it?

It’s easy for us as believers to set ourselves above non-believers

What are we doing when we do this?

We are being hypocrites – Because we do these things ourselves

God hates hypocrisy, but loves repentance

Paul goes on, verse 5 says, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5
Listen, when we choose to set ourselves above others, when we tell people how to live and not live it ourselves, when we are being hypocrites and not repenting from our hypocrisy, the Bible tells us that we are “storing up wrath” for ourselves

We should not think we will escape the wrath that was discussed in chapter 1

He (i.e. God) will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” Romans 2:6-8

You see, however we choose to live, will determine our destiny

If we set ourselves above unbelievers, if we continually judge them and do the same things they do, the only thing we accomplish is to show ourselves to be unbelievers too

A hypocrite that doesn’t think he’s a hypocrite is not a Christian!

However, a believer that is hypocritical knows it – He knows how messed up he is – He realizes it, (and most importantly) he repents of it

Why?

Because he knows its wrong, he’s aware that he’s doing it

How does he know?

The Holy Spirit that lives in him tells him (1Cor. 2:10-14)

The words that are used here are interesting, Paul says, “to those… [that] seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life” Romans 2:7

I don’t see where hypocrisy can fit into this? – If I am seeking “glory, honor, and immortality” I will not seek my own gain – I will not be a person that is full of hypocrisy!

Instead, I will be a person who acknowledges his hypocrisy and repents of it – And in the process I will be healed little by little, until one day, there will be no hypocrisy in me

This is what Jesus does for me – He heals me – I’m broken, but He fixes me, little by little, bit by bit

But the first step to this healing is to be repentant – To feel regret for what I have done

Psalm 51:17 says, “A broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise” Psalm 51:17

Link to Translations


Suppressing the Truth

The last time we met we talked about obedience – We learned that obedience does not come naturally to us, but rather is learned. Willful Obedience

We learned that there is something in our human nature that wants to rebel against obedience, and against authority.

If someone tells me not to do something, my first inclination will be to do it!

This is what the Bible calls the sinful nature

It’s in our nature to rebel – We can’t help it – It’s who we are – It’s a part of our DNA

But even though by nature we are disobedient, God still calls us to obedience

How do we do this if our bodies won’t let us?

The Bible says we do it by faith – Verse 5 says, “We have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith” Romans 1:5

So, obedience comes through faith

Last time we met we talked about how God wants our obedience, not because we have to, but because we want to

We will talk more about this in the weeks ahead

But for now (since we’re starting the book of Romans) I would like to talk a little about how a letter is usually structured

If I was to structure a letter, how would I do it?

Well, usually the way a letter is structured is, the author tells us what he wants to tell us, then he tells it, then he tells it again

Thesis (main point), Body (talking about main point),  Conclusion (summary of the main point)

In other words, Paul would say, “I’m going to tell you what I want to tell you (thesis), then I’ll tell it (body), then I will tell it again (conclusion)”

And this is exactly what Paul does in his letter to the Romans

And what he wants to tell them and us is (his thesis) found in chapter 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

So, Paul is telling us that this is what he wants to discuss in this letter – The fact that God’s righteousness is not found in doing good things, but rather is found in faith through the person of Jesus Christ

In other words, “We don’t become right in the eyes of God by doing good things, but by believing in His Son Jesus Christ”

In a nutshell this is the message of Romans

Paul is saying that justification is by faith alone

So, from here Paul shifts gears and begins to write about human nature and why we will never be able to be justified in God’s sight by being good people

He begins with the depravity of man

Just so you know, the depravity of man simply means that we have been corrupted – It means that we are broken and can’t fix ourselves

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:18-23

 

What I want us to consider tonight is this:

Is the wrath of God unjust?

This is a hard passage to read because it paints God as an angry God,a violent God, unmerciful, and unjust

Why would a good God send his creatures to hell?

This is a question that has been asked from the beginning of time no doubt

So what Paul wants to do is settle this question and help his readers understand who they are and what they have done to the Almighty God – Their Creator

He begins by saying, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18

The key words here are “suppress the truth”

The point that Paul is making is that all of creation, all of humanity knows that God exists and that they owe their allegiance to Him, but they do not do it – This is what the Bible calls sin and what Paul refers to as “suppressing the truth”

They know the truth that God created all things, they know the truth that they should live their lives in humble submission to Him but they don’t – They rebel against this truth – They suppress it

Think about this – What do we do when we “suppress” something?

When I think of this, I think of something that wants to come out of something but I don’t let it

It’s like when I look up into the night sky and I see all the stars shining it causes something in me to come out – It causes me to want to say, “God you’re amazing, look at what you’ve done!”

But if I “suppress” that inclination, that truth, and instead say, “No, there is no God, this is all just a cosmic accident” – What I’m doing is “suppressing the truth” – I am rejecting that which is plain to me

Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day it pours out speech, and night to night it reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” Psalm 19:1-4

In other words, the creation speaks for itself – The creation screams of God’s glory

And when we “suppress” God’s glory, when we “suppress” that which is plain to us, that which speaks for itself, what we’re doing is rejecting God

We’re rejecting the One who created us, the One who created all that we see – We reject the One who gives us life, a sound mind, a functional body, air to breathe, food to eat, and a mind to think

This is why this is so important and the reason why Paul begins his letter with it – Because when we “suppress the truth” what we’re doing is rejecting God

It’s kind of like this…

Suppose you are in a fine restaurant and you order a dish – You’re food arrives, you eat it, you enjoy all the flavors that it brings, it satisfies your hunger, it causes you to be glad, you’re content, you’re satisfied – It was the best meal you had ever had!

And then you leave, and you don’t even for a moment acknowledge the one who prepared the meal for you, the one who took the time to cut the vegetables, cut the meat, and add the spices

You see, the meal points to the one who made it, but all you do is enjoy what has been made for you and not even thank the one who created it

But in addition to not thanking him you don’t even think of him! – The thought of where the meal comes from didn’t even enter your mind – You simply enjoyed what the chef created for you, and then left

This is how it is when we breathe God’s air, eat His food, use the body that he gave us and not even thank Him for one of them, and not even think of Him in the process

This is what Paul is saying when he says that God’s wrath is being “revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness” of men, who “suppress the truth”

God’s wrath comes as a result of enjoying all that He has made, and not giving thanks to Him

Listen to what the text says,

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21

Paul is stating here that all of humanity, every single human being that ever lived and is living today knows that there is a God

But what do they do?

They “suppress” it – They shove it down – They remove it from their mind

21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21

 

My question is, “What are we supposed to do?”

What did Jesus teach us to do?

Mark 12:30 says, 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

But do we do this? I think not

You see, when we continually “suppress the truth” what eventually happens is that we become fools and our hearts become dark – And our thinking becomes pointless, it becomes hollow and empty – And then we begin to do other things that are pointless, hollow, and empty

In the text, the pointless things the people did could be found in the next verse, Paul writes, 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:22-23

What Paul is saying is that in rejecting God, the people became fools and began to worship wood and stone instead of God – The One who created the wood and the stone

“Their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” Romans 1:21-22

So what did God do?

Verse 24 says, “[He] gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity”

This is a scary verse, because it tells us that if someone continually suppresses the truth, if they continually shove down what they know to be true, eventually God will give them up to what they want – And what they want is folly – What they want is to bow down to wood and to stone – What they want is contrary to nature – What they want is to be fools

So, eventually God gives them up to it

Why?

   25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served          the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

The judgment of God falls on those who continually “suppress the truth” and                   exchange the glory of God for idols

What does that mean?

    An idol is anything that takes the place of God

An idol is anything that        

becomes more important than God – An idol is something that we love more than God

Idols are not only ancient false gods that we read of in the Bible, idols are an everyday temptation for us as we live in the 21st century

Anything that I am devoted to above God is my idol

Whether that is my favorite sports team, my career, my business, my family, or even my child – Anything that I am devoted to above God has become my idol – It has become my god – It is what I worship

And what Paul is saying is that if we continually “suppress the truth,” continually reject God, eventually God will let us have what we want – And what we want is our idols – We want to worship sports, worship a career, worship a business – Eventually what we do is we begin to worship ourselves

And it only gets worse, verse 28 says, 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Romans 1:28-31

And the list goes on, the point being that when you reject God – When you exchange the truth of God for a lie what you do is you start down a road that leads you to all the places you would not go otherwise

But you don’t see it, you’re blind to it because you’ve exchanged wisdom for folly, righteousness for unrighteousness, good for evil – To you folly is wisdom, unrighteousness is righteousness, evil is good!

This person’s mind has become “debased” – It has been corrupted

So, why does Paul begin his letter this way?

He begins it this way to communicate to his readers that all of humanity is guilty of this to one degree or another – All of humanity has chosen its own way – All of humanity has “suppressed the truth” to some degree – All of humanity has rejected God

What Paul is doing is building his case against the belief that we are okay if we do good things – We’re not okay! – What he is trying to do is communicate to his audience that all of humanity has chosen the wrong road – And the only way we can get on the right road is by Jesus Christ – By putting our faith in the One who took the right road from the beginning

Well, I asked a question earlier, I asked, “Is the wrath of God unjust?”

What do you think, is it?

Or you may be asking, “Why is it just?” “How could it be just?”

It’s just because, like a child willfully rebels against you, so we too willfully rebel against God – We willfully shake our fists at God and yell, commanding Him to leave us alone – And so when we do that long enough He gives us what we want – Sadly, it ends in our destruction

But this is why Christ came – He came to save us from all that we could not save ourselves from – We broke the law, He kept it – We shook our fists at God, He praised God – We chose our own road (the selfish road), He chose the selfless road – We step on others for our gain, He allowed Himself to be stepped on for our gain – We expect to be served, He served – We will do anything to save our life, He willingly gave up His life

You see, Jesus is the answer to all this – He is the answer to all your questions

He is what your longing for – He is the One who will give you purpose – He is the One who will give you life

You see, God poured out His wrath on Christ, so that you don’t have to face it

Question is, do you accept Him, – Will you let Him in – Will you open the door of your heart to Him – Will you acknowledge your need for Him – Will you accept what He offers you – Will you do what your heart is telling you to do right now?

Translations


Willful Obedience

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1-7

 When I say, “You must obey,” what does it cause you to think?
What is your immediate reaction?
Does it cause you to want to obey? – Do you immediately think, “Yes, I want to obey, I want to do what you tell me!”
No, this is usually not the first reaction we have when someone tells us, “We must obey.”
But what is our first reaction, what do we immediately think and feel when someone tells us we must obey?
Perhaps this cartoon says it best.
You see, we all laugh at this because we know its true – We know that this is the inclination of our own hearts.
What happens when you tell your child, “Don’t touch that button?” – Do they listen? – Do they respect your authority? –Do they obey?
No, they will hit the button just because you said not to!
Now, eventually they will obey, that is, after they have tested you and found that by testing you, your wrath is unleashed!
So they obey not because they want to, but because they don’t want to unleash your wrath – This is what we call “The Law”
The “Laws” are the rules that must be obeyed to avoid God’s wrath
But there is another obedience, and this obedience does not come from the “Law” but from the “Spirit” – And this is the obedience that Paul will be addressing in this book – And the obedience that God desires.
 

God desires our obedience, not because we have to, but because we want to.

This is a theme that runs through the entire bible, no matter where you look, you will find this principle
Well, Paul begins his letter to the Romans this way, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…” Romans 1:1
Then later in verse 5, “…to bring about the obedience of faith” Romans 1:5
You see, what Paul is doing (straight out of the gate) is communicating to his readers that he is one who has become obedient to God, not because he has to, but because he wants to.
 How does he introduce himself?
“Paul, a servant”
What is the nature of a servant?
If you saw someone serving others, you would conclude that this person has chosen to serve.
They can either choose to spend their time serving or they choose not to serve.
It’s their choice, they are not forced to serve, they freely choose to serve.
And Paul is saying the same thing, he is saying that he is choosing to serve, not because he has to, but because he wants to
And who is he choosing to serve? – Who’s “servant” is he? – “Jesus Christ”
You see, Paul is saying that he is choosing to be obedient, it’s not forced upon him, he gladly accepts it.
But he has also been “called”
“Called” to do what? – Be an “apostle”

When someone calls you, you have two choices – You can either accept the call or you can reject it – In writing this letter Paul is saying that he has accepted the call – He is being obedient to the call.

And as a result, he has been “set apart”
But, “Set apart” for what? – The “gospel of God”
You see in the very first verse of this book Paul is communicating to us that his obedience to God is not legalistic, but of his own choice – He wants to be obedient.
And when he is obedient, God gives him an assignment – He gives him something to do
Because Paul is obedient to the faith, God puts him to work.
How beautiful it is when your son/daughter wants to be obedient – What does that do to your heart? – It brings you joy, and it causes you to trust them more.
So it is with God, when we are obedient to the faith, not because we have to, but because we want to, it brings joy to the heart of God/Christ.
This is what Paul is saying in his introduction.
But not only that, he communicates to us who Jesus is (the fact that He is God’s Son, because God raised Him from the dead).
Verse 3 says, “Concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 1:3-4
You see, the resurrection is proof that what Jesus said about Himself was true – Well, you may be asking, “What did He say about Himself?”
“I and the Father are one” John 10:30
“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” John 14:9
Jesus clearly communicates to all that He is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity
If He was lying than the Father would not have raised Him from the dead!
Perhaps it is C.S. Lewis that said it best, when he said that Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or He is Lord
If He was a liar than God would not raise Him from the dead!
If He was a lunatic God would not raise Him from the dead!

But He was raised from the dead! – This proves that what He said about Himself was true!

God raised Him from the dead because Jesus is God’s Son – Jesus is God Himself

Well, Paul goes on
In verse 5 he says, that “Through whom (Christ) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ Romans 1:5-6
Did you know that you are “called to belong to Christ?”
Did you know that you are “called to be saints?”
That’s what it says, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” Romans 1:6-7
You could say it this way, “Including you (insert names) who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in (insert city) who are loved by God and called to be saints.”
Paul in this letter is addressing the Romans, but if he were here today he would address this same letter to us –He would say to us, “You are all called to be saints in Christ – every one of you.”
Did you know that?
Do you believe that?
Can you hear His call?
You may be wondering what God calls you too

Let me just say this – Your job is not your calling!

Your job could serve to fulfill your call, but it is not your calling!
You see, we are not called to go to school, get a good job, make a lot of money, buy nice things, and then die.

We are called to fulfill the Great Commission

What is the Great Commission?
Well, right before Jesus ascended into heaven, He said this, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

You see, before Peter (Simon) was called by Jesus in Matthew 4, he was a fisherman – You could say that his identity and title was: Simon Bar Jonah (son of Jonah): Fisherman

But what does Jesus rename him in Matthew 16? – He says, “You are Peter” the “Rock”
And before this He calls him a “fisher of men.” Matthew 4:19
You could say that Jesus changes Simon’s identity and title to: Peter, Child of God: A fisher of men
You see, when we accept the call of God, He gives us a new identity – I no longer am known as: Alexander, son of Sydor: Painter
I am Alexander, Child of God: A fisher of men
You see, when we become obedient to the faith, God adopts us as His children
John 1:12 says, 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God John 1:12
Romans 8:14 says, 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:14-15

Galatians 4:4 says, But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7

Of course the word “Abba” here literally means, “Daddy”
God has given us a “Spirit” to call Him “Daddy” – How beautiful!

So what is my point in all this?

I have been talking about being obedient to the faith, not because we have to, but because we want to– The fact that this is the kind of obedience God desires.
I have been talking about the nature of Jesus – Who He says He is, and what that means for us.
I have been talking about the call of God – The fact that God calls every one of us to salvation – But not only to salvation, but to service.
And when we accept the call of God, He changes our identity– He gives us a new name and a new purpose – Our identity is no longer in what we do as a job, or what family we were born into, but in who we are in Christ – We are His sons, we are His daughters.
All of this information, all of these realities, all of these truths should then lead us to say with confidence and hope what Paul says in verse 16.


16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealedfrom faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17

This is what we will be studying in the days ahead – The fact that the “righteousness of God” is not found in the Law – It’s not found in doing good things, but rather is found in the person of Jesus Christ – Only to be attained through obedience to the faith

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