United State of Approval
By Bobby Blakey on August 15, 2022
United State of Approval
By Bobby Blakey on August 15, 2022
I invite you to open the Bible and turn with me to Romans chapter 1 for the last time, everyone This will conclude our May God Save America series. And we have seen in this chapter, that the gospel is God's power to save. And not only have we heard these testimonies, there are people who have gotten saved right here among us this summer we can praise the Lord for, and we've also seen that people have turned away from God, they've exchanged what is true about God, and they would rather seek life in the creation rather than in the Creator. And so, God has given us up to sin and we're going to conclude our study of that here this morning. And so, I want to just read for us Romans chapter one, verse 16, all the way to verse 32. So hopefully, some of this will be review of what we have learned, and then we'll finish it up together right now. And so, I'm going to invite everyone to stand up for the public reading of Scripture, including those watching outside, or if you're at home watching online. I know we’ve got some who are home sick, I want to welcome you. And I want everyone to give this your full and undivided attention because this is the eternal Word of God, and it explains why our country is the way it is today. Romans 1:16-32.
“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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 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. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 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. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 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. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
That's the reading of God's Word. Go ahead and have your seat. And so, we start out with the gospel, we’ve got good news. God has the power to save you out of your sin and he can make you right with him. And you can get that righteousness by faith in the good news that Jesus died and rose again. But we also have, and this is what we've really been talking about for a while now is, we have the wrath of God, God is angry. God is not okay with unrighteousness. And what we've seen three different times is that people exchange God for something else. They exchange the immortality of God for mortality or the truth of God for a lie. And so three times because it says there's an exchange where we don't live for God, but we live for ourselves in our sin, three times it says there's an exchange, three times it says, God gave them up. Like if you're going to choose your creation, your sin, over the creator, the Savior, if you're going to choose that over him, well, then God's going to give you over to your sin, God is going to deliver you up to it. And the third and final time, look at verse 28 with me, everybody, this is a great review of all that we've learned this summer. 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. So, because people aren't really knowing God and giving him glory, well, then God is going to give them over to the sin they're choosing, instead of him.
Now, if you were reading this in the Greek language it was written in, you would notice where it says they did not see fit to know God, or to have the knowledge of God, God gave them up to a debased mind. So, there are two ideas that sound different in English, like seeing fit to know God, and then having a debased mind. If we were reading it in Greek, we would see it's two versions of the same word. So, it's like in their mind, they didn't really test the knowledge of God, they didn't really try or prove to know God, so therefore they have this untested mind is what it's saying. Because they didn't make their mind about theology, like really knowing God and having a relationship with him, well, God designed the life and so if you don't see life from God's perspective, if you don't try to know God, well then your mind is in right now, your mind isn’t right. You're going to view life in a way that God never designed, never intended. And you're going to start doing things that God doesn't want you to do. So, the choice is here in Verse 28: you either know God, or you know evil.
Let's get that down for point number one, if you're taking notes. We’ve got a handout there in your bulletin if you want to write some things down. Point number one: If you don't know God, then you will know evil. These are the two options as outlined. If you're not about knowing God, well, then God's going to give you up to this sin, to do things that you should not do. And so, one of the things, and this is so great that we're we got to hear Amber's testimony today, and talking about this sermon, because what'll happen a lot is we'll see evil out there in America. We'll agree, yeah, it's getting bad out there. And then we'll think well, instead of being bad, I’ll be one of the good people. Isn't that what Amber said, right? I'm not one of those bad people out there. I'm one of the good people. And this is where we're going next here at this church. All right? If you think you're a good person, I just want to tell you right now, don't come to this church next week, okay? You are not going to like it. Because as we get into Romans 2, and especially as we get into Romans 3, we are going to find out maybe more clear than ever before in our lives, there are no good people, they don't exist. So, if you're thinking, well, I don't want to be one of the bad ones, I’ll be one of the good ones, that's not what Romans 1 is saying. It's saying, no, they did not seek to know God, they did not prove the knowledge of God, that's why they're over here. See, the goal, if you don't want to be an evil person, the goal is not to be a good person, the goal is to be God's person. That's the key. This idea of like, I'll go to church so I'll be a better person, I'll read the Bible, so I'll have good morals, that's not the point. The point is to know God, not try to be a better you. And we’ve got to make this very clear, because a lot of people come to church, and they think they're doing the good thing by coming here. They think they're being one of the good people by coming here, when the whole point of Romans 1, 2 and 3 is, no, it's not about being a good person. It's about do you know God, because you either get your mind renewed and transformed by the knowledge of God, or you end up with a mind that's not seeing life the right way, and you're going to do things that God never intended for you to do.
So, the question is, it's a really personal question that I'm asking you right now. And it's really something only you can answer in the secret of your own soul. And it's, do you know God? People say Christianity, it's not a religion, it's a relationship. Okay, well, then do you have a relationship with God in heaven? Even though you live here on earth, and you don't see him in all of his glory in heaven, do you know God? Do you walk throughout your days in the knowledge of God? Like, do you wake up in the morning and think about him? Do you go to bed at night and pray to him as you're spending time alone? Do you think to yourself that you are not alone because God is with you? Or are you just going through some good motions? Turn with me to 2 Peter chapter 1:3. I'm so glad we get to talk about knowing God, like it brought up there. And in Romans 1:28, where it says they acknowledged him or “through the knowledge of him.” 2 Peter 1:3, it uses that same word in this verse. And this is the main point of church. This is the main point of the Bible that you would know God in a real personal kind of a way. Look at how it says it here in 2 Peter1:3, it says, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” So, this is what you would be able to see that God is the one who has the authority, that's in control, and he's the one giving you life. And how do you get that? Through “the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” Instead of having a mind that's not fit and we end up in all these sins and vices, no, we have a mind that knows God and we end up experiencing his glory and his excellence. Because we really can see who God is by faith, see him through the Scripture. And we know God and it changes us. Look at 2 Peter 1:4. It says, through this knowledge of him, “he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” You know him as your father, you become one of his children, you start growing more and more into God's likeness. And then here's the phrase I want you to underline, circle, write down if you're taking notes. It says here in verse four, “having escaped from the corruption that is in the world, because of sinful desire.” it is through knowing God that we escape all the evil that is going on in America, all the corruption in the world around us. How do you get escaping? How do you get saved out of all the evil? You have to know God.
Please don't go home and try harder to be a better person. That's not going to get you anywhere. Go home and think, do I really have a relationship with God? Can I pray to him? Can I read the Bible and get to know him more? Can I spend time with other believers where we can talk about God together? That is how you're going to escape the corruption of the world ,through the knowledge of God. Go to John 17 with me. We're reading through the Gospel of John right now at our church. You can always see the schedule on the back of the handout. And in my mind, John 17 is really the climax of this gospel, right before Jesus dies on the cross for our sin, right before that, John runs down and that tomb is empty because he's risen from the dead, you get a prayer that Jesus says to the Father in heaven, here in John 17. And this is a definition of eternal life. Look at it here, John 17:1-3, “When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’” So, if you think that eternal life means after you die, you go to heaven. That is not what eternal life is. Eternal life includes that, but that's not really what it's about. Eternal life is not so much a quantity of life that goes on forever. Eternal life is a quality of life because you actually know God, you walk with him, you talk to him, and you experience his presence in your life. That is eternal life. It's not just living forever. It's an abundance. It's a quality of life through your relationship with God. I'm asking you, does your relationship with God determine how your day goes? Do your circumstances set the tone? Do other people in your life set your tone? Or does God, the one on the throne, set the tone for your life? Because you legitimately have a relationship with him. So next time you hear somebody say all the world's so evil these days, America, it's going downhill? It's falling apart. Yeah, what the answer to that is, we need God, we need to turn to him. We need to know him. Not that we need like more conservative people doing good things. There are no good people, there are only God's people. That's what's going to save America right there is knowing him. That's what's going to save your soul.
And I'm talking to some of you who come to church, and you think, well, I'm one of the good people, I go to church. If you going to a good church, you'll know there are no good people. All right? Well, the reason we come here is we don't need a little improvement, we need radical salvation, we need a whole new heart, we need God's Spirit in us. Because we have all fallen short of the glory of God, we have all sinned, and it's only through getting rescued into a relationship with him that any of us are ever going to be right. And that's what we need. You need to know God; you should make that your goal this week. I want to know God more this week than I ever have before. I want to be aware that he is there. I want to talk to him. I want to seek him in his Word. When I talk to other people, I want to talk about God with other people. I want to know him. That is the answer to the evil around us.
Now, go back to Romans 1:28, because that was just review. That was just warm up, everybody. All right? Now the sermon really gets started and what we have here, and I'm not making this up, okay, we're just going through Romans, trust me. This is not the kind of passage I would pick out if I was just picking passages here. What we have here is the longest list of sins in all of the New Testament, everybody. There are twenty-one words used to describe sin in Romans 1:29-31. If we had told you, we're going to go through twenty-one sins at church today, come on down. I don't know if everybody would have made it to the eleven o'clock service. Just being honest. I don't think I've ever preached on one of these vice lists. There's a bunch of them in the New Testament. They call them vice lists where you understand there are things you should not do. Well, now let's start naming those things. Now let's start calling those things up. Hey, let's give you a four warm up. Let's give you five more. Let's hit you at twelve all at once. Twenty-one words that describe sin. You're thinking, well, why in the world would anybody want to preach or hear a list of twenty-one sins? Did we just not hear a woman tell us that one of the greatest moments in her life was when she got on her phone and made a list of her sins? Because when you can identify your sin, you can then see the solution to your problem. When you realize you're sick, then you can go to the great physician, and he can save you from your sin. So here we go. Twenty-one listed and, and it starts out general. Look at Romans 1:29. It says they were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, and malice. Okay, so notice what the Bible says is not that sometimes you do bad things, but actually, that you are full of bad things. Notice how it puts it like that. It's not like well, I made a mistake over here, I didn't really do this right over there. It's like no. Inside of you things are not right in your soul, in your heart, and who you really are inside your body. Things are not right. And so, this unrighteousness, this evil, this covetousness where you want what other people have, this malice, where you actually wish ill upon other people, that's just not like something that's out there and you fell into it. That's something that's in you. And that's why you did it. Look at how it says it in the next line here. It says they are full of. So not only is it giving us a list of twenty-one vices, but it's saying that these are what we're full of; this is who we are. And so, we got four in the first sentence. Look at this second sentence here, five now: they are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. What the Scripture is teaching us here together is that if you don't have a relationship with God, you're going to find big problems in all your other relationships. Like if through the knowledge of God, you learn how to forgive and love and be there and be patient with other people. But if you don't know God, now, you're not going to think about life right. And now when somebody else is blessed, you're going to be envious of them. And you're not going to be able to praise the Lord for them, you're going to want it for yourself. In fact, you're going to have a heart of murder, where you're going to hate other people, you're going to be against other people, you're going to have strife or there's going to be this tension that commonly happens, this division, where you don't give people the benefit of the doubt and love. You're not patient with people like God was with you. But you're like, what's this person's problem and I don't want anything to do with this person and this person's negative energy, so I’ve got to get them out of my life and there's going to be strife and then there's deceit.
There are people lying to one another. People saying one thing to somebody's face and something else behind somebody's back, there's maliciousness, actually wishing evil on other people or saying things to hurt and cause damage to other people. And then it gives us a list of twelve here. Look what it says, there are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, let's just stop right there with those three, because this is clearly about how we speak. We're gossips or we're spreading unconfirmed reports about other people. Or maybe we know it's true, and it's something bad about somebody. And instead of going and talking to that person, one on one in private, if you hear something bad about somebody, first person you should talk to is that person. But, no, gossips, they go over here, and they tell everybody else about what's wrong with this person. See our slanders, now I'm trying to cut someone down with my words, I might even lie. I might even say something about them that's not true, just to slander them, just to bring them down by what I say. In fact, I'm not even spreading bad things about other people or cutting other people down. I'm a hater of God, I’ll even trash-talk God, I’ll even say bad things about God. This is the level of evil that is coming out of this unfit mind. They don't realize who God is, so they'll just throw him under the bus like everybody else. After those three things it says, insolent, haughty, boastful, the next three there, insolent, haughty, boastful. I mean, here's somebody who's so full of themself, they don't have time to consider other people. They can't put other people first because they're thinking of themselves first. That's the idea of someone who's haughty, someone who's talking and what are they going to talk to you about? They're going to talk about themself, they're going to tell you what's going on with them. See, if we're not careful, it's very easy to become consumed in our own head with our own thoughts. And to put ourselves first, more important than God, more important than other people, we're not living to love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourself. No, we're just loving ourselves. We're just putting ourselves in the first place.
In fact, why are all these other people on my commute on the 405 Freeway? Like why are all these other people in my way? Why would that person up there? Why don't they have apple pair, like the chip in their car? Why is it taking that person forever to check out here at the store? Oh, what is going on? What's wrong with all these other people getting in my way today? See, so somebody who's like, oh, these other people don't have things to do. I've got things to do. I'm thinking about myself. I'm a haughty person, talking about myself, like I'm more important. Then it says this: Inventors of evil. Wow, we're so caught up in the same old sins, we're finding new ways to do them. And then this one, anybody who's been to a grocery store in the last ten years can say Amen to this one. Disobedient to parents. Has anybody seen that? Well, we’ve got a big spill on aisle four. And I am not talking about food, you know what I mean? I'm talking about that kid is yelling at the top of their lungs. And that kid is totally disrespecting their parents in front of everybody. And it doesn't seem like anything's going to change about it. We're at the point now in America, where if you’ve got a family with young kids, and you go out to eat, and those kids are like somewhat behaved, those kids actually listened to their mom and dad, those kids actually sit there and eat food like human beings, you're going to have complete strangers walking up to you. Oh, it's just so great to see your family. I mean, this is how it goes these days. Oh, it's just so wonderful to see kids. I saw you guys pray. Oh, it's so refreshing. What they're saying is it's out of control and the disobedient to parents’ department. Any kid who actually obeys their parents, oh, it's just so good to see somebody like that. That's how desperate we are for basic children obeying their parents.
I mean, then you get this Romans 1:31, which just gets to the attitude of how people are towards one another. Foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless, just a bunch of words put together all does sound the same to just drive home the point, like you don't look at people around you as souls. You don't look at people around you as fellow human beings, made in the image of God, who need to be saved by Jesus, just like you. It's like, I just don't even see these people. I'm heartless. In fact, don't cut me off. I'm ruthless. I don't even think you're going to ever be a good person that God's ever going to save you that there would ever be a change in your life. Because I'm faithless. I'm just like, I'm kind of down on everybody.
See this 21 sins it says. So, the Bible, you’ve got to see this. I would imagine that you're not at home memorizing vice lists, okay. It's for just like a devotional time with the Lord. Oh, hey, I found this great list of sins the other day, honey, let's all memorize it together. This will be good, right? Okay. When you go by that little rack in the airport, where they have some Christian books while you're getting ready for a flight, it's not like vice list devotional, you're not seeing that anywhere. Okay. But so why does the Bible have this? And there are many that we could turn to, we're going to look at a couple more of them. But why does the Bible call sin out for what it is? Today, it's like, I don't know if we want to talk about that. That sounds negative. That sounds intense. That sounds harsh. We would just rather not think about sin. I need everybody to hear Amber's testimony that when she compared herself to God, and she knew what God said about sin, and she listed out her sins and took them to God, that was the day of her salvation. The reason it gets very specific about sin, and it mentions twenty-one different words is so that you would see yourself in some of those words. And if you think well, that's not me, that's somebody else. I mean, let me just say it again, don't come to church next week, because you're not going to like it. Because look what it says when you get into Romans 2:1. It 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.” So, the Bible is going to say this is a sin and I want to encourage you to match up the way that you think with what God says in the Bible.
Let's get this down for point number two: Call sin, sin. Call sin, sin. Look at these things. Ask yourself, do I do these things when other people have nice things? Am I covetous? Am I envious? Am I out there saying bad things about other people? Am I going through life thinking of myself as more important than others? Am I kind of heartless and ruthless as I go by other people throughout the day, and be willing to say that I sin, I do this? One of the ways that I can find myself talking, I don't know if you can relate to this or not, but when I sin, I might say something to my wife, or my kids, or one of my friends, I might say something like, hey, I'm really sorry, I made a mistake. Or I might say something like, hey, I'm really sorry, that you felt bad about what I said. Right? Or, hey, I'm sorry, I wasn't at my best. You know, I had a lot going on. And I could have done a better job. See, are you going to talk like that? Or are you going to say, hey, I'm sorry that I said that to you? That was wrong. I should have never talked to you like that. Hey, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, kids that I got angry the other day, I'm sorry that I got frustrated with all of you and I and I raised my voice like that, will you please forgive me? Hey, I'm sorry because the other day, I was way more thinking about myself than I was thinking about you. See, when you call sin sin, you're actually now owning up to something in your life, and you can actually really be sorry about it, and they can really forgive you for it. If you confess it to God, he will forgive you for it. And then you can really be free from the power of it. But if you never name it, if you never call it out for what it is, see, then you just keep doing it. And so, I'm asking you, are you ready to call sin for what it is? Are you ready to say the same things that God says in the Bible?
Go over to 1 Timothy chapter 1. And we saw this the other week. This is another example of a vice list. I'll just take you to a couple more of them. Paul writes a lot of them just a list of different sins, to expose who we really are. And he says why he does it. This is why I want to go to 1 Timothy 1:9. He wants us to understand this, “that the law is not laid down for the just,” the law is not for those who are right with God, nor the law is for the “lawless and the disobedient, for the ungodly, and the sinners, for the unholy and the profane.” See, we do start out thinking that we're pretty good people, especially if we compare ourselves to some other people that we know who've done certain things, and we haven't done those things, then we start feeling pretty good about ourselves. And then we come to the law, we come to God's Word, and God's Word is like a sword that cuts straight to the thoughts and intents of your heart. This collection of books, this Scripture that God inspired men to write, knows you better than you know yourself. And as you read through this book, you start seeing who you really are, you start taking that log out of your eye, and you're like, wow, God's saying all these things are wrong. And that's exactly what I say. That's exactly what I do. That's exactly what I think. And the law is for people like us to be able to see our sin for what it is. We call it conviction. And it doesn't feel very good when you get convicted when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes and gives you the ears to hear. And you realize that's me, I'm the person who does that. It feels so bad. But many of us who have been convicted, we actually find it so refreshing, because once I can see my sin for what it is, that's when I can confess it to God. And when I confess my sin to him, he is faithful and just to forgive me for all of my sin and cleanse me from all of my unrighteousness. But until I see it, and until I own up to it, I can't be forgiven for it. And so, the law that a list of sins is given, so that you could see yourself for who you are, so that you could go to God and actually be right with him and not just walk around thinking you're right. But what it goes on to say, how it gets specific, it says, for “those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,” that's like man stealing. That's what happened in the history of our nation where you take people from another place and force them to be slaves, “liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” Once you can see your sin, then you can see what you need to be saved from. And then you can see Jesus up there bleeding out, sacrificing himself on that cross, laying down his life to pay for your sin. And when you see your sin, and you see Jesus on that cross, that's when the gospel becomes very good news, because you're so thankful that Jesus paid for all of your sin. But you can't really experience that until you see your sin, and you call it out for what it is.
Go over to Galatians chapter 5, a few pages over to the left. Galatians 5 actually gives us two lists here. It gives us a vice list of sins, of things we do in the flesh and the evil of our own hearts, but then it also gives us a list of the fruit of the Spirit here in Galatians 5. The work that God does in us, when God gives us a new heart, and God saves us and he puts his Spirit within us and we've died with Christ and we've risen to a new life, well, you'll see the difference here between how we would live and then how we live when we know God. Here in Galatians 5:19, here's another vice list. It says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident,” you can literally see the sin in “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” I warn you, as I warned you before, Paul has no problem writing down these lists of sins, repeating these lists of sins. He wants everybody to see sin for what it is, I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. You cannot live the way of this world and think you're in the kingdom of heaven at the same time. You're on one team or the other. You're either in there with the evil, with everybody else, or you know God, and you've escaped the corruption that is in the world. And so, if you're still living in this sin, see it listed out very clearly, so, you could see if that's you. If that's you, you're not in the kingdom, you're not in a relationship with God. That's what he's saying there. But Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit, the proof that God is working in you, and you know him, well, that's “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.” See, that's the fact that God put his Spirit in you and look at you now, look at how now you can act right towards other people because you know God, and he's working through you. Because you've got the vertical relationship, it's changing all your horizontal relationships. Wow, that list, that's the work of God, but that first list, the vice list, no, see, that's us. And so, I want to actually ask if you've never really owned up to your sin before, if you've never really called it sin for what it is, if you've never made a list of your own vices, and prayed them to God, and begged God to forgive you, maybe that's why you're here today. Maybe that's why I'm preaching through twenty-one things, because in some of those twenty-one things, you're actually seeing yourself before a holy God, as a sinner. You're seeing your need for Jesus. Today might be your day if you've never done it before, to make a list of your vices, and to pray them to God and experience a forgiveness, a victory, a freedom, like you've never known in your life.
Go back to Romans chapter 1, because it takes a real bad turn. You would think a list of twenty-one sins, that's got to be as bad as this sermon can get. Right? Well, actually, we’ve got verse 32 here, and in verse 32, there's a twist here at the end. So, Paul has given us three points, three things that we exchange instead of God for something else, and then three ways that God gave us up to that sin that we wanted instead of him. And so, here's his final statement in verse 32, to summarize this part of the book of Romans, it says, “though, they know God's righteous decree…” So, people either know it because they know what the Bible says, or maybe they know it because of their conscience that's within them, that we're going to get to in Romans chapter 2, but people have an idea of what God says is right and wrong, and they know these things are wrong and they know that people who do them “deserve to die.” Well, even though they know all of this, that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, and then here's the twist at the end of it, “but give approval to those who practice them.” So, we can understand as people who have sinned, I can understand, Okay, God says this is wrong, but I still end up doing this because I want to and, and I know I just did something wrong before God. In fact, I know that the wages of sin is actually, what? All of our sin is leading us towards death, and it's appointed for a man to die. And after death comes what? Judgment. So, I understand that that there is sin, and then we're going to die. And then there's going to be judgment after death.
But here's the weird twist. Not only is that happening, but also people are now saying that sin is approved. See, this is what's happening now in the United States of America. We've reached this United State of Approval that you, if you want to do that, if that's the way that you want to live, it doesn't matter if God says that's wrong, if God says that's not right, and he didn't create you to live that way, if that's what's inside of you, if that's what you're full of, if that's what you want to express yourself. See, all the polls now are saying, that's okay with everybody. All the voters are now saying, let's legalize that. That's fine. Hey, you want to be you? You want to live that way? Yeah. Thumbs up on that, hit “Like” on that. Sure, you can do that. See, we are now actually saying it's not even bad, it's not even evil, it's just you, and you go do you, you've got my approval. So, when you really study this in the Greek, and you read what the Bible scholars are saying about Romans 1:32, it's like, yeah, we could all understand doing something that is wrong, and not being right with God. But what's even worse, but also what's really twisted now, is how people are saying, it's okay to do that. God's now okay with it. But people are giving this approval to one another, saying, it’s okay for you to do that. That's how twisted it is. God says, that's wrong, don't do it, but we're making up our own morality. We're deciding what's right or wrong in our own eyes. And we're saying, you want to live that way? Go for it. We approve of this message.
Turn with me to Isaiah chapter 5. Let me show you another passage where this happened, this was in the history of Israel. Isaiah chapter five, if you can find the prophet Isaiah, maybe you're familiar with Isaiah 6, seeing the holiness of God in heaven. Well, before we get to the holiness of God in heaven, Isaiah 5 is a chapter describing the sin of the nation of Israel. God loved the nation of Israel. Maybe you know the story of Exodus, how God delivered them out of slavery in Egypt, how God brought them to the promised land. In fact, if you look at Isaiah 5:1 with me. It's so important we understand who God is. It says, “Let me sing for my beloved, my love song concerning his vineyard.” See, this is like a love song. God does not want to judge people. God wants to save people. Can I get an Amen from anybody on that? Okay, so, yes, we're going through a list of sins, and we're going through the wrath of God giving people over to those sins, but let's not misrepresent God. God saves people, God raises up people because he wants to sing over them. He wants to save them. I mean, this is a love song. God has love for us. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. That's why Jesus came and laid down his life, because the Father so loved us that he gave his one and only Son. It describes the people of Israel that God saved, that God loves, that God chose to put his favor upon them. It describes them as a “vineyard” and that God made them a vineyard. Look what Isaiah 5:1-2 says “My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it” to protect it. He “hewed out wine vat in it, and he looked for it to yield grapes.” So, look at all the God has done for his people there in Israel. And now God is ready to see the fruit. Whenever somebody knows God, you will see the fruit of it in their life; there will be a change in their life when you know God. Now you can think about life the right way. And so, where's the fruit? Well, there's no fruit here. It's just wild grapes. He's looking for the vineyard to produce fruit, but we just got wild grapes. And so, then it begins here to talk about how, even though Israel knew who God was, they rejected the knowledge of God, and they went over to their sin, and now there will be judgment. And there are woes here in Isaiah chapter five, woes that are not like, whoa, slow down your roll woes, these are like woes of judgment. Because when you reject the knowledge of God, and you just keep going in your sin, you are now given over into judgment.
Some people get to hell before they get to hell, everybody. Some people, they end up in a very bad place where they are now in their sin that they turned to instead of God. And there is a woe upon them. Look what it says, let's look at some of these woes with me, Isaiah 5:8, “Woe to those who join house to house and who add field to field.” That's what we were talking about if you were here last week, people who always want more, you got a house, now you need another house next to your house, you got to field now you need another field added on to your field. Look at this, like just greed. And that's what woe to those who are just given over to the love of money. Look what it says in Isaiah 5:11. “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that day may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!”
See, in the Scripture, in Ephesians 5:18, there's a real contrast. You're either under the influence of the Spirit of God, or you're getting drunk, like those are two different kinds of being under the influence. You want to be under the influence of the Spirit, not drunk. Woe to those who are making their life about when they can get drunk, it's saying here. Now go over to Isaiah 5:18, where it says, “Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,” people who are hypocrites, people who are liars. And then verse 20. This is the one we really want to look at, write this down if you're taking notes, Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” See, that's when you decide that God doesn't get to say what sin is. In fact, we're going to say it's not sin, and so, people are living this way. That's fine. People want to do this. Well, it says right here, chapter and verse in this vice list that's one of the sins. You've been warned, don't be that way. People who live that way will die in their sin and be judged. Don't be like that. But instead of calling it evil, we're calling it good. In fact, we're at such a twisted place right now in America, that evil is not the problem. What the problem is is people like me doing what we're doing right here, right now, me actually saying it's evil, that's actually bad. Now, the evil is accepted, calling it evil, that's not acceptable. We are totally at a place where we are calling evil good. And we are calling good evil. Well, you're out of place where God has given us up, God does not approve of what we're doing, but we're giving one another this fake approval. See, people want to be justified. People want to feel right in what they're doing. And the only way you're really ever going to feel right is if you get right with God who made you, but people aren't seeking the knowledge of God. So, people want to be right, and they'll either tell themself that they're right or they'll want you to tell them they're right. And if you don't say that they're right for doing what they're doing, oh, that's so bad of you not to admit that they are right for doing what they're doing, because they want you to justify them. They want you to give approval. That's what's happening all around us. And by and large, in the United States, we are now giving our approval to many sins that God has said were unrighteous, we're now saying we're just alright with that. That's okay. Keep doing that.
Go back to Romans chapter 1. And woe to those who call evil good and good evil, that's where we're at. That's the dark twist here in Romans 1:32. Yeah, not only is this kind of sin happening, but we're actually acting like it's acceptable. We're acting like you can be right and still do those things. So, this word here, approval is in the Greek, it's kind of a compound word “pleased with.” Okay, so the root here of this word approval is the idea of being pleased. So, you can have a choice here as we conclude our sermon. You can go and live however you want, and America will give you its seal of approval. It's it stamped like yeah, that's fine. You go live however you want. That's okay. Or if you really want to be right Just there's one who can declare you righteous, who can approve you who can be pleased with you, and that's God. But here's the thing of this word pleased. There's only one person that God ever said he was pleased with, with this word here, there's only one actually, there was one person who was so righteous when he lived on planet earth, that the heavens would park and a light would shine, and a voice would come out of heaven and say that one right there, that's the one I'm pleased with. See, there's only one who's ever been righteous, there's only been one good person in the entire human history. And his name is Jesus, and God is pleased with Jesus. God gave his approval to Jesus. We can go and give each other fake approval and try to tell each other we're right, or we can look to know God, and we can see that the only way to get right with God is to see the one that God approves of, that God is pleased with.
I want you to look at the Gospel of Matthew chapter 3 with me, I want to show you three times in Matthew, where God says that he is pleased with his Son, Jesus. Okay? if there really was such a thing as a righteous person, a good person, and basically what we mean by that is a perfect person, a person who actually lives the way that God expected them to live, if there was really one of those people, the heavens would part, the light would shine, and the voice would say, this is the one right here that I'm pleased with. And there's been one of those people. And I want to show you three different times that God made it clear to us he's pleased with his son Jesus. And in fact, for the first one we're going to look at in Matthew 3 is when Jesus gets baptized. So, Jesus goes to John the Baptist, and he says, you need to baptize me, and John the Baptist is like, what are you talking about? You should baptize me, not me baptizing you. Look what Jesus says in Matthew 3:15. “But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all…” what does it say there, everybody? “Righteousness”. Do you realize that when Jesus lived for 33 years, he resisted every temptation, including the ones that Satan specifically threw at him? He said no to every temptation, and he obeyed every command, he fulfilled the entire law, he always did the right thing. In fact, why does Jesus need the symbol of cleansing from sin and rising to a new life in water baptism? Why does Jesus need to get baptized? He didn't even have any sin he needed to be cleansed from. Why is he getting baptized? To fulfill righteousness for us? See, this is the thing. You want to talk about a good person, you want to talk about someone who is righteous? Well, here he is, he's fulfilling righteousness. Look what it says in Matthew 3:17, “behold, a voice came from heaven.” Can you imagine hearing a voice from heaven? “This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.” God wants you to see there's righteousness. It's in Jesus. Not me, not in everybody else. But in him. Go over to Matthew chapter 12. This is another one that's not as well known, because it's through a prophecy that God says this about Jesus. It says here in Matthew 12:14 that the Pharisees, who thought of themselves as religious, righteous, good people, “the Pharisees” wanting to kill Jesus, a real righteous thing to do, showing they're full of murder and hatred in their hearts. But Jesus knows it's not time for him to die on the cross yet. He hasn't fulfilled all that righteousness yet. And so, Jesus withdraws, and look at what it says in Matthew 12:17-21, “This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice”; he's going to tell us how to be right with God, he's going to proclaim it to the Gentiles, to all the nations, “He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
There's going to be one who has justice, there's going to be one who's going to bring justice. Being right with God, he's going to bring it to victory, and all the nations will be able to see the one that God is pleased with, and when you put your faith in Jesus as the one who is righteous, then you will be made right with God through your faith. You are not going to find righteousness by trying to be a good person yourself. And you can go around and tell other people, they're good. And they can tell you, you're good, and we can all approve of one another, but there is only one who has the power to judge. And there is only one that he has ever said he was pleased with. Put your trust in Jesus.
Let's get this down for number three: Trust the only one who got God's approval, there is only one who got God's approval, and you need to trust him. When you see Jesus, you will see what righteousness looks like. In fact, when you see Jesus, all of us who have put our faith in him, we're living for him or trusting in him, we will be made like him, we will be made righteous like Jesus. Jesus is the righteous one. Go to Matthew 17, and this is the third time that he says it. When God says something three times in one book of the Bible, I think he's making a point. America is giving approval to what God calls sin, God has only given his approval to one who is righteous. And he does it here in Matthew 17. This is at the Mount of Transfiguration. So, I don't know if you know this story, but in this story, Peter, James, and John go up the mountain with Jesus. And Jesus is transfigured. And basically, they get to see Jesus in all of his glory, not in his human form when he put on flesh, but they get to see him and how he's going to be unveiled someday. Do you realize that someday every single one of us is going to see Jesus, and he's going to be revealed in all of his glorious splendor? And in this moment that Peter, James, and John, Peter, you know, classic Peter, he's saying something here, and God interrupts him here. And what it says in Matthew 17:5, Peter “was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’” If you want to be right with God, you've got one chance. There is one way; it is through Jesus that God is pleased with, Jesus who fulfilled all righteousness. You could today say, I'm not right. I have sinned, and I'm not going to get try to get right with this approval that's going on in the United States right now. No, the only way I'm going to get right is I'm going to put my trust in Jesus because he is the righteous one. Do you realize that the one good person who ever lived did the most amazing thing in history when he willingly laid down his life, to pay for your sin and for my sin.
When you want to talk about doing something good, you want to talk about doing something right? When you really are good, you don't ignore all the other people, you don't act like they're in your way. You actually go out of your way to lay down your life for everyone else, to pay for their sin, so that everyone who sees the righteous, if you go to Jesus. See, we've been talking in Romans one about this exchange where people are exchanging God for their sin and God is giving them over to their sin, there is now an exchange through Jesus, where you can come and confess your sin, and you can believe in Jesus, and he will give you his righteousness, as he has paid for all of your sin. That's what happens when you really have faith in the one that God is pleased with. And God is pleased with his son. And when you believe in Jesus, God is pleased with you. In the Gospel of Jesus, the righteousness of God is revealed. Everyone who has faith, the righteous will live by their faith. Trust in the righteous one, and God will make you right in your life. Let me pray for us right now.
Father, we really need to hear this message because today, you can do whatever you want, and it's approved. It's okay. And what you're saying in your Word, is, these are all kinds of sins that you're not okay with. And if we practice these things, we're going to die. And we're going to be judged. So, Father, I pray that in this moment, right now, we could stop listening to what America is saying and we could hear from your Word. And I pray for every single one of us, that we would be able to say here today, I am a sinner, and I've done wrong things. And some of these things in this list are talking about me, and that we could own ours sin so that we could confess it to you, and we could be forgiven for all of our sin, and we could receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So, I pray for everybody in here. All my brothers and sisters who are this church, I pray that you will make it so clear today, and in the weeks to come, that there are no good people here. We don't come to church to be good people. No, no, we need righteousness, and there's only one who's righteous. So, what there are here is people who have faith, people who are trusting in Jesus, not good people, but your people, Father, people who really know you through your Son, Jesus. And I pray for all of us here at this church that we will know how much we need you how much we depend on you how much if Jesus didn't die for us, we would be nowhere in this life. And it's only through knowing you that our mind gets right, our mind gets renewed, and we know how to live through knowing you. And Father, I want to lift up those who haven't really owned up to their sin yet, they've never really made a list of their own personal vices, they've never really come to you and said, God, here I am a sinner. And here are the things you say in your word, that these things are sin, while I've done these things; these are my sins. And Father, I just pray that today, today through the preaching of your Word, people would really hear the sin that is described here, that they would own up to it in their hearts that they would confess it to you. And then they would walk out of here today forgiven, that they would walk out of here today righteous, that they would walk out of here today and say Jesus is stronger than all of my sin. Jesus came and died. It gave me his righteousness and I want to lift his name up high here in Huntington Beach. I want everybody to know there was only one good person and his name is Jesus. So, Father, please do your mighty saving work. We got some sinners here today, please save that we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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