Given Up by God


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At this time, I want to pray for the sermon. I'm also going to pray for the situation and we do ask that you continue to pray. Would you please pray with me. Heavenly father, we thank you that you, the great God of the universe, a holy God, a righteous God, that when we rebelled against you, you did not leave us in a hopeless situation. We know that the wages of sin is death. We deserve eternal damnation. We deserve your wrath. And even in life, when we reject you, you give us what we want and this judicial abandonment. You give us up to our sins. And even so Lord, you gave your son Jesus Christ. Jesus, you gave your life for rebels, for people that pursued sin instead of God, who worshiped and served creature, not creator. And we thank you, Jesus that on the cross, you bore the wrath of God in order to extend to us the gift of your righteousness, that when we repent of sin and turn to you, your righteousness is imputed to us.
We thank you for that. We pray that you bless our time, the holy scriptures, by the power of the holy spirit. And Lord, we, right now as a church, pray for the situation in Ukraine. We pray that you'll be near and close to those who are suffering, those who have lost. I pray comfort them. I pray do send a revival of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ there, and in Russia, and here, and all around the world. I pray that people realize just how dark of a situation this is. We pray for the churches on the ground and those who are ministering. I pray that you give them an extra dose of the holy spirit, power, energy. And I pray that you do send resources and we pray for peace. We pray against all the perpetrators of this war and we pray for your wrath to be poured out upon them or for them to be brought to repentance and seek peace.
And continue to use us, Lord. And we thank you for this connection, this missionary family, and I pray that you bless them and bless their efforts as well. And we do pray for everyone in the church who has family in Ukraine. I pray that you be extra near to them. Bless our time. The holy word. We pray this in Christ's holy name. Amen.
We're continuing our sermon series through the Book of Romans. The title of sermon today is Given Up By God. And I'm going to start with the C.S, Lewis quote. CS Lewis in The Great Divorce, he writes this. "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened."
He gets to this idea of judicial abandonment that God gives people what they want. If people want sin more than God, God gives them up to that sin. And the penalty for that sin is more sin. Psalm 81:11-12, "But my people did not listen to my voice. Israel would not submit to me, so I gave them over to their stubborn and hearts to follow their own counsels." So these two categories of people, Lewis says, the first category is the people that say to God, "Thy will be done." This is how Jesus taught us to pray. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be they name, may your name be holy. Thy will be done. Thy will be done. That I will be done.
And then the other group of people is the ones to whom God will say. "Thy I will be done." Question, which category of people are you in right now? Right now? Do you say to God, "God, thy will be done in my life. Lord, I want to fulfill your will, whatever it is, whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, whatever the pain. Jesus, I will follow you wherever you lead me. Jesus. I believe in you, not just with my mind or my heart or my lips, I believe in you with my whole life." Or do you care more about your will than God's?
Can God tell you no? Can God tell you no? And if God cannot tell you no, then you're in the second category of people. And if you're not sure, if you're like, "I don't know which category I'm in," well, do I have a text for you today that will help you discern which category you are in. And that's really the heart of this text. Do you worship creature or do you worship creator? Romans 1:24 through 32, would you please look at the text with me?
"Therefore God gave them up in the lust 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 decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but give approval to those who practice them."
This is the reading of God's holy, inherent, infallible, authoritative word. May he write these eternal truths upon our hearts. To get the flow of the argument, I'm going to start with verse 16 and read through verse 23 so that you see what Saint Paul is doing. Saint Paul, in verse 16, he says, "Our only hope is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ." That's verse 16. "For I'm not ashamed of the gospel, the tremendous news of God's grace. For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Now I want you to notice the parallelism here. "For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith, for faith. As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith." The righteousness here is the righteousness of God. It's the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It's imputed to us the very moment that we repent of our sins and turn to Christ. He says, there's righteousness available because we need it to protect us from what? And that's the next verse.
"For the wrath of God is revealed." See the parallelism, the same verb. "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, 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 and 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 to thanks to him. But they became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were dark in 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."
He says the wrath of God is revealed in that. And he appeals to two things. First, he says by looking at creation, we know that God exists. You can suppress it as much as you want, but there's no explanation better than the one in holy scripture for all of creation. And then on top of that, he appeals to the heart. And Paul is a master communicator of the gospel. And he knows not to just to communicate to the mind. He knows how to communicate to the heart and to the soul.
And what he's getting at is, "Hey, human beings, us, each one of us, if you're honest with yourself, honest, if you're honest with yourself, your soul testified to the fact that God is. And his law is written upon your heart." Each one of us, we have a conscience. We know there's a difference between good and evil. Who gets to decide what the difference is between good and evil? It's the creator, God who created us, to whom we owe everything. We're not our own, so we're to give him thanks and honor him and worship him.
So that is the framework. He said, "Look, the good news of Jesus Christ, this is the power of God unto salvation." But to really understand how good the good news is, you got to understand how dire, how dark, how wicked our situation is. And verse 24, he begins, "Therefore." Like, "Based on everything I just said about the wrath of God, therefore God gave them up." And he gives us three God gave them ups. "Therefore, God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity." Verse 26, "For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions." Then verse 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."
The question to really understand this text, the question that you have to ask here in the very beginning is who's the they? Who's he talking about? Because you can easily misunderstand this text and say, "Oh, he's talking about those wicked people out there. And this has nothing to do with us." No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. By they, he's talking about every single human being who chooses to worship and serve creation instead of creator, the triune God. Anyone who has chosen their own will over God's, that's every single one of us, everyone who rejects the gospel, grace, forgiveness, submission, and obedience.
Three points to frame up our time. First, God gives people up in a lust of their hearts. Second, God gives people up to dishonorable passions. And third, God gives people up to a debased mind. First, God gives people up in lust of their hearts. Verse 24, "Therefore God gave them up in the lust of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves." And the word gave up here means to surrender someone to an authority. And there's a power that he's talking about in particular. He's talking about the power of sin or lust in our hearts. If given up to that power that's within, it leads to all kinds of corruption.
And it's the same word that Paul uses when he talks about church discipline, that churches are to practice giving people up who are unrepentant in their sin. They confess faith in Jesus Christ, but their life doesn't match it, and they live in unrepentant sin. Paul talks about this First Corinthians 5:5. "You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord." First Timothy 1:20, "Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme."
I don't know if you've noticed this. I notice everything that happens during the service, like the security guard going over there. Because for the sermon that I'm about to preach, like people get shot for this. Just FYI. There's all kinds of demonic. People hate this truth that's about to be proclaimed. The word for lust here is ἐπιθυμία. It's an inordinate, self-indulgent craving that displaces proper affection for God.
The word by itself is just neutral. It's just desire. You can have desire for good things and bad things. But the word here, in context, he's talking about lusts of the heart that are contrary to God's will. And it's in the heart. Before he gets to any actions, a lot of people think the sin is just committing actions against God, breaking commandments, et cetera. But it all begins with the heart. It's when we break commandments in the heart, when we break the commandments in the heart because we desire something more than God.
Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick who can understand it." The heart, he gets with the heart, the lusts that are out of control, and they then lead to impurity. That's the word he uses. And this has to do with the context of sexual sins. Roman 6:19 uses the word like that. "I'm speaking human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification."
So he starts with this deep desire on the inside. This is what Augusten said. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you. Our hearts have ... There's a vacuum inside, an insatiable appetite of the soul. And the world has created this narrative that you will find the good life, happiness, joy, pleasure, satisfaction in a life apart from God. And that never happens. So this lust just continues to grow. And I'll show you that in the text.
And then he says dishonoring of the body. This means to become characterized by shame. And there is a physical consequence. It starts with the heart and then leads to dishonoring their bodies, which has real physical consequences. The battlefield for every single person's soul is in the heart. And this is where Paul starts. This is what Jesus preached. He's like, "The Pharisees, you honor me with your lips, but your hearts are far from me." And Jeremiah talks about the fact that in the new covenant, God is going to take our hearts of stone toward God. Our hearts naturally are cold toward God. They're hardened toward God. And then when the holy spirit takes over, regenerates us, the heart of stone is taken out and it's replaced with the heart of flesh that beats tenderly toward God.
But the battlefield is there. It's in the heart. It's in desires. What do I want? The decision for or against God occurs in the heart. Stubbornness toward God is shown in the heart. Jesus was asked on multiple occasions, "Hey, Jesus, what's the greatest commandment?" I know why people ask that because they're like, "That's a big book. Can you just distill it for me? Like, what's the point of the whole thing?" And Jesus didn't shy away from the question. And he's like, "Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind." And the second one is love your neighbor as yourself. But every time and the great commandment is given in the holy scripture, the word heart always comes first.
The battlefield for the soul is a battle for desires. And so we talk about obedience of faith. That faith is actually an act of the will, where the will it's like what do I want? Well, the will often is controlled by desires. The opposite of Christianity, as Peter Kreeft said, a philosopher at Boston College. He said the opposite of Christianity isn't atheism. The opposite of Christianity is idolatry because you can't not worship. God has designed us to worship. And by worship, I mean you give all of yourself to whatever you love most. We can't not worship. Worshiping, loving anyone or anything more than God is idolatry. And it always leads to personal degradation, societal degradation.
When we sin against God, we sin against ourselves, we sin against others. And God's full wrath is going to be a revealed on judgment day. But his partial wrath is already revealed in that he gives people up to their sin. And a lot of theologians, they use this bifurcation between the active wrath of God and then the passive wrath of God. So active wrath of God, Jesus is going to come back in the second coming. He's going to judge us, flaming sword coming out of his mouth. He's going to judge all of his enemies.
And a lot of people think active wrath of God is like Sodom and Gomorrah, where it's like something super, like something from nature comes, a hurricane or a tsunami that's an act. He's not saying there's passive and active wrath of God. He's saying there's complete wrath of God and partial wrath of God. And God is active in the partial wrath in that he does give people up to the sin. Revelation 22:11, "Let the evil doers still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy."
Why does God give people up or in to the lust of their hearts? Verse 25, "Because, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever more. Amen." Here, Paul gets to the essence of idolatry. It's worshiping and serving creature, so either yourself or another human being, creature. It could mean the world, the planet, the things of the world. So this is the essence. "And since we give up on the self-denying truth," and that's what the truth of God's word. It does call us to deny ourselves. "And we pursue self-gratifying lies, God gives us up to the consequences of those lies."
And part of that is the sin just grows. The appetite for sin just grow. The destruction just grows. The word for exchanged here means to put in place of another. And it's seemingly equivalent. People are like, "What's the big deal, God or creation? It's not that big of a deal, right?" It is. I don't know why more people aren't worried about this issue. They're like, "Does God exist? And where do I stand in relation to him?"
I was talking to a friend who has a friend working for the Department of Defense. And he told me if there's nuclear war, on the list is Cambridge, Massachusetts. He didn't tell me why. I'm like I live pretty close to Cambridge, Massachusetts, but I also might get shot for preaching this text. So the point is you just got to be ready. Every single one of us is going. I went to a prayer meeting last week in Rhode Island. And I prayed with a gentleman. I've known this gentleman for years. I knew grew up with his kids, prayed with him. We prayed for the situation in Ukraine. And then I found out this week he just died. Just died. This is the most pressing question for every single human being. Does God exist and where do I stand before him? If I die, and I stand before God, what happens?
And the truth of holy scripture says God's going to ask you one question. What did you do with my son, Jesus Christ? Did you repent and believe or did you reject him? Yeah, it matters whom we worship, worship and serve creature rather than creator. That's the heart of this issue. This is where he starts. Second Thessalonians 2:9 through 12. "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God sends them a strong delusion so that they may believe what is false in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
The combination of the words lust and purity, dishonoring of their bodies makes it clear that Paul here is talking about sexual morality. So to understand sexual morality, you got to understand what God's will is for sexuality. God's will is the only sexual activity that God blesses is between a man and a woman who have made a marriage covenant with each other until death do us part. And before God, with God, anything outside of this is a sin against God and another.
Even the thought, that's why he starts with the heart. That's why he's talking about lust. This is exactly what Jesus Christ did in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:27 through 30, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." He's talking to everybody, not just to men. He's talking to all of us. And when you look at another person with lustful intent, you've already committed the adultery.
So the adultery happens in the heart and leads to an action of the eye. And then Jesus says the following. "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away for it's better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away for it's better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go to hell." That came out of nowhere. Why are we talking about hell? You're talking about cutting off your arm, plucking out your eye.
Well, that's how serious this issue is because the hell fire starts within and it just grows. And it's insatiable. And when you keep sinning, it's like throwing gasoline, and it just grows and grows and grows. Is Jesus here literal? No, he's being hyperbolic obviously. But it shows that this is how serious Jesus took this issue. Yeah. So don't cut off your arm and pluck up your eye because it doesn't help. This guy in church history named Origin, castrated himself. He read this and he is like, "I'm having a problem with lust." And it didn't help. That's the point because it's a heart issue. It's a heart issue.
There's kids here, so I want to ... Sometimes I just want to say it. If you really want to know what I think, just talk to me after the service. And I just want to say that there's a connection here. I don't want to connect the dots for you, but like Jesus, like lust, eye, hand, lust, eye, hand. There's a connection here. It's when lust is in the heart and then the eyes and hand you act.
One of my favorite songs growing up was If I Ruled The World by Nas and Lauryn Hill. And I was listening to it last night. And man, if I ruled the world, what would I do? You know what? The first thing I would do, the absolute first thing I would do, I would ban all porn everywhere. All of it, just all of it. There's no justification whatsoever. There's no net positive for anybody in humanity. Just ban the whole thing. That's number one.
And as soon as it happens, I guarantee you're going to see so many more weddings. Just everyone's going to get married because you're like, "What else do I do with this drive that God has given me?" You're going to get a job, and an apartment, and a shirt with buttons, and some cologne, and a haircut. And you're going to pursue a woman, a real woman. And she talks back. So you've got to figure out what to do with that.
To spark a global reformation, I want to spark it from here. You know how I talk like this all the time. Imagine if people really lived like this, where they understood the power of sexuality. It makes human beings. 63 million abortions since Roe verse Wade. We're murdering babies, human beings. We're doing this worldwide. And that's Satan's plan. I don't know if you noticed. What did God say in the very beginning in the garden of Eden? Like, "You're naked and unashamed. You're married. All right. Be fruitful and multiply."
Then Bill Gates comes around. He's telling us he wants to depopulate the planet. And even Elon Musk knows this. He knows this is one of the biggest challenges before humanity now is the fertility rate. So that's part of my plan to take over the world. I just want everyone to get married and have a lot of babies. And you're like, where did that come? It's God's will. Come on. Do you have a verse? Yes. I got a verse. Malachi 2:15, "And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring." And you know what? I've done my part. I got four. I've done my part. I told Tanya when we got married, I was like, "We got to have at least 10. You got to have 10." And then we moved to Boston and that's expensive.
So the point is, if you are struggling with sexual sin in your life, the power of God unto salvation is the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ. You look to the cross of Jesus Christ and you see what it cost God to forgive us our sins. It's the execution, the crucifixion of his son. You look to the cross, you see Christ bloodied up for our sin. You repent of that sin and go to war against your sin. Submit to Christ. Obey him.
And if you're like, "What else can I do?" Honestly, I'll tell you. This is so easy. In Mark 9, it says, "Some demons need to be cast out with prayer and fasting, prayer and fasting." I don't know why more Christians aren't talking about this. If you cannot eat for three days, for some reason, three is the magical number. If your self discipline goes through the roof and then you can say no to other things that pull you away from the Lord.
The question is, will you worship and serve God? And Saint Paul here talks about sexual license and idolatry because that always goes together. In ancient times, they had pagan temples where you would go give sacrifices with meat or whatever, and you would commit sexual sin. That happened then as a worship act. It happens now. This is why people get so emotionally charged about this topic. "Wow. I can't believe you just said that out loud." Because you are tipping their holy cow. That's what's going on. It's a worship issue.
Saint Paul here says that when people partake in sexual sin, it is a worship act. He continues in point two, "God gives people up to dishonorable passions." Verse 26, "For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable passions for their women exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature, the passions of strong feeling or emotions, lustful desire." And the natural here is very important, the word natural, because what's it talking about? It's talking about the created order. God created, designed the world in a certain way in accordance with the attributes and purposes, which are in proper view of one's origin. And the relations here is the state of intimate involvement. So Paul explains that the dishonorable passions are same gender sexual activity. And such behavior he says that is contrary to nature, means that it's contrary to the order that is manifest and created.
You look at creation, you just see how things are designed. Specifically, in this case, the order is clear in the function of sexual organs, designed by God for an expression of love between a man and a woman who are married for the procreation of children. When we sin against God, we sin against our nature, against our bodies, against God's intention for us. And here, Paul, he's not just talking about this as just a sin. He's not talking about this as a serious sin. He's talking about this as the clearest depiction of the depths of our depravity. That's what he's doing. He wants to show us just how dark humanity is. And we live in an age today where evil is called good and good is called evil.
He continues verse 27. "And men likewise give up natural relations with women who were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error." So now you see the progression. Start with the lust in the heart and dishonoring the body. And here, he says consumed, uses the word consumed, to be or become inflamed. It's something that's growing, consumed with passion. The shameless act here is an indecent and improper act, especially something that does bring disgrace.
And he says by doing so, they receive in themselves the due penalty for the sin. The way Paul understands God's justice is that God does give people what they deserve. That's what giving up to sins means. When people transgress God's law and law of nature, God gives them their due. And we pursue sin, particularly sexual sin, we become consumed with passion, and being consumed with passion is the due penalty, the error. We devolve into living for our basest desires.
Multiple conversations this week I've had with people who said, "I am so surprised that there's war in 2022. I thought we progressed past this." No, we haven't. Human nature does not progress apart from God. By the way, Paul got beheaded in Rome by the Roman machine, by the tyranny of the Roman empire. And one of the reasons why was because to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, he preached the bad news of just how sinful we are. And when you do that, and you name things that people celebrate, when you call that sin, and you say that God's wrath is coming on that sin, on any other sin, in particular here in Rome, it was glorified.
It wasn't just honored. It was glorified. And this was just part of the culture where grown men would have sexual relations with boys. That's part and parcel. They were groomed from a young age for this. Well, as you study the Roman empire, and you begin to look at the United States in 2022, where I have a fifth grader in public school, and she's given a reading list of books to read. And whoever reads the most books wins a competition. And half the books have to do with LGBTQ issues. With a fifth grader, what are we doing?
This is grooming. We're priming, little by little. That's what happened in the Roman empire. And that's why Paul got behead. God always took this sin particularly seriously. Leviticus, this was a capital offense. Leviticus 18:22. "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." Leviticus 20, verse 13. "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed abomination. They will surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them." That's from the Hebrew scriptures. So for millennia, Jewish people have believed that this is God's will. Sex is only between a man and a woman in marriage. Muslims have believed this for millennia. But it's the Christians that get attacked for it. Clear as day.
Point three, God gives people up to a debased mind. So the lust leads to the dishonoring of the body, which leads to a consumption of the sin, which leads to something happening with the mind where you cannot think clearly. This is Romans 1:28. "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." They didn't see fit. They didn't thought it was even worth seeking God or acknowledging him, finding what God wants. And debased here means worthless, despicable, morally reprehensible.
And Saint Paul comes to the mind, and by the mind, he wants us to know that it starts with the heart. This is what I want. And then the mind begins to strategize how to get it. And then your mind is just overwhelmed. Your mind is occupied with this. And if your mind is even open to God's word, that's a sign that the holy spirit is already working miraculously in you. Verse 29, "They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They're full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips."
And then he just here continues this list, painting this picture of just how depraved humanity apart from God is. I don't know where the narrative that people are basically good, I don't know where that came from. I have theories. I think it's PBS. I think PBS just gets this into kids. We're not good people. You guys are pretty good because of your Sunday best. We're not good people if we're really honest. We're not good people, humanity. We're not basically good. World history, we're not basically good.
And this is what Paul is doing. Paul is painting this picture. Just darkest. "Look how we're filled," he says. The word fulfilling, it's the same word that's used when the disciples go fishing and the net was filled. It's the same concept that in the Old Testament, God says, "All right, now it's time, Israel, for you to bring God justice down on this people because the cup of my wrath is full." It's the same idea that if you pursue sin, God gives you up. He gives you up. He gives you up. He gives you up, and then you're living a miserable, unsatisfied, joyless life.
Unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, murder, strife, it's everything that Satan wants to do. Jesus said, "I've come that you may have life and have it to the full," whereas Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That's what he wants to do. God wants Shalom. He wants universal flourishing. Satan wants to destroy everything. Verse 30, "Slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless." Slanderer here is here is one who attacks the reputation of another. Haters of God characterized by intense antipathy toward God. So they don't believe in God, but they hate God.
I've never met an atheist who's neutral toward God. Just like I've never met a communist who's generous. I want everyone else to be generous. Let's start with you. "Haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, faithless, heartless ruthless." Verse 32, "Though they knew 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." Not only when people have chosen sin, they're not just content with enjoying the sin. They also want to prove of it, celebrate it. And they want prove of other people sinning as well.
Since each and every one of our sins is a personal transgression against God, his law, his character, the penalty for sin is death. And instead of immediately repenting when we sin, knowing that God's wrath is coming for the sin, we want to justify it. And we want approval of it. Depressing text, isn't it? So depressing. This is my second time preaching. I am just bummed out right now. But this is where you got to start.
You got to start with the bad news of just this is reality. And this is what Paul ... I remember in camp. I remember we had this one speaker one time. As he would preach, he would like paint paintings. And this is what Paul is doing. It's like if he got up here and he's painting a painting, he would take a canvas, and he would just like every shade of dark, black, just blah, just to then paint a beautiful cross in the middle. That's what he's saying. He's saying apart from God, we are hopeless. On the cross, both the righteousness of God is revealed and his wrath is revealed. If you really want to understand God's wrath, to see what our sin deserves, look to the cross. That's God's wrath being poured out on his own son. So God gives us up to our sin, but he doesn't give up on us.
He gives his son, Jesus. For God so loved the world that he what? Gave. He gave his one. He gave his son for people who chose sin over God. Yeah. "That whosoever should believe in him, should not perish." That's God's wrath, "But have eternal life." So God's wrath is poured out on Jesus Christ on the cross. And Jesus is offering us his imputed righteousness. So when we repent and believe, our sins are forgiven. "He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God." So what do we do with that? What do we do with the cross? What do we do with that? Well, if you're asking, has God given me up to my sins? If that's even a question, well, that's a great sign. That's a great sign that God is already stirring in your heart.
If you're asking is God abandoning me to my sin? Now you understand why God judges the way he does, why he punishes us here on earth to heal us, to awaken us to just how grave his wrath is. Run to God. Run to the God who gave his son to die for your sins. Galatians 2:20. "I've been crucified with Christ. No longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And I now live in the flesh. I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me."
Who wrote the Book of Romans? Paul. Paul did. Paul's name before he was Paul was Saul. Saul Wanted nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Saul hated Christ. He hated Christians. He wanted nothing to do with it. And what's fascinating is in this list, where he says this is wrath of God is coming down on all these people. And he uses the word insolent in verse 30. And insolent is a person who's characterized by their offensive, disrespectful acts, and is violent.
Well Saint Paul uses that same exact word to describe himself. In First Timothy 1:13, he says, "Though formally I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent, but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief." Paul puts himself into that list. And then he continues the concept give approval in verse 32, like to approve of sin. Saint Paul was at the site where Stephen, the first martyr, was executed. Paul was there. And it says in Acts 8:1 Saul approved of his execution. And when he shares his testimony acts 22:20, "When the blood of Stephen, your witness, was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him."
He paints this whole picture and he paints himself in it. And he says, I am a sinner. Every single one of us, we are sinners deserving the wrath of God. But God who merciful sends his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, on the cross, as he's bearing the wrath of God for us, cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus received that judicial abandonment that we deserve. That's what hell is, being abandoned by God, forsaken by God. Jesus drank the whole cup of God's wrath down to the last drop.
And Jesus was forsaken so that you wouldn't have to be, so that I wouldn't have to be. And this is the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ, tremendous gospel of Jesus Christ. Repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ. Submit your life to him. All of your sins are forgiven. The righteousness of God is imputed to you. And now take up your cross and follow Jesus Christ. In the Garden of Gethsemane, did Jesus want to go to the cross? No. Garden of Gethsemane, capillaries are bursting in his face and he's sweating blood. Tyler gave us the technical term for that last week. He Mo something, that one.
He didn't want to do it. He says, "If there's any other way, father, if there's any other way, please." Then what does he say? "But not my will." Yours be done." That's repentance. That's repentance. God, thy will. Thy will. I know it's hard. I know it's a ... Thy will be done. Jesus fulfilled the will of the father, even though he knew what it would take to forgive us who didn't want to fulfill the will of God. And if you do repent and believe in Jesus Christ, now what we do, we devote our lives to fulfilling the will of God. This time, we're going to transition to celebrate holy communion while I explain what it is, and then pray. First let me explain. For whom is holy communion? Holy communion is for Christians who are in fellowship with Christ, who are in fellowship with God.
First of all, it's for Christians. Meaning if you're not a Christian, please do not partake in this part of the service. This is only for Christians, unless you become a Christian today by repenting of your sin and trusting in Jesus Christ. And then you welcome partake. And it's for Christians in fellowship with God. By fellowship I mean there is no known sin in your life that you have not repented of. So this is an opportunity before we partake in holy communion to meditate, to repent, to humble ourselves before God, and then partake.
As I read First Corinthians 11:23 through 32, if you haven't received a cup of the bread, please raise your hand. The ushers will give you one. First Corinthians 11:23 through 32. "For I received from the Lord what I also deliver to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'"
"In the same way also, he took a cup after supper saying, 'This cup is in the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and the blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself then. And so eat of the bread and drink of the cup, for anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill. Some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged, but when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.'"
If this is your first time with us, you take the top plastic Lid off, you take the bread, and then you take the silver piece off. I'm going to pray over holy communion. Oh, holy God. We thank you that you provide a way for us to be reconciled with you by sending your son, Jesus Christ. Jesus, we thank you that you fulfilled the mission. Jesus, we thank you that you, for the joy that was set before you, you endured the cross. And that joy was to have us in relationship with you, reconciled with you. We repent of our sins, of our pride, of our selfishness, of pursuing our will over yours, of worshiping creature rather than the creator. We repent. And we trust in you, Jesus Christ, as our only savior. Jesus, we remember today your suffering on our behalf. If there's anyone here who's not yet a believer, I pray save them miraculously and draw them to repentance. And bless our time in holy communion. We praise in Jesus; name. Amen.
On the night that Jesus Christ was betrayed. He took the bread and after breaking it, he said, "This is my body, broke for you. Take, eat, and do this in remembrance of me." He then took the cup, and after he said, "This is the cup of the new covenant of my blood, which is poured out for the sins of many. Take, drink, and do this in remembrance of me."
Jesus, as we've received your grace and forgiveness of sins, I pray that you fill us by the power of the holy spirit to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to take up our cross daily, and pursue holiness, mortify sin, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who have ears to hear. Particularly in time like this, I pray, Lord, draw many to yourself, hundreds of thousands, millions of people to yourself. Send a global revival and use us in the process. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

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