God's Kindness


Manage episode 322688739 series 3038820
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Audio Transcript:
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Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessing it is to gather as your people. We don't take this blessing for granted, we recognize that there are people in other parts of the country that do not have this blessing, they cannot gather and worship you. In particular, Lord, we think of the people in Ukraine and we pray for a miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit for peace there, and we also pray for a tremendous revival to come, for souls to be saved, for people to enter the kingdom of God. Also, we do pray for our church, we thank you, Holy Spirit, for stirring, we pray you continue to stir, continue to set our hearts on fire so that we don't just receive the blessings, but think about how we can extend the blessings to those who don't yet have them.
Bless our time, the Holy scriptures today, and as we meditate on your kindness, Lord, we thank you for it. And we thank you for the kindness of your blessings, and the kindness that sometimes you give us up to our sins in order to awaken us to our need for you. We thank you, Lord, for that. And all of your kindness is meant to lead us to repentance and obedience of faith. We pray that you bless our time, the Holy scriptures, we pray this in Jesus name, Amen.
We're going through a sermon series in the epistle of Romans. Today, we're in Romans 2:1-5, the title of the sermon is God's kindness, just to catch you up on the train of thought, Saint Paul begins this train of thought in verse 16, 17, wherein he says, "Look, I'm not ashamed of the gospel for it's power, it's power of God unto salvation for all who believe to the Jew first," he says, "And also to the Greek and the Gentile." He starts with the Jew first, because these are God's covenant people, Israel, they got all the blessings, they got so much revelation, and Saint Paul, his ministry was he'd go into cities and the first thing he would do is preach in synagogues.
He's not ashamed of the gospel, he's not ashamed before Jews, he's not ashamed before Gentiles, and he hears specifically, the hinge to understand the transition between Romans 2:1-5 and Romans 1:24-32. The hinge is the fact that God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. Sometimes, that kindness includes wrath, that God sends short term wrath in our life difficulties in our life to bring us to the point where we get on our knees and we cry out for God to help us. And then the same kindness, he says, God gives to the Jewish people, the kindness of his word, the kindness of the prophets, and he's like, "Look, Jewish people, you need the gospel as well." Something similar happens in the story of the prodigal son. So the story of the prodigal son is the Father has two sons and the youngest son comes to the father and he says, "You know what, dad? I wish you were dead. I would prefer that you were dead, I want my inheritance right now," and what's most remarkable... That text, the father gives it to him.
The Father gives into this demand, the son takes the money, and he goes, and he squanders it, and then he hits rock bottom, and Luke 15:17-19 says when he came to himself, when he came to his senses, when he came to his true self and his need for, when he came to his self, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger? And I will rise and go to my Father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no longer worthy to call your son, treat me as one of your hired servants."
The son returns home, the father's waiting, he's waiting at the door every evening, every morning, he'd go to the door and he's waiting to see his son. He sees his son and it says the father ran, which is shocking because antiquity men, especially older men, patriarchs, they don't run, you don't run. You can sprint, sprinting is good for you, extended cardio, not so good for men, you can look up the science. So he runs, he embraces, he kisses him, he welcomes him, he puts a robe upon him, he puts a ring on his finger, he puts shoes on his feet, and he throws a party, and he kills a lamb, there's meat, and there's music, and there's dancing, and there's celebration.
And then the older brother, he's coming back from a long day's work, he's working in his father's fields. He comes back and he hears, "What's that sound?" And he finds out from servant, there's a party going on, and they explain to him what happened. And he's welcomed in, refuses to go in because he's so infuriated at his father's grace to the youngest son. The father now goes and pursues the older brother and he's like, "Hey, come in," and then here's the exchange, Luke 15:29-32, he answered his father, "Look, these many years I've... Prostitutes. You killed the fattened calf for him," and he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad for this, your brother was dead and is alive, he has lost and is found."
Romans 1 addresses the younger brother, the unrighteous, the ones who God gave them up to their sins. Romans 2 addresses the older brothers who think they don't need grace, who think that they have been obedient, that they are good people. Paul pauses here and the hinge is, hey, everyone needs grace, everyone needs to repent and believe.
And that brings us to our text in Romans 2:1-5, would you look at the text with me? Therefore, you have no excuse, O man, ever, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man, you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness, and forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart, you're storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed."
This is the reading of God's only infallible word... Write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Three points to frame up our time, first, self-condemning self-righteousness, then we'll look at God's inescapable true judgment, and then third, the kindness of God's patience. Self-condemning self-righteousness, verse 1, therefore he connects this train of thought with everything he's been saying, he's been giving us a chronicle of sins that God gives people up to, and then he's pausing and says, "Therefore..." He's talking specifically to people that read that list and they're like, "Yeah, Paul, go get those sinners," and then he's like, "Oh, hold on, you think you're so righteous? You're judging those people according to who's standard? According to who's law? Have you lived up to the law yourself?" Therefore, he says, "You have no excuse."
There's a shift from a third person, he's been talking about they, and then he turns his attention to you, second person, to you directly. He talked about people who have no excuse because of natural revelation. Natural revelation is you look around creation, and Paul appealing, not just in the mind, but to the soul, knowledge deep inside, truth that we know deep inside, by looking at creation, there's so much evidence that God created everything. To believe that everything came from nothing takes more faith than to believe that God created everything. So he says in chapter one, "You're inexcusable because you've been rejecting God's revelation," and here, he's saying, "You're inexcusable because you have been rejecting God's supernatural revelation," and he's talking to the Jewish people who had God's law, and they had God's code of moral conduct.
Objection for this argument, Paul's just appealing to the soul, he's like, "You know," and the objection is, well, what if people don't know that God exists? What if people don't know that there's a moral law on their hearts? What if they just don't know the truth and because they don't know the truth, they can't even suppress the truth? And my response to that is, do you want proof that people know that God exists? Statistically speaking, very few people are even atheists, most people, you ask them, they'll say, "Well, I believe in God." Even the atheists, I know, I talked about this last week, they're angry about God, they're mad at God, so even they know God exists.
The fact that so many people do believe in God and do nothing with that knowledge proves this text is true. The fact that people don't devote more energy to figuring out, "Hey, where did everything come from? Hey, if Jesus came back from the dead, that's a big deal and everything changes. If the Bible is really God's word, maybe I should actually read it," very few people do that. People look for God with the same intensity as a criminal looks for a cop, we know if we find God, okay, now we're guilty. And this is what Paul is getting at, that we are without excuse. Have you seen the movie, Just Look Up? Is that the name of it? On Netflix. So the whole premise is the end of the world is coming, there's a big meteor coming right at the Earth and the whole message of the lady that found out that we're all going to die, the whole message is she's like, "Just look up, it's right there." That's how I feel about preaching the gospel, just look up to the Lord.
Part of the doom and gloom, I don't know if you noticed in the last couple of weeks, things have gotten darker in the world, and it doesn't seem like it's ending. We just assume there's going to be a ceasefire and we're all set, it looks like the darkness is going to continue, and there's two ways to respond to times like this in history. Number one is freak out, and then you're paralyzed, and you don't do anything, the other one is to capitalize on the situation, and I mean in terms of the church. Times like this are tremendous for the church. If the economy crashes, you're going to see so many people in church, the darker things get, the more desperate people become, people realize, "I am hopeless and I'm helpless, who's got hope?"
We got hope, we're literally in the business of hope. So what I'm saying is, this is a tremendous time for the church, and we need to be preparing ourselves to minister to all of the people that will be coming. I believe in it, I prophesy, name and claim, we're going to fill this baby up, this baby, Temple Ohabei Shalom, we're going to fill it up. And so a couple weeks ago, I got up and I was like, "I think God is stirring my heart to tell you, we need to pray to double the church," and the way the Lord works with me is he sends me signs and I look for signs, because I believe in God, and the sign I was looking for is February 22nd, 2022, all the twos, and I said, "We got to pray at 02:22 AM and 02:22 PM."
And I was on my mom and dad's house, we got on our knees, the whole family, we prayed for the Mosaic, praying, but this is the way that we should be operating, when you pray for something, then you got to step back, you get off your knees, and you're like, "Well, what am I going to do to make that happen?" Obviously, we need the Holy Spirit, but also there's things that we have to do, it's faith and works. And then pastor Shane, he reverse engineered if we do grow, how are we going to minister to everyone that God is going to bring? And we realized the bottleneck in our church is we don't have enough community groups. Community groups is really where you grow as a believer, this is where the discipleship happens, we have 27 now.
For us to double, given the transient, et cetera, and grow, we're praying about becoming a church of 3,000 because the day of Pentecost, the church had 3,000, and once you get to 3,000, you can spark a movement, and there's revival, and everything changes. So we want to get to 3,000 attenders to do that, we need a thousand members to do that, we need another a hundred community groups. Now, here's my prayer and appeal. If you are a man listening to my voice, I am appealing to you to become a community group leader. I am praying for a hundred Navy seal cadets, you're not yet a Navy seal, we're going to whip you into shape, and you're like, "Well, if I'm going to pray about becoming a community group leader, what do I need to do?"
First of all, you need to come to church, second of all, you need to learn your... If you're not a Christian, become a Christian, and then you can... Become a Christian, go to church, read your Bible, join a community group. And once you do that, learn from the community group leader, and then you realize how much work it is to serve people, how much work it is to know people, and love people, and care for people, et cetera, and then after a while, come to us, and we've got training that you'll go through.
And so if you are a man and you're like, "What's the emphasis on the men?" Usually, that question is from ladies, and just let me do what I'm called to do. And what I'm called to do is you get the men, if you get the men, you get everybody, so that's a word from the Lord for me. O man here, he's talking to Jewish people, it's a common form of dress and antiquity, he's not just talking to all of humanity, Paul is unashamed of preaching the gospel to absolutely everybody, in particular here, he's talking to people who think they don't need grace, and then Paul comes in and he's like, "Look, you guys are all hypocrites."
He's chastising his own kinsman according to the flesh, Israel, for what? For their judgemental attitude toward Gentiles. Instead of caring about Gentiles and trying to introduce Gentiles to God, they judged, and condemned, and specifically talking about hypocrisy, he says, "You condemn Gentilism, it practices the very same things." Does this text apply to us? If so, how? Yes, what's true of this, of Israel, was their judgemental spirit, that's what Paul was addressing. It's also true with a lot of Christians, the spirit of condemnation, the spirit of criticism, this applies to absolutely everybody.
He's not saying never judge, he's saying, do not judge if you are committing the sin yourself, that's what he's getting at. He's getting at this spirit of hypocrisy, applies to everyone, in particular, applies to teachers. One of the scariest verses in the Bible, for me and for anyone that preaches the gospel, is James 3:1, not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that those who teach will be judged with greater strictness. I used to read that and say, "Oh, very few people should be teachers," that's not where the emphasis is. He's not saying people shouldn't teach the word of God, Jesus said, "Go make disciples," he's saying, "Do not teach the word of God if you are a hypocrite."
And I think that's the bottleneck issue of why we don't have enough community group leaders, because people understand the weight of responsibility, so I want to help you deal with that. The way that you deal with this tension is not by not teaching the gospel, but dealing with the sin within, and we get that from Matthew 7:1-6, Jesus says, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." A lot of people stop there, judge not, you shouldn't judge. You shouldn't judge in a hypocritical way.
And he continues, verse three, "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye but you do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's. Do not give dogs what is Holy and do not throw your pearls before pigs, unless they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you." So Jesus here is making a judgment call.
There are some people who treat the of God like an animal treats something precious, they don't have the spiritual taste buds for it, different sermon for a different day. But the emphasis here is, before you judge somebody, you got to check your own eye, and the way you do that is you look in the mirror. And this is a tremendous test of how you're doing spiritual, literally go up to a mirror today, and stare yourself in the eyes, and see if you can do that for an extended period of time without looking away, and see if there's any shame that wells up in your heart. And if there is, that's the power of the Holy Spirit convicting of sin, repent of sin, turn to him, and now you can help another, that's the emphasis here.
Speaking of judging and condemning, it's 2022, elections are coming up, and 2024 is coming up, I already, I'm like, oh, no. I say that because I lived through 2020, and I lived through 2016 as a pastor of church here, and I've got a nervous tick even just saying 2016. What I ask in this season is we just agree that we can have honest conversations about difficult subjects in love, in the context of love, without condemning, "I can't believe you believe that," that's the only way.
And I have one rule, no biting, that's my one rule, and you're like, "Where'd you get that rule from? The Bible? Do you got a verse?" I got a verse, Galatians 5:15, but if you bite and devour... Was that a problem there? Yeah, I would. If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Okay, right. Point two, that was only one verse. God's inescapable true judgment, Romans 2:2, we know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things, and here the emphasis in the text is the true judgment of God, that God is the only one that can judge truthfully because he knows everything.
And he uses the word, oida, here for know. This is very important because in the Greek, there's two different words for know, there's ginosko and there's oida. Ginosko is you know because you have accumulated information, you've learned, therefore you know. Oida is you intuitively know, you just know, sometimes you don't even know how you know, but you know. I remember when I met my wife, Tanya, it was a love at first sight, I just knew I'm going to marry her, she didn't know, she took a little persuading, it wasn't intuitive for her just yet. But sometimes, you just know. Here, he's saying you know, deep inside, human being, every single one of us, we know that there's a judgment coming, we know that the judgment of God rightfully falls of those who practice such thing.
Deep inside, we know that we have transgressed God's moral law that he's written out our hearts, our conscience testifies to that, and we know that there will be consequences. I remember when moved to the city in 2009 to start church, I had no idea what I was doing, my wife, Tanya, and Sophia was nine months, she's my oldest daughter. The way I tried to evangelize was I would walk around the streets and do spiritual surveys, I had a clipboard because anyone with a clipboard looks official, and I would go up to just random people on the street, bus stops are tremendous, tea stops are tremendous, because they're not going anywhere, and I would say, "Hey, can I have five minutes of your time? I'm doing a little research for a church. I'm doing a spiritual survey," and my first question was, is the world as it ought to be?
And then I would ask, are you the way you ought to be? And the emphasis on the word ought and not once the anyone... One time a girl said, "Yeah, the world is the way it ought to be," and I was like, pedophilia, that's my Trump card. The world is not the way it's supposed to be, so where does this idea come from? This idea of oughtness? That there's a moral duty, a law and blazing on the human conscience? Why should we do the right thing? Where did the idea of right and wrong, good and evil come from? And what's the point of doing the right thing if there won't be judgment coming? And the idea of oughtness assumes that justice is absolutely essential, that the judge must be perfect, he must be righteous, omniscient, knows everything, not overlooking any condemning detail, and omnipotent as the power to ensure vision is carried out.
And the idea of justice assumes and demands that there is life after death, basically we have to go some place where the ultimate verdict can be rendered. So all of that theology comes from, are you the way you ought to be? My wife told me, she said, "I don't know where to put this, but you got to put this in the sermon," so here you go. She said, "You got to, you got to tell then ask themselves, do you have any regrets in your life? Do you have any regrets?" And if you go down the path of regret, you realize yeah, we haven't been the way we ought to be. So back to the question, have you been the way you ought to be? If you say yes, your sin is self-righteousness, and also you just lied and you broke a commandment, so it's unrighteousness.
The answer is no, we're under the righteous condemnation of God. If you have not lived how you ought to have lived, you broke the law that is written on heart, and if there's a law, then there's a law giver, and if there's a law giver, then there's consequences of breaking that law. He continues to verse three, do you suppose, O man, you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? So you do the same thing that you're condemning these people for, deep in your heart you know that there is no escape. If you're not a Christian, if you haven't submitted your life to Jesus Christ, I wonder what's your escape plan for the judgment of God. What's your escape plan? Most people, number one, it's like, "I just hope it's not true, therefore I'm not even going to think about it."
But for some reason, even if it's true, perhaps there's some loophole, perhaps we can figure it out with the Lord. You stand before God when you die and he asks, "Why should I let you into heaven?" What are you going to say? What's your go-to? Are you got to point to some great things you've done? For most people, if they're really honest, they think that if they say, "I've been a good person to God," that God will believe you. I dealt with this last week, where this narrative come from, that people are good people, that people are born good, and I thought it was a lie, a lie promulgated by PBS. That was mine, but Stephanie told me it was John Jack Russo and the enlightenment, that was the first guy.
Even if hypothetically, there are good people with no sin, and they probably live in a place that's nicer, I think of Arkansas. If you're from Arkansas, probably good people, no? I don't know. But I've been here for 12 years and I can tell you that argument is absolutely baseless. You just have to drive in Boston once, and you realize there's no good people. Take the T one time, even walk, a pedestrian, just walk around the city and you're like, "No, everyone needs Jesus," that's what he's saying. Hebrews 2:3, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord and was attested to us by those who heard. The loophole that everyone's looking for, right? You just say, "Okay, maybe God will forgive me," that loophole is here now, this is the ultimate cheat code for all of eternity.
The Gospel, repent of your sin now and God in his mercy forgives you. Tremendous, that's the whole point of everything that we do, it's the whole point of the Bible, so don't neglect it. And then for Christians I say, look, we too will have a judgment day, there's two judgments, the first judgment is we stand before God and that the question is, "What did you do with Jesus Christ? Did you accept or did you reject? If you accepted Christ, now you go to the second judgment," this is a judgment for Christians, and this is a judgment where God is going to ask, "What did you do with the time, the talent, the treasure, with everything I've given you? And this is 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, according to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder,"
So Paul thinks about ministry and life as building. "Like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." So you're saying the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that's a foundation for our lives when we become Christians, and then we need to build upon a foundation, the question is, what materials are we building with? Now, if anyone builds in the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become manifest for the day, that's the judgment day, we'll disclose it because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."
The question is, dear Christian, what materials are you building with on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you building with the best that you have? Are you building with gold? Are you building with precious materials? And here, this includes everything, but in particular, energy. I know my freshest energy is a couple hours in the morning, that's when my brain is the absolute freshest, that's why I give that time to the Lord, that's why today's so rough, Satan stolen hour from me.
Thoughts, love, passion, money, treasure, the question is, are you building a mansion in the kingdom or a shack and will stand before God and be judged? Point 3, the kindness of God's patience, it's verse four, do you presume on the riches of his kindness, and forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? This is a rhetorical question, do you take the goodness of God lightly or do you take it for granted? Particularly, what he's talking about is you know you've sinned and God has not taken your life yet. The reason why he hasn't isn't that he's not going to judge, he will, the reason why he hasn't taken your life yet is to give you time to repent, that's the whole point, that's the emphasis on the patience, the forbearance.
One of the biggest lies that people believe on mass is that God is some congenial grandpa, Santa Claus figure, like, "Yeah, God will forgive me," and really, you ask them why and they're like, "Because God is good and he's loving," well, if God is good, then God is just, and if God is just, then he can't forgive, so there's got to be someone that pays the penalty for our sin. And that's Jesus Christ, and that's Romans 3, that God is the just and the justifier because Jesus Christ on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sin, he absorbed the condemnation of God.
And the reason why we're still alive today, if your heart is still beating, it's to bring you to repentance. God, here is rich, he says, "God is rich in kindness," he's rich in everything, but he's rich in kindness forbearance patience. You see this theme in Ephesians, particularly in the Philippians. Ephesians 1:7, in him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 2:7, so that in the coming ages, he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Verse eight, to me though, I'm the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ, and verse 16, that according to the riches of his glory, he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his spirit in your inner being, and Philippians 4:19, and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches and glory in Christ, Jesus.
God has these riches of grace, and kindness, and forgiveness, and he wants to give it to you, you have to ask, you have to come to God and you say, "God, help me. God, please give it to me." When Jesus Christ was crucified, there was also a criminal crucified on his left hand and a criminal crucified on his right hand, Luke 23:39-43, one of the criminals who were hanged railed at him saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us," you see that spirit of demanding? He's not asking for it, he's demanding it, like, "You have to do this for me," without really even understanding everything.
But the other rebuked him saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom," and he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise," just got to ask, just ask, "Lord, please forgive me of my..." Was he baptized? Did he go to church? Did he know a scripture? I'm not saying that this is an excuse, a lot of people use this as an excuse to not do... I'm saying this is all it takes, you just ask because of Jesus Christ.
There were two men crucified with Jesus. One shows us that while our heart still beats, there's hope, as long as we don't presume upon God's grace. Both men are helpless, both started hopeless, one repented, the other did not, because he presumed upon God's grace. The word presume means despised, looked down on with contempt, aversion, implication that you consider the object of little value, like, "Yeah. Okay, the gospel. Yeah. Okay, Jesus died on the..."
It's the son of God, God himself died on a cross to save you. If you don't see the treasure of that, there's a spirit of presumption, that's what he's getting at. The reason why this is important is if you allow the spirit of presumption to grow in your heart, there is a point of no return where repentance, even if you're alive, will not be granted, because you won't be able to find it, that's Hebrews 12:17, for you know that afterward, when he saw desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent though he saw it with tears, the spirit of presumption, "Oh, I can put it off, God will forgive me when it's time."
Today is the day of repentance, what is repentance? A change of heart and a change of mind that leads to a change of life. So it's not just about coming to God and asking God, "Please forgive me," and then going to live any way you want, no, it's, "God, please forgive me and I'm yours," and now your life has changed. Acts 26:20, but declared first to those in Damascus, then Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds and keeping with their repentance." It's both, once you give your life to God through repentance, your life belongs to him. Matthew 3:8, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. That brings us to verse five, and because of your hard and impenitent heart, you're storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed."
This is one of the most terrifying verses in the Bible because there is this idea that wrath is being accumulated, this is an economic turn, you're accruing God's wrath the longer you put off repentance. And this text assumes that there are varying degrees of punishment in hell. When theologian wrote the sinner in hell would give everything, do anything he could to make one less the number of his sins during his lifetime, because he will be judged according to his deeds. Hell is a place where God manifests perfect justice and the punishment always fits the crime. In the same way that there's rewards that we can accumulate in heaven, there's punishment and wrath that people accumulate in hell, and it's growing daily for anyone who's not in Christ. A failure to repent will be fully reveal on judgment day with the full accumulation so we are to repent and believe.
I'm going to go back to Luke 15, texts like this that bum you out, I know, but it's good, that's part of my job. Bad news, I'm like, "Tremendous news." I want to go back to Luke 15, because in Luke 15, Jesus was criticized for loving sinners, he was criticized by the Pharisees for spending time with people who did not know Jesus Christ, who needed salvation. This is Luke 15:1-7, now, the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him. And the Pharisees and the Scribes...
That's the religious people, their literal job is to go help sinners meet God. But they start grumbling saying the man receives sinners and eats with them, so he told them this parable, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open country and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me for I found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who need no repentance."
And then in this context, he shares a story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. And in the story of the prodigal son, the prodigal son represents the Gentiles, that's one son, and the older brother represents the Pharisees here, the people who think they don't need forgiveness, that they don't need repentance. And the whole story, the point of the story is to get us to point where we ask, "Hey, what's wrong with the older brother?" For two reasons, you got to ask that question.
Number one, at the end of the story, he's not reconciled with the father, the younger one is, and the second reason why this is important is because the older brother was supposed to take care of the younger brother. Where's my brother's keeper? Yes, this story is very meaningful to me because I have a younger brother and he and I, we want to know, are you being a younger brother or an older brother now? We do that whole thing. The idea is we need to take responsibility for those who are outside the kingdom of God, feel it, in the same way that you should care for your own soul, we should care for the souls of people who aren't Christians, we have to, that's the point. So who's the older brother? And how can the younger brother be accepted back into the family? How do you do that?
Only because of the true older brother, the true older brother is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ takes responsibility for us, he's the one that comes into the quagmire of our sin as we're in the pigsty to provide a way for us to be saved. Look at Hebrews 2:10-12, for it's fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist and bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, that is why he's not ashamed to call them brothers. Jesus calls us brothers? Yeah, Jesus is our older brother, that's the point of the text, saying, "I will tell of your name to my brothers, in the midst of congregation I will sing your praise," John Calvin writing another age of spiritual uncertainty and insecurity points to Jesus' brotherhood as the basis for our hope and assurance.
He says this, "There's a second Adam who comes to remedy all. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are bone of the bones of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and we have in him, a new and second creation. And there is no doubt at all that we are joined to God by means of him seeing he is our true brother, because we are bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. For just as he is very God, so on the other hand, he is akin to us because he came down. In order that we might be glorified by means of him, and for that reason also, he's called our brother."
I see that Jesus Christ is my head, and that I belong to him, and that not only I am his, but also he is mine, so that his life belongs to me. Eternal salvation was bought for us so dearly by the blood of God's only son in order that in the end, we should be partakers of the effect and virtue that proceeds from it. The saying alone ought to break off distrust when we are in doubt and perplexity, whether or not God will accept us. For seeing that we have this record, that Jesus Christ is our brother, what more do we want? Some people look at Christianity, the cross of Jesus Christ, and you think, "I have sinned so much. I have done just wicked, evil things, so the cross is beyond me, the grace of God is beyond me. God would never forgive me."
Well, the cross is proof that God will, you just have to ask. Some people who suffer with the self-righteousness of the older brother, people think the cross is beneath them, "I don't need this." You do look at the cross of Jesus Christ, look what God was willing to do, look what God did, this is the only way we need salvation. The text in Luke 15, the paragraph that I didn't read in the beginning, I'm going to read now and then close with this, so the son, he arose and came to his father, and while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, and felt compassion, and ran, and embraced him, and kissed him. The son said to him, "Father, I've sinned against heaven and before you, I'm no longer worthy to be called your son."
The Father said to his servants, "Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate for this, my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found." And they began to celebrate on the text. If you're not a Christian, if you haven't run back to the Lord, repentance, he's waiting with arms wide open. The father's arms are open wide, because our older brother's arms were open wide on the cross.
And it wasn't the nails that kept him there, it was his love for us. So come and receive that grace, repent, receive obey, Jesus Christ, welcome home, and let's celebrate, that's what I'm saying. Life should be a celebration because heaven is a party, in Jesus name, Amen. Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this wonderful text, we thank you for the book of Romans, and we pray Lord that you continue to build us up in the faith, continue to use us, Lord, give us in our hearts, this feeling of responsibility for those in our lives who aren't yet Christians. To do everything we possibly can, just everything we possibly can to see them come to faith in Jesus Christ and repent of sins so that we can spend eternity together in the tremendous party in Jesus name, Amen.

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