Romans Message 2, Romans 1:17-3:20

Romans: The Gospel of God

Message 2: The Universal Need for the Gospel (1:17-3:20)

Dr. David Shumate

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Introduction: The intimidation factor and the myth of the sincere skeptic.

Problem: Fallen human beings are determined to deny the truth of their own unrighteousness.

Theological Truth: God in His righteousness and mercy reveals His anger and certain judgment against every form of human unrighteousness.

Our Response: We have got to realize how desperately people need the Gospel even if they refuse to recognize it.

In this text God reveals how people suppress the truth in unrighteousness. In so doing He exposes three types of false religion.

I.    The false religion of idolatry: People suppress the truth by distorting the nature of God. However God reveals his wrath by allowing people to express their evil hearts. (1:19-32)
A.    The root of human sin: Man wickedly suppresses what he knows about God. (1:19-22)
1.    God has clearly revealed what He is like to Man. (1:19-20)
2.    Man has wickedly perverted what God is like. (1:21-22)
B.    The revelation of human sin is God’s judicial handing Man over to his own wicked devices (vs. 1:23-32)
Explanation: Three times Paul says that the Lord “gave them over” (paradidomi – “to deliver up, to hand over”). This handing over (sometimes called reprobation) is both permissive and judicial.
1.    This reprobation is appropriate (1:24-25)
2.    This reprobation is degrading (1:26-27)
3.    This reprobation is profound (1:28-32)

II.    The false religion of hypocrisy: People suppress the truth by dishonest comparisons with others. However, God reveals to people’s conscience that He judges impartially. (2:1-29)
A.    The tendency to judge others reveals Man’s condemnation (2:1-11)
1.    Judging others does not excuse us because God judges according to truth (2:1-2)
2.    The patience of God does not cancel the justice of God (2:3-5)
3.    God does not excuse sin, but He punishes all sin and rewards only righteousness (2:6-11)

B.    The tendency to trust in one’s religion reveals Man’s condemnation. (2:12-29)
1.    Jews and Gentiles will both be judged according to righteousness and not according to privilege (2:12-16)
2.    Knowing God’s expectations does not excuse sin it aggravates sin (2:17-24)
3.    Religious rituals are worthless without actual righteousness (2:25-29)

III.    The false religion of legalism: People suppress the truth by dishonest treatment of God’s revelation. (3:9-20)
A.    The privilege of having God’s Word does not exempt people from God’s condemnation. (3:1-9)
B.    God’s Word clearly reveals the wickedness of man (3:10-20)

Conclusion: How will this knowledge of the human nature affect the way that you pray and witness?

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