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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - No Excuse - Part 1

Robert Jeffress - No Excuse - Part 1

Robert Jeffress - No Excuse - Part 1
Robert Jeffress - No Excuse - Part 1
TOPICS: Grace-Powered Living, Grace, Judgment, God's Wrath

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Most everyone enjoys hearing a feel good message about God's love and forgiveness, but we really can't talk about God's forgiveness without addressing why we need to be forgiven. The fact is we're all sinful human beings and those who reject God's free gift of salvation have to pay a price. Today I'm venturing into a topic that's unpopular but it's central to the message of the Gospel. I'm talking of course, about the wrath of God. My message today is titled: No Excuse, on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

You probably remember the story about the atheist who decided to go mountain climbing. And as he was ascending in the side of the mountain, his foot slipped and he began to fall and he grabbed hold of a thin branch of a tree realizing he couldn't go up any further in that the branch wasn't gonna hold him much longer, he did the unthinkable. He looked up and he shouted out. "Is there anyone out there who can help me"? And he was dismayed a voice shouted down from heaven, "Yes, but first you must let go of the tree branch". The atheist waited for a moment, he looked back up into heaven and he said, "Is there anyone else up there who can help me"?

It's a funny story, but it illustrates a serious truth. The reason atheist reject the idea of God is not because of a lack of evidence, but because of a lack of desire to know and obey God. And that is why every unbeliever is deserving of God's wrath. And that's the theme of the passage we're going to look at today in our study of the book of Romans. If you have your Bibles here, if you've joined us by television or radio, we invite you to take your Bibles, and turn to Romans 1. As we've seen before, the theme of the book of Romans is this, it's about the righteousness of God, how to have a right standing with God. And Paul says that the righteousness of God is available to everyone who comes to Christ, not through works, but through faith. And notice we've been in the first 17 verses of Romans rule one so far, these are the prologue of the verse of the book. And notice in verse 17, we find the climax. It's the theme, "For in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. For, as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith".

Now I want you to hold your place here and turn over to Romans 3:21, where once again Paul picks up this theme of the righteousness a right standing with God. He says, "But now apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed or manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets". He ends the prologue in verse 17 of chapter one by saying, "For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed". Chapter one verse 17 and chapter three verse 21, our book ends to the first section of Romans. That begins in chapter one verse 18 and goes to chapter three verse 20. Before Paul can talk about the good news, of how God has provided a right standing with himself, Paul has to share the bad news. And the bad news is the problem of righteousness. That's the theme of the first major section of righteousness, the problem of righteousness.

Do you know what the problem of righteousness is? You don't have any of it, and neither do i. None of us is in a right standing with God. You see, before you understand the good news of how God offers to put you in a right standing with himself, you have to understand first of all, that you're in a wrong standing with him. And so am i. And that's where Paul starts the presentation of the Gospel. By the way, that's a good place for us to start with our presentation of the Gospel. Today, we're told that if you want to present the Gospel, and you're talking to somebody you need to start with their felt needs. Are you lonely? Are you depressed? Do you feel something's missing in your life? Well, why not try Jesus to satisfy that need? Isn't that what we're taught? You ought to start with people's needs to try to lead them to the Gospel. Here's the problem with starting with people's felt needs. We don't always know what their needs are.

I learned that the hard way I was pastoring my first church and there was a man who lived in town a very wealthy man and people asked me if I would go see him because he was not a believer and if I would witness to him. So I agreed to go and he allowed me to come and see him. So I sat down and after the pleasantries, I said, "Now so-and-so, you're the wealthiest man in town. But even though you have all of this money I know you must feel an emptiness inside. There's something missing in your life. You're searching for something greater, a greater purpose in life". And he looked at me strangely he said, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm as happy as I've ever been in my life". He didn't have any need that he felt right then and there at all. That's the problem with starting with felt needs. And even when people do have felt needs, we don't always accurately diagnose what those real needs are.

You know, if you go to a doctor, complaining of a stomach ache, and the doctor simply gives you two Tylenol, or some anti-acid to take, he's a delinquent doctor, because your immediate symptoms may not be the real cause of your problem. You might have a tumor the size of a baseball in your stomach. You need to get to the heart of the problem. And it's the same way with people's needs. Listen, a person may be feeling lonely. He may be suffering a broken marriage. He may be going through an addiction. Those are all real felt needs, but those aren't his greatest needs. His greatest need is a right relationship with God. And that's where the Gospel begins. And that's where Paul begins. He doesn't begin with man's need, he begins with God's view of man. And he starts with talking about a politically incorrect subject in today's world. He starts with not the love of God, he starts with the wrath of God.

Notice how he does that beginning in chapter one verse 18. First of all, he talks about the reality of God's wrath. Look at verse 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them". You know, what people's greatest need is, is not something to fill up their life. A person's greatest need is for a right relationship with God. The problem is not that we need God but that God is angry with us. And that's where Paul starts his Gospel presentation. Talking about the wrath, the anger of God.

Now, like I said, people don't want to talk about that today. How many times have you heard a sermon recently on the wrath of God? Today people's attitude about the idea of God's wrath is one of responses. Some people say it's uneducated to talk about the wrath of God, only ignorant backwoods Christians would ever talk about the wrath of God in today's intellectual culture to do so is just uneducated. And some people think that it's unimportant they will concede well, yes, the Bible does speak about God's wrath but we just kinda need to keep that under the radar. We shouldn't talk about that because it's a real turnoff to people to talk about the wrath of God. So, let's just not talk about it. That is the wrath of God is a truth that is found all over scripture.

Some people say it's uneducated. Some people say it's unimportant. Some people say it's undeserved. And this is perhaps the most lethal attitude of all about the wrath of God. Well, I don't deserve the wrath of God. I may not be perfect, but I certainly live the best I can. I try to keep the golden reel. Surely I don't deserve the wrath of God, but I want you to notice in this passage that the Word of God dispels all of our arguments against talking about his wrath. Arthur pink the great commentator says, "A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in scripture, to the anger, the fury, the wrath of God, than there are to God's love and tenderness". Did you know that? More references in the Bible to God's anger, than there is to his love and tenderness. And by the way, these aren't just a few scattered verses here and there, that were added later by some editor of scripture who was having a bad day or woke up on the wrong side of the bed. No, these are actually in the texts themselves throughout the Bible.

For example, we don't have time to look at all of them, look at Psalm 2:5-12. "Then God will speak to them in his anger, and terrify them in his fury, do homage to the son lest he become angry, and you perish in the way, for God's wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are those who take refuge in him". Or Psalm 78:49-50, "God sent upon them his burning anger. Fury and indignation and trouble, a band of destroying angels. He leveled a path for his anger. He did not spare their soul from death but gave over their life to the plague". Don't fall into the trap of thinking. Well, all of these references to the anger of God that's in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament we find the love of God. That's what I heard when I went to religion class in college our professors stood up and said, "The Old Testament talks about God's anger because the Old Testament was written by sinful man who didn't really understand God. In the Old Testament you find man's lowest thought of who God is. It's only the New Testament that tells us that God is a God of love".

Perhaps you've heard that it's true as well, but it's not true. In the New Testament you also have great references to the anger, the fury, the wrath of God. For example, we all know John 3:16, don't we? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life". But we stop too short. Because if you keep reading and Jesus' words to Nicodemus and you get to John 3:36, you know what it says? "For he who believes in the son has life, but he who does not believe in the son shall not see life for the wrath of God abides on him". When's the last time you ever saw John 3:36 on one of those banners at a football game? Can you imagine an athlete having the courage to have under his eyes, John 3:36, John 3:36? People, sure I'll take all that up. That must to be a nice sweet verse. "The wrath of God", is not politically correct to talk about that, but Jesus talked about it. Or Ephesians 5:6, the passage we read just a moment ago, "Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience".

Make no mistake about it. The Bible teaches the wrath, the anger of God. Now, what do we mean by God's wrath? That's important to understand in the New Testament, there are primarily two Greek words that are translated as anger or wrath. The first word is the word I have on your outline thumos, thumos, it refers to an explosive kind of rage that is easily triggered. Now you've experienced thumos before, you're driving down the Dallas, North Tollway, and somebody cuts in front of you and that eruption occurs and your feet hits the gas pedal. And you're gonna catch up with that guy and give him the one way sign or something. I don't know, but you're angry, you're angry. That is thumos or somebody at work says something that just ticks you off. They press exactly the wrong button and your mouth spews forth words of rage, that's thumos, a volcanic expression of rage.

Galatians 3:8, Paul uses that word when he says, "Put them all aside, anger that is thumos, malice and slander". But that's not the word here in chapter one verse 18. Instead, the word here is that second word orge, orge, this word is best defined by leon Morris in his book, "The apostolic preaching of the cross". He says, "This kind of wrath is a strong, settled, opposition, to all the dessert evil arising out of God's own nature. This kind wrath is the holy revulsion of God being against that which is a contradiction of his holiness". God doesn't blow up like we do. He doesn't look at somebody who is sinning and have that volcanic eruption and explode in fury and then quickly comes back and apologizes for his outburst. That's not what he does. Instead, his wrath is a slowly building revulsion and hatred toward everything that is against his holiness. And just like water that builds behind the dam and build and builds and builds until the dam can no longer contain it. And it pours forth on the residents below.

So God's settled wrath, is building, and building, and building. And one day it's going to be poured out on the earth. The day of God's wrath is that day of the Lord we've been talking about in prophecy. The last seven years of earth's history the Great Tribulation when God will pour out his wrath on the earth. And that is one way I'm absolutely convinced the church of Jesus Christ will not be there for that. We don't have to experience God's wrath. Jesus experienced it for us. There is therefore Paul said, no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. There is a future expression of God's wrath, that is coming. But there's also a present expression of God's wrath. Notice in verse eight king for Paul uses this word orge, he uses it 10 times in the book of Romans.

Notice, he doesn't say for the wrath of God will one day be revealed against all ungodliness, he said, "The wrath of God is now being revealed against all ungodliness". How do we see the expressions of God's wrath right now? Let me suggest two ways. First of all, we see God's wrath expressed through God's natural order. That is God has put certain rules and laws into effect that if we violate those rules, we're gonna suffer the consequences. I mean is a law of gravity that says, if you jump off the roof of this worship center you're gonna fall and go splat. You don't have to wait for some future consequence, it's gonna happen immediately. And then the same way God has set certain rules into effect that if you violate his principles, you're gonna suffer right now. You don't have to wait until eternity to suffer.

Now, one example we're gonna look at in depth in a few weeks is found in Romans 1:26-27. Where Paul was gonna argue that homosexual behavior is the result of rejecting the knowledge of God. Turn to look down at verses 26 and 27. Paul says, "For this reason," for what reason? Well he's talked about, how the ungodly have rejected the knowledge of God. "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions, for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is what, unnatural. And in the same way, also the men abandoned their natural function of the woman, and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts, and receiving and their own persons, the due penalty of their error".

How many of you have heard people say, "Well, it's only the Old Testament that condemns homosexuality. There's nothing in the New Testament about it". Here it is right here, one of many places. And notice in verse 26 what God says about homosexual behavior, it is not a legitimate sexual expression, he says it is unnatural. Do you know what the word unnatural means? Literally it means it is against nature. That's what the word unnatural means against nature. And he says, "As a result of this, they have received verse 27, in their own persons, their own bodies, the penalty of their error". Those we're gonna see in a few weeks or several different interpretations of that. But one interpretation that many people hold to is there are natural consequences for doing that which is unnatural.

Listen, this doesn't come from focus on the family, this comes from the center for disease control, a government agency, that has reported that there is a much higher incidence of diseases like hepatitis, and syphilis and aids among the heterosexual population. Pardon me, the homosexual population. Than there is the heterosexual population. Did you know that's documented? Homosexuals are much more likely to contract hepatitis, syphilis, and certainly aids than the heterosexual population. That is a documented fact, why is that? Why are they more prone to disease? Because what they do, God says is unnatural. It goes against nature. It is a misuse of the sexual apparatus that God has designed. And when you break God's laws, when you go against nature, and don't be surprised if you don't experience natural consequences.

And by the way, that principle applies not only to homosexuals, but to heterosexuals as well. Do you know the way that is 100% guaranteed not to contract an STD, a sexually transmitted disease? There is a 100% foolproof way to make sure you don't contract an STD. Don't have sex before you get married. And don't marry somebody who has had sex before they got married. And keep your marriage vows. If you do that, you will be 100% free of STDs. That's the way God designed things. Heterosexuals who engage in adultery are just as disobedient as homosexuals who engage in unmorality. There are consequences for a heterosexuals who violate the one man with one woman for life principle, they may suffer physical consequences. There are emotional consequences of an affair and divorce. There are effects on your children, there are financial costs.

What I'm saying to you as God has set certain laws in this universe into effect that when you violate those laws, you immediately experience his wrath, or his anger. But there's a second way. God's wrath is demonstrated right now. And that is through his direct intervention. Yes, there is a future time coming, when God pours out his wrath, but sometimes God directly intervenes in this world and in people's lives today. Think about in the Old Testament, the destruction of the world with a flood in Noah's time, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, or the destruction of Babylon in the times of Daniel. The Bible says, "Sometimes God intervenes, and he pours out his wrath on individuals or nations". By the way, don't make the mistake of thinking just because God's wrath hasn't come yet in your life, that somehow he's overlooking your sin. Just because something isn't imminent, doesn't mean it's not inevitable. God will judge he'll do so in his way, and in his time.
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