November 11, 2012    Romans1:18 – 32   God Gave Them Up 

       Romans 1:18 the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth of their wickedness.    Paul talks about righteousness and walking with God in this book but he starts with unrighteousness.   Man needs to see his sinfulness so that he will turn to God.    A group of godly farmers in a Midwest community were being irritated one Sunday morning by a neighbor's plowing his field across from their church. Noise from his tractor interrupted the worship service, and, as it turned out, the man had purposely chosen to plow that particular field on Sunday morning in order to make a point. He wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper, asserting that, although he did not respect the Lord or honor the Lord's Day, he had the highest yield per acre of any farm in the county. He asked the editor how Christians could explain that. With considerable insight and wisdom, the editor printed that letter and followed it with the simple comment, "God does not settle [all] His accounts in the month of October."    Matthew 5:45   God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   God is good to all but also his wrath is revealed from heaven against sin.    We struggle with thoughts like that. 

      Do you see the wicked prosper?    Do you see the wrath of God poured out on sin?    Sometimes we struggle with that.    Sometimes we do not see the wrath of God being poured out on sin.   Psalm 73 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.   But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.     For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.    They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.    They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.  Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.   From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.  They scoff, and speak with malice in their arrogance they threaten oppression.   Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.   Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.   They say, "How can God know?   Does the Most High have knowledge?"    This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth.    Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.  

    The Psalmist writes all day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.    If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.  When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.   Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.    How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!    Later in the Psalm he says I was senseless and ignorant I was a brute beast before you.   Whom have I in heaven but you and being with you I desire nothing on earth.  The Psalmist saw that his real life is in heaven with God and the prosperity of the earth meant nothing.   In this passage in Romans do you see God’s wrath being poured out?   God gives them up to their sin.   Galatians 6:7 & 8 Do not be deceived God cannot be mocked.  A man raps what he sows.   The one who sows to please his sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction.   The one who sows to please the Spirit from the spirit will reap eternal life.   Let’s not be weary in doing good for in due season we will reap if we faint not.     

    I appreciate Warren Wiersbe comments on this passage.  Human history began with knowing God.   Adam and Eve knew God.   It is not the story of a beast or a monkey worshipping idols and then the beast evolved into a man.   It is the opposite.   It was man who knew God and worshipped God but turned from God and from truth.   That in a sense made him a beast.   We started out right and ended up incorrect.   We knew that there was a creator who made this world.   We knew there was a God who had the power to create.   Adam walked with God in the beautiful and wonderful Garden of Eden.     Psalm 19 tells us the heavens declare the glory of God the skies proclaim the work of his hands.    Day after day they pour forth speech night after night they display knowledge.    We see a building and we know that someone made it.   We see a car and we know that someone made it.   God has granted to man that kind of wisdom.    If we apply the same logic to the world which we know that man did not make we come up a maker or come to understand there is a God.   We see order in the world.   We see structure in the world and in the world we see beauty.   These things speak of the nature of God and character of God.   We see wisdom and diversity.   We see a great deal of complexity.   When we turn from that knowledge we are the ones that lose.   In verse 20 of Romans 1 for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  

    Man knew God but man chose to turn from God.  Man did not thank God and chose not to give God glory and man chose not to acknowledge God.  What was the result of that?   Well man did not get better but man became worse.   Man turned to philosophy, he turned to worldly wisdom, and man turned to technology and science for answers and not to God.   Man turned to his wisdom instead of the wisdom of God.  .  Man was left without a god and so man created his own gods.   We were made to worship God and so we turned to other gods which are not really gods at all.   Man made up his own gods.  Man took the glory from the eternal creator, the true God and began to worship himself, beast’s, birds and reptiles.   Satan spoke to Eve you will be like God.    We want to be god and be like God.  We can only in Jesus.   Isaiah says they carved gods from wood.  Part of the tree was used for heat and part of it used for cooking and part of the tree was used to make an idol that man then worshipped.   Man’s wisdom became foolishness.   When you worship something it is greater than you.  When you bow down to a god it is supposed to be greater than you are.  So man bows to animals and bugs.  Seems dumb doesn’t it?   We have our idols today also. 

     Man knew God but did not glorify Him as God and chose not to thank God.  There were some steps that man took that pulled him from God.   He drifted away.   Bible reading and prayer and fellowship are so important.    Part of the downfall here is that they did not give God thanks.  It is important to give God thanks.   It is amazing how many people curse God and take God’s name in vain.    God says they will be held accountable.   We have so much to be thankful for.   Scripture tells us that in everything give thanks.  We need to be consistently in prayer and in the bible so that we do not drift from God.   Scripture tells us to give thanks for everything.    We are entering the thanksgiving season.   Count your blessings and name them one by one. 

     Mankind fell away from God and the further from God they got the deeper into sin they plunged.   God is our greatest blessing and our greatest asset.   God is our life.  God allowed them to plunge into sin.   God allowed them to do all of the things listed in this passage.   Corinthians tells us that every sin that man commits is outside of the body but sexual sin is sin against his own body.  I have been asked where scripture condemns homosexuality.   Well Romans 1 is one passage of several.  Romans 1:27 they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.   Old Testament states in Leviticus 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable." The penalty for this violation was death.   God is not mocked we reap what we sow.   God gives them up or God allows them to do it but the cost is great.   Man does not think the cost is great but it is.  There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12).   Jeremiah said, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." (Jeremiah 10:23).   Man thinks he is wise but this kind of wisdom total foolishness.  God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise so that no one can boast.  

     Scripture says God gave them up.  Why would God allow them to do that?   Well love gives freedom.   God allowed man the ability to choose between good and evil.   You make choices every day.  Adults made the choice to come to church today.   By giving them up is this God pouring out his wrath on man?   I would say yes.  That is certainly part of it.   There is also judgment day.   What a horrible thing to walk away from the living God.   Where does the life or nation end that is given over to total depravity?    What happens to the person who harbors a secret sin?   It can lead to places that the person never wanted to go.   What about that first drink or that first drug use?   It has been said that "Some Christians spend the first six days of each week sowing their wild oats, and then they go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure."   There is a myth that exists that says we can live comfortably in our world of faith and then flirt with the world.    God calls us to another standard.   God tells us to stay away from things that are not good for us.   We cannot as Christians do a number of things and think that we are immune from the results of our actions.   God gives them up and we reap what we sow.   The last verse of this chapter says they continue in their sin and they approve of those who practice them.   There certainly is approval of the sin by them and an approval of others doing the same.   It is almost like they no longer glorified God but what?   They glorified their sin and depravity and the sin and depravity of others.   A depraved mind cannot make right judgments and decisions.  What does God say?   They are without excuse.   Some enjoy hurting others and they know that is wrong.  They are without excuse. 

     We live in tough days friends.   We live in the last days.   The times since Jesus came are the last days according to Hebrews 1.  II Timothy 3 states this know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.   For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.    For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Jesus said in the last days the love of many will grow cold. 

     I want to close with some questions.    Is God only talking to non Christians in this passage?  This book was written to Christians by the way.     Is this passage similar to Hebrews 12 where God corrects his children?   Are there similarities between these 2 passages?   I think so.   Does this passage speak to nations?   Can a nation be given up?   God gave them up.   Can leaders of a home allow sin in the home and into the family?   Can that happen with leaders of nations?   Can leaders open the door for sins often laden with demon activity?    I grieve for this nation.   As a nation we are on a slippery path.   When God gives someone up what does God give them up to and what is the result?   God is orderly and structured.    What happens when we leave and depart from God?     Interesting that Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind or thinking for 7 years and he ate grass like an animal and lived outdoors for that time.   After 7 years his sanity was restored and he glorified God.   Seven years of eating grass to come to the point of glorifying God.