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Established November 2003
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
I want to welcome you all back to our study of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.
This is lesson 15 by my count and we’re still in chapter 1. Now that’s a Bible study!
The idea of a Bible study is to get as much information and application as you can from the Bible verses under review. We have only “scratched” the surface – believe me.
This is why I say, “Every time I pick this book up I learn something new.”
This is why the Bible is called, “The Living Word.”
A special thank you goes out to my friend Dennis. He obviously studies these Bible lessons line by line and he does this with his Bible open. I edit these lessons before they are published to my website, but I’m human. Dennis calls me if I’ve overlooked something during the editing process such as a misspelled word or an omitted word in a Bible passage. Hey, I’m human. But he also calls me to discuss the lessons. I like that.
So, thank you Dennis for your encouraging words and for your support. You make a Bible teacher feel appreciated.
Let’s get down to business. At the end of the last Bible lesson I closed with this phrase:
Scripture commands a Believer to flee from “all (sexual) immorality.”
1 Corinthians 6
18: Flee (sexual) immorality. Every other sin that a man (or woman) commits is outside the body, but the immoral man (or woman) sins against his own body.
We learned that sexual immorality is the second step an individual takes, after idolatry, in their “turning away” from God.
Let’s return to our Bible passage.
28: And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,
29: being filled with (how much) all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,
30: slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31: without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;
Some of you may be picturing the world we currently live in today while reading these verses above. And that’s applicable, certainly. But please remember Paul is writing to the Believers in Rome in reference to the gentiles of old, who “suppressed the truth (of God’s existence) in unrighteousness,” so “God gave them over.”
As any society starts to turn away from God it succumbs to idolatry.
It finds a replacement for God and His so-called “burdensome” “tiresome” rules.
This society will then begin to openly display widespread sexual immorality followed by open homosexuality. After that, it is only a short step to the final stage of social decay. The process for the individual is almost identical.
Verses 28-31 above describe a society that has replaced God with selfish, worldly delights. It is a society without restraints, a culture that has lost all sense of right and wrong, a place where everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes. There is a word for this in our English language. It’s called anarchy = a situation in which there is a total lack of organization or control.
Scripture records a similar situation long after the call of Abraham amongst the Jews:
25: in those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Even though they (the Jews) knew the one true Jehovah God and interacted with Him regularly, they surrendered to idolatry. Of course this led to sexual immorality.
Truth is: we all are born with an Adamic Nature!
In verse 28, the two words “depraved mind” speaks of a mind that is clouded by sin.
It is a mind that is no longer able to make moral judgments.
Please read these few verses again.
Note that these sins cover the whole range of life: the home, the family, marriage, the workplace, and even your place of worship. All of life is affected by a man or a woman’s decision to “turn his or her back” on God.
Nothing is the same, nothing is left unaffected; no area of life is left unscarred.
32: and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Here we have the final phase. The Apostle Paul outlines three things that happen when men and women have completely turned away from God:
They are aware that the things they are doing are wrong.
They commit the sins anyway.
They praise others who join them in practicing these wrongdoings.
This is when you know for certain you have reached the bottom.
The bottom is where you are when evil becomes good and good becomes evil.
The bottom is where you are when the wrongdoers are publicly praised while the defenders of morality are loathed and mistreated.
When a preacher or a Bible teacher stands at the podium and speaks out against abortion and legalizing homosexual marriage because this is what the Word of God says, and members of the church congregation get up and walk out of the building because they are in disagreement with his statements, you are seeing the affect the liberal media has on about one-half of America today.
People insist that this is a Christian nation but statistics prove otherwise. When Christians decide to base their actions on what some magazine, newspaper, or T.V. network says, rather than agreeing with the written Word of God, then you have a complete reversal of values in America.
Case in point: my wife and I rented a movie not too long ago. I won’t give you the name but I’m certain you would recognize it if I did. It came highly recommended; a must see and rated PG-13. We thought PG-13 - how bad can it be? We soon found out.
The movie hadn’t played too long before we heard the Lord’s name used in vain x4.
There was one semi-nude scene. I lost track of all the foul language and F bombs in the dialogue, there were several killings, blood everywhere, and young people were semi-dressed running around for no apparent reason. That was enough for us. We pulled the plug! This was only PG-13! Truth is – many people choose to keep watching…
Parents by the tens of thousands are dropping their children off at movie theaters every weekend to see films just like this one – and worse…without supervision!
…and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
When an individual or a nation turns its back on God, the chosen course is always downward. The Great Roman Empire wasn’t defeated militarily. It fell for many reasons. But primarily it “rotted” from the inside out. Long before the political decline came the moral decline. This pattern has been repeated down through the ages and it has struck every great civilization. Babylon, Nazi Germany, Russia under Lenin, the pattern is the same. America, are you next?
But what else is also true? A society in moral decay is ripe for the Gospel of Christ.
As I’ve said before, “God gave them up,” but this doesn’t mean God gives up on them.
The city of Rome was the center of wickedness on the earth. All that was wrong with the world could be found there. It was a city wholly given over to evil. It was a city where wrong was celebrated and right was punished. It was a city of emperor-worship, pagan idolatry, gross immorality, open homosexuality, a city where fathers routinely abandoned their infant sons and daughters, and a city where slavery was rampant, a city built upon insatiable cruelty. And how did the Apostle Paul, an unknown Jew from Tarsus, feel about visiting Rome for the first time? What does this book say?
15: So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,
The Apostle Paul knew all of Rome needed nothing as much as it needed the life-changing power of the gospel. And nowhere but in Jesus Christ our Lord did that power exist.
End of Romans chapter 1
(To be continued)
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