Home Bible Study- Lutz, Florida
Established November 2008
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
Romans by the Book
I want to commend all those who take the time to study their Bible.
I can take you to places in Scripture where it says we need to be in God’s Word daily for various reasons (see Ephesians 5:25-26; 6:10-18). But the main reason for being in the Word is to establish and then strengthen your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Relationships are at the very “heart” of who we are as human beings.
Likewise, relationship is at the heart of a Believer’s faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus response was, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.” (Matthew 22:36-37)
Now you may have read this passage of Scripture many times but did you ever stop to think about what it means? For one thing it means that once you establish a connection with the Creator God (Jehovah in the O.T. and Jesus Christ in the N.T.), through faith, a very special bond develops between the two of you.
The Church a.k.a. known as the Body of Christ stresses a personal relationship with Jesus Christ over religion. We know this is more than just a cliche or a Christian slogan because Scripture refers to Believers as the “children of God” (See Romans 8:16-17).
Ephesians 1:5 informs us that each and every Believer has been “adopted” into God’s family. After this, we become the sons and daughters of God…think on that.
Romans 5:8 says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
That verse tells me that although I didn’t know Him. Jesus knew me and He knew all about me; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Why wouldn’t a person want to know everything about Jesus Christ? He gave His life so that we might live? Setting aside blocks of time and then using that time wisely for Bible study is the only sure way of getting this done.
Thanks again, for being here today.
Please open your Bible to Romans, chapter 3. We’ll drop in at verse 9.
Paul opens with a question in verse 9.
He asks his fellow Jews “Are we superior to the Gentiles?”
Paul answers his own question immediately “Not at all!”
Paul speaks as a Jew (in sympathy with the Jewish nation) for he is keenly aware of their religious heritage, but he rejects the notion of their boast of superiority over the (pagans) gentiles.
Recall please the general indictment of the whole human race that opened this letter in Romans 1:18.
No one gets an advantage in the eyes of God! No one is better than the other.
We’re all sinners before the Holy God.
And that’s why the Apostle Paul begins this letter to the Romans with a long discussion of the doctrine of sin. For almost three full chapters he has been constructing his case (just like an attorney) building it slowly, to a great high point.
Thesis: the whole world is under the wrath of God (1:18)
Fact: the Gentiles are guilty (1:18-32)
Fact: the Moralists are guilty (2:1-16)
Fact: the Jews are guilty (2:17-29)
Fact: No excuses will be accepted on Judgment Day (3:1-8)
Paul uses the Psalms (Romans 3:10-18) to establish his case.
Why would he do this? I’m glad you asked.
Firstly, God’s Word is Truth.
Secondly, it establishes his point beyond all differences of opinion.
The Jews were resolute (unwavering) in their religious beliefs.
But remember, they’d been practicing these commandments for 2,000 years.
And the Law was perfect in the sense that it came from God.
However, Paul uses Scripture piled upon Scripture for a cumulative effect.
It’s as if he is saying again and again, “The Bible says this, and then the Bible says…”
I think we’re ready for the next portion of Paul’s letter, so let’s go to the book.
9: What then? Are we (Paul includes himself; he is a Jew) better than they (Paul is referring to the uncircumcised gentiles)? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all under sin;
The key phrase in this verse is “under sin.” It’s a military term that means to be under the authority of someone else. For those of you who have served in the military you may appreciate the full meaning of this phrase.
In Paul’s day, the term was used for military soldiers who were under the authority of a commanding officer. It meant to be under the CONTROL of someone else or something else. In this case, it means to be under the control of SIN. And of course this is the human race’s #1 problem.
10: as it is written, “ THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
This is God’s evaluation of the human race as He looks down upon us.
He doesn’t see a single sinless individual – “not even one.”
Now mankind would like to argue the point with God.
We would argue that there is some good in us.
We would appreciate it if God would grade us on a “curve.”
We look at our neighbor for example and say, “I’m not that bad.”
But God judges according to a different standard than the one we would use.
In other words, God sets the BAR and not us.
God is SINLESS! GOD IS HOLY!
11: THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
Not only are we born with a sinful nature, but there is no one who truly seeks God.
We do not understand the truth about God.
We do not seek God on our own.
The Apostle Paul, for example, wasn’t seeking the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus that faithful day (see Acts 9). He was on his was to Damascus to eliminate some pesky Jews who professed to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Paul didn’t understand the truth about God or His only Son. The information was in the Scriptures. The prophets came and preached about the coming Messiah to the Jewish nation but none of them “understood” it.
The word “seek” in this verse means to “look for with determination.”
It means to put your whole heart into the search.
Even today we may think that millions of “Christians” are seeking God.
But here Paul says, “No.”
No one seeks God. Because of this they will always turn instead to idolatry.
If anyone truly seeks God, it is because God the Holy Spirit is working in their heart. Without the Holy Spirit working in their heart, no one would ever come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior (see Acts 16:14-15).
12: ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME (what’s the next word) USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
No one likes to be called useless. We certainly believe that we have something to offer.
Therefore, this verse is hard for us to accept but Truth is hard to accept sometimes.
Basically, verse 12 is saying that when God looks down from heaven he sees a world filled with “useless” people, as far as redemption is concerned.
To God we all are like a basket of apples that has gone rotten in the hot Florida sun.
As to doing good – there is none.
Concerning evil – each and every one!
Due to our Adamic Nature, mankind has a natural tendency to deliberately move away from the path God has chosen for us. As a result of this, no one does what is good, everyone does evil. Let me illustrate.
A plumb line is a simple but accurate tool to verify a true vertical alignment.
A plumb line consists of a line and a weight of some sort. Jesus (the carpenter) would have owned a set of various weights of them in His use in the building trade.
The Lord Jesus Christ also uses a plumb line “His Word” to determine how upright His people (the Jews) truly are in His sight. How upright they think they are (or we think we are) means absolutely nothing to God (see Amos 7:8).
The human race has been moving further and further away from God’s Word (His plumb line) with each passing day. This Truth is apparent to any Believer who has “eyes to see and ears to hear.” All you have to do is read a newspaper, turn on the T.V. or watch people in action. Compare what you see, hear, or read with God’s Word. Evidence of this Truth may be seen also as prominent people in the church opt to “re-write” God’s Word. They say, “It needs to conform to the times,” or “The Bible is too old; it needs to be updated.” Even the church chooses to move away from God’s plumb line more and more each day and their congregations follow right behind them.
13: “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” (Psalm 5:9; 140:3)
13: “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” (Psalm 5:9; 140:3)
14: “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; (Psalm 10:7)
Paul now shows how sin has infected certain parts of the body: throat, tongues, lips, and mouth. Thus demonstrating how sin affects the spoken word (see Matthew 12:34).
Whatever is in the “heart” will eventually be revealed.
Throats = corruption
Tongues = deceitfulness
Lips = uncharitable
Mouths = blasphemous
Why do people like to curse or think so little of it?
Why do people enjoy listening to or telling dirty jokes?
Why do children get a thrill from using foul language?
Why do people tell lies with an ease that seems so natural?
How can people pray in the name of Jesus in one breath and in the next breath use God’s name to curse someone?
I’ll tell you why – because inside one’s heart is a rotting corpse and the stench of it comes out of your mouth.
Even Believers must learn to overcome this terrible Truth.
It can be done with the Holy Spirits help and a sincere desire to change.
15: THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, (Isaiah 59:71)
16: DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17: AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
These verses are a perfect description of America today.
In the USA today, killing the innocent is perfectly legal. Of course we clean it up a bit by calling it Pro-Choice and such but this hardly changes what it is. It is what it is!
Since 1973, 28 million unborn children have been LEGALLY MURDERED in the United States of America and we’re still counting…
Let’s put this number into perspective.
That’s more than ten times the total war dead from every war in America’s history, from the Revolutionary War right through to Operation Desert Storm.
The Lord Jesus Christ looks down from heaven every day and sees the unborn being murdered simply because they are unwanted or because they are of the wrong sex and says, “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD.”
Wherever man chooses to go, sin follows him.
Death and destruction soon follow after that.
18: “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” (Psalm 36:1)
This is the Apostle Paul’s final indictment. The Living Bible puts it this way –
“They care nothing about God or what He thinks about them.”
No fear of God means, living as if God does not exist.
This is the state millions of people are living in today.
They aren’t exactly atheists. But they might just as well be.
They go about their day-to-day lives living as if God doesn’t exist.
They wake up and go to bed at the end of the day without giving God any thought at all. If God’s name comes up at all, it’s probably used as a curse word during a conversation. Get the picture?
These people are barely aware of His commands, His ways, or His ideals.
They may have some knowledge of His Son and the need of salvation thanks to their parents or some movie or magazine they saw in a doctor’s office. But again, that’s only head knowledge. Head knowledge is not the same thing as heart knowledge.
When you combine these six statements together you have the most damning indictment of all: total depravity.
This is to say that sin has affected the human race’s mind, emotions, will, intellect, moral reasoning, decision making, words, and deeds.
Still the majority are in denial. They still “feel” their sin isn’t bad enough for them to be condemned. Of course, they’re still thinking, “I’m better than that other guy or gal.”
They fail to understand that ANY SIN is wholly unacceptable to God.
The Greek word translated "sin" in the Bible is ‘hamartano,” it literally means "to miss the mark."
Think of it in this way. If you shoot an arrow from a bow, and it falls short of the target, misses the target, or veers to the left or right of the target you have “missed the mark.”
If in our lives we veer beyond God’s will, as expressed in His written Word, or if we choose to do things which He has said we should not do, then we have “missed the mark” set by God. God calls this wrongful activity sin.
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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