Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Romans by the Book (Lesson 16)

Home Bible Study©
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                                                              Lesson 16

I want to welcome our regular members and then offer a warm welcome to all those who are visiting HBS for the first time.  Just so you know we meet in a home in Lutz, Florida twice a month for food, fellowship, and to study the Word of Truth, Rightly Divided; with our shoes off.  That is to say, this is not a suit and tie event.  I don’t want you to get the idea that we’re a group of “stuff shirts.”  We are people just like you.
We don’t sit around all day contemplating Scripture.  But we do love the Lord Jesus Christ because He first loved us and we believe in the accuracy of the Bible.  In light of these facts, we set aside blocks of time for Bible study.

Just FYI: although I use multiple Bible translations in my Bible study, and in my writings I prefer to use the New American Standard Bible translation in my day to day.  Note:  not all Bible translations are equal in their interpretation of the original manuscripts.  This website will help you understand what I’m saying:  http://www.apbrown2.net/web/TranslationComparisonChart.htm

When I decide to use another Bible translation because it’s better suited for my teaching purpose; I will notate that for you at the end of the verse.

Let’s review the previous lesson– repetition is the best learning tool.

In Romans chapter 1, The Apostle Paul wrote about the gentiles of old, after the Noahic Flood event and then forward in time, who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (verse 18).
The Word of God says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened (verse 21). 

You can’t hide from the Truth!  This book says, “…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them” (verse 19).    
Therefore, these unbelievers, “are without excuse” (verse 20).

Verse 19 is informing us that we all are born with the knowledge of God.  It’s innate!  But the majority of people suppress this knowledge.

The Apostle Paul, who was led by God the Holy Spirit as he wrote it, listed “twenty indictments” against these unbelievers (Romans 1:29-31).
Scripture goes on to say they were “filled with all unrighteousness;” (verse 29); put another way, “they were morally bankrupt.”

To sum up:  Romans chapter 1 dealt with the unbelievers in the world.  These people “turned away” from God and embraced immorality on a grand scale.  So, “God gave them over” (verses:  24, 26, and 28).

Turning away from God is a choice one makes (it is a choice-you can’t deny it) and it is self-destructive.  It can be compared to ignoring the doctor’s diagnosis of cancer.  Unchecked both will eventually bring about your ruin.

An example of turning away and ignoring God’s expressed word appeared just a few days after posting Lesson 15.   The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, which the individual states legalized; was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  The high court stopped short of saying same-sex couples have the “constitutional right” to marry.  But let’s be honest, isn’t this the point of it all; isn’t this where they headed?

I receive a copy of Arutz Sheva news because I choose to keep up with what's going on in Israel.  I read an article in yesterday's Daily Report concerning the Supreme Court's recent decision and I thought I would share this with the group.

Rabbi Yoel Schoenfeld, Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills in Queens, New York, told Arutz Sheva that the decision Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), paving the way for greater acceptance of gay marriage, was a major step backwards for humanity that goes all the way back to the Biblical Bila'am, whose donkey spoke to him:

“This is a generation as foolish and as silly as Bila'am was,” Rabbi Schoenfeld told Arutz Sheva.  “When a donkey speaks to you, you don't get into a conversation with it. You are supposed to take note that something extraordinary is happening.”  Often, people see “wondrous” things, but just go about their business without taking note.

That was the attitude that Jews needed to take on the Supreme Court decision.  “To live in a world of fantasy where two people of the same gender can be wed ignores the thousands of years that man has lived with a traditional marriage.  The Supreme Court decided that anyone who believes that is bigoted,” Rabbi Schoenfeld said.                           
The decision, he said, was a “wake-up call” for Jews and others of faith in the traditional definition of marriage, that something was seriously askew today.

With the striking down of DOMA, a 1996 law that prevented gay couples from receiving nearly 1,000 benefits even if the state they lived in recognized their marriage, shows that “the world is upside down,” Rabbi Schoenfeld said.  “It's hard to understand how intelligent people like judges could make such a decision.  In a way, however, the decision was a reassuring one for Jews.  “Our sages say that before the coming of the Messiah the world will see many strange things happening.  Let us hope that this will be the final 'detour' off the path before the Messiah arrives."

As I stated in the last Bible lesson, the institutions of marriage and the family are under constant attack and outside stresses…and the pressure is mounting by the day.

We haven’t reached the “bottom” in America, speaking in terms of immorality.  But in my opinion, we’re not far from there.  As Scripture pointed out in the last Bible lesson, you know you’ve hit rock bottom when, “wrong is right, and right is wrong.”  You’ve reached bottom 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 detested and publicly scorned.  The preacher who stood up for the Word of God concerning the sinful nature of homosexuality one Sunday morning and then watched as people got up and left the church one after another is just one example of this present condition. 

Let’s begin.  Please open your Bible to Romans chapter 2.

The Apostle Paul gave us a word picture in the previous lesson of mankind without God, as they turned away from Him in progressive stages.  Each sinful step they willingly took away from God was gradually worse than the one before it; with the final stage being “total” depravity…it’s a non-stop free fall on Satan’s slippery slope. 

Now as we turn the page to Chapter 2 of Romans there is a shift in Paul’s argument.
The subject is no longer the depravity of unbelievers.  The focus shifts to the “moral crowd” the men and women who say, “I don’t live like the pagans.  I’m an upstanding citizen; that last chapter doesn’t apply to me.”

Before I go any further let’s look at the definition of moral = good, right, honest, decent, and proper – but not saved.  Romans 2 deals with the moral people who are lost.
I’m referring to all those folks who pay their taxes but they’ve been known to manipulate them on occasion.  They love their spouse or their steady girlfriend or boyfriend, but they occasionally flirt with someone else when the notion strikes them.  It’s just “fooling around; nothing serious” and if it should lead to something more…who’s to know and no harm done – right?  They attend school or they go to work on a regular basis but have been known to goof off or play hooky.  They trust in the law and keep them…well some of them.  I mean, who doesn’t drink and drive or add 10mph to the posted speed limit?  We’re good…right?

These people can be good neighbors; they may volunteer at a local food bank every now and then.  He or she probably buys 5 or more boxes of Girl Scout cookies every year!    But even though these people visit a local church every now and then, even though they drop a $20 bill into the basket when it passes by, they are not saved.  They fit the description of “moral” but they do not fit the description of saved.

In one sense, these unsaved individuals are right.  Most people don’t live their lives the way those pagan gentiles did in Romans chapter 1.  It’s a good thing that some people have an appreciation for higher moral standards today, which brings us to the point of Romans chapter 2:  the “moral” men and women are just as guilty as the pagan gentiles who practiced the sins described in chapter 1.  Their sins may be different but their guilt is the same.

These moral men and women make up a rather large section of society today.  They may not practice wanton sexual immorality as the gentile pagans of old once did, but as far as God is concerned telling lies, cheating on your spouse, cheating on your taxes, or breaking any law is a sin. Therefore, they are guilty and will face His righteous judgment.

It is not easy to convince a moral person of their guilt.  They truly believe they are better than “other” people for this is their measuring stick.  In Romans 2:1-16, Paul shows why the “moral” individuals are just as guilty as the most depraved sinner.  He does this by citing the principles by which God will one day - judge the human race. 

Please turn to Romans 2 and we’ll start at verse 1.

Romans 2

1: Therefore, you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

2: And we know that the judgment of God (what’s the next word) rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

3: But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same (things) yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

4: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Paul gives us three principles each one of which convicts the moral person of their sin.

God’s judgments are according to truth (verses 1 and 2)

Truth here refers to reality and not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is life as it actually is.  God judges’ people according to reality, i.e. according to the way things are, not the way we would like them to be.

The chief problem with moralists is they are hypocrites.
They condemn others for practicing the same things they themselves are doing.

The great philosopher Al Capone once said, “When I sell whiskey, they call it bootlegging; when my patrons serve it on Lake Shore Drive, they call it hospitality.”
How true.  But let’s be honest with each other.  We’re all quick to condemn those wrongful activities we see in others that we excuse in ourselves.

A pastor greeted a middle-age couple who were having marriage problems into his office one afternoon.  After they were all seated the pastor asked the man what his main difficulty was and he asked the same question of the woman.  The man smiled and said with total honesty, “I see her problems much better than I see my own.”  The pastor gave him a knowing smile and admitted he understood what he was saying.  The pastor said, “I always look pretty good to myself!” 

And that’s human nature.  All of us, even the best of us, are prone to hypocrisy because we all by nature let ourselves “off the hook” too easily with statement such as, “I’ve never robbed a bank or killed anybody.  That makes me better than him/her.”

This is a key principle of God’s judgment.  When the Day of Judgment rolls around, God will not be put off by man’s foolish or pious pretenses.  God judges according to reality – remember?  He knows how each person chose to live their life, especially when no one else was around to observe their activities.  That should be an eye-opening thought.

2.  Moral people think they can escape God’s judgment (verse 3)

These hypocrites who consider themselves to be better than other people, based on their own logic, naturally tend to think that they will escape God’s wrath.  But that is a false assumption.

Someone such as this becomes in his or her self-confident importance, blind to God’s patience, mercy, and kindness toward them – not feeling the need for these attributes of God; they are blind to the truth that the goodness of God is meant to lead them to repentance and not to JUDGMENT.

The goodness of God toward the sinner, if we choose to reflect upon this Truth and believe on it, moves the heart of the sinner toward His Redeemer.

Psalms 51

17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

This Truth once realized changes the whole attitude of the individual toward God. 

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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