The Wrath Of God Uncovered

Romans 1:18

18 For the wrath of God is revealed [uncovered] from heaven against all ungodliness [rebellion] and unrighteousness of men who suppress [hold down] the truth in unrighteousness

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them {Conscience}; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made [Creation], so that they are without excuse.

Introduction

This is probably the most unpopular passage in the New Testament. There are many preachers who will not touch it with a ten foot poll. I am accountable to God if I do not tell the truth and Romans one contains the truth.

First: lets debunk a couple of myths

[1] God’s Wrath Against Sin Is Future

We tend to think that God’s wrath is future; that we will see it on judgment day but God’s wrath is at work presently and it is evident: you can see it. One of the laws that governs the universe is the law of retribution. It is a moral law. Paul said it like this: the wages of sin is death. If we sin, something dies, that is the law. When Adam and Eve sinned, something died. Their innocence died, their communion with God died and eventually a little innocent lamb died–all because of one sin. We reap what we sow is another way of stating this law. You cannot rebel against God, the Law Giver and Law Enforcer without consequences. When you give in to total depravity and unrestrained self-indulgences, you will pay, and pay dearly. Men oppose the idea of a holy God because they innately realize that such a God will hold them accountable for their sins [unrighteousness]. These are sins that they love and do not want to relinquish. This is not hate speech, this is the truth. You can defy God and rail at me but it will not change the facts.

[2] Man Is An Evolving Creature

Secondly, man is not evolving as they teach in public schools. They have it backwards. We need to be teaching devolution instead of evolution. Man is not getting better: he is not evolving in to some morally superior creature. Morality does not evolve. We are not more moral than the 20th century. Grace is the only thing that can save us from going down. We are going to say more about this is little later in the message.

Second thing by way of introduction: God has given every man two witnesses.

Note: verse 19-20

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them {Conscience}; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made [Creation], so that they are without excuse.

When you see a garden, you know there is a gardener. When you see a house, you know there was a builder. When you see creation, you know there is a CREATOR.

Romans one and man declension…

{I’m going to read the rest of the text and I want you to see man slide, the downward spiral he takes once he rejects God as his ultimate authority.

21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God [1. Refused to acknowledge His rightful authority] or give thanks[2. Ingratitude], but they became futile [3. Vain]in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.[4. Spiritual Blindness]22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator[5. Idolatry], who is blessed forever. Amen. {Bertha Smith use to say, “There are two things God hates worse than all other sins: [1] The perversion of worship and [2] the perversion of sex.}

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions[6. Unrestrained self-indulgence]; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind[7. Reprobate Mind], to do those things which are not proper,29 being filled with 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;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.

As Paul makes crystal clear, once you defy God’s authority and refuse to acknowledge Him you start down a slippery slope. His judgment is going to fall on you. Three times in this passage Paul says, “God gave them over...He gave them over to impurity, to their degrading passions and finally to a reprobate mind. A reprobate is totally blind in the spiritual sense, he does not know right from wrong or good from evil. Matter of fact, he may call evil good and good evil. The wrath of God is being uncovered all around us and we don’t recognize it. Ultimately, God says to every rebel, “Have thine own way.”

You can see the downward spiral of sin in this passage. Everything begins with rebellion against God’s authority. Rebellion begins with the refusal to acknowledge God as the supreme law giver and judge– and it ends with total darkness and the reprobate mind. The light cannot penetrate the mind of the reprobate: he or she has sinned away their day of grace.

Defiance of God as the ultimate authority leads to insolence and ingratitude. Ingratitude leads to vanity or selfish indulgence. Selfish indulgence leads to spiritual blindness and spiritual blindness leads to idolatry. Even in idolatry there is a declension. Man begins by idolizing man, then animals, then reptiles. You have a problem if you worship another human but you are really sick if you worship snakes and reptiles. After idolatry comes total depravity and unrestrained indulgence and all sorts of sexual perversions. After that, there is only one step between you and hell, that is for God to give you over to a reprobate mind.

Let me say two or three things that come from my heart and this scripture…

[1] The Universe is governed by laws that God established before the foundation of the world. Just as there are natural laws that govern the natural world; there are moral laws that govern man’s behavior. I did not make these laws. The motive behind God’s spiritual laws that govern our relationship with Him and others was love. God loves us and He wants what is best for us. God did not give the law to punish us but if we break these laws, we bring punishment on ourselves. We call this law RETRIBUTION. When we make bad choices, we suffer bad consequences. All sins have consequences but some have greater consequences than others. Adultery has a much greater consequence than a lustful thought or a flirtation. Gluttony is not the danger that drugs are. If you get hooked on drugs, you will destroy your mind and body. Drugs will destroy your job, family, marriage, health, self-esteem and eventually your life. If you get involved in any form of witchcraft, it will destroy your peace. If you get involved in sexual perversion, it will destroy, body, mind, and spirit. The reason God disapproved of your behavior is because it is destructive to you. This is not hate speech, it is the truth.

What parent among you would approve of your child doing drugs, watching porn are dabbling in the occult? Would you give them your approval or encourage them? All these things are destructive and you would warn them to avoid them like the plague. The same is true with sexual deviancy. You cannot give approval to something that is destructive, not if you love them. The reason we are accused of hate is not that we hate, it is that they want to change the subject: if we bring up their sin, they have to find a sin in us and hate is the only thing they can come up with. Go back to verse 27…men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

[2] A part from GRACE, the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, sin will destroy any culture, any civilization, any nation, congregation or individual. It will destroy your joy, peace, family, home, career and if you don’t repent of it, your life.

[3] We can’t change God’s laws. The universal government is not a democracy. It is a theocracy. God is the absolute ruler of this universe and He does rely on a congress or a not so supreme court. We live under His law.

[3] Unrepentant Sinner: you cannot get saved at your convenience. It does not work that way: you are not the savior. Jesus said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” God told Noah’s generation, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.” That word strive means to contend or compete. God wants to be your Sovereign but He will not continually strive for that place in your life. Eventually, He will give you over to your sin: In effect, He will say, “Have your way.”

The Wedding Psalm

Psalm 45

A love song to be sung to the tune “Lilies.” A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Beautiful words stir my heart. I will recite a lovely poem about the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.

You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lipsGod himself has blessed you forever.
Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic!
In your majesty, ride out to victorydefending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!
5 Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts. The nations fall beneath your feet.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.
You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.
Myrrh, aloes, and cassia perfume your robes. In ivory palaces the music of strings entertains you.
Kings’ daughters are among your noble women. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir!

10 Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away.
11 For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts. The wealthy will beg your favor.
13 The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown.
14 In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids.
15 What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace!

16 Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands.
17 I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.

Introduction

This is called the wedding Psalm and the only one of it’s kind. It is the description of a King being wed to a bride from another country. It is the description of a royal wedding with all the pomp and circumstance.

Many suggestions have been offered but there is no match. Israel never had a king like the one described here. Is it wishful thinking? Is this the king of their dreams? Someone suggested that it was written for Ahab and Jezebel but that is totally unacceptable. Others have suggested Solomon but Solomon was not a warrior. The truth is: no king comes close to matching this description.

Let us look at the king describes…

[1] He is more handsome than any other man

[2] His words are filled with grace

[3] God blessing are upon Him forever

[4] He is a mighty Warrior

[5] He is glorious, and majestic!

[6] He is victorious

[7] He is a defender of truth, humility and justice

[8] He performs awe-inspiring deeds

[9] His words are sharp and pierce the heart

[10] Nations will worship Him, fall at His feet

Now, who does that sound like? It is not David or Solomon. It is no earthly king. This is a description of Jesus the KING of kings.

So, literally, this Psalm is about Jesus! But…It is about a wedding.

The Jews at one time thought they were the bride but they rejected the King. The N.T. tells us that the church is the bride.

Ephesians 5:25-27

25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 

2 Corinthians 11:2

For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.

The Great Mystery

31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 

Point of Interest

Marriage was the very first institution ordained by God and it was between a man and a woman. It was a celebration of God’s creative work. In marriage, we can have the privilege of procreating. God created from nothing: we humans cannot do that but He gave us the gift of creating children. Both marriage and procreation are under attack today.

Verse 7 is the Apex

Therefore God, your God, has anointed You, pouring out the oil of joy on You more than on anyone else.

This is in reference to Jesus for certain: it is quoted in Hebrews chapter one…

Hebrews 1:8-9

But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.
9 You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”

Many portray Christ as a wet blanket: somber, sullen and sorrowful. He was a man of sorrows because He took our sin upon Himself but Jesus was the happiest man a live. He was anointed with JOY, more than any other.

[1] Obviously this poem or psalm is about Jesus. Israel is a state but they have no king.

[2] We all associate JOY with weddings. Wedding are usually good times: the best of the best

[3] Just as there is JOY in the marriage union, there is greater JOY in our union with Christ. Most brides {who we are} look forward to their wedding day. I think it is safe to say: we have never had any experience on this earth that will compare to the wedding that is coming.

A Merciful God

Exodus 34:6, NLT

The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Introduction

This was God’s introduction of Himself to Moses: He said, I am {Yahweh in Hebrew} the God of compassion and mercy. I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

This verse is quoted 6 times in the Old Testament. I do not know on any other verse quoted that many times. Jonah even quotes it…In Jonah pitty prayer, he says to God,I knew it, I knew Your were merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and ready to forgive…” Although Jonah desperately needed mercy himself, he did not want God to show the Ninevites mercy. The Ninevites were cruel, barbarous people; they were so vile that they were hated by the know world, yet God had mercy on them when they repented.

I have my doubts and fears from time to time. Although all will not admit it, I think we all humans have times of doubt and fear. Yet I have no doubt that God is merciful: He cannot be otherwise.

My grandson and I were discussing the holiness of God the other night and I told HIM: GOD MUST BE HOLY. Again, I have no doubt. What would happen to Morgan County if you removed all law enforcement? How long to you think it would take for word to get out and thieves and murders from all over would flood this place. It would become a cesspool of violence and crime. Everything good about this country would be destroyed. This is the nature of evil–it is self-destructive. God governs His creation with certain natural and spiritual laws and if He and His law and order were removed, the universe would self-destruct. If God were not holy, we would not be here and the same is true of HIS MERCY.

We live each moment by HIS MERCY. Every breath we take is provided by HIS MERCY. Do we deserve this mercy? No, we executed His perfect Son. We all deserved death and hell but God is willing to show us mercy if we will repent and turn to His Son Jesus Christ.

God is merciful, that is who He is: Jack is impatient and had a hard time waiting on anyone or anything—that is who Jack is. God is merciful. He shows kindness and forgives sins because He is merciful…that is who He is.

God’s mercy is infinite, it is off the chart. We can imagine how merciful God is…Jesus prayed while on the cross, FATHER FORGIVE THEM, THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Our attitude toward those who tormented Him is more like Jonah’s, “Let them burn in hell, they deserve it,” but God was willing to show them mercy.

There is no one who does not need HIS MERCY and there is no one excluded from receiving HIS MERCY.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

I Timothy 2:3-4

For 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. 

Listen friends, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is no one who is righteous, not even one. Jesus died for us, He who knew no sin became sin in our behalf, so that we might be declared righteous in God’s sight. If you have never repented of your part in His death and never trusted Him as Savior and Lord, why not do it today.

The Gospel Truth

Romans 1:16-17, NLT

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Romans 1:16-17, NASB

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

Introduction

Originally, I had planned to start a series from the gospel of John but as I was reading the book of ROMANS in the MESSAGE, I had a change of mind. I think a part of my motivation to do Romans first is our gross misunderstanding of GRACE.

This misunderstanding of grace reveals itself in two extremes: [1] Legalism which produces a prideful credit hog and [2] Libertinism which simply stated says, “I am free to do anything I want, because my salvation is by grace.” {Many of these folks go back to an experience; possibly a baptism but there is no fruits of present grace}.

My intentions are to do a thematic study which at times may mean one sermon per chapter but as in Chapter One, there will be two messages.

Today, we begin with the GOSPEL TRUTH. The Greek word is yü-än-ge’-le-on and it literally means GOOD NEWS! Or you could say “Good Tiding” or “Good Message.” Today, I want to share with you the GOSPEL TRUTH.

Transition

I’m going to give you the outline first: today, LORD willing, we are going to talk about

I. THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL WHICH IS JESUS, THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD

II. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL WHICH IS FAITH

III. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE GOSPEL WHICH IS SALVATION

IV. THE SCOPE OF THE GOSPEL WHICH IS EVERYONE

V. THE FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL WHICH IS GRACE

Let us begin with the heart of the gospel…

I. HEART OF THE GOSPEL

Let us go back to Romans 1:1…

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about His Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be  the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Any gospel that does not have CHRIST at the center is false.

Back to the text: verse 17…

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

How does God make us righteous in His sight?

Romans 1:17 in the NASB…

For in it {gospel} the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

This verse and this truth lead to the conversion of Martin Luther and John Wesley. Luther was a Seminary professor and Wesley was a missionary to the American Indians.

THE KEY: Both had misunderstood word or concept…righteousness! They assumed the scripture was referring to our righteousness but that is not what the bible says, “It is God’s righteousness that is revealed in the gospel.”

We are not saved by our righteousness, we are saved by the righteousness of God which was demonstrated in the life of Christ. We are saved by an imputed righteousness, not an inherent righteousness. If you will be honest with yourself, you will understand, “You have no righteousness.”

All your righteousness is prefixed with self. {Illustration: tea bag in hot water} We are cursed with selfish ambition and vain glory. Every religion in the world, including several that call themselves Christian, have man earning favor with God via his good deeds. What are these so called “Good Men” who do good deeds most proud of? Is it not there good deeds. The worse sort of unrighteousness is man’s righteousness.

II. POWER OF THE GOSPEL

Sounds unbelievable but the POWER OF THE GOSPEL, of all things, is FAITH. Paul realized this truth before he landed in Corinth. He testifies in his first letter to the Corinthians that he did not attempt to impress them with lofty words or impressive wisdom. He decide to simply preach Jesus and Him crucified. He said, “I came to you in weakness manifested in fear and trembling and my message was plain and simple.”

You and I do not have to have power to share the gospel: Just share it…it contains it’s own mysterious power. Sounds crazy I know but we share the gospel and a soul believes, dynamically their life is changed by the power of the gospel. {Illustration: Wanda}

III. THE OBJECTIVE OF THE GOSPEL

The objective [purpose] of the Gospel is our SALVATION. Paul said…

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes

Salvation is not a past experienced…People say I was saved, and I understand what they mean but technically SALVATION IS CONTINUOUS and contain all the tenses: I have been saved {regeneration, born again}, I am being saved {sanctification, conformed to the image of Christ} and I will be saved {glorification, be made perfect}.

IV. THE SCOPE OF THE GOSPEL

Back to verse 16…

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

This is what makes the gospel good news to everyone…it is for everyone. No one is excluded unless they exclude themselves.

V. THE FRUIT OF THE GOSPEL

Romans 1:6-7, NLT

And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Ephesians 2:8-9…For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If you are growing in CHRIST, you are growing in GRACE. If you are not growing in GRACE, You are not in Christ. Grace doesn’t produce pharisees.

Victim Or Victors

Psalm 44 New Living Translation (NLT)

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

O God, we have heard it with our own ears— our ancestors have told us of all you did in their day, in days long ago:
You drove out the pagan nations by Your power and gave all the land to our ancestors. You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.
They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.

You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel. 5 Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes.
I do not trust in my bow; I do not count on my sword to save me.
You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us.
O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your nameInterlude

[Change in tone]

But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor. You no longer lead our armies to battle.
10 You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.
11 You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your precious people for a pittance, making nothing on the sale.
13 You let our neighbors mock us. We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
14 You have made us the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn.
15 We can’t escape the constant humiliation; shame is written across our faces.
16 All we hear are the taunts of our mockers. All we see are our vengeful enemies.

17 All this has happened though we have not forgotten you. We have not violated your covenant.
18 Our hearts have not deserted you. We have not strayed from your path.
19 Yet you have crushed us in the jackal’s desert home. You have covered us with darkness and death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,
21 God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart.
22 But for your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.

23 Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
25 We collapse in the dust, lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us! Ransom us because of your unfailing love.

Introduction

By way of introduction; I need to say several things…

[1] The Psalm was written by one of the Praise and Worship Leaders but we do not know the date in which it was written. It is definitely post Solomon when Israel’s neighbors began to defeat them in battle. Dr. Wiersbe believes the enemies mentioned are Israel’s ancient kinfolk, the Edomites, Moabites and the Ammonites. He could have been the Syrians, Assyrians or the Babylonians. We do not know but the one thing we do know is that Israel/Judah is living in defeat. So instead of this being a hymn of victory, it was a song of defeat.

[2] The Psalm has four stanzas and all carry a different tone. First Stanza is 1-8 and it is high praise to Yehweh for Israels past victories and glory. The second is verses 9-16 and it is an indictment against God The third [17-22] is even more appalling, it is a cry of innocence, a plea of not guilty. The fourth [23-26] is a prayer but not an humble prayer.

FIRST WE WILL BREAK DOWN EACH STANZA

STANZA ONE: 1-8…High Praise to Jehovah

~You drove out the pagan nations by Your power

~You gave all the land to our ancestors.

~You crushed their enemies and set our ancestors free.

~It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them. [Grace]

~You are my King and my God. You command victories for Israel.

~Only by your power can we push back our enemies; only in your name can we trample our foes.

~You are the one who gives us victory over our enemies; you disgrace those who hate us.

And his conclusion…O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name

STANZA TWO: Verses 9-16…an indictment against God

~But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor.

~ You no longer lead our armies to battle.

~You make us retreat from our enemies and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.

~You have butchered us like sheep and scattered us among the nations.

~You sold your precious people for a little of nothing.

~You let our neighbors mock us.

~You have made us the butt of their jokes; they shake their heads at us in scorn. {constant humiliation, shame, taunts, mocks, all we see is our enemies}

STANZA THREE: Verses 17-22…the pleas of innocence

~All this has happened though we have not forgotten you.

~We have not violated your covenant.

~We have not strayed from your path.

~We have not forgotten the name of our God or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods.
~ We are being killed, slaughtered like sheep for Your sake.

WORDS OF MOSES

Deuteronomy 28:63-68

63 “Just as the Lord has found great pleasure in causing you to prosper and multiply, the Lord will find pleasure in destroying you. You will be torn from the land you are about to enter and occupy. 64 For the Lord will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship foreign gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods made of wood and stone! 65 There among those nations you will find no peace or place to rest. And the Lord will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive. 67 In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were night!’ And in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’ For you will be terrified by the awful horrors you see around you. 68 Then the Lord will send you back to Egypt [Slavery] in ships, to a destination I promised you would never see again. There you will offer to sell yourselves to your enemies as slaves, but no one will buy you.”

There are Messianic Jews and some years ago, I got acquainted with a group called JEWS FOR JESUS. I never questioned their Jewishness but the fact that they were believers in Christ gave me an opportunity to talk to them about some things that had been bothering me. Jews in America, as a whole, are very liberal and staunch supporters of the democratic party and a big reason why the party continues to go extreme left. They are not pro-life: they speak of the infanticide in Egypt as an atrocity but they have no qualms profiting from the abortion industry today. There are exceptions like Mark Levin but there are not many. So I asked one of these Messanic Jews at dinner in one of our meeting: “Why are Jews democrats when the democrats are not pro-Israel but have a strong leaning to the Muslim world.”

Without any hesitation, he said, “Fear, they live in constant fear. They are convinced that the religious right is out to get them. They think Hitler came from the religious right.” I said, “none of this is true.” He said, “I know but you will never convince them.”

Now, that is the introduction to the message… which is the bad news. The good news is, I only have two observations; actually one with two parts.

I. THERE ARE ONLY TWO BASIC ATTITUDES THAT YOU AND I CAN TAKE: VICTIM OR VICTOR

Paul said in Romans 8: Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

We are not victims: not if we are in Christ. We do not go through life blaming God and others. You cannot make progress that way. I hate working with someone who doesn’t pull their weight and then when you question them: THEY GIVE YOU AN EXCUSE OR BLAME SOME ONE ELSE. I do not respect those who play the victim.

II. JESUS IS THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

A part from Christ I would be a victim. The Messanic Jew that I spoke of earlier didn’t see the Jews as victims. What made the difference? Jesus!

The Blessed Mother

Luke 1:26-38, NLT

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Introduction

In my 51 years of preaching, I don’t recall ever doing a MOTHER’S DAY sermon on the Mother of our LORD. In spite of what some teach, Mary was not perfect and she was not God. She was just as human as you or I and her calling was not an easy one. Remember the words and the prophecy of Simeon…

“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

When Simeon made this prediction, Mary didn’t have a clue as to what he was talking about but you and I know it was His crucifixion. Even on this dark and dreadful day, I cannot see Mary renouncing her title as the Mother of Jesus. We will come back to this later in the message.

Transition

Today, let us look through the NT at the things that are praise worthy about Mary.

I. SHE IS HUMBLE

Did you notice, as I read today’s text, the submissive spirit of this young lady. She has the humility of a lamb. A lamb will not fight back, it will not resist the hand of the shepherd. I love Mary’s response and I have often made it my prayer, [v.8] “I am your servant LORD, be it unto me according to Your word.” It is another way of saying, “Thy will be done.” An angel shows up out of nowhere and gives us these outrageous instructions and she simply says, “OK, that’s fine with me.” No protest, no argument, and only one question.

II. SHE WAS A BELIEVER

I don’t think there was a time when Mary did not believe in Jesus. From His birth to the cross, I think she was on board. Matter of fact, she believed when others did not. Jesus had four brothers; James, Joseph, Simon and Judas and He also had sisters, we just don’t know how many. None of His brothers were believers until after the cross and the resurrection. Judas and James have books in the N.T. but they were not believers at first.

I love the story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee. You talk about being a fly on the wall, I would have loved hearing this conversation between Jesus and His mother in person. It goes like this…

Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”… Jesus said, “Woman, that’s not our problem. My time has not yet come.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

She has no idea what He is going to do but she knows that He is the answer to the problem. I think she even knew that whatever He told them to do might sound ridiculous so she said, “What ever he tell you to do, do it.”

My mother would get arrested these days for child abuse. I do not exaggerate when I say, she beat the hades out of me and I still have 5 siblings to vouch that I am being truthful. There may have been times when I doubted her love for me but I never had a doubt about her love and devotion to Jesus. She was a believer.

III. SHE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY

When her Son, her first born became the enemy of the State and was rejected by the powers that be she stood firm in her love for her son. Isn’t it something how mothers stand with us no matter what; through thick or thin we can count on their unconditional love and support.

I know that most of you think I was a straight A student and I would love to foster that illusion but I was not a model student. I rarely studied and was not good at paying attention but oddly enough, I did not cheat at exam time. If you looked at my transcript, you would know I did not cheat. Yet in my senior year, just days before graduation, I got caught in a cheating scandal. No one would sing the Alma matte and their excuse was they didn’t know the words so they put the words to the song on our final English exam. A bunch of male students rebelled and created a cheat sheet. I actually memories the song believe it or not but I used an acrostic to help me remember the first word of each line. I forgot one letter and one line and when the cheat sheet came by I looked at that line and it only took one glance so I did not hold it, I passed it on. One of the geeks told on the jocks who cooked up this scheme and the teachers were outraged. The next Monday, each home room teacher made a speech and I was soft on my homeroom teacher Mrs. Reeves. She just happened to be pretty. Latter in the day, I confessed to her but would not give up any of the others. She hugged my neck and said “Thank You!”…I wish, she reported me to the office and they drilled me trying to get names which I would not give. So they threw the book at me…to make me an example. They informed me that I would not be graduating which was not all that upsetting to me but I knew my parents and especially Mother would be deeply disappointed. I dreaded telling her the truth but I mustered the courage. I was totally shocked at her response. She said, “Son, I am proud of you for being honest and I don’t want you to worry about graduation. Everything will work out in the long run. You did the right things after doing the wrong thing and I’m glad you did.”

IV. MARY WAS LOYAL

Two things moved me extremely when I saw PASSION OF CHRIST. By the way, I wept during the entire movie. Our cruelty, brutality and mistreatment of Jesus broke my heart. I had never realized how much He suffered in my behalf. But the other thing portrayed in the movie, that captured my attention, was the agony of Mary who witnessed the entire thing and was totally helpless to put a stop to it, WHICH is just one more proof that Mary was not God. Had she been, she would have exchanged places with Him.

In a manner of speaking, all humanity failed Jesus with the exception of His mother; she was loyal to the end. What kind of premium do you put on loyalty? I value it highly. I don’t have much use for Judas, a self-seeking hypocrite that will bail out on you when the going gets tough.

Conclusion

I am going to conclude with a story that comes from an old study course book, JESUS BY HEART, by Roy T. Edgemon. I think the setting of this story is one of the Scandinavian countries where they have a lot of snow.

A young mother was traveling from one village to another by foot when she and her baby got caught in a blizzard. When this young mother realized that she was not going to survive, her thought immediately were on her child so she took off all her clothes and wrapped her baby carefully, then she laid down in the snow in a fetal position with her baby next to her cradled body. There is the snow, she froze to death. Hours later, after the storm had subsided, two men came walking down the road and they saw this pile of snow. As they got closer, they heard the whimpering child. They uncovered the frozen mom and took the baby to the next village where there was a Missionary couple who gladly took the child in and raised him. They never lied to the child. From day one, they told him the story of his mom’s sacrifice. When he turned 16, he asked if they would take him to her grave which they did. Ironically, there was a snow on the ground. At the grave side, he asked for some time alone so the couple stepped aside giving him some privacy. After a while they got concerned and returned to the grave. They boy had taken off all his clothes and was lying face down on his mother’s grave.

This is not the end of the story. The mother’s sacrifice so moved the boy that he dedicated his life to the LORD. A part of this man’s testimony was: “In light of his mother’s sacrifice, he could not waste his life serving his own self-interest. His mother sacrificed her own life for him and he would sacrifice his life for others.”

In light of Jesus sacrifice for you: will you sacrifice your life for others in His name?

Down In The Dumps

Psalm 42

Longing for God and His Help in Distress

To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Psalm 43

For the choir director: A psalm[a] of the descendants of Korah.

Prayer to God in Time of Trouble

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off? Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy? O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!

Introduction

Psalm 42 and 43 go together. It was a song written by one of the descendants of Korah. This is an interesting story within itself. Korah a Levite rebelled against Moses but his descendants became PRAISE AND WORSHIP LEADERS. So this song was not written the preacher but by the Minister of Music.

Obviously by the tone and the geographic description, this Praise and Worship leader was one of the exiles in Babylon. The Babylonians were pagan and their gods were Bel and Marduk, both of course were idols visible to man. Ironically, the Jews that went into exile did not worship idols or at least they carried no idols to Babylon with them. The idol worshiping Jews went to Egypt. What amazes me is how God separated these two groups. The Babylonians could see their gods so they wanted to know where the Jewish God was, they wanted a visible image. Of course the Jewish God Yahweh, cannot be imagined.

One of the great things about the Psalms is that they deal with every human emotion including depression or discouragement. If you read and reread this Psalm several times in various translation, you will pick up on the emotions or the feeling of the writer.

[1] He was thirsting for more of God. This means he was not satisfied with his spiritual condition but realized a need.

[2] He felt discouraged, distressed, dejected. He was down in the dumps so to speak. As the REB says, “He was sinking in his misery.”

[3] He was homesick. He missed Jerusalem, the sanctuary, and corporate worship. He missed the majestic Mount Hermon, the Jordan, etc. There is no sin in loving home.

[4] He felt overwhelmed. You see this in 42:7…Like he had been hit by a thundering flood or a massive wave.

I am sure there are more but these are four that jumped out at me. These are things we often feel ourselves; spiritual thirst [something more than the physical, temporal, something more satisfying], depression, homesick and overwhelmed.

Transition

The question is HOW DO WE RESPOND? What do we do when we feel DEPRESSED, DISSATISFIED, HOMESICK AND OVERWHELM?

Well, lets look at how the write of this Psalm handled the situation.

I. ACKNOWLEDGE THE VICISSITUDES OF LIFE

C.S. Lewis refers to the vicissitudes as undulations…these two big words simple mean the ups and downs of life. Life is not characterized by a level plain, it is more like the waves on the ocean. We have our high moments and we have low moments and sometimes they come unexpectedly. As the old country songs states: “I bet your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” There are thorns in our roses.

I know we would like to eliminate the low moments but this Psalm was written during one of the low moments, so were most of the others. If you will do a quick study of your own history, you will discover that you learn more during the low times. “I walked a mile with pleasure and she chatted all the way but I was none the wiser for what she had to say. I walked a mile with sorrow and never a word spoke she, but O the things that I did learn when sorrow walked with me.”

So do not be angry and upset: great people have low moments and that includes Jesus. He had shear fun at the wedding in Cana but the cross was an nightmare. Elijah, Jeremiah and Charles Spurgen all had bouts with depression.

If you are having a low moment, don’t despair—it simply means you are human.

II. FIRST, YOU SPEAK TO YOUR SOUL

You see this in the Refrain, 5,11,5

NLT

 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again—my Savior and my God!

REB

How deep I am sunk in misery, groaning in my distress. I shall wait for God; I shall yet praise Him, my Deliverer and my God.

NIV

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

TLB

But O my soul, don’t be discouraged! Don’t be upset. Expect God to act; trust Him because you know you will again have reason to praise Him for all that He has done.

The Soul is not your rightful master so there are times when you have to put the SOUL in its place. As believers, we are SPIRIT LEAD, not soul lead. When we allow the soul to be in charge, we become carnal and live just like the rest of the world by following the desires of our own heart. The Spirit is the MASTER and the Soul is the Mistress and the body is the servant. The Esau’s of this world are ruled by their physical appetite which is the opposite of what God designed us to do. The Spirit leads the soul, and the soul directs the body.

Sometimes you have to speak to your soul and tell it what it is going to do. It this Psalm the writer spoke with authority to his soul and said, “You will sing, you will praise, you will put your trust in God and wait on Him.” Waiting on God is a big part of the Christian life. Remember, a pregnant woman is not diminished by her waiting. She is enlarged.

So, don’t let your soul run things.

III. YOU REMAIN FAITHFUL TO YOUR DISCIPLINES

Another way of saying this is YOU KEEP ON KEEPING ON!

PSALM 42:8

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

[1] First of all–You keep believing, trusting, waiting {in His steadfast love}.

[2] You keep singing. The big problem with singing is not our talent. I know talented people who do not sing. The problem is our heart, our stinking emotions. We don’t sing because we do not feel like singing.

[3] You keep on praising. The writer was depressed about being in exile but he knew is was not his final state…He would again celebrate Yahweh in a festive atmosphere. In the midst of your difficulty, you can find plenty to praise God for…Praise gets the focus off of ourselves. The worse thing we can do when we are down emotionally is to dwell upon our problems.

Psalm 22

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Introduction

I want to begin with a brief review: it will refresh your minds and help those listening online to understand what we are going. We are using PSALM 22 in our communion services and today we are on verses 9-11 with the focus on verse 11.

[1] David wrote this Psalm 1,000 years before Christ was crucified and yet it is the most graphic description of a crucifixion in the bible, history.

[2] David wrote this Psalm over 600 years before crucifixion even existed. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians between 300-400 years before Christ and the Romans picked it up and perfected it because it was such a deterrent to crime and rebellion. It was a slow death by torture.

[3] This Psalm is not about David. Whereas it is true that David suffered, he did not suffer what is described in this Psalm. No one has, other than Jesus.

Transition

Today we are going to focus on one aspect of Jesus suffering, the loneliness.

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

The Hebrew word translated trouble here sound like our word Terror and it can be translated danger, distress or in a strait. Matter of fact the AV translates it seven different ways: trouble, distress, affliction, adversity, anguish, tribulation and adversary.

The gospels tell us that when Jesus was crucified, a darkness fell over the land from 12:00 noon until 3:00 and it was at the end of this three hours of darkness that Jesus quoted Psalm 22 aloud, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”

To be abandoned by man is one thing but Jesus is God forsaken due to our sins. He suffered what you and I will never have to suffer–total abandonment, total isolation, for those agonizing moments of pure darkness, Jesus was all alone.

Some believe that He quoted Psalm 22 in its entirely while on the cross and I am almost certain He quoted verse 11 more than once… Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

In the very next Psalm 23, David said with confidence, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

We would not have this great promise in 23 without the agony Jesus endured in 22.

Can you imagine the sheer horror of being cut off from God? Totally isolated from Him and all that is good. It would be hell and that is exactly what Jesus endured on the cross–pure hell. During those horrible hours of darkness, Jesus was totally alone. He had no one. Perhaps Roy Overholt said it best in his hymn, “He could have called Ten Thousand angels to destroy the world and set himself free. He could have called Ten Thousand Angels but He died alone your you and me.” Roy was right, before the darkness fell, He could have called for the angels but He made that commitment to suffer the hell of loneliness for our sakes and during these hours, He was forsaken by the Father: He was totally alone.

Why would Jesus make such a sacrifice? Why would He be willing to be forsaken in our behalf? The answer is simple: HE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD. I like the thought projected by the NLT, quoting verse 11…”Do not stay far away from me, for trouble is near and no one else can help me.”

No one else but Jesus can save us from our sins and from the loneliness of being separated from God. Look at verse 9-10…Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. The greatest fear of a small child is to be taken from or isolated from their mother. The greatest fear of an adult should be to be taken from or isolated to the FATHER, the heavenly father. Jesus has saved us from our greatest fear.

In the OT and the book of Ruth we find the practice and concept of the KINSMEN REDEEMER, in Hebrew, the ga’al [guy-al]. Legally, the kinsmen redeemer could legally redeem a person or a piece of property but he had to meet two qualification: HE HAD TO BE WILLING AND ABLE. Perhaps you could search the universe and find someone willing to suffer your hell for you but you would never find another who was ABLE. Jesus went to the cross alone because only He was able to save us.

He saved us from our sins, true. He saved us from hell and He saved us from the darkness, despair and the loneliness of being separated from God.