When Good Is Not Good Enough

Exploring The Question, "Why Do Christians Need The Gospel?".

Tim Lundy
Jan 23, 2022    44m
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We may wonder, why do Christians need the Gospel? The Book of Romans reminds us that belief in Jesus and the truth of the Gospel is the only way to guarantee eternal salvation. Many people believe that we will be fine if we live a moral life, but that is not what the Bible teaches us; our deeds may get us rewards in heaven, only the Gospel promises eternal life. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:55] Hey, Venture, it has been an interesting week in the Lundy household. As many of you know, it was announced last week, we have had COVID in our household and we've all experienced it. And some are a little better than others, but fortunately, we're on the other side of it, and we're thankful that from what we can tell, it was the Omicron variant. It has not been a fun season, but not nearly as serious as so many people I know that have experienced COVID. So thanks for your prayers, thanks for the food, thanks for those who sent suggestions and medicine and all the different ways to help. We really appreciate it, I'm still a little bit in the COVID fog, a little bit of the mental and physical energies not there, but we are certainly at a good place, much better than we were just even five days ago.

Tim Lundy: [00:01:47] I'm thankful that it fell when it did because we didn't have to break up this series. Because I really love the book of Romans, I love being able to walk through it, especially the way that Paul gives such a tight argument of why we need the Gospel. So I would encourage you, this series, unlike many of them that we do, this is one that you're going to need your Bible out, we're going to walk through it.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:14] In fact, this week, we're going to walk through chapter 2, and walk through this section of scripture, and it's really important that you follow along with me in your Bible as Paul's continuing this argument that he started all the way in chapter 1. Remember back in 1:16-17, when he makes a declaration that he's not ashamed of the Gospel because it's the power of God for salvation, it's how the righteousness of God is revealed.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:43] Last week, we walked to the end of chapter 1, when he started this bad news, and this bad news for a world that if you turn from God, how God's wrath is revealed by him turning us over to our sin. And we walked to that passage, it's a pretty straightforward passage, if you didn't have the opportunity to see that message, I'd encourage you to go back and watch it because it is a powerful way when he talks about what happens to a culture as a whole, and why people as a whole need the Gospel, especially those who were living this out in a way that they're walking away from God. And it shows up with a level of immorality that he describes in chapter 1, that you can see play out in the world even today.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:28] Now, chapter 2, Paul's going to narrow down a little bit. Because the whole time that he was writing in chapter 1, there would be a group in the world that looks at it and says, well, yeah, those bad people, those immoral people, of course, they need the Gospel. But now in chapter 2, Paul says, what about moral people, do they need the Gospel? In fact, we're going to see in it, he's going to answer a few questions in this. Why do moral people need the Gospel? And again, this would be the question that a lot of people have. Ok, I get it if you're a bad person, if you're living a really immoral lifestyle, but if I'm a good person, generally, and I'm a moral person, maybe I'm a religious person, do I really need the Gospel?

Tim Lundy: [00:04:13] And Paul is going to point out, look in the first five verses, why moral people need the Gospel as well. He say, "Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed." Now again, Paul is writing to those who would consider themselves moral people, and as they do, he says, you're not in any better condition than the people you look at and consider really immoral out there.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:21] And here's why, the first thing he points out is, they're guilty of their own sin issues. He walks down the line in those first five verses and he says, OK, maybe you're not acting out the way those people are. And again, I think this is really important because if you come off a passage like chapter 1 into chapter 2, especially in chapter 1, when he's really highlighted many of the sexual sins that are played out in the world. And I think it's easy for moral people, especially when it comes to sexual issues, to look at it go well, yeah, those people that practice those sexual sins, those are the bad people. And Paul says, wait a second, you need to take a hard look at yourself as well. In fact, if you look at those first five verses, he points out the sins that they're struggling with.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:08] Look at the first one, he says, you're judgmental, you love judging others, and I think there's an inherent part of all of us that is more judgmental than we like to admit. You know, John Burke's a pastor down in Austin, Texas. He writes, I love how he puts it, he says, he took a week where he kept track of himself, and every time he had a judgmental thought, he wrote it down. He just wanted to see, how many times does he judge other people? I'd encourage you, it's pretty depressing if you do it. Just give yourself a day, and every time you have a judgmental thought toward someone else, just mark it. Listen to what John says, he says, judging others is fun. Judging others makes you feel good, and I'm not sure I've gone a single day without this sin. In any given week, I might condemn my son numerous times for a messy room. Judge my daughter for being moody, which especially bothers me when I'm being moody, but I have a good reason. Even my dog gets the hammer of condemnation for his bad breath. Now, some of you may be thinking, wait, are you saying that correcting my kids for a messy room is judging? No, but there's correction that values with mercy, and there's correction that devalues with judgment. I watched the news and condemn those idiotic people who do such things. Most reality TV shows are full of people I can judge as sinful, ignorant, stupid, arrogant, or childish. I get in my car and I drive, and I find a host of inept drivers who should have flunked their driving test, and I throw in a little condemnation on our Department of Public Safety for good measure while I'm at it. At the store, I complained to myself about the lack of organization that makes it impossible to find what I'm looking for. All the while being tortured with Muzak, who picks up music anyway? I stand in the shortest line, which I judge, is way too long because look, people, it says 10 items or less, and I count more than that in three of your baskets, what's wrong with you, people? And why can't that teenage checker, what is she wearing, focus and work so that we can get out of here? Judging is our favorite pastime if we're honest, but we're not. We're great at judging the world around us by the standards we would highly resent being held to." That's a great line, we love judging the world around us by the standards that we would resent if somebody held us to it. "Judging makes us feel good because it puts us in a better light than others." That's exactly what Paul's addressing in this passage with moral people, it is really easy, as a moral person, to look at the world, and look at certain categories of sin, and people that do those sins, and they act out that way, and they have sexual sins, and they have those problems. And Paul goes, yeah, don't you see, though, that even as you're doing that action, you're showing your own sinfulness because of the heart of judging that it reveals.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:15] He puts that with the next part of it, you're not just judgmental, you're hypocritical, you don't even live up to the standards you call other people to. You're like the person, you know, the amusement park rides when they have that sign that says you have to be this tall to ride the ride, this is a person that loves standing there and pointing out everybody who's not tall enough. The problem, Paul says, is you never measure yourself with it, and it's not tall enough, it's whether you're good enough. And so it's easy as a moral person to always look at the other people who are not good enough, but Paul says you never applied the standard to yourself, especially when you realize the standard is God himself and you don't measure up.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:01] He put that third part, and verse 4 really stands out to me, the sin of presumptuousness. Look how he says it again when he writes of people, he says, "Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" He said you're presumptuous, and what he's pointing out here is, people that would look at their life and they go, you know, my life's going pretty good, God's not judging me, God's not upset with me. And he says, you're presuming on God's good character, you're presuming on the fact that God is patient with us. I mean, if you think about it, if God wanted to judge us every day for our sin, if we were punished every day for what we did wrong, can you imagine how horrible this place would be? But God, in His mercy, in the verse there, His forbearance, he's willing to wait. Peter says that's why Jesus hasn't come back yet, there are people that scoff, and they go, where is this Jesus that's going to come back? And again, the only reason he hasn't come back, he's patient, he's patient with people, he's patient with you, he's patient with me. But if someone looks at their life and says, you know, I must be pretty good, God doesn't seem too upset with me.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:20] You know, years ago, there was a small little church, and next to the church, a farmer owned the land all around it, and the farmer was an atheist, couldn't stand the church, couldn't stand God. He would argue with the pastor at times, many times on a Sunday morning, it was a little country church, they had no air conditioning, so the windows would be open. And he often would have his farm equipment going on Sunday morning on purpose because he scoffed at God, and that fall it came, he had an unbelievable crop. And he stood out there one day and yelled over at the pastor, and he said, if you look at my crop, God must not be too upset with me if there's a God at all. And the pastor looked at him, he said these words, he says God doesn't settle his accounts in October. Here's what he meant in that, you're going to measure this one crop, you're going to measure this one short period of time, and assume you're right with God based on it. He said God measures according to his patience.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:21] In fact, Paul points out in the verse, you're actually storing up wrath for yourself. That's at last part of it, and maybe it's the most serious, he says, instead of all of this moving you to repentance, instead of all this moving to you to a place that you would look to God, you're actually getting harder in your heart and you're storing up wrath for the Day of Wrath. Remember, we talked about wrath last week. It's not that God's just getting madder and madder, and he's losing his temper more, remember God's wrath, especially when it comes to sin, it's his character towards sin. And so the more you have sin that you've not dealt with in your life, the more you have sin that you've never repented of, all Paul is pointing out is, man, your whole life is marked by this. And God in his Holy character on that final day, when you will have to be judged, on that Day of Wrath, that'll be the day of final judgment, God's going to have to deal with it. And if you've never reached the point, because of your own judgmentalism or your own morality or what you've done, man, Paul says, that's not going to be a good day. That's when it really comes home to roost, when you have to face what your life's been about.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:41] So Paul's giving this warning to moral people in that, one, you've got your own sins. Look at the second part, he says as well, though, God's going to judge you according to what you've actually done, not what you say, not what you say your system is, your intention is. Look how he puts it, starting in verse 6, he says, "He will render to each one according to his works: 7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality."

Tim Lundy: [00:14:37] Now, what Paul's pointing out here is, everybody's going to be judged according to your works. Now, he points it out in a way he says, if you were to able to live a perfect life and do all things right, you'd have eternal life from that. The problem is, no one's able to accomplish that, except one person, his name is Jesus Christ. Jesus did that, Jesus lived a perfect life, so he lived up to that standard, but nobody else has. And Paul points out, he says every single person is going to be judged according to their deeds.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:13] Now, a lot of times this gets forgotten in the final judgment, what you do on this planet matters both as a Christian or as somebody who is not a Christian. In fact, one of the passages that talks about it, it's an interesting passage in Revelation 20, it talks about after Christ's return, after His millennial rule with that, that one day all the dead, everyone who's ever lived on this planet, they will stand before him. And it says, "I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne." And this is an interesting line, “The books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life." So there's a series of books that he points out, and then there's this book of life, "And the dead were judged." Look what they're judged by, "By what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done." So when every person stands before Jesus Christ, the same way that Paul writes here in Romans, he says you're not going to be measured based on anyone else, you're not going to be measured on what you didn't do, or didn't know, or didn't anything else, God looks at your life and the question comes, how do your deeds measure up? And the reality is, no one has lived this perfect life. No one is ever going to be able to look at their deeds and go, well, yeah, I did everything right. Even as I say this, you know this in your own heart about yourself.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:49] In fact, Paul is going to point out there's a conscience in your heart that we all have to face, and that none of us actually lived up to our own conscience. Look how he puts it in the next part of the passage, he says, "For all have sinned..." Verse 12, "...without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."

Tim Lundy: [00:17:45] Now, he's introducing this concept of the law because he's about to address even a more narrow audience. What about Jews? And he's pointing out God gave us his law, when he's talking about the law, he's talking about the Old Testament, and particularly those first five books, where God revealed his law to the Jewish people. And part of the law was ceremonial law, part of the law was civil law, it applied directly to them as a people, as a nation. But the core of the law, and what he's referring to here is God's moral law, his moral character. Probably the best summation of it is the Ten Commandments, and in that, we see this is the character of God, of how you're to respond with God, how you're to respond with others.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:29] And Paul points out, there are people on this planet, even though they never had the law, they never heard of the Old Testament, even though they're far away, that moral character is written on their hearts. And we all have our own conscience, and so the question would be for any person, did you even live up to your own conscience? Did you even live up to the standard that you knew you should do, but you didn't do it? And Paul says there's not a person on the planet that can say, yeah, I lived up even to my own conscience. See, he's talking about these concepts, there's an eternity written on the hearts of everyone, we saw that in chapter 1. There's a moral law, there's a standard that's written in our souls, and we know this. We know a certain standard of right and wrong, we may disagree on parts of that, but even our own conscience condemns us.

Tim Lundy: [00:19:30] And let's stop for just a moment, because I want to make sure it's really clear, remember, I told you it's a real logical argument that Paul's laying out. And I mentioned this last week, but I think it's important that we grasp this because a lot of people have this question. They'll say, what about the tribe's person? What about the person who never heard? What about the person who never had a missionary? What about the person that grew up in another country? And Paul's made two statements here to point out, this is what they'll be judged by. Notice when he said, when they stand before Christ in the book of deeds are open up, they're not going to be judged on what they didn't have. No one's ever going to be judged on the fact, well, man, you didn't believe the Gospel if they never had the Gospel. What they will be judged on, is what did they do with the eternity in their hearts when they see a creation? What did they do with the creation that should have pointed them to God? Did they respond to that? We saw that last week. What did they do with the conscience they did have? Did they even live up to the standard that they knew was true? Paul says that will condemn you. And as you look at that, I just encourage you, a couple of things. Because one, I think it gets real twisted at times, that people want to use this, and poor people that are out there, God doesn't judge people for something they don't have, but he calls all of us into account for what was given to us. And here's what Paul's pointing out, nobody measured up, no one will stand before God and go, man, I lived fully to my conscience, I did everything that was right. He's going to point out in the next chapter, we all sin, we all fell short, and this will be the evidence against all people.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:24] Now, as a side note, you know, a lot of times I'm asked as a pastor, what about kids who die when they're very young? Or what about people who have diminished mental capacities? And I look at this passage, and again, it's an argument from silence, but I think it confirms what you see in other parts of scripture, that a child that dies did not have this evidence, a person with diminished mental capacity, they can't look at the creation and have it point to God, they also don't have a conscience that's developed in the same way. And so that's why I believe that Christ's grace, Christ's salvation, was applied to any child that dies before they've reached an age, and I think there's a biblical case for an age of consent as well, and any person who didn't have the capacity, because Paul's argument wouldn't hold true for them, and so they're not condemned by that. Now again, I know that's an argument from silence, but I think it's an argument that matches with what you see both in the character of God and other parts of scripture. And I say that because you may be a parent, you may be somebody that lost a child in that, and I find great comfort and hope in the fact that what Christ accomplished this gospel salvation was applied on their behalf because they did not have the opportunity to make that response one way or another.

Tim Lundy: [00:22:49] So up to this point. as Paul is talking about the Gospel, he says, OK, the wide world needs it, especially those who are living in immorality. Now he's narrowed it down a little bit more, he says, even moral people need the Gospel. There's one more group, he's going to get a little more targeted with it, and it'd be the question, why do Jews need the Gospel? Now, for those of us, 2000 years later, we may go well, they need it like anyone else. When Paul was writing this, though, you've got to remember the Jewish people, especially, and remember, he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, so it ran deep in him. He recognized, one of the reasons he fought the Gospel, he fought Jesus so much, he recognized how revolutionary was.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:32] And for a Jewish person in that time period, there really were two things that they would hold on to, to say, man, we're right with God. The two things would be, we're the people that have the law. Remember, I told you that law that was given? We're the Jews, we're the ones that have the law, so of course, we're right with God. And then the second part and this is really, it's kind of outside of our thinking, but it ran deep in their thinking, was the symbol of circumcision. Remember, God gave circumcision to Moses, it was the sign. And so Jewish scholars, and you can read back in that time, a lot of them would say, in fact, one of the Jewish rabbis, he wrote this line, he says, you'll never see a circumcised Jew in hell, because that's the symbol they're part of God's people. And so if you are a male, and Jewish, and you were circumcised, you're the person that has the law. And for a female, if you were in the household, either your father was circumcised or your husband was circumcised, that was your covering, you're considered in, you have to be right with God.

Tim Lundy: [00:24:33] But stops and says, well, wait a second, let's drill in that real quick, why would a Jew need the Gospel, is the first thing he says. Well, they have the law. but they do not keep the law. See, that's a big problem, it's one thing to have it, it's another thing to keep it. Read with me as he continues on, starting in verse 17, he says, "If you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law." I mean, these are all good things, "And if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth." He says, you're the ones who have the law, and so you just consider we're the light, we're the guide, we're the teacher, we're the one that everyone else on the planet needs to learn from.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:26] But Paul continues on, he says in verse 21, "You then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” It's pretty strong here, and he's narrowing, again, that argument down, because this was a group that would say the fact that we have the law alone shows that we're the people right with God. And Paul says it's not enough to have the law, do you actually keep the law? It's not enough to teach others about it, do you actually do it?

Tim Lundy: [00:26:21] You know, it's passages like this as a pastor, a lot of times, you know, I'm always brought up short at times because I'll be reading different passages and I'll be preparing sermons, and I've got to tell you, it's a lot more fun to preach them than teach them. Especially when I can think about you guys and what you need to be applying, what you need to do, and I'll look at different verses and go, oh man, people need to hear that. And there are times when the Holy Spirit convicts me and says, wait, time out, what about you, are you living this? I mean, it's easy to teach something, it's harder to live something.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:58] It's what James warns, he says let not many of you be teachers, you're held to a higher standard. We're not allowed to, as pastors, just open up the word and you may have the gift to be able to explain things, but James says there's a scrutiny of your own life. And I'm reminded here, because here are the people of God, the Jewish people, that God loves, by the way. We're going to see in this book, God's not done with them, God loves the Jewish people. But there's this fundamental failing they have, that because they have this truth, they think that's enough. Because they even teach the truth, they think that's enough. Paul says, are you living it, or do you violate the very things that you call other people to? It's not enough just to have it,

Tim Lundy: [00:27:43] And then the second part he points out, outward circumcision is not a guarantee of an inward change. He says, one, you think the laws are standard. Look at the rest of chapter 2, he says, "For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law." He says you may have somebody out here, he's never been circumcised, but if he's actually living according to God's standard, isn't that a greater condemnation of you who have both? You have the law, and you have this circumcision. Do you think this physical symbol is the mark?

Tim Lundy: [00:28:40] Look how he continues, verse 28, "For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God." Paul is putting it pretty straightforward here, he says, it's not just enough that you've had this physical symbol done to your outward body, here's what he's asking, what's going on in your heart? You're not just a Jew because you own the law, do you actually live according to the standard? See, in all of this, remember I told you, Paul's really logical, he's building this argument because it was real easy to look at immoral people and go, oh yeah, they need the Gospel. Or maybe even look at moral people and religious people, but they're the wrong religion, they need the Gospel. And now he looks at God's even chosen people, the Jewish people and he says, you guys need the Gospel too. You guys need the one who was the only one to live up to that perfect standard. You need the one who was the only one who actually not only had the law, he kept the law perfectly and his name is Jesus Christ.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:07] At this point, I want to stop for a moment, because we'll move into chapter 3 next week. And probably if you're like me, you go, man, Paul, I'm ready for you to make the turn, you're telling us the bad news. Again, what I appreciate, though, is he's willing to speak in a straightforward way to those that he even loved. You know, when he's writing the moral audience and especially the Jewish audience, it made a lot of people in Paul's life mad. I mean, people that he grew up with, people he respected, his teachers, they turned on him because they felt like he had betrayed them. But Paul loved them enough, that he says, I've got to tell you guys the truth of what God's done in the world and what you need in your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:53] You know, as we finish out this message, it would be real easy for those of us in a church like ours to kind of look it and go, well, oh yeah, we're not like those moral people, we're not even like Jewish people who don't have it. I want to ask one final question, why do Christians need the Gospel? And when I put that term, Christians, I want to make sure how I'm using that term, I'm using the general term Christians that most people in our country would claim today. In fact, if you looked at the polling today, it's still a Christian nation by and large. Even as I say that there you go, what do you mean by that term, because it's become so broad in many ways?

Tim Lundy: [00:31:36] You know, years ago, I lived in Bangkok, and you know, I would talk to Thai friends. And I remember one Thai friend, as I was sharing with him, I shared with him the Gospel. And I said, man, I want to see you become a Christian. And he kind of laughed. he says, well, of course you're a Christian, you're an American. He says to be an American is to be Christian, to be Thai is to be Buddhist, that runs deep, that's who we are. And as I said to him, I was like, no, no, it's really not that way, there's something different about Christianity. And he kind of laughed and he said, oh, all you Americans think you're Christians. And I remember that conversation, because if you look at our country, the percentage of people that would still claim the term Christian, every year when it looks at Christian voters, and Christian rights, and Christian, it's used in so many ways, but you start drilling down and you go, what do you really believe under that? What do we really mean with that? Let me drill down a little bit more. what about Christians, who maybe you've grown up in the church your whole life, maybe you're a person that you've claimed that term. I just want to ask you, what does that mean in your life?

Tim Lundy: [00:32:49] Why do Christians need the Gospel? Well, I'd say, first of all, it's easy to be exposed to the truth without embracing the truth, it's really easy to be around it, to hear it. Man, I told you, you know, this series, I really am focused on the next generation, and talking to our high schoolers, talking to young adults. Many of you, you've been around this your whole life, some of you've been to Christian schools, you've heard the stories, you've heard it since you were little, you've grown up in a Christian home, and it's easy to assume because I'm around it all the time that it's actually a part of my own belief system. And here's the point that Paul is pointing out, I just want to call you to as well, for every person, the Gospel brings you to a place of decision, it's not something that just happens to assimilation. It's not something because I was around it so much, I kind of just assimilated. For every single person, there comes a point in life where you have to make the decision, man, have I embraced this good news? Do I know I need the Gospel, that that it's not enough to be a moral person? It's not enough to be a person that maybe I have the Bible, and I've owned a Bible all my life, that's exactly what the Jew would have said. I've got the law; I've been around it all my life. See, there's this place where you have to move to a point that you go. this is my decision that I'm going to follow him, that I've embraced this truth.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:25] And as you say that one of the things I would say with it, we can hold on to outward signs without truly experiencing inward change. Now, for most of us, I doubt there's anybody today that will go, oh, well, I know I'm a Christian because I'm circumcised or some physical symbol like that, but we have we have our outward symbols too. It's interesting, I'll talk to people, you know, tell me about your relationship, or a lot of times it comes up quickly, and I'll admit I heard it a lot more when I lived in the South, people grab the label real quick of whatever they grow up, their denomination, their church, I was raised in this church.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:01] I remember years ago; I was flying back to San Jose and I had a layover in Las Vegas. And so as we took off on the flight, I had a couple right next to me and they were headed to Vegas, that was their final destination, and the party began on the plane. And they had a bunch, I remember it was a Southwest flight, they had a bunch of those drink coupons and they're cashing them in right and left. I mean, the beers started coming and coming, I didn't know you were allowed to drink that many beers on a flight, I'll be honest with you. And so they're going, and we're talking really nice couple and everything. And you know, about an hour into the conversation, they've been partying pretty good with it, it finally comes up, and I always hate this for people, they asked me, so what is it that you do? And then you have to, you know, drop the whole pastor card on them. I knew exactly as soon as I said it, they said, what do you do? And I said, well, I'm a pastor. And I mean, they went stone-cold white, the blood drained from their face, and he just stared at me for a minute. And I'll never forget, he looked at me. I just, you know, I didn't mean anything by it, but I said, I'm a pastor. He goes, I'm a Baptist, and then he looked at her, he goes, isn't that what I am? And she said, yeah, you're a Baptist, she said, I'm a Methodist. And I said, oh, great, those are both great churches, I'm really glad with that. And then, you know, for good measure, he said, yep, yep, I'm a Baptist, I'm a Baptist. I don't know who he was trying to convince more in it. And then the funniest part is, then for the next part of the flight, they start trying to hide their beer cans. I mean, I don't know where they thought I was this whole time, I've seen all this. And part of me is like, I could care less, in it. But I remember how quickly whatever was going on there, the guilt they felt at that moment, what did they latch onto? They latched on to a childhood of experience, or a background, or parents who may have taken them to church, I don't know somewhere in that. But there was immediately this thing that goes, hey, I'm a Baptist, I feel better about myself, I'm good with that. And I look in that moment, I go, yeah, we're not any different from the Jewish people who may have grabbed on the circumcision.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:22] Or, I've talked to people, they'll tell you, oh man, I'll tell you the time I walked the aisle, or maybe the day I got baptized. Again, all good things, folks, but if all of our faith, if what we believe, is all hanging on a few things like that, we got a few symbols, we got a few things that our Christianese world that we will throw out quickly that we use to convince ourselves that I'm OK with God, I would say we're not too different. And again, the goal of this message, I'm not trying to dismantle anyone's faith. But in the same way, I think there's a healthy place to stop and ask yourself, do I really embrace the truth of God's word, the truth of the Gospel? Have I just been around it a lot? Do I really have a living relationship with Jesus Christ, or do have kind of a couple of markers in my life, and I hold on to that, and as long as I can point back to those things back in the day, I feel OK about myself?

Tim Lundy: [00:38:32] The third thing I would just say with it is, all people will stand before Jesus one day, every single one of us, me and you. And as Paul pointed out in this passage, as John talked about it, that end time, the great thing when you stand in front of Jesus, you're never going to be compared to anyone else. For which I'm thrilled, because I look at other people and I go, man, I would hate to be up there and be compared to them. I don't know if you've ever, you know, back in the day in school, you ever had a teacher that graded on the curve, and it would be based on how everybody did in the class, and you always had those brilliant kids who blew the curve for everyone else, and you'd just go, man, I wish they were not in the class. And I think for each one of us, I'm so glad I'm not going to be compared to anybody else on the planet. But here's the other reality, God knows every action in my life.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:33] And so, Paul is setting up this argument, remember what we said last week, two things have been revealed by God, either the righteousness of God that was revealed in Jesus or the wrath of God that's going to be revealed in that final day. That everybody on the planet is in one of two camps, there is no in-between world, if chapter 2 has taught us anything. And I think this is somehow, it gets in our thinking at times, we kind of view everybody on the planet that we're all kind of morally neutral, we're kind of in the middle, and you're going to decide which way you go, you're either going to be in the bad or you're going to be in the good. Paul goes, let me just dismantle that, there is no middle. You're either under righteousness that's been revealed through Jesus, or you're under wrath?

Tim Lundy: [00:40:24] And it can look all different ways, there are some people underneath wrath, they are really immoral, and they do all those bad sins. There are some people under wrath, they're pretty moral according to the world's standards. There are some people under wrath, they may even be religious to the point of being Jewish or being Christian as we use the term. But at the end of the day, it all comes back to what did you do with the Gospel? He said that's why I'm passionate about the Gospel, because it's the power of God unto salvation for all people, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. And I would just add my own thing, and also to the person who grew up in a Christian church, in a Christian home, and has been around it their whole life, is the good news, your good news? Can you say, man, I have embraced Christ, so that I know I'm under righteousness, I'm not under wrath? But if you can't say that, I think it's worth taking some time to really scrutinize your own heart and your life.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:46] And again, any time I preach a message like this, some of you, you're really sensitive of heart, and so you immediately start doubting your salvation and you have a bunch of questions around that. Usually, the people who doubt their salvation quickly or get scared around it, they're usually people very sensitive and they usually love Jesus very much. The group that I would want to scrutinize more, are those of you that as soon as this message is over, as soon as you get out of church, as soon as you move forward, man, you want to click it off and assume that you're fine. Now, I would hate if you grew up in Venture, I would hate if you came to these messages, I'd hate for you to hear a book like Romans and somebody doesn't look you in the eye with the straightforward manner that Paul did so that you ask yourself, is this a truth I've been around, or is this the truth of my life? Is this a gospel I know about, or is this the good news that I know that's changed my life? There's a place for all of us to look at it, to evaluate it, and to embrace it as our own. I hope that you would do that. Maybe you have questions about it, you go, is it really all that Paul set out. Well, in chapter 3, we're going to make the turn. He's got to go a little bit darker to show us exactly where we are, and I promise you that next week he's going to make a turn and you get to see the blinding light of the good news of what Christ is accomplished.



Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600