September 8, 2015
Pastor Ryan Pearse
My parents are celebrating their 36th wedding anniversary today. They would not have been together for 36 years if they didn’t make Jesus the center of their lives. This is what happens when Jesus is no longer the center of your home. Turn to Romans chapter one. This is a passage I hope you are familiar with. This last half of Romans chapter one answers so many questions.
1. What Wrong Looks Like
Romans 1:18-32 (ESV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
There a lot more examples of what wrong looks like then what right looks like because we’re talking about people. Genesis 3 on is about people and people’s sin. This is what happens when you don’t make Jesus the center of your home. Verse 18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Theologians have many different categories for the wrath of God. This would be the wrath of abandonment. This is not actually God coming down from above and saying this is the type of wrath I’m going to bestow upon you, like cataclysmic wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah or Noah’s Ark. No, this is just a kind of feeling. It’s not an action. This is the wrath of God. He is angry. This sets the stage for the rest of Romans chapter one. His wrath is being revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness, all unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. What’s the truth? The truth of the Gospel. This is an active response to the Gospel. People hear the Gospel. People hear God and especially when they hear Jesus they get really mad. I’ve been on mission trips where you ask people if they go to church. These are softball questions. Then you ask them who they think Jesus really is. People actively respond negatively, suppressing the truth to the Gospel. In the Greek it literally says, “who are constantly attempting to suppress the truth”. They are constantly doing it. It’s not a one time deal. People constantly attempt to suppress the truth. There is no clearer evidence of suppressing the truth then when a nation, a family, or an individual will not tolerate anger against sin. This is where we are today. People can’t say that’s sin otherwise others get angry and their suppressing the truth with their anger.
On the website answersforme.org, there is an article called Don’t be an Idiot. In 1984 a jet crashed in Spain. One of the first things crash investigators did was to try to locate the black box cockpit recorder. In this case they made an eerie discovery. The recorder revealed that several minutes before the crash a computer synthesized voice from the plane’s automatic warning system repeatedly told the flight crew in English to pull up. The pilot must have thought the system was malfunctioning. The black box recorded him saying, “Shut up Gringo.” Then he apparently switched the system off. Minutes later the plane plowed into the side of the mountain and everyone on board died. This was not suppressing the truth. This was just plain turning it off. That’s a true story. It cost him his life and it cost everyone else on the plane their lives. I don’t know if he didn’t speak English or what but he heard it. There was an alarm system. People’s alarm systems, their consciences, go on and off and people suppress it. They do it long enough to where God says, “You turn your back on me, I’m going to abandon you and leave you to your own devices.” This is God’s wrath of abandonment.
Verse 19, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” Verses 19 and 20 are the two verses that I like to say there is no such thing as an atheist. There really isn’t. Some people truly believe they’re an atheist because they suppress the truth for so long they say there is no God. They know and all people know that there is a God. It is plain to them because God has shown it to them. When you walk outside and look, reason tells you there has to be a Creator. This is reason. This is built into the DNA of us. The whole world believed that there was a Creator until Darwin. In Jonah 1 the people were against Jonah because they wanted to know who was doing this. Jonah said it was the God who created everything and instantly they knew what God he was referring to. Paul on Mars Hill in Acts 17 was telling them they had an idol to an unknown god. Paul told them that the god they were forgetting was the God who created everything. There is a Creator because there is a creation. We can see that plainly. God has shown it to all people.
Verse 20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” The word namely is only found here in the ESV. His invisible attributes are many but namely his eternal power and divine nature. Without excuse in the Greek is referring to a judicial term and is referring to legal proceedings. They’re without excuse. The judge has rendered that you have no excuse. You can’t use ignorance as an excuse. There is no such thing as an atheist. Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 a fool says in his heart there is no God and all people are without excuse.
Verse 21, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they were futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” The heart is deceitful above all desperately sick who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 They won’t thank him because they do not honor him. If you honor something you admit it exists. If you thank the Creator, you admit that he exists. They are not going to thank him. They suppress the truth until the lights go out. “Men love the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil,” John 3:19.
Verse 22, “Claiming to be wise they became fools.” The Greek word for fools is where we get our English word for moron. Claiming to be wise they became morons. They became idiots and fools. These wise people, some of the smartest people in the entire world, claim to be wise but they’re not wise. They are fools! You are a fool if you do not believe in God, honor him as God, and thank him as God.
Verse 23, “And exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Now at least they are starting to worship the creation. If people worship the creation and there can eventually get to the Creator God, right? No that’s not how it works. Religion is not a relationship. The Bible says have a relationship with Jesus not do religion. Doing religion doesn’t save anyone; having a relationship does. This is about worshiping the creation instead of the Creator and that is wrong. Religion is not man at his highest it is man at his lowest. If you don’t believe me, terrorism is associated with religion. This is man at their lowest.
Verse 24, “Therefore God gave them up…” Here we go. God gave them up is paradidomi in Greek. God gave them up. We see this three times in the next five verses. This is God’s wrath of abandonment. God gives people up to their own devices. Verse 24 continued, “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.” God gave them up. Once again it’s a judicial term. In the Greek it’s referring to handing over a prisoner to his sentence and judgment. God gave them up to their lusts means a wrong desire, illicit craving, impurity, decaying matter and it speaks of sexual immorality. Another word here is uncleanliness. God gave them up to their impurity and uncleanliness. The Greek work for uncleanliness means the contents of the grave. God gives men over to rot, filth, decay, and to dirt. This is our human flesh that God gives us up over to dishonor our bodies among ourselves to treat with shame. God’s wrath of abandonment. Acts 7:42 God turned away and gave them over. Acts 14:16 in past generations he allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. This is nothing new. When a person, a family, and a nation turns their back on God this is nothing new and has happened throughout generations. Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols, leave him alone. Leave them alone, let them do whatever they want, and they fall on their face. If you don’t put Jesus at the center of your home, you’re going to fall on your face. Psalms 81:11-12 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels” I know this is an Old Testament verse but interestingly enough in the New Testament the Greek word counsel is used twelve times. Seven of those times are referring to God’s counsel. Anytime God counsels and he has a plan seven out of seven times it happens in the New Testament. The other five times the word counsel is used in the New Testament it is referring to when men counsel up and make plans. Anytime that happens in the New Testament it may or may not happen. Your plans may or may not happen but when God counsels or makes a plan it always happens. You want to get on God’s team. You want to be in his plans. In a few minutes we’re going to see what right looks like. This is what wrong looks like. Genesis 6:3, “My spirit will not always strive with man.” Genesis 6 is about the flood. Proverbs 1:24-31 “Because I have called and you have refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm in your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and have their fill of their own devices.” Matthew 15:14, “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.” Second Chronicles 15:2, “If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” Second Chronicles 24:20, “Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.” Those are just a few verses of God’s wrath of abandonment. The second half of Romans chapter one is the longest passage about this type of wrath.
Verse 25, “Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” You see there “blessed forever!”. I’ve always wondered why there’s an exclamation mark and an amen. I think it just kind of expresses mild shock on Paul’s point of view, the author of this. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator. Then he throws in a short little benediction there “who is blessed forever! Amen”. I can’t even stand it anymore! Why is there a benediction? I’m not sure. He thinks it is foolish, absolutely foolish. This is a lie to say there is no God. Of course there’s a God. You can look outside and see there’s a God. This is so simple.
Verse 26, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.” Verse 26 is referring to lesbianism. This is the only verse specific to lesbianism in the entire Bible. Three times in the Old Testament and three times the New Testament the Bible talks about sodomy. The Bible actually never says homosexuality, that is a medical term. This is the only time it talks about lesbianism. Women are usually the last to be affected by the decay of morals and men usually are the first to be affected. When women go you know the society is gone. You know the family is gone when motherhood the center of the home is gone to sexual immorality. He puts that first in verse 26.
Verse 27, “And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Likewise, of course they’re doing it. They are consumed or burned in their desire towards one another. Ekkaio literally means to burnout. They were consumed with lust. t’s a raging consumption of lust. God literally destroyed an entire civilization for this, Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 19 after they were struck with blindness they continued to grope for the door; I don’t now about you but I’m sure if I was struck with blindness I would be freaking out. They were consumed with lust receiving in themselves. This didn’t even come from the outside. This is not coming from God. You’re doing this to yourself. You are falling on your own face if you do not put Jesus at the center. Sin always gets what it deserves. If you reap, you will sow. The punishment fits the crime. There are so many errors and so many penalties for the error that are just built in to the sin that you’re doing when you say, “Jesus, I don’t want you to be part of this home.”
Verse 28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Debased, reprobate, and depraved means nonfunctional. Of course your mind is not functioning when you say there is no God. When you say, “I’m God. I’m King. I can do whatever I want. What’s working for me is working.” It’s not working when you abandon God. It doesn’t work. You can’t think. You can’t reason. You can’t comprehend. It means a mind that is tested and found useless. Therefore, it is disqualified for its intended use. Your intended use is to honor God, recognize God, give thanks to God and to give glory to God. You’ve been disqualified from its intended use. Your mind is disqualified if you don’t put Jesus first.
Verse 29, “They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips.” On and on and on all manner of unrighteousness. Paul lists 24 sins in chapter one. This is just a picture of mankind who abandons God. Now Paul’s intention here is not to have a comprehensive list, although this is fairly comprehensive. We don’t need to do a word study on all of these words.
Verse 30, “Slanders, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents.” Disobedient to parents. All of these things and he throws that one in there. In the Old Testament if you were disobedient to parents the penalty was death. There are no examples of that actually in Scripture but I think the threat alone was enough. You shouldn’t want to be disobedient to parents. Foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless when you come all the way down here you have no where else to look but up. I hope when people fall all the way down there they look up.
Verse 32, “Though they know God’s righteous decrees that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” It is not enough to do wrong, we have to get a round of applause and give, according to the NASB translation, hearty approval. Not just approval but hearty approval to those who do wrong. Although do they really know? Yes. Romans 2 the law is written on the heart. Ecclesiastes 3 eternity is written on their hearts. Did you know Bill Clinton’s approval ratings went up when he had an affair? It seems all the time people get more popular when they do wrong. People give hearty approval to this. When you sit back and delight in others sins you have now reached the bottom. It’s not enough for you to sin but you have to delight in others. One more example of what wrong looks like. Tragic passage in the Scriptures. Judges 16:18-20, “When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, ‘Come back once more; he has told me everything.’ So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you!’ He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Don’t let it get that far! You think everything’s okay. You’re not going to put Jesus at the center. You may not know what Jesus at the center your home looks like.
2. What Right Looks Like
Colossians 3:18-3:21 (ESV)
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Colossians 3 there are only four verses that we’re really going to look at. There is a parallel passage in Ephesians 5 and you probably want to look at that. It expounds on some of the verses here. This is what right looks like. I love this! By the way this is all fueled by verse 16 let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. This is what happens with a Christian home. This is what happens when you’re letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly, when you have a mom and dad, a husband and wife, who both love the Lord and let the word of Christ dwell in them richly and live a Spirit filled life.
Wives have one verse. Husbands have one verse. Children have one verse. In verse 21 father could be translated as parents. If you just follow this, it’s going to be good. This is all bracketed by “to the Lord” in verses 18, 20 and 23. Also chapter four verse one says Master, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. All of this is bracketed in the fact that you are putting the Lord at the center. Jesus is at the center.
Verse 18, “Wives, submit yourself to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.” Submit is a Greek verb. It’s a military term which means to place yourself under or to rank yourself under. By the way Christians, Ephesians 5:22 says submit yourself to one another as is pleasing to the Lord. All people are to have a submissive attitude to one another. People get so up in arms. They think the Bible is sexist but it’s not. It doesn’t say blindly obey all men or blindly submit to all men. It says wives submit to your own husbands. You have one husband. You submit to him not to all men. You don’t blindly obey. That’s not what the Bible is saying. There is no inferiority among believers. Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Spiritually speaking we’re all one but the unbelieving world doesn’t know that. They think the Bible is sexist and it’s not. It also says in Ephesians 5 that husbands are supposed to love their wives like Christ loved the church. No one argues that but for some reason people argue that wives are supposed to submit themselves to their husbands. Jesus submitted to God but he wasn’t inferior to him. By the way guys, make it easy for your wife to submit to you. Now should you still submit if your husband is an unbeliever? Yes. First Corinthians 7 says submit even if they’re an unbeliever so that they may be won by your conduct. So submit as to the Lord. If it is not fitting to the Lord don’t do it. If it’s immoral don’t do it. If it is unethical, illegal or unbiblical don’t do it. You choose whether you serve God or man. Sometimes you may have to not submit. The general rule of thumb is there’s a submissive attitude among all Christians. Wives, submit yourself to husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.
Verse 19, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” There are four Greek words for love. Love is always a verb. This Greek word is the agape love. It is the love of the will. It’s the love that chooses the object of its affection. You have a wife love her. Choose to love her even if she is unlovable. This is the highest form of love. The proper definition of love is to seek the highest good of others. Did you know that it’s not a feeling? It is seeking the highest good of others. According to Ephesians 5 the two shall become one. When you become one why would you hurt your own body. You love your own body; love your wife’s body and do not be harsh with her. In Genesis 24:67 it says Isaac took Rebekah and she became his wife. He loved her. Harshness can be translated bitterness.
Verse 20, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this please the Lord.” When the question comes, “Why should I obey?” because the Lord said so. It pleases the Lord. It’s fitting to do that and that should be enough. The Greek word for obey simply means offspring. This is not like oh I’m six now I don’t have to obey. Does a child mean infant? No it definitely doesn’t mean infant because an infant doesn’t have the capacity to obey. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you’re under my roof you’re going to listen to me.”? That’s what that means. If you’re 25 and still living at home, you’re still under the authority of your parents. Honor should be all the time throughout your entire life. You don’t have to obey your parents if you don’t want to just move out. When you under their authority and living in their household obey because it pleases the Lord. By the way, obey is a Greek word where we get our English word for acoustics which means sound or hear. So when your parents say, “Listen to me.” Listen to me doesn’t mean just that you heard and then you choose not to do it. No, it means obey.
Verse 21, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” I remember reading this before I became a dad almost 10 months ago. I said, “Jesus, what do you have to say to me?”. It’s so simple. Don’t provoke your children. Don’t make them angry. Don’t poke fun at them. I see fathers do this all the time. Why would you do that? You don’t want them to become discouraged. It literally means stop irritating and stop nagging your children so that they don’t lose heart. Don’t cross the line that makes your children angry. You want them to feel sorry that they sinned against the Lord. You may have to discipline them but don’t provoke them to anger lest they become discouraged.
All of this assumes that you’re going to get married. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told my Young Adult Sunday school class. If you’re not married get married. The Bible just assumes you are going to get married. It says it’s not good for man to be alone. It says you should leave your father and mother whatever age that is and join with your spouse. The two shall become one. It’s not good for man to be alone. In the garden when man was alone he was lonely. God made a helpmate for him who he was to love for the rest of his life.
Let me throw a couple stats at you. The most common household type in America is an adult living alone. There are over 100 million unmarried adults in the United States. There are over 12 million people in America living out of wedlock. There are 10 times more people living together unmarried than in the 60s and twice as many than in the 90s. It’s getting worse. It’s growing. So if you’re not married, get married. If you’re married, have children. Psalms 127 says children are blessing from the Lord; happy is the man whose quiver is full of them. I want to be happier so Kelly and I are going to have more kids. This is the way it goes and it’s a blessing.
Someone in Sunday school said, “Doesn’t the Bible say that if you can be single be single?” Yes, that’s in the Bible. First Corinthians chapter seven says if you have the gift of singleness be single. Guys, this doesn’t mean that you asked thirteen girls out and they all said no so now you have the gift of singleness. That’s not the way that gift works. The gift is I really have no desire to be married at all and I want to dedicate my life to the Lord. You can get more work done for the Lord if you don’t have a wife and kids. That’s true but the general rule of thumb is get married and have kids especially if you’re Christians.
There are a couple next steps for you. The first one is, “I’m at fault for not putting Jesus first in my household. I want to repent of my sins and I pray that I would live a Spirit-filled life and put Jesus at the center my home.” The second one is, “I’m serious about putting Jesus first in my home. I want to talk to a pastor and learn more about what right looks like in a Christian home.” You heard a very detailed message about what wrong looks like and there are other examples in Scripture. Don’t turn your back on God to the point where God just lets you. Don’t do that especially to the point where you think everything is good and like Samson he didn’t know that the Lord had left him. That is a tragic place to be. If you go to Ephesians 5, Colossians 3 and a couple other scriptures in the Bible, and follow them it’s pretty easy. It’s not really that hard. Put Jesus first in your life. Put Jesus first in your marriage. Put Jesus first in your home.
1. I’m at fault for not putting Jesus first in my household. I want to repent of my sins and I pray that I would live a Spirit-filled life and put Jesus at the center of my home tonight.
2. I’m serious about putting Jesus first in my home. I want to talk to a pastor and learn more about “what right looks like” in a Christian home.