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October 13, 2022 12:00 am
In Romans 10:21 the Apostle Paul invites us to forsake the binding chains of religion and embrace the liberating arms of a relationship.
Anyone who's trusting in their own efforts to achieve salvation is going to be sadly and tragically disappointed gentlemen you trust for your salvation, your labor in your effort in your strengths and your purpose and you will go to Bell forever but run to the hands of God run in the hands of his son the Lord Jesus and trust his efforts and his strength in his labor and his works and you will go to heaven only way that anyone can receive an experience salvation is through Jesus Christ. Even though salvation is freely granted to us. It's not free. Jesus had to suffer in order to make our salvation possible. In Romans 1021, the apostle Paul invites us to forsake the binding chains of religion and embrace the liberating arms of a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi today.
Stevens looking at this passage and is called this message the wounds of God. Please open your Bible to Romans 10 as we get started. One of the chief Roman goddess was named Mars. He was handsome, yet vindictive and cruel. At one point he was almost vanquished by another God who had to join and stuff them into a jar call led to his father Zeus to help him Zeus wasn't too interested in helping him because he was too busy at the moment throwing people off Mount Olympus. Somehow Mars escaped and lived to see another day is often depicted as carrying a bloodstained spear and supposedly his throne on Mount Olympus is covered in human skin this last summer I visited one Museum in England were relics dating back to the time of Paul were discovered in these ancient Roman temples, people would written notes to their gods on ceramic and pottery on metal these prayer requests, so to speak, and they offered them in and they survived to this day excavated near these ancient temples. It was interesting to me to read how these people in the first century were asking their gods to basically answer their prayers in a vindictive and cruel way. One man requested that his God would take the life of his enemy. One woman wrote on her tablet requesting that her God whined the person who had stolen her jewelry. Another man requested that his God curse all of the efforts of his business competitor Romans knew nothing of love between their gods and themselves and certainly didn't really have any love for them. They just hope that they would carry out their wishes.
If you got in the way of Zeus back in the days of Paul. They believe he just swallowing you that would be the end of it and the revelation of the true and living God is vastly different.
Paul is painting a portrait of this true and living God in Romans 10, the latter part of the chapter. In fact, the very last verse I want to save it just for today so we can spend just our time focusing on this one verse. This is the portrait that Paul is painting of this God who is very very different even remember as your turning Paul at one point stood in Athens. This was the city built at the base of Mount Olympus, the place where they believe all the guys resided and he stood there and he declared he remember the message to the. The unknown God. They said that in Athens there were more gods and goddesses statues than people, and he arrived and wanted to deliver the gospel to them and so he stood and delivered this message to the unknown God.
We do know from history to 600 years before Paul's visit history recorded that Athens had been overrun via terrible plague and hundreds were dying and they were convinced that it was the gods who were upset with them and the problem was they just didn't know which God's so they devised a plan were on this one stated they they would let loose up flock of sheep and the instructions were they were to let the sheep in Rome at will and wherever sheep would lay down.
They were to sacrifice that she there in honor of the God's temple was nearest sheep where he led the problem was when they let the Flagler's you see lay down and there was no temple in sight follow their orders. They sacrifice the sheep and because there wasn't any temple nearby. They simply raised on that spot some sort of momentum and they inscribed upon it to the unknown God. They wanted to cover all of the religious bases. Maybe they had left out a guided how ironic that the apostle Paul would arrive and deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The one who is the physical manifestation of immortal God who came not to swallow up his enemies, but to voluntarily die for the sins of the world than the physical manifestation of the true God would be called the lab and Paul stood right there on that spot and delivered the message but imagine him delivering that message to this audience nothing but capricious gods hateful God, he would give them the message that the true and living God was wounded for them.
Bore wound on their behalf. Quite a different portrait than when they would be used to do. In fact, it would go against their concept of what God must be like. So when he arrives here at the end of what we call chapter 10. He paints this portrait of God. He says in this text, but as for Israel, he says all the day long.
I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people there obviously to portraits here Arthur you notice them.
One is of a patient God and the other one is of the defiant nation.
Let's notice first the portrait of a patient God as you study this particular portrait of God. There are two very dominant theme, you could say that Paul uses to bright colors to describe this kind of true God that he followed the first thing that sorta catches your eye in this picture of God is this bold color will call it a persistent invitation. Paul is quoting Isaiah, but look at it again. But as for Israel, he says all the day long I have stretched out my hand. Now you know when you waited for somebody or something. It seems like it's taken a long time and you use that expression don't you all day long I have been waiting here all day long for you to show up.
I waited all day long for the telephone to ring. I stood in line all day long were exaggerating God is not he's doing the exact opposite of that. All day long I have stretched out my hands. How long is all day. Well go back centuries to Moses and watch as God patiently invited his people to follow him and obey him, only to have them gripe and complain and disobey and wander away.
Time and time again go back even further than that to Abraham and the patriarchs of God patiently waited for them to follow and obey him, and sometimes they would in most times they would go back even further than that to Adam and Eve and you find God saying, well now as if to say, I'm waiting for you. You want a picture of God through portrait shows him patiently inviting mankind there's another dominant color this portrait that only a persistent invitation from God personal involvement of God. Look again all the day long I have stretched out my hand to a disobedient and obstinate people and we humans become successful in we prove it by sending people to do our bidding and the more successful you are, the more people you have representing you. The more people you doing your business answering your cause and typing your letters and arranging the details of your day.
You just keep going up the ladder until you can sort of disappeared and everybody does everything for you right members. A seminary student running errands for up very successful commercial real estate company the president very wealthy and successful manner. Never forget the day I realized that it was possible for someone to never go shopping showed up to do some errands and I saw him at his office and was a tailor in there with the measurements and fabric samples that all of that in meeting with the president. I found out later they picked out his belts and consulted him on his shoes and they designed his suits and purchase his shirts and I thought I, like that actually can imagine never having to go to the mall again.
He somebody so everybody does his bidding.
Will God is the ultimate somebody is he not noticed the personal pronouns I circle those in my text, I have stretched out my hand personal involvement in the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, lived here among us John chapter 1 verse 14 he himself came to seek and to save those who were lost. Luke 1910, behold, I stand at the door and died not he could've said anybody in this invitation to that wayward church to have fellowship with him, but he is portrayed as doing the knocking salvation and fellowship comes from the personal invitation and personal involvement of God and we read him here all day long I have stretched out my hands.
Think about hands hands represent labor strings and effort and purpose, direction, these gentlemen you trust for your salvation, your labor and your effort and your strengths and your purpose and you will go to hell forever but run to the hands of God run in the hands of his son the Lord Jesus and trust his effort and his strength and his labor and his works and you will go to heaven. If you have been overseas, especially in Third World countries. As I have been you will be surprised by the superstition of this article, the news and Observer ran a few months ago still surprising a note to our American mind so there were very superstitious people or a nation ourselves news and Observer ran article a couple of months ago about how tens of thousands of people lined up Thursday in Hong Kong to see one of Buddhas fingers was on loan from China for 10 days.
Although the article says people were herded past in a hurry. Many people said the relic offered Hong Kong fresh hopes of peace and calm this bone fragment have been flown in on Wednesday for temporary display as locals were celebrating Buddhas birthday several hundred thousand you get that several hundred thousand people pay their respects while saffron robed Buddhist monks chanted prayers and visitors quickly file past the finger to Denny and Federal Reporter. I hope the relic can help people become happier. 70-year-old Margaret locks eyes welled with tears. After spending just a few moments gazing at the bone fragment encased in bulletproof glass and she said I believe this finger will protect me through the pains of life whose hands do you trust today when I read this invitation.
In Romans 10 verse 21 you go back to Isaiah 65 word first appears in. You can't help but fast-forward the tape from that 65th chapter of Isaiah Matthew chapter 27 where Jesus Christ will indeed in a literal way stretch out the hands of God on the cross. They will be nailed there and even it is dying. His arms will be spread as if to say, whosoever will make come. Whoever comes to me I will in no wise cast out all I stretch out my hands to these people. This is a beautiful portrait of caring, compassionate, loving involved persistent God and it's made all the more beautiful by the second portrait that appears in the latter half of this verse.
This is a portrait of a defiant nation look there. He says I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people again to dominant themes or two colors are used to paint this portrait of mankind. The first color is that of disobedience.
The Greek word translated disobedience refers to somebody, literally spurning belief, digging their heels and that you will not believe it's interesting that the New Testament translates that word often a disbelief or disobedience. They seem interchangeable.
Paul calls the world of unbelievers, the sons of disobedience. He warns the believers in Ephesus with these words, let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Unbelief is tantamount to disobedient. So God is seen here stretching his hands out toward a disobedient people. A nation who refused to believe they spurned believe they turn a blind eye to the evidence. Let me give you one piece of evidence that they saw or had represented to them. You never when Jesus Christ was crucified. If you study the gospel accounts get the full picture in Mark's gospel informs us that as he breathed his last. Mark recorded the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, beginning at the top, going all the way to the bottom. This was the veil that separated the holy place with the priest did their ministry and the holy of holies were supposedly of course the power of God resided in it did, in fact, until Bob was written Overton herds temple was not so but they still carried on that ritual and religion and so you had this veil separating the holy of holies from the holy place. Well, that veil was ripped into as Jesus breathed his last, signifying as it were, access into the presence of God were all priests. First Peter 29.
We all have access to God. There is no longer a media tour of the work of priesthood. We are priests and priestess in this new economy, but can you imagine this happening.
Can you imagine this veil being ripped apart.
Starting at the top torn gnawing out of the bottom that they follow the prescription of its manufacturing from the Old Testament, they probably didn't herds temple.
It was 28 cubits high.
That's 40+ feet high attire than the ceiling. Can you imagine that. Can you imagine seeing that. Imagine hearing it. The sound of the rib pain, no scaffolding, no ladders.
Suddenly, as if some invisible hand which it was the hand of God.
Tears that veil just slowly enough so that everyone can see you imagine that if you been there. The text tells us that this happened during the time of the evening sacrifices when the most people possible could have seen it and heard it third comes ripping apart from the top to the bottom would you do, he would stand there, probably with your mouth open and then one of the priests you would stand there for a moment or two, maybe three and then say something like this. We need to sew it back up somebody go get blue thread. We gotta put it back together again because this is our religion. We don't understand what happened but will connect the dots.
Of course later for the gospel accounts. The timing of this was perfectly time we spurn belief in this one so will keep our religion. And that's exactly what they did.
Paul paints the portrait here all day long I have stretched out my hand to disobedient people is more in this portrait. The second color is the color of abstinence said a very pretty word is been called obstinate the word here in the original languages onto log on top and team meeting again slid got to meeting speech anti-each anti-speaking toward God.
In other words, the unbeliever doesn't just not believe the unbeliever asked to speak against the one called God, Jesus Christ, his son, they cannot just not believe they have to speak against his name. The late 19th century philosopher Nietzsche profoundly influence the Western world.
He wrote I call Christianity. The one great curse. The one enormous perversion. The one instinct of revenge. Christianity is the one immortal blemish on mankind, he would be followed by those who believed him. Men like Sigmund Freud and Carl Marx, who then spawn their own particular beliefs that religion is man-made. It's only something we've created. And in fact to be carried too far. It does you wrong and evil, influencing millions of people with their anti-speed.
So I told stuff were more sophisticated now.
Yes we are. But the human heart is not changed. I would to get the oil changed in my pickup truck this week and they get those magazines there on the counter.
Time magazine was sitting right on the front right on top.
This particular week's issue. I love it when the Lord does a gives meright in fast aluminum there studying for my sermon. An article by Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist of the National Cancer Institute.
Hamer's written a new book called the God Jean eight pages of postulation.
He says our most profound feelings of spirituality may be due to a little more than an occasional shot of intoxicating brain chemicals governed by our DNA. God, he concludes, is an artifact of our evolved brain noise man so intensely interested in denigrating God when it does not believe the leader that why eight pages and time magazine we getting in a pages. Paul answers the human heart is not only disobedient to God but obstinate.
It is involved in anti-speech in an attempt to drown out the sound of the law of God written on their hearts.
Maybe if I speak against him loud enough I can hear my conscience maybe I will see creation and connect the dots never heard anybody that there are some of the hammer and say Buddha Christian boy Confucius that hurts things Jesus. This Jesus. If I were God do something about he did for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, but underneath his unique son to be wounded by mortals. Whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. All day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people know this can apply not only to the nation Israel which is the specific context it would certainly apply to the world of Gentiles. Israel refused to believe, but so do millions of Gentiles as well. Right Israel speaks against Christ, but so does the world and the amazing news about that particular text is that God is still holding out his hands. They have not dropped to his science yet he is still personally persistently inviting humanity to come to himself in the invitation that is still open for you. If you have yet to come.
Let me tie up our thoughts here with a couple of invitations that I can rest from this text.
I think without torturing it too badly. Some things that I think God would be telling not only unbelievers but believers through this persistent personal invitation number one God is holding out his hands toward those who are tired of living up to religion Jesus Christ once said that the Israelite nation you're tired your weary-you are coming to me and I will give you rest your yoke is the mine is a light's faith alone.
Stop living up to all of the regulations and the rituals come to me for a relationship.
For those of you who are tired of trying to live up to your religion. Stop under the hands of God through Christ. Over the last few months we've had several Hindu come to faith in Christ through this ministry have gotten all of that cycle that never ending treadmill and they have found rest. I see a second invitation. Here God is holding out his hands toward those who are tired of not only living up to religion, but those who are running away in rebellion. Did you notice who he offers this invitation to all day long. I've stretched out my hands to my dear friends hope stretch my hands out to disobedient and obstinate. This is the renegade.
He offers a peace treaty. It is this wooden cross and it is the bridge that crosses the great divide. As we heard song it alone same profit quoted here in Romans chapter 10 Isaiah the great prophet also quoted God in giving his personal invitation to the nation in that first chapter that great invitation where he says listen, let's be reasonable. Think about this though your sins are scarlet, but is there permanently stained come to me and all make your heart like fresh fallen snow though your sins are red like crimson, come to me and will be why does wool only got that turn your heart and mind into something like fresh fallen snow.
My wife and I had some surprise guests a few weeks ago they trekked back to our college days actually even further back. The girl was a junior bridesmaid at our wedding and that she's a mommy with five kids and made us feel terribly old, but we welcome them anyway enjoy fellowship with them and just as we were saying goodbye in the foyer of our home. One other little guys ran from outside inside indoor living room and we got the sword cream white colored carpet and he was bearing the beautiful red Clay of North Carolina and about the time he hit the middle of the living room. His dad said stop and he stopped any turned and walked in with some permanent reminders of our fellowship them and they left we said it doesn't matter. Our kids have made stains to it and that we killed her kids for doing it, but the true so I set the scrubbing and couldn't get it all out.
You know what that's like, you probably have a few spot yourself just a little orange Jewish tent, you would know if you came you have to know where to look, I know because I scrubbed that it just a slight slight brown orange Jewish no way I could make that look brand-new.
God says do you have permanent stains from your past give things that you don't think could ever be blotted out of your record, let me take care of that. I have the ability as God to take your heart and renew it to take crimson stain out, no matter what you've done. No matter what your anti-speech has been matter how heavy the burden of sin. He stands before you like, he stood before Thomas and said to him, see here. My hands and those of us who come to faith can do nothing more than like Thomas Neil and say to him I and my God. This one who has been wounded for us chosen to retain the wounds in his hands and feet is eternal reminders that this God became involved. This God cared this God persistently invited this God's personally involved and he is the only true and living God. Let me give you one more.
This is for the believer. I you could see here that he would be holding out his hands toward the believer is tired of surveying out of his own resource in the hand of God not only redeems to find his hand rest and refreshment you reinvigorate heat redirection. Could this invitation not be Thomas as well. Believers can be obstinate to write you the one next to you talking about that they can be disobedient right it is in the heart of all of us to talk back to God. Periodically it is in the nature of all of us are redeemed a lot of noise straight off the path we've chosen when my favorite hymns was written by William Williams, a Welch preacher friend of Whitfield and Wesley not so much known for his preaching but he is known for his him guide me, O thou great Jehovah pilgrimage through this barren land. I am weak with five powerful how I think my God that all day long holds out his hand to a rebellion and obstinate people. I hope you've placed your faith in Jesus Christ and that your resting in what God has done for you. You're listening to wisdom for the heart.
The Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey, the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina.
This was the final lesson in the series how to get to heaven from Earth. The series is available as a set of CDs.
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