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This World Needs Evangelists (Romans 1:18-32)

Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

This World Needs Evangelists (Romans 1:18-32)

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This world needs Evangelists

Romans 1:18-32 (Pastor Heo)

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.


These verses are very sad – but the reality of human beings. These sound like a list of charges in court.

v. 18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the unrighteousness of men…” – this is the doorway that leads us into the courtroom of God. All people, everywhere, deserve condemnation for their sin.

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart of a man is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?”

This is human nature – even today.

The theme of this book = The Righteousness of God

Then, why, here, there is SO MUCH unrighteousness exposed? Because, until a sinner realizes he is a sinner, he cannot appreciate the graciousness that God grants through Christ. To enjoy his salvation fully, the first thing we must do is recognize our full sinfulness. To receive God’s forgiveness and be cleansed by the blood of Christ, we must know and recognize our own uncleanness.

Ex: If a patient goes to a doctor in a hospital, the first thing the patient must do is be honest – and fully reveal his sickness.

  • Doc: “How are you?”
  • P: “I’m fine, thank you and you?”

This doctor cannot help.

This is the same with God. If we say, “I’m fine, thank you, and you?” Then we cannot receive God’s forgiveness. Thus, we must recognize how wicked and sinful we actually are, and acknowledge it before God.

4 Parts:

1. Intelligence (v. 18-20)

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We say to each other, “excuse me” very frequently – but we cannot say this to God on the Last Day.

Even today, we are constantly challenged by atheists and hecklers to PROVE the existence of God. Actually, the Bible does not try to prove God’s existence. It opens and immediately assumes God’s existence. “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth…”

So, to look up to the heavens and say, “There is no God” is MORE STUPID than looking up to an airplane and saying, “There is no pilot because I cannot see him.”

Also, to look at this earth and say, “This earth has come into being spontaneously” is STUPIDER than to say, “This building has spontaneously come into existence because I do not see its maker.”

  • Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies declare the work of his hands.”
  • Hebrews 5:4? “Every house is built by somebody – and like this God is the builder of all things.”
  • Bible says continuously, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” If you believe in God, you believe that God is THERE and God is HERE. Neither distance, nor darkness can hide you from his sight.
  • Psalm “Where can I go and flee from your presence? If I go to the heights of the mountains, or the depths of the sea, you are THERE.”

Please remember, we cannot escape from the presence of God.

  • Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all Creation is hidden from the sight of God. Everything is laid bare and revealed totally naked and we must give account to God.”

Even unbelievers know there IS a God – because to some people, this is a big burden. For some, it is a big blessing.

Yes, God being with me can be a big power, comfort, blessing, but sometimes it can be a big warning, burden.

2. Ignorance (we know there IS a God, but we do not want to KNOW God)

If we do not worship and know the true God, then we will worship and know a fake God – an idol. This is idolatry. The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me.”

v. 21-25

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. **25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.**

Amen.

They “know” God but do not want to KNOW God.

If we do not worship the true God, then we WILL worship something else. We are created to worship something or somebody. The MOST IMPORTANT question is: WHOM (or what) do I worship?

If I do not worship the true God, I will worship something made by man. How foolish.

We exchange truth for a lie, immortality for mortality. If we are not slaves of Christ, we are to be slaves of something / somebody else. This is idol worship.

Here is an Idolatry Check: 12 Questions:

Check your attitude:

Idolatry Checklist

  1. Who created you?
  2. Whom do you ultimately trust?
  3. To whom do you look for ultimate truth?
  4. To whom do you look for security and happiness (and eternal life)?
  5. Who is in charge of your future?
  6. Who / what do you think you cannot live without?
  7. What priority in your life is greater than God?
  8. What dream would you sacrifice EVERYTHING to realize (accomplish)?
  9. Does God have first place in your life?
  10. Have you done the basic commitments of attending worship services regularly, every Sunday, to worship God? (this is very basic)
  11. Do you show that you are not a slave of money? (You do not worship money / material as your small God, by giving regular tithe to God)
  12. Are you Christian ALL THE TIME – both in private and in public?

Through these questions (some hard, some easy) we can check whether or not we have an attitude of idolatry before God. God cannot be deceived nor mocked. He is omnipotent (all-knowing).

3. Self-indulgence (from idolatry to self-idolatry – immorality – this is a small step)

v. 26-28

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

From idolatry to immorality is a small step. If a man becomes God in his own life – his own small god – then he can do whatever he wants. The result of self-deification is self-indulgence. (Homosexuality is one of the climactic results of fighting against God’s principles. This sin is called: shameful, unnatural (against nature, the Law of God), indecent, vile.)

Do you have a sense of shame? This was a rampant sin in that day in Rome – and this day is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Even in Korea, this is a hot issue. But be aware that the Bible, from first to last, condemns this sin. And history proves that this kind of sin will only be a matter of time until destruction within society.

4. Final stage = unrepentance

v. 29-32

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree (in conscience) that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

  • The bad thing = to sin.
  • The worse thing = to sin and not repent. – Rather to invent another way of doing evil.
  • The VERY worst thing = to sin, not repent, and then convince others to follow in with the same sin, and applaud this great sin in others.

How far men fall.

That’s why the wrath of God is being revealed against the godlessness and wickedness of mankind.

So, what is the wrath of God?

This is totally different from the anger of men.

Do you believe, “God is love”?

We say, “God is good all the time, all the time God is good.”

Yes, God loves us. But, if we reject this love of God, then this rejected love becomes the wrath of God.

  • Blessing is God’s natural job.
  • Punishment is God’s unnatural job.

Ex: Parents love their children and love to bless them. But, if the children disobey and reject their parents’ love, this love sometimes becomes YELLING LOVE (punishing, disciplining, striking love). God’s love is like this.

What is the final wrath of God? Giving up.

Ex: Imagine your child, whom you love, continually goes against what is right. NOT PUNISHING is the greatest punishment. Parents must discipline their children. Giving up is the greatest punishment. (Ask any grown-up child who’s experienced this.)

  • v. 24 “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…”
  • v. 26 “God gave them over to shameful lusts…”
  • v. 28 “God gave them over to a depraved mind…”

This is the biggest punishment, the biggest wrath of God, this is the curse of God.

Ex: Imagine a pig traveling in a nice car, loads of food, very healthy and fat, he has no problems… but what is his final destination? The slaughter house. Who can say that pig is “blessed”?

This is a very serious problem.

“Not believing in Jesus through his whole life until physical death – but enjoying a luxurious, idolatrous life – is like that pig – but worse. For the pig’s suffering ends when his life ends. But man’s suffering will endure forever.”

This is the meaning of James 5:5 “You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.”

That’s why this world has a desperate need for evangelists (to carry the Word of God to all men) – because this is the ONE way we can be saved.

  • Romans 1:17 “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed”

God makes his free salvation available and possible through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • 2 Cor 5 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that through him, we might become the righteousness of God.”
  • “If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to purify our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

This world needs evangelists.

There are many reasons, but according to today’s picture, let me just say 5 reasons:

  1. People know there is a God, but they suppress the truth and deny it. Evangelists can point out their error, mistake, sins.
  2. People may believe there IS a God, but they refuse to commit themselves to him. Evangelists can help persuade them.
  3. Evangelists can convince those who reject Jesus Christ, of the dangerous/terrible result of their choice.
  4. All people “know” there is God – through the Creation – all of it reveals there IS God. But this is not enough, they need to be told of Jesus Christ and how through him, they can have a personal relationship with Christ. These people are “evangelists.”
  5. Evangelists can help the church fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all nations, and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

That’s why this world needs Evangelists. CEOs can’t do this, Presidents can’t do this, only Evangelists can do this.

Let’s pray.

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So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen
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