“God’s Revelation; Man’s Rejection” Part 2
September 13, 2015
I believe it was about April of 1990 that I was first contacted by Grace Bible Church after I’d submitted my resume for consideration of the open pastoral position here. I responded to the nine questions they sent me and then waited for their response. At the same time, I had been contacted by another church in south Texas and Raye Jeanne and I drove down there for an interview; while there I also preached one Sunday morning. That church, we knew, would be a difficult ministry for a number of reasons, but we said to each other, “If they call us, it would be hard, but we believe that we could do the work of the ministry there.”
Shortly after that, I received a phone call one Sunday afternoon from David Gibson and he conducted a brief telephone interview. I don’t remember much about that conversation, but evidently it went fairly well because I was subsequently invited down for a face-to-face interview with the pulpit committee. I remember much more about that interview — specific questions and answers and even more than that, the encouraging fellowship we were having and the oneness of mind about ministry that was evident in the interview. That being said, while I hoped the men were happy with the interview, I knew that I was thrilled with it. I remember saying to Raye Jeanne on the way home, “I know that we could do the ministry in Pleasanton; it would be hard, but we could do it. But doing ministry here would be a joy.”
So when the church called me a short time later with an offer to candidate, and then a few weeks after that when the church extended a call to come as pastor, I did not hesitate. My immediate response was “Yes!” I couldn’t conceive of a reason to say “no.” If they’re asking, I’m coming!
While it doesn’t happen every time, sometimes big decisions really are pretty easy, aren’t they? We pray for God to work in our lives — for Him to provide some need — and then when the provision comes, we just don’t have to pray about it, we just have to say, “Yes! Thank you!”
Yet not everyone says “yes” when God makes an offer. And we see that this morning in Romans 1 — God has revealed Himself to mankind in both nature and conscience and while one might expect that man would say, “Yes! Thank you!” man instead has rejected God. The response really is inconceivable. You can almost see Paul shaking his head in disbelief as he writes these words; God has shown mankind who He is and who man is in comparison to Him, and man wants nothing to do with Him.
As we continue looking at Romans 1:20-25, we see that —
The history of the world is the history of man’s repeated rejection of God.
In these verses, Paul reveals three ways man has rejected God and three consequences of that rejection:
- Man Rejected God By Not Glorifying Him (v. 21a)
- Man Rejected God By Not Thanking Him (v. 21b)
- Man Rejected God By Not Worshipping Him (v. 23)
- The Consequences of Man’s Rejection (v. 21c-22)
- His thinking was worthless (v. 21c)
- His life was unintelligible (v. 21d)
- His “wisdom” was foolishness (v. 22)
As we come to these verses, I want you to notice something about the verbs in verses 21-23: they are all past tense:
- they knew God
- they did not honor
- they did not give thanks
- they became futile
- their foolish heart was darkened
- they became fools
- they exchanged…
Now the question is, when did they do this? Some have suggested that this was the singular action of Adam, acting for all mankind in the Garden of Eden. That’s possible, but Paul is not talking about a single man — he’s talking about all men (notice men, v. 18, with them and to them, v. 19), and he is talking about a present tense revelation of God and His wrath (is revealed, v. 18; is known about God, v. 19). He is talking about all rejecters of God throughout history. This is what all men do who reject God. This is what all men in every generation in every part of the world have done who have rejected God. This is a lesson in anthropology — understanding how man thinks and operates.
So this passage is helpful to believers in two ways: 1) it helps us understand the way the world works and operates. This is why the world is the way it is — men have rejected God and these are some of the consequences of that rejection. And 2) this passage reminds us of what we were without Christ and what His grace has worked in us to redeem us and give us hope.
Let’s look at it more carefully: How has man rejected God and what are the consequences of that rejection?
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 1:21-22.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.