Seeking Immortality – The Second Sunday of Pentecost

Seeking Immortality – The Second Sunday of Pentecost


 good morning family of God so good to

see everybody’s eyeballs this morning

well let’s just take a moment and ask

God’s blessing on our study of the word

of God in Romans this morning Heavenly

Father we just thank you that you are so

gracious we thank you that you have

brought us together here as your church

we thank you that you are gentle we

thank you that you are faithful we thank

you that you are kind and we thank you

that you’ve protected us throughout this

pandemic we ask your continued

protection as there’s a lot of mayhem

and strife going on in our country right

now it’s a father we just pray for grace

we pray that clearer heads will prevail

we pray that grace will prevail we pray

that grace will reign all God’s people

said and you may be seated

well I used to spend a lot of time going

into Providence and one of my favorite

haunts was a coffee shop named coffee

exchange right down on Wickenden Street

they brew their own coffee it’s probably

the best coffee in Rhode Island I’m

gonna say that that’s my opinion

but I think I know a little bit about

coffee so but yeah but they have really

good coffee

and so I’d be I was in there and I’m in

there you know I got to know quite a few

people in there and I’m in there talking

to this teacher that I know this guy Jim

and I set my bag down on this chair and

you know and as I’m talking to Jim this

other guy comes along and plops his bag

right on top of the table next to my my

chair and I was like hmm

okay so you know I I just didn’t know

really what to do and so I I you know

went talking to Jim and then I just kind

of moved my bag off my chair and and sat

down I was like I I don’t mind sharing

the table I guess so I’m sitting there

and then he comes back and stops in the

middle of the whole coffee shop and goes

what do you think you’re doing you know

that thought like one of these guys one

of these guys right so we’re gonna have

a whole scene we’re gonna get enough

we’re gonna fight over a table so

anyways he says you weren’t sitting

there I’m like well actually I was

sitting here my stuff was here and and

he started to get argumentative I just

got up and I was like you know what you

can have the table and that’s fine I’ll

sit over here with Jim and because I was

talking to Jim anyways and another table

opened up but my point with my little

story is we got into or at least the

temptation I’ve could have engaged him

more in a quarrel and you know if you

read CS Lewis’s Christianity that’s one

of the that’s one of the first things he

talks about when he opens up in the

first chapter is human quarreling and he

talks about how people argue with one

another and this is what Lewis says

about quarreling

he says quarreling means to show the

other man is in the wrong and there

would be no sense in trying to do that

unless you or he had some sort of

agreement as to what right and wrong are

you see if there is nothing in common

morally if there’s not something

agreed-upon what do you have to argue

about and he goes on to give the example

of a footballer and it’s like how do you

and he’s talking about soccer not real

football not American football but I’m

teasing I like soccer too but he you

know he’s saying if there’s not an

agreement about the rules how do you

call a foul how do you call foul and

that’s what we do when we get into an

argument and we begin to quarrel and he

says now the law or rule about right and

wrong used to be called the law of

nature it calls it this law of nature

that Lewis is talking about and he’s

getting into a lot of the ancient you

know ancient philosophers about this

moral rule of right and wrong that we

all take for granted and it’s

interesting in his defense of

Christianity that’s where he starts he

starts with this unseen but very real

moral rule that’s in all of us and it’s

skewed because of sin because that well

the law itself isn’t skewed but our

interpretation is and very often when

people are quarreling there’s obviously

one person wrong

one person is in the wrong but they

think they’re in the right and that’s

why they’re arguing back and forth and

that’s why we have to go to court we

have to take each other to court over

things because somebody is violating

somebody else’s right sometimes they’re

both violating each other’s rights and

it takes a judge to sort it out but if

you drop down in our passage to verse 14

Paul says these words he says for when

the 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 what he means is he’s

showing that they try and and hold each

other to a standard of right and wrong

even though they don’t have the Jewish

law meaning the first five books of the

Old Testament Genesis Exodus Leviticus

numbers Deuteronomy that outlines the

Jewish law even though they don’t have

the law and he says they show that the

work of the law is written on their

hearts which is exactly what Lewis is

talking about he says while their

conscience also bears witness and their

conflicting conflicting thoughts accuse

or even excuse them on that day when

according to my gospel God will judge

God judges the secrets of men by Jesus

Christ now that statement there in verse

15 says that their conscience bears

witness what he’s saying as their

conscience bears witness he just talked

about in the first chapter of Roman that

the wrath of God is revealed from heaven

against all ungodliness and

unrighteousness of men who suppress the

truth in unrighteousness because what is

known of God is revealed to them they

know it and now he’s digging a little

deeper and saying that that law of what

people know to be right and wrong is in

them and he says their thoughts either

accuse or excuse them and isn’t that

what we do

when we have a conflict with somebody

even years ago we go back and we start

thinking about what get angry like well

but but she did this to me

and that justifies the what my behavior

or my action or my position when you see

where I’m going with that really in our

lives we if you if you really pay

attention to our thoughts when it comes

to any kind of strife in a relationship

you’ll see a constant reasoning legal

reasoning of why I’m right and that

person is wrong and this is the law of

nature that Lois is talking about it’s

the standard we all assume now Romans is

all about justification so when we’re

accusing someone else or excusing

ourselves what we’re trying to do is

justify justify ourselves and it’s way

more important to us than we realize our

entire life posture is oriented toward

self justification we all want to be

justified we all want to feel that we’re

right that the world is right with us

that the world around us is right all

this strife contention and mayhem that’s

going on in the world right now over the

death of George Floyd is an alternate

gospel now what is the gospel a gospel

is good news and what the gospel

promises is a better world that’s put

right and even these young people who

have so unwisely basically committed

treason and made their own country out

there in Seattle believe what they’re

doing is creating a better world I’ll be

at six blocks of a better world even

though they’re already extorting people

and showing absolutely bullsh

Vic and Nazi behavior towards the people

inside they really believe their

narrative of a better world and that’s

what it gospel does gospel offers a

better world but only God’s gospel the

true gospel offers a truly better world

and so we can ask the question why is it

we as humans quarrel well the simple

answer is because we begin with a

posture of I’m right I’m right in most

of our relationships and as I expressed

in that situation in the coffee shop we

begin with the position that’s right

you see what happened in that situation

is I had been there ten minutes before

that gentleman and I put my bag down on

the chair at that but when he came in he

was kind of preoccupied and he didn’t

see my bag there and he put his on the

chair and I I venture from his

perspective once he put on the chair he

was even less to see mine behind the

chair and he walked away and he came up

to me after and when I’m sitting in the

chair that I had marked off 15 minutes

before he arrived and he challenged me

and accused me of wrong behavior of

wronging him now III don’t really fault

the man we all make mistakes like that

but and it’s probably a pretty honest

mistake on his part he just didn’t see

my bag but the point that I’m trying to

make is when he challenged me he started

with the assumption I’m right he’s wrong

and when the gospel comes into our lives

when the gospel of Jesus Christ comes to

us it tells us to flip the values of the

world on its head it tells us to flip

how we do things and what it says is now

you’re going to go through life with the

posture of

I’m wrong you’re going to start with I’m

wrong not I’m bad but that I’m loved by

God but I need a Savior and that for me

to have the best possible relationships

with both God and myself I need to start

in any conflict with the assumption that

I may be wrong there may be something

like my bookbag that I don’t see right

and so that is what changes it because

as soon as we start with the possibility

of well I I may be wrong and someone

says hey you wronged me what you do is

instead of deflecting it back and

throwing it back at them and then the

unholy boxing match starts what you do

is you absorb it with humility and say

well explain I’m sorry me I may be wrong

what is the issue please explain that to

me just that response goes a long way in

our relationships but you see our

tendency our default pattern is to self

justify and it’s so important to the

book of Romans because we need

justification we need that we need to be

made right I had a professor at Bible

College and he would ask over and over

throughout the semester as we were

studying any of these books of the New

Testament and he always focused on Paul

he says how good does the gospel make me

and then he says it makes me as good as

God is that’s how good the gospel makes

you you see when Jesus dies on the cross

he gives you his righteousness he takes

on our sin and he gives you his

righteousness and so we don’t have the

Shelf justify but what we need is true

justification and that’s what this whole

passage here in Romans 2 is about is

about how we self justify instead of

looking for the just

vacation of God and so we often justify

in three ways we justify our actions as

good and right we do it by doing good

actions to make ourselves feel good or

feel better say well I did this I do

this you know I come to church or I

serve at this place or I do this you

know and then the third thing is we

compare ourselves to others there’s

always somebody out there who looks

morally inferior to us and so we can

compare ourselves to them and say well

at least I’m not like that person right

but that’s not what God wants us doing

God wants us to start with the pot the

the position well I may be wrong to

start with the white-hot perfection of

God’s righteousness now that produces

humility there’s always somebody whose

life is more messed up more unholy

looking at least not more unholy not

more sinful but more sinful looking than

ours that we compare so Romans is the

magna carta of how no man will be

justified ourselves just justifying is

actually a waste of our thought life

it’s a waste of time it doesn’t go

anywhere in our relationships and it

doesn’t surely go anywhere with God

because look how he starts Romans 2 he

says therefore you have no excuse o man

or woman every one of you who judges for

in passing judgment on another you

condemn yourself because you the judge

practice the very same things we know

that the judgment of God rightly falls

on those who practice such things do you

suppose oh man you who judge those who

practice such things and yet do

themselves that you will escape the

judgment of God what does Paul mean by

this what he means is that all men sin

in the very same way we may not do

exactly the same sin but really when it

comes down to

there’s really just a couple sins and

there’s all types of varieties of that

sin we could talk about land mammals and

reptiles and fish okay so there’s

thousands of types of fish and thousands

of types of land mammals but there’s

still fish or mammals and that’s why we

need to think about sin that’s why we

need to think about the Ten Commandments

you know extortion is a type of lying

and a type of stealing embezzlement is a

type of lying and stealing right right

a cheating on a test is a type of lying

right so every kind of sin has just all

these other you know sneaky little

variations you know we’re just I mean


put an immense amount of creativity into

the human heart and if you look at sin

you can just see how creative we are as

a human race amen okay because we can

find every possible way to lie in every

possible way to fornicate or whatever it

is to steal lie but it all comes down to

several divots just a handful of things

you know and so Paul talks about this as

a spiritual law he says for in passing

judgment on another you condemn yourself

what’s that mean

what he’s saying is is when we get in

that conflict with somebody and we go

you without really thinking through what

God’s really calling that judgment that

passing judgment on another is a self

condemnation of ourselves it’s really

pointing the finger at ourselves that’s

what Paul says when you when you pass

judgment another you’re just showing

your own guilt in doing so

see there’s a natural hypocrisy and

every one of us this is important

there’s a natural hypocrisy that comes

to all of us a natural tendency to judge

and that’s because of our eyes when you

get up in the morning you see everything

else but yourself okay we see the food

on each other’s faces not on our own so

I’m literally talking right here just

physically my ability to view somebody

else objectively from the outside and

pick out their faults is ten times more

powerful than my ability to see it


so the other other day I was lifting

weights with my wife and brother-in-law

and I was doing a exercise called a

deadlift and there was just a slight

thing that I was doing wrong and it took

us about ten minutes of them observing

me my wife and my brother-in-law

observing me and go okay here’s what

you’re doing wrong this is the good side

this is the good side because in the

church we can have truly accountable

relationships and we can help each other

grow we can have a gentle posture toward

one another and they were able to help

me fix my form so I wouldn’t hurt my

back that’s the positive side and we’ll

get into that more in the book of Romans

but right now Paul is talking about the

negative side he’s talking about the

negative side of judging where we just

see each other’s faults and we just sees

them and we then what we do is we hide

behind our brothers faults we go see

your fault and you know what I’m talking

about you know what I’m talking about

when you somebody is doing something

wrong a friend at work a spouse or

something and you don’t like what

they’re doing and and you mention

something to them and they immediately

go yes but you right

so that’s take you know that’s you know

that’s kind of like the old you know

throw the rock over there or throw the

stick over there and get the debt

the dog to chase the stick right and we

all have the tendency to do that and so

because of our sin nature we naturally

judge our neighbor as an object of

critique rather than an object of

edification you get that an object of

critique instead of an object of

edification that’s where the gospel

turns it on its head you see when I

begin to start with a posture of well I

may be wrong and I see my job in life is

to encourage and build up the body of

Christ now I don’t come to the to my

brothers and sisters and all my

relationship as judging them but is

building them up I begin to see weakness

as an opportunity for me to feel at home

in the flesh because I’ve got the same

weakness if you have a hard time not

judging other people then it’s time to

get some other people to speak in your

life to actually welcome somebody and

say hey what do I need to work on

because what will happen variable happen

is people will point out things to you

that you didn’t see like my form and

lifting weights and so the gospel flips

that back over see he gets here in verse

2 he says or do you presume upon the

riches of his kindness and the

forbearance and patience not knowing

that God’s kindness is meant to lead you

to repentance and because of your heart

and in penitent heart you’re storing up

wrath for yourself on the day of wrath

when God’s righteous judgment will be

revealed so he talks about presuming

upon the kindness and forbearance of God

the first thing I just want to say here

is his emphasis on the kindness and

forbearance of God okay that’s what the

gospel does the gospel of Jesus Christ

hanging on a tree and and and and dying

and being resurrected God has a posture

of non judgment with us now God who has

every right to judge he is perfect he

never sinned he forgoes the right to

judge and then when he welcomes us into

his family and into the kingdom he says

guess what else you have to forego the

right to judge does not mean to be in

healthy accountable relationships but

those are relationships that are built

over time with trust and you know I’m

talking all kinds of judging like when

you’re driving down the road and that

person cuts you off and then you start

to you know give them sign language and

you know whatever else okay for that

debt muttering the little cuss words and

all that stuff or you know that’s an

idiot and what a jerk and stuff that’s

actually cursing our brother in our

heart like that’s that’s that soul

sucking when we give in to that because

what we’re doing is we’re judging and

when you think about it that you know

this little statement it sounds so

innocuous someone cuts you off in shock

and you go what an idiot what we’re

doing is actually devaluing them as a

human being which is to God it’s kind of

like standing in front of an artist and

looking at their art and says that’s

dumb and none of us want to be that

person right none of us want to be that

but we do that right and we’re doing

that to God’s masterpiece other people

and so he talked about presuming upon

the kindness and forbearance of God what

he’s talking about is this certitude

what do I mean by certitude I mean

certitude is is an arrogant assumption

of our redemption it’s it’s not a humble

assumption of God’s grace to us it’s an

arrogant assumption like I’m good I

accepted Jesus I’m good I don’t have

anything to worry about but that’s not

what he’s talking about he’s talking

about a life of repentance here you see

he says do you presume on the riches of

his kindness and for in other words do

you take them for granted

not knowing that the kindness is meant

to lead you to repentance that we’re

going to come back to this a concept of

repentance over and over again because

that is the center in the heart of the

gospel what is repentance and how does

it relate to our daily Christian walk

what’s the act of turning the will from

disobedience to obedience not just how

we come to Jesus but it’s how we live by

faith in Jesus it’s an ongoing and so

discipleship as I said starts with this

presumption of not presuming upon the

kindness and Ference of God but

presuming that I may be wrong because

these that’s the first step in

repentance is humbling ourselves and

saying God forgive me a sinner and to

begin to take that posture into all our

relationships oh god somebody brings

something to our attention we go oh well

I don’t want to disappoint God and I

don’t want to hurt this person so maybe

I should listen it doesn’t mean

somebody’s not going to bring something

to you that’s really not trumped up

people will people find all kinds of

sinful reasons to be mad at each other

that are not but if we listen we still

can bring healing if we start with while

I may be wrong we gain the respect that

comes through humility and so he paints

the picture of two kinds of people here

and verse six he says he will render to

each one according to his works to those

who by patience and well doing seek for

glory honor and immortality he will give

eternal life but to those who are

self-seeking and do not obey the truth

but obey unrighteousness there will be

wrath and fury wrath and fury there’s

two kinds of people in the world those

who are trying to follow God and those

who are not and this is really important

he talks about those who seek with

patience and well doing but what they do

if this is going back to verse

five of chapter one races he talks about

the obedience of faith the first person

here who is seeking glory and honor and

immortality is the person who is seeking

the obedience of faith and the other is

the opposite those who obey on

righteousness and this is where he talks

about to the Jew first and also the

Greek you see there’s two ways in the

world in fact the early church the

gospel and Christianity was referred to

as the way and when they discipled

Christian they taught them in the two

ways the way of life and the way of

death two kinds of people in the world

the seeker of God and the seeker of self

it’s very important here because he

talks about being self seeking you see

that’s a Dollar Tree

self seeking and when we’re self seeking

we are seeking to self justify we start

with the assumption of I’m right and I

deserve and I should get and that is

what wrecks our life it wrecks our

relationship and it wrecks

the world and that’s what we see going

on in the world every four years we

naively look to a new president to bring

in a new order that’s going to make

everything right in the world but if

you’ve read the good book the Word of

God there’s only one leader who’s going

to bring in true righteousness and

that’s the King of Kings Jesus Christ


and so when we are self-seeking we are

focused on ourselves we are focused on

idolatry and that’s what leads us astray

that’s what brings us to conflict in our

relationships and that’s what brings up

this what I call the good person fallacy

which will find here more in Romans and

that’s the idea that we live a generally

good life and we’re not a criminal and

we raised in a good family and we have a

good job and therefore God should accept

me I remember I put out on Facebook once

and I asked the question what this was a

while back some years ago but I said

what are your biggest questions but the

spiritual life and one of them that came

up was do good people go to heaven if I

just live if I don’t go to church and I

generally live a good life will God

accept me well it depends on what you

mean by that and what Paul is saying

here but Paul would generally say no

first of all he’s going to tell us and

then as we go on here in the next couple

of chapters there’s no such thing as a

good person not morally good if people

they’re good because we were created in

the image of God and God loves us but

morally no we’ve all broken the law we

don’t meet God’s standard but more than

that and it’s what’s it runs all through

Romans is the idea is it’s the mind that

is set on God receives justification

whatsoever is not of faith is sin is

what Paul says in Romans 14 whatever we

do that is not focused in the gospel and

not in a life of pursuing God and that’s

why he makes these this contrast here of

those who are seeking good and seeking

evil because really that the person

who’s seeking evil is not going out

there like I’m gonna seek evil today

that’s not what they’re doing what most

of them are doing getting up every day

and go I’m gonna have fun and I’m gonna

be a good person I’m gonna be a good

person watch how good I am which is

self-justifying which God doesn’t accept

it’s a life that’s focused on itself

it’s self seeking that’s why Paul says

that that’s not what God is looking for

what God is looking for is faith to

those who by patience and well doing

seek for glory honor and immortality he

will give eternal life that’s our

promise to us the first step in this

idea called repentance that will unpack

more is that humility to start with I

may be wrong I may be wrong so let me

summarize by nature we judge others and

self justify ourselves and that’s what

the gospel redeems us from that’s what

the gospel redeems us from and so here’s

three quick points the goal of

discipleship is repentance the Great

Commission we read last week teaching

all that I can’t command you go make

disciples and teach them all that I

command you number to start with

I may be wrong number three the

repentant life is the life of seeking

God with our whole mind with all our

heart soul mind and strength amen

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