In this sermon from Romans 2:12-29, Pastor Mark talks about five religious traps people can fall into and how God ultimately wants relationship, not religion.
Set Free: Escaping Religion (Romans 2:12–29)
- How do I become right/righteous? Or, what makes me a good person?
Rom. 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
- Rom. 1:18-32 Unrighteousness – God is fine w/me no need to change (good enough)
- Rom. 2:1-11 Secular self-righteousness – moral causes (good w/o God)
- Rom: 2:12-29 Religious self-righteousness (good for God)
- Good people who grew up learning the Bible, going to church, obeying the rules
- 1). Conservative/Traditional; 2). High Control/Perfectionistic; 3). Fear/Anxiety
- Paul Php. 3:6 “as to righteousness under the law, blameless.”
Religious Trap #1 – Information not Transformation
Romans 2:12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
· We all sin – just diff’t ways
· More knowledge = more judgment
· Doers Law: Jesus said goal theology (study of God) = healthy relationship w/
1. God (Rom 1-11) 2. others (Rom 12-16, ends w/names people)
- Not biblical unless you are relational
= We open our Bibles to learn. We open our lives to love.
Religious Trap #2 – Covert not Overt
Romans 2:14 For when 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. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
· 2 moral witnesses: 1. God’s law 2. Conscience
· Our conscience appeals to Law & Lawgiver when we sense violation
· Not Good vs Bad; Perfect vs Imperfect
= Secrets – we can hide from all judgment but Jesus
Religious Trap #3 – Preaching not Practicing
Romans 2:17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— 21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.
- Brag – what you’ve learned NOT how you’ve lived
- Put themselves in spiritual authority as judge
- Law for you, grace for me
= Mirror vs Binoculars
Religious Trap #4 – Rules not Relationships
Romans 2:24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
- Connect before you correct
- Winning arguments is fine, but winning people is better
- Encourage progress without demanding perfection
- Let the message be offensive, not the messenger
- Rules without relationship results in rebellion (fence analogy)
Religious Trap #5 – Outward not Inward
Romans 2:25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
1. Physical vs spiritual birth
2. Outward symbols only meaningful if the object point to exists (e.g. wedding ring)
3. Outward = for man’s praise (not God’s)
4. Principles vs Methods
-Bible translation, which church, how worship, educate kids, tongues, baptized?
*People you love most are most likely to get your legalistic religious rules
- Put a Bible verse on everything
- Start by telling others what to do
- Religious people band together as a single issue voting bloc
- Sometimes most hurt/broken/fearful/controlling seek leadership/Board
- Pains cause policies & church hurt
= Relationship vs membership (like an HOA every year they add terms)
- Fear – happen again, or happen to someone you love
- Inner vow – to self (not God); unconscious; young; loyalty; generational
- Outer rules – legalism, emotion
- Goal: save from harm Result: cause harm (naivete or rebellion)
= tv show of high control sectarian family
God Wants Relationship Not Religion
Romans 2:29 a matter of the heart, by the Spirit
- Bad heart bad behavior
- Bad heart good behavior
- Good heart bad behavior
- Good heart good behavior
- Not about you going up to God.
- Jesus came down to show you how to live, forgive your sin
- Jesus sent the Spirit down to change you from the inside out
- There is grace for you, and grace for you to share with others
= The Holy Spirit (Jack Hayford)
New Heart – Inner Healing – Works in you & in them
= New desires (want to vs how to) 50th birthday (new, forgiving, healed, joy, fruit)
GRACE UP TO PRAY. GIVE KIDS BIBLES!