God vs. Humanity
There's something terribly wrong in the world. You don't even need a Bible to tell you that. But God did not make a world with something wrong. When God created the world he said, That's good. Now what has happened? S-I-N, sin. You can almost hear the hiss of the serpent as you say sin. And when you look in the middle of that word sin you see a capital letter I. And the sin is not primarily in the world as much as it is in our hearts. The only thing we do perfectly is sin!
Sin fascinates, and then assassinates. It thrills, then kills! You'll get what you want, but you won't want what you get!
Life is short, death is sure, sin the curse, Christ the cure. But you're not going to get the cure until you have a proper diagnosis, until you see the problem. We have a generation today that doesn't want to hear much about sin. Paul opens this book and he begins to lay down the problem so we can see it and understand it. So first of all, he talked in chapter one about the sin of the heathen, those who've never heard. And then in chapter two he talks about the sin of the hypocrite. And then in the last part of chapter two he talks about the sin of the Hebrew, those who thought that because they were God's chosen, because they'd heard so much, because they have the Bible, because they knew much truth, that somehow sin did not affect them. And so after he deals with the sin of the heathen and the hypocrite and the Hebrew, then he just sums it up and he comes to the sin of humanity, all of us. He says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
What Paul is doing here is this--he is becoming a prosecuting attorney and he is bringing the human race before the judgment bar of Almighty God and he's making an indictment and the case is this: God vs. humanity. And since you're human, it's an indictment against you, so it would pay you well to listen. I want you to hear the indictment as it's stated.
Romans chapter 3 verses 9 and 10: "What then, are we better than they," better than the heathen, better than the hypocrite, better than the Hebrew? "What then, are we better than they? No, in no wise, for we have therefore proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." Now the word under sin literally means dominated by sin, ruled by sin, subjugated to sin. It is not only that we sin but we serve sin, that we have become slaves of sin. You know the irony of it is that the sinner boasts about his freedom, he's so free, but that's ridiculous. He is a slave to his sin. He is free to do what he wants but he's not free to do as he ought, and he is the servant, the slave of sin.
And does it matter about his ethnic background, whether he's a Jew or Gentile, white or black, young or old, rich or poor? He is a sinner. And your family heritage doesn't matter. God has no grandchildren, only children. No one is a Christian because their parents were! We can trace our roots back to a crooked farmer and a drunken sailor. The farmer was Adam and the sailor was Noah. We are sinners by birth, by nature, by heritage.
The people in the book of Romans were wanting to compare themselves to somebody else and say, I'm better than he or she is. But you see, that's not the standard. The standard is the glory of God and that's the reason Paul is going to say later on in verse 23 that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." We need to quit comparing ourselves to one another. Sometimes you ask people to come to church, they say, I don't need to go down there, I'm just as good as those folks down there at the church. They've got it backward. They need to say, I'm just as bad as those folks down there at the church. We all have sin down in our hearts. You say, Not in my sweet little heart. Oh yes it is. An oak tree is in the heart of an acorn. Now it may not ever come to maturity but it is there. Sin is hurtful, hellish, heinous, and it is in every heart and every mind. And so Paul says that we have proved that we're all guilty. You see, because sin is an internal thing, that's the reason that reformation is not enough. We don't just need to turn over a new leaf, we need a whole new tree...we must be born again!
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. It's God versus humanity in verses 9 and 10.
Now, what good is an indictment without evidence? He's going to show how sin has corrupted the entire human personality on the face of this earth.
First of all, he talks about man's corrupted wisdom. Look in verse 11: "There is none that understandeth." Man's mind has been warped by sin. Now man may be otherwise brilliant, but the apostle Paul has also told us in 1 Corinthians chapter 2 and verse 14: "The natural man understandeth not or receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned." You take a man with a Ph.D. He still cannot understand God. Man's genius has led to the computer age. But when it comes to spiritual and eternal things, man is an ignoramus, his wisdom is warped, his imaginations are filthy, his deductions are false. The average man thinks he can go to heaven without being born again. He's absolutely ignorant of two things: he doesn't know how sinful he is and he doesn't know how holy God is.
But not only has his mind been touched by sin, his will has been touched by sin. He has a corrupted wisdom, and he has a corrupted will.
Verses 11 and 12: "There is none that seeketh after God." Well wait a minute, Pastor, surely people seek God. All over the world there are temples, people are worshipping in jungles, everywhere you go on the face of the earth, people are religious. How could Paul say to Rome that had all of its gods that there's none that seeketh after God? Get the point and don't miss it--these people are not seeking God, they're in demon worship. First Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 20: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils." They're not seeking the true God of heaven, they're fleeing the true God of heaven.
The only reason that you sought Jehovah God, the true God, is that He first sought you, did you know that? Did you know that ever since the garden of Eden that man's been running from God? When Adam sinned, he beat it to the bushes. He hid from God, and God came seeking Adam. And God said to Adam, Adam, where art thou? It wasn't Adam saying, Oh, God, where are you? And by the way, the voice of God was not the voice of a detective. It was the voice of a brokenhearted God who was seeking man. You see, ever since man sinned he has been running from God and God is chasing you. That's why he brought you here today. Do you know if God couldn't run faster than you could run, you never would've been saved. But he caught you. "There is none that seeketh after God, no, not one." The Bible makes it clear and plain that we love him because he first loved us. Thank God for that. You see, Jesus said in John 6:44, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him."
Luke 19:10 says, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost." Isn't that great? That's the reason we have to soak all that we do in prayer, because there's none that seeketh after God, no, not one. Just like a sheep, Jesus said, "All we like sheep have gone astray." One thing about a sheep is he never says, Oh, I'm lost, I've gotta go back to the shepherd. If the shepherd doesn't go and find him, he will never come home.
And then he goes on to say in verse 12, they've all become unprofitable. We're still talking about his corrupted will. Unprofitable. Do you know what that word literally means? It refers to milk or meat that has spoiled. Have you ever gone on a vacation and left milk in the refrigerator? You come back and your wife goes to the refrigerator and she opens that milk carton, and it's rancid. I don't know why they do this, but they come to you and they say, Smell this. You don't have to smell it. Man, you can smell it when they open it, way across the room. Smell this. You think that's okay? No! It's unprofitable, it's rancid. You see, God made us to serve him, but we don't do it, we're unprofitable servants. Unprofitable literally means good for nothing. A little boy asked his mother, he said, Mother, would you pay me if I'm good all day? She said, Why don't you be good for nothing like your father? We are good for nothing. You see, man has a corrupted wisdom, he has a corrupted will...
Also, he has corrupted words. Look at verses 13 and 14: " their throat is an open sepulcher, with their tongues they've used deceit. The poison of asps is under their lips." Serpents, look at it. it's talking about their tongues, whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Corrupted wisdom, corrupted wills, corrupted words, because they just tell us what's down in the heart. This world is so full of wicked words. Fondlers of filth. Lovers of lies, traders in trash, peddlers of profanity. It's all around us. And out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. In the country they say what's down in the well comes up in the bucket. You say, well Pastor, I just curse a little, I may take God's name in vain, but I don't mean anything by it. That's where you're indicted, that you could take the thrice-holy name of Almighty God in vain and not mean anything by it, that God is no more to you than a curse word that you can mix in the muck and mire and slime of the sewer. The Bible says that God will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. You will not curse him when you meet him face to face at the judgment.
What is God speaking about here? He's bringing an indictment. There's none good, no, not one. And he talks about man's will, man's wisdom, man's words, then he talks about man's corrupted ways.
Verse 15 and 16: "Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways and the way of peace they have not known." For further information, read any newspaper in America today, across the land or around the world. Violence, child abuse, abortion, war, filth. It's one conflict after another these days. We may be on the threshold of the end of the world, tribulation, and eventually, Armageddon. Sin has turned this world into a madhouse. But the indictment continues.
Finally, he gives the crowning indictment...his best evidence as he talks about man's corrupted worship. Verse 18: "There is no fear of God before their eyes." You would think that mankind would be prostrate on the ground, saying, Oh, God, have mercy. But not in our world. People are egomaniacs, strutting to hell, laughing about God.
But the Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. What is the fear of God? It is a reverence, a holy awe to Almighty God. Our generation has lost the fear of God. Do you know what the worst form of badness is? The worst form of badness is human goodness, when that is substituted for the new birth. That's the worst form of badness. We have the idea that somehow our goodness is good enough, but the Bible says in Proverbs 21:4 that "the plowing of the wicked is sin." A farmer who plows a field without giving glory to God, who causes the rain to fall and the seed to germinate, that's sin. What does it mean when it says the plowing of the wicked is sin? It means that the sinner can do no good, even his good is bad if he's not saved. Plowing a field is fine, making crops grow is fine, being a farmer is fine, but not if you're unsaved.
You say, I don't understand that. Suppose you go to dinner today and there's a fruit salad made of the freshest, finest fruit, mixed with the best ingredients, but the man who has made that salad and mixed that salad has open running sores on his hands and he's mixing the salad. Contagious sores on his hands, and he's mixing the salad. Here, you want some? You want any? No, no! I don't want it. Why? Because, even though the fruit may be good, he has contaminated what he has touched. "The plowing of the wicked is sin." The unsaved man contaminates all that he touches because he himself is a sinner.
So, God makes the indictment and then God brings the evidence and then God gives the verdict. He doesn't depend upon the jury. He himself is the judge. Here is the verdict. Verses 19 and 20: "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God." The verdict of the court is guilty.
Guilty! And every mouth should be stopped! Have you ever watched the 'stupid criminals' shows? Why do they run? Has anyone ever gotten away once the chopper is following them and there's a line of squad cars behind them? But no, they force them to lay out spike strips or do the pit maneuver or they wait 'til they run out of gas, or the tire is on the rim, or they get plowed in an intersection. They pull them out the window, wearing that wife beater, and then go to court and plead innocent!
If you aren't saved, what is the wisest thing you could do today? Shut up and plead guilty. That's what Paul is saying, and I know, boys and girls, that we shouldn't use the words shut up in the wrong sense. But listen, today it's right in our text. God says, Shut your mouth! "And that all the world may become guilty before God." You're never going to get saved until you admit your guilt before Almighty God.
There are two ways you can go from church today. Some of you will go home dignified and some will go home justified. When the pastor gives the invitation you'll crane your neck to see if any of those old sinners go down there to get saved. Oh that we would all look within ourselves in those moments and make decisions for God!
A king visited a slave ship, and there was a slave galley where they chain men to the oars and they row and a man beats the drum and another man has a lash to make them row. And they would take the prisoners of the state and put them to use, pulling on the oars. The king visited one of these slave ships, went below the decks, and began to talk to those who were chained to the oars. And he asked one man, Why are you here? Oh, he said, Sire, I don't know why I'm here. I was in a crowd when a crime was committed and when they arrested everybody, they got me and I'm innocent! He asked another, and said, Why are you here? Oh, sire, noble king, I have enemies who have lied about me, but I'm not really guilty, I'm the victim of false witnesses who have lied about me. And the king went through and each one of them had some reason why he was innocent, should not be there, till he came to one man, who said, Sire, I'm here because I deserve to be here. He said, I've sinned. I'm guilty, I'm receiving the just recompense for my sin. I've sinned against my God, I've sinned against my king and now I'm paying the penalty for my sin. When the king heard that he stepped back and he said, You rascal, you scum, what are you doing here among so many honest men. Guards, release him and get him out of here.
Not until we admit our sin are we going to know the mercy and the forgiveness of the king.
It's God vs. humanity and the indictment is made, the evidence has been brought, and the verdict is guilty. So, mankind is lost...and now in mercy, the judge appeals for an alternative. The judge steps down from the bench and says, I don't want to be your judge, I want to be your Savior if you'll let me.
If you will appeal for mercy, you'll get it, and you'll also receive grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love...case closed!
vv. 21-24 is the gospel!
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