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Intro: As we have journeyed through the first 2 chapters of this great book, we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing the wrath of God. We have come to understand the reasons why God is angry with sin, and we have come to understand that there are some groups of people against whom God has committed Himself to act in wrath. In chapter 1, verses 24-32, we saw that God will judge the sinner. Chapter 2, verses 1-16 tells of God's wrath against the hypocrite. These verses, which we have read this evening, tell about God's Judgment Of The Religious Man.

Many people believe that being religious is a good thing. However, those same people fail to realize that religion will send you straight to Hell! These verse will teach us tonight that it is not what we do externally that saves our souls, but it is what happens internally that determines where we will spend eternity. As we finish these last verse of chapter 2, let's look at them very carefully. While the Lord is speaking directly to the Jewish people and their boast in the Law, He could just as well be speaking to Baptists this evening.

We need to know that Hell will be just as filled with the religious as it will be with the rank sinner. These verses tell us why! Let's spend some time looking at God's Judgment Of The Religious Man.


(Ill. The Jews were probably in agreement with Paul concerning his statements about the judgment of the wicked. Now, the microscope is turned on them. Ill. We are the same way! When we hear about certain groups coming under judgment, we get all self-righteous and say, "Amen!" However, we should check up on ourselves and be sure that we are not living in deception. Nothing would be worse than dying and going to Hell after believing that you were headed to Heaven! Be sure to look at yourself this evening!)

A. V. 17a They Boasted Of Their Lineage - These people could trace their religious ancestry all the way back to Abraham. Somehow, they felt that this lineage gave them an ironclad guarantee of salvation. Nothing could have been further from the truth!

(Ill. The same is true in Christian circles. Millions of people since the time of Christ have claimed to be Christian simply because they were the children, or the grand-children of believers. That, however, can save no one! Some people even believe they are Christians because they are born in a so-called Christian nation. Again, they are living a lie if that is what they are basing their hope of salvation upon. One only becomes a Christian by placing his faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary!)

B. V. 17b They Boasted Of Their Law - The Jews somehow felt that the Law and rituals it described gave them a certain higher standing in the eyes of the Lord. They felt that just possessing the Law and knowing it, was enough to put them in a right relationship with the Lord. Paul will tell them, before he is through, that it is the knowledge of the Law that holds them to a higher standard than those who do not have the Law. What they thought was a guarantee of salvation turned out to be a guarantee of condemnation.

(Ill. To put this on a level where we can all understand it, imagine for a minute that a person is raised in the church. All of his life he is around Christian things. He sings Christian songs, he hears Christian sermons, he reads a Christian Bible and he participates in Christian rituals. If he is not careful, he will begin to think that because of those things in his life, that he is automatically a Christian. Again, nothing could be farther from the truth! What you know will all be held against you if it is not believed and practiced in your life.)

C. V. 17c-18 They Boasted Of Their Lord - Again, they claimed a special relationship with God by virtue of the Law and of their religious activity. They felt that being religious was enough to please the Lord God. They were wrong!

(Ill. Folks, I want to let you in on a little secret this evening. You can't please God! No matter how good you get, you will never be good enough to please the Father, Isa. 64:6; Matt. 5:20. You could memorize the Bible and refrain from committing every sin in that Book and still go to Hell, if you missed the one and only thing that will save the soul: A salvation experience where faith is placed in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; 1 John 5:12. The bottom line is that we can say anything we please, but until we have been saved by the blood of the Lamb, we are still Hell bound sinners. However, when the blood of Jesus is applied to a life, that life is instantly pleasing to the Lord and we are accepted by God on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ, Eph. 1:6.)

D. V. 19-20 They Boasted Of Their Leadership - Because the Jew had a spiritual lineage, because they had the Law, because they felt they were in a relationship with God, they felt superior to everyone else on the planet. They felt that it was their responsibility to show everyone else the way. Certainly, the idea was fine, but the motive of the heart was wrong. These people did not even know who God was, and there was no way they could point anyone else to Him. All they could accomplish was to make disciples to their dead religion and cause even more souls to be condemned to Hell. This is the situation Jesus addressed in Matthew 23:15.

(Ill. This same brand of hypocrisy is still being played out i nthe world today. A religious person will try to force everyone else to conform to his standard of living. If they don't act like him, if they don't dress like him, if they don't talk like him, then they are lost and headed to Hell. My friends, that is called legalism and it makes God sick! The person who tries to makes everyone conform to his standards as a means of pleasing God, probably doesn't know God to begin with! Our duty is not to point men to our hair cut, to our manner of dress, to our method of worship. Our duty is to point men to out Savior! If they come to Jesus and He saves them, He can make them what He wants them to be.)

Before we move on in these verses, we need to understand that the Jews made great and lofty claims concerning their relationship to God. However, none of these things was able to produce salvation for the Jew. There was one thing that saved then, one thing that saves now and one thing that will save forever: Faith!

I. The Spiritual Confidence Of The Religious Man


A. V. 21-22 They Were Guilty Of Deception - As these religious men were telling everyone else how wrong they were, they were merely deceiving themselves and others, because they were just as guilty as the persons they were trying to convert. They were busy practicing all they were preaching against! There is a word for this kind of attitude: hypocrisy!

(Ill. The same is still true this evening! You watch out for people who are always telling others how right thy are, and how everyone ought to be like them. Often, they are guilty of the very things they despise in others. Sometimes, the sin is not external, but lies within the heart. Jesus made it plain that sin in the heart is a evil as sin in the flesh, Matt. 5:28. Another interesting verse in 1 John 3:15. If there is hatred in your heart towards another, then you aren't saved!)

B. V. 23 They Were Guilty Of Desecration - Because their practice did not match their profession, they were guilty of dishonoring the Lord! Little did they realize that when they broke the Law they claimed to love so dearly, they were guilty of treating the Lord shamefully and of treating Him with contempt.

(Ill. Many fail to recognize the truth today that sin still dishonors the Lord! When Joseph was tempted by Potipher's wife, Joseph responded by telling her that it would be a sin against God to life with her, Gen. 39:9. Later, when David was confessing his sin with Bathsheba, he stated that his sin had been against the Lord, Psa. 51:4. Sin still dishonors the Lord! When we sin, we are saying that He is a God to be despised and not honored. Regardless of what our lips profess, our life prove how we feel about the Lord. What does your life say about Him tonight?)

C. V. 24 They Were Guilty Of Destruction - Because they lived the way they did while claiming to be God's people, they were guilty of blaspheme. By their false profession, they destroyed the credibility of God.

(Ill. Anytime we live in a manner that is inconsistent with what we claim to be, we are guilty of blaspheming the name of the Lord. We have taken His name in vain and we have testified before the world that our God is not worthy of our love and steadfast devotion. When we hide our light under a bushel and cease to be salt in the world, we become no better than the religious Jews who boasted about their Law and their relationship with God, but had no spiritual reality to back up their claims. As a result, the world was turned away from God and not to Him as He intended. Folk, it's still happening today! Please search your heart and life to see if you are spiritually contaminated this evening!)

I. The Spiritual Confidence Of The Religious Man

II. The Spiritual Contamination Of The Religious Man


A. V. 25 Condemned By The Reality Of His Sins - The Jew felt that God would accept him just because he had been circumcised. The rabbis even taught that Abraham sat outside the gate of Hell and refused to allow any circumcised Jew to enter. However, Paul tells them that their rests in something a little bit deeper. He tells than that even if they are circumcised, when they refuse to keep the Law, in God's sight, it is as if they were just another heathen! As he will tell them in a minute, salvation is deeper than the skin! Paul is telling them that what they do outwardly proves what they are inwardly!

(Ill. We look at their attitude and think they are so foolish, but there are still multitudes that hold the same notions this evening. In Christian circles it isn't circumcision, but things like baptism, communion, church membership, saved parents and grandparents and etc are all looked upon a proof of one's salvation. It isn't true! Just like the Jew, when there is genuine salvation in the heart, there will be holy living in the flesh! According to Jesus, the fruit of a life proves where that life is rooted, Matt. 7:17-20!)

B. V. 26-29a Condemned By The Righteousness Of The Saint - Paul proceeds to tell the Jews that when the people they despised and looked down on lived lives pleasing to the Lord and had their hearts right with God, that they were accepted by God instead of the Jew! In fact, God tells them that the righteousness of these people judged the religious man as a sinner!

(Ill. There is a vast difference between the religious person who keeps the Law and tries to live right to please God, and the saved person who lives right because of a changed heart. The first type of person cannot succeed forever! When this life has ended, they will be unmasked for what they are and will suffer the flames of Hell. On the other hand, that person who wasn't very religious, but had their faith in Jesus Christ will experience all the glories of Heaven! It may not sound fair, but it is!)

C. V. 29b Condemned By The Redemption Of The Savior - Paul's final argument against the religious man is to inform him that true religion is not a matter of the hands, the feet, the eyes, the head and the lips. It is, however, a matter of the heart! God will only accept those who have placed their faith in nothing but the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! God will not praise those who strove to keep the letter of the Law, but He will praise those who loved His Son!

(Ill. We must never be deceived into believing that we can somehow please the Lord, or that we can be good enough to get into Heaven on the basis of our religious experiences. We must understand that salvation will always only be given to those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!)

Conc: Would you describe yourself as a religious person, or would you describe yourself as a redeemed person? There is a difference and that difference will determine where you spend eternity. It is my prayer that every person who comes to Gilead Baptist Church will be moved to lose their religion and that they will find redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him tonight, there is no better time to get that thing settled. If you will come to Him, He will save your soul!

There was also a strong word in the verses about being what you claim to be. If they were placing Christians on trial for their faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you in a court of law? Or, would you have to plead guilty to a live that dishonored the Lord. You know your heart, come a do business with Him if there is a need.

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