B i b l e S t u d y
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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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SCRIPTURE: Romans 2:17-29
KEY VERSE: (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.) -- Romans 2:13
INTRODUCTION: In our Bible study today the apostle Paul is showing that God will judge self-righteous and religious people. There are many people like the man on the top of the hill who looks down at the man at the bottom of the hill and says, “Something should be done for that poor fellow. We ought to start a mission down there. We should start giving him soup and clothes and a shower bath. I am living on the top of the hill, and I do not need anything.”
The hurdle to meet the demands of God is just as high on top of the hill as it is at the bottom of the hill. The only difference is that the man at the bottom of the hill will probably see his need sooner than the man at the top of the hill. Religious people, self-righteous people, and so-called good people need a Savior. In Romans chapter 2 Paul sets down certain principles by which God is going to judge “good” people. Romans chapter 1 reveals the unrighteousness of man, and Romans chapter 2 reveals the self-righteousness of man.
QUESTIONS THAT CHRISTIANS NEED TO ASK THEMSELVES:
If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins have already been judged on the cross (John 5:24; Romans 8:1). But are you ready for the judgment seat of Christ where your works will be judged (Romans 14:10–12; 2 Corinthians 5:10)? Ask yourself the following questions.
Question 1: Do I judge myself or others (Romans 2:1–3)? How easy it is to cover up my own failures by criticizing others (Matthew 7:1–5)!
Question 2: Am I grateful for God’s goodness (Romans 2:4)? It is not the badness of man but the goodness of God that brings us to repentance (Luke 15:17–19). Do I take God’s many blessings for granted?
Question 3: Is my faith proved by works (Romans 2:5–11)? Paul was not teaching salvation by works but works that prove salvation. Do I obey God’s truth and persist in holy living? Do I have a hard heart or a tender heart?
Question 4: Am I hiding behind religion (Romans 2:12–16, 25–29)? The Jews boasted of their law, but it could not save them. External rituals do not produce internal changes. God searches the heart. What does He see in my heart?
Question 5: Do I practice what I profess (Romans 2:17–24)? Do I tell others what is right but then do what is wrong? Do I expect more of others than I do of myself?
God judges honestly (Romans 2: 2) and without partiality (Romans 2:11), and no secret is hidden from Him (Romans 2:16). Are you prepared? – Warren Wiersbe, With the Word Bible Commentary
I. VIOLATING THE LAW OF MOSES. (Romans 2:17-24)
A. The Religionist Professes Religion.
1. Rests in the Law and professes God.
(Romans 2:17-18) Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God. And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.
Religion was no longer a crutch for this man. It caused him to be proud and self-sufficient. Light created an added responsibility, which brought a greater condemnation. The Jew had ten advantages over the Gentiles, which are listed in these verses. The first five are what he was: (1) Bears the name Jew; (2) rests upon the Law; (3) boasts in God; (4) knows the will of God; (5) proves the things which are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law.
2. Taught about God and is sure he is an instructor of the foolish.
(Romans 2:19-20) And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
The last five personal privileges of the Jew are what he did: (1) Art persuaded that thou thyself art a guide of the blind; (2) a light of them that are in darkness; (3) a corrector of the thoughtless or immature; (4) a teacher of babes or proselytes; and (5) having in the law the outward form of knowledge and truth. Next is Paul’s question.
B. The Religionist Fails To Live What He Professes.
1. The Fact, his life does not match what he says.
(Romans 2:21-22) Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
a. Paul mentions three common sins: (1) immorality -- sin against others; (2) sensuality -- sin against self; and (3) idolatry -- sin against God.
b. “Teachest thou not thyself?” In other words, “Do you practice what you preach?” For many of us our preaching is better than our living.
c. “Dost thou commit sacrilege?” -- or “Do you rob temples?” When the Jew was in Babylonian captivity, he took “the gold cure,” and, as far as I can tell, he was never given to idolatry after that. However, he didn’t mind handling merchandise that came from heathen temples and selling it in his business. Today there are certain Christians who handle merchandise in their business (in order to make money) that they would condemn in their church.
INSIGHT: Notice the three sins that Paul mentions -- immorality, sensuality, and idolatry – that he had dealt with in inverse order in chapter 1. Idolatry was the terrible culmination for the Jew; he could go no lower than that. I wonder if you and I make a mockery of the person of Christ. Someone has put the question in poetic language:
gospel is written a chapter a day
By deeds that you do and words that you say.
Men read what you say, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
2. The Result, his hypocrisy causes others to abuse God’s name.
(Romans 2:23-24) Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Instead of glorifying God among the Gentiles, the Jews were dishonoring God; and Paul quoted Isaiah 52:5 to prove his point. The pagan Gentiles had daily contact with the Jews in business and other activities, and they were not fooled by the Jews’ devotion to the Law. The very Law that the Jews claimed to obey only indicted them!
II. COMING TO TERMS WITH CIRCUMCISION. (Romans 2:25-29)
A. The Religionist Believes That A Ritual Is The Way To Secure God’s Approval.
1. Circumcision counts only if a man keeps the Law.
(Romans 2:25) For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
Circumcision was the badge of the Mosaic system -- and that’s all it was. There was no merit in the rite itself. That badge indicated that the man believed the Mosaic Law. Now for them to be transgressors of the Law brought circumcision into disrepute. That which should have been sacred, became profane.
This thought can be applied to our church ordinances. Water baptism is rightly an ordinance of the church, if it is the outward expression of a work of God in the heart. But it is a mockery if the person who is baptized gives no evidence of salvation. This also can be said of church membership. The lives of some church members make membership a mockery.
2. The uncircumcised man who keeps the Law is counted as circumcised (“righteous” and “ritually accepted”).
(Romans 2:26) Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
To use another figure of speech, if my wife loses her wedding ring, that does not mean she becomes unmarried. Marriage is more than a wedding ring, although the ring may be the symbol of it.
3. The uncircumcised man who keeps the Law will judge the religionist who breaks the Law.
(Romans 2:27) And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
Using again the illustration of a wedding ring, to wear a wedding ring speaks of something sacred. But to be unfaithful to that which it stands for makes the wedding ring a disgrace.
Dr. Vernon McGee said this: On one occasion when I was in a motel in another city, I saw a man who was a deacon in a church, sitting at a table, having a very friendly talk with a very beautiful young lady who was not his wife. The thing that impressed me was that as his hand hung over the side of the table, the light was shining on his wedding ring, making it stand out. I thought, what a mockery! When the man saw me, he was embarrassed, of course. But, you see, the wedding ring was meaningless.
The point Paul is making here is that circumcision should stand for something.
B. The Religionist Misses The Whole Point: A True Religionist Is A Man Who Is Righteous Inwardly.
(Romans 2:28-29) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
1. Not an outward thing.
The Mosaic Law had already stated that circumcision was of the heart. Listen to Moses in Deuteronomy 10:16: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.”
2. An inward thing of the heart by the Holy Spirit.
“Circumcision” was the great mark of the covenant, and it had its beginning with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation (Genesis 17). To the Jews, the Gentiles were “uncircumcised dogs.” The tragedy is that the Jews depended on this physical mark instead of the spiritual reality it represented.
A true Jew is one who has had an inward spiritual experience in the heart, and not merely an outward physical operation. People today make this same mistake with reference to baptism or the Lord’s Supper, or even church membership.
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Galatians 6:14
In the twisted wreckage of a Metrolink train crash, firefighters from Los Angeles Fire Station 27 found a message that brought tears to their eyes. A survivor of the crash, thinking he was dying, had used his own blood to write on the seat in front of him that he loved his wife and kids.
Normally, we use the words “written in blood” in a less literal way. It usually conveys a willingness to stand behind our words with our life.
As Paul ended his letter to the Galatians, he was, in a figurative sense, writing his story in blood. He wrote a message of love and grace that would arouse the anger of other religious leaders. He knew he would be hated for honoring the death of Christ above the ritual and moral law of Israel. He would be punished for teaching that Christ’s death and resurrection were more important than the law of circumcision that represented the whole Mosaic way of life. His suffering for Christ would literally include shedding his own blood (2 Corinthians 11:23-25).
Paul wasn’t willing to play it safe. He knew the crucifixion of Jesus was the center page of history. Putting his own life on the line, Paul proclaimed the inexpressible heart of God, who gave His Son to express the ultimate words of love, written in blood at the cross. -- Mart DeHaan, Our Daily Bread, April 7, 2007
The Father wrote His autograph
Upon a cross of shame,
With pen divine, all dipped in blood,
“Forgiven in Jesus’ name.” -- Bosch
CONCLUSION: 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 Bethlehem 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 today, there is no better time to get that thing settled. If you will come to Christ, He will forgive you and save you!
There was also a strong word in these 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 lie that dishonors the Lord? You know your heart, right now you should do your business with the Lord if there is a need.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “To show His love, Jesus died for me; to show my love, I must live for Him!”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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