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"Be Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"
by Missionary James H. Dearmore, B.S., Th.B., Th.D.

Romans 1:16-23 - Preached At Rodgers Baptist Church
December 4, 1988 - © James H. Dearmore
Electronically Recorded - Transcribed By Stenographer

Click To Skip Remarks On African Work and Go Directly To Sermon

It's wonderful to be back. It's always great to be back at Rodgers Baptist Church.

The Lord has been good to us. I might correct one thing -- these African names get people confused. You know, he said Zaire when he meant Zimbabwe. But these African names are pretty hard for people to keep sorted out in their mind.

We want to give you just quickly a little short report from the work. We've only been gone about two years and nine months, a little over since we saw you the last time, which is unusually short for us as most of you know. We usually stay away anywhere from five to seven years before we see you again. But we've come back this time just for a short trip. We'll only be here in the country about three or four months at most.

And we won't be doing any deputation or any real furlough; we're taking care of some business and medical work that we need to have checked. And by the way, in passing on that I don't want you to think we're in serious medical trouble; as far as we know we're not. As far as we know we're in pretty good health, both of us, for which we thank the Lord. And we covet your prayers that we shall continue that way. We wanted to have a few things checked though. When you get up around fifty-nine, you know, as I am now, you need to have a checkup about every three or four years just to be sure everything still works. And if it doesn't still work, then try to get it repaired. So we've come back for that and for a few other items of business and personal affairs that we needed to take care of.

The Lord has been good to us this past three years that we've been back in Africa. We have had some very good services in our Sotho work there. During the past two years we have had seventy-nine professions of faith in the South Sotho tribal work which is not far from Johannesburg, near a place called Klip River.

We haven't gotten very far yet on our planned Tswana work in Bophuthatswana. We are just getting started on that. And we also found another good place that we want you to be praying about that we might want to start something in the next two or three years in the Republic of Venda, which is another little country that joins on to South Africa. These people in Venda are a lot like the people in Zaire where we first began working in Africa way back in '63.

In fact, their forefathers came down from Central Africa, oh, I don't know, perhaps a hundred and fifty or two hundred years ago. So naturally they are still quite a bit like the people in Zaire. So pray about that; we might be able to get something started in that new country as well in the next two or three years.

This work that we have with the Sotho is among highly transient people. We've had exactly seventy-nine professions of faith but about half of them are gone now because they move around so much. They have moved anywhere from ten to five hundred miles away from where they were when the Lord led them to us and led them to salvation through the preaching of the gospel there to the Sotho. But you pray for them and pray for us as we continue that work and as we get started on the work in Bophuthatswana and make plans for the future possibly to begin some also in Venda.

We have a young man, a young African man who will be helping us some in some of these new works. I want you to pray for him. His name is Hendrick Mobana. That's a nice easy name for you to remember. If you can't remember the Mobana, you can remember the Hendrick, so just pray for that and God will know who you're talking about.

We have another older man who's been helping us a little bit in the Sotho work named James Mbongo. And I tease him all the time about his name because the word Mbongo in some of the African languages, (several of them in fact) means "money."

That word Mbongo is a nice easy one to remember. I want you to be in prayer for us as we're here. As I said, as far as I know we're in pretty good physical condition. We may look terrible but we feel pretty good.

We want to have Georgia's jaw checked out. As some of you know she got injured with a brick that was thrown in a street brawl out in the Western Transvaal where we've been living. The brick was not intended for her but it hit her anyway and it had the same result as if it had been intended for her. Some men were fighting on the street and one of them threw a big brick and it hit her right on the side of her face here and broke her cheekbone and we found out later it also broke this jawbone down here, the mandible bone. And they didn't discover that at first, so it's been giving her a little problem since.

We're going to have that checked. Also some of you may know that just shortly before we came I suddenly had to spend three days in the hospital with kidney stones. And we'll have that checked out while we're here, and a few other general tests. But you pray that they will find that we are ready and good for another two hundred thousand miles at least! Maybe more than that --- it just depends on how long before the Lord comes. That's how many more miles we want to go --- until the Lord comes. It's a treat to us to be here.

Let's get with the Word now. We want to read in Romans chapter 1. I've enjoyed the services today. It was a real treat to hear Brother Ron preach this morning. It's a wonderful blessing to see how God is blessing the church. And we rejoice in every good thing that happens, and pray that God will continue to bless in the marvelous way that He always has at Rodgers.

I phoned Brother Ron from Africa soon after I found that he had come down here (from Colorado). I just had a short message for him. I told him, "Well, we sure are glad that you have finally come back where you belong." And I think maybe by now he is too. We do rejoice at God's blessings on the church.

Let's read now in Romans chapter 1, beginning at verse 16. You pray that God will use the preaching of the gospel tonight to draw some soul unto Himself That's what it's all about, isn't it?

I enjoyed that song well, all the singing today but the duet a moment ago. His grace is sufficient and free, and His love is abundant for all.

Beginning of Sermon Proper -- BE NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL

Let's read now at Romans chapter 1, beginning at verse 16 down through verse 23.

"16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things."

You might say, "Well, that really hits those heathens over there you've been preaching to, doesn't it?"

Yes, it does, but it really hits we heathens here, too, doesn't it? The same message works on both sides of the globe, the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere or the Eastern hemisphere and the Western hemisphere. It is the same message. And it is the same people that need the message, whatever their color or race or religion or background may be.

As we begin to look at this together, let's think for a few minutes about this. Paul was not at all ashamed of the gospel of Christ. He was not the least bit ashamed. He proved it over, and over, and over again that he was not ashamed of it.

Many times he proved it. He was ready to go and preach the gospel at Rome. And you know what they often did to people at Rome who preached the gospel, don't you? They fed them to the lions or to the gladiators and all kinds of other things. They were persecuted often and severely in Rome for preaching this gospel that Paul was not at all ashamed of and was very eager to go and preach at Rome.

Notice another thing about this. He was not at all ashamed to preach this gospel of our Savior, even though our Savior was hanged on a tree, which was a disgraceful thing. Think about that. We often don't think of these things at all. But it was a terrible, horrible disgrace for a man to be hanged on a tree and yet our Savior was hanged on a tree. Paul was ready and willing and eager to go and preach this gospel of the Savior who was hanged on a tree.

The gospel (as Paul preached it) was a plain doctrine; it still is. Oh, I know we've got all kinds of fancied up versions that men have made up since then. But the real gospel is still a plain and simple message! It has nothing to do with revolution in the sense that they use it today. It has nothing to do with liberation movements in the sense that they use it today.

It certainly has nothing to do with liberation theology. But it is a simple message of salvation for all who will believe. That's what the gospel is. It's a simple message suited to any and all who will believe.

It is a plain doctrine. It was in Paul's day. And the followers of the Lord in Paul's day were simple people. They were looked down upon by the upper class people of their day. You know, that still fits pretty well today, doesn't it? People who really preach the truth, who really stand for the truth, who really proclaim and live and act out this simple message of the gospel We are looked down on by the so-called upper crust! They wonder what we think we are doing! But I don't wonder what we think we're doing; I know what I'm doing and I hope you know what you're doing as well!.

The gospel, this plain doctrine, was rejected by most of the educated. Most of the educated in Paul's day would have nothing at all to do with this gospel. Although there were a few like Paul who accepted and preached this gospel, this wonderful doctrine of God's loving kindness, God's loving care and mercy to man. And a few downtrodden men here and there, sometimes even quite a few, taught as Paul did, that by God's grace, all men who believe, all men who receive Him, can have that eternal life that is found only in Jesus.

Those who come in repentance and faith, confessing and receiving Christ, can have Him as their own Savior. And as we said, it makes no difference what class they are, what color they are, what background they come from, it's all the same message, the same Savior, the same gospel and the same heaven!

One of our great preachers once said, "I reckon him a Christian indeed that is neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it." Neither ashamed of the gospel nor a shame to it. I'm afraid sometimes some of us become a shame to the gospel Have you thought of that?

But that should not happen. God forbid that it should happen to any of us here tonight.

The gospel is a wonderful thing, as Paul shows, because it reveals to us many wonderful things. It is not just a simple message that we get and that's the end of it.

But the gospel just opens up more and more, and continues to open up --- it goes and goes and goes, doesn't it? The gospel continually reveals more new and wonderful things to us.

The gospel has a special purpose. It's not like a simple story that one might tell to the children to get them to go to sleep at bedtime. It is not that kind of story. The bedtime story, you just tell it, and that's the end of it. But the gospel is a living thing! It goes on, and it spreads, and it grows, and it wins others. The salvation of believers is its purpose because the Bible tells us plainly and by the way, this is the Bible (holds up his Bible) God's Word we have it in our hands!

It always will be God's Word; He preserved it and He continues to do so. You don't have to worry about that. But as we started to say, the salvation of believers is its purpose because the Bible God's Word, His literal Word tells us that it is the power of God unto salvation.

You know, this salvation, it says also in the Scripture we just read that it is through the power of God. Yes, the power of God. You know, we have so many that seem to think that salvation is through the baptistry or it's through good living or it's through leaving out the cardinal sins from your life or it's through this or that or something else. But it's not through anything else but the gospel!

The gospel is that through which we go and through which the power of God comes upon us to save us, isn't it? Salvation is through the power of God, not through anything we do, not through anything we could do, not through anything anyone else does. It's not through my preaching. It's not through Brother Charles' preaching or Brother Ron's preaching. It's not through Brother Clarey's preaching or anyone else.

But what is it? It is through the power of God. It is like a revelation, in other words, of the arm of God reaching down reaching WAY down and down and down until it finds that sinner and grabs him and saves him when that one commits himself to Christ. It is like the arm of God or a revelation of the arm of God. We might say it is like the power of God which followed the words of Jesus to perform miracles when He was here on earth. You remember how Jesus could speak and the wind and the waves would heed His voice.

You remember how Jesus could speak and miracles would occur. That's what it takes to get a man saved today. Every time a man is saved, it takes a miracle. A miracle of God, not anything I do, not anything the church does. All we can do is just preach the message. That's all the church can do. That's all the pastor can do. That's all the missionary can do. But it takes more than that.

We notice another thing about this. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation but it says plainly that it is to those and only to those who truly believe. It is not one of these things that is just universal salvation for everybody. There is no such thing taught anywhere in the Bible. Oh, universalism is taught by a lot of men but it is not taught anywhere in Scripture. It's only those who truly believe.

It's like a healing medicine. Now medicine, Brother Finney was telling me a while ago about a little problem he had. He had health problems a short time back. Now if he had gone to the doctor and the doctor gave him some medicine and then he said, "Well, that medicine won't do me any good. I don't like that stuff anyway. It tastes bad. Besides that, it costs too much; I don't think I'll even bother to buy it." Now if that had happened, would that medicine have done him any good? It would not have done him a bit of good! And he might have been in bad shape with pneumonia had he not taken the medicine.

And that is the way it is with the gospel. The gospel doesn't just go out there and save everybody in sight. It is a medicine that has got to be taken. It's got to be applied. It's got to be received. It's like a healing medicine but it only heals the patient if the medicine is taken. But any medicine that is rejected won't heal anybody, will it?

Again I say the gospel is for all men. It's not just for those who can come to Rodgers Baptist Church. Aren't you glad it's for all men? If it were not for all men, then perhaps we had been in that group that it was not for.

That is too horrible to think about it. Thank God, it's for all men, not just one class or kind of men. It's for a Jew or a Gentile. For a black or a white or a yellow or a red man. It's for the American, but it is also for the South African. For the English, for the Africans, for the Germans, for the French, for the South Sotho, for the North Sotho, for the Tswana man.

It's for the Zulu, and for the Biafrans, for the Bavenda people, and all the rest. It's for the Shangaan, the Matabele, the Mashona, for the Bayaka, and the Bakongo, and the Baluba (these names listed in this paragraph are various Tribal, Ethnic, and Country groups in Africa). It's for all men who will believe and who will come in repentance and faith, receiving our Lord as their Lord and Savior. The gospel reveals to us that justification of believers is the way, and justification of believers is the only way.

Paul says here under the inspiration of God these words: "For therein," that is, in this gospel "is the righteousness of God revealed." Isn't that wonderful? The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. Some people try to pretend, oh, the gospel, since it doesn't save everybody, God is to blame. It is His fault and He is guilty of partiality or He is guilty of failing to make a way for all men.

But that is not so. That is the foolishness of men saying silly things like that! He made a way for every man in the universe who will believe and come to Him in repentance and faith. That means that there is not a single man that has ever been shut out of heaven or ever will be shut out of heaven except by his own choice. Not one.

"Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out," He said. And there are many other similar statements from the Lord Himself.

Paul teaches here that since man is lost because of his own sin, then that which will show us the way of salvation must needs show us the way of justification and this the gospel does. We've got to be saved. But part of the problem is Justification. The gospel makes known, in other words, a means of righteousness for fallen man. Isn't that glorious to think about?

Here is man. No hope, not a chance, no way! Just a little worm on the earth. And the brightest jewel of heaven leaves the glory of the Father's throne, comes down and becomes a man. Think of that. He becomes a man! He had no need that He should ever know death, had no need that He should ever know pain, had no need that He should ever know sorrow; yet He came and became a man, knowing that He would experience all these things and much more as a man for us.

Think about that for a minute. If that doesn't turn you on a little bit, there's something wrong with your salvation, to think what He did for us. Since God is a just and holy God and we without doubt are guilty sinners, then we must have a righteousness of some sort in which we may appear before God, else we can never see Him.

And there is not any way of obtaining this righteousness in our own strength, in our own works or in anything we can do. Because we just don't have it! And we can't get it! It has to be given to us by the Lord! You know, without this righteousness, as I said, we shall never see His face.

Sometimes when we read over in Genesis when Cain was chased away, or cast out -- we overlook one little short statement which is one of the most important statements in that whole affair. And even Cain, this hardened sinner, who had murdered his own brother, even he realized the great importance of this little short statement that he made! And yet we often overlook the statement when we read that passage. That statement was, "From thy face shall I be hid." Cain said that himself, "From thy face shall I be hid."

He was realizing that he was being cast out from before the face of God and would never again approach God! We often just read through that and think nothing about that little bit of the passage. We just skim over it! But that's really the key to the whole passage. The whole passage depends on this. The most important part of that whole passage of several verses, is when Cain recognized that he would never see the face of God again.

Sinners today need to recognize that there is coming a time, unless they come to Christ, in the time appointed, when they will never see the face of God again.

I thank God that this righteousness that we need so desperately is provided for us. I'm so thankful that it has been and is provided in sufficient quantity for all who will believe.

This righteousness we so desperately need and must have is revealed in the gospel, and found only in Jesus Christ! You can't find it in the baptistry, you can't find it in good works, you can't find it in the church, you can find it nowhere except in Jesus Christ, who is the very picture, the living example of the gospel!

This righteousness provided is a gracious method of acceptance and reconciliation in spite of the fact that we are guilty as dogs before God. We are guilty. Anyone here that has never committed a sin, hold up your hand. I know you can't do that. No one can say they have never committed a sin unless they are out of their mind. We are all guilty! We have plenty of sin and plenty of sins! And there is a little difference, but we don't have time to discuss that difference between the two words "sin" and "sins".

This righteousness that is provided, which makes us acceptable and reconciles us to God in spite of our guilt, is called the righteousness of God! I like that. It is not my righteousness, it is not Brother Harry's righteousness, it's not Brother Arnold's righteousness, but it is God's righteousness. It is HIS righteousness. It is of God's appointment. If this righteousness were mine, I would find some way to mess it up, and you would too. Whether you admit it or not, you would! You would find a some way to mess it up.

But it is God's righteousness and it is of His appointment! It is of God's approving and accepting. It is so called in order to cut off any possible pretensions to righteousness on the part of men. Men might say that some of their righteousness or all of their righteousness resulted from merit or from their own good works. But the way the gospel is written completely eliminates any possibility of that if we just read the gospel and accept it the way it is. There is no way to go that route and claim that any part of our righteousness is from ourselves or from merit of our own.

Our righteousness is only from the merit of Christ! It is the righteousness of Christ, in other words because of the full satisfaction that He made. This full satisfaction that He made of the sin debt for all who will believe.

Some people seem to think that God just ignores sin --- He just forgets or ignores sin without any settlement of the matter. But that does not happen; God never forgets sin which has not been paid for. He doesn't there is not a single sin or unrighteous act that has ever occurred from the beginning of man until now that God has just overlooked or ignored or paid no attention to.

It just doesn't happen! It's all been paid for by the blessed Son of God. Every little bit of it. Now think about that for a minute. It's all been paid for. Otherwise the world would be destroyed already had there been no satisfaction made for sin. I'm quite sure the world would not even exist anymore; it would have just been obliterated, disintegrated, destroyed, ceased to exist. But there has been a payment made for sin it has been paid for by the blood of Christ! It's the righteousness of Christ, it is this satisfaction or payment that Christ has made of the sin debt of all who will believe.

It is said here in this passage that we've looked at tonight, "to be from faith to faith." That is an interesting section where it says that this is from faith to faith. But what does that mean? Now from the first faith through which by God's grace we're put into a justified state before God, then it goes on to that living faith or living grace by which we live, we worship, we serve our Savior and our coming King. And it goes on through that faith, that faith that justifies is not a bit less nor a bit more than our taking, receiving, believing, trusting, and accepting Christ as our Savior, as our only righteousness, our only hope of acceptance before God and entrance into that eternal and blessed place of bliss in His presence.

Christ becomes our root when this happens! And we become one of His branches. And all virtue, all righteousness, all spiritual sustenance comes from Him and through Him to us --- All that we need.

Remember the portion of the passage that said, "the just shall live by faith."

That's often spoken of by people who don't really believe the gospel, the true gospel. Because the reformers, that was one of their favorite passages, "the just shall live by faith." It is, of course, recorded in Habakkuk 2:4 and Romans 1:17, in Galatians 3:11 and in Hebrews 10:38; either in those exact words or very similar words in all four of those places. What it means is this --- when it says the just shall live by faith --- that is, they shall live just by faith. We don't live by our own conniving, our own scheming, our own plotting and our own planning. Oh, some of us think we do sometimes, don't we? But not really. We live the real life that we have just by faith.

There is a justifying faith that is given to all believers by the grace of God! Another thing in that passage to remember, it says, "live by faith." Sometimes we don't do that too well, do we? But if we do live for the Lord, we do live by faith. We live by faith! In other words, there is a faith maintaining us day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. And so as the Scripture says, there is a righteousness from faith. Faith is all in all to the Christian life. Without it the Christian life can't even exist! There is nothing without faith, both in the beginning and in the progress of it. Faith is all, isn't it?

Notice something else here. It doesn't say a word about being from faith to works! I'm glad it doesn't say that. It doesn't say it is from faith to works as some teach; as if we're saved by faith and then kept saved by our good works. It doesn't say that all! It doesn't teach that anywhere. Not one jot or one tittle anywhere from cover to cover of God's Word that we have here right before us now teaches anything like that in spite of all the Campbellites and others in the world who teach that.

By the way, I guess you folks have realized that the same Baptist church that disciplined Alexander Campbell is still in business for the Lord. It is still operating. I've forgotten the exact age, but that church is around four hundred years old now. The very same Church that disciplined Alexander Campbell shortly before he set up his own religion and called it the Church of Christ, of course, that was in the early 1800's! It was only about 160 years ago when Campbell set up his church, but that Baptist Church which disciplined him has been in existence now for about four hundred years. It still sends out independent Baptist missionaries, direct church-sponsored missionaries. It is located in Kentucky.

As we said it is not from faith to works as some teach. But neither is it from works to faith as some teach. We don't get up to a state that is just almost good enough and then God pushes us on over the line to save us. You know, there is some of that kind of garbage going around, too. And there is just no way, is there? Either direction, it just won't work. There's just one way and Jesus is that way and grace is what does it all! All along from faith to faith as the Bible teaches plainly, or as in 2 Corinthians 3:18, it is from glory to glory. That's even gooder and gooder, as the kid says, isn't it? Yes, that is Gooder and gooder --- From glory to glory.

In verse 18 Paul proves his proposition that all men stand in need of a righteousness wherein to appear before God and that none have any righteousness of their own. He proves it completely. Justification must be either by faith or by works. It is not possible for it to be a mixture. He shows in our present passage that it cannot be of works; therefore it must be entirely of faith. In verse 18, he emphasizes that God's wrath is revealed. God's law reveals His wrath against sin. And even nature itself reveals the same. Yes, even nature reveals God's wrath against sin. But while God's wrath is revealed against sin, the gospel reveals the justifying righteousness of God from faith to faith.

Paul describes the sinfulness of man as ungodliness and unrighteousness. And then he reveals the cause of that unrighteousness or that sinfulness. He speaks of it as holding the truth in unrighteousness. That is one of the things he mentions. Another thing he mentions is the thought that was voiced very well by a famous preacher some years ago when he said it this way, he said: "A wicked heart is the jail in which many a good truth is imprisoned and buried." There are lots of unsaved people that "know" the truth. They don't know it in the sense of it being applied to their hearts, in the sense of accepting it as truth, in the sense of having received the Lord. But they know it!

Notice also in verse 18 it says, "God's wrath is revealed from heaven." Note that --- it's important. "From heaven." This is from heaven. It's not like a court down here. Oh, we have Brother Perry or any of the other men who have had law enforcement experience who all know that the vast majority of people who commit crimes are never apprehended and punished properly. And it's not through lack of effort necessarily on the part of the police or even of the courts, but a lot of them are never even detected. Many crimes are committed where the the crime is never detected.

Many crimes that are detected, we never even know who a suspect might be. And so there are all kinds of ways for the wrath of God being revealed, or the wrath of the court being revealed down here on earth, or the law of earth being revealed against crime or sin or wrong.

But it doesn't always work. In fact, it's probably a very small percentage of time that earthly judgment does work and catches up with the criminal. But this wrath is revealed not from earth but from heaven. And that makes it much more terrible! It is inescapable. It's from heaven. It's not from a court, it's not from the police, it's not from the lawyers, it's not from the judges, not from the prosecutors, but it's from heaven. And there's no way to escape this wrath that's revealed from heaven.

Not only in God's written Word is His wrath revealed against sin but in His judgments that are executed against men as well. His wrath against sin, being from heaven, is much more terrible and completely unavoidable because it is from heaven. How could you ever prevent a bolt of lightning from striking you? There's no way you could; you wouldn't even know it was coming. When it hits you, you still wouldn't know! So from heaven it is completely unavoidable by man's power or means.

Verses 19 and 20 show us that all men are absolutely without excuse. There is no excuse for not glorifying God. And you can't glorify God until you acknowledge Him, receiving Him as Savior and Lord.

Quickly now let us finish! Verses 21, 22 and 23 of this passage show additional reasons why men are without excuse and the results of man's wickedness and sin in rejecting God. The inward cause of man's idolatry and rejection of God is fivefold. First, even though they have some knowledge of Him they glorify Him not as God.

Secondly, they were not thankful, he says. God's mercies are poured out on all men. Just think about it. What made that unsaved man's heart not stop beating today? Thousands of others did stop beating. Why did this particular unsaved man who is still living now, why did his heart not stop beating today? It was the mercy of God, wasn't it? It was the mercy of God that any unsaved man is still living at this moment! Think about that. It is God's mercy!

All men should be grateful for His mercies, even the unsaved. JUST THINK! They drink His water, they eat His food, they breathe His air, they have a measure of health and life and strength and so forth. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust! All men, even the unsaved reprobate should be thankful to God for these mercies. Most are not but they should be.

Instead they became vain in their imaginations, as the Scripture tells us. It's always true in all circumstances, without exception that when truth is rejected then errors multiply. It never fails. When truth is rejected, error multiplys. When error multiplied, their foolish heart was darkened, as the Scripture plainly teaches. Man's rejection of God always blinds and perverts Him, it blinds and perverts the understanding, the affections, the thought processes of man, and then these errors go wild. They just go crazy! "Their foolish heart is darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they become fools," it says in verse 22.

The outward acts of their idolatry are shown in verses 23 through 25, making images of God. Man make images of the most contemptible creatures to represent God. You say, "Oh, we don't have anybody like that in the United States." We've got millions of them like that in the United States. Millions of them like that in the United States as well as in Africa. They try to make God in the image of man. They dishonor God's glory and misrepresent His being. What could be more blasphemous than that? They change the truth of God into a lie.

They give divine honor to the creature and not to the Creator. Perhaps here we should refer back to verse 18 which says, "who hold the truth in unrighteousness." They've heard it, they know it, but they just don't really receive it or believe it or accept it!

When men reject God, they become wise in their own conceits, and then something else always follows. That is idolatry without fail! You may say, "Oh, we don't have any idolatry in America."

But we've got it everywhere. Plenty of people practice idolatry right here in America. They practice it all over the world, including where we work in Africa. But I'm so thankful that there is a way of escape from God's wrath on mankind. Aren't you glad? There is a way --- and ONLY ONE WAY! And I don't like this silly stick up your finger stuff. But I'm going to point up now anyway just to show it to you. There is only one way. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light as well as the life. And no man comes to the Father except by Him and through Him. Romans 6:23 tells us, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

John 3:16, which was given to us so many years ago is still such a wonderful verse, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Isn't it wonderful to think about it? He really did; He gave His only begotten Son in order that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Matthew 11:28 through 30, is our closing passage. The Lord Himself speaking said these words:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Have you still your burden of sin? If so, why not come to the ONLY Saviour There Is NO BETTER TIME To Trust Christ Than NOW!

One Life to Live One Life To Give, In Service To Our King!

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