Sunday, October 21, 2012

Who needs the Gospel?- The Whole World Needs The Gospel

This is Part four of the Sermon Series Who needs the Gospel?

The whole world needs the gospel

Romans 3:9-20
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. NKJV

This conclusion of the first part of the Epistle says “the whole world is lost.” In our earlier studies, the Apostle has dealt extensively with the Gentile, the moral man, and the Jew. He now comes to the conclusion as he deals with “both Jews and Gentiles” (v.9). In the world, there are only two classes of people, Jews and Gentiles. In verse 10 Paul answers a question “How many Jews and Gentiles are there who are righteous?” V.10 – “there is none” v.11 “there is none” and again, “there is none” and verse 12, “there is none”. Four times the answer is “none”. Now that was negative answer; “How many are righteous?” Answer –”none”. To the positive, “How many sinners are there?” The answer is to be found in verses 9, 12 and 19 –”all”. The word “none” appears four times and “all” appears three times- making seven in all – a sign of complete indictment that God brings against the world.

In this section is a picture of a courtroom with a criminal on trial. The very terms that the Apostle uses are legal. There are several elements involved in a human trial. First, a charge; then very often there is an indictment, written and carefully prepared, and it has perhaps one, two, three, four or more counts. Then there is an opportunity given for the accused to make his defense. Finally, there is a verdict brought in specifying the guilt or innocence of the accused. These four elements are complete in the passage. (a) Charge –v.9; (b) the indictment (vv 10-18); (c) the defense (v.19) and (d) the verdict (vv 19-20)

Charge Indictment Defense Verdict

The Charge

“What then?” Paul is summing up all that has gone before. He had talked to the Gentile, both the heathen and the moral man; he had talked to the Jew. They were all condemned. So in conclusion he says: “What shall we say in conclusion?” “Are we wise?” then he explains why. “For we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” To lay a charge against somebody in a court includes the idea of proving that charge. The charge is “All under sin” He does not say that all have sinned. He will say that later on. He does not say “I charge Jews and Gentiles that they are all sinners” but “They are all under sin”. It means that these people are not only under sin, but they are under all that goes with sin. Sin has its guilt, sin has its power, sin has its condemnation, and sin has its doom. Paul is saying that every one of these people (Jews and Gentiles) is under the guilt of sin, under the power of sin, under the condemnation of sin and under the doom of sin.

It is not a new charge. He had made it before. That is all that we have studied in the two chapters before. He was leading us to this point “All are under sin”.

The Indictment

The indictment is “as it is written”. Paul now goes to the Old Testament to quote passages in verses 10 – 18. All the quotations are from Psalms 14 and 53 and from Isaiah. From these passages he states a 14-point indictment:

1. There is none righteous, no, not one (v10)
2. There is none that understands (v.11)
3. There is none that seeks after God (v. 11)
4. They are all gone out of the way (v, 12)
5. They are together become unprofitable (v.12)
6. There is none that does good, no, not one (v.12)
7. Their throat is an open sepulchre (v.13)
8. With their tongues, they have used deceit (v.13)
9. The poison of asps is under their lips (v.13)
10. Whose mouths is full of cursing and bitterness (v.14)
11. Their feet are swift to shed blood (v.15)
12. Destruction and misery are in their ways (v.16)
13. The way of peace have they not known (v.17)
14. There is no fear of God before their eyes (v.18)

What a picture of the human race! Let us look at the 14—count charges in a little details.

No righteousness – We hear of righteous people, righteous nation – but what is righteousness? It means being right; perfectly right; being in the right clothing. God’s conclusion is there is no righteous man. “All our righteousness is like filthy rags before Him”.

There is nobody that understands   It is derangement in morality, and spiritual incomprehension. No one is seeking after God. Not even one. Rather they have every one gone his own way. The unfortunate thing about it is that men have deviated from the right way of God, and have therefore become unprofitable both to themselves and to God. The natural result is that there is not one man of whom it can be said, that he does good.

The description of “their throat as an open sepulchre” leaves room for either of two or both interpretations. One is the danger it constitutes to people who might accidentally fall into it, most likely at night or the very loathsome stench emanating from a decaying body thus exposed. Their lips have under them, the poison of asps. What more can we expect from such mouths except cursing and bitterness.

Their feet are swift to shed blood – a very clean picture of the world today. They are quick, not in peace, but quick to war. All through the history of man, man has always “left behind wherever he walked destruction and misery”. The reason is that man does not know the way of Peace. Christ is the Way and our Peace. Outside Him man is in misery. The conclusion of the terrible catalogue is “There is no fear of God before their eyes”. This last charge is the cause of all the other thirteen charges for “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. Where there is no fear of God, there is the absence of wisdom, increasing mental confusion and moral as well as spiritual darkness.

That is an awful picture of the human race. So we can conclude from the indictment that man is depraved in character (vv 10-12); man is depraved in his speech (vv 13-14); man is depraved in conduct, his feet and his ways (vv 15-18). When God makes His diagnosis, it is complete. In all that man is, in all that he says, in all that he does, there is depravity. All men may not be equally depraved, but the fact remains that as far as man’s character, speech and conduct are concerned, every man without an exception has been touched by sin.

We may begin to ask – Is that my picture? Have I been guilty of all these things? Yes, it is. It is your picture and mine apart from Jesus Christ. God is not describing what we do as much as what we are.

There are only two things that God says we have without exception, done: “They have all turned aside”; “they have used deceit”. Some of us here might be thinking, well that is more of the picture of Miss A or Mrs. D or Mr. T. Not me. That was how the Jew thought. He thought that the picture fits well with the Gentiles, so in v. 19 Paul seemingly answering their thoughts said: “They that are under the Law” This includes the Jews also. So the Jews have not escaped after all. Now that the indictment is over, let us turn to the defense.

The Defense

Often in our courts, after the charges have been read, and the accused feels he has no cover whatsoever, we hear him plead, “Nothing to say” or “No plea or No Case” Paul says in God’s court, after all the charges have been read, it is “that every mouth may be stopped!” the mouth of the heathen idolater, the mouth of the man of exemplary morals, the mouth of the proud Pharisee, even the mouth that was full of cursing and bitterness: every mouth stopped!

Image from
This gives us an idea of what it will be like on the Day of Judgment. You have often heard some people say, “when I stand before God, I shall ask Him questions.” Why am I born poor? Why the inequalities? Why this, why that? Some say they will defend their actions and unbelief before God. Paul tells us here, when man stands before the dreadful bar of God, there will be no defense  no alibi, and no excuse. “Their mouths shall be stopped!” In the human courts defense is allowed to avoid the error of passing wrong judgments. They protect the accused from wrong accusations, we say “You have an opportunity to make your defense.”  When God brings up a charge against a man God makes no mistakes and so no need for defense  Only one voice will speak the voice of the Judge. Every mouth stopped! That is guilt. God will not stop the mouth. Every man will be free to speak but what would you say when you are weighed down heavily with guilt.

The Verdict

The charge has been made; the indictment has been read, no defense given. The verdict: Guilty! It is fearful when a human judge declares you guilty; it will be very terrible when God Himself pronounces a man guilty!

Guilty in the context here means not only that the man committed the crime for which he is charged, but that he is obligated to suffer the penalty for doing it. “All the world brought under the judgment of God” (v.19) So in v. 20 we see God’s reason for returning the judgment of guilty. “The entire world may become guilty before God; because by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” So man is guilty for two reasons: first, because he is a sinner; and second, because by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” The Law here includes all laws whether it is moral law, the Law of Moses, ceremonial law, law of conscience, or whether it is the Law that Christ laid down in the Sermon on the Mount, no matter what law, Paul says, “By the works of law no flesh shall be justified in His sight!” (3:30) there is only one thing the law can do; “through the law comes the knowledge of sin”

In all the section, the Apostle has brought three witnesses against the world:

Ø Against the Gentile world, he brought the witness of creation. He says “they ought to have known better, because they could see the created universe.”

Ø Against the moral man the witness of conscience. The conscience excuses or accuses. A man ought to know what is right or wrong by the conscience he has.

Ø Against the Jew, the witness of the Scriptures.

All these three witnesses speak with one voice: “man is guilty” and this conclusion is summed up in three statements. In v.19 “All under sin” In v.19,”Every mouth stopped” and “All the world guilty before God”

That is the position of the whole world. There is only one thing that can bring him out of that position – SALVATION. Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL for it is the POWER of GOD unto SALVATION.” The world needs to be saved and salvation is in none other than in the GOSPEL. Apart from Jesus Christ, God has no GOOD NEWS for the world. Would you go out with the GOSPEL? The world needs it.

We have come to the end of the series. Thanks for this opportunity of sharing. God bless you all.

We want to hear  from you, Please write your comments and let us know how we have touched you.

Sing this song with me:

Untold millions are still untold
Untold millions are outside the fold
Who will tell them of Jesus' love
And the heavenly manshions awaiting above
Jesus died for you and me
Now He asks you and me
To go and bring them in
Untold millions are still untold
Untold millions are outside the fold

For the rest of the series, Go to Who needs the Gospel?

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