SERIES: Heart & Soul: A Study through Romans
MESSAGE: Is God Mad?
SPEAKER: Skip Heitzig
SCRIPTURE: Romans 1:18-32

MESSAGE SUMMARY
The Wrath of God Is Revealed God is full of love, right? Right! That’s the good news. And Paul gets back to that theme and develops it fully in the chapters ahead. But first, there’s some bad news. Like a powerful prosecuting attorney, Paul made the case as to why we need the good news of Christ. God’s grace is necessary because of our guilt. In this section, we learn about the wrath of God—an attribute that many people can’t wrap their heads (and hearts) around.

STUDY GUIDE
Connect Recap Notes: May 26, 2019
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "Is God Mad?"
Text: Romans 1:18-32

Path

God is full of love, right? Right! That's the good news. And Paul gets back to that theme and develops it fully in the chapters ahead. But first, there's some bad news. Like a powerful prosecuting attorney, Paul made the case as to why we need the good news of Christ. God's grace is necessary because of our guilt. In this section, Pastor Skip taught about the wrath of God—an attribute that many people can't wrap their heads (and hearts) around:

  1. What Does It Regard?
  2. Why Is It Required?
    1. For Suppressing God's Truth
    2. For Ignoring God's Revelation
    3. For Perverting God's Glory
  3. How Is It Revealed?
Points

What Does It Regard? Why Is It Required?
For Suppressing God's Truth For Ignoring God's Revelation For Perverting God's Glory
How Is It Revealed? Practice

Connect Up: Though God is love (1 John 4:7-21), why can't Christians only focus on one attribute of God? Why is it important to see the full nature of God's attributes, including His wrath, judgment, and sovereignty? Discuss this quote by Wayne Grudem: "If God loves all that is right and good, and all that conforms to his moral character, then it should not be surprising that He would hate everything that is opposed to His moral character." (Systematic Theology)

Connect In: Judgment is a recurring theme in the Bible. In 1 Peter 4:17, Peter states that judgment begins at "the house of God." Given that Peter means the church—the visible gathering place of believers—what do you think this passage means? Using Pastor Skip's three-tiered points listed above, here are some thoughts to discuss:Connect Out: Many people have been brought to Christ through the thought of eternal judgment in hell, and recognizing that sin separates them from a holy God. Though they are saved through the thought of judgment, they soon realize it is because of His love (see John 3:16) that God uses judgment. Take a moment to discuss the connection between love and wrath. Why would a loving God show wrath or judgment? God loves the sinner but hates the sin. How would you explain this connection to an unbeliever you are trying to reach with the good news?

DETAILED NOTES
"Is God Mad?"
Romans 1:18-32

  1. Introduction
    1. The wrath of God is an attribute that some dismiss because it's too painful to consider
      1. Some people tend to be offended when the words God and wrath are used in the same sentence
      2. The idea of God's wrath can insult sensitivities and sensibilities
    2. Paul announced the bad news as well as the good news
      1. The theme of Romans is the righteousness of God, but Paul believed that you will never fully appreciate the good news until you fully apprehend the bad news
      2. You must know how bad things are before you realize how good the good news is
      3. Until mankind admits the problem of sin, they will never seek a savior
  2. What Does It Regard?
    1. God is not neutral when it comes to sin
      1. There are two Greek words used for wrath in the New Testament:
        1. Thumos
          1. A red-hot anger; overcome by rage
          2. This is impulsive, passionate anger
        2. Orgē
          1. To grow ripe
          2. This is an anger that builds up over a long period of time, the way that water collects behind a dam; it is stable, settled, and controlled
      2. God doesn't fly into a rage or lash out; He lets the water collect and controls His response, waiting for the right timing
      3. Romans 2:5
    2. The wrath of God, as Paul presented it here, is God's firm, settled, and perfect hostility toward all evil
      1. The wrath of God is parallel to the righteousness of God (see Romans 1:17)
      2. God is perfectly righteous; therefore, God is perfectly wrathful
    3. Some refuse to believe they are guilty—they want to live in a false paradise of supposed innocence
  3. Why Is It Required?
    1. For Suppressing God's Truth
      1. God put His stamp in us and His workmanship around us
        1. We can look inward through our conscience and see the testimony of God
        2. We can look around us at the cosmos and see the testimony of God
      2. To suppress means to hold down or hold back
        1. Some don't believe, not because they can't believe, but because they won't believe
        2. It's not a matter of ability, but a matter of will
    2. For Ignoring God's Revelation
      1. God, who is invisible and unknowable, has made Himself visible and knowable through His creation
        1. This is known as the teleological argument for the existence of God—the argument from design
        2. Creation is the visible disclosure of invisible God—the divine artist has revealed Himself
      2. Creation is general revelation—anybody, anywhere, at any time, can know this truth
        1. "The undevout astronomer is mad" —Johannes Kepler
        2. Psalm 19:1-3
      3. The art speaks of an artist—the design speaks of a designer
        1. The radiation of the sun is produced by the sun losing some of its energy
        2. Because it will obviously have an end at some point, it must have had a beginning
    3. For Perverting God's Glory
      1. The theory of devolution: the Bible does not teach that man started lower and climbed higher, but that man started high and sunk lower
        1. We began in familiarity with God, then moved to vanity, then went from vanity to idolatry and from idolatry to immorality
        2. Idolatry always tends toward immorality, because an errant theology will produce an errant sexuality
      2. Paul painted a picture of the downward slope of the human condition and God's settled and perfectly righteous antagonism toward those who have knowledge of the truth but suppress it in favor of a self-centered path
  4. How Is It Revealed?
    1. God's wrath is released in three different ways:
      1. Final wrath: a final reckoning at the last day
        1. The great white throne judgment
        2. This will be unlike any earthly court—no defense, jury, appeal, parole, or escape
        3. 1 Thessalonians 1:10
        4. Romans 2:5
      2. Provisional wrath: God's wrath satisfied through the judicial system
        1. Romans 13:4
        2. God uses human government to execute His wrath
      3. Permissible wrath: God gives you what you want
        1. He abandons them to their desires (see vv. 24, 26, 28)
        2. This is the quiet, non-intervention judgment of God
          1. Hosea 4:17
          2. Matthew 15:14
          3. Acts 7:42
    2. How often have we heard that God is going to judge America?
      1. God has already judged America
      2. Part of the judgment of God is abandoning us to our own wills and desires
      3. "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" —C.S. Lewis
    3. The more God lets go, the worse things get
      1. The spiritual and moral degradation around us is a judicial act of God
      2. When God gives you over to whatever you want, that's the wrath of God
  5. Conclusion
    1. If you believe, you already have everlasting life
      1. No matter what you go through, things will only get better
      2. John 3:36
    2. If you're in this world, the wrath of God already abides on you
      1. Every person in this world is sitting under the fabled sword of Damocles, waiting for the rope to break
      2. When you believe, you move to sit underneath the grace of God, and that is why the good news, set against the bad news, is really great news
Figures referenced: Damocles, Johannes Kepler, C.S. Lewis

Cross references: Psalm 19:1-3; Hosea 4:17; Matthew 15:14; John 3:36; Acts 7:42; Romans 1:17; 2:5; 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:10

Greek words: orgē, thumos

Topic: the wrath of God

Keywords: anger, artist, creation, design, glory, good news, grace, judgment, judicial, rage


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