Hypocrisy Gets an Audit - Romans 2:17-29 - Skip Heitzig
I'm going to bring a message I'm calling Hypocrisy Gets An Audit. Yeah, I know, crickets at this point when you hear a title like that. I discovered an interesting fact this week. One out of every four Americans have a fear of being audited. 25% of the American public is afraid that at some point, someone will come in to examine their personal life, like an auditor.
Also in that little article that I read, that number increases if you're male and the older you get, so elderly males are more paranoid of auditors than young females. Don't know why that is, but I do know that nobody really likes auditors. If you are one, I'm sorry. You probably knew that getting into the field.
An auditor is someone who arrives after the battle and bayonets all the wounded. That's what it feels like. So there was a local bar that boasted that its bartender was the strongest guy around and had a $1,000 standing bet if anyone could squeeze one more drop out of a lemon already squeezed dry by the bartender. In other words, he would draw he would just dry that thing up and nobody could squeeze a single drop. If you could, you would get $1,000.
Well, nobody could do it. People tried. Weightlifters came and tried, didn't do it. Longshoremen came and tried, couldn't do it. So nobody won the bet, till one day, this scrawny little guy comes in in a polyester suit, thick wire-rimmed copper glasses, and a high squeaky voice and says, can I try?
Well, after the laughter in the bar went down, bartender said, sure, squeezed the lemon completely dry, gave the shriveled fruit to this little guy in the suit. And he squeezed it, and all that laughter in the bar gave way to respect when he squeezed not one, not two drops, but six drops of lemon into a glass. Everybody was amazed.
The owner of the establishment paid the $1,000, but said, before you leave, you've got to tell me what do you do for a living. He smiled and he said, I'm an auditor with the IRS. Amazing isn't it, how every year that IRS will squeeze a little bit more out of us.
Well, in chapter 2 of Romans, Paul is acting as the auditor by the commission of the Holy Spirit in the lives of his readers. I want to draw your attention to a word that sort of kicked this metaphor in gear for me this week in verse 25. It's the word profitable. "For circumcision is indeed profitable." It means valuable, or to gain something. It's a financial term. So what I want to do is show you the assets, the deficits, and the net appraisal of the hypocrite.
Let me kind of give you a background of where we are. In chapter 1 of Romans, Paul addresses-- let's call it the raunchy crowd. A horrible group of people that he mentions by name in several different ways. Let's call it the raunchy crowd. Chapter 2, he addresses the religious crowd.
And the rest of chapter 2, beginning in verse 17, he drills a little bit deeper, and he addresses the self-confident hypocrite. I know that's a harsh word. Nobody likes to have that word attach to themselves, but it is a word Jesus used, not infrequently, when he said to his own disciples, when you pray or when you give or when you do these spiritual things, don't be like the hypocrite.
And on one occasion, he even came right out to the self-confident religious hypocrites of his day, scribes and Pharisees, and just unloaded on them Matthew 23-- woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites-- eight separate times. He even called them whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside, but inside are filled with dead men's bones.
When I am using the term today, hypocrite, I'm primarily referring to an unbeliever wearing a mask. That is an unsaved person who is disguised like a saved person primarily. Paul describes such a person as those who have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. In effect, they are wearing spiritual tinsel. Varnish. It is all show and no-go. It is style without substance. It's like the cereal I bought two weeks ago.
I bought cereal that said it was a bigger box. A new bigger box! So I thought great, I'll buy it. Now, when I opened it up, I discovered what that meant-- just the box was bigger. That's what it meant. The contents looked identical to a smaller box I had, so it was all outward.
When you think of a hypocrite, you have to at least consider a classic, and that is the notorious criminal by the name of Jesse James. You've all heard the name. Did you know that Jesse James, the notorious murderer, gang member, bank robber, loved church. He loved it. He loved Sundays.
One occasion records that he killed a person, robbed a bank, then went to church to get baptized. I don't know if that was a response to guilt or what, but on another occasion, robbed a bank, shot the cashier, had to make it to church because he was scheduled to teach hymn singing to people-- worship songs. He said he loved Sundays at church. But it was a conflict of interest with his schedule because he was often, you know, robbing banks and killing people on Sundays. That's hypocrisy.
One humorous wrote, never go to a doctor whose houseplants have died. Good wisdom, right? No one goes to a hypocrite for life values or instruction. They've been found out. Well, Paul is speaking to such in chapter 2 verse 17 to 29. Let's read the texts.
"Indeed", verse 17, "you are called a Jew, and you rest on the law, and you make your boast in God. And know his will and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law. And are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say do not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you. As it is written, for circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law. But if you're a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit. Not in the letter whose praise is not from men, but from God."
Pretty obvious that Paul is speaking to those who have a Jewish background. And I think he is writing what he writes because he is anticipating an objection. Having written to the raunchy crowd in chapter 1, who did disgraceful things, and then writing about the religious crowd at the beginning of chapter 2, he is anticipating the reader saying, how dare you, Paul, lump us all together? Don't you know that we are chosen? We are special people.
So in the audit that Paul gives, he begins by listing their assets. This is what you're doing good. This is good stuff. Then he gives what's wrong, the deficits. Then, finally, the ultimate appraisal.
Let's begin then with the assets. Beginning in verse 17, Paul gives eight statements of what they did right. I'm not going to drill down on all eight. I've summed all eight statements up in 3 asset categories. They had the right, background, they had the right book, and they had the right business. I want to explain those.
They had the right background. Look at verse 17. "Indeed, you are called a Jew." God's chosen people, the Jewish nation, took pride in that name, Jew. Jew is a shortened form of Judah, one of the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Judah, one of the sons of Jacob. Eventually became the southern kingdom of Judah.
The word Judah means praise to Yahweh. They relished in the fact that of all the people in the world, God chose them to give Him praise, to be a spiritual heritage. In fact, many Jews who lived in Gentile cities used the term Jew as like a second surname. So like, Skip Heitzig Jew. They would say the name and then add the title Jew because they relished that title.
Paul does something similar when he addresses the crowd in Acts 22. There's a riot that breaks out in the temple and the Romans kind of guard him, but Paul said let me just give a speech to these Jewish brethren. And he begins by saying, I am a Jew. In fact, he says, indeed, I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia.
Not only that, but when he gives his personal testimony in the Book of Philippians, he says, I'm a Hebrew of the Hebrews. I'm not just a Jew. I'm a Jew of Jews. You know, I'm a Jew through and through. I'm a true blue Jew. He wrote, I'm a Hebrew of the Hebrew. The Hebrew stock, born of Hebrew parents.
So in saying that, in verse 17, he is acknowledging their background. He's saying, you guys have a great spiritual heritage. You have a wonderful pedigree and background. But as I've often said, a good thing can become a bad thing if it keeps you from the best thing. And in this case, it did. They stood behind the name Jew as that's all we need, this background.
Remember John the Baptist, who was dunking people at the Jordan River, and the Jewish leaders, the elders, scribes, and Pharisees, came down to kind of evaluate him. And John sees them coming and, you know, you remember John the Baptist, right? He had that really sweet, gracious style. So he saw them and goes, you brood of vipers. It's a good opening statement. That'll get him-- that'll win him friends immediately.
You brood of vipers. Who warned you to flee from the wrath that is to come? And then he said, and do not begin to think within yourselves, we have Abraham as our father, for God is able to raise up from these stones sons of Abraham.
In other words, don't you dare hide behind the idea that we are God's chosen people, we are Jewish people, which they did. They thought they were safe because they were Jews, just like people today think they are safe because they were born in a Christian family. Hey, are you a Christian? I was born a Christian.
If you go to Europe, you will find that several people groups in Europe, by default, identify with themselves as Christians. Many of them, most of them, do not go to church. Their faith is not real or active in any way, but they will point to their national heritage from their past and just simply say, we are a Christian nation, of course I'm Christian. Has no meaning whatsoever other than the title.
If you go to the Middle East, you'll find groups of people who identify with being a Christian, which simply means to them, I'm not a Muslim. There's an Orthodox Christianity in my background. I'm identifying with that to some degree, culturally, but I'm not a Muslim. So asset number one, you've got the right background. You call yourself a Jew, you rest on the law, you make your boast in God.
Second asset-- not only did they have the right background, they had the right book. Verse 18, "and you know His will and approve the things that are excellent." Now, how was it that they knew His will? How was it that they could approve what is excellent? Next phrase tells you.
"Being" instructed out of the law." They had the right book. They had the law. They had the first five books of Moses, the Torah. But the word law here refers to more than just the first five books. It's a reference to the whole Old Testament, all 39 of them-- what they call the Tanakh. You have the right book.
In chapter 3, verse 2, He will say to them, the Jewish people, were committed the very oracles of God. In other words, of all the people in the world, God deposited with you, Jewish people, his written revelation, where you can know His will. You have His commands.
Now let me me transport you back into time a few thousand years. If you were raising kids back then in a Jewish family, that was your background. Let me tell you about how your kids were raised back then. Your little toddler would be running around the house, already having learned the Shema out of Deuteronomy-- the great Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad. That's what your toddler would be saying. And what that means is here in Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one. That was a toddler.
By the time your child reaches five, he is studying or she is studying the scriptures. Memorizing, at age 5, the Hallel psalms. Imagine your a little five-year-old memorizing Psalm 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, and 118-- those pilgrims psalms that pilgrims shared on their way to Jerusalem. At age six, your child is sent to the synagogue to learn to read and write, and the only textbook was the Bible, the right book.
By age 13, your son or, by age 12, your daughter would become an adult member in the community. A boy will go through a bar mitzvah, a girl will go through a bat mitzvah. Bar mitzvah means son of the commandment. You are saying you are now responsible before God to keep the law of God.
To commemorate that, the boy would begin to wear what is called tefillin, little boxes. The New Testament calls them phylacteries, little leather boxes. And stuffed in the boxes were scriptures to focus on the law, the law, the law. God said it's to be before your eyes, you're to focus on it, it's to be on your hand, it's your strength.
So they had the right book, but some of the rabbis taught that just learning facts of the law was sufficient to please God. All you had to do is memorize a few things and you're good. Some even said, if you just merely own a copy of the law, you have your own scroll. We would say you have your own Bible, that's all you need. You're good to go. So they had the right background, they had the right book.
Now this principle of having the right book applies more strongly to us than them because we not only have the 39 books of the Old Testament, we have the 27 books of the New Testament. We have the full revelation of God. We have it all. We have more light than they did, and I would even go so far as to say that the average person sitting in this room right now has more working knowledge of the scriptures than many pastors that I have met internationally, who don't have access to what you have access to, in terms of resources and radio and podcasts and Bible teaching.
So we have that-- the weight of that-- having the right background, the right book-- ourselves. I'll even add to that and say besides all that, we have the Holy Spirit living in us. Old Testament, they didn't have that. We had the Holy Spirit resident within us to enable us to live a life pleasing to God, so we have a lot.
Here's the third thing in their asset category. They had the right business Let me read to you what I mean, verse 19. "And are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law."
Now that is precisely what God originally intended the nation of Israel to become. Just what Paul wrotee-- a light to those who are in darkness. God's original design for Israel is that she become an exporter of spiritual truth to the world. Like God told Abraham, in you, all the nations of the world are to be blessed.
So God's chosen people were God's responsible people. Because they were chosen, they were also responsible-- they had a business to be an ambassador of truth to the world. Being instructed, they instruct. Being taught, they teach. Being enlightened, they were to enlighten.
Isaiah in Isaiah 42, it says "I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate My righteousness, and you will be a light to guide all nations to Me." OK, now, with that thought in mind, make a quick pivot to the New Testament. Jesus told His followers-- you and me, we're His followers, besides his disciples-- He said, you are the light of the world. You're the light of the world. You're the light of the world. You are the light of the world.
The city set upon a hill cannot be hidden, so let your light shine among men that people will see your good works and glorify your father, who is in heaven. So we, too, have the right business, even more so. That's why Christians who never witness are like kids playing with flashlights when, you know, they shine the light of the flashlight in each other's eyes. They're just going, hey, my flashlight's brighter than yours.
It's like, OK, I'm glad you're having fun, but the purpose of a flashlight is to lead people out of darkness, make it useful. So sometimes we love to get together and have our events and have our parties and hoot it up and celebrate. That's good, but we've got to take the light where the light really counts and be an exporter of truth to enlighten those who are unenlightened.
So that's their assets-- right background, right book, right business. Now let's turn and consider the next thing the auditor does, is give the list of deficits what they did wrong. Now I don't know if you're like me, but I love vinyl records. Probably not a lot of you do. I love vinyl records, I still play records on a record player. Some of you don't even know what I'm talking to, I'm using a language you're not familiar with. But let me just tell you a little bit about vinyl records for just a moment.
In the day, bands would put out records and, often, a record would sell just because of a song or two on the A side. But there was always the B side, and you listened to it because you're devoted to the group or the singer you listen to. But when you flip it over and play the piece-- I can see why it's on the B side and see why they don't start with those songs, right? So you buy it all and you got to flip it over.
So Paul plays the A side, said, you're good at this, you're good at that, you got this. But now let me flip the side. Here's the B side, and there's a list of deficits. They have the wrong practice, the wrong prominence-- I'll explain that-- and the wrong perspective. That's what's wrong. Those are the deficits in this audit.
Let's look at the wrong practice, verse 21. "You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say do not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?"
You get the drift. They had the right background, they had the right book. Problem? They didn't do it. They didn't practice what they preached. In theological terms, we would say they had orthodoxy without orthopraxy. They had right beliefs, without having the right behavior to match the beliefs.
It would be like a policeman who loves to write speeding tickets, but when he's in his own vehicle, he breaks the speed laws. Or like a fireman who-- here's a true story. Fireman in San Jose, California, arrested because he was burning trash in the backyard-- illegal to do in the state of California. Fire got out of control, burned one hundred acres. The irony is that that man, Luke Goodrich, was the fire chief of the city of San Jose, California, when that happened.
Or it's like the medical student that I read about. He said he was a doctor, but he was a third year medical student. So he had the profession of being a doctor, but he had the practice of a third-year medical student. It caught up with him. He misprescribed things, wrong procedures, got him into trouble, and he was arrested.
So Paul is giving a spiritual spreadsheet. You've got the right profession, you've got the wrong practice. There is a church in Germany, Lubeck, Germany. It's a cathedral, Lutheran cathedral. In fact, it's on the most important historic city sites in Lubeck. And as you enter into this cathedral, there is an engraving I wanted to read to you. Imagine walking into church and reading this.
"Thus, speaketh Christ, our Lord, to us. You call Me Master and obey Me not. You call Me light, but you see Me not. You call Me the way but you walk Me not. You call Me the life, but you live Me not. You call Me wise, but you follow Me not. You call Me fair, but you love Me not. You call Me eternal, yet you seek Me not. You call Me noble, but you serve Me not. You call Me gracious, but you trust Me not. You call Me might, but you honor Me not. You call Me just, but you fear Me not. And so if I condemn you, then blame Me not."
Ouch, right? I feel that ouch when I read passages in the Bible. You ever get that? So there's a passage in Luke-- I love it, and I hate it. I love it because Jesus said it and it's true. I hate it because it's true. He said, why do you call Me Lord, Lord, but you don't do what I say? It's a good question. Very basic question to ask any disciple, any follower. Why do you say Lord? Good saying, but you don't do as I say.
You know, I've come to believe that Jesus has a lot of fans, but not as many followers as you might think. Oh, we like him in a Facebook kind of a way. We follow him in an Instagram kind of a way. But following him with the practice that matches the profession, not always. So that's in their deficit column, wrong practice.
Second, because of that, wrong prominence. They were known for the wrong thing. They had the wrong reputation. Verse 24. "For"-- Notice the quotes after the words, so he's referring back to an Old Testament passage. A few of them actually, but summing it up. "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written."
I'll loosely translate that. A hypocrite gives God a bad name. A hypocrite gives God a black eye. The context here, he's talking to the Jewish person. For a Jew to live differently than he preaches would make a non-Jew, a Gentile, dismiss the claims of the Jew. Why should I proselytize into your religion and be a part of this culture when you live this way differently than what you speak? That's the context in that verse.
So he's quoting the Old Testament passage-- now this sounds very similar-- you'll recognize this-- to when Nathan the prophet went to David, who had committed adultery with Bathsheba and didn't confess it. Nathan came and pointed his prophet finger at him, poked him in the chest, and said, you're the guy. You sinned before God.
So David cries, confesses his sins. Nathan the prophet said to him, the Lord also has put away your sin and you will not die, but because of this-- listen to this-- because of this, you have given great occasion for the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. David, you're the head of God's people and you did this, so enemies of God will point the finger and say, look at that guy, and they will blaspheme because of what you did.
When a believer falls into sin, his witness is ruined, and God's name is sullied. And the world will then justifiably ridicule us. They will think or say, you always tell me to repent. Why should I? You didn't. So that that's what I mean by the wrong prominence. You're being known for the wrong thing.
So you have the wrong practice, which brings the wrong prominence, and it's all because of a third deficit. It's all because of a wrong perspective. Here's the crux of it, verse 25. "For circumcision-- I'll get to that in a moment-- for circumcision is indeed profitable, valuable, of good gain, if you keep the law. But if you're a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision." Means nothing.
"Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law."
OK, now, circumcision was an outward sign of an inward change. Eight-day old Jewish male was circumcised, cut away the foreskin of his flesh. It was a sign of commitment to God, sign of a covenant. An outward sign of an inward change.
Here's the deal-- the ritual circumcision pointed to a reality, the reality being, I follow God. That's the reality. I'm a God follower. So if I'm a God follower, I signify that by a ritual. Here's the ritual, it points to the reality, I follow God.
Now, if you have the ritual circumcision that points to the reality, I follow God, but you don't follow God, all you have is a empty ritual. Means nothing. Might as well not do it. There is no value in it. It's only valuable if you follow God. What happened is they began to view the ritual of circumcision as sort of a magic charm, an insurance policy, if you will, against God's wrath.
In fact, some of the rabbis developed sayings about the ritual of circumcision. I want you to hear a couple of them. Number one, they said, and I quote, "circumcised men do not descend into Gehenna." Gehenna's another word for hell. And a second saying, "circumcision will deliver Israel from Gehenna." In other words, only thing you need to do to keep herself out of hell is go through the ritual of circumcision. Just get that little thing done, you're good to go. That's all you have to do.
So the ceremony became a substitute for obedience. They weren't following God. They had the rituals that, I'm following God, but they weren't following. It was just an empty ritual. Why do it? Empty, meaningless. That's the meaning of verse 25, "for circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law. But if you're a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncricumcision."
And this is why God, when He gave the law of circumcision in the Old Testament, He said in that same Old Testament, in the same Torah, Deuteronomy 10, here's God speaking-- "circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer." I don't want just the ritual. I want the reality with the ritual. I want the heart in it. I want the spirit in it. I want you all in, not just going through the ritual.
It's sort of like a ring, I have a wedding ring. You can put it this way-- your ring is honorable, as long as you're faithful. But when you're unfaithful to your spouse, now it's just a piece of metal. It becomes meaningless. It loses its profit, its meaning. Wearing a ring doesn't make you married, but if you wear a ring, you assume someone is married. And in that assumption, you assume they're faithful in their marriage.
But what's outward may not always be what's inward. And Paul differentiates between that, in verse 28, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly nor is the circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter."
In 1922, Howard Carter, a British archaeologist, made a discovery. It was one of the greatest discoveries, archeologically, in history. He found the tomb of King Tut. You've seen pictures or, if you've been to the museums, when it's been on parade, you've seen, some of you, the tomb of King Tut. Amazing.
When they brought to him, or when he found, that great burial case, the sarcophagus of King Tut-- it was enormous. It was ornate stone and decorations, gold, gems. When they opened the lid of the sarcophagus, they found within it another casket. And it was gold leaf, I think, over wood-- I may be mistaken, but it was gold leaf hammered over this casket. They opened that one up.
They found yet a third casket-- this time, of solid gold. Imagine that. . That's on display in the museums. They open that one. And they found a gold robe of sorts, wrapped around the body with that burial mask-- that's that magnificent burial mask you've seen pictures of of King Tut over that gold robe over his face. All of that.
When they took the mask off, they took the robe off, you know what was under there? A leathery, withered, wrinkled, old, dead guy. But he sure looked good before they got down to that level. Think you get my drift. When we wear masks-- that's what a hypocrite is, one who wears a mask-- we can do a lot of things, smoke and mirrors, to look really great, but who we really are-- there may not really be life under all that.
And what Paul is writing about in regards to circumcision could certainly be said of baptism and being a Christian. If you go get baptized, but your heart isn't in it, you just got wet. Congratulations, I hope you're refreshed. That feel good? Towel off now, had a good day. But it means nothing at all. Your baptism is useless, unless your heart's in it.
And so you could write, for he is not a Christian who is one outwardly nor is that church membership or church attendance or baptism, that which is outward in the flesh, but he is a Christian who is one inwardly, and this church membership, church attendance, baptism, is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in letter.
So Paul, as the auditor, said, assets, got a lot of good stuff going for you. Deficits-- got the wrong practice, you're known for the wrong things. That's because you have the wrong perspective. For you, it's all outward, but there's death underneath.
Let's close by looking at the last part of the last verse. This is the third, and that is the net appraisal. I'm going to read all of verse 29, indulge me. "But he is a Jew who is one outwardly and circumcision is that of the heart in the spirit, not in the letter"-- here it is-- "whose praise"-- or you could translate that, honor-- "whose praise or honor is not from men, but from God."
The only one you need approval from for your life is the one who matters most, and that's God. In the end, He's the only one who judges according to truth, we're told at the beginning part of this chapter. He sees it all, He knows it all, we covered that. In the end, He is either going to approve or disapprove of your life. So who you are, whoever you really are, matters most before God because He knows you really well.
So in the end, it doesn't matter what your friends think, it doesn't matter what your parents think, doesn't matter what your kids think, doesn't matter what your spouse thinks, it does not matter what your pastor thinks. What matters is what God thinks. He's the one who's going to approve and honor and praise. It's a play on words, I think. Jew, Judah means praise, and so he ends with that thought-- "whose praise is not from men, but from God." I love how he ties that together.
So in summing up Romans 1 and 2 so far, Romans 1 says, no one is so bad that he can't be saved. Romans 2 says, no one is so good that he doesn't need to be saved. He's saying all y'all, whether you're the raunchy crowd or the religious crowd or the self-righteous hypocritical crowd, y'all need the same thing. You all need the same thing and that is God's grace. So if you're making the right speech but missing the right stuff, you won't be approved.
Think of the shock of so many people in the end of days standing before God at the Great White Throne Judgment. First of all, shocked that they're even there-- and Jesus said, "many will say to Me on that day, Lord"-- they know his title-- "did we not prophesy in your name"--" they worked for him-- and in your name, cast out demons and performed miracles." They did powerful things in his name. "And I will say to them, I never knew you." Ouch. Depart from me you who work iniquity. Lord! I don't know you. Who are you?
But pivot from that thought and now think of the sheer joy for those who simply believed and trusted and followed from the heart. It was real to them. It wasn't a Sunday thing, put on the King Tut mask and look regal, but it was real. And God will audit them, and they'll pass with flying colors, that audit, and God will honor them. In the end, that's all the counts, the final appraisal is before Him.
So one of my favorite stories is a group of musicians who used to travel Europe years ago, and things were getting hard. They would travel and they'd play in like little dinner clubs, you know, people would eat their dinner and they would sing and dance. But times were hard in Europe at the time, and less and less people were coming out to see them perform, and they weren't buying their tickets. They weren't supporting them.
And so one evening, before their show, one very discouraged member of that group addressed the group and said, let's just quit. Let's stop. Nobody's coming out to see us. They don't have the money to pay, and look outside, it's starting to snow. You think people are going to weather that to come see us? I doubt it. You may have two or three show up. Why even do this? Let's just stop, let's quit.
One of the older members of the group said, no, we made a commitment. We have a responsibility. Let's do it. If this is our last show, let's make it our best. So he encouraged them and so they went out, one last show. And they did better than ever. It's a good thing.
It's a good thing because when it was all done and the people laughed and the doors were closed, one of the young members of that musical group had a note in his hand. He was so excited. Listen to this. And he opened it up before the others and said, here's what the note reads, "thank you for a beautiful performance", and it was signed, your King.
The King, their King, had been traveling through that area and happened to be in that room that night to hear them and was delighted with our performance. And everybody else's ill opinion didn't matter at that moment. The King liked it. In the end, your King will sign off on your life as approved, praiseworthy, noble, honorable, or not. That's the net appraisal.
So don't be don't be whitewashed. Be washed white with the blood of Jesus Christ, His son. Let's pray together. Father, Paul had guts in writing the words that he wrote in these few chapters that we have looked at so far. As he plummets people down to the reality of all life on the same level, despite education or gender or race or culture, we're all in need, great need, of Your great Grace.
Lord, I'm praying that this message will touch the heart of the unbeliever, that it will rectify the heart of the hypocrite, all of us, self-included, the one behind this pulpit. We've been hypocritical in our lives, and we struggle with things. You know about that. You don't expect perfection, we know that, but You do expect obedience and a commitment. So I pray, Lord if we've been toying, if we've been playing in the fringes, that we would be straightened in our walk with You.
Pray for anybody who doesn't know You or has been uncovered today in the sense that they realize who they are before God and they realize they need Him, and they're humble enough, willing enough to say save me, Lord. Save me, Lord.
Maybe I'm addressing some of you who feel that way. If I am, if you're willing at this moment to give your life to Christ, to turn to him, our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed. I will leave mine open to acknowledge you.
But if you are willing and you are ready to give your life to Christ, turn your life over to Him, or to come back to Him, maybe you've been running away and you've been living a hypocritical duplicitous life and you're ready just to get right with God, in this place, among this spiritual family, would you just raise your hand up in the air.
I'll see you, I'll acknowledge you, and then you can put it down. Just keep it up for a moment. God bless you. Right in the middle. Anyone else? Raise your hand. On the left and on the left, couple of you over here. Anyone else? Just slip that hand up, raise your-- right there in the middle to my right. In the back.
In Jesus' name, Father, we thank You for these. We pray You'll strengthen them for Your glory. It's in His name we pray, Amen. Let's all stand, shall we? Hey, let's do this and let's do it quickly. If you raised your hand, no matter where you're seated, I'm going to ask you quickly-- because we want to encourage you now. You raised the hand for the right reason.
Would you get up and come as we sing this final song. I'm going to have you stand up here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Let's just do business with God authentically right here, right now, shall we? Get up and come.
In just a moment, come and stand right up here in front.
Come and see--
Come and live forever. Life everlasting. Strength for today. Taste the living water And never thirst again.
Real quickly, you might be outside, we have a pastor outside. If you raised your hand, they'll bring you this way. If you're in the family room, you can come through those doors. If you're in the middle of an aisle, you're going to say, excuse me.
Trust me, we've been through this drill. You will part the Red Sea, we like to say, in your aisle. People just hoo-- get out of your way and make room for you and honor you in that way, so that you can do it. If you're in the back, please make your way forward. I saw a few other hands go up. We'll just wait a moment.
This is your day. Seize the day. Now's the time.
Strength for today. Taste the living water. And never thirst again.
Those of you who have come forward, it's my honor to lead you in a prayer. What I'm going to ask you to do is I'm going to pray out loud, and I'm going to ask you to say these words out loud after me. OK, just mean them from your heart as you say them.
Say Lord, I give you my life. I know that I am a sinner, please forgive me. I believe in Jesus that he came from heaven to earth, that he died on a cross, that he shed his blood for me, and that he rose again. I turn from my past. I repent of my sin. I turn my life to Jesus. It's in His name I pray, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.