Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE FATALITY OF FEARLESSNESS”

Romans 3.15-18

 

What an amazing God we have who know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. Here we are, gathered in a little Church house on a Sunday evening, and we are about to contemplate some of the most profound truths known to man.

The direction I want us to go initially is toward mankind’s past. I want us to take a brief look at, not only mankind’s history but a specific facet of mankind’s history; war. What history of a people is not a history of their wars and conflicts with other people? And what period of peace wasn’t really a period in which one people was so much more powerful than the others that peace was imposed upon them, or peace was enjoyed because all of their surrounding enemies had been subdued? In the New World archaeological digs show us that among what were called the American Indians, or more commonly now the Native Americans, of both North and South America there was a virtually unbroken state of war since the continents were first inhabited. The real complaint of the Native American tribes of these two continents isn’t that European conquerors brought war because they most certainly did not bring bloodshed. Rather, their complaint was that European conquerors came from tribes that were so large and technologically superior that all opposition to them from the indigenous peoples was crushed. In Europe the same thing was true. The soil of Europe is nothing if it is not field after field of farmland that has been irrigated with the blood of both soldiers and peasants. Of late it’s been the Germans and the French and the British and the Austrians and Hungarians and the Poles and the Slavs and the Russians. But in millennia past it was the Germanic tribes and the Slavic tribes and the Anglo-Saxons and the Franks and the Celtics and the Norse. In Africa, the story is the same. Constant states of warfare existing among the various tribes for thousands of years. All of the great and notable tribes of Africa, the Zulu and the Masai, the Ibo, and others are all warrior tribes, expert in conquest and enslavement. And the present conflicts on that continent, both in the North and the South, are simply the result of more powerful tribes moving in and conquering the region North of the Sahara and the region of Africa’s Southern tip. Let me deal with all of Asia with just one example; the Indian subcontinent. You are aware of their main religion, which is Hinduism. It’s a religion in which there are numerous castes, or layers of society, with those above you supposedly being superior. But are you aware that each layer of that caste system represents warfare in which the conquerors imposed themselves upon those they defeated? And after so many bloody wars you have so many castes, with the highest caste being the most recent victors of bloody conflict, until the British came along and refused to impose themselves upon the others as the next caste.

Lest you think that such warmongering is the result of poor education and breeding, I remind you that the Golden Age of Greece, featuring Athens at the very pinnacle of her intellectual accomplishments and wealth, expanded her influence by waging war on those around her. Thus has it always been since the great Flood, be they Egyptians or Babylonians, Hittites or Assyrians, Persians or Macedonians.

Without a doubt the most bloodthirsty and murderous of the cutthroats not being the Vikings or the Huns or the Mongols, and even exceeding the communists and their 262 million dead in the 20th century, are the Arab Muslims. I urge you to visit a website, http://historyofjihad.org/sitemap.html, that provides fairly detailed histories of Islam’s genocidal jihad’s against Persians, against Byzantine, Coptic, and Armenian Christians, against pagan Berbers in North Africa, against Spaniards, against the French, against Sicilians, against Chinese, against Turks, against Mongols, against Hindus, against Poles, against Germans, against Rumanians, against Russians, against Bulgarians, against Serbs, Croats and Albanians, against Greeks, against Hungarians, against Austrians, against Filipinos, against Indonesians, against Thais, against Nigerians, and on it goes.

Folks, I don’t like it. I don’t approve of it. It’s sickening and wasteful of human resources and human life. But it’s a fact so observable that denying it is impossible to all but the willfully blind. Human beings are warlike. Mankind commits atrocities and does hurtful things to those who are weaker than he is. Some men even make war on their own wives and children. Then comes the Gospel and families are transformed. But the great Apostle Paul, and the God he served so faithfully, dealt not in the broad strokes of societal ills and problems of cultures so much as the problems and struggles of the individual man. Remember, a nation and society are always made up of individuals.

What is wrong with the world is determined by what’s wrong with nations. And what’s wrong with nations is determined by what’s wrong with her citizens. Let’s stand to read Romans 3.15-18, which are four statements showing us two sides of man’s incredibly wicked deeds: 

15  Their feet are swift to shed blood:

16  Destruction and misery are in their ways:

17  And the way of peace have they not known:

18  There is no fear of God before their eyes. 

Look at the two sides of man’s deeds so that we can understand what mankind’s root problem is: 

BY LOOKING AT THE ONE SIDE OF MAN’S DEEDS, WE SEE CONDUCT 

Notice the pace of our conduct, in verse 15: 

“Their feet are swift to shed blood.” 

This verse is a shortened paraphrase of Isaiah 59.7, which reads, 

“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood.” 

“Well, I don’t know, pastor. That verse quotes a passage written more than 2,700 years ago. I rather think that modern man has improved since then. We don’t run to shed blood anymore.” Do you read the papers or watch the evening news on TV? Do you have any idea what is going on in Chicago, in Detroit, in Paris, in Syria, in Nigeria, and in Central America? We live in a country where teenagers who are asked by their parents what they are doing with the shotgun will respond, “Me and Manny are going out for a drive-by, Mom.” We have youth gangs being franchised and spreading across America faster than El Pollo Loco. When I lived in Brawley, a jealous gang member drove all the way from Montebello to the Imperial Valley, where he cut his girlfriend in half with a blast from a sawed-off shotgun for walking down the street with another man. It turned out that other man was her cousin. And what about the children who are killed in school yards by teens who are attempting to shoot the school security officer? A security officer in the school yard? Some high schools in California come with police substations. Then there are the major universities that riot, set fire to buildings, and physically assault people for merely having different political views. And you tell me that mankind is getting better? This is before we consider the 262 million people who were killed in the 20th century by their own governments in non-combat deaths.[1] Then there are the almost 60 million children murdered by their mothers since 1973 in the United States, with 18 million of them being Black babies.[2] Civil rights race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton still support Planned Parenthood. Give me Dr. Ben Carson and NFL great Jim Brown every time. Would you now dispute the Apostle Paul’s contention that 

“Their feet are swift to shed blood”? 

But it isn’t just the pace of our conduct. It’s the purpose of our conduct, as well. 

“swift to shed blood.” 

We like our entertainment gory, don’t we? My how we Christians deplore the sex and the profanity that’s prevalent in our society and on television. But when a guy, especially a hero figure, guns down forty-seven Russians, or 112 Viet Cong, or two dozen Indians, or when a Ninja sneaks up and executes two people in the darkness, or when Bruce Lee enters the dragon to karate chop 157 people with his eyes closed . . . it’s okay. How about the businessman who makes “a killing” in the market? How about the politician who allows a former ally to “twist slowly in the wind,” a reference to being lynched? How about the extracurricular violence that’s so popular in professional sports? You begin with the pretend violence of professional wrestling and end with the real violence of boxing and mixed martial arts. Then there were the Canadians complaining back in the day that the involvement of United States-based hockey teams in the NHL was reducing the violence by eliminating the gloves off bloody fist fights on the ice. Canadians have always been opposed to reducing the violence in hockey. They love blood on the ice. Our feet are swift to shed blood. And so characteristic is this of our nature that one psychologist opined that if a newborn infant had the physical capacity to vent his rage through a mature and coordinated physical body, instead of the uncoordinated and weak body he is born in, there isn’t a single child who wouldn’t be a mass murderer.

The pace of our conduct. The purpose of our conduct. Next, notice the path of our conduct. The pace is swift. The purpose is bloodshed. Now notice the trail along which man travels: 

“Destruction and misery are their ways.” 

“Destruction” translates one of the Greek picture words that suggests the mauling of flesh and the breaking and crunching of bones.[3] It’s the kind of thing that happens to a person who’s involved in a major automobile accident. It’s the kind of thing that happens to people who are caught in a war. How would you describe what happened to the people of Afghanistan when the Russians went in, or the people of Lebanon when the Syrians and the Israelis went in, or the Kuwaitis when the Iraqis went in, or anyone when the American military goes in? What happens to them is called “destruction.” The suffering that follows is called “misery.”

Let’s briefly summarize. In this journey called life Paul has described our pace of travel as a species. He’s described the purpose of the goal which we have. And he’s described the path along which we walk. Now let’s see what kind of relationships are enjoyed along the way. Verse 17 makes mention of the peace of our conduct: 

“And the way of peace have they not known.” 

We might not enjoy fussing and fighting, but we sure do a lot of it over the course of time, don’t we? We surely do. Perhaps it would be better for us to recognize that it is the losing of a fight that we really hate, not necessarily being so much opposed to a fight that we can win. And you may not be a person who experiences open hostility with others, but the absence of shots being fired does not indicate that peace has broken out. Rather, there has been a cessation of violence. Peace has not been what North and South Korea have experienced since 1952, but a cessation of violence while the state of war continues to exist. We live in a world of hassle and conflict, a universe of friction and collision. It is a world in which police officers are needed. It is a world in which jails and prisons are needed. It is a world in which armies, navies, and air forces are needed. It is a world in which children attempt to demand of teachers and even pastors how to perform their jobs and conduct their ministries. It’s not right. It’s not good. But this is the way the world is, which is because nations are the way they are, which is the result of people being the way we are. Take a look at mankind’s conduct. Would you say that the behavior of our species indicates that we are sold under sin? I think that is a safe conclusion to reach. Don’t you agree? How else do you explain the way some people treat those who have shown them nothing but love their entire lives? 

Now, LOOKING AT THE OTHER SIDE OF MAN’S CONDUCT, WE SEE THE CAUSE 

Why is it that we behave the way we do? Why is it that people kill people, with some of our species even killing their own helpless infants? And why is it that you don’t have to teach little kids to fight and fuss with each other on the playground? Verse 18 tells us: 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 

Here we see declared the fact of man’s fearlessness. Referring to Psalm 36.1, Paul is indicating that when a man or woman commits the kind of sin mentioned in Romans 3.15-17, when you or I do that which we know to be disrespectful and wicked, we are testifying to those around us that we do not fear God. The Lord Jesus Christ, remember, taught us that we are to fear God and not man. In Matthew 10.28 He said, 

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

We are to fear God and not Satan. We are to fear God and not other human beings. We are further taught in Scripture that fearing God causes us to depart from evil. 

“fear the LORD, and depart from evil,” 

Proverbs 3.7. And in Proverbs 16.6 we read, 

“by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” 

This verse, Romans 3.18, shows us that having no fear of God results in people committing sin with impunity. The fact is, then, that the reason people commit such sin as is described here is that they do not fear God. They do not fear the consequences of rebellion against Him. They do not fear His wrath.

But what about the folly of such fearlessness as this? The incredible stupidity of it? Ever notice those decals on car windows and stuck to the back windows of pickups? “No fear.” Above those words is usually a cartoon of a little kid with a frown on his face and his right fist clenched. The declaration of that decal is that the driver has no fear. What does the Bible say about the person who has no fear, the individual who does not fear God? Fear of the LORD is the beginning of both wisdom and understanding, Psalm 111.10 and Proverbs 1.7. Failing to fear God, then, is a demonstration of both ignorance and foolishness. Ignorance as to being uninformed of God’s pent-up wrath that will be poured upon them who know Him not. Foolishness as being the condition of someone who thinks he will stand in the face of such a judgment as this. 

War.

Crime in the streets.

Domestic violence.

Infanticide.

Disrespectful behavior toward parents.

We have seen the conduct, described in Romans 3.15-17, and we have seen the cause, in verse 18: 

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 

Is Paul correct? Is it true that we are all under sin, Romans 3.9? Our relationship with God, as discussed by Paul in Romans 3.10-12, our speech, as discussed by Paul in Romans 3.13-14, and our deeds, which we have just examined, show that Paul is indeed correct. You, I, and all of mankind, are under sin. And so pervasive is this thing called sin which afflicts us, so complete is its domination of us, so effectively does it distort and pervert our perceptions of reality, that we almost always fail to see how hopelessly sinful we are. How then can we be delivered from this sin which damns men’s souls to Hell? However, it’s done it must be done by one who is not under the same condemnation as we are under. It must be accomplished by one who is not affected or influenced by the horror of sin as we are.

I know of only One who fits this description. Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, born of a virgin named Mary. Only He, tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin, can deliver us.

__________

[1] http://reason.com/archives/2014/05/15/be-antigovernment-and-proud 2/14/2014

[2] http://www.numberofabortions.com/ 2/14/2017

[3] Fritz Rienecker & Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, 1980), page 355.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org