“WHAT GOD COMMANDS YOU TO DO”
1. Turn in your Bible to Romans 10.16. And when you find that verse in God’s Word, stand and silently read with me the first sentence in that verse: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel.”
2. One of the most important books in the Bible, Romans was written by the apostle Paul to the Christian community in the city of Rome, which was the political and military center of the world at that time.
3. Romans was a letter written to explain Paul’s beliefs and practices to Christians he did not know and, therefore, had not personally evangelized.
4. But his desire being to take the Gospel to Spain, Paul wanted to move his base of operations from his home Church in Antioch far to the west, to Rome, to use that city as a base and a hub of his missionary activity.
5. Romans, then, is Paul’s effort to persuade the Roman Christians to cooperate with him by declaring to them where he stood on such important issues as sin, salvation, and service, from both a theological perspective and a practical perspective, also anticipating their concerns about God’s covenant people, the Jews.
6. In our text, Paul refers to those unsaved people who have heard, but who have not responded to, Gospel preaching. The sentence that we have read describes you. It is the apostle Paul, writing to the Roman Christians, describing your actions, or the actions of people who behaved just like you’ve behaved.
7. Unless this is the first service to which you have come to the Baptist Tabernacle you have already heard the Gospel. The pastor of this Church is a Gospel preacher. Therefore, if you are not a Christian you are one who has not “obeyed the gospel.”
8. But there are two groups of unconverted people here tonight. There are those of you unsaved people who are relatively new, and there are those of you unsaved people who have been here most, if not all, of your lives.
9. To this second group I am not preaching. You have heard many sermons, and many of my sermons. You clearly understand what the will of God is, yet you stubbornly refuse to obey the Gospel by coming to Christ. Your refusal for so long in the past is a strong indication what your response in the future will continue to be. It is unlikely that you will ever be converted.
10. I think this will be, as I showed clearly last night, because you refuse to see yourself as a sinner in the sight of God. And this was illustrated against last night in the inquiry room. No awakening. No real concern. No alarm. And no heart’s awareness of yourself as a sinner. Just as I predicted.
11. So I preach again, tonight, to you who are in the first group. Unlike those wicked children who have grown up in this Church and who refuse to obey God, you know what it’s like to live outside the Church. You know how lonely it is out there in an uncaring and unloving world. And you have come to this Church because there is something here that is missing out there.
12. I once read of an incident reported more than a hundred years ago. It seems that a pastor in Chicago watched a little boy walk past his Church building every Sunday morning, braving the cold and windy winter of Chicago. After several weeks of this the pastor asked the little boy where he was going.
13. The little boy told the pastor that he was going to Mr. Moody’s Church, which happened to be quite a ways farther. When the pastor asked the boy why he went to Moody’s Church and didn’t turn in to his Church, the boy responded that there they “know how to love a fellow.”
14. I suspect that you are here because you have sensed that at the Baptist Tabernacle they know how to love a fellow. But now that you are here, there is something you need to know further. Our text implies three things you need to know, beyond the fact that at the Baptist Tabernacle they know how to love a fellow.
1A. First, You Need To Know WHO GOD IS
Everyone thinks he knows who God is, but let me tonight make sure. I think it’s important that I confine my remarks to Who God is morally. That God is immense, that God is all powerful, that God is all knowing, that God is wise, that God is the Creator, are truths that can be seen in nature. But nature is not a sufficient revelation of God to mankind, therefore God gave to us His Word. Not even God’s Word is the complete revelation of God to mankind, however, which is the reason He sent His Son, Jesus. But in God’s Word are astonishing details about this one true and living God, Creator of the universe and all that herein is. This evening I will point out from the trustworthy Bible but two of God’s moral attributes, those moral qualities which comprise His being which you need to know.
1B. First, He is the One Who is holy.
1C. Holiness, as the word applies to God, has to do with absolute and perfect moral purity. I think it is accurate to say that neither you nor I have a real grasp of God’s holiness. But we get some idea of God’s holiness by observing one who found himself in the very presence of our holy God.
2C. I read from Isaiah 6.1-5 what happened to the prophet Isaiah:
1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the L ORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the L ORD of hosts.
3C. So you see, God’s holiness is the opposite of man’s filth. So clean is God, regarding this matter of holiness, that it’s frightening when the veil is pulled back and a man can see it, even when that man is a prophet of God. Indeed, so clean is God, regarding this matter of holiness, that Job 15.15 declares, “the heavens are not clean in his sight.”
4C. You may think you know about God. But you may have never even considered God’s holiness, that moral attribute that is responsible for the writer of Hebrews saying, in Hebrews 12.29, that “our God is a consuming fire.” God is holy, holy, holy.
2B. As well, God is the One Who is just.
1C. Deuteronomy 32.4 declares to us, “just and right is he.” In Job 37.23 we read, “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice.” In Psalm 89.14 the psalmist tells us that “Justice and judgment are the habitation of” His throne.
2C. But what does it mean to be just? The Puritan, Thomas Watson, comments that “Justice is to give every one his due.” Would you like that from God? Do you want from God what you deserve? That’s what justice is, after all. Allow me to read more of what Watson wrote about God’s justice:
 God cannot but be just. His holiness is the cause of his justice. Holiness will not suffer him to do anything but what is righteous. He can no more be unjust than he can be unholy.
 God’s will is the supreme rule of justice; it is the standard of equity. . . God wills nothing but what is just; and therefore it is just because he wills it.
 God does justice voluntarily. Justice flows from his nature. Men may act unjustly, because they are bribed or forced: God will not be bribed, because of his justice; he cannot be forced, because of his power. Psa 45:7. ‘Thou lovest righteousness.’
 Justice is the perfection of the divine nature. He is not only just, but justice itself.
 God never did nor can do the least wrong to his creatures. God’s justice has been wronged, but never did any wrong. . . He might inflict heavier penalties than he does. ‘Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve.’ Ezra 9:13. Our mercies are more than we deserve, and our punishments less.
 God’s justice is such that it is not fit for any man . . . to . . . demand a reason of his actions. God has not only authority on his side, but equity. Rom 11:33. ‘How unsearchable are his judgements!’ We are to adore God’s justice, . . .
3B. Now, what do these two moral attributes of God mean? They mean that God is a being of absolute moral purity, Who is bound by His Own nature to do that which is right and proper. Titus 1.2 reads “God, that cannot lie.” Neither can He do anything else that is wrong, because He is holy and because He is just. Moreover, because God is holy and just, He also must do that which is right.
4B. This is the God with whom we have to do, Hebrews 4.13. Know this about Him, that He is holy and that He is just.
2A. Know, Also, WHAT YOU HAVE DONE AGAINST HIM
You have done God wrong, you know. You have offended Him terribly. You have struck against Him. And you have done this in two ways:
1B. First, as a result of what you do.
1C. I say, “a result of what you do” because you are a sinner, like every other man or woman. “All have sinned,” Romans 3.23. But perhaps you do not recognize what you do when you sin, when you lie and cheat and steal and love others more than you love God. Or when, as Paul mentions in Romans chapter 1, you are unthankful, immoral, greedy, envious, argumentative, deceitful, sneaky, proud, when you talk behind people’s backs, when you are disobedient to your parents, and so on.
2C. First John 3.4 declares that “sin is the transgression of the law.” In other words, God has set boundaries for His creatures, for you. When you overstep that boundary you commit a sin, and you do so for no good reason. There is never a good reason for committing a sin. That’s why, so oftentimes, when someone asks “Why did you do that?” the answer you give is “I don’t know.” That’s a lie, of course. The reason the sinner says “I don’t know” is because the reason for committing the sin was not a good reason, was a stupid reason, was a selfish reason, was a ridiculous reason. There is no good reason to commit a sin, any sin.
3C. When you commit a sin you have defiled yourself, as we read in Isaiah’s confession. When you sin you also grieve God. When you sin you rebel against God and walk contrary to Him. When you sin you behave unkindly toward the One Who has blessed you with life and health and opportunity. Sin is a spiritual disease. “The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” because of it, Isaiah 1.5. Sin is an irrational thing, making a man act not only wickedly, but foolishly. Imagine being an enemy of the omnipotent God. Sin is also a painful thing, costing much heartache and anguish in the future for what is hoped to be momentary pleasure.
4C. In short, God is holy and sins are unholy. God is just and sins are unjust. God is good and sins are evil. Whenever you think something wrong, whenever you say something wrong, whenever you do something wrong, whenever you do not think something right, whenever you do not say something right, whenever you do not do something right . . . you commit a sin against God. It’s either a sin of commission, by what you do, or a sin of omission, by what you fail to do.
5C. You began committing sins when you were born (Psalm 58.3: “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”), and you will never stop committing sins. Perhaps you will forget many of the sins that you commit, but God does not forget them. He writes them down in the books, where they will be kept on record forever, Revelation 20.12.
2B. But as sinful as your deeds are, and as aggravating to God as they are, your sins are not all of it. You also sin against God because of what you are. You’ve perhaps heard the question, “Why do good people do bad things?” The answer, of course, is that they don’t. There’s no such thing as a really good person. Only God is good.
1C. You see, just as a dog does not become a dog by barking, so a sinner does not become a sinner by committing a sin. The dog barks because it is a dog. The sinner commits sins because you are a sinner. Only Adam and Eve ever became sinners by sinning. Everyone since them were born sinful, with your nature being the source of your sinful deeds. “The devil made me do it.” You don’t need any devil to incite you to commit sins. You are perfectly capable of that all by yourself. It just comes naturally to you.
2C. So you see, it’s not only those things that you do which so grievously offends God, but what you are. You are a sinner. You just being you is offensive to God. Your deeds are against God because your nature is inclined against Him.
3C. Say something happened before your birth and you were rendered incapable of acting out deeds of sin against God. You would still be responsible for a heart that is inclined against Him. Hebrews 3.12 refers to an “evil heart of unbelief.” And in Matthew 15.9, Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
3B. Is it no wonder that God is angry at you? He blesses you, yet you ignore Him, with some of you even challenging His very existence. He watches over you with providential watch care, yet you are ungrateful. He has showed kindness toward you and long-suffering, and you take it for granted as if He owes it to you. He is the most lovely of all beings, He is love, yet you will not love Him as He has commanded. You choose, rather, to love someone who is foul and wretched and nasty. You choose to love yourself.
3A. Who God Is. What You Have Done Against Him (and continue to do). I Conclude With HOW YOU MUST PAY
Since God is holy, any sin against His august majesty is a crime of the worst nature. Each and every sin you commit against God is a sin that is infinite in its criminality. And since God is just, He is compelled by His magnificent nature to deal justly with criminals, with the wicked, with those who have sinned against Him. That means God must deal with you. In Second Timothy 2.13, Paul writes, “he cannot deny himself,” meaning God cannot act contrary to His nature. He is utterly consistent with His nature. What does this mean? It means, God is going to get you.
1B. You must pay in person for the sins you’ve committed against God.
1C. Romans 12.19: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Ezekiel 18.20: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Romans 6.23: “For the wages of sin is death.” And these are general statements concerning the future of each and every sinner.
2C. What about specific statements concerning God’s punishment for specific sins? Second Thessalonians 1.7-9: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”
3C. Hold on for a moment. “. . . that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Isn’t that where we started, in Romans 10.16, with Paul’s description of you, the person who has heard the Gospel, but who has not yet been converted?
4C. Here’s another verse; Revelation 21.8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” But isn’t an unbelieving person a person who has not obeyed the Gospel? So, this verse speaks to you, as well.
5C. Here is what most sinners do not want to deal with: When you sin against God (and you are by nature inclined against God, so you do constantly sin against Him) you commit crimes of unimaginable seriousness. Your sins are rightly described as infinite sins. And justice demands that the punishment be related to the seriousness of the crime. So, since your crimes against God, your sins against His holiness, are infinitely serious, it is necessary that your punishment be infinitely serious in order that it be just and proper. This will require that you be punished in the lake of fire for all eternity, the just punishment for sins of infinite wrongness.
6C. To put it another way, when a crime is committed against God someone’s got to pay for that crime. You sin, therefore you pay. It’s your crime, so judgment must fall upon you. After all, you have no right to expect someone else to pay for your crime, do you?
7C. And even if you could keep your promise to never sin again, what about all those sins recorded in God’s books in heaven? What about all those crimes you’ve already committed against God? Surely you will admit that justice requires punishment for the sins you’ve already committed. Amen?
2B. You must pay in person for the sins you’ve committed against God . . . or you must pay by means of a Substitute.
1C. Before the Lord Jesus Christ was ever born, before He ever suffered and bled and died on the cross, the angel said, “he shall save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1.21.
2C. After Jesus had died on the cross, after He was buried, after He rose from the dead, and after He ascended to His Father’s right hand in heaven, Simon Peter explained precisely what He had done, in First Peter 3.18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
3C. And when Jesus, the Substitute God has provided, satisfies God’s just demand that payment be made for your sins, He washes your sins out of God’s books with His Own precious blood. If Jesus is your Savior then “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin,” First John 1.7. And when that happens, God declares “their sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” Hebrews 10.17.
1. God is so holy that He is frightening to even His most devoted and saintly servants. The angels in heaven must shield their eyes from Him. Yet you casually sin against Him both consciously and unconsciously, and have done so since you were born.
2. So hard and callused is your heart and conscience that sinning against God only bothers you when the finger of accusation is leveled against you. Only when you are pointed out as a criminal do your sins bother you.
3. Yet, whether sinning against God bothers you or not, you will still have to pay for your sins. And you will spend eternity paying for your sins, because the wages of sin is death, spiritual death, eternal death, fiery death.
4. Imagine the loneliness, the isolation, the blackness, the agonizing pain, the guilt, the regret, the gnashing of teeth, the thirst, and the terror. Yes, the terror. Always the terror. And all of it completely deserved for your sins against God, because someone has to pay for the crime. So, why not the criminal? Why not you?
5. But those who come to Christ have a divine Provision, a God-sent Substitute, Who took upon Himself their sins and suffered the penalty for their crimes. As Peter wrote, “The Just for unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
6. What does God command you to do? He commands you to obey the Gospel. And He so commands because someone has to pay for the sins committed against Him. And someone will pay. If you do not obey the Gospel you will pay for the sins you’ve committed against God, including that extra burden of having rejected God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. But if you will cast yourself upon Him, the Ark of salvation from the Flood of God’s wrath, He will save you from your sins, even washing them from God’s books with His Own blood. This Jesus will do if you will do what God commands you to do, obey the Gospel by coming to Jesus.