Man’s Downward Trend Away From God
January 29, 2023
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Review (Romans 1:18-29)
A. We are working our way through the Book of Romans, verse by verse, line by line
B. We are in a portion of Scripture that describes the downward trend of the human race away from God. What you are about to read is a description of modern men and women, who live dangerously, without care, further and further away from God!
1. Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
2. Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
3. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
4. Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
5. Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
6. Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
7. Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
8. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
9. Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
10. Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
11. Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
12. Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness…
a. People know God, and yet honour Him not as God, and are unthankful
b. They think they are so wise, yet live and think like “fools”
c. They attempt to change God into their own image - end up destroying themselves
d. They worship everything but God, and end up slaves to lusts and vile affections
e. They reap what they sow with diseases, and ultimately a reprobate mind
f. And the world becomes filled with all unrighteousness and sin, instead of godliness
C. THAT is the downward trend of mankind, and it has terrible consequences!
A. The downward trend begins with our Rejection of Him AS God (Romans 1:18-21)
1. Man’s downward trend begins not with murder or adultery but rejecting God
a. Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest [REVEALED] in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
2. Every person has some truth – enough truth, even though they live ungodly
3. Every person knows about God
a. Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God…
b. John 1:1-10 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
c. God put that knowledge of Himself in us
d. That doesn't mean that we're saved, but that we are aware of God
e. We know that He is there:
1) Our own conscience proves it
2) Creation proves it – needs a Creator
3) The Bible clearly declares it
4) The Holy Spirit is constantly showing them Himself
4. But Man Rejects God – turns AWAY from Him, mocks Him
a. Everyone knows about God, and His power and authority (His Godhead)
b. And yet they Hate God – they hate someone they claim is not there!
c. Are unable to thank God for anything!
d. And they reject God. Decide to not glorify him as God – “glorified him not as God”
5. Man thinks he is so wise (Romans 1:21,22)
a. Romans 1:21,22 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
b. With all our science and our technology and our human abilities
6. But God calls us fools
a. No man makes that decision without consequences
b. Becoming more and more vain – empty lives, empty minds
c. When anyone turns away from God, they will turn to vanity, to worthless feelings, worthless lives, worthless thoughts – Facebook, Social Media, TikTok, computer games, VR headsets, to robots, and AI
d. Hearts becoming darker and darker – more and more sinister and evil
e. And ending up as fools!
B. Mankind Starts Changing His View of God (Romans 1:23,24)
1. Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
2. God is who He is, whether we like it or not
a. Isaiah 46:9,10 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure
b. Psalm 107:31 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
3. If we don't like God, and don't want to worship him as God, WE CHANGE GOD
a. Like we change a channel on the TV or we flip through our social media pages, or we change our outfits, or we change our hairstyle…
b. People make a god more to their liking, More popular, More relevant, More like us
4. And they try and change the invisible God into an image of what they CAN see
a. It really is a bad thing when people make an idol to worship, instead of God
1) What are they doing?
2) Creating a god they can control and manipulate – that needs THEM
3) Creating a god that they can understand – that makes sense to them
4) THAT is why people have started believing that we are all in a big computer simulation – because THAT is easier to understand and believe than an all powerful all holy God being the Creator and Sustainer of this universe!
5) Creating something they can make money from – by selling the worship!
b. And they never stop
1) Romans 1:23 And changed … into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
2) When a person changes God into an idol, they never stop, and the images and the creations of the imagination go from worshipping man (Greeks) all the way down to worshipping creeping things and bugs (Egyptians).
3) The imagination becomes more and more distorted from worshipping God as an infinite spirit that is invisible, into creating a god of our own imagination that is small and limited!
4) Thor the god of thunder, Neptune of the ocean, Mars of war, Aphrodite of sex
5) All are small gods, made up by men, to replace one all powerful God!
c. God hates idolatry!
d. EXAMPLE: When a man makes an image (statue, picture, painting) of his wife or any other woman, and loves IT more than the real her, it is called PORN!
5. If we try and change God, we end up ruining ourselves – dishonouring our own body (Romans 1:23,24)
a. Romans 1:23,24 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
b. Uncleanness means filthy, unhealthy
1) Filthy words - Filthy acts - Filthy thoughts
2) When someone says, “I hate myself”, We say that is an unhealthy view of themselves. It is unclean words and unclean thoughts.
c. When you reject who God is, and try and change God…
1) It changes your understanding of yourself – you no longer are a special creation of God, created in His image
2) You are only an animal, with animal urges
3) And so you start doing whatever you feel like doing – like a dog, or a rat!
4) And so you start smoking, drinking, and become LAZY
5) Driven by lusts - Doing only what FEELS good!
d. So, When people abandon God for lustful desires, God gives them up to those desires… and that is NOT a good thing.
e. You will arrive at the same conclusions that Joseph Stalin arrived at, and Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse Tung, Charles Darwin, and Ted Turner (started CNN)… That man is only an animal, and needs to be managed, culled, sterilised, aborted, euthanised from time to time to keep the planet healthy!
C. They Changed the Truth of God into a Lie (Romans 1:25-27)
1. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
2. To “change the truth” means that they already know what the truth is
a. They have creation, and all of nature screaming at them that it was NOT an accident that made this universe, but that everything is DESIGNED
b. People are born with EYES and a couple of brain cells – they can tell how babies are made, and how marriage should work!
c. People are born with a conscience – a basic moral compass that tells them when to be ashamed, and how to feel guilty when they do wrong
3. When people change the truth, they deny all the evidences God gave them He is there
a. And they end up worshiping creation instead of the Creator
b. They worship things instead of the giver of LIFE
4. And their worship (affections) becomes VILE (Romans 1:26,27)
a. Romans 1:26,27 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
b. Vile affections are things that are NOT beautiful, but vile, obscene, perverse, repulsive
c. God lets people become attracted to repulsive things, Like:
1) Women doing things that are unnatural
a) Perverted sex is not just a man thing!
b) I know they talk about Harry Weinstein, and they talk about all the male abusers (and there are a boatload of them)
c) But women pervert themselves as well – do unnatural things with their bodies, damaging things, things that leave them unable to get pregnant
d) God designed the natural use of the woman and her body
e) Perverted women change their own natural design into a lie
f) The truth is, lesbians are contrary to nature
2) And men reject women, BURNING in their lusts toward other men
a) Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
b) Perverted men change their own natural design into a lie
c) Men with men are contrary to nature - Unnatural
3) Doing things that are unseemly
a) Now, that's a powerful Bible word – it protects the young reader (unlike modern education)
b) It simply means men do things with other men that are not fit to be seen
c) So, There are things that people do, that men do, that women do, that should never be watched on a screen
d) Ephesians 5:11,12 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
d. So, the natural drives that people have towards the opposite sex Have become evil, and same sex is good! (Isaiah 5:20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness
1) No one is born as sodomite – you have to be abused and taught to become one
2) God designed sex and the human body to be wholesome and right within the boundaries of marriage and the home
3) It used to be that a young man wanted to be married at a young age
4) That a young lady wanted to be a wife
5) Now all a young man wants is sex at a young age
5. Changing Truth About God Results in a Recompense – a judgment (Romans 1:27)
a. Homosexuality is not only unnatural, but destructive
b. All sin is destructive, but especially homosexuality
c. Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet [FITTING].
d. It results in a judgment by God. Something they've earned
1) These are only reaping what they sow - “receiving IN themselves that recompense of their error”
2) This is the very reason for why God removed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah from the face of the earth!
3) The recompence is called AIDS / HIV – almost 100% of all AIDS affects homosexuals and needle sharing addicts
4) The recompence is called Monkeypox – 99% of all affected by monkeypox are homosexuals
5) The recompence is called STD’s - sexually transmitted diseases.
6) And it is a miserable life they are trying to live!
a) Anybody who ever has dealt with people who claim to be gay have found them to usually be the most unhappy people
b) Unfulfilled, angry, lonely, demanding attention, (see all the TikToks), suicidal, and blaming all of their problems on straits.
e. The recompense of the homosexual lifestyle is fitting
1) It fits the crime because THESE ACTS ARE SIN - These perversions are sins.
2) Maybe you don't like that word. Probably we don't like that truth.
3) Maybe it's because we're afraid that your children will become homosexual.
4) Maybe you’re worried that your best friends are homosexual.
5) Maybe you’re afraid of being embarrassed
6) But I am more afraid of losing ANOTHER generation to these sins!
7) Matthew 1:21 says Jesus came to save us FROM our sin. To free us from this downward trend! Not leave us as we are!
6. But the judgment of God gets worse, the further man goes away from God
D. When People Abandon God, God Will Abandon Them (Romans 1:28,29)
1. Romans 1:28,29 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness…
2. Everybody is worried about God abandoning us … “Where is God?”
a. I've heard the phrase where someone will say “This godforsaken place…”
b. Well, I think the truth is this place forsook God a long time ago!
3. The real question is, WHERE ARE WE? How far are we away from God?
4. What does it mean that people abandon God?
a. They no longer seek to know him. They don't want to understand him
b. It means, they “moved on” and don’t care anymore
1) It is like many modern Catholics and Protestants are like - they really don't want to know God as He IS
2) So modern humanity has decided to judge God, reject Him and then move on.
c. So, when people do not want to keep God around, God leaves (Cf Rev 3:20).
E. A Reprobate Mind Is All That is Left (Romans 1:28,29)
1. Romans 1:28,29 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness…
2. A reprobate mind is a mind that is FULL of sin “Being filled with all unrighteousness”
3. A reprobate mind is a mind that is COMFORTABLE in sin
a. It means it's unfit, unstable, it is completely broken
b. Rejected, because it is unsalvageable (Jeremiah 6:30) Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.
c. Because it is ruined/corrupt (2Timothy 3:8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
d. Reprobate minds have no conscience anymore – burned out because of ignoring shame and guilt and the knowledge of right and wrong
e. EXAMPLE: It is like a wheel axle on your car. The axle is what holds up the front or the back end on the wheels, and if that axle gets broken, you can't put duct tape on it. It has to be replaced. It is reprobate. It must be thrown away
4. And a reprobate mind HATES life - does things that are not convenient – beneficial
a. It is not easy being queer! That’s why they want everyone to help them!
b. The way of the transgressor, the law breaker is hard.
5. But you ought to be very afraid of going down this path of becoming comfortable with sin, becoming comfortable with rejecting God, being comfortable with arguing the pastor on a Sunday morning as he preaches. Being comfortable with arguing against what the Holy Spirit is revealing to you and trying to humble you with when you constantly reject and resist and fight against the Holy Spirit of God. When you constantly do that, it becomes harder and harder to get right with God.
F. Now let me stop here and say, with God, all things are possible! (Matthew 19:25,26)
1. Matthew 19:25,26 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
2. Usually, if somebody has a reprobate mind, they're not going to get saved
3. But then again, according to 1Corinthians 6, thankfully the worst sinners still do!
a. 1Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
b. There is no sin that Jesus did not free a man from when he died on the cross!
4. Making something illegal doesn’t change people
5. Being more religious doesn’t change people
6. Only Jesus IN YOU can change you
a. Jesus became the very sin that you're struggling with
b. He became that sin that controls you, and then God judged that sin on the cross, when Jesus took our sin upon himself and was punished so that we didn't carry that sin anymore, so that we could walk away free.
7. Don’t Reject the Influence of God in your life today! Holding you back from falling, from sinning, from living as you please, without God!
a. ILLUSTRATION: We are being held up in life by a thin cord called GRACE
b. It's like a wall climber or a mountain climber, and they have a rope around them. That's their safety rope. It is holding them as they climb.
c. But as they climb, they become disillusioned with the rope and they think they don't need the rope and they haven't fallen yet, So they don't rely on that rope, they just climb away.
d. And then one day, when the rope is just constantly in their face, they decide to CUT the rope as they're climbing up that mountain side, and they are fine!
e. So they keep climbing. Enjoying the view!
f. (You would call that PURE STUPIDITY wouldn’t you? Well, That’s a reprobate!)
g. And then without warning, they slip and grasp, and panic, and then they fall all the way down to the bottom and die a horrible death!
h. And the rope that was meant to save them from falling can do nothing for them, because… it had been mocked, and rejected, cut!
A. The Bible Describes God’s Wrath – it is REAL and it is serious!
B. We Deserve God’s Wrath. After God has patiently waited, and patiently reasoned with us, and yet has been rejected time after time after time, then we find these words, … the wrath of God is revealed. It is coming and we all deserve it!
1. Think about the process the Bible just described - the downward trend of humanity
a. As we sin and reject God, God pulls back His influence
b. And abandons us to filthy living
c. And abandons the human race to vile affections, which is where we're at
2. And if we don't properly react, and repent, the last line that mankind crosses is called a reprobate mind – that is closed, and rejected by God
C. We are GOING to face God one day. THAT is terrifying
D. Amazingly, God has Made a Way for Wicked Men to Repent
1. 2Peter 3:9 The Lord... is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. Example yourself – see if you are still soft, and have a conscience, and care about what direction you are living, and about God’s words! (2Corinthians 13:5) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
3. Turn back to God - That's called repentance
4. Humble yourself – no one ever comes to God in pride! Only in broken humility!
5. See yourself as a guilty, lost and condemned sinner, in desperate need of a Saviour!
6. And then cry out to Him right now to save your soul!