No Rodney Dangerfields In Heaven
Rom 2:7-16 GW He will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good. But he will bring (8) anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong. (9) There will be suffering and distress for every person who does evil, for Jews first and Greeks as well. (10) But there will be glory, honor, and peace for every person who does what is good, for Jews first and Greeks as well. (11) God does not play favorites.
Before we begin, , just one short teaching note on this portion of Romans. Do not interpret the phrase, ďJews first and the Greeks as well,Ē to mean that the Jews will be judged first as if some sort of chronological order is being established by God for judgement. Or that a difference will be made between godly Jews and godly Gentiles or ungodly Jews or Gentiles. That ainít gonna happen(ďFor God shows no partiality.Ē v11)
In context of Romans 2, whatís being said here is being said to the moralist or the self-righteous. They are gonna ďget it first,Ē Jew and Geek as well. The moralist should have known better! Itís like disciplining children in a family. The oldest usually gets it first. Why? Because he shouldíve known better. So it is for the self-righteous Jew and the self-righteous educated Greek. They both had the advantage of being exposed to the gospel.
Now, by the grace of God, I pray that you will come to know better than to rely on anything, or anyone else, for your salvation. I pray that today, you will affirm or reaffirm Jesus as your only claim to righteousness. Receive Him as your Savior and as your Lord, for it is only the righteous who will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Itís amazing to think about it, but the unrighteous and the self-righteous are storing up wrath for themselves even as they do good things! Because anything done apart from Jesus is sin. Anything! Do you ďbristleĒ at that? Does that statement get your ďdanderĒ up? It is the tendency for all humans to think that surely the good they do counts for something! But the Bible is clear.
Rom. 14:23b - ďAnything that is not done in faith is sin.Ē
Heb. 11:6a - No one can please God without faith.
Remember, self-righteousness is nothing but a pile of stained rags in the eyes of the Father!
So who then is awarded eternal life? Those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persistently doing what is good.
Man that sounds contradictory, but it really isnít if you understand the context of this Book of Romans which in a nutshell is the concept of ďjustification by faith aloneĒ That is, our entrance into heaven is justified only because we have God-given faith in Jesus Christ.
Because we have faith in Christ, we seek to accomplish good because we are animated or motivated by Godís love which is now present in us in the person of the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism.
Godís love was expressed to the world by the sacrifice of His Son for the forgiveness of our sins. Now by the power of the Holy Spirit, we love Him because He first loved us, and the evidence of our love or faith is those good works of Christ being done by Him through us.
As we said last week, Christ makes His home in the believer and it is Christ who then motivates and accomplishes the works. He, in the form of the Holy Spirit produces the fruit, the good works in our lives.
What are those good works? They are anything that Christ does through you. You are His instrument, His slave unto righteousness, and to do a work in His name is to do anything in response to your God-given humble awareness that Jesus Christ is your Lord, your Savior, and your only claim to righteousness..
Now on the flip side, we have those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong. What is the cause of refusing to believe the truth of Godís Word and follow what is wrong?
Selfish pride. Keeps people from entering heaven. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Selfish pride says, ďIíll do it my way.Ē I will not bow my knee to Jesus. I will continue in my sin, or I will continue in my self-righteousness and take my chances on getting into heaven on my own.
So, the truth that the selfish and prideful refuse to believe is that Jesus did it all. They refuse to believe Jn 14:6
Joh 14:6 GW Jesus answered him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me.
They think that they can add something to the mix and they wind up following what is wrong. The pied piper of self-righteousness is leading thousands to their eternal death and destruction every single day.
Woe to those who do not believe the truth and therefore they do not yield to the truth, instead they assent to all manner of unrighteous and self-righteous living. Instead of being free they are trapped in a prison that strengthens itís grip with every act of rebellion.
We speak of Living Word as a place where the truth can be found, by Godís grace we will seek to preach it, but what good is it if it only remains found? We must learn individually to yield to it, to invest in it by obeying it, we must put it into practice!
If we selfishly and pridefully refuse to believe Godís truth (salvation through faith in Christ alone) and resolutely continue doing things ďour way,Ē then the hot breath of Godís anger and His holy, and all powerful violent passion against sin and self-righteousness will be brought to bear against us on Judgement Day.
You may think you can imagine what that is like, but you really canít. Ask the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. Oh wait, there were only 4 survivors, well, make that three as Lotís wife was turned into a pillar of salt right before Lotís eyes as she looked at Godís wrath from afar.
Imagine what His wrath is like when itís up close and personal! Make no mistake about it, the hot breath of Godís wrath and His violent passion against sin (in the form of disobedience and self-righteousness) awaits those who are not yielded to Jesus.
There will be suffering and distress for every person who does evil, and remember everything done apart from faith in Jesus is evil. Let me tell you about this suffering and distress. Let me tell you what awaits those who are not submitted to Jesus.
The idea of suffering and distress is one of an intense squeezing of the soul. Itís like putting your soul into a trash compactor.....eternally. Most of you have experienced anguish to some degree in your life. But you have never experienced this kind of anguish. This is indescribable emotional pressure that lasts forever. No relief in sight ever.
Those who are without Christ, and willfully continue in their sin and self-righteousness, will look every where for relief, but it wonít be found, and in anguish and great emotional pain on that great Day of Judgement, they will cry out and beg that they be squeezed to death by rocks. because rocks are the lesser of the two squeezings.
Luk 23:30 GW Then people will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'
Rev 6:15-16 GW Then the kings of the earth, the important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and all the slaves and free people hid themselves in caves and among the rocks in the mountains. (16) They said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the anger of the lamb,
Please Lord! Give us the rocks! Squeeze us with them! It wonít be as bad as this eternal emotional squeezing. Thatís whatís coming to the unsurrendered, donít say that you have not been warned.
Do you still want to refuse the truth. Do you still want to let it lie here or do you want to seize it and live in it. Then seize and live in Jesus. Jesus said I am the way and the TRUTH and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me. No oneís righteousness matters apart from Christ. Surrender to Him! Then live in Him.
But what about the end for those who do what is good? Remember, nothing good is done except that which is done by Christ. That true goodness breaks forth for those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior.
Those who have humbly admitted their sinfulness and need for salvation apart from anything they have done or could do. Those who are motivated by love of Christ and faith in Godís promises.
Here then, in part, is what awaits the believer. Glory, honor, and peace. Glory, honor, and peace await those who have yielded to Jesus. First of all, letís understand glory. Weíve all heard the preachers who turn glory into a three syllable word. ďGuh Lor EE. But what does it meant to be ďin glory.Ē
Glory meets one of the basic needs of man. Glory is unmistakably noticeable. Whenever God appeared on this earth in His glory, He appeared in a very noticeable way. No one ever missed God, when He showed up in His glory. Glory, for you and me in heaven then is perfect, eternal noticeablilty. It is recognition. It is eternal affirmation and attention.
Oh the emotional pain that attaches itself to those on earth who have never been recognized, affirmed, or given attention.
Do you know someone who is under the spell of an addiction? It is likely they did not receive recognition, affirmation or attention from one or both of their parents. Sometimes it leads them into sinful lifestyles as they scream for the attention they never had as children. And sometimes they turn to their addictions just to hide the pain.
Parents, listen to me. Go to Jesus on this one. Ask Him to help you learn to recognize, and affirm and give your children proper attention before itís too late. Yea, itís work, it takes time, but donít be selfish on this one. Think of them! They are precious gifts given to you by God.
They donít need toys, they donít need trips to Disneyland, they donít need fancy houses, they donít need every materialistic thing they ask for.....they need your constant loving recognition, affirmation, and attention.
Stop being selfish, stop being inwardly focused, stop your ďbusynessĒ and give your children what they need!
And if you were deprived of this recognition, affirmation, and attention from your parents...forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing. Take it to the cross and move on! Deal with the fact that unless they are convicted of their own shortcomings in this area, you will likely never get glory from them.
Turn instead to the source of all glory, the one who calls you His child by faith in Jesus. The one who says, ďcall me DaddyĒ (Abba Father) He promises to remember you, He promises to affirm you because you matter to Him! He says, ďI promise to pay attention to you. Donít you know that I pay so much attention to you that I even know every hair on your head? ď
Isa 49:15-16a GW Can a woman forget her nursing child? Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb? Although mothers may forget, I will not forget you. (16) I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Degarmo and Key had a song out many years ago and one of the lines of the song was ďIím accepted by the One who matters most.Ē Remember that beautiful truth. knowing that one day, if you remain rightly related to God the Father through faith in God the Son, you will forever be recognized, affirmed, and accepted! Oh how great a place heaven will be!
Next we have ďhonor.Ē Not quite the same as glory. Honor carries with it the idea of dignity. There will be no Rodney Dangerfields in heaven. There will be no lack of respect! Oh youíll find plenty of it here on earth.
Rodney Dangerfield made a living off of his ďno respectĒ jokes. Like the time he worked in a restaurant and the owner said heíd pay him under the table. he waited for two hours and no one showed up.
Or the time he asked his landlord for a more expensive apartment...he raised the rent. Or the time he went to the doctor and he promised to have him on his feet in two weeks. He did, when he got the bill he had to sell his car.
Think of the disrespect you received this week, not funny at all was it? Did anyone of you receive the respect you deserve? Did anyone give you any dignity?
Remember when you were cut off in traffic? Remember when you cooked a great meal and not one person said thanks. Remember when you were passed over for the promotion? Remember when the clerk seemed to ignore you at the store? Remember when someone laughed at you at school? Címon, canít we have a little respect down here! The truth is we wonít get much from the world, and we seldom even get it from those closest to us..
I hope that for your part you are learning to treat others with dignity and respect, because when you do, you are giving them a little glimpse of heaven. Know this beloved. You will not always get the dignity you desire or deserve this side of heaven and be careful by the way....that you donít demand it. Donít demand dignity, it is not in your power to do so, only humbly receive it when it is offered. And as for you, offer it at every opportunity.
Luk 14:8-11 GW "When someone invites you to a wedding, don't take the place of honor. (Donít demand dignity) Maybe someone more important than you was invited. (9) Then your host would say to you, 'Give this person your place.' Embarrassed, you would have to take the place of least honor. (10) So when you're invited, take the place of least honor. Then, when your host comes, he will tell you, 'Friend, move to a more honorable place.' Then all the other guests will see how you are honored. (11) Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored."
So imagine heaven, not only a place of eternal recognition, affirmation and attention, but also eternal dignity. A place where you can hold your head high...always, a place where no one looks down at you! Ever! Imagine eternal dignity, eternal appreciation. Thatís what awaits those who have faith in Jesus.
Itís a place where you donít have to wonder if what you did was ďgood enough to please your mother, your father, your husban, your wife, your boss, or anyone else.Ē Because the first words you will hear from the Father are , ďwell done, thy good and faithful servant.Ē
Finally, there is peace. The idea of peace here is the total absence of strife. Total freedom from all distresses brought about by sin. Did you know that? Did you know that your lack of peace is a direct result of sin? Either yours or someone elseís!
Think about it. Peace. No distress, no squeezings of the soul!
While your counterpart, (the unbeliever) is experiencing distress in the soul compactor called hell for eternity, you, the believer are experiencing just the opposite. A soul that has been set totally free!
Recognition, honor, affirmation, and attention.
Peace - a complete absence of strife....total freedom.
All await the child of God. We experience some of it imperfectly now as members of His kingdom, but one day it will be perfect and it will be forever.
The question is, what will it be for you? Will you stubbornly hang onto your way of doing things, or will you surrender to Jesus? Glory, honor, and peace to those who die to self. Anger, fury, suffering and distress for those who refuse His mercy.
Itís either the trash compactor my friend, or itís the wide open unfenced, unbound beauty of Paradise.
Youíve been baptized, the Holy Spirit is in you. He is calling you today to surrender anew to Jesus. Will you listen?