There’s depravity at work in human nature. We call evil good, we love darkness rather than light. By the Blood of Jesus, we are reconciled and made righteous in Him. We are justified and free. God’s message is this simple: “I save you.” (Isaiah 5:20-21; Romans 10:2-4; Romans 5:6-10)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
11:00 AM on 4/18/2021
P. Schaller –
We decided our Convention in June, the theme is “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of
the Lord.” Yeah. Why do we like that verse but because I was glad because I will see my
brothers and sisters. I was glad because we meet God in the house. I was glad because God
would help govern my life and direct me by many gifts that are given to the Body. I was glad
because maybe I’d get loved up. Turn to your neighbor and say, you look like you need to get
loved up! Go ahead! Turn to your neighbor. I think you need some of that. Every year at the end
of June, the last full week of June, we invite our Greater Grace sisters and brothers from around
the world to come here and last year what happened? We had covid. We delayed it and then we
had a get together in August. That was our non-convention, Convention. We built the deck out
there and now the weather is warming up and I was out there just before this service eating and
drinking some coffee and talking and fellowshipping.
I feel good about I was glad when they said let’s go to the house of God. You know, we need to learn things and one of them is to be in the house of God. We learn and maybe I don’t know anybody in this room. Imagine I could be in
this room and I don’t know anybody here. That’s kind of scary. It doesn’t have to be. God is with
you. You are God conscious. Some people, our sisters and brothers, maybe become a people
that help us. Maybe I’ll get to know people. I’ll hang out a little bit. I’ll learn doctrine by listening
to the pulpit and being built up in my faith. Maybe, we don’t know how many will come from
different parts of the world to be with us, but our hope and our plan is that we will have our
Convention at the end of June like we normally do. We’re going to meet in the morning, 7 to 8,
through these weeks right out on the deck for prayer.
Anybody is welcome. Come and be with us. We’ll have different people leading in the prayer. We are praying for our summer harvest. We are praying for our Convention. We’re praying for the city of Baltimore. We are praying for
our country. We’re praying because we have a connection with God Almighty, our Father.
Praise the Lord! That’s amazing. We are on a mission. Turn to your neighbor and say, we are
on a mission. We are on a mission. Praise the Lord! Hey! I got an idea. How about put your
hand up in the air like, your hand like this. We are on a mission. Do a little bit of that. We are on
a mission. Now, some of you when you go home after church today and your wife says, how did
it go? You say, honey, we are on a mission. The teenagers say, dad, what’s happening? Hey,
we are on a mission. Amen. Ron Swingle over there. Ron, what do you have to say? He said –
I’ll translate for him – he said, we are on a mission! Alright.
Turn in your Bibles to Is.5. How many remember when Dr. Stevens told us we needed to hear a doctrine taught 37 times to remember it just a little bit. One of the doctrines that is very fundamental to our faith is the
doctrine of total depravity. I want to explain that to you today. And then other doctrines as we
speak about this text of Scripture from Isaiah 5:20. How many of you remember when back in the
1950’s maybe you were a child, maybe some of you were a teenager, 1950’s, 1960’s
pornography was not a good thing. You might run across as a teenager a pornographic
magazine at the gas station. How many of you sinners remember that? There’s only a handful!
How many of you like adultery, homosexuality, – these were wrong. Huh? They’re still wrong.
Give her a hand down there! I had no idea! Yes, they are. But how many remember in our
culture we were maybe Boy Scouts and we learned about trust, loyalty, bravery, being frugal,
kind, courageous, – those principles of the Boy Scouts.
There was a moral fiber in our country. Look at Is. 5:20. This is shifting. This is good what I wrote up there. Pornography, adultery, homosexuality – there’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that. That’s fine. That’s
normal. We all are human beings. We all have feelings. We fall in love with different people.
Actually, you are the bad person! You are the bad person calling these things bad. We are the
good people and you are the bad. How did the shift come? Why did it turn around. vs. 20. What
does the word “woe” mean? What? Woe. You know riding a horse. Woe! Woe! No! It means
there is a curse. There is a curse there when we call evil good and carry on. It says and good
evil. Those people back in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s when they said that these things were evil, now
they are evil. Those people that said that, that it’s in the past. They are the evil. We are the
good. We are good and you are evil. If you call it, call us evil, then you are bad. You are evil.
You are a homophobic and bigoted and you are selfish and narrow minded and judgmental and
on and on it goes. Is that happening?
Read vs. 20. I don’t think the prophet could have hit a better home run than that one. He is so right on in what happens in life. We call the righteous man a bad man. He’s a bad man. He deceives the nation. They said about Christ. Crucify him. He deceives the nation. So therefore, we have a need to learn something and ask God to help
us understand things the right way. When something is not good and I can say it’s not good, I’m
not saying it because my culture is saying it. I’m saying it because we, you and I, are reconciled
to God. That’s what we are going to speak about today. Being reconciled to God. I was driving
in the countryside and I looked at a building coming around the corner and all the telephone
poles were bent and the building looked like it was crooked. I go, wow, that building is crooked
and then I realized the telephone poles were crooked. Which one is crooked? I go, the building
is straight. They couldn’t be that brain dead they would build a crooked building but the
telephone poles that have been weathered and bent, they give me the impression that the
building is wrong but actually it’s the telephone poles that are wrong.
How are we going to find our way? How are we going to be reconciled to God in finding truth. It isn’t going to be by CNN
or the latest movie coming out of Hollywood or what they are saying in the press or what is on
social media. I must have a deeper life because I could be wrong. In history, we have seen
people being wrong. They call the Jews vermon in Nazi Germany. They’ve done it in the Soviet
Union. Now in our country we see things that are twisted and not right. They are pushing big
tech, media, social programs, platforms, organizations and we got to say, hold it! Wait a minute!
Wait a minute! I don’t know what is going on. I actually I do know. I want the Holy Spirit to be my
teacher. I want to have some fight in my heart, my life in my heart. I want to have some love in
my life. I want to have a message. I want to get ahold of what God is saying and what God is
thinking. How about it? You might say I don’t know. Just hold on because it grows in you. It
grows in you. As you pay attention to God in faith and just trust and walk with him.
Start reading your Bible and God will speak to you cause he is your Father and he doesn’t want you to be
mislead. He wants you to get rooted and grounded in him and be able to discern and recognize
what he has to say and who is he. What I have drawn up here on the board is a very real thing.
Righteous are the bad guys and these others – this is a contest. We see that contest by the
church through 2,000 years of history. The church has been able to stand and represent Christ
even when it looked like it was destroyed Christ was there and the message was there and the
love of God and the ministry of truth. vs. 21. That’s easy for us. I might be arrogant or assume or
I know. I know. I know all about it. Sometimes meeting somebody on the street, they say I’ve
read the Bible. Oh really? Yeah, I read the Bible. I believe all things but that’s hard to believe. I
could read the Bible but do I understand what the Bible is saying.
I might be wise in my own eyes. There’s universities where they have Bible study but they don’t study the Bible as the
Word of God. They put it down on a lower shelf and they analyze it in a literary way not with any
inclination to be submitted to it. You know when the Bible, when we are submitted to God and
we put the Word of God in a high place, we are submitted to it. I can’t be wise in my own eyes. I
want that to be my wisdom. I want God to speak to my spirit. I want him to show me and help
me. When we are wise in our own eyes, we can build the world around us the way we want it to
be and God says, woe unto them! vs. 21. That’s another way of describing arrogance. vs. 22.
Strong drink in the Bible is the liquor, a higher alcohol content. There were kings in the time of
Isaiah that had these drunken festivals and it says in the book of Amos that the kings would
drink in the morning. So what would their judgment be during the day and how wrong I can be
as a leader. Wise in my own eyes and then under this influence. vs. 23.
There we have a commentary on what can happen and then we have Herod with his wife’s daughter dancing in
front of him. It’s party time. He’s taken over by her beauty and her dancing and he’s seduced by
her. He says, what do you want? I’ll give you anything up to half of my kingdom. She got him.
She seduced him. She runs to her mother and says what should I ask him for? She said the
head of John the Baptist. She goes back. I want the head of John the Baptist now. He’s sad
about it. He’s executed. The head comes on a platter. She brings the platter to her mother. And
there you have some wicked activity. Bad judgment. Wicked hearts. Is it repeated? Different
ways. Is there power? Big tech, university campuses, organizations. Is there the righteous. vs.
23 says they take away the righteousness of the righteous. They deceive. They seduce. They
buy. They have money. They have power. How can we live in a world where we have
something more valuable? We have something precious in our hearts. How can we live in a
wicked world and make right decisions and say no. I don’t accept that. I don’t live there.
That’s not what I teach my kids. That’s not what my friends talk about. We don’t accept that. That’s not
for me. Thank you very much. May God bless you. I have a message for you. I have a message
for you. That’s a good word. We’re going to speak about how we live now. We have to go to Romans 10. it takes a little time but we will get there. Maybe two more parts to the message. By
the way, we’ll have a message tonight. We’ll have a fellowship. And then we will sing. We sing
and worship for a while or an hour or so. I just love that time. Come out if you’ve never done it.
Come out tonight and have a beautiful time in the Lord. Romans 10, this is what I want to share. I
think I can draw this picture. Here’s a man. He’s setting his watch. He walks by a jewelry store.
There’s a chronometer there. This is before technology as it is today. He sets his watch by the
jewelry store time piece and he walks down the quarter mile way. There is another jewelry store.
There’s another watch and it’s not exactly the same.
So he sets his watch by this. This is like I’ll call it a horizontal setting of the watch and it is by my – in the Jewish religion it was by the law that they lived by. It’s here in Romans 10:2. Paul is referring to the Jews. Do the Jews have a zeal
of God? How about orthodox Jews? Do they have a zeal of God? How about the Jewish
community in Pikesville, Md. Do they have a zeal of God? Do they live by law? Do they live by
the Bible according to the letter of the law? By the Bible and the letter of the teaching? Yes. Do
they generally keep their families together, orthodox Jews? Yes. Are they alcoholics generally?
No. Do they drink alcohol? Not very much. No. They do not do it. Is there high suicide in the
orthodox Jewish community? No, they don’t. Do they make money? Yeah. Are they
professionals? Yes, oftentimes. Do we respect them? I do. I do. They have a zeal of God but
then vs. 2 says “not according to knowledge.” There is something missing. There is something
missing like in our religion also. There can be Christians that also have zeal but are they setting
their watch by the right reference because I have two of them here referred to.
There is one – the reference is God. I’ll put the word here “reconciled.” We are reconciled to God, meaning set
my watch to the truth. We are reconciled to God. How did it happen? By our new birth. By the
Holy Spirit being our teacher. Are we perfect? No. Can we make mistakes? Yes. But when I fall
and I look up for my reference, I have God as my reference. This is bigger than morality. This is
a person. This is a living God. This is the Spirit of God. This is the Word of God. This is how we
live by faith in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. You will know the truth and the
truth will set you free. What happened? Romans 10:3, I cannot emphasize this enough. They are
ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness. This one
is their own righteousness and they are ignorant of God’s righteousness. What does that mean?
Maybe keeping the Sabbath is more important to them than God.
Remember Jesus healed on the Sabbath and they said you cannot do that. They’re kind of standing there like this saying, you cannot heal on the Sabbath. The healing on the Sabbath was God. God healed on the
Sabbath. But you cannot heal on the Sabbath. And we saw your disciples. They were plucking
corn on the Sabbath and rubbing corn in their hands. They cannot do that on the Sabbath.
Jesus contested that with them because he knows God and God’s righteousness and not the
letter of the law. By the letter of the law there is an endless number of rules and regulations by
the law. We can see that in many ways, you know. Jews had it if you had sandals and there
were nails coming through the leather soles, and you used those shoes on the Sabbath, you
were plowing the ground, and you cannot plow on the Sabbath day. But I’m wearing my regular
shoes? It doesn’t matter. The rabbis said. And if you had a false tooth, a wooden peg tooth, you
couldn’t wear it on the Sabbath.
Carrying a box on the Sabbath – how big of a box can I carry? Can I carry a weight. And should a child be in the box and if the child is sick, could I carry the child to the doctor? Not on the Sabbath, but if the child is sick, you know. Then they would have rules and regulations that were endless because they were establishing their own
righteousness. When Christ came he revealed to us another kind, the righteousness of God.
Forgiveness is part of God’s nature. To forgive us. When he gave his Son and his Son died for
us, the righteous for the unrighteous, that was actually the mercy and the grace of God so we
could be reconciled to God’s heart and God’s mind. Jesus said to the Jews that challenged his
healing on the Sabbath and said, if one of your sheep fall into the ditch on the Sabbath day,
wouldn’t you pull him out? How much greater is it for me to heal this child of God on the
Sabbath day. Of course. Hardness of heart. We have – maybe we can say it this way – I can get
it wrong this way when we talk about the culture in America today.
The culture in the U.S.A., and how they are getting it wrong. They are calling good, evil and evil, good. In religion they are getting it wrong. They are establishing their own righteousness and are not submitted to the
righteousness of God and that’s what we are rejoicing in. What we have found by believing.
Finish reading vs. 3. with me. vs. 4. I don’t need to live in the letter of the law because we are now submitted to the righteousness of God. Here’s the reconciliation that has happened to us by
our new birth. We are submitted to God in the miracle of our salvation, the new life that we’ve
received. Christ is the end of the law. Some Christians would like us to go back to the law. They
would like us to go here and relate to each other based on law but we have found something
greater than law. We have found the spirit of life of Romans 8:3 and 4. We have found the
treasures in the Word of God, the peace of God that passes understanding, the freedom from
God comes into our hearts and we rejoice in Him.
We have found it by grace. When we were enemies – turn to the third and last part, Romans 5. I want to explain this part to us. Here’s a believer. He comes to Christ and he’s brought to reconciliation. Using the watch, setting the
clock. There is a real unity, a connection that is right on. This is through the new birth, not by
works but by faith. Romans 5:6, what does it mean without strength? I have an illustration of total
depravity. “If a lion is in a cage and you put before him a bowl of meat and a bowl of wheat,
which one will the lion choose to eat? The lion will always choose the meat. He would never
choose the wheat, because lions don’t eat wheat. That is who they are. Right. A lion will always
eat the meat because of who they are. Total depravity is like this in that our nature using it’s
freedom of choice, will always choose sin. Why? That’s who we are. It must take an act outside
of ourselves to change what is going on inside of ourselves.”
Now some of you might say, yeah but we can choose to do good. Yes, but behind the good is something not right with God. I am proud or I am choosing the good so I get an advantage for me, but actually I’m a wolf. I’m
looking for an opportunity for myself. I will cry, “crucify, crucify” when Christ is judged because
actually it’s more about me than about God. I’m a sinner. When I was without strength, Christ
died for me. vs. 6-8. We did not reform ourselves and then become a believer. You can do that
but it has no effect. Your salvation is by grace. God’s saving you. Not you. You could never do
it. You can I could never do it. It’s like another illustration is making a six-egg omelet with five
good eggs and one rotten egg. I serve the food and the person eating with me, says something
is smelling bad. Well, because I had five good eggs and one rotten egg I thought the five would
cancel out the other one. They go, well, not today.
Thank you! We are sinners. We are sinners. We invent things. We establish our own way. We live with our own lusts and passion. We live for ourselves. We are sinners. While we were sinners, God commended his love towards us.
Vs. 8. Totally depraved. Wrong. Not able to order our footsteps, control our desires and
passions on a Friday night or on a Saturday or in my business on a Monday morning when
nobody is watching. I am a sinner. Do you know that? I am a sinner. I’m not as bad as I could
be, but in certain circumstances, I can be worse than I am. But in the big picture with the x-ray
machine of God, he is saying you are altogether absolutely unable to be godly, to be holy, to
know me. Your sin has separated me from you and there’s no way you can take an unclean
thing and make it clean. When I was a kid I had to patch the roof of our family business store
with tar. My dad gave me a bucket. He said try not to get any on you. I went up in the heat of the
day, and you know how I came down from that roof.
I get a little tar in my hand and my eye is itching and then, oh no. I shouldn’t. Touching my hand. I came down from – you know what I mean. How can you take an unclean man and make him clean by himself? How can you take a
guy that lives in a dumpster and bring him into a palace? How can you take a man that is wrong
and bring him before a holy God? But God commended his love toward us, while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us. This is the meaning of the picture here. This is where you and I now
have our new life. This is God. It is the work of grace. It’s our salvation. We have been justified.
It’s why we changed. Regeneration, Titus 3:5, meaning the seed, not corruptible seed,
incorruptible. Our seed is corruptible. Our seed decays. The egg cell, the sperm cells, all of this
is just corruptible and yet what a miracle to have a baby. A miracle, the biological birth of a
human being, but this is even a greater miracle for we know not how the bones do grow in the
womb. In a similar way, we do not know the ways of God and the work of God.
The new birth, Christ in you is a gift of grace. It happens to you. Now in your life and through faith, we have a
new life where we love righteousness. This is the key. Not our own. Not the horizontal kind like
the law. We love righteousness in the deepest meaning. We love truth. We love God. We want
God to speak to us in truth. We want to know the spirit of the Sabbath. Jesus said the Sabbath
was not, the Sabbath was not made in such a way that it governs a man but it’s given to us as a
gift so a man governs the Sabbath. The Sabbath is subject to man and God’s righteousness. If
you are a righteous man, that governs everything. That’s in control of everything. You love rules.
Righteousness and truth has authority. So I carry a box on the Sabbath day but who is in charge? Not the calendar Sabbath, but the heart of the righteous man. That carries the day, the
righteousness of God. That’s what people are actually hungry for. They don’t know this. Modern
man doesn’t know this.
The thing that you are missing is the righteousness of God. You would
enjoy that. His peace is like a river and his righteousness is like the waves of the sea. It’s so
satisfying to us, the righteousness of God. Go to the next verse. vs. 9. Justified is an important
word in our theology. It means you are declared righteous. It’s a legal term. When a judge in the
courtroom would say the man has been justified and he’s declared free. He is righteous. He is
fine. He is free to go. He’s declared to be righteous. This is a term used by the Apostle Paul for
us. For in a way we were before the court of God and found guilty. We were judged by God and
condemned. Romans 3:19, the world is condemned today. Light has come into the world but men
love darkness and this is their condemnation. That they are lost in darkness and they want it
that way. They are not looking for anything more. They are blinded by the god of this world (2
Corinthians 4:4). They are deeply troubled because the wrath of God is upon them. They might say I
don’t feel any wrath. Because they don’t know any different like a fish doesn’t know he is wet. A
sinner doesn’t know he is in a lot of trouble. He has a false peace.
He is deceived. He is misled. He has a party on a Friday night and he feels that is satisfying to him. That is not satisfying. It might be satisfying to a lost person and that’s maybe where all of us have been. I have lived that
way as a sinner living in a sinful way and that’s all we had. We just go from one way of life to
another one whether it is pride or academic deception or another kind of sensual one. There is a
blindness as a sinner and we are blind. We don’t know it. Then, while we were in that state it
says in vs. 9. that we were justified by his blood. We shall be saved from wrath through him.
The wrath, – amen! The wrath that is on the world today, how is it seen? It’s by sometimes a
terrible condition that people wake up and realize they are in a terrible situation and their
depression is deep and their sadness and their broken heart. There is a wrath of God on our
society and in our world and people are troubled.
They don’t know what to do or where to go. So they go and try to placate their trouble and try to find a new relationship or move away or find a new job or find something to satisfying their longing heart and their troubled selves. God is all
the time saying come to me. Come to me you that are heavy laden. Come to me. I’ll save you.
I’ll take your sin away. I’ll give you a new life. I reconcile you to myself. vs. 10. When? We were
enemies. The word there is a strong word for being an enemy. If you can imagine I’m a soldier
and I’m equipped to face my enemy. He’s my enemy. I am his enemy. I’m an enemy. I’m
equipped. I will destroy you. I will beat you. This is the idea of an enemy. It has the idea of
violent, defensive attack. Offense. I was an enemy of God. You might say, no. I was just a
passive – yeah, but behind the passivity you were actually angry. You were an enemy of God.
When we were enemies, he became our sin on the cross and he took us and reconciled us to
God. By the way, the idea is going here is a holy God and he goes all the way to the worst,
deepest sinner. All the way. And he is crucified for us and then he takes us in the resurrection
all the way. All the way.
Not like part way and you do the rest. That’s like the devil’s message.
By the way, God’s message is simple. The devil’s message is complicated. God’s message is
one truth: I’ve saved you. The devil’s message is God says I saved you but you got to do this
and this and this. I saved you but you got to be baptized. I saved you but you got to keep the
Ten Commandments. I’ve saved you but you better take care of yourself and be sincere about
it. I’ve saved you but it’s all this kind of talk about it. Not justication. Justification is I have saved
you by my blood and by my blood I have reconciled an enemy all the way to God. We are
reconciled to God all the way. Let me illustrate it another way. It goes like this. I buy a car. This
is me and this is the guy selling the car. Here’s the price. His price is whatever. Let’s say
$10,000. I say I’ll give you seven. And he goes, no, I want this. You go, no. I’ll give you this. And
then you kind of agree at a price and you are reconciled. You agree on the price but there’s
always compromise with both of you. You compromise and you make an agreement.
This is not the meaning of this word. It’s this one. Here you are and here’s God. He makes no deal with
you. You are a sinner. It’s done. You can’t do it. Nothing. I save you. God goes all the way and
brings you all the way. That’s all. I save you. I save you. Hey, can you imagine God negotiating
with a sinner? How is that going to go? Negotiating with a liar and deceitful and a proud person.
How is that going to turn out? That’s not going to work. Read vs. 10 and we’ll finish. What’s
much more mean? Much more means it’s like a way of arguing and making a point. It’s like
when we were caving in Budapest. We would take a class down in the caves in Budapest and
some of the openings were very small. So we took the fattest and the biggest person and we’d say, you go first. And if they could get through, then the whole class could get through. If she
can do it, then everybody is doing it. If she can make it through, then everybody is going. Right?
If when we were enemies we were reconciled, now much more, now that we are in his family,
will he not keep us?
Will he not speak to us, care for us, comfort us? Will he not save us in our
practical life? Will he not change us from glory to glory and show us who he is and make our
Christian life very exciting and personal and deep and maybe we cry and we get hurt but he is
conforming us to his image. You cannot package this righteousness. It is above and beyond the
average person. People in general. They make their own righteousness. You know they are
making their own today as we are speaking here and they are calling evil, good. That’s their own
righteousness. They are calling sweet, bitter. And they’re changing things around. But what is
happening in your heart? In your heart, you are finding the righteousness from God which is our
joy and truth in the inner man. And that’s where we stand. They might not like it, but that’s okay.
They can push us and we can lovingly push back and just say, that’s fine. You got power.
You’re in control. You can do your thing, but as for me and my house, in my heart, what I am
believing and embracing is important to me. That’s how it goes.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.