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“God Gave Them Up” (Part 1 of 6)

Romans 1:24–25
Program

Throughout the Bible, we read of the Lord’s great patience and compassion—that He’s the “God of second chances.” But is it ever too late? Does He ever give up on people? Study along with Truth For Life as Alistair Begg looks to God’s Word for the answer.

From the Sermon

“God Gave Them Up” — Part One

Romans 1:24–25 Sermon Includes Transcript 48:49 ID: 3570

Knowing God

Knowing God

No longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, God refused to break the covenant He had made with His people. Despite His steadfast love, though, God’s people continued to sin. This presented a problem: how could God fulfill the promises He had made to bless His people when they continually demonstrated their unfaithfulness to Him?

As a part of His great plan, God pledged a new covenant—a work of inner re-creation. As the theologian Alec Motyer writes, “When his people could not rise to the height of his standards, the Lord does not lower his standards to match their ability; he transforms his people.”[1]

This new covenant is the purpose and promise of God to regenerate hearts through the blood of the Lord Jesus. He takes our hearts and He makes them the perfect shape—like fitting a piece in a jigsaw puzzle—so that His law becomes a delight to us.

In God’s declaration of this new covenant, the verb “know” is key. In the original Hebrew, its meaning is clear from the very beginning in Genesis: the straightforward statement that Adam “knew” his wife and they bore children (Genesis 4:1) demonstrates the level of intimacy it conveys. God is saying that when His people come to an understanding of His love, they won’t simply be doing Bible studies at arm’s length; they’ll be people who truly know Him.

What Jeremiah spoke of in the future tense, we are able to enjoy in the present; for in between his prophecy and our time, the Lord Jesus held up a cup of wine the night before He died and announced, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). By God’s grace, you and I may know the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Not only this, but He also knows each of our names, individually; and He knows our needs and is committed to our well-being. Jesus bears our names before the Father—and because of all He is and all He’s done, those names are written in the Book of Life.

What kind of King is this? The answer is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. Someday, we will see Him face-to-face and understand far more than we do today. But still, today you can go about with the confidence that comes from knowing that you know the God who redeemed you through His Son, who dwells in and works in you by His Spirit, and in whose throne room you will one day stand.

Questions for Thought

How is God calling me to think differently?

How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?

What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?

Further Reading

The New Covenant

31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

35Thus says the Lord,

who gives the sun for light by day

and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,

who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—

the Lord of hosts is his name:

36“If this fixed order departs

from before me, declares the Lord,

then shall the offspring of Israel cease

from being a nation before me forever.”

37Thus says the Lord:

“If the heavens above can be measured,

and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,

then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel

for all that they have done,

declares the Lord.”

38“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

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Footnotes
1 Look to the Rock: An Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ (Kregel, 1996), p 58-59.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.

Slow to Anger

Slow to Anger

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power.

Jehovah “is slow to anger.” When mercy comes into the world, she drives winged horses; the axles of her chariot-wheels are red-hot with speed. But when wrath goes forth, it toils on with tardy footsteps, for God takes no pleasure in the sinner’s death. God’s rod of mercy is always in His hands outstretched; His sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down by that pierced hand of love that bled for the sins of men.

“The LORD is slow to anger” because He is “great in power.” He is truly great in power who has power over himself. When God’s power restrains Himself, then it is power indeed: The power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little; the strong mind bears it like a rock that doesn’t move though a thousand breakers dash upon it and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit.

God marks His enemies, and yet He bestirs not Himself but holds in His anger. If He were less divine than He is, He would long have since sent forth the whole of His thunders and emptied the cannons of heaven; He would have long ago blasted the earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man would have been utterly destroyed.

But the greatness of His power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your condition this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus and say, “My substitute, You are my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, do not be afraid of God’s power; for if by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that He who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.

Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.

Making Bricks Without Straw

1Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” 2But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many,1 and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7“You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”

10So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” 12So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” 14And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”

15Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

22Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”

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Footnotes
1 5:5 Samaritan they are now more numerous than the people of the land

Women Accompanying Jesus

1Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, 2and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them1 out of their means.

The Parable of the Sower

4And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

The Purpose of the Parables

9And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, 10he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ 11Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. 14And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. 15As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

A Lamp Under a Jar

16“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

Jesus' Mother and Brothers

19Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Jesus Calms a Storm

22One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

26Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes,2 which is opposite Galilee. 27When Jesus3 had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

34When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed4 man had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus's Daughter

40Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. 41And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, 42for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,5 she could not be healed by anyone. 44She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter6 said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

49While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” 50But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” 51And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. 52And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. 54But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” 55And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. 56And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.

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Footnotes
1 8:3 Some manuscripts him
2 8:26 Some manuscripts Gadarenes; others Gergesenes; also verse 37
3 8:27 Greek he; also verses 38, 42
4 8:36 Greek daimonizomai; elsewhere rendered oppressed by demons
5 8:43 Some manuscripts omit and though she had spent all her living on physicians,
6 8:45 Some manuscripts add and those who were with him

Eliphaz Speaks: Job's Wickedness Is Great

1Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

2“Can a man be profitable to God?

Surely he who is wise is profitable to himself.

3Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are in the right,

or is it gain to him if you make your ways blameless?

4Is it for your fear of him that he reproves you

and enters into judgment with you?

5Is not your evil abundant?

There is no end to your iniquities.

6For you have exacted pledges of your brothers for nothing

and stripped the naked of their clothing.

7You have given no water to the weary to drink,

and you have withheld bread from the hungry.

8The man with power possessed the land,

and the favored man lived in it.

9You have sent widows away empty,

and the arms of the fatherless were crushed.

10Therefore snares are all around you,

and sudden terror overwhelms you,

11or darkness, so that you cannot see,

and a flood of water covers you.

12“Is not God high in the heavens?

See the highest stars, how lofty they are!

13But you say, ‘What does God know?

Can he judge through the deep darkness?

14Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see,

and he walks on the vault of heaven.’

15Will you keep to the old way

that wicked men have trod?

16They were snatched away before their time;

their foundation was washed away.

17They said to God, ‘Depart from us,’

and ‘What can the Almighty do to us?’1

18Yet he filled their houses with good things—

but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

19The righteous see it and are glad;

the innocent one mocks at them,

20saying, ‘Surely our adversaries are cut off,

and what they left the fire has consumed.’

21“Agree with God, and be at peace;

thereby good will come to you.

22Receive instruction from his mouth,

and lay up his words in your heart.

23If you return to the Almighty you will be built up;

if you remove injustice far from your tents,

24if you lay gold in the dust,

and gold of Ophir among the stones of the torrent-bed,

25then the Almighty will be your gold

and your precious silver.

26For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty

and lift up your face to God.

27You will make your prayer to him, and he will hear you,

and you will pay your vows.

28You will decide on a matter, and it will be established for you,

and light will shine on your ways.

29For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because of pride’;2

but he saves the lowly.

30He delivers even the one who is not innocent,

who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

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Footnotes
1 22:17 Hebrew them
2 22:29 Or you say, ‘It is exaltation’

Paul Surrenders His Rights

1Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? 2If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 5Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife,1 as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? 7Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

8Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more?

Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ. 13Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? 14In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

15But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control,2 lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

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Footnotes
1 9:5 Greek a sister as wife
2 9:27 Greek I pummel my body and make it a slave
Today’s Bible Reading material is taken from McCheyne Bible reading plan and used by Truth For Life with permission. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

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