International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday June 26. 2016
Purpose: To commit to discerning and following God’s will
Bible Lesson: Romans 1:18-23, 28-32
Background Scripture: Psalm 8; Romans 1:1-32
Key Verse: Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
Romans 1:18-23 (CEB)
(18) God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodly behavior and the injustice of human beings who silence the truth with injustice. (19) This is because what is known about God should be plain to them because God made it plain to them. (20) Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—God’s eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse. (21) Although they knew God, they didn’t honor God as God or thank him. Instead, their reasoning became pointless, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) While they were claiming to be wise, they made fools of themselves. (23) They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that look like mortal humans: birds, animals, and reptiles.
Romans 1: 28-32 (CEB)
(28) Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things. (29) So they were filled with all injustice, wicked behavior, greed, and evil behavior. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deception, and malice. They are gossips, (30) they slander people, and they hate God. They are rude and proud, and they brag. They invent ways to be evil, and they are disobedient to their parents. (31) They are without understanding, disloyal, without affection, and without mercy. (32) Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practices deserve death, they not only doing these things but also approve others who practice them.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
To set a historical reference for Paul’s letter to the Gentiles that were part of a congregation in Rome, Paul was the end of his third missionary journey. He was in Corinth for three months and had an important decision to make, go to Rome and then on to Spain, or go back to Jerusalem with the offering he had collected from the Macedonian Christians to help those struggling in Jerusalem.
Paul chose to return to Jerusalem, and write a letter to those in Rome. Because this powerful letter would become part of our canonized scripture we can assume that Paul’s decision was the will of the Father. It is important to remember as Paul was writing this letter, he had no idea of its importance. He had no way of knowing he was writing scripture to be studied for the next two millennia. It would be over 300 years before this letter would be recognized as Holy Writ.
Unlike his other letters, Paul was writing to a church he had not founded. Paul wanted to partner with those in Rome to help him continue to spread the gospel throughout the Roman world, especially to Spain and maybe even Britain.
For someone who had never met most of these Romans, Paul seemed to know a lot about them. Paul was a great networker, in his day. In this letter, he mentions about 30 individuals, both men and women, that were on the church rolls in Rome. As usual Paul took a two pronged approach. Doctrine followed by duty; theology followed by practice; understanding followed by application and believing followed by doing.
It is easy to see from Paul’s writings he was well aware of the lifestyle of many Romans. He is quick to point out that there is no excuse for this vile behavior, and they will be without excuse when God chooses to let them Waller in their vile behavior.
Paul tells the Romans, there is no excuse for not recognizing and worshipping with thanksgiving the Creator God. Obviously no wooden image or anything else was worthy of our worship, certainly not one of the creatures rather than the Creator. The way they ignored God only added to their foolishness.
There were several verses from this passage that were left out of our printed text, I am going to print them here.
(24) So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires, which led to the moral corruption of degrading their own bodies with each other. (25) They traded God’s truth for a lie, and they worshipped and served the creation instead of the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (26) That’s why God abandoned them to degrading lust. Their females traded natural sexual relations for unnatural sexual relations. (27) Also, in the same way, the males traded natural sexual relations with females, and burned with lust for each other. Males performed shameful actions with males, and they were paid back with the penalty they deserved for their mistake in their own bodies.
These verses are the strongest condemnation of the LGBTQ lifestyle. Today we are faced as a nation and as a church to accept the words, as of God or man. Certainly everyone needs salvation, all of us. Also, we know only God can perform the miracle of a transformed life. I only know what I can control, as for me, I choose to serve the Christ/God of Paul. As for my hymn this week it is “Open My Eyes, That I May See.”