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Apr 14, 2024 | Pastor John Brunette

When the Heart Grows Dark

The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge regarded the Book of Romans as the most profound book in existence. Another scholar has called Romans “the cathedral of the Christian faith.” Martin Luther referred to Romans as “the greatest and richest of all apostolic works.” He, along with Augustine, was introduced to the Gospel through the Book of Romans. As we continue through this wonderful book inspired by the Holy Spirit and written by the Apostle Paul, may we also discover what it means to live in the freedom of the Gospel. Today we discover that the “good news” is really good news because the bad news of humanity's sin and lostness is really bad.  



Romans 1:18-32


God's Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.


For Adult Homes & Groups

1. Read Romans 1:18-32. How does reading this passage make you feel? Is there a verse or thought that immediately jumped off the page? 

2. How would you describe the anger or wrath of God versus the anger we experience as human beings? How does God’s anger reflect His love for humanity? 

3. What are some things you have observed in nature that confirm to you that God exists? (v. 20) What is the truth that men suppress by their wickedness? (v. 18) 

4. Respond to these words Pastor John spoke: “Paul doesn’t write this chapter to condemn gay people. He writes it to condemn all people.” What aspect of this section of scripture brings conviction? What aspect brings comfort because of God’s grace? 

5. Idolatry or “worshiping created things rather than the Creator” seems to be at the heart of humanity’s sin disease. What idols are believers and unbelievers most struggling with today? 

6. Our reading tells us that God gives us over to our sinful desires. What would be a believer’s response knowing that in Romans 8 it says God gave His Son over to die for us, and in Ephesians 5 it says Jesus Christ gave Himself over to die for us? How would this “good news” change the way you treat those who appear to be trapped in their godlessness and wickedness? 


For Families with Kids

1. Romans 1:18-32 talks about the one big thing that hurts our relationship with Jesus and others...sin. Sin will always make us sad, and if we don’t say sorry for our sins, that causes more harm which makes us feel far away from Jesus. What sin has left you feeling sad?

2. Sin keeps us from growing in our relationship with Jesus. It leaves us feeling empty. When we ask Jesus for help and read the Bible, He helps us fight temptation and sin. Share a time when Jesus helped you choose not to sin.

3. Say this prayer to help each other: “Jesus, give us the strength to choose not to sin. Surround us with people who can help us grow in our faith in You. Forgive us for our sins. Thank You for dying on the cross to take away our sins. Amen.”

Series Information

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