Sermon: Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy – Why Practicing What You Preach Matters

“Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy:  Why Practicing What You Preach Matters”
Romans 2:17-24
May 22, 2016

A few years ago, Washington state Representative, Jack Metcalf revealed that the U.S. Forestry Service and a Washington state agency were working together to spend $18,000 to dye rocks on a scenic route to the Cascade Mountains brown and gray. It seems that the rocks had been exposed during recent construction projects and in the estimation of the state authorities, they did not look weathered enough, so they wanted to paint the rocks to make them look more natural.

Yup. The rocks didn’t look natural enough. Kind of hard to fathom, isn’t it. (In defense of those officials, the project later was postponed.)

That story illustrates a genuine problem, however. We want things to look a particular way, and we will cover authentic realities with some substitute to “make it look right.” We have whole industries dedicated to covering up “flaws” — there are faux painters, and cosmetics, and construction remodels, and plastic surgery, and computer software patches, and dental implants, and more. I live in a 35-year-old home; we’ve concealed many flaws over the years we’ve been there.

In many areas, hiding a flaw is not only acceptable, but it’s good. But in the spiritual life, it’s disastrous. And that is the issue Paul addresses near the end of Romans 2. In that chapter, Paul has been dealing with the supposed self-righteousness of the Jews. In chapter one he has demonstrated that ungodly sinners are under the wrath of God (even now, and in the future); the Jews would have affirmed and applauded Paul for what he said; but in chapter two, Paul also indicts these Jews who believe they are righteous by virtue of their position alone and not dependent on Christ or God’s grace. And in this passage, Paul demonstrates that they not only don’t have Christ’s righteousness and they not only are under God’s wrath (2:1-16), but their entire lives are fraudulent — they are hypocrites who don’t obey the very standard they teach.

Knowing the truth about Christ must lead to a life of obeying the truth of Christ.

  1. The Privileged Position of Knowing the Truth (vv. 17-20)
  • They are a privileged people (v. 17a)
  • They are privileged with the Word (v. 17b-18)
  • They are privileged in the ministry (v. 19-20)
  1. The Tragic Failure of Disobeying the Truth (vv. 21-24)
  • They are hypocrites with the Word (vv. 21-23)
  • They lead others to blaspheme the Word (v. 24)
  1. Sober Warnings About Our Practices
  • Be aware of the tendency towards hypocrisy
  • Be aware of your influence on others
  • Be humble to repent

Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 2:17-24.

The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.

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