An exposition of Romans 3:9-20. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 6, 2009.
A Song was born at Christmas that sat the sky ablaze,
As joyful sound rang all around with heaven’s highest praise.
Now let us join the glorious song that the lowly shepherds heard.
With heart and voice, O come rejoice, that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Why? Why sing? Why rejoice? Because a baby was born in a barn? Because of some sweet, sentimental tail about some ancient legend now fulfilled? Let’s see, there was a frightened couple a long way from home who encountered an unsympathetic innkeeper. There was a birth in less than ideal circumstances. Then some angels appeared to shepherds and sang a song. Oh, and there were some strange visitors from an exotic location that somehow figured into the story. Curious, interesting perhaps but not all that compelling and certainly not worth singing about. That is until you get behind the story and learn the reason for it all.
I love the music of Christmas. I don’t mean Rudolf The Red-nosed Reindeer, Deck the Halls, or Santa Baby! I mean the hymns like Joy To The Word!, Angels We Have Heard On High, and O Come, O Come Emmanuel. They are upbeat, joy-filled and full of life. But why? Let me add one other thing, there is a big different in the singing of those who understand and those who do not. You can have a choir of excellent musicians who have a beautiful arrangement of a particular Christmas hymn and they can sing it with perfection but it’s not the same as the singing of those who’ve been brought from death to life through the gospel. Oh the former may bring a tear to your eye and it might move you as beautiful music often does but the latter feeds your soul and stirs your heart. No, the true music of Christmas is born in the heart of those who have come face to face with the darkness of their own soul and have found light and life in the person of Jesus Christ. Our text this morning is found in Romans chapter 3 beginning with verse 9.
Text: Romans 3:9-20
At first glance this hardly seems appropriate for a “Christmas” text.
Christmas is upbeat, joyful.
Not exactly appropriate for describing this passage.
This is one of the darkest passages in the whole of Scripture.
Here we have God’s indictment of the human race.
Here we have assembled Scripture’s most explicit description of total depravity.
This is God’s assessment of the man.
When God looks at us this is what He sees.
It’s not a pretty picture.
I’m not thrilled about His conclusion either. “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.” (3:19)
We’re guilty. We are condemned. We will answer to God. “Thanks for the Christmas cheer pastor!” Wait, what was it that the angels said to those shepherds in the hills of Bethlehem? “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord.” A Savior. God’s deliverer has come. What deliverer? The one who will save His people from their sins.
Thesis: You will never understand the beauty and the wonder of Christmas until you understand YOU need a Savior.
That is what this text is about and that’s why it is very appropriate, perhaps the most appropriate Christmas text. Thus far in Romans Paul has made it clear that the heathen, the hypocrite and the Hebrew have each in turn been arraigned and found guilty. All are sinners.
This text is about your need of a Savior. We find three reasons for why you need a Savior.
- You need a Savior because you stand condemned before a holy and righteous God. (3:9-12)
According to Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit we are:
- Unrighteous – 10
- Unreasonable – 11
- Unresponsive – 11
- Unrepentant – 12
You need a Savior because you stand condemned before a holy and righteous judge. But there is more.
- You need a Savior because you stand rightly condemned by both your words and your ways. (3:13-18)
It is not that you are unjustly condemned.
It is not that charges have been manufactured.
- Your words condemn you – 3:13-14
- Your ways condemn you – 3:15-18
YOU need a Savior because you stand condemned, rightfully so by your own words and your own conduct. But we’re not through.
- You need a Savior because your condition is hopeless. (3:19-20)
That is how dark and desperate your circumstance. Unless you come face to face with that reality you will never hear or enjoy the music of Christmas.