Romans 2: 25-29 Ė The Circumcision Of The Heart
Intro: Today is traditionally called Palm Sunday / or the day that Jesus road into Jerusalem at the beginning of the Passover week
A) It was His triumphal entry - fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel who prophesied 483 yrs earlier the very day this event would take place !
B) When Jesus road into Jerusalem people lined the streets and were Chanting Hosanna Ö ( Save Now )† Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord
C) But it is interesting that many of these same people who were singing praises / singing Hosanna in the beginning of the week†
1) †Were shouting crucify Him in the end of the week !/ changed tune
D) It is this type of† Hypocrisy & lip service that Paul is addressing here in Romans chapter 2
Recall Paul has assumed the role of a Prosecutor in a court† Law
A) On trial is humanity - Paul is building a case† that all humanity is guilty of disobeying Gods law / sinners in† need of a savior
B) Seen in Chapter 1 Paul outlines the guilt of the Heathen / the person who flat out rejects God by the lifestyle they live
1) †The Heathen doesnít necessarily have to be an Atheist / a person who doesnít believe that God† exist / he just ACTS like God doesnít exist !
C) In Chapter 2 Paulís focus Changes from the Heathen to the Hypocrite / the religious person / the moral person - / who knows the truth/ give lip service to the truth
1) †But they donít live it / they donít put it into practice !
D) In the first part of this Chapter Paul gives some interesting insights into the sin of judging / which we will look at on Wed. night
E) But as the Chapter moves on Paul uses the Jew as his example of the person who is trusting in religion / or his own morality and not relationship
The Jew's problem as Paul explains it here is that they were putting their confidence in† their heritage & the fact that God had given to them the Law
A) And that they had a special symbol of their relationship to God / namely circumcision !
B) Now on Wed night we will see how Paul takes one thing at a time and strips away the confidence of the Jew /who Rep. the religious person of that day
1) †And any person today who seeks to put their confidence in their own morality / or their religious affiliation as the gauge that they are right w/ God
C) This morning I want to focus in on the last thing Paul brings to their attention / circumcision / 3 things I want us to note
1) †1st What is circumcision / what is the significance of it
2) †2nd How does it relate to us
3) †3rd What is the true circumcision of the Heart† READ V.25-29
Circumcision is first introduced† in the Bible in Genesis 17 when God was making a Covenant W/ Abraham
A) There we read of how the Lord revealed Himself to Abe as El Shaddai which means the Almighty / all sufficient one !
B) It was There God told Abe that He was going to make him a great nation ! / In fact over & over again the Lord says I WILL / or this is what I WILL do
1) †Which shows us the emphasis of the Covenant† Was based on what God was going to do for Abraham & not what Abraham could do for God
C) Be leery of that type of Preaching that is always telling you what you can do for God / Christianity isnít about what we can do for God
1) †But it is really knowing what God has done for us !
D) So God makes this Covenant W/ Abe By telling him I will make of you a great nation / I will cause you to be very fruitful /† I will give to you this land
1) †I will bless you by giving you a son! / just to name a few
Now in† the sealing of this Covenant God instituted the ordinance of Circumcision / in which the Lord said to Abe
Every male child among you shall be circumcised;† "and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
A) The purpose of Circumcision was for identification / it marked Abe & his descendants as Gods people / they belonged to Him !
B) It was the outward sign of Abrahamís faith that he believed that God was going to do what he said
1) †In fact in chapter 4 Paul builds a case showing that Abe was not Justified by his circumcision but by faith
Bb) He was justified before he was circumcised because he believed / he exercised faith that God would do what He said / believed in the promise of God
C) Circumcision was the out ward sign of that faith !
1) †It was an identification mark that they belonged to God ! Live for Him ! / His people
In some ways circumcision is equivalent to what an engagement ring is today
When a guy gets serious about a girl & wants to marry her he gets her a ring
A) That engagement ring is a sign to her that he is very serious about his commitment to marry her / Serious about his promise
B) And when that girl puts that ring on she is saying to him I believe you / and this ring is the mark / that I am yours / I belong to You
1) †And she is also saying to all eligible bachelors / I am not available / Iím taken / I belong to someone else
C) Word to you single gals / one of the things that impressed me when I first met my wife Denise was she wore a ring on her ring finger / Asked her why
1) †2 REASONS / It reminded her that she was engaged to the Lord / It sent a message to guys in the world - she was taken - worked in a bank
D) First thing guys look at when they see a pretty girl ! Is she wearing a ring !
1) †Good thing for you single gals to practice & when someone asked why you are wearing that ring / good chance to share the† Lord/ his bride
E) Now I know what you are thinking - that ring didnít seem to stop you - Well God did say that it is good that man not be alone !
1) †She could be His bride in Heaven but thankful - give me a few yrs to have her as my bride her on earth !
So circumcision was meant to be a sign to Abraham & his descendants that they belonged to God / that they believed that God keeps His promises
A) And it was a sign to the world that they were a marked people / the people of God
B) And the cutting away of the foreskin represented a spiritual picture/ It was symbolic of the cutting away of the flesh
1) †Meaning the Jews would not be like the rest of the nations who lived to gratify their own flesh / but it meant they would live for the Lord !
C) But the physical mark was only valuable if Abe & his descendants were going to Live like people who belonged to God !
1) †But see this is where the problem comes in ! Letís go back to the analogy
†††† of the engagement ring !
An engagement ring really means nothing if a person isnít going to act like they are engaged !
A) A gal might have the most beautiful ring made out the finest gold /w/ the biggest diamond / but if she is going out w/ others guys all the time/ who cares
B) A wedding ring for that matter is of no value to the person who is committing adultery / You Donít really love your spouse when doing that
1) †Love your self & seeking what ever is necessary to gratify yourself
C) The ring makes a statement that you are married but you are not living like you are married !
1) †An engagement ring makes a statement that you are taken / you belong to another/† but if you are not living like that / the† ring means nothing!
D) That is the point that Paul is making there in Romans to the Jews who would put confidence in circumcision as the symbol he was right w/ God† .V.25†
For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
A) Paul says that your circumcision is only valuable if you are acting like Godís people ! Keeping the Law !
1) †but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become
B) In other words Paul is saying You canít trust in circumcision to save you in fact it means nothing if not living for the Lord / Love Him w/ all your† heart !
2nd thing to note
Paul could say the same thing today to those people who put their trust & their assurance that they are ok w/ God† in some outward sign or symbol
A) Remember Jesus condensed the Law into 2 commandments† Love the Lord ÖÖ mind & strength & Love your neighbor Öself
Aa) The second commandment is really the by product of the first / You love God & you will love others
B) But there are those who like the Jew present the argument that they are confidence that they are right w/ God because of heritage
1) †Great grandma was a Christian / left me the family Bible / right there on the coffee table /
C) For other people it is the fact that their name is on the role books of some church !† Church membership / like members of Price club
D) For others it might be that they put money in the offering basket every Sunday & if they sinned real bad on sat. night / put in a little extra
For some people it is the fact that they were baptized as a little kid
A) What is Baptism ? Baptism is the outward sign or expression that God has done a work in your heart ! Follows believing !
B) Which is one of the main reasons we donít do infant Baptisms / Jesus said Believe & be baptized / Donít have the capacity to believe / canít be baptism.
1) †Plus we just donít see it in scripture / Dedications we see /
C) Baptism is the outward expression that a person is proclaiming their faith in Jesus & their desire to follow Him
1) †When a person† goes down into the water they are saying to everyone
†††† watching that they are a follower of Jesus Christ
D) Baptism symbolizes their old man being buried w/ Christ in His death !
1) †And† as Christ arose from the dead & came out of the grave / we are seeking in His power to walk in that newness of life
E) Every Christian should get baptized / mark of being a disciple / speaks of a serious commitment to follow Christ !
F) †But if a person isnít living for the Lord it doesnít matter how many times Baptized it is a meaning less ritual /
Others put their stock in going forward at a Billy Graham or Harvest or Calvary Crusade ! 1989 I went forward
A) But if you are not living for the Lord today / if you are out doing your own thing / it doesnít matter one bit what you did in 1989 or 1996 for that matter
B) Now here is one that hits a little closer to home to those of us who have been a part of Calvary Chapel for a while
1) †Person might say well I know the word / I have studied the Bible w/ Pastor Chuck ( heard this so many times )
C) Knowledge is only good if it is put into Practice ! Knowledge isnít transferred to wisdom until it is applied !
1) †Person may have all the insight in the world but they only become wise when they learn how to apply that knowledge to their lives
D) This is the argument the Jews brought up we have the Law ! We have been given the Word / Paul says only good if you keep it
1) †Then he gives a Hypothetical example in v. 26
26† Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law,
E) this is a Hypothetical question because Paul knows that no man could keep the 10 commandments to the Letter - if means speaking Hypothetically
†It is like he is saying lets just suppose a non-Jew an uncircumcised person kept the Law will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?
A) Paul is pointing out that the Lord is more concerned about a persons Heart &† actions than He is their Knowledge or symbol / their affiliation
B) Letís go back to our wedding ring illustration ! That ring on your finger guys is
† a sign that you know how to treat a woman / Know what it takes to be a husband
1) †Now there are men in this body who donít wear a wedding ring because they work in a profession dangerous / construction mechanics etc
C) But they are great Husbands / Loyal / they love their wives the way Christ does !
1) †They may not wear a ring / but seen in actions / commitment in their hearts/ they are more married than the guy who wears a ring / flirting
Cc) They may not wear a ring / they donít have a symbol / but they are just as married & actually better husband then guy w/ the ring !
D) That is what Paul is saying here to the Jews is you may have a symbol but it doesnít mean anything because its not in your heart
1) †And the Non Jew the uncircumcised person who loves the Lord is more circumcised than you are because it is seen in their hearts & actions
28† For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
29† but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
3rd and final thing we want to address this morning is What does it mean to be circumcised in the Heart ?
A) Important to understand that it deals w/ more than just having a sincerity
B) Just as Physical circumcision marked Abe & his descendants as the People of God / there is that which marks us / as the people of God !
1) †And it is this circumcision of the Heart that also equips us to live for God
C) In fact Moses prophesied to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy Chapter 30 concerning this circumcision of the Heart / listen while† I read
5† "Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
6† "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
God was basically saying through Moses that God was going to do a work in their hearts that they could not do !
A) A work that would result in them Loving Him w/ all of their hearts / and following after Him w/ all of their strength .
B) See God revealed to man his need to follow Him & keep Gods commands / but man in his own effort couldnít do it / God said I am going to help you
1) †So what is this circumcision of the Heart ! Turn to Ezekiel 36
26† "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27† "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
28† "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
29† "I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.
30† "And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.
A) The Lord is speaking here of the new Covenant That He was going to establish
1) †Notice that just like in the Covenant That God made w/ Abe/ the emphasis is on What God is doing !† saying here I will do this Ö see above
B) All through the section the emphasis is on what God was going to do ! V.35 "So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.'
C) Understand this Prophecy of what God was going to do w/ Israel is a perfect picture of What He desires to do in the Heart of every man !
1) †Picture of what He has done in the heart of everyone here that knows Him!
Break it down
A) Give you a new heart / take away your heart of stone - speaks of a cold hard unresponsive heart to the Lord / His word !
B) Give you a heart of flesh ! One that can feel / love /
1) †New heart -
C) Next He says & I will place my spirit inside of you ! / Guys this is the circumcision of the Heart that Paul was talking about !
D) When a person is born again God does a work inside of them / that is truly an amazing miracle !† New Heart / New creation / heart is center who we are
E) God says I am giving you a new Heart - making you a new creation / starting at the very core of your being / where life flows & begins !
1) †Center of spiritual man - heart ! Hear w/ heart / understand w/ Heart
F) †Next He says I will place my spirit inside of you - this speaks of a deep intimacy & closeness that we experience w/ the Lord !
1) †Indwelling of the H.S. living & moving in our lives !
Now notice what this circumcision of the Heart results in "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
A) Suddenly there is a power that is available in my life to follow after the Lord & to love Him w/ all my heart !†
1) †Began at Calvary when Jesus did for man what man could not do for
††† Himself ! Sin guilt removed / cleansed / given new Life
B) Here is how this works ! Prior to the Work that Jesus accomplished on the cross & Lord sending the H.S.
1) †mans relationship to God was one of† Responsibility/ He had the responsibility to keep Godís Law
C) But Now it is not a matter of responsibility but of Responding to the Promptings of the H.S. upon your Heart !
1) †This is the real beauty of Christianity - I am in the relationship w/ the Living God who has place His spirit inside of me
D) H.S. ministers to my heart - through word / teaching / in prayer / reveals things that need to change / attitudes that need adjusting / sin I need to repent of
1) †And as He prompts my heart / the victory & growth take place† when I respond to those promptings
E) As I step out in obedience to those promptings He supplies the Power needed to be obedient !
1) †Times I need to express my dependency / Poor in Spirit /††
This is the true circumcision of the Heart that Paul is referring to there in Romans / it is The H.S. in the Life of the Believer
A) Marks Him as belonging to the Lord ! And empowers Him to live in Victory over the Flesh !
B) Gal. 5:16 Walk in the Spirit & you will notÖÖÖ flesh !
C) Like circumcision was the guarantee that God was going to keep His covenant The H.S. in our hearts is the Guarantee that God will keep His Promise† to us !
1) †Turn to 2 Corinthians 4:16
16† Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.17† For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
18† while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.†
5:1† For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.2† For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3† if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.†† 4† For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.† 5† Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6† So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.††† 7† For we walk by faith, not by sight.
8† We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.† 9† Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. †
Now in this portion of Scripture Paul is talking about the future Joy of Heaven !† New Bodies that await us ! Great time / place / See Jesus
A) He says that God has given us the H. S. as our Guarantee / carries w/ it the† Idea of† an engagement Ring !
B) We belong to Jesus ! He is our bride groom / He is preparing this awesome place for us / coming to get us/ given spirit as a guarantee He is serious
Now I suggest to you that it is easier to tell that a person has been circumcised† in the Heart than it is the flesh
A) 4 things that mark the persons life who has been circumcised in the Heart
B) First love for God - H.S. in our Hearts cries abba father - intimacy & relationship of one who realizes how good the Lord is
1) †Saved them from so much !
C) 2nd A Love for others - Fruit of the H.S. is Love ! Evidenced by love for others !
D) 3rd Live by faith† V. 6 †So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7† For we walk by faith, not by sight.
E) 4th Desire to live Holy !V 9† Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
†I want to be ready I want to be Prepared ! Like a bride getting ready for her wedding day I want to be ready when Lord returns