Sunday, June 26, 2016

The International Sunday School Lesson

Lesson for June 26, 2016

Ignoring God’s Plain Truth

Romans 1:18-32

Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri, and has held preaching ministries in Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado. This lesson treatment is published in the June 19 issue of The Lookout magazine and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.
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By Mark Scott 
“There is none so blind as he who will not see.” Today’s text describes a descent into depravity. Paul’s summation of the gospel is Romans 1:16, 17—the transforming power of Christ’s faithfulness to everyone. But before that transforming power can be effectual, sin must be acknowledged. This is Paul’s argument in Romans 1:18–3:20. The depravity factor must be admitted. The old adage, “You have to get them lost before you can get them saved” rings true here. Paul traced (primarily for his Gentile readers) what happens when God’s plain truth is ignored.
Chaos & Confusion | Romans 1:18-27
The built-in wrath of God appears when people suppress the truth by their wickedness. God has wired the universe in such a way that when his truth is ignored (“worked down”) two kinds of chaos break out.
The first kind of chaos is the rejection of natural revelation. God reveals himself in general ways—creation (Psalm 19:1-6) and humanity (Psalm 8:4-6)—and in special ways—Scripture (Psalm 19:7-11) and Jesus (John 14:9). God’s very nature (his eternal power and divine nature) have been discerned by what God made (where we get the word poem and only occurs elsewhere in the New Testament in Ephesians 2:10 about believers). Creation does tell us of God’s nature, provided that people do not sweep God’s truth under the carpet.
The second kind of chaos is the acceptance of idolatry. At the end of the day, idolatry is not only breaking the first of the Ten Commandments, it is also moronic. Even though people know God they do not glorify him or give thanks to him. They have futile minds and dark hearts. Alan Ahlgrim calls it “stinkin’ thinkin’.” When the Creator’s glory is rejected, the only recourse is to worship creation and self. People who suppress the truth from God end up turning totally inward.
Gender confusion is another digression when God’s truth is ignored. This is such a delicate subject today. Sexual identity is the defining issue of the current culture. The church can so easily be accused of being homophobic. No true follower of Jesus wants to be gender prejudiced. But we must read the biblical text on its own terms. Let the text say what the author intended to say. While there are many ways to read this text, the most natural reading of the text seems to be that ongoing, habitual homosexual activity (different than feelings or thoughts) is not God’s original intention. Homosexual activity is not a recent phenomenon. Paul was well aware of it at the highest levels of the Roman government. (See The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius.)
Sexual impurityshameful lusts, and a depraved mind are places God allows people to go when they ignore his truth. God does not give up on people, but he does give them over to things if people so choose. God is a gentleman of the highest order. He will allow individual autonomy but maintains consequences for all our sinful choices.
Depraved Minds | Romans 1:28-32
As goes the brain, so goes the behavior. The depraved mind is the final digression when God’s truth is ignored. Essentially Hell will be a place where everyone will do his or her own thing. This is total chaos. One of Paul’s favorite subgenres is lists. They can be virtue lists (Galatians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:12, 13) or vice lists (Colossians 3:8; 2 Timothy 3:1-9). This text contains one of Paul’s longest vice lists and it defies too much categorization. Some vices seem to go together (murder and strife, deceit and malice, arrogant and boastful). Some vices are general (wickedness, depravity, and God-haters). Some vices are specific (gossips, slanderers, and disobedient to parents). Some vices are stated in parallel ways (no understanding, no fidelity, no love, and no mercy
Verse 32 indicates the depths to which humans sink when ignoring God’s truth. Seth Wilson said, “Do not be surprised when the ‘natural’ man acts ‘natural.’” But I still am surprised.
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*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011 unless otherwise indicated.

Christian Worship Three Year Lectionary (with Supplemental Lectionary)





SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2016 | PENTECOST
SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER
PENTECOST
YEAR C

             Old Testament       1 Kings 19:14–21
             Old Testament       Jonah 3:3–4:4 (Supplemental)
             Psalm       Psalm 62
             New Testament       Galatians 5:1, 13–25
             New Testament       2 Corinthians 11:21b–30                                                                      (Supplemental)
             Gospel       Luke 9:51–62


Christian Worship Three Year Lectionary (with Supplemental Lectionary). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.

United Methodist Revised Common Lectionary





SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2016 | AFTER
PENTECOST
PROPER 8
YEAR C

             Old Testament       2 Kings 2:1–2, 6–14
             Psalm       Psalm 77:1–2, 11–20 (UMH 798)
             New Testament       Galatians 5:1, 13–25
             Gospel       Luke 9:51–62


Vanderbilt Divinity Library. United Methodist Revised Common Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.

Catholic Lectionary





SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2016 | ORDINARY
TIME
THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN
ORDINARY TIME
YEAR C | ROMAN MISSAL

              First Reading       1 Kings 19:16b, 19–21
              Response       Psalm 16:5a
              Psalm       Psalm 16:1–2, 5, 7–11
              Second Reading       Galatians 5:1, 13–18
              Gospel Acclamation       1 Samuel 3:9, John 6:68c
              Gospel       Luke 9:51–62


Catholic Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.

Lutheran Service Book Three Year Lectionary





SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2016 | PENTECOST
PROPER 8
YEAR C

On the same date: Jeremiah

             Old Testament       1 Kings 19:9b–21
             Psalm       Psalm 16
             Epistle       Galatians 5:1, 13–25
             Gospel       Luke 9:51–62


Lutheran Service Book Three Year Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009. Print.

The Episcopal Church





SUNDAY, JUNE 26, 2016 | AFTER
PENTECOST
PROPER 8
YEAR C

             Psalm       Psalm 16 or Psalm 16:5–11
             First Reading       1 Kings 19:15–16, 19–21
             Second Reading       Galatians 5:1, 13–25
             Gospel       Luke 9:51–62


The Episcopal Church. Book of Common Prayer (1979) Sunday Lectionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010. Print.