"Religious But Lost"


Date: Repreached on 31 January, 2016

Text: Romans 10:1-11

Title:  Religious but Lost

Theme:  A people zealous for God as they think they should be - going about to establish their self righteous agenda.

Proposition:  The answer for those who are religious but lost.

Rhetorical:  Friend, are you religious but lost?



            I remember growing up, thinking that my dad could do anything.  I hope my kids think the same thing about me.  Certain people give you that idea that there is nothing that they can't do if they put their mind to it.  Paul, strikes me, as a man who could do anything that he put his mind to.  He was more determined than anyone.  But, in our passage today, we find Paul, grappling with a burden that was impossible for him to lift.  He had a deep desire to see his Jewish brothers get saved.  But salvation is an individual decision.  These dear Jewish people would have to accept or reject Jesus on their own.


In our passage Paul presents the Gospel to these people who were religeous but lost.  We are going to consider with Paul this morning, "The answer for those who are religeous but lost."  Friend is that you this morning?  Are you religeous but lost?


 v.1 "Brethren, my hearts desire prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved."


I.  You have a dilemma.

v.2 "For I bear them record...."

exp.  Paul's record was one of personal experience.  He knew their record because he had lived it.  If righteousness could come by the law then he would have achieved it.

Philippians 3: 4-6  Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

exp.  Paul is now going to let them know their dilemma.  They had a great problem.

            A.  Zeal without knowledge is vain.

            v. 2 "they have a zeal of God, But not according to knowledge."

exp.  Zeal is normally considered an admirable characteristic especially admired in those who are religious.  However, religious zeal that is contrary to knowledge is vain and empty. 

ill.  Imagine me trying to play football on your favourite team.  What would you think if I was the most zealous of all players but hadn't a clues as to how the game of football was to be played?  No doubt I would lose the game for your side if I was even allowed to remain on the pitch.  Without doubt every fan in the stadium would let me know that zeal without knowledge is vain.

app.  I know some very zealous religious people.  But zeal itself isn't admirable.  Only zeal that is according to knowledge has value.

            B.  Self righteousness is ignorance of God's righteousness.

exp.  Something is missing in your understanding if you think that God is going to think you are righteous enough to get into Heaven or that He will accept your boast of righteousness.

                        1.  God is completely without sin. (How about you?)

                        v.3 "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness"

exp.  You would have to be completely ignorant of who God is to think that you are righteous.

                                    a.  Compared to God's standard we fall woefully short.

Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness's are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

exp.  It doesn't matter who we are we do not and can not measure up to God's perfect standard.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

ill.  Sin is to miss the mark.  Imagine trying to shoot an arrow over Ben Nevis.  You may get your arrow further than mine but neither one of us is going to get his arrow over that towering giant.  What would you think of me shooting arrows day in and day out trying to get over the mountain.  That is mankind's problem.  They have no ability to save themselves and yet day after day they struggle and try to do what God alone can do.

                                    b.  God is completely without sin and can not sin.

exp.  God is the only one who meets this standard of perfection. He alone is Holy.  (Completely separated from sin.)

Isaiah 6:3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

James 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

app.  Friend if you blame God for the fact that you are a sinner, you have nothing to stand on.  We sin by choice and we are tempted because the perversion of our lusts.  How can any many claim that he is without sin?

                        2.  God is not going to accept your pathetic claim to righteousness.

                        v.3 "and going about to establish their own righteousness,"

exp.  These people work, work work, seeking to build a foundation of self righteousness to prove to God their ability to get into His Heaven.

ill.  Imagine how Fifa would have laughed at Ireland if they had tried to bid for the World Cup.  They are a small country that is limited in every way - financially, infrastructure, stadium's etc.  They have nothing to offer Fifa that Fifa would accept.

app.  We have no goodness to offer a completely Holy God.  What could we possibly possess that God would accept into His holy house?

            C.  Pride refuses to submit to the righteousness from God.

            v.3 "...have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God."

exp.  Man's only hope is that their is a righteousness of God that can be imputed to them.  

(2 Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)  But, self righteous people refuse to submit to God's imputed righteousness.  Why?  Because they think they are righteous.

ill.  Would the government of Ireland accept a Bailout if they wrongly believed their economy was fine?  If they wrongly believed that they were financially strong, they would have no reason to seek financial assistance.

app.  Why would you submit to God's imputed righteousness through Jesus Christ if you believe that you are righteous by yourself?  You wouldn't.  And neither would these self righteous jews.  They refused to submit because they were trusting in themselves rather than in Jesus.


II.  I have a declaration.

exp.  Paul is now going to show the conclusion of the law for righteousness.

            A.  Christ has ended the Law.

                        1. for righteousness.

                        v.4 "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness"

exp.  The law comes to a conclusion in Christ.  The whole purpose of the law was to point people to Christ.  It was our schoolmaster that showed us our mistakes and teaches us our inability to keep it's perfect standard.

Galatians 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

exp. Justified means to be declared righteous. 

ill. The law as schoolmaster brought us to the God of grace who is Headmaster of the school.  Law, the Schoolmaster, said, you are guilty and need to be punished.  God, the Headmaster, said, "You shouldn't have disobeyed the law, your schoolmaster, but he has brought you to me. I have already punished my son in your place. If you'll believe that, I will declare you righteous and innocent and do away with the Schoolmaster and his record against you."

                        2. to every person who believes.

                        v.4 "For Christ is the end of the law ... to everyone that believeth."

Galatians 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

exp.  The schoolmaster made us guilty.  If by faith we take God's gift of salvation in Jesus, the Headmaster makes us free from the law of sin and guilt.  That's why the Law will never take us to God saying that we are guilty.  No we're no longer guilty by the Law, because we have been made free from the law as schoolmaster.

Ro 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

            B.  The law puts you in bondage.

v.5 "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law that the man which doeth those things shall live by them."

example:  Moses had made the law very clear to the Israelite Nation.  Deutoronomy 30: 11-14  For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?  But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

explanation:  God had clearly articulated the law so that they were accountable to the law.  However, under the sacrificial system, there was also a measure of grace.  When you failed in keeping the law you had forgiveness available to you through the blood of animals.  However, the law continually pointed out your failures.

            C.  The law can not possibly take you where grace alone can go.

exp.  Paul is now going to refer to that passage in Deut. but with a New Testament of Grace emphasis.

v.6 "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise,"

                        1.  You can't get Jesus from Heaven by the law.

v.6 "Say not ye, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above:)"

                        2.  You can't bring Jesus back from the dead by the law.

v.7 "Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)"

exp.  Only God's grace which gave us the law can give us the Savior, that the law showed us we need.  God's grace gave us a Christ child and God's grace brought Jesus back from the dead.

transition:  So, Paul has said - You have a delemma (Your self righteousness has blinded you to God's righteousness) - Here is my declaration (The law condemns you but Jesus can set you free from the law) - Now he says that You can be delivered.


III.  You can be delivered.

ill.  Imagine how relieved the Chilean Miner's were when they were told, "We're going to get you out of there."  Suddenly they had hope where they were hopeless.  Paul has taken these self righteous Jews to the point of hopelessness, so that, he can show them that Jesus is their only hope.

            A.  Salvation is brought near by grace.

v.8 "But what sayeth it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith which we preach;"

exp.  God has not set up a difficult way to be saved.  He has provided the most simple of ways that even a child can understand. 

ill.  This past week friends of our had their little boy, Andrew, ask to be saved.  He immediately began witnessing to his sister.  He experienced something that he wanted her to get.  (We've seen that with our own children.  After they have accepted Jesus they have a great desire to see the other children experience salvation as well.)

            B.  Salvation is received by faith.

exp.  Salvation is not something we earn.  It is not something we work for.  It is something that we receive by faith as a gift.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

ill. If I gave you a check for 10,000 GBP, how would I know that you believed that it was real?  If you took it to the bank to deposit it. 

app.  Have you taken God's check for salvation to the heavenly bank?  Are you willing to believe God that He has provided everything you need to be saved by crucifying His Son on the cross for you?

Will you confess your faith in Jesus today?  If you are sincere, you ought to confess it to God and you ought to confess it to man.

v 9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,"

Will you bank your eternity on the truth of Christ's resurrection from the dead?

 v.9 "and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead,"

The God who never lies has guaranteed that if you sincerely trust in Jesus and confess that dependence on Him, You will be saved.

 v.9 "thou shalt be saved."

Remember Israel's problem - Their self righteousness was keeping them from God's righteousness.  They refused to submit.  But those who do submit....

v.10 "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Are you unashamed for Jesus today?  If not, it is unlikely that you are saved?

v.11 "For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."

app.  He humbly entered a sin cursed world and died abused and naked as a thief on a cross for you.  Won't you take His gift of salvation and do something for the One Who gave His all for you?

Conclusion:  Friend, are you religeous but lost this morning.  Don't you see the Delimma.  Self righteousness blinds you to the righteousness of Jesus.  Your belief that you have kept the law is false because the law condemns you.  The law is only set aside by faith in Jesus. 


Won't you accept Jesus by faith today as your savior?  If so, won't you make that known to God and to others.

            v.11 "For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."