A lack of knowledge

Romans 1:21-32 – “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women ex-changed natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
    The problem is a lack of knowledge. The problem is that we do not know God. Whereas some parts of Scripture emphasize the “fear of God,” Romans emphasizes a knowledge of God. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
    When we lack knowledge about God, we do not – and in fact, cannot – develop a re-lationship with Him. Our relationships are built upon the foundation of knowledge. A lot of marriages fail because the relationship is just based on emotions or the satisfaction of needs. To really love someone, you really have to know them. The Israelites did not have an intimate knowledge of God nor a relationship with God. Allow me to list six things that resulted:
#1. When we lack a knowledge of God there will be: NO FAITHFULNESS.
• The people were struggling with their faithfulness to God because of their lack of knowledge. As God’s chosen people looked around them, they saw the pagans wor-shipping. Pagan worship looked fun to them; it was loose and just about anything was allowed. There were really no rules. This looked good to the people of God; they con-stantly struggled with Baal worship and other forms of idolatry. (What would you compare that to today?)
We will struggle with being faithful to God because we will have no foundation for our faithfulness. If you do not know God, what is it that keeps you in line? Hebrews 11:6 – “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” How can we know, much less please or even desire to please someone with whom we have no relationship?
#2. When we lack an intimate relationship with God there will be: NO KINDNESS.
LUKE 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” How many of us want to do this? How many of us want to be kind to people who do not like us? Jesus told us that if we are good to those who are good to us, then we are no better than the pagans who do the same.
    Do you find it hard to be kind to some people? As you grow closer to Jesus, you will find that being kind to people becomes so much easier. If we are not kind, we will not attract people to Jesus. I remember the story that Jesus told of the Good Samaritan. Remember, a man was injured, the priest and the Levite walked right by the man, but the Samaritan stopped and showed kindness to the man. The punch line was that the Jews hated the Samaritans so this story really struck a nerve with them… What if we told this story about a black man? When people in our community need kindness and compassion, I hope that it is God’s people who are there. Showing kindness will go a long way with people. One of the benefits of knowing God is that we will start seeing people the way that Jesus saw them because we as we grow in our knowledge and love for Jesus, we are “being transformed into His image.” (2 Cor 3:18)
#3. When we lack an intimate relationship with God there will be: IGNORANCE.
    This passage says that the people did not have knowledge of God, this is ignorance. Ig-norance breeds even more ignorance. Ignorance is dangerous. If we are ignorant of something, we will believe anything about it. The Constitution of the United States is a good example. How many of you know that the Constitution speaks about the separation of church and state? It does have that phrase in it right? No, it does not! But, we have a whole nation of people who think that is in there, so based on that assumption; we are allowing the ACLU and other political organizations to rid us of God in our society. When we are ignorant of God’s word, we will not know when we are being sold a bill of goods.
What if the church buys into the thought that all roads lead to heaven, so there is really no difference in the different religions and that doctrinal differences mean nothing? When the people are ignorant, then they we believe everything except the truth!
#4 When we lack a knowledge of God there will be: A LIFE OF SIN.
    Ignorance of God and His word leads to a life of sin. Notice the things mentioned here in the opening scripture…They are all direct violations of God’s Law. The “People of God” were being swept away by the sinful life-styles of the pagans around them. Is this happening today? Why? We have allowed the teachings of the world to overtake the church. 1 John 2:15 – “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We have fallen too much in love with the world to keep it out of us.
#5 When we lack a knowledge of God there will be: NO REPROOF.
    Romans 1:32 “although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them”. We have a whole nation that wonders why things are get-ting so bad socially, and when we tell them why, we are intolerant, narrow-minded, bigots. There are absolutes even if over 70% of the people say there are none. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong for everyone.
Finally,#6 When we lack an knowledge of God FUTURE GENERATIONS ARE AFFECTED.
Vs 6-7 Ignorance breeds ignorance. God says to the Israelites that He was going to turn from the children of the people because the more they had, the more they sinned. We are raising a society of people who know little to nothing about God and we will pay and are paying the price for that. The nation of Israel suffered because one generation did not teach the other. If we – who sit in the church lack a knowledge or relationship with God, how in the world will we teach our children, and how will they teach their children? Let me say it again; “My people perish from a lack of knowledge”. (Hosea 4:6)

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