Roman’s 2:17 – 21
Circumcision of the Heart.
[From Wesley’s sermon #17]
I. The current situation.
A. The spiritual-state of reality.
1. If someone preachers on a basic or essential duty it is misunderstood.
2. It is hard for people to accept the difference between the spirit of the world and the Spirit of Christ.
3. REALITY CHECK: If you are in Christ and if Christ is risen, you OUGHT to die to the world and live wholly for God.
B. The “natural” – vs – The spiritual.
1. The “natural” (meaning those who are still in their sin) person is “alive” to the world but “dead” to God.
2. Spiritual things are perceivable only by a spiritual sense that the natural does not have BECAUSE the natural is not awakened.
(Ill.) A person who is asleep... the alarm goes off, someone nudges them awake. There is for some (those who are not morning people) that moment of not being awake and not being asleep. They are conscious but not yet moving. If they do not get moving they go back to sleep.
This is a spiritual illustration. When we are in our natural state we are asleep, unaware of God and unable to respond to God. The Holy Spirit awakens us. Now we can choose to wake up or go back to sleep.
3. The “natural” rejects both the wisdom and power of God.
C. Three distinguishing marks of a true follower of Christ:
1. There is a state of acceptance with God. They accept what God has done for them through the blood of Jesus.
2. They have the “mind of Christ” and are being renewed in the image of God (see Romans 12:2 and 1 Corinthians 2:16).
3. They have the “circumcision of the heart.”
II. What is it and what does it do?
1. Wesley: “that habitual disposition of soul... termed holiness, and which directly implies being cleansed from sin.”
2. Implies – humility, faith, hope, and charity.
a. Humility – a right judgement of ourselves.
1.) This is not a “hung-dog” attitude.
2.) It recognizes all sin and pride and understands that confusion, ignorance, and error reign over understanding.
b. Wesley: “unreasonable, earthly, sensual, devilish passions usurp authority over our will.”
c. Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing but add sin to sin.
B. The effect:
1. “Self-esteem” supposes some excellency in us and that is a fatal error.
2. The circumcision of the heart does not desire or value these (the things of the world) things.
3. The goal is to follow Jesus’ example.
4. The “strongholds” are torn down.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV]
KJV “casting down “casting down imaginations.”
– prejudices of corrupt reason.
– false maxims.
– evil customs and habits.
– dead works.
5. There is a strong hope.
a. Hope is an anchor in the midst of the waves of this troubled world.
b. Hope is the good soldier that endures hardship and finds courage in impossible circumstances.
There is deep humility, steadfast faith, lively hope, cleansing of the heart, and...
a. Love for God implies love for others.
b. Love for God does NOT forbid taking pleasure in anything but God. Joy and pleasure are found in the one who knows God.
II. What does this mean to us now?
A. You can not praise God until you have a proper perspective of yourself.
1. True praise is the result of believing that someone other than yourself is “God.”
2. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.
3. We err when we base ideas on “fitness” and “excellence.”
B. You are not led by the Spirit unless the Spirit bears witness.
1. There is joy (along side of the other fruit).
2. There is certainty.
“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” [1 Corinthians 9:26 NIV]