Tough Love: God’s Kindness Leads to Change

by Roger Barrier

Paul gives us a glimpse of man from God’s perspective. Without Christ, mankind is misguided, wounded and marred by sin. Suppressing the truth invites God’s tough love. Embracing the truth invites the full grace and righteousness of God. Our requirement is a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ.




Tough Love: The Kindness That Leads To Repentance

Romans 1:18-23


As we move now deeper into the Book of Romans, we begin to get a view of man from God’s perspective. This is not a pretty picture.

Paul shows us that Mankind without Jesus Christ is misguided, wounded, hurting, marred by sin—and Lost.

The good news is that God has opened His heart in Christ to redeem man and restore an intimate relationship with them.

He takes a dirty slate and makes it clean.

DRAMA: A Clean Slate: Key is the ending, not the beginning.

The real God is in the business of restoring broken and hurting lives.

SLIDE #: Romans 1:18-19: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

SLIDE #: since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

SLIDE #: Romans 1:20: For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen,

SLIDE #: being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 

SLIDE #: Romans 1:21: 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.

SLIDE #: Romans 1:22-23: Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God

SLIDE #: for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

In the opening chapters of Romans Paul placed the whole world on trial. We have all sinned and forsaken God to one degree or another:

OVERHEAD SLIDE: The “Atheists and Agnostics” are without excuse (Romans 1).

Good People are without excuse for their bad behaviors (Romans 2)

Religious people are without excuse for their behaviors(Romans 3-4)

The restoration occurs in Romans 5-8 with the saving glories of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:18-23 we see the action of God in unveiling Himself for the entire world to see.

Then tragically, we see the horror of sinful man in forsaking God.

SLIDE #: Let’s begin with the beauty of God’s revelation.

God uses two things to reveal Himself to everyone in the world—an external and an internal witness:

Conscience – Romans 1:19

Nature – Romans 1:20

SLIDE #: Romans 1:19-20: since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 

SLIDE overhead #: General revelation is sufficient to know that God exists.

Specific Revelation personally introduces us to God: His words, actions and Son.

SLIDE #: Conscience—the God spot within every man and woman

1. Tells us that there is a right and a wrong – not the specifics – only generally. “Don’t let your conscience be your guide – use the Word of God.”

2. Capacity for God-consciousness – innate knowledge that God exists. Have to be educated to be an atheist. All simple people just know that God exists.

Inbuilt vacuum longing to be filled with God.

SLIDE #: Rita Carter: Mapping the mind: left temporal lobe

SLIDE #: NATURE—the Intelligent Designer

SLIDE #: Double rainbow here Wednesday night.

It is a reminder that God flooded for man’s wickedness and saved man with an ark.

SLIDE #: PSALM 19:1-2: The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge.

SLIDE #: PSALM 19:3-4: There is no speech or language 

where their voice is not heard.   

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

SLIDE #: Do they really sing? Yes!

SLIDE OVERHEAD #: Strings singing and Multiverse Plates

The more we study the universe in all its complexities, the more we see the Intelligent Design.

Unmistakable evidence of God. Universe is the handiwork of God.

SLIDE #: Temperature of sun – 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Earth is 93 million miles away. +/- 50 degrees, and all life on Earth would cease. Why is the sun 12,000 degrees? Who not 24,000 or 2,000 or any number you pick?

SLIDE #: Why Earth 93 million miles away? Why not twice as far?

SLIDE #: Why is the axis of the earth at 23-1/2 degrees? Produces seasons.

SLIDE #: Air we breathe is 21% oxygen. If the Earth’s crust were ten feet thicker all the oxygen would be trapped in the crust as in most other planets. Why 21%? Why not 10% or 1% or 50%? Then if light a match the entire Earth would be ablaze!

See stars – where there is a design, there must be a designer.

Come across pocket watch on ground. What a marvelous product of chance! All the pieces came together and it runs properly! Ridiculous! There was a watchmaker.

See a new building going up. All steel means and girders fell into place by chance. No – someone designed and built it.

See this marvelous human body – beating heart, soul, fingers, toes, etc. By chance? No – human designer put it all together!

God gives evidence – Conscience and nature – to show that He exists and that He is supreme being. Man who rejects or ignores God is without excuse.

Man takes light he has and suppresses it!

SLIDE #: mankind’s Suppression

SLIDE #: ROMANS 1:18: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

SLIDE #: Romans 1:21: 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.

Picture is that man takes the truth about God, puts it in a box with a lid, slams down the lid and then sits on the lid!

Conspiracy of silence against God. Why we can’t sing carols in public places at Christmastime. Great resistance against Bible reading on public occasions.

No one wants to give God glory or thanks or even admit that He exists.

Man Has Rejected The Internal Witness Of His Conscience.

One of the greatest contributions of Jews was to introduce to the world the concept that we are responsible for our actions. This is called our conscience.

SLIDE #: One of the most influential Jews in history is Sigmund Freud—the father of modern psychology. Freud was well aware that the Jews brought responsibility into the world with the Mosaic Law. Here’s what Freud said,

SLIDE #: “The Jews carry the burden for the historical super-ego.”

Super-ego is Freud’s word for what we call conscience. Then he makes very profound statement (and this certainly explains the rest of Freud’s life).

SLIDE #: “Therefore the Jew alone can remove it.”

Sigmund Freud considered himself to be messianically called to undo the work of his Jewish forefathers. Freud hated Moses – that’s why he wrote the book “Moses and Monotheism”. Moses is the one who made man aware of his conscience and his moral responsibility. Therefore Freud dedicated himself to undo and to reverse Moses.

SLIDE #: Moses and Freud are mutually exclusive. Moses, the Jew, brings responsibility into history. Freud says that the “super-ego” – the conscience – must be smashed and crushed – and if you have mental illness… hang-ups… it’s because of your conscience. The way to solve mental problems and hang-ups is to crush your conscience. In other words, “It’s not my fault!”

SLIDE #: Psychoanalysis teaches us that the reason we act like we do is because of things which happen in the past which are not our fault – Therefore we are not responsible – We can reject our conscience.

Folksong from Anna Russells:

SLIDE #: I went to my psychoanalyst to be psychoanalyzed

To find out why I killed the cat and blacked my husband’s eyes

He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find

And here is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind.

SLIDE #: When I was one my mommy hid my dolly in a trunk

So naturally it follows that I am always drunk.

When I was two I saw my father kiss the maid one day,

And that is why I now suffer from kleptomania.

SLIDE #: At three I had a feeling of ambivalence towards my brothers,

And so it follows naturally that I poison all my lovers.

But I am happy. Now I have learned this lesson that is taught,

SLIDE #: That everything I do that’s wrong

SLIDE #: is someone else’s fault.

We are doing everything in our culture to kill our collective conscience.

Exodus 32: Don’t blame me.

Man Has Rejected The Witness Of Our Conscience and Of God’s Revelation In Nature.

Modern man says – All by chance.

God says, “No way it’s an accident. I designed it all.”

The issue has never been God versus evolution. The issue is Intelligent Designer versus Chance.

SLIDE OVERHEAD #: Evolution is a theory that fails to prove or even describe how we got here. Evolution works on the macro level. Evolution does not work on the molecular level.

Charles Darwin could only observe animals and insects. He had no electron microscope to study the micro level.

Things don’t evolve on the molecular level. Little motor that drives cell movement spins at 10,000 rpm. Made up of rotor and engine. 5 amino acids no one can explain by survival of the fittest or natural selection.

Someone had to design this—and then make it happen.

Many men have rejected the witness of nature.

●SLIDE #: man’s idolatry

●SLIDE #: ROMANS 1:23: and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Four signs of idolatry: Man, birds, animals, reptiles: Note the downward progression.

Study idolatry and discover that all four seem to take place in that order. Most base form of idolatry is honoring the snake.

I do not believe that it is by any accident that we name our cars as we do.

●SLIDE #: We once named them after men: Lincoln, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Studebaker, Edsel, Hudson.

●SLIDE #: Next generation named after into birds: Studebaker Hawk, Ford Falcon & Eagle.

●SLIDE #: Now we name them after animals: Cougar, Impala, Mustang, Pinto, Jaguar, Rabbit – even a Greyhound bus.

Then Ford came out with the cobra.

●SLIDE #: Now we have the Dodge Viper.

●SLIDE #: We even buy our insurance from a gecko!

No one in the car industry read Romans 1. It just works out that way. It’s a sign of depravity.

●SLIDE #: Starbucks logo is the Queen of Heaven. Simmerranus—who else but the queen of heaven could charge $5 for a cup of coffee?

●SLIDE #: Oscars tonight. Give them an idol and deify them.

The American entertainment industry looks a lot like the Roman pantheon in Paul’s day: the gods and goddesses were capricious, immoral sexual perverts.

Three of the top five movies are about homosexual cowboys (Brokeback Mountain), a transsexual (TransAmerica) and an arrogant gay author (Truman Capote).

Gracing the tv and movie screens of our society are the god’s and goddesses of our day.

●SLIDE #: We accept their moral teachings; we listen to their politics; watch their fashions; imitate their addictions; and obsess over their marriages and divorces—most of which never succeed.

●SLIDE #: We say we have no idols; but, we have American Idol. We give them our time (sometimes all night) and our money (this is a multi-billion dollar industry).

SLIDE #: god’s Tough love

SLIDE #: Romans 1:18-19: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven

OVERHEAD SLIDE #: Two Greek words for wrath.

Thumos – uncontrolled, explosive rage;

Orge – settled, consistent, rising indignation which finally bursts.

Along with the tough love of God comes the patience of God. God is holding back much of His wrath—like water behind a dam. Water is released a little at a time. Sometimes the dam breaks.

Waited 120 years before sending the flood. 

God doesn’t operate on man’s time-table. Some of His wrath is being revealed while much of it is being built up.

SLIDE #: At Calvary the tough love of God was fully revealed against sin.

Note – is being revealed.

This is present tense in Paul’s day. Look at the degenerating Roman culture.

This whole passage is a most interesting social commentary. Wrath of God is functioning in our society right now.

The wrath of God is visible in any society where men are suppressing their God-consciousness.

So often Americans wring their hands and say, “If our country doesn’t reform and repent, we are going to experience the judgment of God.”

In light of what Paul wrote here, what do you suppose Paul would say if you dropped that remark as you were drinking coffee in the living room?

“If things don’t get better, Paul, America is going to experience the judgment of God.”

Paul would probably calmly put down his coffee cup and say, “Friend, if you’ll look out the window, there is the wrath of God already.”

See sky-rocketing divorce rates and crime rate and warped children – this is the wrath of God! – legalized gay “marriage” in several states, over three decades of legalized abortion, atheists and courts successfully declaring “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance to be “unconstitutional” and trying to get “In God We Trust” removed from our money, TV shows like “The Book of Daniel”, currently airing on NBC Friday nights which portrays a drug-addicted priest, his adulterous wife and children, his drug-selling daughter, his homosexual son, and his regular conversations with Jesus who actually appears to him and just sort of remains enigmatic about all of it.

●SLIDE #: 50% of all 1st marriages end in divorce.

78% of all 2nd marriages.

2/3 of all children today will spend some time in a single parent home.

●SLIDE #: If you were born after 1970 (35 years or younger) you will find statistically that you’ll have more spouses than you’ll have children!

●SLIDE #:  After the breakdown in the family, children are 4 times more likely to drop out of school, 11 times more likely to commit suicide, 30 times more likely to be sexually abused.

Wrath is for discipline and punishment for sin.

But it is also for a divine purpose.

●SLIDE #:  READ REVELATION 16:9 and 11: They refused to repent.


●SLIDE #:  ●Parents, help your children find God in nature and in their inner consciences—then guide them into the special revelation of Jesus Christ.

Remember that good parents often allow their children to suffer the consequences of their actions.

If we don’t discipline our kids, the world will. We can protect them for awhile, but one day they will run a red light and discover that the law is not optional.

●SLIDE #:  ●Suppressing the truth invites the tough love of God; embracing the truth invites the full love and righteousness of God.

●SLIDE #:  ●The tough love of God is only understood when we have a deep relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

●SLIDE #: Average dad spends 14 minutes per day with his children.

●SLIDE #: Christian dads spend 17 minutes per day.  We are three minutes better than the world.

Tragedy is 10 of those minutes were spent in discipline.

●SLIDE #: We are raising a nation of children whose concept of a father is someone who doesn’t know me and I don’t know him who enters into my life to discipline me.

●SLIDE #: “Provoke not children to wrath.” Quickest way to wrath is to discipline child you don’t know.

STORY: mom punishing me for bs when relatives were at our house.  OK because we had a good relationship.

Every problem in our world—

Every crisis, has one purpose.

Every broken marriage

Every etc,

God did not cause them.

Man chose them. 

Satan sent them.

But God can use them. 

He is getting his world back.

He is bringing us to repentance.

He is preparing us for Heaven.

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