Avoiding Confusion  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:52
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Genesis 1:1 KJV 1900
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Romans 1:18–23 KJV 1900
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Perhaps you have seen the “COEXIST” bumper sticker. The graphic represents a movement with a goal to “embrace tolerance for all belief systems.”1
Each letter in the graphic “COEXIST” is comprised of a symbol representing a religion or philosophy. C represents Islam with a crescent and star. O represents peace with the peace symbol. E represents the religion of Science with the relativity equation as well as gender equality. X represents Judaism with the Star of David. I represents paganism with the Wiccan symbol. S represents Taoism via the Chinese yin-yang. T represents Christianity with a cross.
In today’s study, however, we want to see that God exists.
Slides Lesson Title; COEXIST
If there is a God, it makes a great difference. And if there is a God who has revealed Himself to us through the Bible, we should look there to discover what He says about Himself.
The Bible opens with a declarative statement that assumes—rather than proves—God’s existence. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. When you think of it, that’s natural.
No book begins with an author trying to prove his or her own existence. It is simply understood that the author exists. This is the grand assumption of Genesis 1:1.
In Romans 1, however, God discloses a more developed defense for the existence of God, declaring how He has been manifested and revealed to all of humanity in specific ways.
The Bible teaches us that ours is a God of both love and righteousness. We see God’s love as a prevailing theme throughout Scripture.
1 John 4:16 KJV 1900
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
This attribute of love, glorious though it is, does not stand alone—for our loving God is also righteous.
And His righteousness necessitates His wrath against all that stands in opposition to righteousness. That’s what we see in our first verse of today’s text. Romans 1:18
Romans 1:18 KJV 1900
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
This verse tells us that God’s wrath is revealed because man resists His truth. They “hold the truth” but want to deny His existence that they might not feel accountable for their actions.
Perhaps they imagined that denying God would free them from accountability to Him and responsibility on judgment day.
But God’s existence is independent of man’s rejection of Him, and all humanity will be judged, for God has revealed Himself to all.
All are without excuse.
When you look at the root problem of this God-denial, you find many people who, like the humanists we saw in lesson 1, think they are “good without God.”
Whether or not they recognize it, their worldview is informed by their rejection of God, leading them to shun godliness while respecting any anti-God and anti-righteousness position imaginable.
Slide “Good without God”
Quote: “The decline of Christian identity is particularly pronounced among younger Americans, and fully one-third of those ages thirty-five and younger report no religious affiliation.”—Albert Mohler
While there are some who outright deny the existence of God, others simply question and downplay His authority—especially His authority in their lives.
They define themselves as Secularists, which refers to “the absence of any binding theistic authority or belief.”3
But in reality, secularism is a mild way of labeling what amounts to practical atheism.
No Religious Affiliation; Barna Poll; Skeptics It is heartbreaking to see the rising trend of Americans who claim either atheism or agnosticism as their belief system. A 2021 study showed that not only is there a growing trend of unchurched adults, but of those who are unchurched, one in four is a skeptic, atheist, or agnostic.4
Belief systems—whether belief in God, or belief against God—aren’t inherited; they are chosen.
Although our early years are obviously shaped by the faith (or lack of faith) of our parents, we are responsible before God to make our own choice regarding our belief or disbelief in Him.
In this study, we learn from Romans 1 that God has revealed Himself to all and has given each of us a choice to either believe or reject His revelation.

1. Inner Revelation-vs. 19

God, full of love for His creation and passionate for fellowship with us, placed within each person a precious gift: the revelation of Himself.
We see this inner revelation in two ways:

A. Innate Truth

There is a knowledge of God that is part of our very nature or constitution. It is something we intrinsically know, something evident to us without being told.
Romans 1:19 KJV 1900
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
God built into man the knowledge of the existence of Himself. Something within man knows there is a God, whether or not he chooses to worship Him.
This means that to deny the existence of God is a deliberate decision. No one is born an atheist. All around the world, people know that there is some kind of God.
Those who are now atheist or agnostic had some point of life decision toward these beliefs.
Whether that choice was intellectual (they had unanswered questions about God and concluded He may not exist) or emotional (perhaps a tragedy causing them to become angry at God), they didn’t start out life with those beliefs.
The knowledge of God is written on their hearts.

B. Unique Intellect

Along with innate truth, God has given mankind unique intellect, the mechanism through which we make choices.
We have the ability to think, reason, and decide things for ourselves—all of these actions require our volition.
This is part of what it means to be made in the “image of God.”
Genesis 1:26 KJV 1900
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
But this is more than mere intelligence. The intellect God has given mankind is unique from the rest of His creation in that it has morality attached to it—a knowledge of right and wrong.
With Moral intellect God gave us a moral sense. That you and I can reason things out and make value judgments about right or wrong is the imprint of God’s image on our souls.
This intellect is also the means by which God has enabled us to accept or reject Him. Tragically, many choose to reject Him.
Romans 1:21 KJV 1900
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
What a devastating thing, to know God and yet reject even His existence! But we are able to do so because God has created us with the ability to choose. You can’t explain man’s sense of right and wrong, good and evil, without concluding that a being who is perfect gave us such knowledge.
Otherwise, how is it that in every society around the world people have a sense within them of right and wrong?
That sense may be molded (and in some cases twisted or silenced) by their environment, but it is there, nonetheless. Even societies or people that have no biblical law still have a moral system.
Romans 2:14–15 KJV 1900
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
The problem for atheists is that if they admit the existence of evil, they must also admit the existence of good.
But who can objectively say what is good or what is evil?
Only the reality of God can explain this. This problem for atheists is severe enough that some actually do deny the reality of evil.
For instance, Richard Dawkins, who calls belief in God a delusion, also denies the existence of evil. He wrote,
“The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”6
In giving us moral intellect, God has also given us a free will with a choice to accept or reject the knowledge of Himself. Each rejection of God and of truth leads to another, culminating in an empty, lonely existence where the only deity is self, all because man denied the innate truth that God lovingly gave us.
Moral purpose Within this unique intellect given to us by God is also a moral purpose—a reason for living.
The first question posed in the Westminster Catechism covered an important topic: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer is, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Romans 1 describes how when men stop glorifying and thanking God, this eventually leads to a life without purpose. They may claim to be wise, but ultimately, they are fools.
Romans 1:22–23 KJV 1900
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The understanding that God has placed His knowledge in the heart of every man should give those of us who know the Lord courage to speak up for Him, knowing every heart has a curiosity about God and an emptiness without Him.

2. External Revelation-vs. 20

Not only has God placed a knowledge of Himself within our hearts, but He has also surrounded us with evidences of His existence.
Romans 1:20 KJV 1900
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
From creation around us, God reveals Himself to mankind in two ways.

A. Revelation of Cause

We live in a world of cause and effect, where every effect must have an adequate cause. In this instance, the universe is an effect, so reason demands that there must be a cause greater than the universe itself.
Think about a piece of fruit—an apple, orange, or banana. That fruit could not bring itself into existence and therefore had to have a cause—the tree it grew on. But that tree also demands a cause. It had to come from a seed. The seed also had to have a cause. And the reasoning goes on.
Slides Apple
Because there cannot logically be an infinite number of causes, you will eventually arrive at a beginning and a “first cause.”
Bible-believing Christians believe that first cause is God.
Scientists speculate about the creation of the world. They theorize about evolution, a big bang, and an ancient earth. But every theory they create lacks objective support and logic.
One Nobel Prize-winning physicist simply claims, “In the beginning there was an explosion,”8 but the logic of that statement—that a beautifully ordered world could arise out of a destructive explosion—is completely contradictory to everything we observe and to everything we know about science.
Not to mention, it begs the question: What caused the explosion? A belief in evolution rather than a wise creator makes your life purposeless.
Reality states that the ultimate cause of the world is God Himself, the uncaused cause who brought you and me into existence.
Hebrews 11:3 KJV 1900
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
This truth breathes purpose into our existence like nothing else can.

B. Revelation of Creation

God not only shows us through the world around us that there must be a cause greater than mere matter itself, but He also uses the world and its astounding orderliness to reveal Himself to us.
God writes His signature into every intricate blade of grass and etches it into every towering mountain.

1. Creation had order.

When we stand in awe at the beauty of creation in the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Swiss Alps, and Pacific Ocean, we recognize that they were formed by a power so much greater than accident, a power so much wiser than human ingenuity, and a power so much more orderly than random chance.
1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV 1900
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Psalm 119:89–90 KJV 1900
89 LAMED. For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven. 90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
God’s plan of beauty and order exists eternally, formed in His masterful mind, and revealing Him as designer.

2. Creation shows a designer.

So, the created world reveals not only a cause, but it reveals truths about the One who is the cause. Specifically, it shows us that God is a God of order and design. He doesn’t just create life; He creates it beautifully and intricately.
Slides Watch
For sake of illustration, let’s say that you have all the pieces from a watch (springs, gears, hands, etc.), which reveal a cause—someone made the pieces. But they are not assembled. So, you put them into a box and shake them together. When you open the box, would you expect to find a finely assembled and well-running watch? No, because a watch needs both a cause and a designer. And so it is with our world.
God not only created the world, but He designed it. Or we could say, He created it well. Creation shows us clearly and unmistakably that our world was beautifully designed by God Himself, with its chief occupation being to glorify God and point to Him as our sole designer.
Psalm 19:1–3 KJV 1900
1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, Where their voice is not heard.
The innate truth of God’s existence, coupled with creation, leaves all of humanity without even one excuse to reject God or deny knowledge of Him.
That is the argument Romans 1:20 makes as it says, “So that they are without excuse.”
Inner Revelation
Outward Revelation

3. Historical Revelation-vs. 21

God has not only revealed Himself to man upon his conscience and through creation, but He has also revealed Himself throughout history.
Romans 1:21 references this with the phrase, “Because that, when they knew God ….”
Romans 1:21 KJV 1900
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Sadly, man has often rejected God, even when they knew Him.

A. In Past Cultures

History records two distinct times when all living people knew the true God.
The first time was in the very beginning, when Adam and Eve had personal fellowship with God.
Even after their sin broke that intimate fellowship, God revealed to them His plan of redemption. Still, even that first family experienced rebellion against and rejection of God. And this rejection and rebellion grew progressively worse with almost every generation. By the time Noah came on the scene, mankind as a whole had rejected God. Genesis 6:5
Genesis 6:5 KJV 1900
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The second time when all living people knew the true God was when Noah and his family found grace in the eyes of the Lord and were spared from the world-wide flood that destroyed all other life on earth.
As Noah and his family got off the ark, everyone on earth knew the one true God. Once again, however, the pattern of sin and rebellion repeated, almost as soon as they got off the ark.
Then, God chose the nation of Israel through which He could reveal Himself to the rest of the world. They, too, turned from God. Although they had more truth at their disposal than any other people on earth, they often ignored it or turned their back on it.
Even the Greek and Roman empires—the largest in their days—worshipped every false god imaginable, but they largely refused to worship Jesus Christ. And this was in spite of the fact that they had overwhelming evidence for Christianity shown through the first-century apostles and the rapid spread of Christianity as detailed in the book of Acts.
Such rampant rejection of God led to ruthless persecution of the church. They sought night and day to destroy the truth of God they had right in front of them.
This process of a people having knowledge of God but turning from Him is called secularization.
Man knew God, but culture after culture spurned Him and followed their own hearts to destruction. They blocked out His voice and turned to their own ways, setting themselves up as gods.

B. In Present Cultures

But this rejection of God’s revelation has not just happened in the past—it continues today as well. Our current times are just as marked by a rejection of God as any other age.
Rejecting God is a process that always moves beyond disbelief of God into passionate belief in something else—and a hardened heart in the process.
Rejection of God is why people run to Eastern meditation, the worship of nature, or satanic cults. It is the reason they become angry at the mention of His name in public prayer and revolt at any cultural recognition of Jesus Christ.
Quote: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything.”—G. K. Chesterton
Generally, people who reject God consider themselves to be wise. They feel their life experiences and deep intellectualism has given them rise to a level of wisdom and knowledge above the masses groveling in outdated religious ideas—but in actuality, they have chosen a path of folly.
Romans 1:22 KJV 1900
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
In contrast, Scripture reveals that true wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 1:7 KJV 1900
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
A man will only have true wisdom when he receives his knowledge from God. Other ideas may sound good or feel good to build his ego, but all wisdom beside God’s is pure foolishness. As our society is actively distancing itself from godliness and a Christian worldview, its moral structure is declining at a shocking rate.
Modern-day anarchists burn the Bible, destroy public or private property, loot stores, burn cities—and call all of that “good.”
Ultimately, when people turn their backs on God, they turn to unimaginable and unnatural sins.
Eventually, God gives those people over to a reprobate mind, allowing them to continue in the choice that becomes their own destruction.
Romans 1:24–28 KJV 1900
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
The Bible doesn’t tell us at what point God turns someone over to a reprobate mind, but we can assume it is at whatever point they have made what God knows to be their final rejection of Him.
The Bible describes that in the process of this rejection of God, people choose to flip even the simplest definitions of good and evil, calling what God says is evil, good, and what God says is good, evil.
Isaiah 5:20 KJV 1900
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; That put darkness for light, and light for darkness; That put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Redefining good and evil is what happens when people are ethically empty. We see it in our own culture as our society embraces taking the life of an unborn baby by abortion but criminalizes trying to help a child confused as to his or her gender find joy in God’s design.
Western societies as a whole are being progressively and purposefully “de-Christianized.”
And in the process, people are losing their own identity because they have not found it in God.


One of the saddest parts of a rejection of God, by a culture or by a person, is that there is no hope in atheism—not in this world and not in the next. God will not allow men to reject Him forever.
Eventually, there will be a day of judgment where all of the excuses for avoiding God’s existence look empty indeed. In that day, there will be no more excuses—no more ability to ignore the inner revelation, outer revelation, and historical revelation that God has given to all.
Hebrews 9:27 KJV 1900
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
There is a God, and His heart is full of love for you.
There is a God, and He is so great that His voice alone can command the world into existence.
There is a God, and He wants you to know Him—so much so that He placed the knowledge of Himself into the heart of every soul He creates.
There is a God full of power, yet He knows you individually because He created you.
We noted at the beginning of this lesson that, although God is a God of love, He is also a God of wrath against all that is unrighteous. The amazing mercy and justice of God is summed up in the reality that, although we deserve His wrath for our sins, He Himself paid for our sins and offers us forgiveness as a gift.
God will judge those who do not believe on the Son, Jesus Christ. But this same God also made the ultimate sacrifice for men to know Him.
John 3:36 KJV 1900
36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Do you know Him?
It’s not enough to simply believe that God exists.
He wants us to know Him as our personal Savior.
There is a God. He has revealed Himself. And He wants you to know Him personally through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If you do already know Him, do you know anyone who doesn’t? Would you share the reality of God’s existence with them? And would you share with them the way that God made for them to know Him through Christ?
Chappell, Paul; Chappell, Larry. Avoiding Confusion Leader Guide: Interpret Cultural Issues through a Biblical Worldview (pp. 39-62). Striving Together Publications. Kindle Edition.
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