Is that Bible on the coffee table profitable?
It is if you open it and read from it. I want you to get the maximum benefit from this book because this book has the power to change lives. This book has the power to change the way we think, the way we act, the way we live, the way we love, if we open it.
Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. David is the senior pastor of the bridge in Kernersville, North Carolina. It's true that most of us have Bibles all over our houses, but the question is, do we read them? Find out why a Bible is better for you if you open it up today as Pastor David continues in the book of Romans chapter 3. But before we get into today's teaching, from beginning to end, the Bible shows the special nature of God's relationship with the nation of Israel.
But what does that have to do with you today? Romans chapter 11 tells us that God's covenant relationship with Israel has huge implications for you. To help you understand more, Pastor David wants to send you his teaching video recorded in the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible and You. This powerful resource will encourage and strengthen you as you learn how connected you are with God's chosen people. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com to request your copy.
Again, that's crossthebridge.com. Now here's David McGee with his teaching, The Word of God. Turn with me to Romans chapter 3. And we're remembering that this book is written by Paul. It was written to the Romans before Paul had been to Rome. And we're going to see again today why he wrote the book and the way he expresses himself in this book.
And it's just an incredible book. And we talked about before that this book of Romans has impacted not only personal lives, but it's also impacted human history because Martin Luther was so impacted by this that he helped fuel the fires of the reformation a few hundred years ago. And the whole landscape in Europe changed. Church government changed.
Human governments changed. The awesome thing is, same Bible, same Holy Spirit is here today to change your life through these same words. Romans chapter 3 verse 1 says, what advantage then has the Jew or what is the prophet of circumcision? Now for context sake, and let's understand that the divisions of the chapter and the verses came much later.
Times are in very good places and times it kind of breaks the continuous thought. So let's, let's hop up to chapter 2 verse 28. For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart and the spirit, not in the letter, whose praise is not from men but from God. Then continues the thought, what advantage then has the Jew or what is the prophet of circumcision?
So we talked, you know, last week with, there's a little play on words in the sense that, you know, the word Jew comes from Yehuda, Judah, and that word means praise. And so literally Paul is saying in chapter 2, hey, you know, you're really of the circumcision, if you will, if you're a God-praiser, literally, if you're a God-praiser. And then he starts in verse 1, he says, well, if everybody stands guilty before God, then what profit is there to being a Jew?
And what I'm going to try to do in this, in this chapter, and I know that there's some people who are Jewish that are here, but I'm going to try to make a little wider application because there is something here. I've heard people say, well, what advantage is there to being a part of a church? Is there an advantage to being part of a church? Well, if you're not saved, there's really not an advantage to going to church. But if you are saved, there's a huge advantage to going to church. In other words, if you're just going through the motions of going to church, it's really not benefiting you.
It's probably hurting some people. But if you know the Lord and you're going to church, then obviously there's a benefit. Now, if you're here this morning and you're not yet believing, you're just kind of checking the whole church scene out and checking this place out and you are a welcome guest, but at some point you have to come to that personal decision.
I'm not going to push you. I'm not going to throw things at you, yell at you, point at you to push you to that decision, but you need to come to that decision. Now, obviously I believe that there's a benefit in going to church, but is there a spiritual advantage? Until you come to that place of asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and you're not trusting in Jesus yet, then there is not a real advantage here. But Paul asked a really good question.
Is there any advantage to being a Jew? Now, a lot of us, because of our church upbringing or whatever, would say, no, I don't think there is. But let's understand, Paul's writing this 58 AD, something like that. So what applies here also applies modern day. And let's look at Paul's answer. Verse two, much in every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. Now, Paul in the book of Romans is going to tell some of the ways that the Jewish people have been blessed throughout history. Paul says, he answers his own question and he says, absolutely, there is an advantage to being Jewish.
And that advantage continues today because this is 58 AD. Theologically, the same truth applies to us. Now, do they need forgiveness like you and I? Absolutely.
Absolutely. Paul's model here is a great one to use because acknowledging God's blessing on the Jewish people, if you ever have the opportunity to witness to a Jewish person, acknowledging that they were given the oracles of God, the Word of God, the Hebrew Scriptures, what we sometimes refer to as Old Testament, if you're talking to a Jewish person, don't call it the Old Testament. Call it the Hebrew Scriptures.
And I'll tell you a great way to have that conversation is to thank them for preserving the Hebrew Scriptures. But here's the thing, and let's understand something, the Bible is a collection, if you will, of many stories. And in a real flyover brief overview, the Hebrew Scriptures are the story of God selecting a people, a group, a nation to spread his word among many nations. In the New Testament, the story changes in that God has selected people out of every nation to tell everybody else in the world about Jesus Christ, the Messiah. So you have the Hebrew Scriptures looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, we're looking back that he has come and we want to tell other people about that. The Hebrew Scriptures were a blessing and a benefit to the Jewish people of how to prophesy and look forward to the coming Messiah.
Now, and again, I want to make application here. Paul in verse 2 says they were really blessed and they were in a place of blessing. Why? Verse 2, because they had the oracles or the word of God. So there somehow was a blessing in heaven, the word of God. Let's remember going back years ago, not everybody had the Hebrew Scriptures, mainly the Jewish people.
It's different today. A lot of people have Bibles. With that Bible comes a responsibility. You see, there's people in this world right now that don't have Bibles. As a matter of fact, if they had a Bible, they could be charged, they could be imprisoned, and in some places they could be executed for having a Bible. I wonder how many Bibles the average American has. One, two, three, four, five, maybe. You got the big one that sits on the coffee table that you dust off and sit out there. If somebody in ministry or the pastor comes by, you know, maybe it's big enough you can thump the kids with it.
Do they mess up too badly? Just kidding. Just kidding. Is that Bible on the coffee table profitable? It is if you open it and read from it.
That's what we do here. I want you to get the maximum benefit from this book because this book has the power to change lives. This book has the power to change the way we think, the way we act, the way we live, the way we love, if we open it. But friend, if you got a Bible, understand there's a responsibility. The Bible talks about this responsibility, accountability.
Luke 12, 48 says this. But he who did not know yet committed things deserving of strength shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required. And to whom much has been committed of him, they will ask the more. Or the New Living Translation puts it like this.
But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given. And much more is required from those to whom much more is given. So if you have a Bible and you're reading it and you're studying it, then the requirements are going up. Every time you sit in a Bible study here, the requirements are going up.
Why? Because you're hearing about these things and you're learning about these things. First life lesson here is there is a blessing and a responsibility in having a Bible. There is a blessing and a responsibility in having a Bible. We are committed to reach people and teach them how to follow Jesus, teach them the Bible. We're very serious about that and very passionate about that because, again, we believe that's what the church is for. I don't understand in some places where they say we believe the Bible is the Word of God, but then they don't really take the time and place the emphasis on the teaching of the Word of God.
And maybe you're sitting there going, I don't know. I don't see how the Jews were really blessed because they had the Word of God. Let me walk you through a couple. There are incredible ways. First of all, they had laws of human interaction long before anybody else. As a matter of fact, the later governments, the Roman government, the whole way the Grecian society was set up, a lot of that borrowed heavily from Judaism and the Hebrew Scriptures. And also, it's interesting because these things were given long before man realized them. You think about the sanitary, the dietary laws that are contained in the Hebrew Scriptures, things about blood and infections and all these things that were given long before we realized that blood could be infectious. We didn't realize that. God knew it.
God told us through these Scriptures. As a matter of fact, it's kind of interesting, in the Middle Ages when these plagues were going around, bubonic plague, black plague and whatnot, the Jewish people, because of their sanitary and dietary laws, were largely unaffected. Where most of the population lost huge percentages, the Jewish people did not.
Why? And then they actually started being suspicious and thinking the Jews were causing the plagues and blamed them for them. But the reason they were kept from those things is because of these dietary laws that they kept.
It's kind of interesting. You know, keeping out of insurmountable debt. Again, a blessing if you're reading the Bible and applying it.
Sexually transmitted diseases, STDs. Again, if you're applying the book, don't have to worry about it. This book will keep you so much out of trouble if you read it and you apply it. If your knees are on the ground and your nose is in the book, you're going to avoid a lot of heartache in this life.
Let me promise you. There's a blessing in the book of Revelation. It says, Revelation chapter 1 verse 3 says this, blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near. So he who reads, he who hears is blessed and he who keeps.
Now I can make sure you got the first two. I can make sure that you read it and that you hear it. If you show up here on Sunday morning, I'm going to read it with you. And I'm going to make sure that you hear it as far as keeping it. Well, let me encourage you to keep it.
But that, that part is up to you. We often quote that verse. The truth shall set you free. You hear that one on television.
You hear it on sitcom. The truth will set you free. That is in the Bible, but there's a context about the truth setting you free that we need to understand. John 8 31 says this. Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed him, if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
So there's a couple of what you would call qualifiers in there. If you abide in his word, if you stay in the word of God, then you are a disciple and you will know the truth. And because you know the truth, the truth will begin to set you free.
We see that over and over and over and lives here. And see, this is a promise that God has a blessing in this book. Now understand, I'll go ahead and be upfront because some people, some, some people teach that Israel has been replaced by the church.
And when you read in the new Testament about promises to Israel are things about the Jewish people that that actually doesn't apply to the Jewish people anymore. That now applies to the modern day new Testament church. You need to understand that's heresy. And that's not too strong of a word that is heresy.
You cannot show me in this book. You cannot say, well, the reason we think that people just came up with that. They invented that it's called replacement theology. If you ever hear somebody say that you need to challenge them, or you need to, we have that little, ask a pastor thing on the website say, how can I deal with this person?
How can I talk to this person? Because they think God has done with Israel. Now here's the reason that's a problem. As a matter of fact, it's very interesting. Some prophetic teachers, I love prophecy. Some prophetic teachers, they get to revelation seven talks about the 144,000 and some prophecy writers go, well, I wonder who the 144,000 are going to be. There's 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. You don't have to sit there and go, gee, I wonder who it's talking about. It tells you. And if that went enough, it actually names the tribes for you. And people read that passage and go, well, I wonder who it's talking about. Well, I'm, you know, I'd rather get to heaven and go, you know, God, I took you literally. And when you said 12,000 from each tribe, I thought you meant 12,000 from each tribe rather than going, well, God, I took like every seventh letter.
And when I joined it together, it made this name and there's no, no, no, no, no, no. See, because here's where that argument really falls apart. People say, well, God's done with the Jewish people say, well, why do you believe he's done with the Jewish people? Because they acted up. They were rebellious.
They didn't know what they were supposed to do. Also, if that happens, then God goes, I'm done with you. Is that the God you serve? Because friend, let me ask you a real cutting question. You ever messed up? You ever not done what you were supposed to do? You ever done what you weren't supposed to do? And did God look at you and go, I'm done with you? All those promises that I offered you.
Nah, not doing it. See, now you have a real theological issue, but don't take my word for it. We're going to get there sometime this year, but let me go to Romans chapter 11. It says this, I asked then, has God rejected his people, the Jews?
Let me stop there. This was written in about 58 AD. So theologically it's consistent with what we should know and, and believe. Now I asked then, has God rejected his people, the Jews?
Of course not. Remember that I, myself am a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you remember what the scriptures say about this? Elijah, the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and it goes on and on. And I encourage you, if you wonder about this, if you wonder if God is finished with Israel, read chapter 11 of Romans, but there's obviously, Paul says, there is a benefit in it.
You're listening to pastor David McGee on Cross the Bridge. He'll be back with more powerful insight from God's word in just a moment. But first God's grace and mercy is greater than any of us could ever fathom. That's why he's been so faithful to the nation of Israel throughout the ages.
And he's not finished. He's promised to remain true to them to the end. We want to show you what God's faithfulness toward Israel says about his relationship with you by sending you pastor David's teaching video, Israel, the Bible and you. In this exciting teaching recorded in the heart of the Holy Land, pastor David unpacks important truths from God's relationships with Israel that impact your life today. Israel, the Bible and you is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com to request yours.
Again, that website is crossthebridge.com. Now back to today's teaching. Let's go to verse three, chapter three, verse three says for what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Some Jewish people didn't believe in Jesus, the Messiah.
They didn't receive him as their savior. Paul is making the argument that we all stand as sinners before the God before God and everybody Jewish or Gentile has to come to a saving knowledge in Jesus Christ and that when we do, we're on equal footing. I'm going to run down a rabbit trail for just a second.
Help us make personal application because I think it will help us understand the context. I believe this country, United States of America is a blessed country. I've seen the bumper stickers and I appreciate them. It says, God bless America.
I don't mean to sound unpatriotic. God has blessed America. What are we doing with those blessings?
That's the bigger question. Not God, please bless America more. God, you have blessed this country. We're sitting in here this morning. We've got bibles open.
We're not worried about people rushing in and coming in to arrest us or execute us for sitting in here in a Bible study and worshiping God. Man, this is a blessed country. What are we doing with the blessings is the question. So it's kind of the same thing here. What are the Jewish people doing with the blessings?
That's what matters. Some Americans don't believe in God. They don't believe in the Bible and yet they still think there's a spiritual blessing outside of that. If you doubt this, I've shared this before, but I was working in a music store years ago and this guy was buying equipment for his church and his language was just peppered. I mean, you know, I'm not a prude, but I mean, this guy's language was just foul, you know? And I was like, it's for the church and he's using all these words that I hadn't heard in a while. So I said, are you a Christian?
And he, of course I am. I'm an American. It was one of the few times in my life I was actually speechless for a few seconds. Guy was like 15 feet away before I thought of a response because I was just like, and again, in my mind, I'm going, what are you going to heaven? Are you going to give them your green card or something?
I mean, how did, what, what in the world did you just say to me? I'm an American. I don't need the gospel. It's all them foreigners need the gospel. There's a blessing being an American. There's also responsibility.
There's there's, you know what, there's, let's widen that. There's some people that call themselves Christians that don't believe the word of God. I know how can you call yourself a Christian? Not believe the word of God. I don't, they, they, that's what they call themselves.
I don't, I don't get it. And, but here's the thing. If somebody doesn't believe it, and this is what Paul is saying. If somebody doesn't believe it, does that mean it's not true? There's a bumper sticker, which you should never get theological truth from bumper stickers.
There's a bumper sticker out there. It says the Bible said it. I believe it. That settles it.
I don't like that bumper sticker. Here's why it doesn't matter if you believe it or not. The Bible said it, that settles it. See you, you can say, well, you know, the law of gravity, you know, somebody taught it. I believe it.
That settles it. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not. You can say, I don't, I don't believe the law of gravity and go out here on the roof and step off the roof. And at that point, when you step out in the thin air, it doesn't matter if you believe in the law of gravity, you're going to go splat at the end of that short loader journey. And you can sit there and then roll around and go, I don't believe it.
I don't believe it. It doesn't matter. Still a truth. You can sit there and go, I don't believe two plus two is four. It doesn't matter. It's still four. I don't care about new math.
Two plus two is four. Do God's promises depend on our belief of them? No. The Bible says he remains faithful, even when we're faithless. Now let's move on verse four. Certainly not indeed. Let God be true in every man, a liar, great verse.
If you don't have that little portion memorized, you need to commit it to memory. Let God be true in every man, a liar, as it is written that you may be justified in your words and may overcome when you are judged. God be true in every man, a liar. Now let's understand the setting that Paul is writing. And again, this is somewhere 54 to 58 AD. And part of what happened in Rome, and we're told about this in Acts chapter 18, verse two, it says, and when he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius, who was the Caesar, had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome, and he came to them. Now Claudius ruled in 41 to 54 AD. After him, Nero came along, and again, I believe Romans was written about 57, 50 AD.
Some people put it a little bit later, some people a little bit earlier, I think around 57, 58. And Nero told the Jewish people that they could come back. So you have the problem that there were Gentile Christians that remained in Rome. The Jews and the Jewish Christians got kicked out, and then they were welcomed back. And so there was these tensions between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians.
So at that point, you already had two denominations, and we've since splintered it into about a thousand. So Paul is trying to deal with this aspect and bring unity between these believers. Let God be true and every man a liar. People have been trying to disprove the Bible for hundreds of years. And I like this saying, the Bible is the anvil that's worn out many hammers. Voltaire, a French philosopher, predicted the demise of Christianity in the end of the Bible a long time ago.
The Bible's still here. We're believers. And now you've got Richard Dawkins, who wrote The God Delusion. I don't trust this guy. I've seen him.
I've listened to him. I don't trust him. I trust this book.
I trust God. There was one man, William Ramsey, as he read the book of Luke, he saw all the different geographical cities and stuff. And he thought, I can disprove the Bible by going to these different cities and disproving what it says because they don't exist or they don't exist in the places. And so he set about trying to disprove the Bible, going through the gospel of Luke.
About six years later, William Ramsey gave his life to Christ because as he went through the book of Luke, he found it was incredibly accurate down to the nth detail. Get to know the word of God. Friend, do you know for sure that your sins have been forgiven?
You can know right now. I want to lead you in a short, simple prayer, simply telling God you're sorry and asking Him to help you to live for Him. Now God wants you to pray this prayer so much that He died to give you the opportunity and the ability to ask Him to forgive you.
Please pray this prayer with me out loud right now. Dear Jesus, I believe you died for me, that I could be forgiven. And I believe you were raised from the dead, that I could have a new life. And I've done wrong things. I have sinned.
And I'm sorry. Please forgive me of all those things. Please give me the power to live for you all of my days. In Jesus' name.
Amen. Friend, if you prayed that prayer, according to the Bible, you've been forgiven. You've been born again. Jesus said He would not turn anybody away who comes to Him.
And He came for those people who knew they needed forgiveness, those who were sick, not the righteous. So congratulations, friend. You just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you prayed that prayer with David for the first time, we'd love to hear from you. You can call us toll free at 877-458-5508 to receive our First Steps package with helpful resources to help you begin your walk with Christ. Before we go, we want to encourage you in your faith so that you can experience more of the grace and love of God for you. That's why we'd like to send you Pastor David's teaching video recorded in the heart of the Holy Land called Israel, the Bible and You. This encouraging look into the history of Israel and God's covenant faithfulness to His chosen people will help you take bold new steps in your relationship with God. Israel, the Bible and You is our gift to thank you for your donation to help more people on this station and beyond cross the bridge from death to life. So visit crossthebridge.com now to request your copy. And be sure to join us next time on Cross the Bridge with David McGee to hear more from the book of Romans. We'll see you then.
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