He writes in this text, so then God has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires. You see, as soon as we begin to think that God owes us something, that God owes us his glory, that God will somehow be manipulated into giving us whatever we want, then that kind of view diminishes God and elevates us. Ladies and gentlemen, election magnifies the glory and mercy and grace of God, choosing those upon whom his mercy and grace will rest. Salvation is an act of God's grace.
It's always been that way and it always will be. In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul helps us understand how Gentiles came to share in the promise. Salvation was first offered to the Jewish nation, a nation the Bible describes as God's chosen people.
But there are two diverse branches of people, Israel and the church. Today Stephen will explore how God is uniquely grafting them both into one tree called redemption. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart. Stephen is taking you back to Romans 11 in a message called Gentiles in the Family Tree. I want to warn you, this text we're about to read is not for the faint of heart.
So you'd better buckle in and be ready. Let's start back with verse 10 and get a running start. Romans chapter nine, verse 10. And not only this, but there was Rebecca also when she had conceived twins by one man, our father, Isaac, for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad in order that God's purpose, according to his choice, might stand not because of works, but because of him who calls. It was said to her, the older will serve the younger, just as it is written, Jacob, I loved, but Esau, I hated. Now we'll pick it up here at verse 14 for today. What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God is there?
May it never be? For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on the man who wills that's volition or the man who runs that's exertion, but on God who has mercy for the scripture says the Pharaoh for this very purpose, I raised you up to demonstrate my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.
So then he has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires. That's probably enough for now. Have you ever taken a swim in the ocean and when the wave comes in, it lifts you up and you can't touch the bottom? And you know that feeling when it happens, this is a pretty big ocean and I'm I'm pretty small. And you read a passage like this and you know, it's going to bring up a lot of questions we probably won't be able to answer. And you're going to say, you know, that's just too mysterious. That's just too big. That's too deep. That's too vast.
I mean, verse 18 alone, God has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires. That sort of sweeps you away from land, right? You know, why don't you just preach sermons on how to fix our family and our self image and all that stuff? You know, this is way over our heads.
Let's just stay away from the water. I mean, think about it. What good is it to study the doctrine of election when you can't understand it? What reason is there to study something that raises so many questions? I'm glad you asked.
I want to give you five reasons why. All right. Number one, the doctrine of election elevates the perspective believers have of God. Now we're going to assume, of course, when I get into these five that we believe that God wrote the word of God and he delivered it to us. And so we're going to assume he wants us to study because he wrote it.
But we're going to move beyond that into these answers. Number one, it elevates the perspective believers have of God. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, taught them to begin with the words, Our Father who art in where?
Heaven. Our Father, you are so great and so magnificent and you reside in the heavens. You see, when you begin to pray, you really begin to pray by elevating your perspective of who God is. So the doctrine of election furthermore, not only elevates, of course, the perspective believers have of God, but it also encourages true worship of believer offers to God. When you believe in the justice and mercy of God, when you believe in his holiness and his wrath and his grace, you are enabled then to pray and to worship with true and pure worship. You know, the word orthodox, which we typically stuff over there in the side of true doctrine, which certainly it can mean we relegated to that. Well, the word is actually compound word ortho, meaning true, and doc saw meaning praise, true praise, true worship. We use the word with our word doxology as we sing our hymn of praise to God. And when correct doctrine is taught, the result is not lungs full of water, but lungs full of praise. True worship flows out of true doctrine. Third, the doctrine of election eliminates the pride of believers before God and of course the whole world. For one thing, it accentuates the fact that our understanding of God is so small and it further accentuates the fact that God is so great.
One author wrote these provocative words. He said, if God were to visibly show up in the church today, many of us think we'd run up to him and high five them for all the good things he's done. Some of us think we'd run up and hug him. Others to ask him for an answer to that nagging theological question. Others might even demand he tell us why that tragedy robbed us of comfort.
The truth is we would do none of these things. We would instead all fall trembling at his feet as his awesome, mighty and fearful glory filled the room. We would be all struck in the presence of a holy and all powerful God. I believe that there is no doctrine like this doctrine, which fills us with the sense of God's awesome power over creation, as does this doctrine of election. And tragically, it is the most ignored of all.
And I believe it's the most ignored because we understand it the least. And we sort of dumb down our view of God when we say we believe he's sovereign. God becomes small and man occupies the center of life. He more easily becomes this divine custodian who runs around fixing things in the universe, in our lives.
Why? Because we're really sovereign and he is our servant. He waits for us to decide. So we're told by Christian leaders and teachers and authors that God exists to eliminate our aches and pains. That God exists to make our lives comfortable. The Bible just becomes a book of tricks whereby we learn how to manipulate God and how to move the hand of God. And no wonder people abandon this kind of God when life hurts, because God was supposed to pull through and God didn't pull through. And I don't want that kind of God. The doctrine of election reverses this kind of thinking. It reverses the order so that our lives become small and God becomes the center. He becomes sovereign and we become servant.
Would we believe that? Jonathan Edwards, who preached 250 years ago, who was very instrumental as the agent in God's hand to bring about what we call the Great Awakening, a time of great spiritual harvest and a great time of revival within the church that was dead. In fact, in Jonathan Edwards' day, one of the things that revival brought about was the belief as Jonathan Edwards had tried to coerce the church in England to believe and follow and as well as in America that pastors had to be converted. You had to be a believer to be a pastor, if you can imagine that.
And they scoffed at that idea. He preached often on the sovereignty of God and he liked the Puritan believers who preached along with him. Their favorite doctrine was this doctrine, the doctrine of election, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God.
You can find volume after volume after volume on this topic. And he preached, as you know, that most famous message, sinners in the hands of an angry who? Sinners in the hands of an angry God. That'll fix your marriage. That'll fix your self-image, won't it? It will.
It will. You think about the fact that God is angry with corruption. He's angry with sin. He's angry with self-centeredness. He's angry with immorality. He's not a doting grandfather that lives to please us. We live to please him.
That'll fix a lot of things. My parents who still serve as missionaries would often leave the home in the evenings to go to meetings they had to go to. And when we were old enough to stay home, they would leave us there to presumably get our homework done. I, of course, always did being the Godly example among my three brothers. When I was 12 years old, I remember we got our first television.
My dad bought it used from somebody. It was black and white, you know, to get a pair of pliers to turn the channel. Anybody else here have to turn channels like that when your kids see all of us experience the joy of that kind of childhood? Not long after we got it and set it all up, my parents had to go to a meeting. And my mom, right before she walked out of the door, turned and said to her four sons, 14, 12, 8 and 6, do not turn on the television. Do your homework.
Or read. And they left. We finished our homework.
And then what? I don't know who suggested it. I think it was Eve. Maybe it was the serpent.
I don't know. All four of us turned on the forbidden fruit. And we sat there for a couple of hours until the scout and we took turns, you know, on our tour of duty, hollered, Mom and Dad have pulled up in the driveway. We turn off the television, put the pliers back and ran for cover. Mom and Dad walked in and we're sitting around here reading books, doing extra credit math problems because we love it so much.
Halo's a little crooked. And my mother walked in and looked at us and asked one question. Did you turn on the television? No, ma'am.
With that attitude, you know, how could you ask such a thing of us? We didn't know this yet, but those TVs have those big glass pipes that heat up when the television's on. And she immediately walked over, put her hand behind it, and it was red hot. I don't know where she learned that secret, but we were in deep trouble. We were sinners in the hands of an angry mom. And she preached it, let me tell you.
And we had a great awakening that night. Well, Jonathan Edwards, who preached the first time that sermon was preached, defined sovereignty in a way that our generation has long forgotten. In fact, I'm going to read this definition and you're not even going to like it, perhaps. He defines sovereignty as God's absolute independent right of disposing of all creatures according to his own pleasure. You mean God can choose to save some and condemn others according to his pleasure? That God would show mercy to some and judgment to others? That God would call some for heaven and leave others for hell? That God could raise up those whose sin glorifies his justice and he can raise up others whose salvation glorifies his grace? This God is virtually unheard of today.
And maybe that's why we don't hear from him today in respect to this kind of spiritual awakening. Well, the doctrine of election eliminates pride. The doctrine of election elevates our perspective. It encourages our worship and forth, it energizes our service. And Paul is going to apply this when he gets a little later on in the letter.
Let me give you one more. It exalts the mercy and grace of God. It exalts the mercy and grace believers receive from God. He writes in this text, so then God has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. You see, as soon as we begin to think that God owes us something, that God owes us a vote, this is America, right? That God owes us his glory, that God will somehow be manipulated into giving us whatever we want, then that kind of view diminishes God and elevates us.
Ladies and gentlemen, election magnifies the glory and mercy and grace of God, choosing those upon whom his mercy and grace will rest. Paul's letter to the Romans, by the way, has already taught us that everyone is under condemnation. God doesn't have to do anything for anybody to go to hell. Everybody's going to hell. It has already taught us that everyone represses and suppresses the truth about God, that no one seeks after God. People seek after things that they think God will give them, but no one seeks after God.
We don't like that picture, do we? That doesn't fit very well with God loves you because you're so special. He saved you because he saw something in you. That's why the lyrics of Isaac Watt's great hymn was changed in our generation. It lasted for 300 years, but our generation gets to go down in history as changing the lyrics. He originally wrote, alas, and did my savior bleed and did my sovereign die? Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I? And for 300 years, the church sang it until our generation. We're bad, but we're not that bad, are we? So we changed the lyrics to read, would he devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?
That's a little better. It won't be long before we change sinner for confused person who makes wrong choices. And that's going to be hard to sing. But that is already the lyrics of our growing younger generation, right? We just made bad choices. That's a long way from sinner and sinner's a long way from worm, isn't it? We're headed in the wrong direction where God's glory and mercy and grace is diminished and our view of ourselves is elevated in the church. You get a glimpse of the doctrine of election and you cry out as we sang, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. Have mercy on me. And we're going to need to get into this paragraph here to provide a foundation so that when we arrive in chapter 12 and we're told, now get on the altar and you be an ongoing perpetual sacrifice unto God.
We would say, what? A sacrifice unto God? You mean he's asking for everything? Yes. And when you understand that he is sovereign, majestic, holy, merciful God, you say in great gratitude, you can have all of me.
You take me, every bit of me. Throughout chapter nine now, Paul will pull illustration after illustration where God has always acted through sovereign election in the world. And he is, of course, addressing the Israelite who will be reading this, the Jew primarily in chapters nine, 10 and 11, who wonder about God's electing mercy within the nation Israel. God chose Abram or Abraham out from among all the others in Ur, verse seven of chapter nine. He chose Isaac over Ishmael, verses eight to nine, and he chose Jacob over Esau in verses 10 to 12.
Sovereign electing choice. Now in this paragraph in verse 15, he's going to repeat something that's already been spoken in Exodus chapter 33, verse 19, where God says, I will have mercy upon whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. And we don't have time to go back. But let me just tell you the context for this particular revelation came on the heels of three thousand Israelites being killed in judgment. You remember Moses has gone up the mountain to Mount Sinai and he'd received the law from God and he'd come back down the mountain and all of the people were involved in this sexual orgy, this infidelity against God. They had reverted back to Egyptian religion.
They had fashioned a golden calf and they were dancing before it. And Moses confronts Aaron. And Aaron literally said, I threw the gold in the fire and out came this calf. And God is going to wipe everybody out. But he instead takes the lives of only three thousand. Why three thousand and not everyone?
What Paul is implying is interesting. He says, if you're going to say that God is unrighteous, if God isn't fair, then really, because he chose any one person over another, then God was unrighteous at Mount Sinai when he let anybody live. They were all unfaithful. They were all idolatrous. But God said, I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. And we're never told why or who or what other than these three thousand were judged.
And the others weren't. Now, next, Paul will pull from Israel's past one of the greatest illustrations of God's sovereignty known to any Jew. He's going to go to familiar territory here. In verse 17, he's going to start talking about Pharaoh, the great sovereign over his empire. And he says in verse 17, look there for the scripture says to Pharaoh, we've got to stop there for just a second. The scriptures weren't written, but he says the scripture says to Pharaoh.
They weren't in completed form. But Paul considers the word of God to be scripture and scripture to be the word of God. You ought to circle up in verse 15, the words he says, referring to God, he says and draw a line down to verse 17, as I have where it reads, the scripture says and circle those. It's clear that Paul considers the two to be equally authoritative.
They are synonymous terms. And we need to hear that in this generation. When the scriptures speak, God is speaking. So what does God say to to Pharaoh here in verse 17?
For this very purpose, I raised you up to demonstrate my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth. Now, being an absolute monarch, Pharaoh believed that everything he did was right and everything he did was by his own choice and it served his own purposes. But it's clear through Moses who delivered this, first of all, the Pharaoh, that Pharaoh was divinely raised up to serve divine purposes, a purpose, by the way, that that Pharaoh didn't even know.
Do you realize that he didn't even know it? But God had raised him up for that purpose. You mean God is that sovereign that God will raise up an unbeliever to accomplish the purpose of his own will by that sinner's unbelief? Yes, that's what Paul means. And that sounds a little bit like God has the sovereign right to dispose of his creatures according to his divine purpose, doesn't it? Listen to what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16 for the Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil. You believe that? Peter wrote, for those who disbelieve, they stumble because they are disobedient to the word. And to this doom, they were appointed. Well, you say then, does God make unbelievers disbelieve in him? No, he doesn't have to.
They do that well themselves all by themselves. Jesus said in John three that the world is already condemned. The mass of humanity has already been judged.
It's already on its way to hell. God doesn't have to intervene for the unbeliever to disbelieve. He lets them go the way of their own heart. But God does have to intervene for anyone to believe.
You say aha, I have you now. Why doesn't God intervene so that everybody believes? Why doesn't God elect everybody?
I don't know. But now wait a second. I don't know anybody who believes everybody's going to heaven. I don't know anybody who believes that God ought to let everybody into heaven.
I think if I asked every one of you, you'd probably think of a few people that shouldn't go there, but should go there. Right. So in a sense, we agree some are going to heaven. We'll just call them the elect and some are going to hell and we'll just call them the unredeemed.
And I'm just explaining why. And it boggles the mind that God is this sovereign. We believe he is sovereign.
We just don't think he's this sovereign. That he raises up those who will believe and he raises up those who will not believe. That he is the initial chooser. We love him because he loved us first.
He is the primary cause. He is the original mover in salvation. He is the initiator of redemption.
It happened because he made it happen. This doctrine puts him squarely on the throne and we at his feet. And Paul will make an illustration of Pharaoh of God's power.
I raised you up. Exigyro is the Greek word. It's used in the Septuagint Old Testament, Greek translation, the same words used by the prophet Habakkuk of the bloodthirsty, unbelieving Chaldeans. He says that God raised up the Chaldeans to do his will.
Further, Zachariah prophesied of the Antichrist, who's yet to come, uses the same word. He says God raised him up and he will, as it were, devour humanity, the prophet says. God raised them up. Sounds like he has at his sovereign disposal the creatures according to his will. God said to Pharaoh, I raised you up to demonstrate my power in you. By the way, this is a quotation from the book of Exodus in chapter 9.
Again, we won't take the time to go back, but you can study it on your own. This conversation where Moses said this occurred between the sixth and the seventh plague. Each plague, by the way, attacked one of Egypt's primary gods.
Every one of them, revealing the sovereignty of God over them. But Pharaoh remained resolute. In fact, you'll read where it says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, right? You'll also read in chapter 4, before Moses ever talks to Pharaoh, God informs Moses by saying that he was going to harden, God was going to harden the heart of Pharaoh so that he would not let the people go.
Exodus 4, verse 21. And through the stubbornness of this world leader, that God simply allowed after hardening his heart to go the way of his hardened heart, God's power will be unmistakably revealed. And you can understand a little bit about God's power as it's revealed through this man when you understand a little bit more about this man. Amenhotep the second was this Pharaoh. He was believed by all to be the Son of God, the Sun God, Ra. He was the offspring of Ra and his mother, divinely conceived.
You can see how Satan counterfeits even the minds of men before the incarnation of the true Son of God. His throne name meant great are the manifestations of Ra. You didn't approach this sovereign's throne without being confronted with the truth that his throne demonstrated the power of his God.
How ironic. He will be used to demonstrate the power of the one true and living God. God's power over Egypt would never be forgotten. For that Passover, the passing over of the angel of death who passed over the homes where the blood of the lamb was displayed on the doorposts would become an event celebrated to this very day by people around the world. And it in some way forms the foundation of what I preach. The symbol of the mercy of God toward those upon his mercy resides and those who reveal that mercy by coming to the blood of the lamb. Maybe you ask, how do I know if I've received the mercy of God? Well, that's easy. You can know that you've been one upon whom God's mercy resides and rests because you asked for it.
That's the mystery. You asked for it. It's amazing that God elects those who will receive his mercy. Paul clearly states and those whom God has chosen to receive his mercy happen to be the same people who ask for it.
So have you asked? Have you asked for his mercy? Have you said, Jesus, in effect thou son of David have mercy on me? Have mercy on me. I claim no right of my own but the shedding of your blood.
I have nothing to offer you. You are sovereign master. You can dispose of your creatures by your own pleasure. Please have mercy on me. You say that and you are proving that you are one of God's chosen redeemed for all eternity.
I hope this reminder of the amazing grace of God has encouraged you today. Abortion is one of the greatest tragedies of our day. It steals the life of unborn children. The important question for Christians to ask is, what is God's view of life in the womb?
What value does he place on that unborn life? Steven's resource, Designer Made, explores this issue. It's free today. We're going to send you a digital copy of this resource upon your request. Visit wisdomonline.org forward slash designer. Then join us back here next time for more wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 22:27:05 / 2022-11-22 22:37:11 / 10