Is Israel important to God?
Well, you think? I mean, Israel is in the Bible 2,687 times more than any other nation or country. Jerusalem is mentioned 877 times more than any other city. And yet we think, well, it's not important to know anything about Israel or Judaism. If you want to know about Christianity, you need to know about Judaism. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. We read in Scripture how Israel was adopted and elected as God's chosen people. Find out why this is important to you and I even today as Pastor David continues in Romans 9 with his teaching, Soft Hearts.
Here's David Magee. So we're starting Romans Chapter 9. Before I start, let me go ahead and tell you this. Sometimes when I'm teaching a section of Scripture, I'm like, oh, you know, somebody, these folks will be convicted by this passage or these folks will be convicted by that passage. And, you know, of course, we're always trying to get convicted for somebody else, right? We're sitting there and we go, oh, golly, this is for my wife. Are you listening, honey? You know, and buy her several CDs so she doesn't miss it. But, you know, you hear a message that's really meant for you and you're like, oh, I so wish my neighbor was here.
He so needs to hear this. But this one today, this one's for you. This one's for you. This is a message that if you're breathing and you're sensitive, open to the Holy Spirit, you're going to be convicted today. And it's not my intent to condemn you, but to perhaps to stir you up, encourage you to what the Lord wants you to do.
And so Romans Chapter nine, verse one says, I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen, according to the flesh. Accursed from Christ. Paul here is saying, I am willing to be lost. I am willing to be eternally separated from God if that would accomplish them coming to the Lord. Friend, that's convicting.
That is just flat out convicting. Imagine if I said, OK, hey, in order to reach the loss, I don't know what your favorite restaurant is, but in order to reach the loss, you can't go to your favorite restaurant anymore. Some would be like, can I get back to you on it? What if I said you've got to give up your favorite food in order to reach the loss? Some of you go, not sure. Paul says the very thing that is most precious to me, the very reason I live and have my being, I'm willing to give that up.
If somehow I can reach other people. Is that the compassion and the love that we as followers of Jesus are known for? Sadly, it's not. Now, that's that's that's not real convicting. Let me make it a little more convicting. Is that your passion for the lost or do you feel inconvenience sometime?
Do you feel I would share, but it would be socially a little a little awkward if I if I shared at this moment with this person? See, some of us have fallen into this trap. Well, there's some that are called to evangelism.
Yep, there are. Those that are called to Christianity. Are those that are called to evangelism. So you can't say, well, there is a gifting or an office or whatever, or an empowerment for an evangelist to have a special gifting, kind of a, you know, minimum effort, maximum impact sort of thing. And God has gifted me in this way.
But that doesn't mean if you're not gifted in the exact same way that now, OK, you don't have to tell anybody. Why do we do this? Why do we tell people about Jesus? Most people say, well, to see them get saved. That's a great answer. But unfortunately, it's the wrong one.
Follow me with this. If you think you're supposed to tell people about Jesus in order for them to get saved, what happens the first time you tell somebody and they don't get saved? You go, well, that didn't that didn't work like it was supposed to. And then you do it again and they don't get saved. And you're like, well, let's not be very good at this. And then you do it again and you're going, I'm just not gifted as an evangelist.
I just won't do this anymore. Some of you have followed that path. You need to understand you don't share with people about Jesus in order for them to get saved. You share with them because Jesus told you to go and tell. And so the moment you open your mouth, your heavenly father is looking down, smiling.
You are successful when you open your mouth. It's God's responsibility, whether they come to him or not. It's our responsibility to tell. Well, Paul's talking here that. About the Jewish people, and these are the people that given him such a hard time and not only a hard time. Acts 23, 12 says this.
And when it was day, some of the Jews banded together and bound themselves under nose, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. And Paul is still saying, these are the guys I have a heart for to reach. He still cared about them, which brings us into, you know, our emotional development towards other people, if you will. Because, man, with Christians, Jesus told us how we're supposed to do this and how we're supposed to care for other people.
And boy, do we need his help. Let's look at verse four. Well, go back for a sec. For I could wish that I myself were cursed from Christ for my brother and my countrymen, according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.
Let's run through these. It's talking about Israelites, the descendants of Abraham. We'll get more into who exactly is Israel, not probably next week, but the adopted of God pertains to the adoption. God adopted the Jewish people.
Why? Because he saw something good in him? No, no, he just adopted them. He just chose them.
Abraham was actually the son of somebody that built idols in a town that was famous for building idols. He wasn't a religious person, maybe a spiritual person, but that's who God chose. Because why?
I don't know. I don't understand God's calling. I don't understand God's election. God calls people that I don't, and understand, don't think, well, God called me, and boy, when he called me, he really, boy, he made a good choice. And I can just under, it just showed the wisdom of God when he chose me because, you know, I've got special gifts and talents.
No, no, no, no. God chose you before any of those gifts were given to you or developed. Why did he choose Israel? Well, not because they were all that.
They weren't all that. Deuteronomy 7, verse 7 and 8. The Lord did not set his love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people. For you were the least of all peoples, but because the Lord loves you and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of bondage from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Not because they were smart, not because they were mighty.
He just chose them because they were small and because they were weak to reveal his glory, the adoption, the glory. God revealed his glory through them. Mount Sinai, Exodus 24, 16, reads this. Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day, he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud, and the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. Who was there? The children of Israel.
Not us. It was to Israel. This is pointing out all the blessings of Israel. The giving of the law.
We'll go back to the glory. The covenants. The covenants. What were the covenants? There were several covenants.
Adamic, which was talking about the Savior of the world in Genesis chapter 3, speaking that it would come through the seed of a woman, which is a strange phrase, because technically it's the egg of a woman and the seed of a man and somehow through, and that's a nod towards, a note towards the virgin birth. So that was the Adamic covenant. Then you got the Noahic covenant, which was God making a covenant that he was never going to destroy the earth again completely with water. You've got the Abrahamic covenant when God is covening to give the land to Israel forever.
We'll talk more about that as we go through these chapters. Another one is the Davidic covenant that David would be on the throne that basically from his bloodline would come the Messiah, the Messiah, the coming Messiah Prince. Now, all these things, they're given the covenants, the giving of the law. They got the Ten Commandments. Not only the Ten Commandments, they got the Levitical law, which told them all kinds of health stuff that, I mean, some of it that people didn't even realize until a couple of hundred years ago why it was important. He said, look, if they've got this disease, you need to separate them from the people.
If they got that disease, it's okay for them to be among the people. They didn't know about contagious germs and diseases and stuff, but God knew. God told them.
The blessing was on these people of Israel through this knowledge. He gave them social, political, gave them how to operate really a justice and judicial system, gave them an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, which I've heard that verse use so horribly so many times. God in his word was not saying to them, you need to go poke each other's eye out, which seems to be the explanation. Everybody goes, eye for an eye, everybody's going to be blind, you know.
God was putting in place a system of judgment where vengeance would not exceed the crime. He was saying, look, if you lose an eye, you can't poke two of the guy's eyes out. It would be fair for him to lose an eye, but not both eyes. You know, there's going to be something in you that you're going to want both his eyes, but no, no, no, no. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
Let the punishment meet the crime, if you will. So God gives them all these sorts of things. He gives them, and keep in mind, is Israel important to God?
Well, you think? I mean, Israel is in the Bible 2,687 times, more than any other nation or country. Jerusalem is mentioned 877 times more than any other city, and yet we think, well, it's not important to know anything about Israel or Judaism. If you want to know about Christianity, you need to know about Judaism, because the roots of Christianity are Jewish.
Now, you need to understand that there's something in you that doesn't like that, and that's got to go. And as you go through these chapters of Romans 9, 10, and 11, it's going to be speaking to these issues, and I just ask that you not hold on to it too tightly. Glory to the law, the service of God. They got to serve God, which apparently God thinks it's a blessing to be able to serve God, that it's not a task or a chore.
Imagine that. We're all called to serve God as His children. And then the promises. What promises? There's some promises that were conditional. There's some promises that were unconditional. What I mean by that is some conditional promises where God was saying, well, if you do this, then this will happen.
Some are unconditional in the sense of God was saying, you know what, no matter what, this is a promise. The giving of the land, an unconditional promise. Their enjoyment of the land was a conditional promise, in the sense that they just wouldn't be able to enjoy the land if they engaged in idolatry. What do we see historically? They didn't enjoy the land when they engaged in idolatry.
But guess what? The land is theirs. The United Nations can say what they want to, but God is the one that gave them the land. And God made promises about the land. Even when they were away from the land, God, Ezekiel 34, 13 says, And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. Ezekiel 36, 24. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries and bring you into your own land. It's amazing promises.
Why? Because they didn't have their own land. And it's not talking about they would come into their land in the time of Jesus.
It's talking about after they were scattered. Israel was scattered for 2,000 years. They were not a country. From the time that they sieged in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. until May 14, 1947. They were not a country. They were a distinct people group.
That's never happened in the history of mankind. There's never been a distinct people group that did not have a homeland for any longer than 200 years except the Jewish people. And why is this important? Because it's a confirmation of the promises and the covenants of God.
Because on May 14, 1947, they became their own nation. I love reading older commentaries when they deal with issues like that because they're like, well, this is all symbolic and pictorial because, you know, we all know that God's not actually going to put Jewish people back in Israel again. And guess what?
You were wrong. They're there. One more promise I want to share with you in Isaiah 27, 6 says, Those who come, he shall cause to take root in Jacob. Israel shall blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit.
Blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. Now, Israel is a desert community. It's the size of New Jersey, roughly. As a matter of fact, in certain parts, they've whittled it down to nine miles wide. How would you like to defend a strip of land nine miles wide? It's not about land over there.
When somebody does not recognize your right to exist, you've got a pretty big negotiation problem. Blossom and bud. So this little desert community the size of New Jersey is the third largest exporter of fruit in the world. They're the largest exporter of fruit into Europe.
They actually export flowers and bulbs into Holland, who historically has supplied the world with bulbs. The promises. In 1962, the Supreme Court outlawed prayer and Bible reading in schools. Since that decision, we've seen SAT scores drop, violent crime rise, STDs triple, unwed pregnancies quadruple, and divorce rates have skyrocketed. While the outlook for our country may seem bleak, pastor and author David McGee believes there is hope for our nation's future. Recently, David shared that vision of hope in a nationally televised special, Lord Give Us America. This passionate presentation features David's insights on America's godly heritage and how the church can play a crucial role in bringing our nation back to God. The Lord Give Us America DVD is now available to you for a gift of $19.99. This special DVD is our way of saying thank you for helping us reach our nation with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Call today with your gift across the bridge and we'll send Lord Give Us America right away. The number to call is 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508.
You can also find us online at crossthebridge.com. Now let's return to our study. Let's begin to look at verse 5. It says, Of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all the eternally blessed God. Amen. Now, let me give that to you in the New Living translation. Their ancestors were great people of God and Christ himself was a Jew as far as his human nature is concerned and he is God who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise.
Amen. If you ever run into a Jehovah's Witness or somebody that says Jesus is not God, write down this verse. Romans chapter 9 verse 5 says Jesus is God, calls him God. He is God.
I'm not going to go off on that tangent. Jesus did claim to be God and he was worshipped as God and he received that worship. So he is God and what was that thing about him being Jewish? Jesus was not a Jew.
He converted Christianity, right? No, Jesus was Jewish. Apparently, according to the Bible, life lesson here, we need to understand that Jesus was Jewish.
We need to understand that Jesus was Jewish. Now you're sitting there going, well, no, no, I've seen pictures. I've seen pictures. He's got, you know, blue eyes and blond hair.
It looks a little Swedish. That's not Jesus. Jesus was Jewish.
He would have had dark hair, dark skin, dark eyes. I mean, that's, so those pictures that you're seeing aren't actually photos, okay? That's important. Well, years ago, we were having family devotions. We were sitting around and we were talking about people that didn't believe the Bible, you know? And my youngest son, he was much younger. Benjamin was probably five or six or something.
I believe the Bible. I mean, we got the videos. Because we had a lot of Christian and Bible videos and I'd explain. No, those aren't actually footage, son. Those are dramatizations there.
It's not like CNN or something. He was Jewish. Again, it's amazing to me that the Jewish leadership had given Paul such a hard time. And Paul's response was not to call down fire from heaven, but to say, I so wish they would find Jesus. John, the disciple in the Gospel of John, wanted to call down fire from heaven to consume some people that gave him a hard time. And Jesus says, nah, you don't know what spirit you're of.
You're not getting it. Somewhere along the line, John got it. Because when he wrote the 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, when he wrote 1 John, he's the one that God used to write to us that if you don't love people, you don't really love God. John lived to be about 90 years old, we think. Of course, long after the other disciples had been murdered. And they say that he would come into a place and again, he's 90, he's old, he comes in and rests. And sometimes he would just look at the people and say, little children love one another. Amen.
That'd be it. Jesus challenges us to love one another. Now, that's easy enough in here where people kind of agree more or less on the main tenets of the faith. But even then, we like to figure out what we can argue about and we think, well, I'll be your friend and I'll love you as long as I agree with everything that you say. Friend, you're not going to agree with everything I say. I'm not going to agree with everything that you say.
But you know what, I'm okay you coming here and us not agreeing on everything. Often we try to find the church where we agree with everything that's going on. You're never going to find that church, friend. And in case you're sitting there going, well, you're a senior pastor. I don't agree with everything that goes on in this church. I hear people saying stuff like, oh, I don't agree with that. I'm leaving. No, I don't say I'm leaving. How deep is that if that's our commitment to one another?
It's not very deep. And this is one another. This is people of the household of faith. Gang, if we're failing with one another, what are we doing out there? Where are you in a burden for the lost?
Would you put yourself on a zero or a one or a two or maybe you're a 10? I'm all about evangelism. I'm not just convicted. I've been convicted since I've been digging in these passages. Now, recently, you know, Lord increased my burden for the lost. I'm a man, and of course, you know, as a young tank, you know, little big boys don't cry. And yet, you know, in praying for this burden, I can just happen again yesterday.
I was just sitting there, not sitting there, I was standing there. All of a sudden, I started thinking about lost people, heard a Christian song talking about lost people, and my tears started welling up in my eyes. Now, if you're sitting here near God and you think, well, I don't want that to happen to me, you know one of my prayers as pastor here is that I would be thick-skinned and soft-hearted. That things that people say or ugly things or hurtful things that I wouldn't be – I would be thick-skinned enough where they wouldn't really bother me, but I would be soft-hearted enough that they always bother me.
I was in the middle of a trial and somebody that had called me, their friend was saying things and I was hurt. And I thought, man, when will this stop? Me getting my feelings hurt like this. And I thought, you know what, I hope it never stops. See, because if it doesn't hurt anymore, it means I'm not feeling anymore.
If I'm not feeling anymore, I'm hard-hearted and I don't want to be hard-hearted. But gang, some of you have been wounded and you need to let the oil of the Holy Spirit wash over that wound because there's a callous there that God wants to remove. Do you care about those people who don't know Jesus, who are antagonistic? Are you giving? Are you serving? Are you praying? Are you taking advantage of all the evangelistic opportunities here?
Then, friend, you need to be. Because if you're following Jesus, Jesus died on the cross for people that don't know him. If you're here today and maybe you're going, okay, well, I got to care for lost people so that I can get saved. Time out, time out, time out.
Let me back up. It's not about your good outweighing your bad. You don't become a Christian when your good outweighs your bad. You don't become a Christian when all of a sudden you have a burden for the lost. How do you become a Christian? You come to Jesus, you ask him to forgive you of your sins, and he does it. You tell him you're sorry for the things you've done, and he forgives you in an instant.
I'm not talking about some long religious ceremony. I'm talking about a short, simple prayer where you say, Jesus, forgive me of my sins. God will do it. And as you turn to him, you turn from all the things that would hold you back and weigh you down.
The wrong things in your life. But if you try to get cleaned up to come to God, you're never going to come to God. Jesus wants you to come to him, and he wants you to come to him now. 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. 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.
So congratulations, friend, you just made the greatest decision that you will ever make. God bless you. If you've prayed this prayer with Pastor David, receiving Jesus Christ for the first time, or rededicating your life to the Lord, please call and let us know. We want to send you our exclusive First Steps package for free. This package will help you grow in your new life. Receive your First Steps package by calling 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508. Or visit us online at crossthebridge.com.
When you call, let our call team representative know where you heard about our broadcast. Also, Paul laid the foundation for the New Testament church, and yet few of us in the church today really understand the events and places that shaped this remarkable man. But now, pastor and Bible teacher David Magee has created The Footsteps of Paul Tour through the heart of the ancient world. You'll be a part of a breathtaking three-day tour of the famous Greek islands. Also, during the tour, David Magee will be opening the Bible to teach on Mars Hill, the very place in Athens Paul taught about the unknown God. We'll go up to the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon. Also, we'll visit Patmos, the place where John wrote the book of Revelation. We'll continue to Ephesus in Turkey, sharing the history, stories, and reality of these historic places that changed the future of the church. Plus, be a part of an actual television production, as we film parts of the tour for our national TV program, Cross the Bridge. The Footsteps of Paul Tour with pastor and Bible teacher David Magee. Combine your vacation with an in-depth experience in the reality of God's Word. For more information, visit CrossTheBridge.com or call us at 877-458-5508.
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