And every display of God's power was an opportunity for Pharaoh to repent. God kept bringing him to that moment.
And that's what God does. He brings us to these moments and says, you're at the crossroads again. And even if we chose the wrong road, a lot of times, days, hours, weeks later, God brings us again. You're at the crossroads.
Here we are again. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. Many of those who question the Bible often ask why bad things happen to such good people. The real question really is why God was good to any of us. Find out more about this as we continue in Romans 9. With David's teaching, God is calling.
Here's David Magee. So we're in Romans chapter 9, verse 14. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?
Certainly not. For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion. So then it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. So again, we see this balance of the free will of man and the sovereignty of God. And be careful of any belief system or organization or Calvinism or Arminianism. I think what happens is some people go, well, it's an either or. No, it's not an either or. The Bible teaches both of them.
And we need to understand that they balance out. And we can say, well, God just chooses who he chooses, so why should we tell anybody? Because we don't know who he chooses.
We have no idea who he chooses. None of us deserve the calling. None of us deserve the mercy. Look at this verse.
It's not him who wills nor him who runs. See, if somebody is willing, we think, well, they deserve the mercy. No, they don't. If somebody is willing to come forward at the end of the service, we think, well, they deserve mercy.
No, they don't. It's amazing. Some Sunday mornings, even before I invite people, they start to drift down here. The calling of God, the movement of God, the power of God is just so strong. But nobody deserves it. Because we look at people who may, you know, move towards the Lord, come forward, pray the prayer, or begin to be disciples and go, well, they're willing and they're running.
But which came first? The willing and the running is not the cause. The cause is God's mercy, undeserved.
And that leads us to be willing and to run, if you will. Life lesson here, everyone who receives God's mercy and grace is undeserving of them. That's why Paul, when he's in the book of Ephesians, he talks about the fact that salvation is by grace.
It's not by works. Because if it was by works, we could brag about it. The plan of God was that it would be a gracious gift from Him. That way, nobody could boast.
Now, I'm not saying that keeps us from boasting, but it should. We've received mercy. We've received mercy. Just as if I took this bottle of water and gave it to somebody.
It would be a gift to them. Well, how could that person go, oh, yeah, look, I got water and you don't. You see how that could go haywire real quick?
And it does. Because we somehow communicate to people who don't believe Jesus, who aren't following Jesus, that somehow we deserve this forgiveness we've received. Now you can tell that? Talk to them. Talk to them. Say, what do you think makes a Christian different? You know what 99, 9, 10 people will say?
Well, you do what's good and what's right. The concept is that we have done something to deserve the mercy and the grace of God. Let me ask you a question. Where did they get a concept like that? We told them.
We told them. Well, if you do this and you do that. Verse 17, verse 17, for the scripture says to the Pharaoh, for this very purpose, I've raised you up that I may show my power in you and that my name may be declared in all the earth. So this calling of God is independent really of all things. It's not based on works.
It's not based on knowledge. It's the call of God. God made himself known through Moses, which we saw a couple of verses mention. And then Paul is such an incredible teacher in the anointing of God and power of God in this passage because you've got Moses on one hand undeserving of the calling and then it mentions Pharaoh undeserving of the calling. Both mysteriously were used to display the power and the patience of God.
People knew what happened in Egypt years after that. First Samuel chapter 4, verse 8, these guys were talking. They said, who can save us from these mighty gods of Israel?
They are the same gods who destroyed the Egyptians with plagues when Israel was in the wilderness. Now, this is kind of a tough thing because I've, you know, I've run into people say, well, how is this fair that God hardened Pharaoh's heart? Let's understand something. And this, this phrase is actually used. I went back and looked at them and counted them. It's actually used about heartening the heart mentioned 20 times and in perfect symmetry and balance, 10 of those times it says Pharaoh hardened his heart himself. And 10 of those times it says God hardened his heart or made firm what he had already decided. I've seen people go through things and it's like the event brings them to a crossroad. I've seen two people go through the exact same event and some just melt and break before the Lord.
And I've seen some people go through the exact same event and harden their heart towards God. And as we look at Pharaoh and we look at Pharaoh and we look at Moses, I think that's what happened. I love the saying the same sun that hardens the clay softens the wax.
Same sun that hardens the clay softens the wax. I mean, when you look at these things and when you look at Moses and when you look at Pharaoh, they, they both were, they both were sinners. They both had made bad decisions. They both were murderers. And yet one was called to be a deliverer of God's people. And the other one is Pharaoh's just really kind of a footnote in history.
What's the difference? You, you have to say that their decisions played a major part. You can't just say, well, you know, I don't know, God picked one to do this, but no, no. Think of how merciful God was with Pharaoh. Again, that coin, we can look at the coin and go, well, he, he, you know, he had all these plagues that he visited the Egyptians with.
Yeah. Why did he do that? To give them time after time after time after time after time after time again to come to the Lord, to turn the way for Pharaoh to say, you know what? Your God is more powerful than I'm going to recognize him.
You guys go worship the Lord. Opportunity after opportunity. Now we look at Pharaoh and go, well, Pharaoh was just hard-hearted.
He was. And yet, is there any among us who doesn't struggle with the same condition? Oh, we can be incredibly hard-hearted, soft-hearted, and we can be incredibly hard-hearted. And every display of God's power was an opportunity for Pharaoh to repent. God kept bringing him to that moment.
And that's what God does. He brings us to these moments and he says, you're at the crossroads again. And even if we chose the wrong road, a lot of times, days, hours, weeks later, God brings us again. You're at the crossroads.
Here we are again. And some people will continue to reject God. And they'll walk past each crossroad going, no, no, don't want God in my life. No, no, don't want to look at the Bible.
No, no. And what happens over time is that condition of having a hard heart settles in. I've talked to people more when I was attending a church than a pastor, but I spoke with people. I would invite them to church if they were unbelievers and they'd sit through the service and I'd say, well, did you make a decision? And regrettably, I was in a church where you never knew if there was going to be an invitation at the end, so you're always hoping. And sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't. And well, did you make a decision?
No, no, no, no, no. But I'm a little bit closer, heard what he had to say. And I would lovingly say, well, friend, if you've heard about the grace of God and heard about the mercy of God and you had yet another opportunity to respond to those things and you didn't, you're not one step closer.
You're one step further away. See, sometimes we take a lot of solace and a lot of comfort in the fact that we attend church. And let me, let me say, guys, it's awesome you're here. It's a great, great first step or second step or third step.
It's awesome that you're here. Hearing about the goodness of God, hearing about the word of God. But what happens in this place is you're given an opportunity to respond to God. And if you feel God tugging on your heart and week after week you don't respond to that, you're in a dangerous place.
Because if that trend continues, what will happen is you'll get to a place and a time when you can hear an invitation, you can hear an altar call. God can tug on your heart and you won't feel anything. One of the saddest verses I think in the Bible, the story of Samson, a lot of us are familiar with it. Samson had long hair and I traveled in the ways of Samson for a little while.
And, and, and so he had long hair and you know, it was, it wasn't just the hair. There was a Nazarite vow that was a commitment to God. That was really where his power, not just in the hair, but we're not talking about not going in depth with the teaching on Samson, but, but the sad verse was when Samson awoke and his hair had been cut, he had broken his commitment to God and it says, and he didn't know the spirit of God had left him. He'd become so estranged to God.
He wasn't even aware. Now that's Hebrew scriptures and that's talking about the, the, the anointing of God, not the abiding presence. But we need to understand that we have choices. We bring, we're brought to these crossroads. Pharaoh was brought to the crossroad. Moses was brought to the crossroad.
They both responded very differently. And yet people today still continue to choose to be a pharaoh. We read about it online, watch it on television and hear about it on the radio. Our world is filled with violence and fear, whether it's threats of terrorism around the world or senseless violence in our own backyard, our world is clearly broken and in need of hope. That's why this month Cross the Bridge Ministries is offering Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism. This special presentation from David McGee was filmed on the anniversary of 9-11 and is a message of hope and victory. This insightful teaching also exposes the truth about Islam's dangerous past while rejoicing in God's plan for our future. The product Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism is our gift to you for a donation of any amount to Cross the Bridge Ministries. Because of your generous donations, Cross the Bridge continues to share the hope of Christ with a world that is struggling with fear. Call today to receive your copy of Know Your Future by dialing 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508 or visit us online at CrossTheBridge.com. Now let's return to our study. I've often, you know, as we went through the Gospels and read them and studied them and, you know, as a young believer I was like, hey, you know, I wish I had been a disciple, you know. That would have been really cool.
And it would have been. It would have been awesome walking around with Jesus. But, you know, the more I've grown in the Lord and the more I've read the passages, the more I'm okay having not been a disciple. Because the disciples were like early adopters, if you will. And Jesus was, let's face it, he was a radical.
He's a radical. I'm not sure how he went from radical spiritual leader to tame religious whatever. But life with Jesus as a disciple was strange because they never knew what he was going to do. He was always doing stuff that they, you know, we talked about the fact he went up to Matthew. I'm sure they thought he was going to hammer Matthew, turn his table over, turn his table over.
Throw the money in there. And he walked up to Matthew and said, follow me. I think in John chapter 8 when they brought that woman who had been caught, an adulterer who was forgiven, I think the disciples probably thought she was going to be sown that day.
What do I base this on? The Bible. Because the next chapter, John chapter 9, the disciples had seen Jesus heal people, deaf people, blind people, all these things. They had seen him heal people. And they walked past a blind person. And, of course, having seen Jesus heal with great compassion, they said, oh, Jesus, here's this blind guy.
Would you please pray for him that he wouldn't be blind anymore? Is that what they did? No. That's not what they did. John chapter 9 records the conversation. It says, now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth and his disciples asked him, saying, rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?
They didn't ask for him to get prayer. Pretty much the conversation was, well, who's to blame for this? That guy's probably, he's probably guilty, isn't he?
He's probably to blame for this. That's religion. Look at verse 3. Jesus answered, neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of him who sent me while over this day. The night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
A bunch of really cool stuff in there. First of all, I think that we identify more with the disciples in this conversation. We look at people and we go, well, why are they like that and why are they messed up like this and look at that bad decision and look at this bad decision and oh my goodness, this is what's wrong. And instead of going, Jesus, will you touch that one? Will you touch that one?
I know they're like I am. They are not deserving of your mercy and your grace, but would you extend to them what you've extended to me? That's the heart of Jesus. Jesus said, while I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
Later on, he ascended. And Jesus is omnipresent. He's everywhere, but at the same time, physically, he's not walking around the earth anymore. Spiritually, he's here. Please understand what I'm saying.
Physically, he's not. So he's not in this world. So while he was in this world, he was the light of the world. Now that he is on the right hand of the Father, who are the lights of the world? You and I. We are the light of the world.
Jesus said as much. You are the light of the world. I am the light of the world.
What an incredible thing. We are to be lights of what? God's judgment and God's condemnation?
No, lights of God's grace and God's mercy. And I know that saying, you know, we should share God's plan of salvation and if all else fails, use words. That's a cute little saying. I respect the saying and there's some truth in it.
But you know what? We all have to use words, don't we? To share God's... Jesus used words. I mean, Jesus is God. Understand, he could have just walked around this earth and, you know, went, you know, and you would have thought something that he was thinking and done that, you know, telepathic Star Trek kind of thing.
That's not what he did. He spoke. Why? Because we're supposed to speak. And occasionally I hear somebody say, well, you know, mine is a quiet witness.
Really? Even Jesus used words. Because that conversation, well, yours is a quiet witness.
What do you do? I just prefer to let my light shine bright before men and women. The problem with that in love and mercy and tenderness, your light ain't that bright. It just is not.
It's not. I mean, you can't go into work and go, look. Now, do you want to get saved? See the light? That's not going to work. We are to be trophies of his mercy and grace.
Life lesson here. God wants to reveal himself through us to the world. God wants to reveal himself through us to the world. Part of that is why I take such special consideration on what I say when I'm up here.
You know why? Because I'm representing God to people. And that's a very serious thing. I could always, always use your prayers.
Because especially as the word's going, you know, radio and television, Internet and all these things going forth. As you look at that, go, wow, that's pretty serious. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
You and I are in the same boat in a manner. You're representing God. And Moses misrepresented God. And it cost him. He struck the rock out of anger. He spoke to the people out of anger. He misrepresented God. And he didn't go to the promised land in the Hebrew scriptures. In the Old Testament, Moses was shut out from Israel, shut out from the promised land. I say in the Hebrew scriptures, because he did get in. Because in the Mount of Transfiguration and the New Testament, Jesus went up to the hill. He took Peter, James and John.
They're standing there. Who do they see? They saw Elijah and they saw Moses.
Moses got in through the law, through the grace of God. But it causes us to be careful, understand that we're revealing God to people. Verse 18 says, Therefore he has mercy on whom he wills and whom he wills he hardens.
Now notice harden it. People make decisions and they come to this crossroads and sometimes they firm in their decision against God. And sometimes they soften. My prayer is that. We're soft-hearted towards God. That when God bids us to do something, that we do it. When God bids us to respond to something, we respond to something. When God extends his grace towards us, that we grab that grace and run towards him. When God extends an opportunity to us, that we grab that opportunity and run with it.
Why? Because see, God will open the door for us, but we got to walk through it. God will tug your heart to do something, but you have to respond. God gives us choices and we can harden our heart to those choices and miss God's best and God's blessed.
Or we can keep our hearts soft and see the glory of God revealed in our lives. Let me encourage you. Whenever God tugs on your heart, respond. Respond to him.
Respond to that tugging. Respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Look at verse 19. You will say to me then, why does he still find fault for who has resisted his will? In other words, if he hardens some, then how can he blame them?
How can he hold them guilty? We all make our choices. And again, while we're talking about the sovereignty of God, let's talk about the responsibility or the free will of each of us to make decisions. Everybody has the freedom to respond.
Some will, some will not. But understand, as God tugs on your heart and you don't respond, you can't blame God. We try to figure out how it's not really our fault. We're really good at that. I'm saying we. I'm not getting y'all in a lot of trouble. I'm saying that's what we do as people. We try to shift the blame. That's what Paul is saying.
No, no, no. You can't shift the blame to God and say, well, if God chooses, then it's God's fault if people don't come. It's not God's fault. My circumstances did not dictate my future. Your circumstances do not dictate your future. Your softness towards your heart, towards God, is what tells a lot about your future.
It's nobody else's fault. We'll all have opportunities to come to God. We'll all have opportunities to respond to his grace and mercy.
The New Living Translation in this verse reads this. Well, then you might say, why does God blame people for not listening? Haven't they simply done what he made them to do?
No. We have free will. God wants us to make a decision for him. God wants us to look at him and say, God, I love you. God, I thank you.
Not rope mechanic robots with no free will. 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. 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. We read about it online, watch it on television, and hear about it on the radio. Our world is filled with violence and fear. Whether it's threats of terrorism around the world or senseless violence in our own backyard, our world is clearly broken and in need of hope. That's why this month, Cross the Bridge Ministries is offering Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism. This special presentation from David Magee was filmed on the anniversary of 9-11 and is a message of hope and victory. This insightful teaching also exposes the truth about Islam's dangerous past while rejoicing in God's plan for our future. The product Know Your Future, Be Immune to Terrorism is our gift to you for a donation of any amount to Cross the Bridge Ministries. Because of your generous donations, Cross the Bridge continues to share the hope of Christ with a world that is struggling with fear. Call today to receive your copy of Know Your Future by dialing 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or visit us online at crossthebridge.com. One of the most important parts of growing in Christ is being in fellowship at a local church.
But what happens on those times you're sick or traveling? Simply log on to crossthebridge.com and click the live stream button. And you'll instantly be streaming from David Magee's home church, The Bridge. Catch every life lesson and scripture reference as you take part in hearing the Word of God from anywhere in the world. Pastor David Magee teaches live online Sunday mornings at 9 and 11-15.
Watch this week at crossthebridge.com. Cross the Bridge with David Magee is a ministry dedicated to sharing the whole Bible with the whole world. If you've been blessed by Cross the Bridge, consider financially supporting this ministry. Your gift will be used to reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, while also supplying resources to new believers. To give, simply call 877-458-5508. Or visit us online at crossthebridge.com and click on the donate button. Once there, you can choose to give a one-time gift or become a Bridge Builder monthly supporter. Also, while visiting crossthebridge.com, make sure to sign up for Pastor David's free email devotional, as well as browse through our many online resources. Thanks for listening to Cross the Bridge with David Magee. Join us again next time and invite your family and friends to listen, as together we cross the bridge.
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