In Chronicles 7 14 says, If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray, I will forgive their sin and heal their land. God in His mercy and His grace, as we come to Him, has forgiven us.
Not because we deserve it, not because we've earned it. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. The amazing thing about God is that He doesn't owe us anything, and yet He continues to show us His love and amazing grace. Find out how this grace can transform your life as David McGee continues in Romans 9 with, By His grace, not by works. Here's David. So we're in Romans chapter 9, and we left off around verse 22.
So let's pick it up. Romans chapter 9 verse 22 reads, But what if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As He says also in Hosea, I will call them My people, who are not My people, and her beloved, who is not beloved. Verse 26, And it says, And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, You are not My people.
There they shall be called sons of the living God. These people He was writing to, speaking to, probably had an understanding of Hosea. And I would encourage you probably in the next week or two to read the book of Hosea. It's about 14 chapters.
It's not that long. Hosea was a prophet, and a very interesting thing happened. God came to him and said, I want you to marry a prostitute. It's a weird thing for God to say, but that's what God said to Hosea. I want you to go and marry a prostitute.
So Hosea goes and finds a prostitute and gets married, and she leaves the lifestyle. Gomer was her name. Female, Gomer. Because when you hear Gomer, you know, we got to get healed because we just always think of Gomer, Gomer, Gomer pile. He's going to kill me. He's going to kill me.
He's going to kill me dead. So it's not the young people are going, what is he talking about? He's talking about Gomer. A female named Gomer. And what happened, Hosea had a family with Gomer and I think three kids.
And then Gomer went back to the lifestyle. After they were married and had a family, she went back to being a prostitute. And Hosea is a prophet, a man of God, and yet being so compassionate, went looking for her.
And he looked and he looked and he looked. And then in a market, he found her, basically for sale. And he bought her and he returned her home. It's such an awesome story about the compassion and the love and the loyalty of God.
But it's also fairly convicting because, see, that was a picture that was given. If you read the book, the rest of the chapters are talking about how that was God's reward. God's relationship with Israel, how he had rescued them from prostitution and idolatry and all this stuff. And basically they had gone back and then he was looking for them to purchase them. Now we're all okay with that because we go, okay, well, you know, silly Israelites, they wander around.
No, no, no, no, no, no. Let's expand that a little bit. That's God's relationship with his people. The bride of Christ brought out of idolatry, brought out of prostitution.
And yet we tend to wander back into those things that held us before, don't we? And Jesus goes into the marketplace and purchases us. Let's look at verse 27. Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel, though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. So not every people group, not every person of any people group will be saved. Not every American will become a Christian. Not every European will become a Christian. Not every Jewish person will believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Is that God's fault?
No. God created each one of us with what's called free will. You have choices. Even today you could have chose not to come here. You could have made that choice. You chose to come here out of what?
Out of your free will. And maybe, you know, some of the young ones are like, well, not really. Parents made me come. And you ever heard that thing? You guys, he's talking to somebody, he's a strong believer, mature believer.
And they say, well, yeah. And they say, how did you become a strong believer? He said, well, when I was a young person, I had a drug problem.
He said, what do you mean? I mean, I'm asking how you became a mature believer. He said, I had a drug problem. My parents, every midweek service, they drug me to church. Every Sunday morning, they drug me to church.
And now, you know, because of that, now I'm a mature believer. Sometimes I talk, parents, I'm not sure they understand what they're saying to me or if it's registering what they're saying to me. Sometimes they'll say, you know, church is all right with us.
Music's a little loud, but my kids love it. So we come here because of them. Did you tell me just what you meant to tell me? But no, we're here because of choice, free will. Some people will choose to reject God and His love and His grace and His mercy. I don't understand that. But that's what they will choose.
They'll choose that daily. God, I don't want your mercy. God, I don't want your grace. God, I don't want your forgiveness. And day after day, month after month, year after year, that will go on until God, in their last on-breath, God will honor that request.
You don't want to fellowship with me? I'm not going to make you spend an eternity with me. See, heaven won't be heaven because of streets of gold or clouds or harps or whatever. Heaven will be heaven because God will be there and you will physically be in His presence.
You will physically see Him. So not every person, according to free will. In verse 28 and 29, for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before, unless the Lord of the Sabbath had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom and we would have been made like Gomorrah because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.
We sit there and we look at that and we go, oh, short work on the earth? We certainly have been here a long time and, well, how long is probably open to debate, but it's nothing with the Lord. Day is in a thousand years. And we are moving towards that moment in time where the curtain falls. When you're watching a play or a musical in New York City or something, you know, everybody knows when the play is over, when the playwright, the person who wrote the play, who created the play, walks on the stage. One day, our creator will walk on the stage and it's over. We need to understand that that moment, that time is coming and we don't know the day or the hour.
Some people have said they knew the day and the hour. I think it was 1988. I think this guy wrote a book, 88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming Back in 1988. If you're hanging in suspense, he didn't.
And then you have to respect the guy's tenacity because you know what he did? It didn't faze him a bit. He came out with a new book, 89 Reasons Jesus is Coming Back in 1989. We don't know when that date is, but that date is out there and that date is coming.
Short work. And then verse 29, saying unless God had left a seed, chosen a remnant, if you will, we would have become like Sodom and we would have been made like Gomorrah. It's interesting sometimes as believers, as Christians, you know, we read the Bible and we hold the world up to the Bible and say, well, the world's not doing right and this person's not doing right and they really need to do right and because they're doing wrong, I think God should go ahead and judge them. That's an interesting prayer, isn't it? I think sometimes our prayers tell a lot about us, don't they? Because a lot of times we're like, well, God, you know, forgive me for this, forgive me for that.
And, you know, I need your help with this and I need your help with that. And, you know, my neighbor, oh, he is such a pain. Lord, just go ahead and, you know what, go ahead and just smite him because he really deserves smiting. He's, you know, his animals are in my yard and just, you know, just go ahead and smite him, God. In Jesus' name, amen. Judgment for them, grace for us. I mean, that's a good question. Have you ever prayed that God would judge you and smite you and penalize you for the things you've done?
I know I haven't. I mean, God gives us some common sense not to pray certain things, right? Well, why do we want it for other people? Why do we desire it for other people? Because if we all had what we deserved, man, we'd be wiped out. Last week, you know, that little thing about if you had every moving violation from the last five years, what would life be like? See, we say, well, no, no, no, I don't want what I deserve.
I was just, that was just a saying. I don't think, you know, there was an officer here last week. I don't think anybody went up to him after the service and said, I've made you a list and I'd like you to arrest me for all of these things. The mercy of God. Billy Graham said something interesting. He said, if God does not judge America, then he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. Then he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. And we go, yeah, get him, get him. No, no, no.
But understand, let me help you. You're in America. So part of that is a commentary, if you will, on the church in America. Because when the Bible talks about people repenting, it starts with us, not them. Well, Lord, just help them, make them repent.
No, no, no. Judgment begins with the house of God. In Chronicles 7, 14 says, if my people who are called by my name, humble themselves and pray, I will forgive their sin and heal their land. And God in his mercy and his grace, as we come to him, has forgiven us. Not because we deserve it, not because we've earned it.
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Go to CrossTheBridge.com and sign up for our Evotional. You'll be glad you did. Now let's return to our study. Look at verse 30.
What shall we say then that Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained to righteousness even the righteousness of faith? You know, it's incredible because when you first read the Bible, and I've been reading the Bible a long time now. When you first read the Bible, some of the things that are in there, you go, I don't know why this isn't there. It has nothing to do with me. I remember reading about the Israelites wandering around the desert.
And I thought, well, silly Israelites. What's wrong with them? They can't get from here to there.
Can't make an eight-day journey. Takes them 40 years. You know, as I've grown in the Lord and continued to read the Bible, I see myself in every story as I've wandered around the desert.
Sometimes it seems like 40 years. So as we look at this and we go, well, you know, the Israelites, the stumbling block, the thing that really was holding them back was they were trying to be justified by works. They were trying to say, okay, we've done what's right. Therefore, God, you owe us forgiveness. Now we can sit there and go, oh, that's silly. But what does that mean to us personally?
I think we do the same thing. Here's what I mean by that. The day that we asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, I think there's a, we recognize I don't really deserve to be forgiven. And but I'm going to ask, and hopefully he's going to do it.
He's going to hold to his word. And and to be honest, when the first time I prayed that prayer, I had done a lot of stuff. First time I prayed that prayer, Jesus, please forgive me. I really thought God was going to say, no, no way. You've done too much too long.
Not going to do it. So I knew I didn't deserve to be forgiven. But it's amazing what happened after that is I began to follow the Lord and try to do what's right.
And then I began to sense that I was really kind of earning God's favor as time went along. And graciously, as you stumble or as you fall, you remember that, you know what, I'm not owed this. I'm not owed this. There is something in us that's not owed to us. And something in us that thinks, that wants to deserve what we have. We don't deserve it. To think that we deserve a relationship with the Lord. We don't deserve it. To deserve his forgiveness.
We don't deserve it. Well, no, no, no. You know, I came to him now. I, you know, free will. I had to make my choice. Absolutely. Each one of us has to make our choice. But if it weren't for the wooing of God and him following us around and chasing us around and reminding us of his love and his forgiveness, would any of us ever made that decision? No.
I think sometimes it tells how we look at the world and how we look at other people. If we think we've earned it. The whole notion of you got to get cleaned up to come to church thing. Ask your unbelieving friend, hey, you want to go to church with me?
No, no, no, I can't. Why? And they'll give you a different reason. You know, there's, there's, the church is all about money. That's a frequent one. You know, I love to blow people's mind when they say that and say, well, come to our church because we don't pass an offering plate. You ever done that? You ought to do that.
It's great. They go, what? What do you mean you don't pass an offering plate? It's boxes in the back, but we don't pass a plate and make long tearful please.
I'm not saying people that pass the plate are wrong. I think in some ways it's probably good to remind people that we need to remember the Lord, but well, I got to get cleaned up to come to church. I got to, I got to, I got to get this in order before I can come to church. I got to get this straightened out in my life before I can go to be among you Christians.
How messed up is that? That they feel like they have to pass a performance test in order to come in here. That goes against the grace of God. I've joked before that, you know, I'd like just for one Sunday, put up a sign out there, you know, only perfect people allowed. Cause I'm curious about who will come.
I guarantee you some people will come. Hallelujah. Finally found my church. Praise God. Ain't going to let none of the riff raff in.
I've said it before. There's no such thing as the perfect church. And if there was such a thing as a perfect church, you couldn't join it because as soon as you joined it, you'd ruin it. Because you're not perfect.
I'm not perfect. And we, we get into this, we get into this, we get into this, and we, we get into this legalistic, well, you got to do that. Here's your, here's your list of do's and don'ts.
And if you do these do's and you don't do the don'ts, then you'll be okay. Acts 15, 10 says this. Now, therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Or the new living translation reads it like this. Why are you now questioning God's way by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? We believe that we are all saved the same way by the special favor of the Lord Jesus. None of us deserve forgiveness. God stands willing and ready to give us forgiveness, but we don't deserve it.
We haven't earned it. And occasionally God will take a life and remind us of that. And maybe that's part of what the Lord has done with my life is it because people I knew from the past are always really surprised that I'm a pastor.
Why? Because I wasn't, I wasn't a pastor before. That's why they're, so as we, as we look at that, we need to understand that God, his calling, his election are not based on our righteousness, but based upon his grace. Life lesson, we can only be saved by God's grace. We can only be saved by God's grace.
I know that we know that if you've, if you've been a Christian any length of time, you've heard that, but friend, as you follow the Lord, keep coming back to that because this grace issue is so important. Because if you began to have your relationship with the Lord based on your performance, it's going to be a rocky, rocky road. Because when you mess up, you'll be like, well, God, are you still there? God, do you still love me? And ultimately you'll act like Adam did.
With that type of relationship, you'll run in your, and you will hide. Well, God, I messed up, so I'm going to run and I'm going to hide. For years, I ran from what I called the big stick God. I thought as a, as a wanderer, as somebody that was messing up, that if I came back to the Lord, the first thing that was going to happen was God was going to whoop me. And how bizarre, because it was the world that was killing me. God wanted to welcome me back to his family.
I've shared this before, but I think it's been, well, at least since last week, but part of what happened with me as I was traveling around, I was a guitar player with rock bands and stuff, and there was a guy, a Christian brother, and he had watched me kind of wander off the path. And he did work done on some guitars. And he was the guy, great.
He has MS now, but he was an incredible guy, gifted with guitars. And so I went to see him and I thought, man, I'm going to go in here and he's going to yell at me. And you know, what are you doing with your life?
You know? And so I walked in there and kept waiting for him to point me out. Point and yell. He never did. And when we got finished, I was getting ready to leave. He looked at me and said, Hey, I want to say something.
Oh, here it comes. He said, I love you and I miss you. And I had to hurry out the door because tears started coming to my eyes as I realized what he was expressing to me at that moment was the heart of God. Not that he wanted to yell at me or beat me.
I was already being beaten. He loved me and he missed me. Friend, imagine a relationship with somebody that you love when you love somebody and, and, and they're not in a tight relationship with each other, that they miss one another. And as incredible as it sounds, God, when you, when you're not in a relationship with him misses you, there's a Psalm that talks about that. He sings over us. God sings over us. God misses us when we're, when we're not fellowshiping with him or when that fellowship, that relationship has been broken through wandering through sin, through grace, through grace alone, verse 31, but Israel pursuing the law of righteousness has not attained to the law of righteousness. So again, the Jewish people, they were struggling that God would do anything with the Gentiles.
Why? Because they didn't deserve it. And I think we can identify with that struggle. Sometimes God reaches somebody or touches somebody and we think, well, they don't deserve. Well, none of us deserve it. Common themes in this book are the pride of man and the grace 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. So congratulations, friend.
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