And Jesus in this passage in Revelation says, I want to give you a white stone, but here's the drill. If you want it through legalism and your own goodness, this is the stone you get, a black stone. If you're accepting of the grace of God and the goodness of God and you understand you haven't earned salvation, there's nothing you can do to earn your way into heaven, you'll ask for the white stone and receive it. But how many people in this world are walking around with a black stone going, now I got to rock?
You got the wrong one. Welcome to Cross the Bridge with David McGee. A common misconception of Christians is that it's our goodness that gets us to heaven. The truth is it's not our goodness, but God's. Find out more about this incredible concept today as David McGee continues in Romans 11 from his teaching, Are You Contagious?
Here's Pastor David. We're in Romans chapter 11 verse 12, but let's back up for context sake to verse 11. Paul is writing and he says, I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall?
He's talking about Israel. Certainly not, but through their fall to provoke them the jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall as riches for the world and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? For I speak to you Gentiles and as much as I am apostle to the Gentiles, I've magnified my ministry. If by any means I may provoke the jealousy, those who are my flesh and save some of them.
For if they're being cast away as the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. The first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy.
What in the world is he talking about? The lump is also holy. Firstfruits number 15 talks about this concept of firstfruits. And basically it is that of your increase, whatever you're blessed with, and of course in the Hebrew scriptures is mainly an agricultural society. So whatever first fruits you had, if it was wheat or fruit or whatever increase, or maybe you were a trader or shipper and you had more olive oil or olives or whatever, what you did to recognize that God had blessed you, you took out the firstfruits of that and you gave it to the Lord. It's where we get the concept for the tithe. The tithe is Hebrew for tenth. One tenth of your increase that year you would take to the temple.
And also what people would do is they wouldn't even harvest the rest of it. They wouldn't taste one bit of it until they'd taken the firstfruits and taken it to the priest and say it here. That's where we get the concept, New Testament speaking, for the tithe. And some people go, well the tithe is not a New Testament concept. It is so a New Testament concept. When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees he said you tithe anise, cumin, and cinnamon and so you should, but don't forget the other things. In other words, what he was saying is don't just tithe. But you understand biblically we're all supposed to be tithing? Well that's just legalistic.
No, no, no. The tithe was established in Genesis chapter 14, way before even the giving of the law. So that's what he's speaking of here, this first fruit. And we help people here because some people come and go, well, you know, I've been trying to tithe but, you know, when I pay all my bills and I do all this and I buy groceries and I do all this and do all that and do all this and go, you know, give a bunch of money to Blockbuster, I just don't have any money left for God.
It's called firstfruits, not lastfruits. The Bible doesn't say give God what's left. It says give God what's right. Let me, I'll go ahead and tell you what I know, okay? So we can, because it gets, anytime you start talking about this, you know, and I'll go ahead and tell you, watch your body language right now. Get some of you going. See, because people are in a couple of camps. There's people who are tithing. There's people who are giving.
There's people that are doing nothing in here right now listening. And I've been all three. I'm in the tithing camp now, okay?
Just to be clear. And let me go ahead and tell you this too. After the service, don't walk around and go, okay, another pastor talking about money. Can't believe pastor talking about money. You do that, everybody's going to know that you're not giving a cent to the work of God. Because if you are, you're walking, praise God, that's a good word, man.
You know, I'm good. Praise, praise Alleluia. Luke chapter six, verse 38. Jesus says, if you give, you will receive. Your gifts will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more and running over. And whatever measure you use in giving, large or small, be used to measure what is given back to you. In other words, if you want to, if you want God to bless you, a thimble, then give a thimble.
If you want a bucket full of blessing, then give a bucket full. That's the reality. That's what the Lord is saying. Now, it doesn't just apply to finances.
It applies to a lot of other things. But second Corinthians nine six says this, but this, I say he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity for God loves a cheerful giver. See his followers of Jesus, we should get a kick out of giving, get a joy out of giving. And I know that many of you do. There's people in this church that they give way beyond 10%.
And I know that God is blessing them. But there's a joy in giving. You're wired to give. Every Christmas, you're reminded that, right? When you give a gift and somebody opens it, let me ask you, do you get a kick out of that? I get a kick out of that.
Why? Because that's the way you're wired. And it doesn't matter what you do. You do what you say.
You're going to be continually wired like that. So the life lesson off of here, we should give financially to God's work. That is a financial biblical principle when it talks about first fruits.
And we need to understand that, especially in this day and age where there are kind of tough economic times. And I think one of the worst things people can do is they, well, we can't afford the tithe. You can't afford not to tithe. If it's a biblical principle and God says, I will rebuke the devourer as he does say, if you do this, then we need God's protection on our house and on our finances.
Malachi 3, verses 10 and 11, say this. It says, bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in my house and try me now in this as the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I, this is God speaking, I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field. God says, if you do this, if you tithe, I will rebuke the devourer.
So if you don't tithe, what does that mean? God will not rebuke the devourer. And God says, test me in this. God says, test me in this. This is the only area of scripture God says, test me, test me in this. Some of you are wondering why the windows of heaven aren't open to you. That's the passage.
I'm not beating you up. I'm speaking to you in love. I didn't understand this concept. Didn't apply it for years, but when I did, and as it says, if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy.
What's that mean? That means when you give financially to God, that somehow the remainder that you get to keep is somehow consecrated to God, somehow set apart. And it seems like God gives you more wisdom concerning that 90% than before. Speaking of that, also, if you were given bread, if you gave 10% of the bread of the dough, then speaking of bread, not dough money, but if you gave 10% of the bread, I'll use bread because dough is confusing, of the bread, then the rest of the bread was consecrated to God. And what he's saying here in the application of this lineage of Israel is Abraham was the first fruits. Therefore, the rest of the remnant is called under that covenant. We talked about covenant a few weeks ago. David was the head of a covenant, was the first fruits, if you will. Every king after him, God said, well, I'm going to honor my covenant with David.
Why? Because the rest of it was holy because the first fruits was holy. Verse 17. And if some of the branches were broken off and you'd be in a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them and were with them, became a partaker of the root and the fatness of the olive tree, verse 18, do not boast against the branches.
But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. Now let's be careful in this passage of taking Paul's analogy too far in the sense of, because some people look at this passage and they apply some of the concepts of the security of God's grace. And I think you need to be really careful with that because the context is he's speaking of Israel and we're talking about grafted in. What that is, is when you take part of another tree and you actually stick it down into another part of a tree and you get, it's called hybrid vigor.
In other words, because of the mix, it does better and you're able to get the benefits of both parts. So that's grafted in. So this is the picture of what Paul's talking about here, that Gentiles were grafted in. The Hebrew scriptures, two thirds of the Bible, prophesied Jewish Messiah, that we're able to be grafted into the blessings of Abraham.
Okay. Galatians chapter three, verse 28 says, there's no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female for you are all Christians. You are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham.
You are his heirs. And now all the promises of God gave to him belong to you. And I, you know, I've studied a lot and then studied the Jewish roots of Christianity. And to be honest, I mean, I really started digging and started this government.
I felt ripped off. I've been a Christian for years and years. I've been attending church for years and years. And I thought, why didn't, why didn't anyone tell me what this has to do? Because I thought, well, that's Old Testament. That doesn't have to do with me. That has to do with Israel. That doesn't have anything to do with me.
And then you look at a verse like this, it says, we're children of Abraham. We're heirs of these promises. I don't know about you, but what if, I mean, if you got a letter tomorrow in the mail and it said, oh, just want to let you know that you're an heir or an heiress, would you be a little bit curious about what you were inheriting? Oh, probably not. You probably wouldn't even answer that letter, would you? No, if you got a letter, man, I would be like, oh, do I call? Where do I go?
What do I do? I want to find out. Well gang, you are heir and heiresses. Aren't you curious about what these blessings are?
These blessings that flow through Abraham, through David, through Jesus Christ. We're called children of Abraham. How can we be called children of Abraham and be antisemitic? Gang, look, here's what I know.
You know what? I was, I was antisemitic. I was raised in the church. The Jews killed Jesus.
You shouldn't like them. I was raised, in the name of Jesus, I was raised like that. I've recanted all that. When I get into a serious conversation with a Jewish person, I apologize to them.
And here's what I know. Some of you right now are struggling with this teaching. Why do you keep talking about Israel? Why do you keep talking about the Jewish people? I made a commitment to go verse by verse through this book with you guys, and not to skip the difficult parts. There will probably be people here today that go, you know what?
I don't even want to hear any more about the Jewish people. I think I'll just go somewhere else. You're walking away from the truth of the Bible. And if you choose to do that, well, I don't know what to say to that.
I mean, because that's a, that's a heavy thing to say. Well, I want my own opinion more than I want the word of God. Guys, if we're children of Abraham, you can't be antisemitic. You can't dislike or hate the Jews. And if you have one shred of that in you, you need to repent and ask God to forgive you. And you need to do it today.
You need to do it today. Everything that we have is rooted in, in Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, going back, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, it all flows through that. This grafted in, there's a, there's a symbol that, that shows, uh, some of the, it has the menorah, has the star of David, and has the fish of Christianity.
All three of them. I was wearing that and I was at a doctor's office and he was looking at my, he was looking at that and he goes, well, you pretty much got it all covered, don't you? He was Jewish. And I said, let me explain.
And he was like, when I explained it to him, he was like, really? I've never heard this. I've never heard this. Do you think as we describe Romans 11 to Jewish people, they might become a little more curious about Christianity and Jesus and Yeshua? I think they will.
I think they do. Do not boast. I don't think Paul in his wildest imagination could have foreseen the arrogance and the pride of the Christian church against the Jewish people. I don't think in his wildest imagination he could have foreseen that. Obviously the Holy Spirit was landed on his heart and that's why he wrote these things, but it's an amazing passage. The root of David supports you.
We would do well to remember that. We'll return to David's teaching in just a moment. First, I want to tell you about a special booklet that would be the perfect gift for any man on your Christmas list this year. The booklet is entitled, A Father's Blessing. It's a special book that will be titled, A Father's Blessing. Within its pages, David McGee discusses the power and responsibility a father has in caring for his family.
This booklet can help men who have had poor relationships with their own fathers, as well as bless those who are just beginning their adventure into fatherhood. When you call today with a gift of any amount to cross the bridge, we'll send you A Father's Blessing as a thank you for your support of the ministry. Call today at 877-458-5508. That's 877-458-5508 or go online to crossthebridge.com. Experience the joy of biblical fatherhood with David McGee's A Father's Blessing.
Contact us today for your copy. Friend, do you have a heart for the lost? I invite you to send us the first names of your lost loved ones and we will have hundreds of people praying for them. Just go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and you'll enter their name and if you put your name and email address in there, I'll send you free resources to equip you to pray and teach you how to reach your lost loved ones.
Please don't wait. This is so important. So please again, go to crossthebridge.com and click on the prayer button and send us the first names of lost loved ones. We'll send you some free information and together we can partner to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world, the whole book for the whole world. Now let's return to David McGee's verse-by-verse teaching in the book of Romans. Look at verse 19. You will say then, branches were broken off that I might be grafted in. Well said, verse 20, because of unbelief they were broken off and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty but fear.
Again, I want you to notice the phrases. It says broken off, doesn't say cut down. And have we been grafted in because of our goodness or wisdom or spirituality?
No. How is it that we've been grafted in? Through God's grace. And here's something interesting. And I've read this. I've read this passage dozens and dozens and dozens of times.
And just the other day I saw something. Look at verse 20. Well said because of unbelief they were broken off. Unbelief. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in God? No, Jewish people believe in God. Unbelief in the word of God? No, they believe in the word of God.
In the Hebrew scriptures. Unbelief in what? Unbelief in Jesus. But I think it's with that, why reject Jesus? Because they are clinging to salvation by works. And not accepting salvation by grace. Now what, friend, does this have to do with you and I?
A lot, doesn't it? There are people all over this country, churches meeting all over the place today that think that through their religious works and because of their good people that they're getting to go to heaven. The Bible says no, absolutely not. Their unbelief in the grace of God that Jesus came to offer us. Guys, if we could be saved by going to church or obeying the Ten Commandments or doing this or doing that, do you understand Jesus would not have come? Because he would have said, well, you know, hey, there's a little group in Kernersville meeting. A lot of them are getting it right and they're doing it in and of themselves and they'll be able to get into heaven and I'll just, you know, I'll just skip that whole going to earth being crucified thing.
That's not what happened, is it? Jesus looked and said, well, there's no other way. There is absolutely no other way. So I'm going to go.
I'm going to die for them. How can we be arrogant against the Jewish people? 1 Corinthians 4 says, what makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you've accomplished something on your own?
But how often we do this? Not just towards the Jewish people, towards people in general. When you ask somebody if they went to church this weekend, they say, no, what's your attitude towards them? Well, I'm going to say, what's your attitude towards them?
When you see somebody that's obviously not a believer, what's your attitude towards them? Is it love? Is it compassion?
Is it man you're missing out? See, because people are separated from God. They're separated from God on this planet and that will lead to being eternally separated from God. And that grieves me, that drives me. I am willing to be inconvenienced, to pour myself out, to travel, to do whatever so that people can talk about this.
And not so I can hold up a picket sign and point and laugh. You know what? If you can talk about hell and you can talk about people being eternally separated from God without a tear in your eye, there is something wrong with you. Now understand gang, I'm not saying y'all have religious pride. Let's understand, every one of us can pick up religious pride. I've done it.
I'm tempted. Every time somebody asks me what I do for a living, I'm tempted to take religious pride. What do you do for? I'm a pastor. You know?
And if they knew me from before, like high school, college, junior high, I don't have a chance to get proud because they're laughing too hard when I tell them what I do. What do we have that we've not been given? Nothing.
Nothing. And so we have to trust in the goodness of God and not in our own goodness. Verse 21 says, for if God did not spare the natural branches, he may not spare you either.
If you trust in your works, you're in trouble. Verse 22, therefore consider the goodness and the severity of God on those who fell severity, but towards you goodness. And if you continue in his goodness, otherwise you will also be cut off. He's not saying you can just lose being forgiven.
I think that's going too far with the analogy. What he's saying is if you're trusting in your own works, you're going to receive judgment. You're going to receive judgment. If you're trusting in God's grace and his goodness, then you'll receive your forgiveness. Whose goodness are you trusting in today? Are you trusting in yours? Are you trusting in God's? It's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. 23, and they also, they do not continue in unbelief will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24, for if you were cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? So in other words, the Jewish people, they are expecting a Messiah to come. They're already looking for a Messiah.
They're already believed two thirds of this book. So for them to accept Jesus as a Messiah is actually a smaller step, if you will, than our step going from, I was a Gentile heathen dog before I came to the Lord. So that was a big step to start thinking about God and start, stop thinking about myself and believe the truths of the scripture. It was a big step, but here's the thing.
And I, and I shared a little bit about this. There's a, there's a verse and kind of Lord laid this on my heart to share revelation chapter two, verse seven, interesting verse. It says he who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches, to him who overcomes, I will give him some of the hidden manna to eat and I will give him a white stone and on the stone, a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it. A white stone.
I read this passage a lot and early on, I thought, what in the world is he talking about? Give me a white stone. Why do I want a white stone? I mean, if I want a stone, yeah, I'd be like my wife. I want a diamond or something, you know, I mean, just a white rock, you know, I give me a white, I get a diamond, give it to my wife.
So what do I need a white stone for? Well, in studying, what I found is at the time of Jesus, when they were voting on somebody's innocent or guilt, each of them would have a white stone and a black stone and they would go around the table and they would take a cup or a hat or something and each person would vote on the innocence or the guilt of the person. If they felt they were innocent, they would give them a white stone. If they felt they were guilty, they would give them the black stone. That's where we get the concept.
Some organizations still do it. That's where we get the black ball. You're a black ball, unacceptable. And Jesus in this passage in Revelation says, I want to give you a white stone, but here's the drill. If you want it through legalism and your own goodness, this is the stone you get, a black stone. If you're accepting of the grace of God and the goodness of God and you understand you haven't earned salvation, there's nothing you can do to earn your way into heaven, you'll ask for the white stone and receive it. But how many people in this world are walking around with a black stone going, now I got to rock. You got the wrong one. And let me ask you another question.
Which stone are you trying to give other people? Are you offering the grace and the goodness of God saying you can be forgiven? Are you saying, Hey, I want you to be miserable too. And I want you to try to earn God's goodness through your works and have a sour face and yell at people and, and parade up and down the streets with signs filled with hate.
It's through God's grace. He says, this is what I want to declare you innocent. The thing that stands between you and being declared innocent stands between all.
Somewhat of pride of saying, no, no, no, I'm okay. I'm okay. I don't need to ask God to forgive me today. You do.
You do. Some of you may need to ask Him for the first time to forgive you. Some of you may be coming back to the Lord to the Lord. I want to pray for you right now. Lord, thank you for this word about your goodness.
Lord, it really is that simple. We can either choose your goodness by grace, or we can choose your judgment by works. Lord, we want to receive your grace today. Your grace and mercy.
Maybe as a fresh batch, maybe for the first time. Maybe there's something here that thought Christianity was hoping your good outweighs your bad. And Lord, the Bible says that if we broken the law in one place, we've broken in every place.
Our personal good can never outweigh our personal bad. But Lord, when you died on the cross, you took our place. You died for our sins on our behalf. And you offer us this divine transaction that just boggles the mind that we can be declared innocent. Lord, if we are willing to believe and receive, we become. As many as believe on you and receive you as the Son of God, become the children 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. 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 this was your first time praying that prayer with Pastor David, we would 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 Jesus. Also, if you have been blessed by the ministry of Cross the Bridge and David McGee, would you consider supporting us with a financial gift? This month, when you give to Cross the Bridge, we will send David's powerful booklet on biblical fatherhood entitled, A Father's Blessing. The number to call is 877-458-5508.
That's 877-458-5508. Or go online to crossthebridge.com. While you're there, make sure to sign up for David's email devotional and begin receiving daily inspiration in your inbox. That website again is crossthebridge.com. Thanks for listening today. We pray you will join us next time as we Cross the Bridge.
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