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March 14, 2019 2:00 am
Not long ago I read about a fast-growing profession's Jewish critics mental. I don't mean critical people in the church.
I don't mean that all is I'm in a profession paid profession just like there's a a book critic in the restaurant critic in the movie critic.
Now there is a church trick as a profession. The very first paid church critic in the United States was a man by the name of the Rev. George XO. In fact, his reviews would be broadcast to some radio stations in Pittsburgh and several other cities he rates the church or churches up to five stars just like hotels. I guess five-star churches now of course I was curious once I start reading as I got to find out who gets five stars on me. This is really important to me. By the way, the preaching of the gospel truth is not on the list of the writings is not, neither is a necessity of salvation through Christ alone. It was not on the list but churches that get five stars are churches that are innovative, flexible, and friendly and all the very highest on the list.
Most important, the church rating system is reserved for churches that fill social and emotional needs. Now while this is really a novelist idea for the 21st century. But it's it's as old as the Bible from the very beginning of time that people who wanted a God suits them. There wanted a God who matches their preconceived ideas of him. They want a God who likes what they like and believes what they believe they wanted a God who operates on the basis of their feelings and functions like a bellhop and that is why most surveys show around United States of America. 90% of people believe in God. 90% but then when you start digging deeper, you will find a number really goes down considerably. If you begin to ask questions such as the is this the God of the Bible.
Is this the God whose ways are not our ways. Is this the God whose thoughts are not our thoughts is the God who created the universe and created us as this, the God who is absolute sovereign over the world over. The universe is that the God who loved humanity so much that he sent his son from heaven to come and die for our sins and one day is going to be sitting on the judge's bench and is going to judge every single human being on the face of your numbers change considerably. I don't want to depress you and tell you how much a friend of mine told me the story about a church or a ghost stay churches that are very traditional in and nothing changed in 60 years and then a young evangelical pastor came in and he began to preach the word of God and and then one of those. All Thomas came up to him and he said to him, and I'm going to court hearing, said Rev. if God were alive today he would be shocked that the changes that you're making in this church.
But before you blame this guy in reality is. This is the attitude of so many professing Christians. They are like the little boy who was drawing a picture in his father sent him and said what are you doing son Salama drawing a picture of God, is it son.
Nobody knows what God look like God is spirit.
How can you say that he said well there were none few minutes, my beloved friends.
This is the attitude of the people to whom the apostle Paul is writing but I want to tell you that the very last verse of chapter 9. The very last verse, verse 33 CR lay in Zion a stone that causes mental stumbled a rock that makes them fall, but the one who trusts in him will never be partitioned. This is the very core of the Christian faith. This is a very hard, of the gospel of Jesus Christ and this is a very foundational stone of the entire chapter.
Romans chapter 9, now in the last message we ended up on a very high note in Romans chapter 8. Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. And then he begins to think his fellow Jews. This kinsman be rejecting the Messiah, their Messiah, and he begins to be climbing down the mountain with a very heavy heart.
In reality, the more Paul thought about them and their rejection of the Messiah and the fact that there will be judge for eternity. The more he thought about it the more he got depressed. I know some of you will identify with what I'm going to say listen carefully.
Here's a godly person who comes to the Lord and is so excited about his or her salvation and is so excited about the forgiveness of their sins, and that they attend or save the new on the way to heaven. And then I begin to think they have a father or mother or brother or sister a dear friend son or daughter who have rejected Jesus think about this with me. I know some of you are there.
I know you some of you are here and that point you have deep love for them dear. Once in your field. Deep longing in your heart for them to repent and turn to the Lord and be eternally saved. So you would say hello do anything.
I'll give anything for them to come to know the Lord and experience the joy of salvation and your bewildered your your perplexity with your you are earnestly praying and you are looking for every opportunity for them to respond to the gospel even try to bring them to church to hear the gospel message and hear the apostle Paul goes to the very extreme is not saying I do anything I give anything and I know he's going even further.
This is an extreme beloved, listen to me this is an extreme. Just think about this. Think of how salvation means for the apostle Paul means everything to, and yet is said even my salvation from eternal hell. Which means everything to me.
I'm willing to give it up and suffer in torment of hell for eternity if that would help my fellow Jews come to their Messiah.
Think about that that my beloved true love is very deep, deep longing.
This is not sacrificing few dollars.
A few hours this is willingness to sacrifice attended my new Paul knows that this is not even a possibility. He knows that I mean he understands that. But at least he expresses this deep anguish over their rejection of their Messiah and yet today we are false preachers who are saying Jews don't have to believe in Jesus to be saved. The old covenant is fine. They must know something that the great apostle Paul did not know they know something that all the great messianic friends that I have do not know who are is longing in their hearts for their fellow Jews to come to know the Messiah as Paul was. But what makes things worse for Paul is that so many of these Jewish leaders in Rome, particularly those heads of the synagogue. Those little people in leadership and in the Jewish community that will falsely accusing him of disloyalty, of being a traitor to Judaism there falsely accusing him of that. And Paul is saying, far from being a traitor, willing even to suffer eternal hell itself if that would help see them come to the truth as it is only in Jesus. I wanted to measure that anguish. In particular, verses 1 to 5 of chapter 9 wanted to imagine it this way, here's a godly couple who brought up the child to know the Lord instructed their child in order God they trained the child the way of righteousness, the daily pride for their child.
But then the child as soon as he reaches adulthood rejects Jesus. I wanted to imagine the pain and agony. I don't have to imagine it because I know the heartache on the part of the parents I want you to imagine now in the midst of that agony in the midst of their grief in the midst of their sorrow. They would cry out. There's nothing we wouldn't do is nothing we wouldn't give for our child to come back to the Lord. But then they meet some of Job's comforters. You know what I mean by Job's comforters.
They comforters godly couple, or heartbroken. You know what the problem is broader just not fair. You know what the problem is, God doesn't care know the problem is that is not to answer your prayer.
Here's where Paul dedicates the rest of chapter 9.
This is from 6 to 33. He dedicate the rest of this chapter and answering Job's comforters. His critics this professional church critics. Those who accuse God of not being fair and not being just and I have four things for things. First of all the promises of the sovereign God will never, never, can you say never never fail. This is verses 6 to 13. Secondly, the character of the sovereign God is that he is more than fair and just verses 14 to 18. Certainly the sovereign God is not answerable to us. Verses 19 to 29 when the company each one of those falsely the sovereign God had Jesus in mind all along since before creation.
He had Jesus in mind, let us look at this for very quickly. First of all the promises of God. The promises of the sovereign God. There will never fail. There will never fail to be sure the people of Israel were favored by God. Make no mistake about it. In fact, enumerate soup in verses four and five. He shows those favors. Seven of them altogether if you're counting that the physical descendents of Abraham there adopted by God entered into a covenant with God. They received the law that they had a temple to worship in. There were given promises of the Messiah and there had the patriarchs from whom Jesus physically descended amazing privileges just like the privileges of a child of a covenant in the Christian church who grow up to know Jesus, to hear about Jesus, to be instructed by Jesus to know the righteousness of God and to know the word of God is a privileges that some people throw away. How can a child of privilege become a child of prejudice.
How can a child blessing can be a child of blasphemy. Paul said it is not because God has failed to keep his promises no, and the million. The hose then what verse six, for not all who the descendent of Israel are true Israel know Mrs. Mrs. a lot of people do. Here's what Paul is saying that it is from the beginning. There's always been to Israel, how many to Israel's, and then he goes on to explain what he was talking about illustrates it.
One is the physical descendents of Israel and those that believe by faith. Just like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did. What's Paul saying you saying all of God's promises were not for the nominal Israel but for the spiritual Israel. Just as salvation is not for the nominal Christians, but for the believing Christians. God's promises have always been and always will be.
For the faithful remnant within Israel. Do you remember back all the way back to chapter 228 when I was expounding on that chapter. Paul is distinguishing between those who are physically circumcised and those who spiritually circumcise not outwardly but inwardly in their heart. He met that distinction early early early in the epistle to the Romans and then here he comes and says I want to prove that to you. I'm going to prove my point distinguishing between the nominal Jews and the faithful, believing Jews and there are two separate people because those who believe like Abraham are the true descendents of Abraham and then he illustrates his restriction from the Scripture from the Old Testament. He says Abraham had two sons right Isaac and Ishmael, although he had more kids from Qatar, whom he married after Sarah died because of the two who are the Scripture focuses on Isaac is the spiritual heir, not Ishmael nourishment Isaac Isaac why because Isaac was a son of promise the same thing happened to Isaac himself here to sense Jacob and Esau. Both were his children. Both were as bad as each other. Both were born within minutes of each other.
Both had the same father in the same mother, but Jacob was the spiritual heir and not a soul. There's something here in verse 13 and if you have about life on the line in verse 13 because it requires an explanation. A lot of people stumble over this word hate did you get that word hate versus I love Jacob but I hated the show on explained it is very important, very important.
In reality there is no English equivalents to that word that is in the original and the Hebrew speech.
It's called hyperbole. Hyperbole is like when Jesus said, listen carefully to what Jesus said in Luke 1426 unless you hate your father and mother you're not worthy of millions or wait a minute backup. This is the God of love who went to the cross out of love is not talking about hate chillout because I will explain to okay the best way I can translate it for you. The best way I'd explain it to you is that he saying you must place your salvation ahead of your loved ones ahead of everything in life. If you really want to receive my salvation. It has to be your number one passion is the number one desire is the number one longing in your heart. It has to be that use priority over and above all relationship salvation has to be an overriding passion of yours.
That's what you say he doesn't mean it doesn't really mean that all we have to hate your father or mother. How can you do that we should honor your father, Esau and Jacob had the same parents. Yes, but in his foreknowledge. God knew that Esau is going to disrespect and dishonor and hardening of his heart he is disrespecting this honoring his birthright and he doesn't take it seriously infected cells without on eBay for a bowl of soup in the same way, the promise of God to Israel didn't say the promise of God to Israel never failed yet understand. It was a promise for those spiritualists are why because all along God's promises were intended for the faithful remnant within Israel. Those who are truly the descendents of Abraham, of those who have the faith of Abraham, not necessarily the race of Abraham, the promise of the sovereign God will never fail secular. The character of the sovereign God is more than fair. He is more than just 14 and all the way to 18 now that we understand God's promises never fail, but rather they are fulfilled they are fulfilled in the spiritual descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then why these Jewish leaders of falsely accusing the apostle Paul of being a traitor to Judaism. Listen carefully the objections that they have in the objections that are raising that Paul is answering here in this chapter is. Is it fair of God to choose Isaac over Ishmael.
I hear the same argument today. Is it fair on God's part to choose Jacob over Esau, Paul says you're asking the wrong question you're asking the wrong question. The question is not whether God is fair. The question is does God have mercy at all.
Verse 15 the sovereign God says I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. The question of the critics is ill-conceived question when it comes to God. Salvation. Forget about man's logic, God operates on his own set of logic because if God exercises justice. None of us will make it. None of us we are up the creek without a paddle. If God exercises justice with me. I'm up to my eyeballs in alligators and beloved confessed you of never prayed for justice for me operated for others and I got a list of people. Our got the socket to them. Praying for justice will be only foolish only a full price for justice and I can tell you my mama live and raise the food forget about. I am pleading for mercy, not justice as well.
Please record for most beloved God owes us nothing except judgment that barely hauled God that is preaching many a church today has no resemblance to Yahweh, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 17. It was when Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
God said hey I'll give you more of what you want, I'll harden it even further. Read about it in Genesis and that is why it is only through prayer and fasting that God will take a hard heart and softens it.
I've seen it. I've experience it. People that you would never have thought would come to Christ came to Christ because somebody prayed and fasted and never give up in prayer, my beloved, we must plead for God's mercy on behalf of the hardhearted. We must never cease to plead his mercy. We need to employ the God of grace, that he might have mercy on them. The promises of God. The promises of the sovereign God will never fail. Secondly, the character of the sovereign God is is very fair is just. Thirdly, the sovereign God is not answerable to us. Look at verses 19 to 29 he comes.
The next critic, the question of the next critic. If God is going to have mercy upon whom is going to have mercy. Why even try goodness very similar to that one witness. Why get attacked by my coworkers and for trying to live my Christian life and witness to them about Christ. Well, if he's going to do that just forget it right.
Have you heard that all I'm glad Paul answered that question not make it was left up to be out of misted up. But here in verses 19 to 29 he saying if you're asking God to respond to the fellatio demand that God is answerable to us then your compounding the problem is the use of translation Paul saying chillout for a minute and think of your pathetic knowledge of God and all in all this is our market with guys all these years of look to the Scripture every I feel like a little boy playing in the sand. I haven't even got my feet with you all. Why way way way beyond our ability to comprehend. In verses 20 to 21. Have you ever seen a piece of clay was manager among looking at the policies. Hey, I don't like that you're making a beautiful vase phrase excuse me, beloved, listen to me. In his graciousness, God allows us as his children to ask why and listen to me there is nothing wrong with asking why nothing wrong with that.
And that's nobody's talking about the problem arises when we demand that God gives us an answer. Demand that God be answerable to us as not know because we live in democratic culture and society, and I thank God for it, but because of that we feel that we elected officials to office and if they don't do what we asked them to do.
We can vote them out is a problem because many people in the church think and believe that they voted for God, they think they voted for God, there is going to hold them accountable and that is false teaching and that false teaching. I alluded to in the last message they actually say I voted for God, I chose God he did not chose me I am the one is up to me to walk with God.
A good news for you. It is up to me to walk God out of the loss long time ago we decided we chosen and with the center of the universe know you're not. God is God is God is the center of the universe payment given price level are heard with those of who those ears preachers who are trying to downsize God want to bring down the wallet size preachers want to hold you accountable way I think about it.
This is think about it from a human relationship.
Parents who have given everything done everything for their children. Only when their children reach adulthood they have no gratitude, no thankfulness, or an employer who gives a job to an employee who desperately needed it, and then that employee turns his back and betrays his employer.
Think about this how devastating it is from a human relationship point of view. How much more from God's point of view. Think how dreadful this is for disrespect and disappoint the loving God we take all of the common graces from his hand. We take all of the blessings from his hands. We take all of the unseen and untold mercies from his hands and then we have the temerity when things go wrong, or some flip screen in our life and give matter. God that please don't misunderstand me. Paul is not talking about a sincere believer who occasionally feels perplexed by his situation to her situation feels perplexed about the circumstances under coming to the Lord is Lord do something is nobody's talking about is talking about those who have no respect for God whatsoever, and treat him like a bellhop beloved Paul is saying that we must let God be God and if he is indeed the sovereign God, he will always make sure perfect sense to himself and we will understand it one day if not in this life will be for a determinative, but we will understand it one day there for those of us would get angry with God. Sometimes because of sin, dreadful sinners already told you I do that, but I won't tell you if Paul has a word for us here. He saying be very patient be very patient for God's judgment of sin and sinners is on its way and is going to be absolutely spectacular. And because of this judgment is going to be so severe. You don't want to be anywhere near the people going to be judged because God is he who is he does what he does when he does it and how he doesn't here in this passage in Romans chapter 9 Paul is quoting from the Old Testament, which is Paul's Bible at the time saying the Gentiles will come to God through faith in their will become his people, but is all just like John said in John chapter 1 is all received him not.
There will not be his people on the dreadful day, far, far, far, far from being a traitor to Judaism.
Paul is only proclaiming what the Old Testament prophets have prophesied about the Messiah, the fact he did not want to accept it is not God's problem. It's a problem is indeed longing for them. Hardening of their hearts and come to Christ this into a Jesus himself said Matthew 811 is what Jesus said, I say to you that many will come from the East and the West that is always reference to Gentiles East and witness how far away, many will come from the East and the West and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the subject of the kingdom that the Jewish people.
The covenant people.
There will be thrown outside in their spiritual blindness under self-centeredness and self-righteousness will become angry at the fact that heaven's entrance is only possible through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The promises of the sovereign God will never fail the character of the sovereign God is more than fair and just. The sovereign God is not answerable to us. Finally, the God the father had God the son in mind all the way.
Even before the creation, but certainly we see the beginning of it.
In Genesis 315. He had Jesus in mind all the time. They just can see it didn't want to see it in others. Last four versus 3031 3233 see them in the Bible really give your word picture that describes those verses to men standing at the bottom of Stone Mountain, Georgia, one.
Text the cable car and goes all the way to the top of the rock and there. He's resting relaxing and basking in the sunshine, the other one is down there at the bottom of that rock trying to climb up with his fingernails.
This is a word picture of what Pakistan saying those four versus every person, whether Jew or a Gentile has to decide whether they will be hoisted up by the power of the Holy Spirit and rest completely on the rock of Zion the rock of ages. The Lord Jesus Christ or they want to spend their days trying to pick up the rock and then trying to climb that rock with her fingernails. You can only imagine the results.
The consequences if you decide that you will do it your way and tried to climb the rock with your fingernails are plead with you are plead with you, it is not broken is because I don't want anyone to suffer for eternity, not at the sound of my voice anyway, that's what I'm responsible for are plead with you, don't climb on your fingernails will be crushed by the rock, and the cable car. The Holy Spirit of God. Let him lift you up?
And take you to the Lord Jesus the rock of ages and they're gonna find peace, joy, and above all eternal life with Jesus wanted to leave this as I conclude something of given a lot of thought to through the years.
I really have many, many years. Why do people some people at least stumble over Jesus the rock of ages whether the stumble over him. I came to final conclusions through the years. They want to climb the mountain with her fingernails. These fingernails of personal pride Weatherby pride of ethnic heritage or pride of this religious heritage or proprietor of theological heritage of this fingernails of pride, of self-importance, I can do it, but my beloved friends until you put aside your pride and allow God's cable car, the Holy Spirit just lift you up. Judgment will overshadow you, but only in this life, but forever I'm going to ask well every head is brown every eyes closed. If there be a person here today to say Michael, I do want the cable car. I want to.
I'm tired of climbing on the fingernails. I know I'm not good enough for God, but God is inviting me today and I will accept that invitation.
Would you just raise your hand up nominal pray for you and will pray with you.
Yes I can see I can see the hands yes thank you thank you anybody else and upright with you and for you father God if you are not who you are and we believe every word you've spoken. We had just come here and wasted our time. But Lord, we have seen it in our own lives and reseal it in history again and again how you responded to the simplest of prayers and all of you lifted your heart, you can say those words with me, Jesus save me, forgive me, I repent.
I turn to you come into my life that your Holy Spirit dwelling and so father, I thank you for these individuals and maybe others are watching around the world you the search of the heart. You know the secrets of our hearts. We trust you completely send your Holy Spirit help us as a team here that would come out around them and that we would help them and encourage them as they walk with you father for all my brothers and sisters whose faith weakens times when they see things that doesn't make sense. I'll pray for your strength for your power particular as the day gets darker.
Lord I pray give us your strength.
So we keep on trusting you no matter what happens, no matter what goes on, no matter who says what do we know you're a sovereign God and soon you're coming back and gonna rain and rule and regenerating a room with you. Lift up our eyes elevate our vision for Jesus sake. Amen and amen and amen. Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way. If you'd like to know more about us, please visit LTW.org that LTW.Ward