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The Chosen People - What about Israel? Part 1

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
October 18, 2023 9:00 am

The Chosen People - What about Israel? Part 1

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Now, we begin a study this morning that I've been excited about doing ever since we started Romans 1. Actually, I've been hurrying to get here.

I know nobody believes that. But I really have been anxious to get here to Romans chapter 9 where we're going to begin. Because Romans chapter 9, 10, and 11 are all about the same subject. They are all about the nation of Israel.

They're about its past, its present, and its future. And if we're to properly react to the nation of Israel, if we are properly to react to the Jewish people, if we're to react to them in such a way that we please God and that we bring the blessing of God upon ourselves, then we need to understand what God teaches us in the Word of God about His people. Now, you'll notice here I ask you to turn to Genesis chapter 12. And in Genesis chapter 12, there is a verse that is very significant. We're going to talk more about some of the other verses in a minute, but verse 3 says, And I will bless them that bless you, and I will curse him that curses you.

This is a promise, I believe, that's still in effect today. And for those of us who react properly to the people of God, to the Jewish people, and who bless them, God promises to bless us in return. To those who react incorrectly to them, God promises curse in return. And so therefore it is a very strategic thing for us to study the nation of Israel, the Jewish people, the plan of God for them, and how we as the church are to react to that in order that we might bring the blessing of God upon ourselves, both individually and corporately. The Jewish people, Israel, Judaism, in every age, in every culture where they've ever been, they've been an issue. Jewish people are an issue. They were an issue in Egypt when Pharaoh wouldn't let them go, remember? They were an issue in Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar found him unwilling to bow down to his image. They were an issue in Persia when Haman set out to exterminate him. They were an issue to the Roman Empire. They were a big issue to the Roman Empire. Finally, the only way the Roman Empire could deal with them is that they leveled the city of Jerusalem, covered it with salt, changed its name, deported every Jew from the city, and made it a capital offense punishable by death for any Jew to return and step foot in Jerusalem. It was 132 AD. They destroyed the temple in 70 AD.

They destroyed Masada in 73 AD, and on and on it went. They were an issue. They were an issue in the early church.

You can read the book of Acts and you'll see it. They were an issue in the Middle Ages. The Inquisition and many other things were reactions to the Jewish people being in town.

They were an issue throughout Europe in the 17th through 19th centuries. In fact, the word ghetto was coined and created to describe the places in Eastern European cities where Jews were confined with big walls around it and big, heavy gates where they were locked in, where they had to live and carry on their enterprises and exist. We think that the word ghetto was a 20th century American invention to put black people and minorities in.

It wasn't. It was an Eastern European invention three or four hundred years ago to put Jews in. And I guess people figured the best way to control Jews was to confine them, and that's what they did. The Jewish people even today have been an issue recently. They were an issue for Hitler.

They were an issue for Communist Russia and still are. They have been an issue for the Arab world and still continue to be. And politically today, the nation of Israel is the fulcrum of world events.

The Middle East and all the ripples that emanate from the Middle East is the pacesetter for the agenda of the world. The Jewish people are an issue. And the Bible has much to say about the Jewish people.

Understanding what the Word of God has to say about them is very important to us, as I've already said. And so let me talk to you just a little bit about the history of the reaction of the church to the Jewish people, because this is important for us to know. For almost 19 centuries, the church essentially responded wrongly to the Jewish people. And a large part of the reason for that was related to their theology.

For the first 19 centuries of the church, the theological position that dominated the church, for the most part, was the theological position that said this. God has disinherited Israel from all of his promises. He no longer is going to carry out his promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David that he made to the Jewish people, but rather God has given these promises to the church instead. And therefore, the Jewish people now represent no more than the people who killed and rejected the Messiah, the people who killed the Lord of glory. They were Christ killers, and they deserved all of the curses of the Old Testament, while all of the blessings of the Old Testament were given to the church. Now there were no missions to reach Jewish people during all these centuries that we know of, because the Jews were considered unreachable.

Now, as preposterous as that sounds, that's what people thought. I mean, even though the whole early church had been Jewish, and even though, except for the book of Luke and Acts, the whole Bible is written by Jews, somehow the church got the notion these people were unreachable, and that God had totally disinherited them, and so the church wrote them off. And this was the dominant theology of the church for almost 19 centuries.

The church's position was one of neglecting the Jewish people, or if they had to do anything at all in relationship to them, they condemned them. All of that began to change at the end of the 19th century with the reemergence of premillennialism as a theological force in the church. Premillennialism is the doctrine that says Jesus is going to come back at the end of this age and is going to set up His millennial kingdom on earth, His 1,000-year kingdom on earth, and He's going to rule and reign here on this earth. Now, one of the basic tenets of premillennialism is that Israel and the church are distinct, that they are separate, that God has not given Israel's promises to the church, nor has God permanently disinherited Israel. And another one of the tenets of premillennialism is that the Jewish people are the key to understanding the timetable of God for all of world events. And as this great force, theological force, premillennialism, began to reemerge in the church and began to conquer adherence in the end of the 19th century, along with it came a great prophetic conference movement all around the Western world.

And as absurd as it sounded, in those days, in the early part of the 20th century, men like Arnold C. Gabeline, great men of God like C. I. Scofield, the one responsible for the Scofield Bible, great men of God like R. A. Torrey, president of Moody Bible Institute, John R. Rice, Bob Jones, Sr., J. N. Darby, the founder of the Plymouth Brethren, Lewis Barry Shafer, the founder of Dallas Seminary, and many men of God like this began to say things that sounded absurd. And what they began to say is things like this. They began to predict from the Bible that the political nation of Israel would be reborn. They began to predict from the Bible that millions of Jews would once again be gathered back to their ancient homeland. They began to predict that Jerusalem would once again hear Hebrew being spoken in her streets. They began to predict that the barren deserts of Palestine would begin to bloom and bear fruit once more, and people called these preachers crazy. They said, y'all are crazy.

That can't happen. The Jews were disenfranchised and spread all over the world. They had no political clout. They had no economic clout. They had no clout of any kind. There were very few Jews living in Palestine proper. Palestine proper belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire was fanatically anti-Semitic and had no intention whatsoever of creating any place for Jews to come home to. Then came World War I, and all of this began to change.

And as it changed over the next 30 years, Israel's greatest friends over those years were Bible-believing Christians throughout Europe and throughout America and North America who understood what the Bible said about the future of Israel and who understood what the Bible says about the Jewish people and their part in the plan of God. A couple of them I'd like to tell you about. One was named Arthur Balfour. You may never have heard of him. He says, is he the one that established the jewelry company?

No, this is a different one. He was prime minister of Great Britain from 1902 to 1905. He led the great and powerful Conservative Party in Great Britain for 20 years, and he was a strong evangelical Christian. And he was responsible in 1917 for the Balfour Declaration, which pledged British support for Palestine becoming a national homeland to the Jewish people. Now, folks, this was the most monumental political decision taken by any nation with regard to the Jews and their land.

This was the most monumental position ever taken since the Roman army salted the city in 132 AD. And Balfour's actions were not based upon politics. They were based upon his theology. He believed that the Jewish people played a major role in God's plan for the ages, that their homeland was going to be restored, and when he saw the opportunity at the demise of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, when he saw the opportunity to play a part in creating a national homeland of Israel, as a Christian, he took it. The next player to enter the scene as a Bible-believing friend of Israel was President Woodrow Wilson, who was our president from 1913 to 1921. He was an outstanding Christian leader and Christian spokesman, and after World War I, based upon Great Britain's commitment to the Balfour Declaration, he went into the newly formed League of Nations and convinced them to formally approve the Balfour Resolution, the Balfour Declaration. And when the League of Nations did this, at Wilson's insistence, they granted international recognition to the Jews' claim on their homeland for the first time in 19 centuries was their international recognition of that. What was Wilson motivated by?

Not his politics. He was motivated by his theology. The last person I'll tell you about is Harry Truman, our president, of course, in 1948, when in May of that year, the United Nations mandate came out, establishing and creating the state of Israel. And the war was quickly engaged between the Arab countries and the Jews who were in the land of Israel.

The Arabs declared that they were going to drive the Jews into the sea. And the Jewish people who were living in Israel at the time were hanging on by a thread in those early days. And under President Truman's leadership, the United States became the first nation in the world to grant formal recognition to the state of Israel.

The state of Israel could never have survived if it were not for the United States' recognition and for our immediate offer of aid to those people who were fighting to protect the state of Israel the United Nations had just made. And it was not some American Jewish lobby that convinced President Truman to do this. It was a large-scale coalition of fundamental Christians who went to Mr. Truman and, appealing to Bible prophecy, convinced him to immediately grant recognition to the state of Israel.

I do not believe Harry Truman was a fundamental Christian. Nor do I believe that he cared a whole lot about Bible prophecy, frankly. But he was a smart politician, and he could see that there was a large percentage of his supporters who were committed to Bible prophecy and who did care about the nation of Israel, and as a result, he agreed to support that new state. Now, I know the reason the nation of Israel exists is because God wants it to, but on a human level, folks, Israel has survived, and Israel as a state is alive and in existence today, not because Jews all over the world were able to bring political pressure upon their leaders to make it happen, but because evangelical Christians all over this world, suddenly understanding that God had a role for these people to play, suddenly understanding that in God's plan of the events of this age, the nation of Israel and the Jewish people had not been disenfranchised, but God still had a great purpose for them, it was these people who on the human level are responsible for the nation of Israel existing today. And I believe one of the reasons God has continued to bless America, in spite of all of our sin, in spite of the fact we kill almost two million babies a year, in spite of all the other things that are wrong with this land, I personally believe Genesis 12.3 says that one of the reasons God is continuing to preserve and prosper this land is because of our support for his people.

But that would never have happened if we had not understood theologically some things different than the church understood for the first 19 centuries of its existence. Do you realize that the state of Israel is a modern political miracle? Do you realize that? Do you realize in the history of the world there has never been a people separated from their homeland for almost 20 centuries that ever even survived as a people, much less ever got their homeland back? Do you realize in the history of the world there has never been a language that has ever died out as a living spoken language that has ever been revived as a living spoken language except for Hebrew? And you go to Jerusalem today and you will hear Hebrew, once again spoken in those ancient streets like it was 20 centuries ago.

It's a modern political miracle that we've witnessed. Israel's greatest friends and the Jewish people's greatest friends have always been Bible-believing Christians who understood correctly what the Bible says about Israel and what the Bible said about the Jewish people. What's more, Almighty God has always blessed those people who were willing to stand with His people Israel. And so that makes our study of Romans 9, 10, and 11 very strategic because we need to understand what God says about these people.

We need to understand as a church just what support we need to give them and how we need to give them. And the most detailed passage anywhere in the Bible on God's plan for the Jewish people in the future is Romans 9, 10, and 11. We're going to dig in and start studying it. Now, let's do a little bit of background here from Genesis chapter 12 before we do it. How did Israel begin? How did the Jewish people start? Now, see, I know how they started because I'm Jewish. But a lot of you may not have that right on the tip of your fingers because it's not the kind of thing that every day matters much to you.

So let me just review and let's not assume anything. How did the Jewish people start? They started with a fellow named Abraham, Abram actually, but God changed his name later. And right here in Genesis chapter 12 is where it happens.

Let's look, verse 1. Now the Lord said to Abram, get out of your country and away from your kindred and out of your father's house unto a land that I'm going to show you. And I'm going to make you a great nation and I'm going to bless you and I'm going to make your name great and you're going to be a blessing and I'm going to bless those that bless you and I'm going to curse those that curse you and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. God appeared to Abraham while he was living in Mesopotamia in the city of Ur to be exact and he said, Abraham, I want you to leave or I want you to go out. Abraham said, where am I going? God said, don't worry about it, I'll show you. Abraham said, what do you mean? I mean, I don't know anything about that out there, I'm not a world traveler, God. God said, don't worry, are you going to leave or aren't you?

And if you're willing to leave, let me tell you what I'm going to do for you. And he made Abraham all these great promises. And Abraham decided by faith to obey God and go. Now the city that he left was, we know much about it today because of the excavations of Leonard Woolley. We know that Ur was a large and flourishing city in the day of Abraham. We know that it was an extremely wealthy city. We know that it had a high level of sophisticated bureaucracy in religion and in politics and in government. We know that it was surrounded by a magnificent city wall. That they had a very sophisticated set of, a system of canals for water supply and sewage disposal.

That the whole city looked like a medieval castle. That it was one of the great cities of the world in the day of Abraham. And the point is that God did not ask Abraham to leave a bunch of tents and camels huddling around a few palm trees.

But he asked him to leave one of the most comfortable and one of the most affluent cities in the ancient world. To go out into the middle of nowhere with only the promises of God to sustain him. And the Bible says Hebrews chapter 11, Abraham did it. By faith Abraham obeyed and he went out not even knowing where he was going. God said, alright Abraham because you've done this.

Verse 6, when he got to Canaan, God says to him, verse 7, the Lord appeared to him and said, unto your seed will I give this land and there Abraham built an altar to the Lord who had appeared unto him. And here begins the nation of Israel, the Jewish people with Abraham and his descendants. But it was not all of Abraham's descendants that were involved in the Jewish people. For as you know, Abraham only had one son for whom the promises were given. In other words, it was only one of his children that inherited the covenant that God made with him. And that son was Isaac. The rest of Abraham's sons did not get in on the covenant.

He said, what do you mean the rest? There were only two, right? There's Ishmael and there's Isaac.

No, no, no, no, no, no. Abraham married after Sarah died. You say, at over 100? Yeah, he was an optimistic sort of guy. And so he married at over 100 and he had six more sons. Incredible. But he did.

Quite a guy. So he had at least eight sons that we know of. And yet only one of them got to participate in the covenant.

In fact, if you'll flip back to Genesis 17, three or four chapters back, would you? Look at verse 20. Here in Genesis 17, Abraham is saying, but what about Ishmael, God?

He's my son. What about Ishmael? And God says, all right, let me tell you something. Verse 20, as for Ishmael, I've heard you, and behold, I'm going to bless him, and I'm going to make him fruitful, and I'm going to multiply him exceedingly. Twelve princes are going to come from him, and I'm going to make him a great nation. But, verse 21, but my covenant I will establish with Isaac.

That's it. Ishmael may get some blessing because he was your son, but I'm not going to establish my covenant with him. That goes to Isaac and only to Isaac.

Isaac wasn't even born yet. But God had already said that's the only son that's going to inherit the covenant. And then you remember of Isaac's sons, not all of Isaac's sons got in on the covenant, did they? Only one, Jacob. Now, this is very important, and when we come back to Romans 9, it is strategic that we remember this because one of the basic arguments that Paul is going to make in Romans chapter 9 is that not every physical descendant of Abraham got in on the covenant.

Do you see that? Not every one of them got in. Just because you were a descendant of Abraham didn't automatically mean you got in on the covenant. Only some of his descendants did at God's sovereign choice.

Okay, that's what I want you to see. So let me summarize. Here's the beginning of the Jewish people. God chose one man, Abraham, and of his descendants, one specific son and one specific grandson, that's it, to be part of this special race of people set aside for God's own purposes, the nation of Israel, thus making them the chosen people because God chose them. Deuteronomy 7 says, For you are a separated people unto the Lord thy God. The Lord thy God has chosen you to be a special people unto himself above all the people who are on the face of the earth.

And that's how it all started. Now, Romans chapter 9, let's flip over to there now. What is Romans chapter 9 all about? Let me see if I can help you understand why I don't believe Romans chapter 9 is a parenthesis. You know, a lot of people in analyzing the book of Romans say, Well, Romans 9, 10, and 11 are parenthesis, or they're a digression, or really they're not that important. Paul just kind of got on a soapbox and decided to write three chapters about Israel. I don't believe that.

Let me tell you why. You remember for the first eight chapters of Romans, Paul has been proving one thing. And the thing he has been proving is that the only way to be justified, the only way to be right in the sight of God, the only way to have your sins forgiven, the only way to be reconciled with God, the only way to get into heaven is to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, right? Therefore, being justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace with God.

And that's the message. Therefore, as he has said earlier in Romans chapters 1 through 8, nobody gets into heaven automatically. Only those people who trust Christ. Gentiles don't get in automatically. Jews don't get in automatically. And anybody, whether they be Jewish or Gentile, who have not trusted Jesus Christ will not get into heaven. He's been arguing for that eight chapters' worth. Now, if this is the chosen people, Israel, and if almost all of Israel is in unbelief, and if almost all of Israel looks as though they've been forsaken and deserted by God, and if almost all of Israel is going to hell because they have not trusted Jesus as Messiah, then it looks like God's covenants with these people and God's promises for these people have failed.

I mean, that's what it looks like. God made all these great promises, and now tens and tens and tens of thousands of these people are going to hell. In fact, most of them are. Ninety-nine percent of the Jewish people that have lived since the first century have not trusted Christ and have gone to hell. And if that's the case, then how can they be the chosen people? You follow the problem? And if God's covenant with them failed, if God broke covenant with them and changed the rules on them halfway through the game, then what assurance do I have that God's not going to break covenant with me and change rules halfway through the game, that when He says in Romans 8.1, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, and when He says in Romans 8.39 that nothing shall be able to separate me from the love of Christ, my goodness, if He changed the game on the Jews, how do I know He's not going to change it on me?

And so here's what I'm trying to say. Unless Paul can account for Jewish unbelief, unless he can account for so many Jews not believing and ending up in hell biblically in a way that will satisfy theologians and people who read the Bible, then what it begins to do is make us question whether everything he said in the first eight chapters is right, because maybe he's wrong if he can't account for all this Jewish unbelief. You with me? And therefore, Romans 9, 10, and 11 are not a parenthesis, folks, and they are not something that can be just left out. If we can't explain Jewish unbelief and tens and tens of thousands of Jews going to hell biblically in such a way that it makes sense, if we can't prove that God did not violate His covenant with those people and that Romans 1 through 8 doesn't mean that God violated His covenant, if we can't prove that, then we have to question whether Romans 1 through 8 is right. And therefore, these chapters are very important in Paul being able to take the last barrier, Jewish unbelief, and explain it away in such a way that Romans 1 to 8 still stands. Okay, you with me?

That's what we're all doing here. We're explaining Jewish unbelief, how it could happen, and did God violate His covenant with the Jewish people? Now, let's begin at verse 1. I say the truth in Christ, I am not lying.

My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit. Now, I think what he's trying to say is I'm really telling the truth. This is not preacher talk.

This is not ministerial telling the truth. This is the real truth. You know what I'm trying to say?

This is it. God knows I'm telling you the truth. Verse 2, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. Why? For I would wish, I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh.

Let's stop there. Do we understand what he's really saying here? He says, I've got real grief in my spirit all the time.

Why? For the Jewish people. He said, and they're going to hell. And I'm so concerned about that, that they're lost and separated from God, that if it were possible, God knows my heart.

Verse 1, my conscience bears me witness. The Spirit of God will tell you I'm telling the truth, that if it were possible, I would give up my personal salvation. I would be willing myself to go to hell for all eternity, if what it meant is that the Jewish people could get saved.

Now, that is a staggering statement. I wouldn't give up my salvation for anybody, would you? I mean, I might do a lot of things to help people, but to actually volunteer to go to hell for all eternity?

Forget it. I'm not volunteering to go to hell for anybody. But Paul says that he would. And he says, God knows I'm telling you the honest truth. Now, of course, he couldn't. You can't give up your salvation to get somebody else saved.

But Paul said, that's how much of a burden I have for these people. You know, we often don't realize fully what we have in Christ. I mean, we've never seen heaven. I've never seen heaven. You've never seen heaven.

We talk about heaven in the streets of gold, and I'll fly away, oh glory, you know. But we don't know what we're talking about. We've never seen it. And hell, we've never seen hell.

We know it's a bad place, but we don't really understand the awfulness of that place. And so for us to say, well, yeah, maybe I'd go to hell for some people if they would get saved, that's one thing. But you know, Paul had seen heaven. You know that?

You say, how do you know that? Because in 2 Corinthians 12, it says he was caught up in the paradise, and he saw things he wasn't even allowed to tell us, and he saw hell. And once you've seen heaven and hell, to be willing to give up heaven and go to hell for somebody else, can you imagine that? I mean, it's kind of like staying in motels, you know. If somebody said, look, when we get there, would you rather stay at the Hilton, or would you rather stay at the Roach Motel? Roach Motel is a lot cheaper. If you've never seen either one of them, you might say to yourself, well, you know, the Roach Motel probably couldn't be that bad.

I mean, you know, they do have a sign out front that says phones in every room, and so, you know, it's probably an up-to-date place. And so maybe we'll take the Roach Motel, but if they had taken you there and shown you the Hilton, shown you the chandeliers and shown you the lobby and shown you the dining room and taken you up to the room and shown you the nice sterilized bathroom, you know, with the little piece of paper around the commode and all that kind of stuff. And then they take you to the Roach Motel, and they don't even have a seat on the commode. You're going to choose the Roach Motel, folks?

Come on. If you'd been to heaven and you'd seen it, and then you had seen hell, there is not a person I know in the world who would choose hell. And yet Paul said he would because he loved those people, and he wanted them saved. Now, I might point out to you that everything he's saying here, he's not waffling theologically because he is still maintaining by everything he's saying that the Jews are really lost.

Do you see that? Why does he have continual sorrow in his heart? Why does he have great heaviness in his heart? The reason that he has the heaviness and the sorrow and the reason he wished that he could be accursed is because he's telling us once again that his people are accursed and that they are separated from God and that they are on their way to hell. He is simply reiterating everything he's been saying for the first eight chapters.

He is not waffling. He is reaffirming that except for those Jews who have trusted Jesus as their Messiah, except for them, every other Jew in the world is headed straight for hell, just like every Gentile is that's never trusted Christ. And what he's saying is I would be willing to give up my salvation to stop that if it would work, if I could do it. And this is what Romans chapter 9 verse 6 and following is all about because we react to this and we say, Lon, how can this be? These are the chosen people. God failed these people. God let these people down. And Paul's going to set out and prove now that he didn't. We don't have time to do it this morning.

We're going to dig into that next week. But he's going to come back starting in verse 6 and he's going to say, Look, these are the Israelites, verse 4, who had the adoption and they had the glory and they had the covenant and they had the giving of the law and they had the worship of God, the tabernacle and everything that went with it and they had the promises and they had the fathers and they had even the Messiah's lineage that came through them and yet in spite of all of these privileges, in spite of all of these entitlements, these people are still lost. But verse 6, that does not mean that the word of God has failed them. It does not mean that the promise of God has been of none effect. It does not mean that God has let them down because what he's going to prove in these verses to follow is God's covenant with the Jewish people never involved personal salvation for everybody. Or to put it another way, being the chosen people does not mean that every single physical descendant of Abraham was promised that they were going to go to heaven. That was never a part of what it meant. That was never a part of the covenant.

That was never a part of the agreement. That was never part of what it meant to be the chosen people and to think that it is is to totally misunderstand what God promised them. God didn't let these people down because so many of them are going to hell because God never promised them that just being Jewish was going to take anybody to heaven. The Jews of Jesus' day thought that. They thought that they had eternal salvation just because they were Abraham's children. They thought hell was a Gentile problem, not a Jewish problem. And John the Baptist tried to convince them they had it all wrong. You remember in Matthew chapter 3 they came out down to the Jordan and when he saw them coming he said to these Jewish leaders who warned you to flee from the wrath to come, bring forth fruits worthy of repentance and don't you say in your heart that you are the children of Abraham.

He knew what they were thinking. He said don't you say in your heart that you are the children of Abraham because that means you're okay because I'm telling you God could raise up children for Abraham right from these stones. It doesn't mean anything being a descendant of Abraham. You're going to have to repent and believe God the way Abraham did, but they didn't get it. And Jesus himself argued with them all the time about this. You remember in John chapter 8 when they said we are Abraham's children.

We don't need what you're offering. And Jesus said to them you are not Abraham's children at all if you were Abraham's children you would do with the deeds of Abraham and Abraham believed God and walked by faith and Abraham believed the gospel and you didn't. You're children of your father the devil. And you remember the parable he told about the rich man in Lazarus. The rich man was Jewish, ended up in hell. And from hell he cries out and he says Father Abraham have mercy on me.

Get me out of this place. I'm your descendant. I'm Jewish.

What are you doing here? And you remember what Abraham said to him? He said my son I am very sorry but there is a great gulf between you and me and I can't do a thing to help you son. What was Jesus trying to teach them? That being a descendant of Abraham was just not enough to keep people out of hell. But these people wouldn't listen. The Jewish people would not listen.

God never promised every physical descendant of Abraham an automatic place in heaven. There's more to it than that and there always has been. And we're going to talk about that next week. But before I end let me ask the question so what. You say Lon you've been having a great time up there talking about Balfour and all these other people. We can tell that. But so what?

I got a couple to suggest. Right from the verses we've covered this morning. Two, number one. I believe even what we've covered this morning shows us some lessons about false security. About trusting the wrong kind of things for salvation. You know I'm Jewish and so everything in these chapters 9, 10, and 11 about how the Jews got the covenant wrong. How they misunderstood it. How they misunderstood what it means to be the chosen people.

It all applies to me directly. And there are some of you here that are Jewish. Let me say to you we cannot, we must not rely upon being descendants of Abraham to get us into heaven. It's got to be what the Spirit of God has been saying for the first eight chapters of Romans. What he says again in Romans chapter 10. Romans chapter 10 verse 9 is written to Jewish people. If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.

After he died for your sins you shall be saved. Now it works for Gentiles but it's written for Jews. And if you're Jewish either listening to me by tape or here this morning there's a great lesson here about trusting the wrong thing. If you and I trust only being descendants of Abraham we're going to end up straight in hell folks. But you know I've learned in my years of ministry that Gentiles have all kinds of Abrahams too. Have you learned that? All kinds of things they trust that are wrong, that are false.

First membership. You ever shared with anybody about Christ the first thing they say is, oh well I've been a member of the Methodist Church for 27 years. So what? Who cares? What has that got to do with anything? I've been a Catholic all my life. So what?

Does it make any difference? We're not talking about being a member of a church. We're talking about believing in your heart God raised Jesus from the dead, confessing with your mouth that he is Lord and paid for your sins.

That's what we're talking about. We're not talking about church. But you know there are a lot of people I believe in hell today who are really shocked they ended up there because they really believe being a church member is going to solve all their problems.

It's an Abraham that a lot of people trust but it's not going to work. And then there are all of the sacraments and the baptisms and the confessions and the last rites and the rosaries and the penances that we all, many of us trust. I was watching a program on television the other night and there was a fellow on there who was Catholic and he'd been shot or something, I forget what. And he was lying there and as he was lying there dying on television, somebody was bending over him and he was screaming out, get me last rites, get me last rites. And I felt like screaming out, you don't need last rites, you need Jesus.

But I knew he wouldn't hear me. But that's all right. There are a lot of people like that folks who are relying on all these other things and they really think they're going to get us into heaven. And I want to tell you there are a lot of people who are going to go out of this world with last rites and go right to hell because they don't know Christ. It's an Abraham, a wrong thing to trust. And there are many of us who trust things like our mom's Christian life. I've shared with people and the first thing they say to me is, well, you know, my mom was a fine Christian.

Well, who cares? I don't care whether your mom was a fine Christian or not, we're talking about you. My mom went to church every Sunday. That's great.

That's very nice. So what? God's not going to let you into heaven because your mom went to church every Sunday. We're talking about you and your walk with Christ. There are a lot of people who really believe they're going to get into heaven because their mom was a fine Christian. It's going to be a sad day when they end up in hell. And there are people who keep little Bibles sitting all over the mantelpiece and they dust them once a month and somehow they think because the Bible sits on the mantelpiece, God's going to let them into heaven.

Or the people out there trying to keep the Ten Commandments and be a nice person and they really believe that's all they need to do to get into heaven. My dear friends, if God is willing to send His chosen people to hell because they won't come to God His way, do you really think that you who are Gentiles, who are not His chosen people, have any chance to get there if you're not willing to come His chosen way? Listen folks, God has one way. Jesus Christ said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody gets to the Father except by personal faith in me.

You better not try it any other way because it's not going to work. If God will send Jews to hell because they won't come that way, God will send Gentiles to hell. And I can't help but believe that there are some of you here who are still holding on to Abrahams that aren't going to work. May God speak to your hearts. Throw them down.

Get rid of them. Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. Believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead. Trust Him and Him alone and you shall be saved.

The second so what and the final one is this. That I believe not only is there a lesson here on false security and false things that we trust for salvation, but I believe there's a great lesson here on what it means to have a passion for souls. What it means to have a burden for lost people. The intensity of Paul's burden for the Jewish people in that he would be willing to give up, go into heaven himself and spend eternity in hell to see them saved is one of the most awesome statements I've ever heard made anywhere. And he just didn't have that burden for the Jewish people. He had that burden and that intensity and that passion for everybody. That's why he gave up everything and spent his life traveling around living in tents, eating from hand to mouth, being mistreated and abused and ridiculed and being run out of town and beaten and left for dead because he had a passion for reaching lost people. One that ran so deep that he would have given up his own salvation if God would have led him to see other people get saved. Now that's a burden. That's a passion. And you know, I always wonder about people who claim to be believers, who profess Christ as their savior, but don't have a burden for lost people.

It bothers me. I have trouble with it because I read here in the Bible that part of being saved means that the Spirit of God comes into our life and that the Spirit of God gives us the same heartbeat about everything in the universe that God Himself has, that God gives us His heartbeat for purity, that God gives us His heartbeat for holiness, that God gives us His heartbeat for integrity, God gives us His heartbeat for honesty and compassion, and I believe God also comes into our life and gives us His heartbeat for lost people. You know, Jesus only wept two times in the entire New Testament.

You know that? He wept once in John chapter 11 with people who were heartbroken and grieving over a lost loved one, and He stood there and wept with them, showing His compassion. And the only other time He wept was in Luke chapter 19 when He comes over the Mount of Olives, and there's the city of Jerusalem in front of Him, lost, full of lost people, full of people separated from God and alienated from God and not even having enough sense to weep for themselves.

And Jesus couldn't deal with it, and He stood there on the hill and He wept and broke down, weeping over the city. And you know, folks, there's something desperately wrong when our Lord and Savior weeps over lost people, and we, His followers, don't. There's something desperately wrong when Jesus groans in His Spirit over lost people, and we don't. There's something wrong when the Lord of Glory is willing to sacrifice everything He's got to come reach lost people, and we, His followers, aren't. What it means is, I think, that there's a lot of Christians in this world who may know a lot of Bible verses and may go to church every Sunday, but they really don't understand the heart of God.

They don't understand the heart of God. I wonder, when was the last time you wept over somebody that was lost? When was the last time you got on your knees and you wept over a friend that was lost? Or you wept over a loved one, a relative, a child, a husband, a wife that was lost? I don't mean that you wept because of how they were complicating your life because they were lost, but that you wept for the simple fact that they were lost and separated from God and hopeless and helpless and headed for eternity in hell. When was the last time you did that?

When was the last time you really inconvenienced yourself? See, I don't believe meaning a... I don't think having a burden for souls means that we witness to people when it's convenient. That's not a burden to souls. Having a burden for souls means that we're willing to be inconvenienced in time and in money and in energy and in our schedules to try to reach lost people. When was the last time you were inconvenienced to try to reach a lost person?

It's worth thinking about, folks. If Paul would have given up his salvation for lost people, we ought to at least be willing to be inconvenienced. A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak at the Central Union Mission.

Central Union Mission works down in Washington, and they reach drunks and bums and homeless people on the street. And I was excited to do that. It was on a Friday night, and I said, sure, I'll do that. And Thursday night, I had a wedding rehearsal, and I took one of my sons with me, and I said, now, if you sit there quietly and you don't make a big commotion, I'll get you slurpy.

So he did good. And so we got out of the wedding rehearsal about 9.30 or 10 o'clock, and we were headed home, and I still had my message to do for the Central Union Mission banquet the next night. I hadn't finished my message for Sunday morning. Man, I knew I had to hurry home. I was going to be up late that night working on this message. I had to get up early in the morning and start again. And we pulled into 7-Eleven, and right there in front of me at 7-Eleven, sitting on the sidewalk, back up against the wall, is this guy with a bottle of wine, drunk as a skunk.

Totally inebriated. And I looked at him, and I thought, no, I don't have the time, God. So I got out the car, and I walked by him, and I turned my shoulder, and we went in, and we got our nice little spic and span slurpy. And we came out, and I said to myself, I'm not even going to look at him. If I don't make eye contact, he can't stop me. So I walked by him, and I started to get in the car.

I got my son in the car, I opened the door, and I turned around, and I had to face forward to sit down in the car. And as soon as I did, he looked at me, and he went, hey, you. You. Yeah.

Give me a second. And I thought, God, I don't have time to mess with this drunk bum. I got to go home and do a message about how we need to reach drunk bums for tomorrow night.

It's true. I'll tell the story on myself. And I went over there, and I said, yeah. He said, hey, would you buy me a pack of cigarettes?

I smoked Newport. And I sat there for a minute, stood there for a minute looking at him, and I said, all right, all right, I will. And I went in 7-Eleven, bought him a pack of cigarettes, came out, gave them to him, sat down next to him, and I said, you know why I bought you those cigarettes?

He said, no. I said, I bought them to you because I want to sit here for a minute and talk to you about Jesus. And I said to myself, five minutes ought to do.

And then I got to go. So I talked to him for five minutes about the Lord, and then I pat him on the shoulder. I said, what's your name, Jimmy? Jimmy, I'm really glad for talking to you, and I'm going to give you my phone number, and if you need something, you give me a call.

OK? He said, I need something right now. I need a ride home. I said, well, Jimmy, look, I don't really think I got time to give you a ride home.

I really got a lot of work to do. He said, well, I'm afraid the police are going to come and pick me up right here, and I need a ride home. And I said, well, I really can't do that, Jimmy.

I really got very important things I got to go take care of. And he said, all right, I'll just walk. And he started to get up, and I thought, I'm not going to have a murder on my hands, you know, when I get to heaven. So I said, all right, because he's going to get out in the middle of the street and get himself killed.

Where do you live? He said, well, I'm over there somewhere. Can you find it?

Yeah, I think so if you get me close. So I picked him up, and I threw him in the back seat of the car. I said, now, Jimmy, you're not feeling sick, are you? No, I'm fine.

OK. Threw him in the back seat of my car, and off we went, folks. What an evening that was. We finally found his house. I carried him in his house.

We tripped over the couch together. Went to bed, said, all right, Jimmy, I'm coming back tomorrow morning, and we're going to see if we can help you. And so tomorrow, the next morning, I called a friend, goes here to church, and I said, come on, we got somebody we need to help.

We went over. We got him into a detox unit. The next week, he came by my office on his way to North Carolina. As a church, we got some money together.

We sent him to North Carolina down to a Christian rehab center. And he came by just before he was ready to get on the plane and he prayed in my office to receive Christ. I want to read you a letter I got from him a couple weeks ago.

Dear Lon, I am sorry for not dropping you a line sooner, but I've been a little busy, as you know. I've been here six weeks, and the place is great. I really want to thank you and your church for finding and sending me here. If you weren't God sent, nothing was. I can't tell you how glad I am to have God back in my life. As a matter of fact, I've got him more than ever, Psalm 120 and 121. Jesus Christ has sure watched over me. Right now, I'm the driver here, so I'm learning the area pretty well, and I'm back to doing what's responsible. God is showing me the way, and when my time here is over, I know he'll show me what to do. It's all been planned for me already anyway.

Please continue to pray for me, and I'll pray for you. God bless you, Jimmy Day. Folks, I didn't really want to stop for that guy. I mean, I had my little perk chart, and I knew what had to come next, and I knew what I had to get done. And I'll be perfectly honest and tell you, I did not want to inconvenience myself for that guy, but I am sure glad I did. And God used that experience to grab me and say, What, what, what, what, what is wrong with you? What is wrong with you? I got on my knees the next morning, and I heard God say to me, What is wrong with you? If you are too busy to stop and help somebody, then you are too busy.

And he was right. And I have the feeling there's probably a lot of us who are so busy trying to live for Jesus that we're missing the whole point. And that is living for Jesus is all about stopping to help people, folks, not being like the priest and the Levite who walked by the guy lying in the road, but being like the Samaritan who was willing to stop. He had a journey. He had an itinerary, but he had enough sense to know that people mattered more to the heart of God.

And so can I challenge you? God's not asking you to give up your salvation for anybody, but he is asking all of us to have the heart of the Apostle Paul, that our love for lost people and our burden for lost people runs deep enough that we are willing to be inconvenienced for lost people. The inconvenience in our time, the inconvenience in our money, the inconvenience in our schedules, that we are willing to be inconvenienced to try to reach a lost soul because it's worth it.

It matters that much to God. May God help us as a church. We're no good to anybody if we're not willing to stop and help lost people. May God help us. Let's pray. As we're bowed together, I'd like you right now, if you would, to take a moment and picture in your mind one person that you know that doesn't know Christ, a person that really matters to you a lot, and maybe a mom or a dad, maybe a brother or a sister or a child, might be a friend or a coworker or neighbor.

Take a moment. One person that doesn't know Christ that you really care about. And now that you've got them in your mind, my question is, how much are you willing to sacrifice in order to see them reach for Christ? How much are you and I willing to be inconvenienced to see them reach for Jesus? Are we willing to be inconvenienced enough to have them in our home and try to build a friendship with them? Are we willing to be inconvenienced enough to set aside time every day to get on our knees and seriously pray for them? Are we willing to be inconvenienced enough to go over and help them when they need help to show them that we love them? Are we willing to write them letters, make phone calls, get phone calls in the middle of the night that are inconvenient because they need something or they're lonely or they're hurting? Just what are we willing to do? What are you willing to do to see that person reached?

My dear friend, the Lord Jesus was willing to give up everything He had and come to earth and die on a cross like a common criminal for you and me. May God help us. May God help us to be willing to do everything we can to see lost people reach for Him. Lord, speak to our hearts now this morning. Speak to our hearts even about this one person we've had in mind. Maybe you've already laid on our hearts something you want done that we've not been doing because it's been inconvenient.

We haven't had the time, we say. Lord, teach us, we have the time for what we want to. And Lord, make us a church. How I pray, God, you would make us a church that really cares about reaching the lost, not just in our theology but in our lives. Father, we can't even change our own hearts.

You're going to have to do it. But indeed, Lord, make us the kind of people who want our hearts changed for Jesus' sake. Lord, we know people need the Lord. We know that in our head. Lord Jesus, help us live that way in our lives, for your glory, in Jesus' name, amen. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-18 11:16:15 / 2023-10-18 11:38:28 / 22

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