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Paul on Mount Everest

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 21, 2022 12:00 am

Paul on Mount Everest

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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October 21, 2022 12:00 am

“O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” This is the only way Paul could end the eleventh chapter of his letter to the Romans. God is the epicenter of the Gospel, and Paul will make sure that both Jews and Gentiles never forget that.

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What Jesus is doing is making a wonderful pun. Thou art Petrus.

That's a little pebble. Thou art Petrus, but upon this Petra, this bedrock, this large boulder, I will build my church. It is the rock who is Christ. It is the truth of Christ's deity, and upon that truth, he will build his church. Will he build it on the mere pebble of a man?

No. He will build it upon the large rock who is Jesus Christ. God's Word is practical, and it certainly applies to our lives. But the main thing that the Bible does isn't about us. The Bible reveals to us who God is. We should approach the Bible with a heart open to knowing God better. We're going to learn more about that today as we open God's Word to Romans 11. This is wisdom for the heart. The truth that you're going to hear today is really the critical message of the Bible. It's the pinnacle of truth. That's why Stephen called this message Paul on Mount Everest. Take your Bibles and turn to Romans chapter 9.

That'll be the last time I tell you this. This chapter, as Paul unfolds the doctrine of election, this is a doctrine that has and it will continue to spark great debate. It's interesting to me. One individual told me last week that their former church where they were in another city before moving here, their pastor preached on the subject of election and the church proceeded to split down the middle.

Half the people stayed and half the people left. Well, unfortunately, this debate does generate a lot of heat and not necessarily a lot of light. What has God's Word taught us about this doctrine thus far? A lot of things we can't rehearse. In fact, this is our sixth session on this subject. And I feel a little sorry for those of you that might be visiting for the first time.

If you get dizzy, we understand. But this doctrine is so intense and we have learned so much about it. First of all, we've learned that election is clearly taught in scripture. In fact, the entirety of chapter nine in Romans declares the sovereign purpose of God as it relates to salvation. Secondly, we've learned that salvation is the sovereign choice of God, that God chooses those who then can and must choose him. Jesus said in John six forty four, no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him. Earlier in verse thirty seven, Jesus said, all that the father gives me will come to me and the one who comes to me, I will certainly not cast out. Third, we've learned that election exalts the perfect and entire sovereignty of God, who alone has the right to determine what he will determine. In fact, if we get anything out of these six sessions as we wrap this study up, I hope we leave here knowing that our God is immense and sovereign and we are small and needy. He is a great and magnificent God who rules the universe. We are his subjects. That leads me to say forth, this doctrine elevates God and minimizes man. In fact, Paul, in writing the response to the objections raised to election and God's sovereignty and salvation in verse 20, the latter part simply rebukes his his objector by saying, who are you, a man who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder.

Why have you made me like this? Will it verse 21? Does not the potter have a right over the clay? You see, we want God to be sovereign in the affairs of our world. But the idea of total sovereign power and purpose in the matter of salvation is for many just a little too much sovereignty. We can do one of three things with this doctrine. As I just simply introduce our study for today, first of all, you can reject the doctrine of election or refashion it in some way so that it is ultimately denied. You can adopt a view that God really doesn't choose the believer.

He merely sees ahead of time who will choose him and then calls them his elect. This makes God the responder and man ultimately sovereign. You can reject the doctrine.

Secondly, you can overemphasize this doctrine of election. In other words, one extreme says that man is responsible for coming to faith and God does nothing but respond. But on the other hand, there are those who take election further than it ought to go and simply saying that since God does everything, man never does anything. This is the hyper-Calvinism of William Carey's day, which said to this young man who would grow up to become the father of modern missions as he presented the need of India to the council of men in his church.

Then they shouted him down and they said, sit down, young man. If the heathen will be saved by God, they will be saved. In other words, don't do anything since God does everything. Romans chapter 10, Paul sort of balances this other side of the issue and he says, how can they call upon him whom they've not believed and how can they believe in one they've never heard of and how can they hear without a preacher? You see the overemphasis of this doctrine says we do nothing, but just read the balance of scripture. From God's perspective, he has predestined belief, but from our perspective, we must believe.

Even though God first loved us, we must love him too. That's why our gospel involves a decision. It is a transactional gospel and we ask people if they will accept the claims of Jesus Christ, like Paul, who was approached by the Philippian jailer who asked Paul, what must I do to be saved? Paul did not say to him, well, are you one of the elect? Do you feel that you understand the doctrine of predestination before the course of human history? No, he simply said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be what?

You will be saved. The only one who knows ahead of time who the elect are is God and our ministry and mission is to simply declare the invitation of the gospel to all humankind. Those who are elect, those whom God calls, those who the father will give as a possession to his son as a bride have at some point in their lives had that burdened heart and the quickened conscience who've turned from their sin and their idols to follow the true and living God as the Thessalonians did. God had moved toward them in his grace to take off their blinders and bring them to life. But from there and our perspective, it was a moment when in your own personal testimony, you realized, hey, I don't need more religion that fails me. I don't need to turn over new leaf.

It's soon sullied. I need a savior. What must I do to be saved? And the answer is not, do you have some certificate of predestination?

Do you have an election coupon? Well, there are no coupons necessary for some salvation deal because it is absolutely free. But for those genuine believers who receive the gift which costs them nothing, they become people who want to give God everything. As the hymn writer said, love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my what?

My all. The third option is to accept the doctrine as taught in scripture. The Bible reveals both the sovereign electing grace of God and then the response of mankind to believe in Christ alone. And it's interesting to me, ladies and gentlemen, how Paul will end Romans chapter nine on that note. Let's pick it up where we left off with verse 24 and read to the end of the chapter. Even us whom he also called not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As he says also in Hosea, I will call those who were not my people, my people and her who is not my beloved, beloved. And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, you are not my people there, they shall be called sons of the living God. And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, though the number of the sons of Israel be is the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that word gives us the word elect. It is the elect that will be saved for the Lord will execute his word upon the earth thoroughly and quickly. And just as Isaiah foretold, except the Lord of Sabbath had left to us a seed, we would have become as Sodom and would have resembled Gomorrah. What shall we say then, that Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness attain righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith. But Israel pursuing a law of righteousness did not arrive at that law.

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, behold, I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. And he who believes in him will not be disappointed. Now, what Paul does here in this text is quote one Old Testament passage after another to reveal God's sovereignty in choosing from among both Jew and Gentile. In fact, his words here would be very encouraging to a Gentile who would never assume automatically that he could ever be called the Son of God. And it would be very convicting to a Jew who would believe that whatever God was doing on the earth, because they're Jewish, they would be part of it.

So he deals with both issues. What Paul is revealing here in this last section, as he answers this notion and also gives encouragement, I believe can be organized into three concise statements. Number one, God's inheritance is initiated by God's own will. Now, the first two prophecies, if you go back to the beginning of this section in verses 25 and 26, come through the prophet Hosea. And it comes out of the context of Hosea's life, which we don't have time to go back into, but let me summarize. He was told to marry a woman who was a prostitute who would be unfaithful to him and her infidelities would bear children. Most believe that at least two of the children were not even Hosea's. He was told to marry her and keep her in spite of her unfaithfulness. In fact, he was to marry her because of her unfaithfulness and her moral infidelities would provide an analogy to Israel's spiritual infidelities and following after other gods. God tells Hosea to give names to the children that Gomer bears.

I believe at least one of them was his. And these names indicate God's attitude toward the nation of Israel. The first child was to be named Jezreel. That Hebrew word simply refers to the motion of a hand that's throwing something to the wind, throwing something away, maybe scattering seed to the wind. Another child was given the name Lo Ruhamah, which means no pity, no love, no compassion. And true to this prophecy, even to our generation, the Jewish people are scattered around the world as seeds scattered to the wind. And over the centuries, including this one, they received from the world as a nation, little pity, little love, little compassion.

There is no race of people on planet Earth that have been so brutally treated and mistreated, so unloved and so hated now for several thousand years. You say, but they've been regathered, haven't they? Haven't they been regathered? They've reformed the state of Israel, which was incorporated in 1948. My friends, that's not the regathering the prophets speak of. That hasn't happened yet. There are more Jews living today in New York than Israel.

There are more Jews in Russia than Palestine. The regathering, according to the prophets, is yet to come. It's going to happen during the tribulation period after the bride of Christ composed of Jew and Gentile races are caught up to meet her bridegroom in the air and whisked away to the Father's house for a seven-year honeymoon. Then they will be regathered. And the prophets say that every ship with a sail will set sail toward the land.

That will be the regathering. What is God doing now? Look who God is giving his inheritance to in verse 25. I will call those who are not my people, who are they? Gentiles.

My people. I'm going to call them sons of the living God. By the way, the Apostle Peter picks up on this prophecy and applies it directly to the church when he says, you are a chosen race. You are a royal priesthood. You are a holy nation. You are a particular people of God's own possession that you might proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. For you were not a people, but now you are a people.

You had not received mercy, but now you receive mercy. First Peter 2, 9 and 10. You see, the Jewish people as a nation thought they were automatically in, but they're out unless they come by faith in this Messiah. And the Gentiles who as nations thought they would be out are now in by faith in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God's inheritance is initiated according to his own will.

Secondly, God's punishment is performed according to his own timing. Now Paul will quote from Isaiah here in verses 27 and 28 of Romans chapter 9, basically reminding the Jewish reader that God has punished the nation all along. In fact, he's always only saved a remnant.

He's not really dealing in a new way. Though the church age is new and Gentiles are now invited, he has done this in the past. He writes here even though the number of the sons of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is only a remnant, only a small portion who will escape his judgment. And then he in effect reminds us of the patience of God. Instead of immediately wiping out the sinner as he gives illustration of some events, God is patient. He's patient with those who mock him. He's patient with those who deny his word.

He's patient with those who hate his cause. Instead of wiping them all away at one time or as soon as they sin against his honor, he waits. But judgment will eventually come and all mankind would be, he says here, like Sodom and Gomorrah, lost if it were not for his grace, which at least in that instance saved one family. And Paul pulls this illustration out of history because Jew and Gentile had heard about Sodom and Gomorrah. They knew about this event. No one would ever forget the fire that fell from heaven that so obliterated these two cities that not a trace of their existence, their architecture, their culture, their past, present, whatever, would even survive.

None of it would remain. It was the patience of God that allowed it to so mock his moral order. But judgment eventually came and God had elected a few to be saved. By the way, I believe it is the patience of God on our own nation that is in the midst of legitimizing sodomy that allows us to breathe as a nation today, approving in the process of condoning what Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1 would be the signs of a tragic moral collapse and the impending judgment on a nation. Several reporters have called Colonial over these past weeks to get interviews regarding the homosexual agenda in gay marriage, which is now in the news just about every day.

And as a practice, I turned them down simply because I never know how my words will be reported or probably distorted. And I'm concerned because the church is so often seen in some kind of culture war. We are not in a culture war. This culture is going to hell. We're not in a war. We are simply ministers of God through Christ attempting to bring the message of the Gospel to our decaying culture.

And maybe by the grace of God, there will be some we talk to who will be saved. But this culture is not our enemy. They are our mission field. The homosexual community is not our enemy.

They we pursue with burdened hearts to see them redeemed and rescued as anybody who does not know or follow the Lord Jesus. Well, one reporter reached my secretary a few weeks ago to ask for an interview. She happened to mention that she came to Colonial and we checked it out and she did. I felt she would represent my words well enough. So I agreed and Mary arranged a contact time for her to come and interview me. And then she called back and reminded Mary that she was not a newspaper reporter but a television reporter and the cameraman would arrive at a certain time.

It aired, by the way, this past Friday night at two different times on WUMC, a station known for its conservative stance. Just so you know, it began with a beautiful picture of our buildings. And I also want to commend this reporter who is here today for choosing the right statements that not only reflected our biblical position but was removed from any kind of hatred but instead expressed the burden of truth.

The opposing side was by a pastor in a liberal church in this community that I will not name who had already blessed several gay unions. And I couldn't help but think as I was being interviewed of Romans chapter one. You think I think about Romans all the time. Well, that was one time when I couldn't help but think of Romans chapter one. In fact, the cameraman at one point asked me to go to my desk and to just pull off a book and begin reading. And I pulled off a commentary on Romans. And I sat there. And you could see it on television, the book of Romans right there. I thought Paul deserved a little media attention. So we put him there.

Ladies and gentlemen, our country is confused and our culture continues to deteriorate. But the scriptures remain clear. And Paul uses a clear unmistakable issue that God condemned and revealed the judgment of God according to the timing of God to prove the sovereignty of God. He wiped out a city, but he saved a family. And I had to see in that, though, the patience of God as well. The patience of God. You know, he was very patient with me. Anyone who believes can look past through their history and see the patience of God.

Oh, if God would have acted upon my rebellion and unbelief, I would never be standing here. Think of his patience with Adam and Eve. Why not just start over? Think of his patience with the followers of Moses. Why not start over? Think of the dying thief.

Is there a classic example of patience? He lives a profligate life. He's a murderer. He's a thief. And at the very end of his life, God's grace allows him to be hung next to whom? The Son of God. And then God the Father opens his eyes.

The other thief he doesn't. But his eyes are opened and he sees Jesus, who in effect in his heart was revealed to be the king of the Jews. And he says to him in his dying moments, Remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus said, Today you will be with me in paradise. Imagine that, coming to the very end of your life, receiving by faith Jesus Christ as King, and a few hours later going to heaven. Oh, the patience of God in his judgment and his righteous mercy.

One more statement. Not only is God's inheritance initiated by God, not only is his punishment performed according to his timing, but third, God's deliverance is defined according to his own plan. Paul writes here in verse 31 that the Jewish nation basically wanted heaven by virtue of their works. This is God's plan of salvation, not man's. We wouldn't automatically come up with works. We would glory in the stitches of our righteousness that we would stitch into our robe.

And we would admire it for all eternity if we could. But God's plan says it is not by works, but by faith. And we've already dealt with these doctrinal issues, and so we won't rehearse them here.

But let me go on a little further as he talks about this stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and said, Jews demand miraculous signs, and Greeks look for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles. But to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, 1 Corinthians 1-22.

Salvation is not defined then by the wisdom of man, but the wisdom of God. The nation was expecting a lion, God sent a lamb. The nation was expecting a throne in Jerusalem, and God erected a cross on Golgotha, so to speak. And the Jew would say, how foolish is that? That our Messiah would be crucified.

How ridiculous would that plan be? And the Greeks who pursue wisdom would say, how stupid would that be? That God would send his son and he would be crucified. But we, who've come by faith to him, we say, how marvelous is that, don't we? How wonderful is the cross? And we say with Paul, God forbid that we should glory save in the cross of Jesus Christ. To us it is marvelous.

It is wonderful. The cross is magnificent. But the world stumbles over this rock who is Christ. Perhaps you remember the encounter between our Lord and Peter that is often misunderstood and the rock is misidentified instead of Christ as being Peter. Well, the Lord was asking his disciples, who do men say that I am? And they said, well, some say you're Elijah, some say you're Jeremiah.

And he said, but who do you say that I am? And Peter, under the inspiring influence of the Father, said, oh, I say you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to Peter, thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church. And there are millions of people that believe the rock is Peter.

And that will happen if you preach from a Latin text or an English text. What Jesus is doing is making a wonderful pun in the Greek language. Thou art Petrus.

That's a little pebble. And then Jesus says, but upon this, and he changes the word to Petra, thou art Petrus, but upon this Petra, this bedrock, this large boulder, I will build my church. It is the rock who is Christ.

It is the truth of Christ's deity. And upon that truth, he will build his church. Will he build it on the mere pebble of a man?

No. He will build it upon the large rock who is Jesus Christ. He said, I will build my church, ecclesia. I will build my called out ones, same root for election. I will build out the ones, I will build it of those whom I have chosen. And the gates of hell will never overcome that assembly of elect ones. Maybe you say, as I have ended my sermon for several weeks, well, am I one of the elect? It seems that I am often overwhelmed.

Let me ask you a question. Are you stumbling over the cross of Christ? Is his death and resurrection, his sovereignty and deity foolishness to you? Or instead of stumbling over him, you have been humbled by him, and now you stand upon him. If you stand upon this rock, who is our Lord, Paul gives you a promise in the last phrase of this great chapter. He who believes in him will not be disappointed, will not be ashamed.

This verb is in the future tense. It's a reference to the day when we stand before him. We will not be disappointed in our Redeemer. We will not be ashamed by our Redeemer in that day, which is yet to come.

Why? Because we have run to the rock and have found in him deliverance. And one day without the distraction of sin and the imperfections of mind and spirit, we will sing the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We who were not a people but are now a people.

We would not receive mercy, but now receive mercy. And we will sing then and we sing imperfect, frail children of God. Even now, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.

I dare not trust the sweetest frame. I wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock I stand.

All other ground is sinking sand. I hope that doxology is your doxology and that you'll live each day in pursuit of bringing glory to God. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. You can learn more about us if you visit our website, which is wisdomonline.org. You'll be able to access the complete library of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry.

That would include the full-length sermons of the series that Stephen completed today from Romans 11. It's called The Future of Israel. Once again, that's wisdomonline.org, and I encourage you to visit there often. Tune in next time for more Wisdom for the Hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-15 20:24:32 / 2022-11-15 20:34:39 / 10

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