Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Believers Do Not Cut and Run

Psalm 11

Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Life Can Look Hopeless

A. In times and on occasions when a believer should trust God, someone will suggest running a way; cowardice can masquerade as prudence. “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?” (Psalm 11:1)

1. The identifying mark of a believer is confidence in God; compared to God, human troublemakers are small concerns. “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.” (Psalm 56:11)

2. Believers know better than to measure resources the way the world does; God can resolve any problem in His own way. “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)

B. The wicked can seem powerful. “For, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.” (Psalm 11:2)

1. Though wicked people are clever, ultimately they do more damage to themselves than to God’s people. “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” (Psalm 10:2)

2. The most outstanding example of all is the plot to murder Jesus which turned out to be God’s means of redeeming sinners. “And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.” (Matthew 26:4)

C. Disaster and chaos challenge believers to reconsider their fundamental presuppositions. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

D. Believers are called for just such times. “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:12)

E. God’s ultimate foundation never fails. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Timothy 2:19)

II. God Remains in Charge

A. Nothing functions outside God’s kingdom; nothing gets past God. “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.” (Psalm 11:4) “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Psalm 2:4)

B. God constantly evaluates all which takes place. “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” (Psalm 11:5)

1. Christians benefit from trials and unbelievers lose everything when they are tried by God. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:7)

2. Unbelievers so misunderstand reality that they boast of the evidence which will be used against them in the court of eternity. “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.” (Psalm 10:3)

C. The all-seeing eye of God never winks. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

D. Where can a person hide from God? “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:24) “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” (Psalm 139:8)

III. Justice Will Come

A. The wicked will get what is coming to them as they did at Sodom and in Egypt. “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” (Psalm 11:6) “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;” (Genesis 19:24) “And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.” (Exodus 9:23-24)

B. The Lord loves the righteous. “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.” (Psalm 11:7) “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12)

2007-09-23 PM Wrath and Mercy - Romans 9 Part 2.mp3

Wrath and Mercy

Romans 9:19-10:4

Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Why Should People Try to Please God?

A. How do God’s final authority and man’s responsibility relate to each other? “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?” (Romans 9:19)

1. Some questions inherently insult God. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” (James 1:13)

2. Other questions do not relate to life; the answers do not relate to the present life and they will be obvious in their proper time. “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” (1 Corinthians 15:35)

B. The conundrum has obvious problems; the maker inherently has determining authority over what is made. “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20)

1. Some lines of thought lead to unsatisfactory results. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1)

2. God does not go out of His way to make the Christian life obscure. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)

C. In common experience the question answers itself automatically. “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21)

II. Take a Closer Look at What God Has Done

A. Evil serves the larger purpose of salvation and revelation; election displays the overcoming mercy of God. “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” (Romans 9:22-23)

B. Grace, not judgment is the astounding doctrine; from all kinds and categories of people, God has chosen a people to be redeemed. “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:24)

C. Hosea explained what God was doing. “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” (Romans 9:25) [Hosea = Hebrew / Osee = Greek]

D. Apart from any consideration of election, God always said only a remnant would enter eternity with God.Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” (Romans 9:27-28)

E. Only grace explains the salvation of anyone when all people deserve eternal damnation. “And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.” (Romans 9:29) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

III. Election Explains Grace

A. Since works inevitably and universally fails, only election leads to grace. “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;” (Romans 9:31-32)

B. Isaiah foreshadowed this insight and the implications for people who reject election. “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 9:33) “Therefore thus saith the Lord, even the Lord, Behold, I lay for the foundations of Sion a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations; and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed.” (Isaiah 28:16 LXX)

C. Paul reassured readers that he had no conflict with Israel and genuinely wanted these non-believers to be saved. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

D. Zeal is no substitute for knowledge of the truth. “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:2-3)

E. Christ and salvation by works can never fit together; Christ accomplished what only grace can. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)

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