Friday, October 19, 2007

God’s Mercy to Israel

Romans 11:1-12

Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Has God Abandoned His People?

A. History poses awkward questions about the people of God and how they relate to God. “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” (Romans 11:1)

B. To suggest God has rejected His chosen people is to frame the question improperly. “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,” (Romans 11:2)

C. Elijah was convinced that Israel had abandoned the faith and that all hope was lost, but God was still doing a mighty work. “Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” (Romans 11:3)

D. God sees from a different perspective; only He can know if indeed all is lost. “But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.” (Romans 11:4) “For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)” (1 Kings 18:4)

E. God preserves His remnant; the pattern occurs in every period of redemptive history: Isaac—not Ishmael; Jerusalem—not Samaria; Ezra—not Babylon. “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Romans 11:5) “The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.” (Isaiah 10:21-22)

F. At every level across the sweep of history the determining factor is grace; salvation is by grace--not by status, effort, or any other human asset. “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

II. No, God Removes What Restrains Grace

A. Election and grace are inseparable; any other doctrine blinds people to God’s mercy. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Romans 11:7)

1. Grace only functions God’s way. “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:” (Proverbs 1:28) “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24)

2. The benefits of grace only come by grace; God is not some force of nature which can be harnessed and manipulated. “For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Hebrews 12:17)

B. When people move away from God, He gives them what they seek; the process anesthetizes people to what they are doing. “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” (Romans 11:8)

C. Any medicine becomes a poison when it is misused. “And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” (Romans 11:9-10) “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.” (Psalms 69:22-23)

III. Providence Works for Good in All Things

A. The tragic developments in redemptive history provoke great advances in salvation. “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11:11)

B. The depth of the problem points to the height of the eventual triumph. “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” (Romans 11:12)

C. The fall of old Jerusalem opened the way for the spread of the gospel to all people; the intensely Jewish Paul became the developer of the mission to the Gentiles. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” (Ephesians 3:8)

2007-10-21 AM Come and See.mp3

Come and See

Psalm 66:1-20; Colossians 3:1-25 / Psalm 11:1-7

I. Invite People to God

A. Honor God out loud so everyone knows; make it obvious to everyone. “To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” (Psalm 66:1-2)

B. Invite the world to come and see what God, has done; it will be scary for some people. “Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.” (Psalm 66:5)

C. When people understand and find peace in God they want to share what they have found. “The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” (John 1:43-46)

II. What Will People Find When They Come and See?

A. God does wondrous things; the humanly impossible never stops God. “He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him.” (Psalm 66:6 )

B. God settles large accounts across the sweep of history. “He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.” (Psalm 66:7)

C. Jesus knows people better than they know themselves. “Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.” (John 1:47-49)

D. People will not find what tantalizes the world. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:2-3 )

E. Christ brings comfort and consolation to the dark places of our hearts. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4)

F. Christ overcomes the penalties of sin in both body and soul. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

G. Jesus willingly does what sinful people cannot do for themselves. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:6-7)

III. Be Personal and Specific

A. Give a testimony. “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” (Psalm 66:16)

B. Teach the next generation. “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” (Psalm 34:11)

C. Publish the story of God’s mighty works and wonders; circulate the testimonies throughout the family of God. “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16)

D. Organize life around the study of God. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

E. Believers have received mercy that they might become instruments of mercy. “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

F. Make the invitation personal. “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” (Psalm 66:16)

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