经文：罗马书 romans 9:1-13
[Romans 9:1] I speak the truth in Christ - I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit -
[Romans 9:2] I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart
[Romans 9:3] For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race
[Romans 9:4] the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises
[Romans 9:5] Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen
[Romans 9:6] It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel
[Romans 9:7] Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.
[Romans 9:8] In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring
[Romans 9:9] For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.
[Romans 9:10] Not only that, but Rebekah's children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac
[Romans 9:11] Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand
[Romans 9:12] not by works but by him who calls - she was told, "The older will serve the younger.
[Romans 9:13] Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
Dear brothers and sisters at Haidian Church, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus. I have the privilege of sharing with you God's Word from Romans chapter 9 and I'd invite you to turn in your Bibles to Romans 9 and as you turn let me just ask you:
- if you have been disappointed with God?
- Has he let you down?
- Have your prayers not been answered?
- Was there something you expected God to do that he did not do? someone you wished would have been healed, someone you wish would have been saved, someone you expected a provision and blessing for?
Well I have had that experience, in fact I've been a Christian for over 40 years and there have been members of my family that I'm praying for all those years who still are not following Jesus. And I ask you that because as we step into Romans chapter 9 those are thoughts on the heart of the Apostle Paul. I'm sure you know how great this letter of Romans is, the first 8 chapters are the most wonderful and detailed description of Salvation in any book of the Bible.
- Romans 8:1 “there is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
- Romans 8:39 “nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And as we turn to Romans chapter 9 Paul is asking a big question in chapters 9 through 11:
- What about my people?
- What about the Jewish people who for the most part did not receive Jesus as their Messiah?
[ Reading Scripture : Romans 9:1-13 ]
Romans 9 1. I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
[ Opening Prayer: ]
And now our dear God and Father as we open the Bible here to listen to your voice, may you graciously and kindly speak to us that we would hear from you and be blessed. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Paul thinks something is missing more specifically some one is missing,
- Verse 3: “my brothers those of my own race, the people of Israel.”
- “the gospel…the power of God…first for the Jew” Romans 1.16
But now Paul wonders has the covenant of God, the Israel of God failed? And as Paul reflects on this important question perhaps you are wondering what is God doing in your life? Here you are fearing a virus stuck in your room, not able to go out, not able to do your job, not able to experience the life of your church, so many things seem to be flying out of control. Where is God at this moment?
Well, Paul also wondered where was God for his people, the people of Israel. And as he does this remember that it's personal for Paul he himself is a man from Israel, he's a Jew, indeed he's a Pharisee. And he himself wants his people Israel to come to know the Lord.
He's also a pastor. He realizes that the Roman Church has become fractured between Jew and Gentile, and he wants the Christians - Jew and Gentile believing in Jesus to be united.
- “Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.” Romans 14.13
In fact Paul is realizing that it's the people of God that he wants to unite together.
“It is all very well to affirm that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ. But can we believe that if many Jews, who as a people have preceded us in the long biblical plan of salvation, have been abandoned by God and are lost?”
And so Paul is crying out for his kinsmen and this message has three main points.
1. Concern for our Kinsmen
- Results from Conversion
First of all we see Paul's concern for his kinsmen, for his own people. Paul is concerned for his people and that concern first of all came as a result of his own salvation. When he met Jesus, the first thing he wanted was for his own people to also meet Jesus. That's how it the gospel works, isn't it? That when we meet the Lord we want our family
members our friends our loved ones our neighbors our colleagues to understand the love that God has for them too. And you see it there in Paul's affirmation:
- verse 1 “I speak the truth in Christ I'm not lying my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit.”
Paul wants all people especially his own people to know the Lord.
b. Retains His Culture
The second thing we can see about Paul's concern for his kinsmen and that is he'll retain his own culture.
- verse 3 “my brothers those of my own race the people of Israel.”
Joining the Christian family does not break your ties with your family or your culture or your nationality, Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles but he was also a son of Israel. In fact you don't lose your cultural or national identity to become a Christian, indeed you've perfected your cultural identity, you're all that God may you and redeemed you to be. one African scholar wrote:
And that's true for all of our cultures: God created us with all of our diversity and uniqueness, and Christ redeems us in that diversity and uniqueness. He makes us a new creation in him, and so we'll stand together as redeemed trophies from all of our homogeneous from all of our culture's not homogenized, but rather distinctly identifiable. And as John saw the vision and revelation:
- “and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb” Revelation 7.9
c. Reacts with Compassion
And Paul as he thinks about his kinsmen reacts with great compassion. Jesus had warned:
- “a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.” Matthew 10.36
In fact Paul understood that only too well. He was as he describes himself:
- “5 times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. 3 times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned…in danger from my own countrymen” 2 Corinthians 11.24
- v. 2 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers”
You see, he suffers the hands of his own people much like Moses was rejected by the people of Israel. So Paul was rejected by his kinsmen but as Martin Luther wrote: “It seems incredible that a man would desire to be damned, in order that the damned might be saved.” That was the heart of Paul. He says I wish I could go to hell so my people could go to heaven
d. Rejoices in God’s Kindness
He rejoices over the kindness of God to them.
- vs. 4,5 Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Theirs as the receiving of law that was written by the very finger of God on tablets of
Stone, theirs as the temple worship with its priesthood and sacrifice and holiness and the promises, that one day the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent the kindness of God would never leave the tribe of Judah. The prophet greater than Moses would come, the King would sit on David's throne. So all the promises of God are found in Christ so God is working. And Paul sees his great love for them. James Boice asked:
- “Do you sorrow for those who do not know Jesus Christ and who are therefore perishing without him? I am afraid that most of us do not. Why is that? It is because we do not believe that they are perishing? Because we do not believe the gospel? Probably it is because we are not very much like Jesus Christ, do not spend much time with him, and do not think of spiritual things much at all” James Boice
2. Confidence in God’s Promises
The second thing we see in this text is that Paul had confidence in God's promises. He realized that many in Israel had rejected the Messiah, but he realized also that God worked God's Word had not failed.
- God has a Plan
- v. 6 “It is not as though God's word had failed”
- v. 11 God's purpose in election might stand
God was doing exactly what he said he would do. He was fulfilling the plan all the way from the beginning of time. Now it doesn't mean will completely understand His plan.
- Why did God do some of the unique things that he did?
- Why did Jesus come 2,000 years ago and why not today?
- Why do Israel and not to China?
- Why 12 apostles not 200?
We don't know a lot of the answers to those questions, but we know that God perfectly has a plan.
- God has a People
- v. 6 “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” In other words God's people are from within the Covenant of Israel.
- v. 8 it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.
John the Apostle says He came into his own but
- “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.” John 1.12,13
So God has a people, in fact there are shocking words:
- v. 13 “Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
How do we understand this? Well, we understand it because God has a chosen people. Esau:
- by ancestry was a descendant of Abraham,
- by birthright he was the firstborn,
- by religious symbolism he was circumcised,
- by cultural position he was a covenant member,
- by societal status he was rich and powerful.
But Hebrews says when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind that we sought the blessing with tears.
- God’s Plan is Sovereign
- v. 12 “not by works but by him who calls”
- v. 11 “before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad”
- v. 16 “It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.”
That's what the Bible teaches:
- “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4.19
- “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him….All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away….No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Matthew 11.27, John 6.37,44
- “If we were responsible for our own salvation, either in whole or in part, we would be justified in singing our own praises and blowing our own trumpet in heaven. But such a thing is inconceivable. God’s redeemed people will spend eternity worshipping him, humbling themselves before him in grateful adoration, ascribing their salvation to him and to the Lamb, and acknowledging that he alone is worthy to receive all praise, honor and glory. Why? Because our salvation is due entirely to his grace, will, initiative, wisdom, and power.” John Stott
- “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory” Psalm 115.1
As soon as we think God owes us something or that he must do something. We will rob him of his glory.
3. Comfort in God’s Mercy
So Paul is concerned for his own kinsmen, but he thirdly finds comfort in God's mercy. In fact this teaching of Romans 9 should make us glorify and praise God. Paul asks:
- v. 14 “What then shall we say? Is God unjust?
And he shouts the strongest denial possible: “not at all.” If there were injustice in God the universe would fly apart.
- There are different ways of answering God back. There is the answering back of faith, as when Job or Jeremiah calls out for an account of God’s mysterious ways with him. Even the Christ on the cross could cry, ‘why hast thou forsaken me?’ But when the man or woman of faith cries out like this, it is from a fundamental conviction that God is all-righteous as well as all powerful. There is, on the other hand, the answering back of unbelief and disobedience, when an attempt is made to put God in the (courtroom) dock and sit in judgment on him.” F.F. Bruce
- Justice demands what we Deserve
So Paul asks the question about judgment. The answer is “mercy”. God gives mercy not judgment. You see, judgment or justice demands what we deserve. If we ask God for justice, we'd be in great trouble. In fact justice would send us to hell, that's what we
deserve from God.
b. If Anyone will be Saved it will be by Mercy
Thankfully what God wants to do and does do in Christ is give us mercy.
- v. 18 “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy
Mercy is that totally undeserved love that has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God the giver. Mercy grants heaven to those who deserve hell. And so we see in the gospel:
- “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3. 22
If God saved based on something in us like our faith or our family or our works then that would be unjust, because not all people have the same opportunities,
c. If God saved based on something in us – faith, family life, works – it would be Unjust, because not all people have the same opportunities,
and indeed our faith and our family and our works are there not perfect anyway, but indeed to those who have nothing to offer God like me and like you God offers mercy. Then you might say:
- Shouldn’t God show mercy to everyone?
- Why doesn’t God show mercy to everyone?
That's the question of heaven:
- Why do I go and others don't?
- Why did some receive the gospel and others didn't?
That's the mystery, that's why we forever praise Him if he's opened our hearts, how thankful we are for what he's done. But that also means that we should take the opportunity we now have to share that gospel with everyone. Let them hear the good news that we've heard so that they too will come to the saving knowledge of Christ. That's the wonderful thing about the gospel and the mystery of the gospel.
Moses said in Deuteronomy:
- “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29.29
Paul in Romans 11 ends the chapter saying:
- Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11.33-36
Heaven will last forever and will always be learning and worshipping and praising just how great God is. Perhaps you felt disappointed in the things that have not happened but somebody has written:
Disappointment, His Appointment
Change one letter and I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better plan for me
His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise
For the end from the beginning
Open to God’s Wisdom lies
[ Prayer ]
May God bless you as you find your understanding of life in the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Father bless Your Word and Your people for the Honor of Your Name. Amen.