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October 18, 2022 12:00 am
Throughout the ages Christianity has inspired many ill feelings in its adversaries, such as hatred, persecution, anger, and contempt. But this seems ordinary enough, given Christ’s promise that “all who desire to live godly in the world will suffer persecution.” In this message, however, Stephen discusses an ill feeling which Christianity is inciting that isn’t quite so ordinary. It’s neither anger nor contempt . . . but envy!
When it comes to the salvation of your soul.
It's critical that you're relying on the correct source of truth.
You read this verse when your mind is one of my questions and you merely want to say that's not fair. That's exactly Paul knowing Cesar goes on in verse 14 a site. There is no injustice with God is there and I was you're not saying or suggesting that God is in fair are you, but I want you to know that I would rather have a God who provokes a thousand questions then the imaginary God of our generation verily provokes a man or a woman rejects the Bible's teaching on Jesus. What does that mean for the Jews. The Bible calls them God's chosen people are they Christianity has inspired many ill feelings in those who disagree with it. Today Stephen discusses an ill feeling people have toward the truth. It's not anger nor contempt it's envy. Stephen returns to Romans 11 and he's called this message green with envy. Let's get started right now JW toes wrote these very provocative words. He said if we were able to extract from any man an answer to the question what comes into your mind when you think about God, we would be able to predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man what you think about when you think about God, who is God to you. Your answer determines more about you than God, for God would never change based upon your own interpretation of who he is but some might say why bother with the study of God, another author, JI Packer warned his generation and ours, you disregard the study of God in you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded with no sense of direction you ignore the study of God and just go ahead and wander through life. Toes are added. This in his own writing to the believer, he adds this on top of wood. Packer said he says this to the Christian. If you would bring back spiritual power to your lives. You must begin to think of God more nearly as he is and how you think of God more nearly as he is you think of God more nearly as he is as you study what his word says he is for the word of God is not fiction. It is truth and of the devil getting it is the believe that is one a major victory. Of course worth the Bible is fiction. Not only is salvation. Anybody's guess whether there is a heaven or hell or moral absolutes are now a pretty question, but more importantly just to God is is now up to anybody and everybody is imagination. No wonder our generation particular stumble through life with no sense of direction and I say all that because were about to begin studying in a little closer detail a description of God that runs counter to the heart and the logic and reasoning of the normal human being or not the study who God is, in terms that may make us feel uncomfortable unless we believe it's truth and then our hearts will be filled certainly with questions but with the soaring through means of this incredible truth of the theme of Romans chapter 9. In a word is sovereignty you want to write that summer at the heading of your chapter the sovereignty of God, no other nation Israel is the subject matter. As Paul talks about their past. In chapter 9. In the present. In chapter 10 in the future. In chapter 11. When you study this chapter you see between the lines and even boldly stated that the subject matter is the sovereignty of God. Now I say I believe in the sovereignty of God. I'm sort of preaching the card out many in here would say I don't believe in the sovereignty of God. But let me be a little more specific. The theme of Romans chapter 9 is the sovereignty of God in election and I have your attention now in this section, Paul will describe who God is, with statements on the one hand, it seemed very troubling. In fact, somewhat shocking and on the other hand, when you believe it, it is reassuring that God is sovereign in everything.
Certainly in the matter and the prescription of redemption will pull will do here in this paragraph beginning with verse six and Romans nine, which is where we left off is described God's sovereignty with two illustrations from Israel's past history first God's sovereignty will be seen in the supernatural conception of Isaac, and secondly, God's sovereignty will be seen in the sovereign election of Jacob. If you have your Bibles. Let's begin in chapter 9 with verse six, but it is not as though the word of God is failed, for they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel, neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendents, but through Isaac your descendents will be named. That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God but the children of the promise are regarded as descendents for this is the word of promise at this time I will, and Sarah shall have a son and not only this, but there was Rebecca. Also when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad in order that God's purpose according to his choice might stand, not because of works but because of him who calls. It was said to her, the older will serve the younger.
Just as it is written, Jacob I love, but Esau I hated back at the beginning of this paragraph, Paul begins by saying it is not as though the word of God is failed literally fallen or fallen apart. That is just because the nation of Israel has rejected the Messiah. That doesn't mean the word of God regarding the nation Israel has failed and he reminds them in the next verse that all Israel are true Israel is not necessarily those who descended from Abraham and we've already spent a lot of time studying that police remind you what Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 3 verse 29.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring errors. According to promise. The promise now all Israel did believe did they in fact the nation at large rejected Christ only if you believe that first so does this mean then that the promise of calling the nation to himself that that somehow failed what Paul will do here is he will take from their own history, proving through illustrations that while all of the nation did not believe that God was electing from within the nation.
Some who would and they are the true Israel. They are the true Israelite sons and daughters of God by faith in him just as Abraham believed by faith was justified. Paul goes all the way back to the beginning of the nation Israel to show the God was sovereign in his choosing and that his purpose has not failed, so he begins here in this paragraph by mentioning, of course, Abraham, the Jews knew their history.
They would know from knowing their own history that Abraham did not seek God.
God sought after Abraham. Abraham was a member of a pagan idolatrous family. Not one shred this adorable light but God sought Abraham giving him light whereby he would believe.
And since the call of Abraham is recorded in Genesis chapter 12, every Jew reading this letter called Romans would have to confess that Jewish history began with God's choosing of Abraham, the nation began by the election of this one named Abraham and then Paul moves in this paragraph to mention Isaac, the son of Abraham and if that is the truth of God sovereign power. Nothing is verse nine for this is a word of promise at this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son. The nation of Israel could never ignore or deny that special called mandate Abraham would never have gotten any further fact, he would've convoluted distorting the promise through one will do as we'll see in a minute unless God had sovereignly brought life as it were to be in the womb of a woman who was well past childbearing age.
The conception of Isaac occurred in spite of physical possibilities Genesis tells us she was barren. Chapter 11 verse 30 Moses also tells us that she's past the age of childbearing. Chapter 18 verse 11 and then on top of that chapter 17 verse 17 tells us she was 90 years of age. She conceives and bears a son. Why, because God made a promise.
God promised in God is sovereignly capable of fulfilling his promise without help, as it were of mankind, but even more than that. Is this point, the conception of Isaac occurred in spite of physical possibilities. First of all, but secondly, in spite of faithless attitude go back in that story for a minute showing Genesis turn their Genesis chapter 16 and while your attorney let me set the stage. It's been at least 10 years since God made the promise to Abraham that his descendents would outnumber the stars.
You can only imagine Abram sense of anticipation fact his name Abram means illustrious father proud father exalted father, you can imagine people introducing themselves to Abram and asking of him his own name in Hebrew names would be very significant. They would be articulating in effect what the person was or what the person dinner with person Ava known they would ask him what is your name and he would say, will my name is Abram illustrious father and they would say oh you must be a very proud father of a child or children and Abram might hang his head and kick the dirt and say well not only children but then he that I believe the word yet many children yet what you mean yet well because God has promised at least one child who, by the time you reach chapter 16 of Genesis. I think Abram stopped saying yet you and say it anymore. I don't think he is filled with doubt. And so is his wife. As we'll see in a minute where you doubt the sovereignty of God. It won't be long before you trust the sovereignty of you. You failed to trust the power of God and that means you will trust the power of you as we go through the story I want to pull out some practical things that occur whenever anyone of us regarding anything in life takes matter in our own hands and the first thing I want you to notice is that you will begin to rationalize your resentment of God's will look at verse one. Genesis 16 necessarily Abram's wife and bore no children and she had an Egyptian made his name was Hagar sister. I said to Abram. Now, behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. In other words, it's all his fault. Look what he's doing in my life. Please go into my made perhaps I shall obtain children through her and Abram listen to the voice of Sarah.
I and after Abram would live 10 years in the land of Canaan. Abram's wife Sarah took Hagar the Egyptian mermaid and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife and went into Hagar and she conceived, and when she saw that she'd conceive her mistress was despised in her side and you have to think as you read this record at this very .0 man, the nation chosen by God that will convert the lines of Abram is already corrupted. It will indeed be followed to parks and did you notice how Sarah begins back in verse two behold, the Lord is prevented me from bearing children theologically, in a sense she's right, but her bitterness and her resentment is not from a human perspective. Shirley conception may be viewed as an accident or difficulty or a travesty or a tragedy but it cannot happen without God's sovereign purpose to bring about a life that will never ever for conception to occur requires the purpose of God means that for it not to occur also requires the purpose of God and we spend all of our time and attention on the medical or physical conditions which may seem to be the primary cause but behind those conditions which God may allow three signs to repair. But those are not primary behind it is a sovereign primary cause who is God, rather than trust in the purpose of the sovereign God and promised ceramide turns bitter and resentful toward God and she says, in effect, God is ruining my life. God is messing up my life.
God is in the way of what I want what's were she takes matters into her own hands and decides that another wife who can bear a child would be better than one who cannot, and I imagine behind the scenes, the enemy of this nation that will be is wringing his hands with glee. He will now have an opportunity to corrupt the nation.
He can now bring about the falling apart of the nation that many might even believe now in Paul's day. By the way, you can tell when you're taking matters into your own hands when you refuse a live by God's boundaries and God's parameters of God's prohibition and wait for God's purposes. Sarah hi says God isn't coming through. It's time to institute plan B which is nothing more or less than rebellion with with rather spiritual sounding word. Maybe you know somebody that's doing that very kind of thing. Using our spiritual vocabulary to do nothing more than justify their sin. God won't mind or God made me with needs and I meeting my needs and God wants me to be happy happy Sarah uses spiritual words but she's actually acting out of rebellion against God. She gives ungodly advice to her husband who fails to maintain the standard of godliness as her Shepherd and he follows along verse four tells us he went into Hagar and she can see in the know what happens when she saw that she conceived her mistress was despised in her side. Now they hate each other. You take matters into your own hands and you not only rationalize your resentment but you ruin. Second of all, personal relationship, just wait and see at least three relationships will be profoundly affected. Here between Sarah and Hagar you have this bitter rivalry between their sons Shamil who is the father as it were of modern Arab nations, and Isaac, the father of the Jewish nation and the descendents of those two boys are still fighting still in the news thousands of years later, were watching them fight over the same piece of property. They both claim Abraham as their father and are both right. You have this bitter feud in this hatred, which can only be explained in terms of what you read in Scripture.
Even the relationship between Sarah and Abraham suffer look at verse five, Sarah says, though Abram made the wrong Don, me, be upon you and that great Abram. It's it's all your fault that Inouye was. She knew it was wrong. He knew it was wrong. Hagar knew they were both wrong and Ishmael will never get over how wrong they were.
We have every reason to believe that the nation Israel will never make it to first base unless God is so by the way, there's one more thing that happens when we take matters into our own hands with Emily rationalize our rebellion and ruin relationships, but we refuse to believe God's reassurances look over it at verse five of chapter 17. Here God comes now to reassure Abram and he says to him, listen, Abram no longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be called Abraham Fry will make you the father of a multitude of nations.
That's what Abraham means he went from being illustrious father of the one or more children to now being called Abraham, which means father of multitude.
Imagine introducing yourself now father and they soon this would've been reassuring had Abram follow the prescription of God. But now he can even believe God's reassurances. Look at verse 15 the same chapter God said, Abraham, as for Sarah your wife. You shall not call her name Sarah hi but Sarah shall be your name. That means princes and overseas royalty know why because he goes on to say kings of peoples shall come from her then Abram fell on his face and worship God. No and laughed. Can you imagine having an audience with God and God tells you something in your so far removed from obeying him that your responses. You laugh if you look over chapter 18 verse 13 he discovers Sarah's laughing to God says to Abraham in verse 13. What is Sarah laughed saying shall I indeed bear a child when I'm sold and listen to this, you will underline this of it already is anything too difficult for the Lord is the point see a problem. Abraham is you don't understand who God is, you don't understand sovereignty sovereignty has to do with effective conception doesn't occur and it has to do with the fact that conception does occur see my friends, God was bringing Abraham and Sarah past childbearing age. He was moving them beyond what they could figure out he was moving them beyond the norm so they could never take credit for the beginning of this nation ever making it even to the second generation, it would be clear that his power and his might and his sovereign purpose over the affairs of mankind would rule the day, and God will manifest his sovereign even in the nursery. Even there he determines conception, he determines a life that will be born. He determines the kind of person that that baby will be. He determines the physical makeup of that child knit together in the womb.
He determines the timing of that birth degeneration, the family, the nation where the child will be born and raised.
Which means when you understand this and you believe this means he chose you to be born. He made you he put you together. He chose you to be born in this generation. At this time in this place that's in verse 14 of this chapter. At the appointed time on the return to you this time next year. Sarah's going to have a son. Does that mean that Abraham and Sarah will have to be able to get together physically with her be no egg, no sperm certainly were there not nine months of growth. All of that would occur yes to all of that, but these though we look at them as primary issues. These are secondary issues in the primary cause is God. Paul says back in Romans nine go back there. He says the very fact that this nation exists. This child was born.
This inconceivable conception you can imagine that irony occurred and even though Ishmael was Abraham's firstborn son Isaac would be the one chosen by God back in Romans nine, Paul anticipated the Jewish we are saying will you know would be a difficult choice. This isn't hard.
We can understand God's election.
Ishmael is the pureblood.
He is the son of an Egyptian mother and a ram is obviously God would choose Isaac and Paul effects as I need say that and so want to give you another illustration. Verse 10.
Not only this, but there was Rebecca.
Also when she had conceived twin by one man, our father Isaac, now you've got an interesting situation here. One thing for God to elect Isaac over Ishmael. But now you've got twins. It could be double trouble right they have the same Jewish parents.
Both are pureblood in June.
God will make a choice and his choice is dramatic for at least three reasons. Number one he chooses the second born twin towers he goes against the norm. You have the inheritance and the passing of the right and the blessing of the firstborn got to circumvent that and it's his way of saying I am the one in control.
Second of all the choices made before they are even born. Paul specifically states that this was all done for the God's electing purpose might be irrefutably known and taught. Thirdly, the choices made independent of merits one done brought me a better boy than the other one factor both, run if you study their lives. Jacobs election occurred before his birth, and it will occur. In spite of his behavior while he came up to Charles Spurgeon and preached on this text hundred 50 years ago.
She said I don't understand. I got to say hey to Nissan. Spurgeon responded by saying that I find it more difficult to understand how you can say a lot.
Jacob, from what I know Jacob Jacob have I loved, or this context chosen, but Esau I have hated in this context rejected does not raise a thousand questions.
He bedded us, but I want to know that I would rather have a God taken at face value. In the Scriptures who provokes a thousand questions then the imaginary God of our generation who barely provokes a yawn you read this verse in your mind is flooded like my with questions and you immediately want to say that's not fair. That's exactly Paul knew we'd say, so goes on in verse 14 a, say there is no injustice with God is there and I were due not saying or suggesting that God is in fair are you may never be to give you at least two thoughts in closing about the subject from one to say the same thing two different ways talk of election usually focuses on the negative, we merely run all the questions will never be able answer when it was intended by God to be reassuring is why Paul is using it here. He wants to reassure those who will believe that God's promises. Evan failed even though the nation Israel has rejected Jesus Christ. God knew that God is calling out true Israel from among the nation of Israel who will believe. Second of all the negative questions about election often plan out the amazing implications of this wonderful Dr. like these will be same again with different words. You are here on planet Earth today by God to point you significant that is not that says about you and what it says about God's thoughts concerning you, you were born into your family and into your generation by his timing. You were put together with strengths and weaknesses to glorify God's grace and sufficiency. You are even now under God's determines plan of training and pruning and conforming.
He's in charge of that to ask and just follow his sovereign don't take matters into your own hands. No matter what you're facing the matter where you are, no matter how you failed.
There is a widow in our assembly, a widow of many years a woman greatly used by God. Brilliant earned doctorates a great teacher. She was married to a man who was a scholar as well and author, an influential leader and she has been his widow now for several decades. Every time I see her and now that the church is grown larger. It is not as often as I like. I asked her how's it going and without fail shall look up at me right in my eyes smile and say God is on the throne. God is on the throne. We will never answer all of the questions as we plow our way through chapter 9 you have fun trying. And it may irritate you to know when but let me leave you with this is God who is described in this book as a sovereign king. We echo from the book of Job. These words can you discover the depths of God can use to discover the limits of the Almighty.
They are as high as the heavens. What can you do one thing we can believe this description of God and say in our hearts with our lives with our wills.
God is on the throne. I hope the words and the example of your life caused people to want what you have today.
You're listening to Stephen Davies here on wisdom for the heart.
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