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God's plan for Israel
Romans 9-11

Key background passages: Genesis 12:1-3, Jeremiah 31, Zechariah 13-14

This morning, as a preface to our study of Romans 9-11 I would like to draw your attention to an error that has existed in parts of the church for the last 1900 years- An error propagated by those who are called the church fathers- Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius, Chrysostom, Augustine- and then later by Martin Luther and many others (all the ones I mentioned were openly hostile to those who were of Jewish origin, saying the most hateful things of them and even in some cases inciting violence against those who were Jewish- most particularly -- Martin Luther-- who advocated the burning of synagogues, the destruction of their homes, incarceration, the banning of travel, the threat of death to any rabbi who teaches the faith, and the confiscation of their valuables. All this Hitler did.)

The error, known as Replacement Theology, asserts that Israel has been replaced by the Church and that the Jewish people are no longer a "chosen people". Furthermore, it is wrongly taught that the promises and blessings made by God to Israel have now been given to the Church. Some Gentile Christians even refer to themselves as true Jews (based on taking Romans 2:28 out of context)

The Book of Romans as whole and more particularly Romans 9-11 pointedly refutes this persistent error while affirming that God's Salvation plans and promises as it regards those who are of Jewish descent are still in effect and being worked out.

One more thing before we dive into Romans 9-11.

The big message of the Book of Romans that "righteousness" (right standing) and peace with God is by faith in Christ alone is oft repeated in Romans 9-11
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The key verses of the book of Romans are Romans 1:16- 17 which say; "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Application: If you are not a follower of Christ and want peace with God, stop trying by your own strength to please him, heed his call, confess your sin and put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord- and then, live for Him.


I. GOD'S PLAN FOR ISRAEL: PAUL'S HEARTBREAK Romans 9:1-5 read

"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, my own kinsmen, 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."

-Paul was a Jew, a first century rabbi who turned to Christ as Savior and Lord
-Though he founded many churches throughout the Roman Empire (comprised mostly of Gentiles but not exclusively) he always sought out his fellow Jews, seeking to convince them that Jesus was the Messiah and Savior, God in the flesh
-Note Paul's grief and how visceral and real it was! v.2, 3
-Herein Paul affirms the incredible advantages those who are Jewish have, while mourning their hard heartedness and refusal to turn and follow Christ who Paul clearly identifies as God***** Note how Jesus the Messiah is call "God over all" v.5

In what follows in Romans 9, Paul explains why his Jewish brethren had not turned to Christ. While Paul's explanation (which has to do with the Sovereignty of God and His electing purposes) is a bit complex and not everyone likes what he- by the Spirit of God- has to say Paul nonetheless takes us "behind the curtain" and explains some of the workings of God as it regards salvation and of his plans- plans to bring salvation to the Jews and the world (see Romans 1:16-17 which traces back to Genesis 12:1-3).

A critical thing to note: Paul affirms the main theme of Romans- that righteousness (right standing) and salvation is obtained by faith- this contrasts with Paul's Jewish brethren who were seeking right standing with God by their attempts to obey the Law.

Romans 9:30-31 "What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal"

AGAIN: If you want to be at peace with God, it must be on His terms and by His way- that being through faith in Christ- as Savior and Lord.

II. GOD'S PLAN FOR ISRAEL: PAUL'S FERVENT DESIRE Romans 10:1-4

"Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

While Paul's heart was broken by his kinsmen's persistent and hostile rejection of Christ, he had not given up hope for their salvation. His deep and fervent desire was that his kinsmen, his fellow Israelites might be saved, that they might stop relying on their efforts to get right with God (to be righteous), but rather turn to Christ - he who perfectly kept the law and then died as a once for all sacrifice in our place, taking the punishment we deserve for breaking the law, that we might have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

A neat thing: In the balance of Romans 10 Paul speaks of how important it is for the Word and Gospel truth to be declared to both Jew and Gentile- that they might be saved.

As Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15 "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

A couple of thoughts

a. When you fervently desire something what does that mean? It means its in your heart all the time and you are working for it.

The salvation of our neighbors, our children, our families, those around us, is to be forever driving us.

b. Zeal without knowledge is always a dangerous thing

While those who are not the followers of Christ regard this as an arrogant statement, zeal without knowledge applies to every other religion of this world -to those who are Mormon, Jehovah's witnesses, Muslim, Judaism, Hindu, Buddhist, you name the religion, what Paul says applies.

The truth is what we are to be zealous for.

Jesus said "I am the way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me" John 14:6.

c. God's Word is truth. We are called to present the truth of God's Word in a persistent and loving manner to others with this promise "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" Romans 10:13


III. GOD'S PLAN FOR ISRAEL: PAUL'S CONFIDENT HOPE Romans 11:1-6

"I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? 4 And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace."

Note what Paul says of Israel and his promises to her in v.1 "Did God reject his people?" By no means!"

Note also what v.5 says!!! This remnant will no doubt be bigger than what we imagine (see in relation to Elijah)

God's promises to national Israel, to those of Jewish descent (of Jacob) -promises regarding the land of Israel (restoration- which happened in 1948 after 1900 years of having no homeland) and salvation in Christ for those of God's choosing- are still in motion, are still in effect, are still being worked out.

To back this up, Paul says in Romans 11:11-12 "Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

How we who are Gentile believers fit in: Paul's illustration of the olive tree, teaching that we who are Gentiles - who have embraced Christ as Savior and Lord and who are co- heirs of the promises of God- are like a wild olive shoot that has been grafted in to the tree. The Jews, being described as the natural branches -broken off because of unbelief- (the first recipients of the promises of God),have the opportunity to be grafted back in again -if only they would put their faith in Christ. Hence we should not be arrogant!


NOTE PAUL'S FINAL WORD - before he breaks into praise- AS IT REGARDS HIS HOPE FOR ISRAEL Romans 11:25-32

These are words directed to us who are Gentile believers

"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29
for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all

When will the remnant be saved? When will God's promise see its fulfillment?

I don't know exactly, but we have seen this- The nation of Israel restored after 1900 years of dispersion, many Jewish missions started- aimed at the conversion of Jews to Christ, the prophecies of God continue to unfold just as He says they will. For more info on the promises of God as it regards Israel (just for starters): Read Jeremiah 31, Read Zechariah 13-14,

A BIG POINT FOR ALL OF US: GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS PROMISES! TRUST HIM!


CONCLUSION

-The Church has NOT replaced Israel.
-The promises God made to national Israel, those who are Jewish by descent, are still in effect
-To all people in this call: If you want to have peace with God- put put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord
-We have a mission: To present the Word of God and Christ, that people might have opportunity to put their faith in Jesus
-God always keeps His promises! His gifts and call are irrevocable
-For those of us who are Gentile followers of Christ we must always guard our hearts against anti-semitism (a virulent strain of which has been in the church for far too long) and remember what God said to Abraham- our father in the faith- in Genesis 12:1-3

"The Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."