Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Israel's Christ (Romans 9:4-5)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's hear God's word from Romans Nine, verses four and five. Here we come to the last of the things that Paul Mentions in this list, Christ himself, and I'm going to read from verse one and through a verse five. Let's hear God's word. I'm speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen. According to the flesh, they are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises. To Them Belong the Patriarchs, and from their race, according to the Flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen, you may be seated. I heard this phrase once. Maybe I read it on the title of a book. I'm not sure, but it essentially said your God is too small. If it's not the title of a book, it might be a good one. Your God is too small. It expresses something that's really true, and I think about it a lot because it's something that we all, including me, fall into. Even when we worship the true God, when we don't have our minds on any other God but the one true living God of the Bible,...

...we often do think of him a lot smaller than he is. We love him a lot less than he deserves. If you're not so sure about that, here's a test that you can apply to see if I'm talking not just about myself, but maybe about you too. Have you ever thought about your future, upcoming plans and and then only to realize, maybe even years later, maybe even in this moment right now, that in your thinking about your future and you're dreaming up your visions of how things will be, that God didn't have any part of it, not a background role, not a supervising role, not an immediate note role, just wasn't there. Have you ever thought about your future and where God wasn't replaced, but he just was absent? Have you ever doubted one of the attributes of God and the or maybe the extent of it? Maybe you've doubted the depth of his love or the fairness of his justice? Maybe he doesn't really know all things as he says. He does, or maybe even though he knows all things, his ability to do all things or to do all things well is limited in some way. If you have these kinds of thoughts, doubt about God, about his attributes, if you don't think of him and everything you do, perhaps your God, or the your conception of God, is too small. Have you ever tried to flee from God, to get away from him or the things that he's doing, or if you ever tried to control him, as though he was a statue that could be tucked under a tent or a bunch of clothes? Have you ever thought that God is unwilling to take care of you or unable to take care of you, or that he's got all things in his hands? I think we all have these thoughts and we all struggle...

...with our small conceptions of God. It's not that God has any fault in him. We often struggle in our faith because our faith is not really in God, and at least in God is he presents himself. But the good news is that our big God loves us and he push is back on these misconceptions and he pulls out the rug on them time and time again, and he loves to do this on Sundays when we come and we hear his word and he speaks to us from the Bible and he tells us I am not small. And when we say God, we are speaking, of course, of our triune God, Father, son and Holy Spirit. Here Paul has, in Romans nine, Jesus particularly in mind, the son of God, the second person of the Trinity, when he says to them belong the Patriarchs and from their race according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. He pushes back on this. When Jesus comes into the world and reveals God to us, when he casts out demons, when he walks on water, when he forgives sins and heals ailments and disfigurements, when he reaches into our hearts and knows them, we see that God, that Jesus, is not small, but indeed he is God and he is God over all. It reminds us of his greatness. And in this they are all kinds of implications, all kinds of ways, and I've hinted it some of them already. Some of the ways in which...

...we fail to conceive of God properly are corrected here. or at least should be corrected here, when we submit ourselves to his word, and there are a thousand others. God, who is as great as he is, has implications for every detail and area of our lives, and this is what our passage does. Today. I want to help us all grow our conception of who God is by focusing on these words that Paul uses when he talks about the Christ, who is God overall. But before we can talk about who is the Christ and understand we have to understand what is the Christ. Maybe that's not a question you've thought about very often, and it is a little odd to sounding, isn't it? What is Christ? WHAT IS THE CHRIST? It sounds a little odd because we know Jesus is the Christ and there is no other Christ, and his name in fact gets so associated with that title Christ that it almost becomes like his name, Jesus Christ, and he is use that way throughout throughout scripture. Who is Christ is the question people have been asking since Adam and Eve. Who is he going to be? WHO IS CHRIST? WHO IS THE CHRIST? But whenever we ask that question we're asking it beat with a particular understanding of the what in mind? What is Christ? So what is Christ? WHAT IS THE CHRIST? Well, Christaus is the Greek word for Messiah, which is a Hebrew word, and both these words Christ Messiah mean simply anointed. They mean anointed. Now that's an old testament concept, anointing. Anointing is an action where a person is marked as chosen, a person is marked as set apart for a particular purpose...

...and particularly unto God. So in the Old Testament, as you read, there's all kinds of things that are anointed. The furniture and various vessels in the temple, for example, were anointed. What does that mean? It means that they were chosen, they were marked out as being holy and specifically purpose to do something for the Lord and of the Lord. So this lamp stand is now not just any old lampstand, it is the lamp stand of God. It has been anointed. Right, it's not just things, but also people. Before the priests could serve as priests, we read that they had to be anointed, they had to be marked off as people that were particularly belonging to the Lord. Now, this was often done with oil, but it symbolized the work of the spirit of God be pouring out of the oil symbolize the pouring out of the spirit, and you get these concepts coming together, for example in Isaiah Sixty one one, where it says the spirit of the Lord Yahway is upon me, because Yahway has anointed me, God himself marking things and people off for his service. But among all the things and people that were marked off and set apart and anointed for this chosen, Holy Service of God, one thing, person stood above them. All other things were anointed, but one thing, the Christ, was the anointed, the anointed one. There was one person, one particular anointed person, who stood about all, above all the rest and for home all the rest belonged and to whom they were all connected. This anointed one, this Messiah,...

...is Christ is prophesied about as far back as the very first few books of the Bible, sometimes implicitly and subtly, sometimes very explicitly, like when in Deuteronomy Eighteen, Moses says there will be a prophet who comes after me, who is like me. What does he mean like? What does he mean by that when he says one who is like me? Well, he means particularly one who is going to establish something. Moses wasn't just any old prophet, he was the Prophet, he was the special chosen one of God. The prophets that came after him were it not like Moses. Moses established the word of God, he mediated a covenant, he brought about a whole new order of things. The Messiah, this coming Prophet of the Lord, prophesied by Moses, would be one who would do this. He would also mediate a confidant. He would also establish a whole new order, and this, of course, was Jesus. Moses spoke about it. David spoke about it too, or rather, we can say that the Lord first spoke about it to David when he promised David that there would be an anointed one, a king, one of David's sons, who would sit on his throne and establish the order of God, the Kingdom of God, this royal this Royal Kingdom. We have all the prophecies. We have Isaiah's Emmanuel God with us, this Messiah who would come as a mighty king, ruling over the world, bringing salvation for many, for people in particular, who are lost and broken and sad poor. When you go back through the Old Testament and you read about the anointed one, when you read about the Messiah, and there's a...

...lot to read. You come up with this picture of a conqueror, of a prophet, of a Savior, of a servant, of a King, of a mediator, who would be the son of Abraham, who would be the son of David, who would be like a new Moses, he would be this promised seed who would destroy the serpent, as was promised to eve. I know this is a lat especially if you're not very familiar with the Bible, but the point is this. All the hopes and expectations of the Old Testament were leading and dependent on this anointed one. The Salvation of the world, God's plans for humanity, everything was dependent on this anointed one, this Christ, and that's who Jesus is. The Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one, is the key to everything God had been doing, and you can you can see that in these words that he's already used in Romans nine, four through five, I've so consider them with me briefly again. And how Jesus relates to each one of these? Well, to Israel belongs of the adoption into the world through them, through this Messiah. Well, how is this? Let me throw in their glory as well. The second on this list, Hebrews. The book of Hebrews, ties these two things together when it says that Jesus was made like us. He took on flesh and became like his brothers so that he could bring many sons. There's that connection to adoption, to glory. Jesus came, the Messiah came into the world to gather worshippers up out of the world. He is the fulfillment of...

...the covenants and the promises of the covenants. He is this new Moses, as we've thought about already. We have here in this list the giving of the law, and indeed the Messiah is intimately related to that as well. He is the reason for the law. He is why we must be holy. He who comes into the world to judge it and to rule it, will rule it righteously, and we are required to be righteous. But he is not only the righteous law giver, he is also the one who keeps the law on our behalf. He was holy not just so that we could know what holiness is, but Jesus was holy so that we could be holly in him as a substitute. The sin that we confessed earlier are breaking of the law. That problem is solved by Jesus. He blesses those who come in his name and curses those who are apart from it. He is the answer to the law, he is the fulfillment of the law and he fulfills it in us. He is, in the worship of God, the promised sacrifices and indeed the aim of our worship as well. He is the one who we worship and he is the one to whom we are able to worship or through whom we come in order to worship. He fulfills every promise God has ever made. He fulfills those promises that we thought about, that God made to Abraham, that through him a seed would come through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed. He belongs to those Patriarchs, as Paul points out here, is from their flesh, but they are also his servants, as he says in John, before Abraham was I am the Messiah,...

...then, we see, is the one who brings all the things that God is given to Israel, all these things that belong to them. He brings them all together in himself, through himself, by himself, to himself. And when we put all this together, and we understand them as we have, as we've gone through them, we come to the undeniable conclusion that, Paul Makes, this anointed one is not just another prophet, not just another king. In some ways, though he's like Moses, he's also very unlike Moses too, because, as Paul says, he's God. He is God. We come to this undeniable conclusion that Jesus, this man born of Mary, is God, not just one who's used by God, not just a holy person, a servant, but God himself, God with us, not just in his works, but in the person of the Sun. Isaiah does call him mighty God, and when you read and remember of the words from the beginning of John, one of these things are expressed to us very clearly about who the Christ is. We read in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made. That was made in him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. What is John Telling us? Is Telling US what Paul tells us, that Jesus is not just a servants, he's...

...not just an anointed one, he is God himself. He is eternal from the beginning with God, he is the Creator, he is the giver of Life, and Paul makes that point here too. From Israel, Abraham, Isaac Jacob, this woman made named Mary, the light of the world, came into the darkness, the son of God who took on humanity to be the Christ he came. When you think about that and you go back and you think about all those Christmas stories that come from the Gospels, when you think about the fact that God himself came into the world to fulfill all the promises that he had made in the Old Testament, is it any wonder that his birth was accompanied by Miraculous Stars in the heavens, choirs of angels seeing prophecies being fulfilled, the birth of a or the giving of birth from a virgin? This is amazing. These stories that we have are like fireworks going off in the sky, in some ways somewhat literally, telling us he's here. The grave promised anointed one has come, and you see it not only in all the announcing that God does through the angels and and all the other things that go on, but in the the antagonism and hatred that comes from the Lord's enemies, Satan doesn't see this is no big deal, just another servant, just another prophet to be killed off. No, immediately his plans go to work. We see an explosion of demonic activity throughout the gospels that we don't see in the rest of the Bible. We see the King Herod...

...trying to destroy all the babies in the land to make sure that this king, this prophesied King, this Messiah, would not come to pass, that he would be put to death. You see it all throughout the Bible. Even after Jesus first starts his ministry. What happens? He goes out into the Wilderness and there Satan is tempting him, trying him, trying to overcome him. All these things are just reminders to us that Jesus, again, is not some ordinary servant of God, not even an amazing servant of God, or even the best one. He is God, the anointed one who has come is God and he is, as Paul goes on to say, the last a part of this God over all. This is where we get even more to the bigness of God, as we thought about as I began your God. I hope you are already seeing your conception of God is too small. Paul presses this point even further when he says he is God over all. Now this, of course, may seem obvious if we seem if we say that Jesus is God, that he is the Messiah, the Christ, isn't it enough? Isn't that say that he has God over all? But remember how often we think of God is small. And it's not just us. Israel did it too. Israel's neighbors did it too. Israel went and worshiped other gods. Can you believe it? They worshiped other gods because they didn't conceive of God properly. And if and then they did, they didn't care. They didn't fear the Lord. Israel's neighbors did the same thing.

There's this amazing story in the book of Daniel where Nebuchadnezzar, this great Babylonian King, I'm goes out in a great amount of pride. He goes. This is a Daniel Chapter nine. I'm going to read a little bit to you. I'm sorry, Daniel Four. Neverchadnezzar goes out on his balcony and proclaims this great thing, even after this has been prophesied and he's been warned against this and all the rest. Never Cannezzar, this great Babylonian King. He goes out and he says, is not this great Babylon, this is a verse thirty. If you're reading along, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence for the glory of My Majesty, You, I always imagine him. They are sort of standing out on the balcony of his palace. His arms are probably behind him or on his hips or something like that. You know he's looking. He's looking out at his kingdom right and no doubt he saw some glorious things, buildings with columns, gardens that were magnificent, slaves and people and all kinds of things all over the place, and he looks out he says, I'm amazing, look at what I have done by my hand. I have done all these things to the glory of My Majesty. But then comes verse thirty one. Your God is to or your God is too small. While the words were still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven. o King Nebuchadnezzar, to you, it is spoken the Kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among them, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass on over you, until you know that the most high rules the Kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.

Immediately. The word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. Kids, listen to what happened to him. He was driven among men and ate grass like an ox. Can you imagine going out and seeing your former king in the fields eating grass like an ox? His body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles feathers and his nails were like birds claws. At the end of the days, this wild Nebuchadnezzar, who was once so grand and now had been brought so low in this beast like way. When God said, okay, Time's up, you can come out of your time out, Nebuchadnezzar lifts his eyes up to heaven, his reason returns to him and he blesses the most high and listen what he says. Dominion is an Everlasting Dominion and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. He's not talking about his kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, he's talking about God's. All the inhabitants on the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of Heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say to him, what have you done? Nebuchadnezzar, at least at this moment, is at least beginning to get it. And this is the conception, at least the beginning of the conception that we are to have, of Jesus, the son of God, who comes in the world, who is God over all, who does his who does the father's will in heaven and on Earth. This awesome power of God who rules over all, this Jesus, who has come into the world, whom all authority...

...in Heaven and earth has been given to you, I imagine, will make you feel one of two things, depending on whether or not you know or and trust him as the Christ. If you live apart from him, if you refuse him, if you hate him, if you wish to stone him and deride him and reject him, even as the people of his own day did, even as his own people did. If you hear this news that he proclaims and said in his saying I am the son of God, I am the light of the world, I am the savior, and you hear that and you say, I hate him, I don't want to have anything to do with him. Then to hear that he is the God over all, that he is the one who can take the mightiest king of the world and put him on his knees, then I hope that makes you fear, because who dares cross the God over all, who dares ignore him and refuse him? All that is owed to God is owed to Jesus, and all that is owed to God is everything, and no amount of bargaining or pleading will allow you to escape his righteous judgment on your pride. If God can bring low a king as mighty as King Nebuchadnezzar, certainly he can do it with peons like you and me. God is powerful, our Lord Jesus is powerful and he promises that when he comes on his day, he will rule all all things. We will see coming under subject action to him. There...

...will be people who cry for the rocks to fall on them because of their fear, but it is also because of this awesome power that we can be saved, because Jesus comes as the divine King, as the Divine Prophet, is the Divine Warrior, as the divine priest. It means that Jesus is able to accomplish everything that he promises to do. It means that when God sends Jesus and the world, he doesn't send Moses, who messed up so bad that he wasn't able to go into the promised land. It doesn't mean he sent David, who sinned very greatly and his kingdom eventually fell apart because of it, or he didn't send any number of the other kings of Israel and prophets who failed over and over again. He sent the son, the father, sent the son who did it all and did it perfectly. And by this awesome power, by this authority, he transgresses every single human boundary that keeps US apart. He crosses over racial boundaries, familial boundaries, national boundaries, cultural boundaries. He takes Jews and one hand and gentiles of the other hand, and they hugs them all and says you're my he takes us, whether we're rich or poor, wise or stupid, and he takes us all together and he glorifies himself by drawing people from all over the world. He is not a provincial God. He's not just the God of the Jews, though he is reveals himself from the Jews, and though Jesus comes from the Jews, he's not a provincial God that's tied to a particular territory or household. Yes, he is the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,...

...but through Christ he becomes the God of us all. He's not a small territorial God or a philosophy of some ivory tower or little cafe. He is the Christ, he is the God over all and he comes into the world to save the world. He is the hope of the world, the light of the world. And so that means that if you are a Jew and to you belongs the Christ, what reason do you have to refuse him? What reason do you have to walk away, to not give you the to not receive the thing that God has been promising from the very beginning? And if you are a gentile, if you're not a Jew. It means that you don't need to stand outside looking in, hoping, wishing, wonder. It means that you don't need to sneak or beg or bargain with God, but you simply walk freely into the Kingdom with the invitation in your hand, saying this belongs to me, this is my residency card. I own this. It belongs to me because it's been offered to me freely by the father in his son. This is why Paul concludes this whole section by saying blessed forever. Moving back to my Bible, here to Romans Nine, he says to them belong the Patriarchs and from their race, according to the Flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. A men, God is of course blessed forever. He's glorious forever. Everything that is good is always forever in God, and that is just yet another reason to worship and praise him. But it affects us in this way. If God...

...is blessed forever and gives us his son, who is blessed forever, that we might abide in him, it means that he's giving to us in himself blessing forever. Everything, every good thing that God has ever desired and ever will desire for us as his people, comes to us in Christ. When we abide in him, we have everything. Happiness to the highest degree, joy that is complete, life that is eternal, every way that you can come at that blessing, every door that you can come into that room to explore. What does that mean? It's all for us. It's all for us in Christ. So do not reject him, do not stand far off, do not wonder if it's all really true, because it is true. Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, who is over all and blessed forever, and we are blessed in him, whether we are Jews or whether we are gentiles. All the things that have been given to this people, the Israelites, have now been given to the world, to all who believe in him, in the anointed one, in God. Let us pray.

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