Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Pride Killing Prophecy (Romans 11:25-32)


Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, please remain standing, and let's turn to another portion of God's word. Romans Eleven, Romans Eleven, verses twenty five through thirty two. Romans eleven versus Verse Twenty Five. Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery. Brothers, a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written, the deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish on Godliness from Jacob, and this will be my covenant with them, when I take away their sins. As regard the Goss, as regards the Gospel, they are enemies of God for your Sake, but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God, but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience that he may have mercy and all, may God bless his word to us, please be seated. So, in addition to male and female relationships, there are other kinds of diversity in the church, and one of them that we've been spending a good amount of time on here at the and these last few chapters of Romans, are the relationships between the Jews and the gentiles, Jews being the original family of God, gentiles being those who are not part of the family of God. All these non Jewish people from all over the world now, as gentiles, being brought in to the church, grafted into God's cultivated olive tree, so we considered last time. And he's giving us this instruction. He's helping us to understand the particulars of our relationship with one another in the church, Jews and gentiles, for several reasons. One of them, which will spend a little more time on later, is given right here in the first verse, lest you be why, is in your own site. God doesn't want us to be conceded, and so he gives us this prophecy. How will we approach it? I think we should approach it with humility. First of all, notice he says, unless you be wise in your own site. The goal here is to humble us, and prophecy has a way of doing them. Whenever God reminds us of his plans for our lives, whenever he tells us about the future and way things will be, it's a reminder of how little in control we are, how much in control he is. God is good and he is in control of things. He's revealing these things to us and we should be humbled by them. But humility doesn't necessarily mean laziness or lack of interest. Well, it's the future, it's a prophecy. I can't know everything about it, so I don't care to know anything about it. That's, of course, a bad attitude. I at as well. God is telling us something for a particular purpose. He says, through his Apostle, I...

...want you to understand this mystery. Well, okay, yes, sir, here I am. I'm ready to hear. God wants you to understand a mystery. A word here. This word mystery is used at various places throughout the net new testament to describe something that was once hidden but is now being revealed. Yield. God is revealing something to us. It's why we call the Bible revelation he is revealing something to us, he wants us to understand it. So that's how we approach it. With a desire to understand, not with laziness but with interest, if a desire to know, a desire to understand, but also with humility, knowing that God won't tell us everything that we want to know, knowing that he is in control. So what does God reveal here in these verses? What does he tell us in verses twenty five through thirty two? Well, he reveals his plans concerning the gentiles and the Jews, and we might sum them up this way, that God will one day remove the partial hardening that is currently on Israel. He will do that by his mercy and he will do it when the fullness of the gentiles come in. That's what he says. It's very clear about that too, that God will remove this partial hardening that is currently on Israel after the gentiles are brought in, and he will do this because of his mercy. So first I want to talk with you this morning about how we come to this conclusion, how we see this in the passage, and then also why God wants us to know us. Why is this important? Why should we pay attention and meditate on it and think about it. So first, how do we come to this conclusion? Well, the first thing we are considering is that this event will happen after the gentiles are brought in. I'm you see this. In Verse Twenty Five. He says a partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in. This verse echoes what we also saw in verse eleven and Verse Fourteen of this chapter. So if you look at a verse eleven, we see that Paul says I asked, did they, meaning the Jews, stumble in order that they might fall? He answers that question in this way. By no means. Rather, through their trespass, salvation has come to the gentiles so as to make Israel Jealous. He continues that thought and repeats it. I should say that in the other reverse order. He repeats it and continues or expands on that thought. In verse fourteen he says he's magnifies his ministry the gentiles. Verse Fourteen, in order somehow to make my fellow Jews Jealous and thus save some of them. Paul's not just aiming that the Jews would be stirred up and wanting what the gentiles have in salvation, but he wants them to not merely want it, but to obtain it themselves. That's the goal. Israel became disobedient so that the gentiles would be brought in, so that Israel would be jealous and would be brought in as well. This is what Paul says when he is speaking in versus thirty and following. He says to the gentiles, for just as you were at one time disobedient, but now I've received mercy because of their disobedience. That goes back to their stumbling in order that the Jews, gentiles might be on be brought in. He says, so they they...

...too have now been disobedient in order that mercy might be shown to you, that they also may receive mercy. He's setting up this chain or the domino effect. In other words, he's saying that here's how the plan of God falls out, and that's what he means by verse thirty two. This is all summed up there, where he says, for God has consigned all to disobedience that he may have mercy on all. This takes us all the way back to the beginning of Romans where Paul points out how both Jews and gentiles, because of their sin and because of the Law of God, are condemned by it. All are brought under disobedience and even all are given over to their disobedience and the sinful plat passions of their flesh. Why? So that God would have mercy on all of them. God wants to demonstrate His mercy, and for the Jews this will come in a full way after the gentiles come in. That's his point. It's after the gentiles come in. Now, before we move on, I want to just clarify a one thing. When Paul says the fullness of the gentiles here, we don't we shouldn't think of him as meaning every single gentile, as though every single person on the earth or every single gentile in the world, whoever was or ever will be, will be saved and then at that moment the Jews come in. How do we know that he doesn't mean that? Well, two reasons. One, we already know that many gentiles have not believed. We also know that many gentiles will not believe. Another reason is that sometimes this word in scripture, fullness is used in the sense of a multitude, a completeness, when the fullness of this thing has happened, when it reaches its big measure, you might say. So this happens, for example, in Genesis Forty Eight, nineteen. I'll read this to you. In Genesis Forty Eight, verse nineteen, we read. But his father refused and said I know my son, I know he also shall become a people, and he also shall become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he and his offering shall become a multitude of nations. This word multitude of nations literally, or it could literally be translated as fullness of nations. The brother will become a fullness of nations, not and there. He doesn't mean every single nation, but a great number, a multitude. A similar phrase is used in Isaiah thirty one or in the ESV. It's translated as a band of shepherds, but it just means a fullness, or it could literally be translated a fullness of shepherds. Anyway, you get the point. It just means multitude, that when the gentiles are brought in, it doesn't mean every single person, but a multitude, a great, great number. When that happens, then the Jews will turn to the Lord. You can also put it in this way that God will remove the partial and temporary hardening. Let's consider this part of the prophecy. What is the hardening that God is speaking about here? On the Bible, hardening is referred to as a lack of faith and obedience, a lack of faith and the lack of the obedience that springs from faith. Hardness in the heart is refusing to trust God in the salvation that he brings the Christ it's saying no to God when God reveals himself and mercy when...

God calls us to obedience. Let's look at a good example of this in Mark, chapter three, just a few verses. First five verses or six verses. Here we're illustrating what is a hard heart look like again. He entered the synagogue and a man was there with a withered hand, and they watched Jesus to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath. This is the Pharisees and other people leaders in Israel. So there's a man there in the synagogue with a withered hand and they watched Jesus to see whether he would heal them heal him on the sabbath. So that they might accuse him. You see, they're already their mind is preset right. They're not looking to see. Did He heal him, and should we give praise to God or should we just see what happens and judge from that point? No, they want to see it so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, come here. And he said to them is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill? But they were silent and they looked around at them and he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and he said to the man, stretch out your hand. He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. This is what a hard heart looks like. God comes into the world with saving revelation, with Jesus Christ, the light shining in the darkness, and he comes to bring light into the world, restorate, restore broken relationships and to heal, to heal in our spiritual sense, to heal in a physical sense. This is why God became men and this is why he's here. And he sees this man with a withered hand and he heals his hand. Stretch out your hand and immediately this withered, shriveled up hand was healed. How do you respond to the saving, healing revelation of God? Let me tell you how not to respond. Don't take counsel with other people and how to destroy the one who brings the message. Don't go against God when God reveals His mercy. That's real hardness, isn't it? When God extends himself and says here's mercy, here's salvation, here's healing, and you say, how can I kill that? How can I destroy boy that? How can I accuse that? Well, this attitude that we see in the Pharisees and the Herodians is what we see with many in Israel, end among the gentiles too, and this hardening came on and has come on the Jews as a whole, not of course, every single person, but as a whole, as a multitude, as a fullness. Israel has been hardened and we see it in these kinds of actions. We see it in the crucifixion of Jesus and we see in the following response. What happened when God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The rulers of Israel tried to bury the fact. They tried to suppress the evidence and the witnesses. They harmed and persecuted people who spoke about this good news. That's hardening, isn't it? It's hardening that is on the people of God. But God says it won't always be there. It's...

...partial and it's temporary. It's partial partly in the fact that it's not every single Israelite. So going back to a Romans, you remember, back in the beginning of Romans, Romans Chapter Two, twenty eight and twenty nine, we read this. For No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly. Nor is circumcision outward and physical, but a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart. You see what he's saying there. He's saying it's possible to be a Jew but also not a Jew at the same time. This means that some people truly had believed, some people did believe. Paul himself is a perfect example of this, and he points to himself as a way to show that God has not rejected all Israel. He's pointed to David and to Abraham and other people throughout Romans to say that God has kept his hand on these people and all who turn in faith will be saved. But even though there are examples of faithfulness and of faith in Israel, Paul is recognizing the fact that that's not true of the vast number. But what is this prophecy saying? It's saying that that will not always be the case, that one day they will all come in here. When Paul says all, he means it again in this sense of fullness or multitude, to quote Charles Hodge from his commentary, as their rejection, although national, did not include the rejection of every individual, Paul being an example. So their restoration, though national, need not include the salvation of every single Jew. Does that make sense? He's saying that when they were rejected, it wasn't as though every single person in Israel was rejected, but as a body, as a people, as a covenant that had been broken, the people were rejected. The people were hardened. So too, in their restoration, what should we expect? This is the question I'm trying to answer. What should we expect? What is God wanting us to understand. He's not saying that every single Jewish person in the world will be saved, just as he's not saying every single gentile in the world will be saved. But what he is saying is that when no great multitude and fullness of the gentiles come in, then Israel, in a great comprehensive national sense, will also come in, and that's amazing. That's an amazing thing to consider and to wonder at and to hope for and to pray for. Well, the last thing I want to point out as we think through what this prophecy means is that is the emphasis on mercy. God is saying that these things will happen, that after the fullness of the gentiles are brought in, then this partial and temper very hardness that is brought on the Jewish people will be removed and they too will be grafted back into the tree. They too will receive mercy. And that's this last point. It's by mercy that these things will be done. John Flavel, Puritan Writer, says writes this about delayed mercies. The delay of your mercies is really to your advantage. The Foolish Child would pluck the apple whilst it is green, but when it is ripe it drops of its own accord and it is more pleasant and wholesome. This is a good...

...reminder about the great sovereignty of God and his perfect will, which is what he's revealing to us this morning. He's telling us about his plan. He's telling us that there's a time when the apple will be ripe, and we know that when it is it will be perfect and sweeter and juicy or and more wonderful than we could have ever imagined. It's hard when we're waiting. It's hard when we're in the moment and the thing that is promised does not yet here, to say, why is it not here? I see no reason why the Jews can't be saved right now, and honestly, I see no reason in why the Jews can't be saved right now. But I'm not God and neither are you, and that's why God says, lest you be wise in your own sight, lest you look at a green apple and said, yeah, green apples are the best, lest you preemptively decide to God when things will be and when things will not be. He reveals to us and he says, I'm going to reveal this mystery to you because I want you to trust me, I want you to praise me. Here is why God tells us these things about his mercy. There's many reasons, but one of them we read in the following verses, versus I didn't read to you yet. Thirty three through thirty six, when Paul considers the great and ever wise plan of our sovereign God, and when he considers that all of this is coming by His mercy, that he's taking disobedience and sinful people and wrapping them up in his arms, for giving their sins, washing away their sin, all because of this one who was rejected, Jesus Christ, a stumbling stone to the Jews, who became the great cornerstone of the Church in which belongs both Jew and gentile. When Paul takes all of this and pull it together, and not only that, but everything that he's been saying since chapter one, this is how he concludes and it's how you, you should conclude. To Oh the depth of the riches and the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways. Can't understand them, for who is come, for who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid for. From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever a men. When Paul considers who God is and what he said and how he's revealed himself in Jesus, not only to the Jew but also to the gentile and for them both, for the whole world, he doesn't say, okay, I've got it all now, I understand everything about you and all of your ways. He doesn't say you're wrong and I'm going to accuse you and I'm going to do whatever I can to break apart your plans, to break the bonds between the Lord and as anointed. No, he says, oh, the depth and the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God. It's not even a sentence, really, is it? He's just naming things, he's just standing in wonder.

Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. It's just an exclamation, right, he's just praising God. How unsearchable are his judgments? How inscrutable are his ways? For from him and through him and to him, are all things to him be the glory forever. O Men. God reveals his plan to us so that we might be humbled and so that we might give him praise. God tells us his plan not so that we can stand either as Jew or gentile, over and against one another and sort it out, you know, but so that we all might bow together before the throne of grace, maybe never lose sight of God's mercy, maybe be humbled always by his sovereign will and plan and salvation. Let's pray and as that God would make these things so in our hearts.

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