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Our Awesome God - Part 3

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1. Behold the awesome strictness of our God (vs. 22-23). 2. Behold the awesome Scripture of our God (vs. 24-29). 3. Behold the awesome salvation of our God (vs. 30-32). 4. Behold the awesome supremacy of our God (vs. 33-36).

Notes & Transcripts

Our Awesome God - Part 3

Romans 11:22-36

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 2, 2016

BACKGROUND:

*Tonight we get to the end of Romans 11, and all of you probably know that in the last three chapters Paul was led by God's Holy Spirit to discuss the Jews. The big question was: If salvation is by grace through faith in the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ, then, what about the Jews? What about the Jewish nation? And what about the promises that God made to them as a nation? These were crucial questions, because if God wasn't going to keep the promises He made to the Jews, we couldn't count on Him to keep His promises to us? (1)

*In Romans 9, Paul answered these questions to the best of his understanding. And the bottom line is that God is going to keep every single one of His promises. Nobody loves the Jews more than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nobody loves all lost people more than Jesus, and He proved this forever when He died on the cross for our sins.

*That is the big picture in Romans 11, but one of the other things that stands out here is the awesome nature of our God. In vs. 1-21, we've already explored some of the reasons why God is so awesome. And tonight we will see more great reasons, so let's get started by reading Romans 11:22-36.

INTRODUCTION:

*How many times this week have you stopped to think about how infinitely awesome and our God really is? Maybe you thought about it when you saw a beautiful sunset, or when you looked closely at a beautiful flower. But we all need to focus more on the incredible awesomeness of God, so let’s look into tonight's Scripture, and behold our awesome God.

1. First: Behold the awesome strictness of our God.

*We can see God's strictness in vs. 22-23, but remember here the Bible is speaking about two bloodlines of people: The Jews and the Gentiles. The Jewish race basically includes everyone who descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Everyone else in the world is a Gentile.

*God's Son Jesus Christ came into the world 2,000 years ago as the long promised Messiah of the Jews. Jesus was born in the line of Abraham, Judah and David. And He came as the eternal Redeemer, Savior, Prophet, Priest and King of the Jews. But though many of the Jews received Jesus as their Messiah, the vast majority of them strongly rejected the Lord. God then turned to the Gentiles in part to provoke His Old Testament people to jealousy.

*Paul talked about this plan back up in vs. 11, where he wrote, "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

*Then, starting in vs. 16, Paul used the symbol of an olive tree to explain what happened after the Jews rejected Jesus the Messiah. And in vs. 16-23, Paul wrote:

16. . . If the root be holy, so are the branches.

17. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18. Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

20. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

*It is crucial for us to know that Paul is not speaking about individuals here, but peoples: The Jews and the Gentiles. William McDonald explained: "It must be constantly borne in mind that Paul is not speaking of the church or of individual believers. He is speaking about the Jews and Gentiles as such. Nothing can ever separate the Body of Christ from the Head, and nothing can separate a believer from the love of God, but the Gentile peoples can be removed from their present position of special privilege." (2)

*So, again in vs. 22-23:

22. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

*In vs. 22, Paul tells us to behold the "severity" of God. That’s His sternness, His strict justice. Behold the strict justice of our God, and when we do, we see that God is strict toward disbelief. Verse 23 shows us that the Jews unbelief keeps them away from the goodness or kindness of God.

*It is the Jews unbelief that keeps them under God's severe justice. But of course, the same thing is true for all individuals, whether Jew or Gentile. God's severe justice is hanging over all unbelievers. And we don’t even like to think about the severity of God. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s also a good and helpful thing for us to do.

*John Piper said that failing to look at the severity of God is dangerous and unloving. It's like a parent teaching their children how a red-hot eye on the oven is good, because it makes water boil to cook spaghetti and eggs for breakfast. But then never telling your children that the red-hot stove is also very dangerous, and can hurt very badly.

*So, we need to behold the severity of God. And Piper reminded us that the strict justice of God is a profound and dreadful reality. John Piper said: "To speak of God's severity lightly, or not to speak of it at all. Or to speak of it in a way that changes suffering into feeling nothing, simply proves that we do not grasp its horror.

*I know of no one who has overstated the terrors of hell. We can scarcely surpass the horrid images Jesus used: 'Weeping and gnashing of teeth, their worm shall not die, unquenchable fire, eternal fire, eternal punishment,' and 'anguish in the flame.' The point of all these expressions is that we are meant to shudder. We are meant to tremble and feel dread. We are meant to recoil from the horrific reality, not by denying it but by fleeing from it into the arms of Jesus who died to save us from it." (3)

2. Behold the awesome strictness of our God, and behold His awesome Scripture.

*The Word of God is awesome in many amazing ways, and vs. 24-29 show us a few of these ways. First in vs. 24, the Scripture gives us great hope for the Jews. Here Paul spoke to the Gentile Christians, and said: "For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?"

*The Scripture definitely gives us hope for the Jews, but it can also give us tremendous wisdom. In vs. 25, Paul said: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." This one verse tells us that God's Word can overcome our ignorance, reveal great mysteries to us, and protect us from pride.

*The Scripture can give us tremendous wisdom. It can even reveal the future to us. In vs. 25-26, Paul said:

25. For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

*Paul is talking about that glorious day in the future at the end of the tribulation, right before the Lord returns to defeat the world’s armies at the Battle of Armageddon, and all of the Jews who are living at that time will turn to the Lord and be saved. This Scripture does not mean that all of the Jews who have ever lived will be saved. Otherwise, Paul wouldn’t have said this about the Jews in vs. 5: "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." Then in vs. 13-14, Paul said:

13. . . I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

14. If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

*William Macdonald explained how the Jews will be saved between the rapture and the second coming of Christ. And McDonald said that "Israel's judicial blindness will be removed at the time of the Rapture, but that does not mean that all Israel will be saved right away. Jews will be converted throughout the Tribulation Period. But the entire elect remnant will not be saved until Christ returns to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

*When Paul says that all Israel will be saved, he means all believing Israel. The unbelieving portion of the nation will be destroyed at the second coming of Christ prophesied in Zechariah 13:8-9." (4)

*There God's Word says:

8. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

9. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."

*The Scripture can reveal the future to us, but it also reveals God's faithfulness to us. So in vs. 26-29, Paul said:

26. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

*Our faithful Deliverer, Jesus Christ is coming again! And sometimes His Word can be hard for us to understand, but it can help us more than anything else in this world.

3. Behold the awesome Scripture of our God, and behold His awesome salvation.

*Now one of the most awesome keys to God's salvation is His miraculous mercy, and Paul talked about God's mercy in vs. 30-32. Here the Word of God tells us:

30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

*The first part of vs. 32 may seem a little strange to us: "God hath concluded them all in unbelief. . ." The original word for "concluded" is the word picture of being closed in on all sides together, like fish caught in a net. And "unbelief" here has the idea of obstinate, rebellious, disobedient unbelief.

*That's why the New King James says: "God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all." And the New Living Translation says: "God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone."

*God has caught all people up like fish caught up in a net, caught up in obstinate and rebellious disbelief. But why did God do that? Because it was either that, or not allow us to be born.

*God knew that all of us would be born with Adam’s fallen sin nature. But He loved us enough to allow us to be born anyway, so He could have mercy on us all! The bottom line is that God wants to have mercy on everyone. As Paul said in vs. 32: "God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."

*The Lord is full of awesome mercy and compassion for all who will trust in Him. But Jesus Christ is the only way to get God’s mercy. We must trust in Him. We must trust in His crucifixion and in His resurrection. This is what Paul has been trying to tell us the whole Book of Romans. And that’s why one of the best plans for sharing the Gospel is called the Roman Road.

*It includes Scriptures like Romans 3:20-24:

20. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

21. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22. even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;

23. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24. being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

*Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

*Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

*Romans 10:9-10:

9. that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

10. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

*And Romans 10:13: "For 'whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'''

*God wants to have mercy on all, but Jesus Christ is the only way to receive it. Bob Bartlett was an arctic explorer who told about one of his summer expeditions. Bob and his team gathered a selection of native birds to take back home. These birds were kept caged, but they were well cared for during their long trip across the ocean.

*Then one day a restless bird escaped from its cage and took off in flight over the ocean. "Well, that bird is lost," they thought. But much to their surprise, toward the end of the day, they saw that same bird flying right back toward the ship as fast as it could.

*That little bird was exhausted and out of breath as he dropped on the deck of the ship and surrendered himself. Somehow it had realized that the ship wasn’t a prison, but it’s only hope for safety across the deep, wide ocean. And the mercy of Jesus Christ is the only way that anyone can make it all the way to Heaven. So people must trust in the Lord! And He wants to have mercy on all. (5)

*But notice that we believers have a part in sharing the mercy of God. We can see this truth in vs. 30-31, where Paul said:

30. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31. Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

*Remember that at this point, Paul was mainly talking about reaching the Jews for Jesus. So how can we help the Jews? Church: One of the best ways is called "Jews for Jesus." It's a group of Christian Jews who try to reach other Jews all over the world. And they are surely one of the independent mission groups worthy of our support.

4. God wants everyone to behold His awesome salvation of our God, and behold His awesome supremacy.

*Behold the supremacy of our God in vs. 33-36. Here Paul was overcome with awe for our God and he said:

33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

34. For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?

35. Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

*William Barclay explained: "Here Paul's theology turns to poetry. Here the seeking of the mind turns to the adoration of the heart. In the end all must pass out in a mystery that man cannot now understand but at whose heart is the love of God.

*If a man can say that all things come from God, that all things have their being through him, and that all things end in him, what more is left to say? God gave man a mind, and it is man's duty to use that mind to think to the very limit of human thought. But there are also times when that limit is reached, and all that is left is to accept and to adore.

*Paul had wrestled with the heartbreaking problem of his people, the Jews. And he did not say that he had solved it, as one might neatly solve a math problem. Instead, Paul summed up his discussion by trusting in the love and power of God. And at times in our lives there will be nothing left to do but say to God: 'I cannot grasp Your mind, but with all my heart I trust Your love. Thy will be done!'" (6)

CONCLUSION:

*Glory be to our awesome God! Would you please bow for prayer.

(1) Adapted from "Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament" by - Warren W. Wiersbe - Published by David C. Cook - Colorado Springs, CO - Romans 9:1-33

(2) Adapted from "Believer's Bible Commentary" by William Macdonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers - Israel's Future - Romans 11:1-36

(3) Adapted from SermonCentral sermon "Behold the Kindness and Severity of God" by John Piper - Romans 11:17-22

(4) Adapted from "Believer's Bible Commentary" by William Macdonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers - Israel's Future - Romans 11:36

(5) J. Wallace Hamilton, "Horns and Halos" - Fleming H. Revell - 1954 - Source: "Dynamic Preaching" Sermon "Jesus and the Lake Wobegon Effect" by King Duncan - Luke 4:14-30

(6) Adapted from "Barclay's Daily Bible Study Series - NT" by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew - Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "The Cry of the Adoring Heart" - Romans 11:33-36

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