1. This morning's text marks the end of the second major section of Paul's epistle to the church at Rome. With heart-felt passion and solid scriptural cross-referencing the apostle has set forth the desparate spiritual plight of his own people, the Jews.
a. They were e __ __ __ __ __ __ by God out of all the people on earth to receive His c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by f __ __ __ __.
b. When His chosen people seemingly "rejected their election," refusing to believe God by faith and choosing instead to pursue r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ by l __ __, God responded by extending His promise to non-Jews -- the G __ __ __ __ __ __ __ -- who received the Messiah by f __ __ __ __. God's grace could not be thwarted by unbelief!
c. Israel's rejection, however disappointing, was not total.
(1) God's promise was believed and received by a r __ __ __ __ __ __ of the Jews (just as had always been the case, Paul reminded us).
(2) Paul pointed unabashedly to himself as prima facia evidence that God was not yet finished with the Jews.
(3) His "olive tree" allegory of Romans 11:16-24 illustrated his premise re: God and Israel beautifully.
- God had no intention of pulling the "unfruitful tree" up out of the ground -- roots and all -- in order to replace it with another. The "root," after all, was not just "good," it was h __ __ __.
- On the contrary God, as a sort of Cosmic Husbandman, set about to bring the tree back to fruitfulness by p __ __ __ __ __ __ -- "breaking off" -- the unproductive cultivated branches (the Jews) and g __ __ __ __ __ __ __ into the tree new shoots from a "wild" olive tree (the Gentiles).
- Finally, God would re-graft into the now-healthier tree some of the now-withered branches He had previously broken off and they -- miraculously -- would be restored to full, productive vigor!
2. We are, then, in the midst of one of the greatest treatises on the love of God ever written, in which we will see:
- the ultimate vindication of the doctrine of e __ __ __ __ __ __ __;
- the wideness of God's m __ __ __ __; and
- the universal triumph of the g __ __ __ __ of God.
As Paul concludes this section he will show that, just as God's rejection of Israel was not total, neither would it be final. God has great plans even yet for Israel, Paul insists, and he will present his final argument in Romans 11:25-36.
a. "Verses 25-31 are the most important passage in this epistle, and probably in the whole Bible, concerning whether or not there will be a restoration of the Jews to Christ." - R.C. Sproul: Romans
b. "This is the crowning feature of the discussion, the outcome everything in the three chapters has been pointing to. The same mercy that has overtaken the Gentiles who were formerly disobedient will finally overtake the now disobedient Israel." - Everett F. Harrison: "Romans," in Vol. 10 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary
B. TEXT: Romans 11:25-36
1. The Greek word translated as "mystery" in v.25 was a common term used by cults in Paul's day describe secrets revealed only to the initated.