Summary: God is restoring a remnant through Jesus.
A faithful minority.
Rom. 11:1 -- 10. 08/24/03
I looked up the word faithful in the dictionary. The dictionary reported the meaning of faithful as true and trustworthy in the performance of duty. That is sort of what we expected isn’t it?
When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As the vessel neared the channel between the Southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Samatry, Hudson heard a knock on his door. He opened it and there stood the captain of the ship. Mr. Taylor, he said, we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen and I fear they are cannibals. Mr. Taylor, I understand you are going to China to talk about God. I wish you would pray for wind. Hudson said I will but first of all you set the sail. The captain said no use there is not the slightest breeze. The sailors will think I have lost my mind. But finally, because Taylor insisted, he gave orders to set the sails. Forty-five minutes later, the captain came back and Hudson still on his knees, you can stop praying now for we have more wind than we know what to do with. Hudson was true and trustworthy in the performance of duty.
Paul is still writing to the Jewish readers and has been for the last two chapters. His aim is to let the Jews know that they still figure in God’s plans. God has postponed his work on their behalf unto a future time. During that time, God is busy calling Gentile to himself.
Now tonight, I want to talk to you about a faithful minority. I want us to consider this under three headings. No. 1, we want to look at ISRAEL’S BLIGHTNESS. 1a.
Paul continues his, “I ask” format. In chapter 10:18, Paul said, “I ask did they not hear?” Then in verse 19, I ask did Israel not understand? Paul now ask his God rejected his people?
This was nothing new to the Jewish nation. They had heard words like this from the prophets before. When King Manasseh ruled the northern Kingdom of Israel God said, “I will forsake the remnant of my inheritance and hand them over to their enemies, because they had done evil in my eyes and have provoked me to anger from the day their forefathers came out of Egypt until this day.” So Paul expresses a concern here, has God finally grown tired of Israel’s constant disobedience and rejected them forever?
Then he responds by saying no means has God rejected his people. He uses as proof himself. He said I am a full-blooded Jew. He had even gone as far as to persecute Christians before he became a believer. Surely if God was going to reject someone, Paul would have been a good choice. But God in his mercy and sovereignty called Paul and rearranged is in our life.
We not only see Israel’s BLIGHTNESS but also ISRAEL’S BOLD. Vs. 2 -- 5.
Paul refers back to the time in the history of Israel’s people. Elijah had just finished a demonstration of God’s power over the prophets Baal at Mount Carmel, and the killing of Baal’s prophets. Then he had to run from the wrath of Israel. Queen Jezebel had threatened to have him killed. Elijah ran for many miles then stopped to rest. He said to the Lord, “they have killed your prophets and torn down your alters; I am the only one left and they are trying to kill me.” Elijah was holding the entire nation responsible for the actions of many. He thought he was the only one left in Israel who believed in God.
When we think this way, we overestimate our importance and underestimate God’s power. Sometimes we discover that talking about our faith causes others to reject us. But listen, we often discover that in talking about our faith we find other believers that surround us. God always has his remnant in places we might least expect.
Elijah was not the last of God’s people left on the earth. God said I have 7000 who had never bowed a knee to Baal. That wasn’t a large number but there was a faithful minority.
Last we see ISRAEL’S BLESSINGS. 6.
There is a remnant, chosen by Grace. Just as God had preserved a remnant of his people when seemingly the entire nation had turned from God, God is restoring a remnant through Jesus. It is only by his Grace. If it is by Grace, then it is no longer on the basis of works.
Do you think it is easier for God to love you when you are good? Do you secretly suspect that God chose you because you deserved it? Do you think some peoples behavior is so bad that God cannot possibly save them? If so, you don’t understand that salvation is by Grace, a free gift. It cannot be earned, in whole or by part. It only can be accepted with thankfulness and praise.