Summary: Being Jewish is a blessing, but we’ve all failed God and need a Savior. God wants us to know Him, He is completely fair, He can be trusted, and He is a holy God who requires holiness of us and is faithful to provide it.
God’s Faithfulness Wins!
Intro: Well, it seems like we’ve taken a long break from our study in Romans. We took a month to go through the One-Month-to-Live series, then had Palm Sunday, Easter, heard from the Lead Pastor of the OMN, and celebrated Mother’s Day. Now, back to business.
-To review, Paul was writing to a church that was made up of Jews and Gentiles. Both groups loved the Lord and had put their faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for their forgiveness. However, there was some friction between them, as was common throughout the Roman world in the mid first century AD. The church had been started by Jews most likely after the Day of Pentecost when Jews from all around had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. They heard Peter stand up and tell them the good news about Jesus – that His death and resurrection had provided for their forgiveness. So they responded to the good news and became followers of Jesus. They took the message back to Rome and started meeting in homes, much like the Jerusalem believers. They continued to go to their Jewish synagogues to hear and discuss the Scriptures, but faced opposition from other Jews who did not believe.
-Well, the Emperor Claudius got tired of the Jewish rebellions and uprisings and kicked all the Jews out of Rome. Less than 20 years after it was founded, this Jewish church suddenly became 100% Gentile. For 5 years the church was led, influenced, and attended by Gentiles who had come to believe in Jesus. When the Jews were allowed to return to Rome, the church faced some serious issues. Some of the Jews began to look down on the Gentiles. After all, God had given His law to Jews and Jesus was a Jew. Therefore, they assumed that the Jewish way of life should be the model lifestyle for all believers. The Gentiles had a past filled with all kinds of sin and paganism, and, from the perspective of many Jews, had no real say in how to best guide the church.
-So Paul’s message to the Romans includes an emphasis on the power of the good news about Jesus. He said in 1:17, “I am not ashamed of the good news for it is the power of God that leads to salvation for everyone who believes – Jew and Gentile alike!” Paul continues in ch.1 with God’s judgment on all sin and perversion. He points out that God was in plain sight, but people quit thanking Him and refused to acknowledge Him as God, so He let them have their own way and they began a downward spiral to an ugly life of moral degeneracy. Paul then builds the case that we are all guilty before God – Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, we all need a Savior. He says that a true Jew is one who honors God by his faith and obedience.
-That brings us up to chapter 3, in which Paul indicates that being Jewish is a blessing, but reminds them that we’ve all failed God and need a Savior. Let’s look at Rom. 3:1-8.
Romans 3:1-8 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. 3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."
5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?" 8 Why not say-- as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say-- "Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.
-It is a challenge to piece all of this together today, but I’d like to communicate 5 observations that come from these verses. First of all…
I. God wants us to know Him (1-2)
-That is why He has shown Himself to Mankind through the Jews. He entrusted the revelation of Himself to the Jewish people. From Moses to David to the Prophets, we have a written record of who God is and the words He spoke to His people. He gave them words to live by and a moral code to teach them right from wrong.