Summary: Paul wants his readers to see one another the way God sees them. There is no room for arrogance on either side! Ours is to simply respond to who God is and let Him change us into who He wants us to be. That is what honors Him! It’s all about Him, not me!
Life from the Dead!
Intro: One of the main reasons Paul is writing to the church or ekklesia at Rome (the called out ones who are assembled together for a specific purpose) is to help them resolve some of the tension between the Jews and Gentiles. Earlier in Romans Paul addressed the Jewish people, reminding them that they are sinners saved by grace, just like the Gentile believers who had come out of an ungodly heathen culture. Now Paul addresses the Gentiles and tells them not to think that their right standing with God makes them any better than the Jews. Maybe he could have told both groups, “Get over yourselves! Don’t think that it always has to be about you!” I read something this week that really stuck with me: "You matter more than you think you do, and it's less about you than you think it is." (Steven Furtick, 2012 C3 Conference). God has set His favor on you and loves you, but it is not all about you or me! It is about God calling people out of dead living and into a whole new life that is all about Him and His awesome plan for all of us!
-So Paul is trying to help both the Jews and the Gentiles see one another the way God sees them. There is no room for arrogance on either side! Ours is to simply respond to who God is and let Him change us into who He wants us to be. That is what honors Him! It’s all about Him, not me! It’s all about life, not death!
-With this in mind, let’s take a look at some highlights of Paul’s words to the called out Gentiles in Rome.
I. All who accept the Lord receive life in place of death!
Romans 11:13-14 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
-We read in Romans 10 that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Nothing else can save a person – only a faith that confesses Jesus as Lord and believes that God raised Him from the dead. If we believe that God raised Jesus from physical death, then we also believe that God can raise us from spiritual death – from a life that is cut off from Him. And this was all provided for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus! It is God’s gift of grace to all who trust in Him! And there is a change in our identity when we receive God’s free gift of grace.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Colossians 3:8-10 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
-The new self is the forgiven self. The new self is not the old spiritually dead self! If we have put our faith in Jesus, we have tasted of the life of God and we will never be the same!
-Probably the best known words to express this thought comes from the writings of John. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” All who accept Jesus as their forgiver and leader receive life in place of death!
-And this is what Paul hopes will spur his own people, the Jews, into action. When they see the Gentiles receiving the life of God, they will become jealous. Why would they become jealous? Because the blessings of God’s favor that we are experiencing as people who have been called out from the dead life should have been theirs! They were the people to whom God chose to reveal Himself. Deuteronomy 4:7 “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” Paul wants to provoke his fellow Jews to pursue God for who He is so they might receive His grace and all the blessings that come to those who are made right with God!
II. Israel’s acceptance of Jesus will bring life to many!
Romans 11:15-16 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.