Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God is glorified in His: 1) Sovereignty (Romans 11:25–26a), in 2) Integrity Romans 11:26b–29), and in His 3) Generosity (Romans 11:30–32).

This week, the United States and Israel decided to pull out of UNESCO over its perceived anti-Israel bias. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was founded in 1945 following World War II to promote world peace through culture. Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called UNESCO’s July designation of Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory the latest of many “foolish actions” that had made the agency “a chronic embarrassment.” Haley also criticized UNESCO for “keeping Syrian dictator Bashar Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protesters.”. The announcement this week that the US and Israel is quitting UNESCO heightened concerns about the agency’s funding and future direction. (http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/france-and-qatar-get-to-final-of-unesco-chief-vote)

The Apostle Paul in Romans 11, gives some particularly interesting observations on the future direction and support of Israel by God. Romans 11 This provides a natural conclusion for the whole of chapters 9–11, not just for chapter 11. The question all along has been the justice of God and the destiny of Israel. In chapter 9 the issue was the possible failure of God’s promises to Israel and His justice and faithfulness. Paul answered that God is sovereign (9:6–29) and that Israel had failed to believe (9:30–10:21). Then in chapter 11 the theme of God’s faithfulness continues in terms of the national future for Israel. There is currently a remnant (vv. 1–10), and even the “stumbling” of Israel unleashed the power of God, which led to a three-stage salvific purpose—the conversion of the Gentiles led to making Israel envious, which will lead to the salvation of Israel (vv. 11–24). (Osborne, G. R. (2004). Romans (p. 303). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.) But God’s ultimate, overriding purpose is to glorify Himself.

Doesn’t it often feel like we are the only Christians around. You read the newspaper, watch the news, overhear your friends, co-workers and neighbors talk, and it all seems so selfish and self-destructive. But God has placed you here, in your social sphere, workplace and neighborhood for a specific purpose. You may be the only light in those situations. God may have planted seeds that He desires for you to reap the harvest. If we approach the situations before us with the specific aim of Glorifying God in them, we will be most useful and fruitful for His kingdom. God always preserves a remnant in order to show His glory.

In Romans 11:25-32, Paul explains why God has preserved a Remnant of Israel in order to show His glory. In this we can see how God is glorified in His: 1) Sovereignty (Romans 11:25–26a), in 2) Integrity Romans 11:26b–29), and in His 3) Generosity (Romans 11:30–32).

God has preserved a Remnant of Israel in order:

1) To Glorify God’s Sovereignty (Romans 11:25-26a)

Romans 11:25-26a 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, (as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;) (ESV)

Paul tells believing Jews and Gentiles alike that he does not want them to be unaware/uninformed of a marvelous mystery. At the end of the epistle Paul defines mystery as being a revelation “which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God” (Rom. 16:26; cf. Eph. 3:5–7). Before Paul identifies and explains the particular mystery of which he is speaking here, he once again cautions Gentiles against pride, warning them to avoid construing the truths of that mystery that they would therefore be wise in their own sight/estimation. Therefore, Paul’s concern is to remind them once again of the danger of lapsing into the sort of pride and presumption which (in Paul’s view) had cost the majority of their Jewish contemporaries so dearly (Dunn, J. D. G. (1998). Romans 9–16 (Vol. 38B, p. 690). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.). The mystery is divulged so that the Gentiles will not fall prey to pride and give glory to themselves rather than to the glorious and infinitely wise God. In other words, God has designed salvation history in such a way that the extension of his saving grace surprises those who are its recipients. Gentiles were elected to salvation when the Jews were expecting to be the special objects of his favor, and the Jews will be grafted in again at a time in which Gentiles will be tempted to believe that they are superior to ethnic Israel. By constructing history in such a way God makes it evident that he deserves the praise for the inclusion of any into his saving promises (Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans (Vol. 6, p. 614). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.).

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