Summary: Paul concludes chapter 11 explaining that God has not given up on the people of Israel by revealing the mystery that "all Israel will be saved." The thought that God's plan includes mercy for Jews and Gentiles propels Paul into a majestic doxology about the glory of God.
A. I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” radio broadcasts.
1. The short radio segments consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story (usually the name of some well-known person) held back until the end.
2. Then the segment would end with the tag line “and now you know the rest of the story.”
B. In one of those “Rest of the Story” broadcasts, Harvey told about a young Dutchman named Willem who wanted to be a minister.
1. In the spring of 1879, Willem’s passion brought him to the coal fields of southern Belgium, where his total selflessness captured the respect of the miners and their families.
a. Then a mine disaster occurred, and scores of the villagers were injured, and no one fought harder to save them than Willem.
b. After the rubble was cleared, the dead were buried, and the sick were made well, the villagers flocked to Willem’s services to hear him preach God’s word.
2. Later, when a church official visited Willem’s village, he found Willem living in a tiny hut, dressed in tattered clothes.
a. When he asked Willem what he had done with his salary, Willem told him that he’d given it to the miners and their families.
b. The church official, thinking Willem had just misused the money, dismissed him from his church position.
c. Willem was devastated and believed that God had forgotten him.
3. Later one afternoon, Willem noticed an old miner bending beneath the enormous weight of a full sack of coal, and Willem felt desperation for this man and these hard workers.
a. Fumbling through his pockets, he pulled out a tattered envelop, and a pencil, and began to sketch the weary figure that had so moved him.
b. Beginning that day, Willem made it his mission to capture for the world the torment, triumph, and dignity of the people he had grown to love.
4. The people he was not allowed to teach, he was able to touch through his art.
a. And in the process, he immortalized them and they him.
b. The preacher who wasn’t to be, became the artist the world would know as Vincent Willem van Gogh.
c. And now you know the rest of the story.
C. Van Gogh’s story reminds me of someone else who was rejected and seemingly forgotten – I’m talking about the people of Israel.
1. God had given them many wonderful promises and blessings, but when the Messiah came to them, they refused to believe in Him.
2. Because of their rejection, God sent the gospel to the Gentiles, but what will He do with the Jews?
3. Will God cast away His people? Will God fail to keep His promises?
4. It sure looks that way, until we hear the rest of the story.
D. In our sermon last week from the first part of Romans chapter 11, we saw how Paul raised and answered two very important questions.
1. In verse 1, Paul asked: “Has God rejected his people?” and then in verse 11, he asked: “Have they stumbled so as to fall?” (in other words, “have they fallen beyond recovery?”)
2. Paul strongly and decisively answered both of those questions with: “Absolutely Not!”
3. Why not? Why is it that God has not rejected his people and that they are not beyond recovery?
4. Last week, we saw that two of Paul’s answers for “why not” are: first, because there is a remnant, and second, because there are blessings that have come from Israel’s rejection, namely the inclusion of the Gentiles.
5. I also pointed out last week, that all of the splendid theology that Paul presented had a very down-to-earth purpose, which was to keep the Gentile Christians from becoming conceited.
E. Today, as we look at the final section of Romans 11, Paul reveals one more reason why God has not rejected the Israelites and it is because of this mystery: “All Israel will be saved.”
1. While this emphasis on “mystery” may suggest that Paul is saying something entirely new here, this is not the case.
2. The meaning of the “salvation of all Israel” is simply the final stage in the sequences that has become familiar to us in Romans chapters 9 through 11: the Jewish rejection, led to the Gentile inclusion, which will lead to the Jewish inclusion again.
3. Israel, the rejected nation, will be restored to a place of blessing and privilege as the people of God and that is the rest of the story.
4. Let’s work through the remaining verses of the chapter to see what all of this means for them and for us.
F. Paul begins this last section with these words: 25 I don’t want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you will not be conceited: 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 turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. (Romans 11:25-27)