Summary: God’s Word cannot fail because He is faithful and He is fair...and He will never drop you.
Trusting What God Says
Rev. Brian Bill
Note: I have benefited greatly from the insights of my friend and ministry mentor Ray Pritchard. Parts of this sermon are taken from “God’s Word Has Not Failed” and are used by permission: www.keepbelieving.com.
In May 1995, Randy Reid, a 34-year-old construction worker, was welding on top of a nearly completed water tower outside Chicago. He unhooked his safety gear to reach for some pipes when a metal cage slipped and bumped the scaffolding he stood on. The scaffolding tipped, and Reid lost his balance. He fell 110 feet, landing face down on a pile of dirt, just missing rocks and construction debris. When paramedics arrived, they found Reid conscious, moving, and complaining of a sore back. Apparently the fall didn’t cost Reid his sense of humor. As paramedics carried him on a backboard to the ambulance, he had just one request: “Don’t drop me.” (Source: Greg Asimakoupoulos)
I suspect that some of you feel that way today. Even though He has saved you from the big fall, you wonder if perhaps God is going to drop you as you struggle with trusting Him. Will God really come through for you? Can you and I really trust Him to keep His promises? Let’s take this to a deeper level and let me verbalize three questions that many of us have asked at one time or another.
* Has God’s Word failed? This has to do with his power.
* Is God faithful? This has to do with His promises.
* Is God fair? This has to do with His purposes.
Last week we learned that evangelism will have little effect if we don’t love the lost. Following the example of Paul in Romans 9:1-5, we must cultivate two qualities. First, we’re to have a love that is sincere, sorrowing, and sacrificial. Second, we must treat people with great respect as we look for points of connection so we can point them to Christ. We passed out Kleenexes as a reminder that God wants us to cry for the unconverted. As one woman left the service she showed me her Kleenex – it was covered in makeup and was wet from her tears. Let’s take a few minutes to hear from a couple of you. How did you sorrow for the unsaved this past week?
As we move into the bulk of Romans 9 this morning, let me warn you up front that this section of Scripture may be hard to swallow. In light of that, let’s keep Isaiah 55:8-9 in mind: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” It’s my prayer that by the time we’re finished today, you’ll be more willing to trust the God who will never drop you.
In the Apostle Paul’s day, many people were wondering if God had somehow dropped the Israelites because so few of them had put their trust in Jesus as their Messiah. I like how Pastor Larry Sarver explained why this was such an issue to people back then: “Imagine a situation where a certain man is the founder and owner of a large, profitable corporation. This man has many children in his family, and he makes a general promise: ‘My children will always have a seat on the Board of Directors of my company and nobody but my children will have a place on the Board of Directors.’ This is his promise, this is his word. Now suppose many years after making this promise some of those who received this promise were not placed on the Board of Directors while at the same time this man went and got people living on the streets and made them his Board members. Wouldn’t it seem that he had not kept his word? Wasn’t it unfair to place people from the streets on the Board instead of those who had grown up in his own home?
“This imaginative situation is very similar to the real situation for the Israelites. The Gospel Paul proclaimed made clear that many Jews would not be included in God’s promised blessings and that many Gentiles would be included. To them it seemed that, if this were true, God was being unfaithful and unfair. After all, God had promised that the descendants of Abraham would be the recipients of these blessings. In a sense, they felt that God owed them or was obligated to them. Paul writes chapters 9-11 to address these concerns and to explain that God is faithful, God is fair, and that God owes no one anything.” (www.semoncentral.com)
I might add that this promise was to His children – it’s just that not all of Israel was in fact, part of His family – and Gentiles who received Christ were. Paul hits this head on in the first part of verse 6: “It is not as though God’s Word had failed.” The word “failed” means to “fall out of, to fall down, or to drop.” God’s word will never hit the ground. It also means that God’s Word will never fall powerless. This is the main point of the entire chapter. No matter how disappointed we may be, God’s Word has not failed, nor will it ever fail. Numbers 23:19 puts it this way: “Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Isaiah 55:11: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Jesus stated it strongly in John 10:35: “…the Scripture cannot be broken.”