Summary: PENTECOST 12(A) - Unbelief is man’s failure as some give up God’s glory even though God does not give up.
UNBELIEF IS MAN’S FAILURE
Romans 9:1-5 - August 22, 2004
1I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-- 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Scripture, as we know it, is full of encouragement. Our lessons today (GENESIS 15:1-6; HEBREWS 11:1-16) spoke of people of faith. Scripture also contains the failures of mankind. Encouragement or failures--you and I learn from these examples. The root source of all these failures and mankind’s failures, especially the spiritual failures is always unbelief. The examples are many. We look back towards the beginning. Adam and Eve’s first sin stands an example of unbelief. They listened to Satan and thought they knew better than God. At the Tower of Babel mankind put his confidence in himself and built a tower to reach God. The purpose for the tower came tumbling down; and mankind’s language was confused. Judas, a chosen disciple of Christ, faced his own destruction because of a trust in himself that lead to unbelief. Man was chosen by God to believe, but ends up selling himself short and fails because of unbelief. Man’s failure is unbelief.
Salvation on the other hand is God’s success. We are reminded in Titus: "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy" (TITUS 3:4,5a). We are going to look at God’s divine mercy today. We are going to use as our theme
UNBELIEF IS MAN’S FAILURE. We learn that I. Some give up God’s glory
II. But God does not give up.
I. SOME GIVE UP GOD’S GLORY
It is a very serious matter that Paul is addressing in the beginning of Romans 9 this morning. This seriousness is seen in the fact that Paul expresses his personal feelings. 2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. Paul was extremely saddened by what had happened. Even though the apostle Paul is expressing his personal feelings that does not make God’s word any less true. These words in Romans are still inspired by the Holy Spirit. They are still the very words and thoughts that God wants written for and to mankind. That assurance is seen at the opening of this chapter. 1I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit. Paul expresses his own deepest feelings, his personal concern; yet, as he points out, this is not just his personal concern or his own deepest feelings, these are also the words inspired by the Holy Spirit. What a special encouragement it is to see the personal feelings of Paul also realizing that this is exactly what God wants us to know.
What is the reason for Paul’s great sadness and sorrow? Paul is sorrowful because there are some who were once saved but now are lost. God’s chosen people gave up on God’s glory. They did not want to believe the obvious—Jesus of Nazareth was the promised messiah, Savior of all mankind. Those who should have known better no longer appreciated or cherished the salvation God had provided for them. In the midst of his sadness and sorrow Paul wants us to learn from this failure of man. Paul writes that he is saddened because of Israel. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ, for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4the people of Israel. The people of Israel, here Paul does not address them as God’s children, were the ones who had given up God’s glory. Their unbelief had become their failure.
Listen again to Paul’s great concern for the salvation of these people. 3For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ, for the sake of my brothers. Paul was willing to cut himself off from God’s love. Last week at the end of the 8th chapter of Romans Paul wrote that nothing could separate us from God’s love. Now here as chapter 9 begins Paul writes these words, "I wish I could be separated. I wish I could be cut off because of the children of Israel." Israel had given up, and Paul was saddened. Paul was willing to be cursed, eternally cut off, in order that the children of Israel might be saved.