Summary: Considering what will happen to God’s chosen people - the Jews.
What about the Jews? (Rom 11) – Part 2
Last week if you were with us, we began to look at the question - What about the Jews? You see we have a dilemma as Christians because although we know that God is trustworthy & reliable, we see the Jews to whom he promised so much in the Old Testament being, forgotten at best and rejected outright at worst.
We saw that the apostle Paul faced this exact same dilemma when he was writing the letter to the Romans. Of all the people who should have got it figured out who Jesus was, the Jews should have, but they just couldn’t seem to get it. And as a result, they were lost. But if the Jews were lost, what about all the promises of God? Was God’s promises and plan defeated because the Jews wouldn’t cooperate? Did God simply transfer the promises over to the Christians and just let the Jews slip out of the picture?
We saw last week that Paul’s answer was a strong No. If you have your bibles there, Open them to Romans 11 and follow with me. (Read Rom 11:1-2a) He hadn’t rejected the Jews, but to understand what on earth was going on, we needed to look back to the election of the Jews – to the promises which set them apart from all others. In case you weren’t here last week, or incase you were here, but just asleep lets recap quickly.
We started right back at the original promise to the Jews as given to Abraham in Gen 12. We saw it was an unconditional promise with two parts – being blessed and being a blessing. The two parts are equally as important and were neither to be neglected or the sole focus. These two promises could never be revoked for there were no conditions attached.
We then talked about the fact that even though this promise was unconditional, from its inception, it was not meant for every Israelite. “That is strange”, you say - but even from Abraham’s children, God was chosing who this promise would apply to. It was meant only for the faithful. This was unfortunately often a small minority of the population, often termed the remnant. In Romans 11 again we read (Read Rom 11:2-6)
Well if the promises only applied to the faithful remnant, what about the other Jews. Again Paul gives us the answer (Read Rom 11:7-10). The rest of the Jews became desensitised to the things of God. We learnt that the word in Vs 8 for Stupor actually comes from the Greek word pricked. These Jews, had for so long been exposed to the things of God, so long been stimulated by his law, that they became comfortable with it and completely apathetic. Their hearts, minds and eyes became hardened like a callous.
This finally led to the question which we pick up today - Is God finished with Israel? Paul’s answer is again clearly no (Read Rom 11:11), but how do they fit into the future of God’s work and where do the Gentiles fit into all of this. These are the questions we are going to address today, so please keep your bibles open and follow along. Before we go any further, we should pause and pray.
Lord as we open your word now, we ask for the divine ability to rightly divide and interpret your word. Speak to us Lord we pray and give us an insight into your holy and perfect plan. We don’t pray this so that we can be filled with pride, but so that we can be more effective in our service for you. Amen
The Current Situation:
"Runner’s World" told the story of Beth Anne DeCiantis’s attempt to qualify for the 1992 Olympic Trials marathon. A female runner had to complete the 26-mile race in less than two hours, forty-five minutes to
compete at the Olympic Trials. Beth started strong but began having trouble around mile 23. She reached the final straightaway at 2:43, with just two minutes left to qualify. Two hundred metres from the finish, she stumbled and fell. Dazed, she stayed down for twenty seconds. The crowd yelled, "Get up!" The clock was ticking -- 2:44, less than a minute to go. Beth Anne staggered to her feet and began walking. Five yards short of the finish, with ten seconds to go, she fell again. She began to crawl, the crowd cheering her on, and crossed the finish line on her hands and knees. Her time? Two hours, 44 minutes, 57 seconds.
This is in some ways a little bit similar to the situation of the Jews. Though they have stumbled again and again and again, many of them will just make it. But in the mean time, many others have already made it over the line – many Gentiles including you and I. Paul says in Vs 11 -24 …