Summary: The place of Israel in God's Plan
What’s Up With Israel? - March 8, 2009- Romans 9-11
Turn with me this morning to the book of Romans, chapter 9. We’ve been going through this book written by the Apostle Paul to Christians living in the city of Rome. He writes giving them good news, an explanation of the wonderful salvation that is ours in Christ Jesus. We saw in chapters 3, that we truly didn’t deserve salvation. Rather, all are under the condemnation of God because of our sin: ungodly sinners, moral people, and even religious Jews. We saw in chapter 4 that salvation in by faith alone, not by keeping the law, not by trying to live according to some moral standard of do’s and don’t’s. We saw in 5-7 that we are justified by faith -- we have no righteousness of our own, but the righteous of Christ is given to us, it is credited to our account completely by God’s doing.
We saw in chapter 8 that we face trials to help us grow, to makes us spiritually mature, to develop godly character, to give us hope. And we saw last week in chapter 8 that our hope is of one day being in the very presence of God forever. When we have that hope if forever changes the way we live.
We ended last week looking at these verses in Romans 8:38+
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These are wonderful verses, but this morning, we want to ask a simple question: Can we believe them? Today we want to look at chapters 9-11 of Romans, where Paul raises a simple question: What about the Jews?
When we think that nothing can separate us from God’s love, we have to ask: what happened to Israel? In the Old Testament we see that the Jews were God’s chosen people. God had a special relationship with this people group. They were in line for His choicest blessings. What happened to all those promises?
If God failed to keep His promises to the Jews, we have to wonder if we can trust God for the promises He makes to us. Our view of the Jews and how God keeps His promises to them determines our view of our own future. Normally we think little about the Jews, but when we consider the faithfulness of God, we NEED to have a clear understanding of what happened to the Jews. And that’s what Paul gives us here in these chapters of the book of Romans. Let’s pause and pray and ask God to help us understand this passage. PRAY.
The first thing we want to understand today is that definitely,
I. The Jews had a remarkable PAST. Look with me as I read the first 5 verses of Romans 9.
I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-- I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the 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. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, for ever praised! Amen.
To understand the past of the Jews, let’s refresh our memory of exactly what a JEW is. 4500 years ago, in the area that today defines the nation of Iraq, there lived a man named Abram. He lived in a city named Ur. God called Abram to leave his family and his hometown, and God led him to the Middle East, to the area that today is known as the country of Israel. God changed his name from Abram to Abraham, and God made a special covenant to bless Abraham’s descendants. He had a son named Isaac, who had twin sons named Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and ever since his descendants have been called Israelites.
This people group received many wonderful blessings. It says here they had
“adoption”- they had a special relationship of being chosen by God. They had
“divine glory” - they enjoyed the visible presence of God with them, signified by a pillar of fire and cloud of smoke. They enjoyed covenants, promises that God would be in a special relationship to them; they had the
“law” - Moses went up on Mt. Sinai and came back with commands written by the finger of God. They had the