Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P45 (02-19-20)
Although many people, among the Jews, rejected the message of the gospel, a remnant was saved. Many Jews did reject Christ Jesus as the Messiah. However, there is always a remnant that are willing to listen. The first people who came to Christ were Jewish people. Thousands heard the preaching of the apostle Peter, and the other apostles, and were saved. There are those who will have humble hearts, who will hear, believe and be saved.
Today, it seems, not many people want to listen to truth. Many people’s minds are made up, and do not realize the errors they have believed. They would rather hold on to their denominational belief system, but not test it out with the word of God to see if what is said is true. Few will even open a bible up to read it. I encourage you to read your bible, not to gather information, but to get to know the author, who is God. As you read, ask the Holy Spirit to explain to you the meaning of it. Learn to ask questions of God. If you seek Him with all your heart, He will see to it that you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Remember, we are called to be set apart from the world. Our lives should be free from the love of money. We should not live in drunkenness or wild parties, but rather we should live such honorable lives among the lost, that they would have nothing to accuse you of. You should be like a light to them, a light shining in the darkness, that they would come to you and ask, “What is different about you? What do you have that is missing in me?” Then, always be ready to have an answer to share as to the hope that is within you. Have your feet shod with the gospel of peace. One good way is to care with you gospel tracts such as Be Born Free
We have been studying through the book of Romans. Again, just to reiterate what we talked about last week, that the book of Romans is written basically to the Gentile audience. The Gentiles had ultimately received the gospel. They we responded to it in vast numbers. Just like when Jesus, after his death and the resurrection and after the day of Pentecost, the thousands of people saved were Jewish. The first Gentile convert we know about is Cornelius, about 18 years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first early Christians were Jews. Then the gospel began to spread to the Gentile world. The Gentile world accepted the gospel in mass numbers. Most of the Arab world today is mostly Muslim. At one time they were mostly Christian nations. We have to understand that Paul is addressing to the Gentiles what their attitude should be toward their Jewish brothers. Therefore, he said this.
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.
Why? They tried to obtain righteousness by what they were doing instead of accepting the righteousness that comes from God. They sought to establish their own. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, who is Christ Jesus. He wants us to have a proper attitude toward our Jewish brothers. The same is true today, folks. There are many people today. I do not remember a lot of this in my childhood growing up, but I do remember some of hearing voices saying the Jews were Christ killers. What do you hear today? People saying this is an anti-Semitic movie. I had a guy call in over the air, saying “I am Italian”. He said, “It appears to me, after watching that movie, if you were going to be prejudiced to anyone, it would be the Italian. We beat the daylights out of the Jews. You can not leave out the Jews without leaving out the Italians.”
Now, it is the Jewish leadership. If we were to look back today, it was not like the Jewish world spread all over, but they were. They were centralized until you had a high priest, and you had a political system set up with all of the people underneath them. That kind of power corrupts, does it not? You have it today in denominations. You have got a big leader, and a bunch of people, and it is corrupt. Power corrupts. More power corrupts completely. You had the leadership of the Jewish world centered there in Jerusalem that had become unbelievably corrupt, and mean as hornets.
Now, today, if you look at the Jewish religions, as they are in existence today. You have your orthodox Jew. The orthodox Jew is another one who tries to keep all the laws. If you were over in Israel, they would be the ones you would see in the black hats and the curly cues and that kind of stuff. If you were walking in Israel, and you had a dress on that you had sleeves out, they would come up and spit on you. That is the mindset of those kind of people, self righteous beyond comprehension, absolutely. “If you violate one of our laws, we are going to go after you.” They are mean as hornets.
You take that what you see today, and multiply that by a hundred percent, you would see the mindset of the Jewish leadership back in those days, the high priest back in those days. When you talk about the Jews, you are not talking about the mass of Jews. You are talking about the leadership. For you to say that when you are talking about perverted leadership, saying you should not do that because it could cause problems is ridiculous. That is like saying you should not talk about the leadership of Adolf Hitler and his henchmen because it could make the Gentiles look bad. The issue is is that was what took place. It is not discrediting you and me. It is not discrediting the Jewish population today or the Gentile population today. It was the result of leadership becoming corrupt.
As it says in the bible, they said, not the average Jew, but the leadership said, “If we allow this man to continue, in what he is doing, before long the whole world is going to follow him, and we are going to lose our place and our position.” In other words, job security killed Jesus. The Jewish leaders were, in essence, saying, “I am not going to change. I am certainly not going to tell people that they are going to be saved by grace when I am the authority on the law. My position is that I know the law and the interpretation of the law and I have gone beyond the law. No way am I ever going to say the law is not important and that someone is saved by grace. So I am going to get rid of this guy who has the audacity to go under the skin to teach what the word means when I am telling you what it means out of my corrupt flesh.” This was the conflict that was taking place between Jesus and the hierarchy of Judaism.
Now, as that continued to progress, by the time the book of Romans was written, he wanted us Gentiles to see a proper attitude toward our Jewish brothers. So, in answer to this question, because you would have had Gentiles who said God rejected his people. “He is all for us now. The chosen people are no longer chosen people. We are the chosen people.” Paul writes to address this error in attitude among the Gentile believers.
1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means!
He did not reject his people. His people were the first ones the gospel came to. He did not reject them. They were the ones he offered salvation to by faith.
I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah – how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[1 Kings 19:10,14]?
Do you ever feel that way? What was God’s answer to him?
4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[1 Kings 19:18] 5 So too, at the present time
Even though the leadership has rejected this gospel of Christ Jesus, there is a remnant of people chosen by grace. What does he mean chosen by grace? That is who God chooses for salvation, which are those who come to him by faith. Who does he reject? Those who come to him by way of the law. God gives grace to the humble and he resists the proud. Is that not His right to do so? He did say he came down saying he is going to save everybody. He is going to save those who realize they cannot save themselves. He is going to save those who have faith in what He did rather than what they are doing.
there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
If they came by grace, they would not have come by works.
7 What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did,
Who is the elect? It is not you’s and me’s. The elect is Jews and Gentiles. He is talking about what Israel so earnestly did not obtain but the elect did. Who is he talking about that just obtained salvation by grace? The Gentiles. Who is the elect? The Gentiles. Who also is the elect? The Jews who do what? Come to Him by faith. There are only three categories of people from God’s vantage point; the Jew, the Gentile, and the church, the Ekklesia, made up of both born again Jews and born again Gentiles. So you have lost Jews and you have lost Gentiles. You have the church who are born again Jews and Gentiles alike. There is no difference between the two. There is only one God and only one form of salvation, which we will study in chapter 12. That is the elect, and not that “I elected you and not someone else”, as some people teach.
but the others were hardened, 8 as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”[Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 29:10]
9 And David says:
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.”[Psalm 69:22,23]
If you are going to rebel against the truth of the grace of God, this is what God says is going to happen to you. As we talked about before, the same sun that melts wax hardens clay. It is the identical sun. So it is not the fault of the sun. It is what it falls on. So when it says God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the same Son that hardened the heart of Pharaoh also melted the heart of Moses. The same message that gave the spirit of stupor to the proud, melted the heart of the man who came to Him by faith.
It is not that God hardens a person’s heart, as if saying, “I am going to harden your heart so you cannot receive”. It is the fact that your pride prohibits you from receiving and so, therefore, My message hardens your heart. You go out to a bunch of legalistic people today, and you start teaching the grace of God, you will find a heart as hard as a brick in response to that. They do not want to hear this. They say, “that is cheap grace”. Have you ever heard that one? “Oh, you people teach cheap grace.”
If people are not saying to you that you are not being easy on sin, you are not preaching grace, period. But they want to call it out as cheap grace. If grace cost a penny, it would cease to be grace. Grace was a free gift of God. It cost him his life. It cost him unbelievable suffering but it was free to you and me. That is how you come to Christ, through the acceptance that “I can’t but He did”. Again, he asked this question to the Gentiles.
11 Again I ask: Did they [the Jews] stumble so as to fall beyond recovery?
Has God turned his back on the Jewish world and said, “You had it?”
Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
That is a by-product of sending the gospel to the Gentiles. It made the Jews jealous.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
Folks, do you know what had made Mel Gibson a very wealthy man? The rejection of the Jews. The minute they started complaining about this movie being anti-Semitic it caused people to go to see the movie whether they wanted to go or not. They wanted to see if what was said was right or wrong. So the rejection caused the acceptance. The rejection of the Jew caused the acceptance of the Gentiles. Remember the power of sin is in the law. All you have to do is get a person to go to this movie is say, “Do not go.”
Somebody called one time. The pastor got up in the pulpit and said, “Do not read this book “Classic Christianity”. It sold out. That is all you had to do to get people to buy it is just tell people not to read it. That will cause people to want to go buy it. So basically, the rejection of the Jew caused the acceptance of the Gentile.
13 I am talking to you Gentiles.
He wants to clarify who he is talking to.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
Paul’s desire above all things is that his people would come to know this Christ as their Messiah.
15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy [the apostles], then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
In other words, if they are set apart, the whole batch is going to be set apart. The root is set apart and so are the branches.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot,
How many of you are Gentiles? As a Gentile, what does God call us, affectionately? Wild olive shoot. That is a little better than calling us dogs. But that is a designation of our heritage. If we want to go back to our roots, it is not very pleasant, idol worshiping Gentiles.
have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches.
Do not boast over those branches. Why does he say that? What were the Gentiles doing? Boasting. You will see, in verse 20, where he tells them, “do not be arrogant”. You will see in other passages, where he says to them not to be conceited. Why? That is what we were becoming. We were all puffed up over the fact that we are accepting and they are not. He was trying to negate that attitude.
If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Some people read that as being a loss of salvation. He is merely saying to the Gentile world, “Do not get all puffed up on being a Gentile because he could get rid of you the same way”. Did he get rid of the Jews beyond repair? No. He is just saying I could do the same with you. He did not say he will. He just said he could.
Let us turn now to the 13th chapter of Matthew. Here again is Jesus talking to the Jewish crowd he was talking to.
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
You hear what someone is saying but you do not understand what it means? Why? Because you do not allow the Spirit to reveal it to you.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
Here is the root cause of that.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[Isaiah 6:9,10]
We can get our hearts calloused. We can get it calloused by rejecting truth. We can get it calloused by saying, “I am going to walk with both feet, a double-minded man. I will have one foot in the Lord and one foot in the world. Please do not tell me to get my foot out of the world.” People bring things into their churches and say, “we are being politically correct”. A church should be a set apart group. They should be set apart from the world, not looking or sounding like the world, but set apart and to be people who are there for the purpose of communicating the good news of the gospel.
A born again believer does not belong in the bars. A born again believer does not belong drunken, being in a drunken state. A born again believer is separate from that. Those are just two things I am talking about. You are separate from that. A born again believer should be honest. That separates you from the world. Yet many times we have one foot in the world, and one foot here in Christ, and we wonder why we are a double minded man who is unstable in all ways.
There comes a point when you come to Christ and you say, “I am going to put that stuff aside. That is of the world and I will put that aside and start walking in the newness of life. My main thrust and obligation is to know Christ and to be growing in Christ. I am going to stop seeing those buddies that all they want to do is drink and play, and I will get some new friends. I did not have to do that when I came to Christ. I automatically lost my friends when I became a Christian. I did not get rid of them. They got rid of me. If they wanted to be around me, then I would say there is something wrong with me. I had no place in the bars again. I say again because I spent a lot of time in the bars then. I did not know there was a coffee shop in California until I became a Christian. I know what that is. I know when I came into relationship with Christ Jesus, He was saying to me, “You do not belong there any more.”
I thought many times prior to that that I did. I used to work with Santa Monica freeway in California. You come down one freeway then the Santa Monica freeway splits. One way was going home. I always remember the struggle I had on St. Patrick’s day. One way took me home. The other way took me to O’Malleys. That was no struggle before coming to Christ. I just went to O’Malleys. It did not matter what Amy thought or if it hurt her. That is where I went. I remember coming to Christ. It never entered my mind to go to O’Maleys any more. I am going home where I belong. That is a sign of a born again believer. You cannot live totally infatuated with the world and infatuated with Jesus at the same time. You can, but you will be a double-minded man who is unstable in all ways.
That is the same way with church. You cannot blend in all of the stuff that everyone says the children like. The issue is that is not what church is. The church does not exist to entertain children or adults. The church is for proclaiming the good news of Christ Jesus. You can get all the entertainment you need in school. That is one reason why we never got into all of the programs that you have to build a big church with. My feeling is you come and learn. It is not the responsibility to teach your children but to teach the word of God. That is the parent’s responsibility. It is my responsibility to teach you. Then it is your, the parent’s, responsibility to teach children and then demonstrate that in your life in front of them.
When I came to Dallas, Texas, I lost, to a degree, my children in regard to educating because the church took over. They were so engrossed and busy and busy that you hardly had time to talk to each other. I swore if we ever had a church we will never do that. We will keep it simple but we will, as Richard said, we will develop programs to equip you for work of ministry but we will not work you to death. You have enough to do with families and school to be tied up every day of the week in a church function. As a matter of fact, when you are out in the marketplace that is church. That is where you are supposed to be. That is where you reach people for Christ, not in here, but out there.
With this movie, this movie certainly is not for the purpose of leading people to Christ, necessarily. Certainly somebody can see what Jesus did, but the resurrection was hardly mentioned. Rightly so. He did not intend to do that. The greatest opportunity you and I have, though, is to take advantage of the movie to talk about Christ. I do not know a single person who has not heard of Jesus because of this movie. You cannot turn on the television and hear someone not talking about his movie. Every where you turn, someone is talking about Jesus. We went into a Jewish delicatessen and guess what was on television? You cannot even get him out of a Jewish delicatessen. You are going to find people at a water fountain talking about Jesus, talking at a desk about Jesus, at a grocery store talking about this. What an opportunity we have as Christians to be able to say, “Are you interested in learning more about the fullness of his gospel? And to hand out “Be Born Free” books or make an appointment to have lunch with someone and talk to him about Jesus. Or invite him to your home to talk about Jesus. The opportunities are out there. This opened up a terrific opportunity to get involved. People are talking about Jesus so why not tell people what you know about him.