The day to day demands and struggles of life can often deprive us of a clear perspective of the big picture. What is really going on in the world? What is God up to? We learn from John 10 that there is a bigger story than our day-to-day lives taking place whether we notice or not. Jesus is at work gathering the sheep of His Father’s flock into the fold. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year the Good Shepherd is tenderly, patiently but effectively calling out to his sheep, delivering them out of darkness and into the light. He has laid down his life from the sheep and has pledged to guard and protect them. His sheep can rest in the peace of knowing they are secure with the fold of the Good Shepherd.
As we near the end of Romans 11, we see that Israel’s rejection of the gospel was ordained by God so that the gospel would go forth in power among the Gentiles. Thus, in terms of the gospel, they are God’s enemies for our sake. Yet they are also beloved from the standpoint of God’s election. Though Israel has been unfaithful, because of God’s promise to their fathers, His love for them will ultimately be demonstrated and vindicated in their final restoration. This will all take place according to God’s sovereign plan to exalt His mercy in redemption.
On the heels of verse 22, Paul continues to reveal God’s purpose for the salvation of Israel. Through this text, we find that not only is it possible that there will be an ingathering of the Jews in the last days, it is a certainty guaranteed by God Himself. He is able to save all whom He desires, He has appointed the times of redemption, and He will most definitely keep His covenant commitment to Israel.
In Romans 11:17, Paul likens the people of God to a lovingly cultivated olive tree and acknowledges that some of the branches of this tree were broken off. These broken off branches represent the Israelites who rejected Jesus and thereby forfeited their true spiritual heritage. The wild olive branches represent the Gentiles who “became partakers with them of the rich root.” Unfortunately, some Gentiles take this truth as an occasion to exalt themselves over their Jewish brethren, so Paul responds to such pride by reminding us all of the grace by which we stand.
Scripture teaches that the fallen world in which we live is a dark place. We are so accustomed to this spiritual darkness that we can become blind to the light of truth. The darkness into which we are born deprives us of the ability to see and understand reality. The apostle John wrote his gospel to show us that God has invaded the darkness in the person of Jesus in order to bring us the light of life. Jesus is the life giving light of heaven. In this passage from the eighth chapter of John’s gospel we see Jesus taking advantage of ceremonies associated with the Jewish Feast of Booths to reveal to all who would listen that through him they could come out of the darkness of death and have life eternal in the light of God’s glory.
Our modern culture prides itself on knowledge and understanding. We believe we can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem by the right use of our mental faculties and the rigorous application of human knowledge. It’s all too easy to lapse into thinking that the same is true for spiritual matters as well. Many believe we can ascend God’s holy hill by way of right reasoning and right choices. An examination of the people in Jerusalem who attended the Feast of Booths in John 7 demonstrates that this is not the case. The natural man cannot comprehend spiritual reality and as such is completely dependent upon God’s grace to enable an understanding of the gospel.
It can be very difficult when we are confronted with either difficult truth, or difficult circumstances. It is certainly difficult to reconcile the two when are faced with both at the same point in life. Perhaps you are in a place of honest struggle to reconcile what you see with your eyes and what you know to be true. As we look this passage, we find that by looking to Jesus in faith, we can find relief from our struggle, and the joy of the presence of God.
Jesus has now come into Jerusalem, teaching boldly in the Temple. Never shrinking back from proclaiming the truth, He uses Moses to show how the Jews were not keeping the Law, and the Sabbath as an example to demonstrate how they see only the material and are blind to the spiritual. As a result, we will see three distinct responses; the response of faith by many of the people, the response of unbelief by the Pharisees, and the anxious inquiry of the Jews.
As Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, his heart for their well-being and spiritual health bled through every word. These verses are a prayer of sorts for their deepening love and burgeoning knowledge of Christ, who Himself is the Christian’s and the church’s greatest wealth and treasure. As Morningview stands on the cusp of a significant capitol campaign for the renovation of our building, the focus is set upon drawing near to, depending upon, and treasuring Christ.
Two of the verses from this text in Romans 10 have appeared in virtually every biblical gospel tract over the last half century. They describe how saving faith is appropriated in the concert of heart belief and verbal confession. In this sermon, we explore the nature, the expression, and the result of true faith, as well as God’s confirmation of His promise that He abounds in riches for all who call upon Him in faith.
At this point in chapter 10, Paul is continuing to use the tragic error of the Jews to highlight the incredible gift of God’s grace to the nations. As the Apostle quotes from Deuteronomy 30, he is demonstrating how Christ is the fulfillment of everything God promised to Israel. Through the clear contrast of law and gospel, we are meant to realize once again that human effort has no part in our salvation and that God, in Christ, deserves all the glory in our gospel obedience and witness to the nations.