The Reason for Israel's Rejection
v. 1 Paul lived and breathed evangelism--seeing people saved. There's nothing more important in this life than saving souls for the next life. We can say it's our top priority corporately at FBC, but that's not really true unless it is your top priority individually!
Vance Havner: Cut Christianity anywhere and it will bleed evangelism!
Soul winning is not something we do, it's what we are!
ill.--a particular Civil War soldier had a fault, if you can call it that. He would never retreat until he had made contact w/ the enemy. One day the bugler blew 'charge' and he and the troops ran headlong into the enemy, but found them to be too great in number. The C/O blew retreat and all turned around except for this one soldier. He would not retreat, having not made contact w/ his enemy. He continued running their direction, unnoticed. The enemy was comfortable in their foxholes, seeing the other side in retreat. The soldier jumped in the first foxhole and whacked a soldier w/ the butt of his gun, knocking him out cold. Then he hauled him back to his C/O over his shoulders. "Where did you get him?" He replied, "Over yonder in a foxhole. There's a whole bunch of them...you all could've had one, if you'd a wanted one!"
We all can win souls, if we just want to...if only we had that burden that Paul had!
"...and prayer..." Make a list of lost souls by name, and pray for them, and it will happen. And don't be surprised if you are the one to lead some of them, carrying that burden!
Chapter 9 was Israel's election. Now we move into chapter 10 and their rejection.
Jesus came to His own, and they received Him not. This is a tragedy. Paul gives three reasons why Israel rejected, and then gave a simple gospel presentation.
v. 2 They had ignorant zeal.
Zeal = burning fire.
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
... a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Zeal, like fire, can be controlled and useful and productive...but like fire, if used w/out knowledge, becomes wildfire and is very destructive. You can be zealous, and be wrong. You can be sincere...but sincerely wrong.
Rewind in Jewish history to OT times. They got caught up in idolatry. God judged them, sending them into 70 years of Babylonian captivity. When they were finally released home, they were rescued from that idolatry, never to return, but they became so zealous of God's law, that they made much of it, and tried to improve upon it! They added their own man made rules, heightening their traditions to the extreme. They had so many silly rules they put on the same level as God's Word. So do we today!
Those who crucify themselves, beat their own backs, or crawl on their knees to their temples...are they zealous and sincere? Yes! Does that make them right? No!
ill.—As navigator on family trips, and as a male, I have several times driven us far out of the way. It’s a pride thing! I was very sincere. But we were never going to get home the way we were going!
The Jews rejected Jesus because they had zeal, but not according to knowledge.
v. 3 They had ignorant righteousness.
If you miss learning of God's righteousness as your hope for salvation, you will attempt to develop your own!
And all those who are trying to save themselves have a problem, because they have too low an opinion of God's righteousness and too high an opinion of their own. When you get a glimpse of God's holiness and His hatred of sin, it will drive you to your knees in abject repentance!
Isaiah said, Woe is me, I am unclean!
Peter said, Depart from me, Lord, I am a sinful man!
People today think God is less holy than He is, and that they are more holy than they truly are, so they believe they can get to God by their own good works. They measure God and themselves by human standards and are deceived in both regards.
Of all the attributes of God, His holiness is the most foundationally critical.
Ill.--God is love, but because He is holy, He is perfect love! [just/wise/powerful/merciful/forgiving]
And our perfect God demands perfection...and we don't got it! So we have to receive it from Him, not try to attain it in our own strength and effort.
Churches today try to drag God down to man's level, and make Him more palatable. But you can't be saved that way. You have to let Him pull you up!
"This Blood's for you"
These clever sayings convey to the world that we're not that far off from God...when actually, we are!
ignorant zeal, ignorant righteousness...
v. 4 They were ignorant of their own law.
In the next few verses, Paul is going to compare man's righteousness with God-given righteousness.
v. 5 If you try to keep the law, you must keep it all, perfectly.
No one can keep even one of the Ten Commandments to perfection. But even if you could keep 9 of the 10, could you be saved? No! How many links in a chain have to break before it gives way? Just one!
What a struggle, what an effort. And even if you had been perfect all your life to this day, you'd still be stressed every moment to try not to mess it up today or tomorrow.
Compare that kind of man-made righteousness to God's righteousness now.
vv. 6-8 God's way of salvation doesn't say 'Do'...it says 'Done!'
vv. 6-7 are about the 2 great miracles upon which Christianity rests: the incarnation and the resurrection. [bringing Christ down, and raising Him up!]
And just as there's no reproducing of these 2 pillars of our faith, there's no comparison w/ anything we ourselves can do.
v. 8 The Word is nigh thee! The hard work is already done. The gospel is available, accessible, and not complicated.
But people think salvation sounds too easy. It's human nature to want to make it harder, or to try to earn it. But God wants to give it to us as a gift!
Now begins the most plain statement of the gospel you can find.
How could anyone reject that?
And how could the Jews reject it? Everything about their Jewish history pointed to this coming Messiah! The sacrifices pointed to it/priesthood/temple services/festivals/covenants. But instead of allowing the law to point them to their Savior, they worshipped the law, and rejected the Christ.
Having explained the reasons for his people's rejection, he moves on in the following verses to explain the remedy. [next time]
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