“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical de- lusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
I pray we would really internalize the word of grace….
Call To Unity – 1 Corinthians 1:10
1 Corinthians 1:10 – I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
I. Agree With One Another
II. Unite In Mind
III. Unite In Thought
I. Agree With One Another
Act 4:32 The whole group of believers was united in their thinking and in what they wanted. None of them said that the things they had were their own. Instead, they shared everything.
John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.
John 13:35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”
Philippians 2:1 Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement he has brought us, the comfort of his love, our sharing in his Spirit, and the mercy and kindness he has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings,
Philippians 2:2 then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think.
Philippians 2:3 In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves.
Philippians 2:4 Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too.
Philippians 2:5 In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought.
Philippians 2:6 He was like God in every way, but he did not think that his being equal with God was something to use for his own benefit.
Agree with one another in love, don’t ever think you have the most bright idea than anyone else, give in to each other’s idea to fulfill it and not to please yourself.
We are called be one:
1. One In Love – Love like the Lord Jesus loves. No one is above or beneath him, He treated everyone of us as equal.
2. One In Goal – Our goal is evangelism towards unbelievers, and ministry towards believers.
3. One In Mind – Our mind is the mind of Christ, think of the lost souls as He’s thinking about it.
Live like a servant and you can be able to do all these things.
II. Unite In Mind
Ephesians 4:31 Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.
Philippians 1:27 Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. Then if I come and visit you or if I am away from you, I will hear good things about you. I will know that you stand together with the same purpose and that you work together like a team to help others believe the Good News.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 Show them the highest respect and love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other.
Our mind is our will, if we will it, it will come to pass, because we share the same authority as Jesus have and much more because He’s in Heaven.
John 14:12 “I can assure you that whoever believes in me will do the same things I have done. And they will do even greater things than I have done, because I am going to the Father.
III. Unite In Thought
Philippians 4:8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Luke 16:15 Jesus said to them, “You make yourselves look good in front of people. But God knows what is really in your hearts. What people think is important is worth nothing to God.
Whatever is in our hearts, it will come out via our mouth. So it’s important to set our minds only on these thoughts:
1. Praise worthy
Whenever I think of these 7 things that we should think about that needs to come out of our mouth, the only thing that qualifies is God’s love and God’s Words. So think about His Words and you will not be tempted. The battleground between good and evil is our minds, think only on those 7 things and the battle has already been won.
Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.
2 Corinthians 12:1-5
Introduction: Last week, I said the Word of God mentions the word “unspeakable” three times:
– 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:4, “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
– 1 Peter 1:8, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
I also said that, in these verses, we find God’s unspeakable Gift, His unspeakable Words, and our unspeakable joy.
– God’s unspeakable Gift is Jesus. The fact, that God gave Jesus, leaves us unable to declare its wonder.
– God’s unspeakable Words were too sacred to divulge.
– Our unspeakable joy is joy so full it defies description.
In this message, I wish to emphasize God’s unspeakable words. The story surrounding 2 Corinthians 12:4 is just as amazing as the truth found in it. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:2 that he knew a man above 14 years ago who was caught up to the third Heaven. In this passage, the man Paul knew was Paul himself. What was it that had happened fourteen some odd years before?
The Apostle Paul had journeyed to Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra. There, he ministered the Word of God and performed miracles in the name of Jesus. In particular, Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, had brought healing to a man who was crippled in his feet from birth and had never walked. The Word of God records that Paul “Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” (Acts 14:10) Because of this, Paul and Barnabas were viewed as gods by the people of Lystra. Then, the Bible says in Acts 14:19, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.”
I believe that Paul was indeed stoned to death, but God performed a miracle, and Acts 14:20 records, “Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” It is a difficult thing to survive a stoning. During this time, Paul apparently visited Heaven, and, just as Lazarus was returned to this earth, so Paul was returned to continue his ministry. Lazarus was dead for four days, and Paul for only a few minutes. Both were brought back to life by the power of God. This is the story Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 12. In these verses, he relates what happened to him when he went to Heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:4 tells us that Paul was told things he could not repeat to anyone on earth, “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” In other words, God said to Paul, “I’m going to tell you some things that I don’t want you to tell anyone else.” What did God tell him? We don’t know, because God told him not to tell anybody, and Paul kept God’s secret. These were God’s unspeakable words.
Why didn’t God want Paul to reveal the secrets of Heaven to anyone on earth? Because it wasn’t time yet. It wasn’t until more than 51 years later God revealed to the Apostle John the mysteries of Heaven.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Finding strength to press on only comes from surrendering to God’s will:
Life is full of struggles, difficulties, and problems. Some are bigger than others. But whether the Christian’s trials in life are of the garden variety, or more along the lines of major tragedy, there is but one thing that will overcome them—faith in God.
We must also keep in mind that our enemy, Satan, is always seeking opportunities to defeat us. We must never forget that there is a spiritual battle going on. Satan seeks to destroy us with our trials, while God seeks to develop us with them. The child of God cannot avoid trials. They can however, face those trials in faith toward God, and thwart Satan’s plan to defeat them.
Today we are dealing with one man’s approach to facing serious problems. Hezekiah, King of Judah, rather than letting the enemy put him in fear and frustration, chose to face his dilemma by faith in God. The problem Hezekiah and Judah faced was so enormous that only God could deliver them. And that is where faith comes in. When the problems are bigger than our ability to handle them, that’s our cue to just rely on God.
In this message we will not only see the enormity of Hezekiah’s problem, and how he chose to face it, but we will also see how unwavering faith produced a wonderful victory. One thing becomes clear in this account from God’s Word: God always honors steadfast faith in Him.
I. THE THREAT
II Chron.32: 1 “After these things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fenced cities, and thought to win them for himself.”
A. The King Speedily Commenced Preparation.
1. He stopped the waters.
II Chron.32: 2 “And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib, was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem,
3 He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him.
4 So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
NOTE:  One of the first things I want you to notice here is that Hezekiah did not simply take a passive stance. He responded to this threat by first doing what he knew to be logical to do. That part didn’t take any faith—just common sense.
In 1937 architect Frank Lloyd Wright built a house for industrialist Hibbard Johnson. One rainy evening Johnson was entertaining distinguished guests for dinner when the roof began to leak. The water seeped through directly above Johnson himself, dripping steadily onto his bald head. Irate, he called Wright in Phoenix, Arizona. “Frank,” he said, “you built this beautiful house for me and we enjoy it very much. But I have told you the roof leaks, and right now I am with some friends and distinguished guests and it is leaking right on top of my head.”
Wright’s reply was heard by all of the guests. “Well, Hib, why don’t you move your chair?”
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan, 1992, p.14.
 Hezekiah did what anyone should do when trouble appears imminent—make preparations. The Bible backs up this way of thinking.
Prov.22: 3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but
the simple pass on, and are punished.”
 Hezekiah also determined not to give the enemy any unnecessary advantages. That’s why he stopped the waters outside the city. We too need to be careful not to give our enemy, Satan, any unnecessary advantages over us. Stop the devices of deception, delusion, lust, envy, hate, pride, greed recognize what device he is trying to beguile you with and refuse to allow it to over come you within. If something tast good to us we like it, But if something taste bad we don’t like it. Well cocaine saling or smoking is bad, but your receptors will lie and say yes!! this is good as well with all sin he “The Enemy of our soul tries to lure us into. Be on guard and fight strategically with the weapons of our Lord against this fool Of a enemy…
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
New International Version (NIV)
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
Japanese bonsia trees are truly, perfectly formed minitures. They remain small no matter how old they get. Most are only fifteen to eighteen inches tall. To make a bonsai tree, a young sapling is pulled from the soil. Then, its taproot and some of the feeder roots are tied off. Thus, the growth of the bonsai is deliberately stunted.
In sharp contrast, California sequoia trees grow extremely large. The General Sherman stands 272 feet and measures 79 feet in circumference, If felled, this giant tree would provide enough lumber to build thirty-five, five room homes! The sequoia begins life as a small seed, no larger than the seed of the bonsai. However, its sapling is allowed to be nourished in the rich California soil and sunshine.
Neither the bonsai nor the giant sequoia has a choice in determining how large it will become. But we human beings do! We cannot blame others, including our parents, for what they have done or are doing to us. We have the opportunity to transplant ourselves into a nurturing, positive envoronment.
If others are trying to prune you back today, move away from their shears. Rejoice in who you are and who you can be. Find a new place to put down roots. Know that you don’t have to be toxic like those around you. The choice belongs to you rather you will allow your transformation to be peaceful in every circumstance, rather you will radiate love and positivity. Let your mind be transformed to “Trust” and obedience to “Elohim.” He will change your life, He will capture your roots in His soil of plenty, He will take your heart and make you over, He is your source for everything, he will let you be the head of every situation that once held you bound. Let Him lead and nurture you, get in a good heard of believers and begin to feed on the roots of Jesse.
The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.
New International Version (NIV)
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
This is a solemn warning to those who walk in darkness and try to help themselves find the light. they are described as the kindling for a fire that is surrounding itself with sparks. What does this mean? It means that when we are in darkness, the temptation is to find our own way without trusting in the Lord and relying upon Him. Instead of allowing Him to help us, we try to help ourselves. We seek the light of the natural way and advice of our friends. We reason out our own conclusions and thereby may be tempted to accept a path of deliverance that would not be of God at all.
The light we see may be the fires from our own kindling, or deceptive beacons leading us towards the danger of the rocks, and God will allow us to walk in the false light of those sparks, but the end will be sorrow. I speak from experience, I was stubborn and didn’t believe in the resurrection power of Jesus and was over taken by my sins and all the addictions and pain one can be exposed too. I say thais because my confession of Him as Lord of my life was not being seen as light due to my behavior. My ideas had consequence not relative to my beliefs.
If you are in a dark place at this time I extol and beseech you to stay there until God releases you. His timig is for a reason that only He knows the answer to. A time of darkness and trouble, struggle is meant to teach you lessons you desperately need. Premature deliverance may circumvent God’s work of grace in your life. Commit the entire situation to Him, and be willing to abide in darkness, knowing He is present.
Remember, it is better to walk in the dark with God than to walk alone in the light. Stop interfering with God’s plans and with His will. Touching anything of His mars the work. Moving the hands of a clock to suit you does not change the time. You may be able to rush the unfolding of some aspects of God’s will, but you harm His work in the long run. You can force a rosebud open, but you spoil the flower. Leave everything to Him, without exception. “Not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
God sent me on when I would stay
(‘Twas cool within the wood);
I did not know the reason why.
I heard a boulder crashing by
‘Cross the path where I had stood.
He had me stay when I would go;
“Your will be done,” I said.
They found one day at early dawn,
Across the way I would have gone,
A serpent with a mangled head.
I ask no more the reason why,
Although I may not see
The path ahead, His way I go;
For though I know not, He does know,
And He will choose safe paths for me.
From Sunday School Times
The cultivated Mind Measures the Man.–Never think that you have learned enough and that you may now relax your efforts. The cultivated mind is the measure of the man. your education should continue during your lifetime; every day you should be learning and putting to practicle use the knowledge gained. Remember, The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking. Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corruppt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest; and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truths. I speak as one still thirsty to gain ground of information and dynomo power spoken of in Phillipians2:12-17 add this to your cultivating after you read this. Dynomite explodes every where, but the dynomo power is a direct reflection of a continuous connection to Him. reading praying serving expecting believing suffering joy honoring are tools to turn your ground upside down and replentish your new roots. Make it a great day live well my friends and family….
Happy Resurrection weekend. I am really thankful for the time to study the holy word of God. I am especially thankful for the gift of understanding. I see the need to express how serious Israel is to us as Gentile believers. I want to also make mention that we should always pray for that nation, the forecast spiritually is really prophetically taking place. The institution of the “Euro” one world currency is taking place. Our president has met with the G20 during his first term and now is pushing meeting with the G8 these committees are structure money guru’s who are trying to set prophesy in order to establish economic world order. There are so many other events taking place that are spoken of in our word.
The rabbi is Rabbi Nachman Kahane, who has guided many Jewish students of the Scriptures on the subject of the temple. In addition, he has been the main source of serious study and preparation to rebuild the Jewish temple.
How soon will the temple be rebuilt? Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the former head of the Temple Institute, says even the priestly garments are ready and the temple will stand in full operation very soon.
Where will it be rebuilt? Rabbi Chaim Richman, the leading authority on the red heifer, says the temple will be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Rebuilding the temple will be an important fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It will be integral to the seven-year (end-times) treaty with Israel. After all, the rebuilt temple shows up in Jesus’ warning to His Jewish followers in Matthew 24:15 (“the holy place”); and it appears in Paul’s revelation that the “man of sin” (a.k.a. the beast of Revelation) will enter into the temple (after killing God’s two prophets) and set himself up to be worshipped as God.
In addition, Daniel 9:27 shows us how important the rebuilding of the temple will be to the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy. Here is what that verse says:
“Then they shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week they shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”
Though many translations have “he” in place of “they,” it is a mistake to translate it that way. This is because the pronoun goes back to the nearest subject, which is “people” in verse 26. The reason “he” appears in so many Bible translations is because the pronoun is singular. However, it is singular because, in Hebrew (the language in which Daniel was originally written), “people” is a singular noun which requires a singular pronoun. But “he” in English does nothing but confuse the reader. To refer to “people,” the English translation of the pronoun should be “they.”
Here’s a question – if our faith is based on the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ – why do we have the Old Testament? I mean, isn’t it just a bunch of laws and prophecies of destruction focused on the nation of Israel? Didn’t God reject the Jews when they rejected His Son Jesus?
Good questions – and we have the very Jewish Rabbi and Apostle Paul here to explain it to us in Romans chapter 11. Look back at the end of chapter 10 to pick up the thought – remember, chapters and verse numbers were added later, originally this was one long letter.
Romans 10:21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
You picture God throwing up His hands – “Oy veh!” From Genesis through Malachi God pictured a savior, told about a savior, promised a savior – but at just the right time the savior came, He was rejected and killed by His own people. We talked last week about the obstinate heart that God enhances by hardening it.
Right after the resurrection, almost all of the church was made up of Jews who believed in Jesus as the savior, the promised Messiah. In fact, there was a great controversy about whether gentiles could even be a part of this new Way. After God revealed to the Apostle Peter (Acts 10:15) “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” And the door was opened to the gentiles.
But the more time went on, the more opposition arose from the Jews. The Apostle Paul got so fed up with them that at one point he said (Acts 18:6) But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
One thing led to another, and pretty soon the Jews were rioting against Christians – Jews who became believers were thrown out of fellowship and out of families.
So in chapter 11, Paul talks to the conclusion that God has permanently turned His back on the Jews because they turned their back on Jesus. There are 7 paragraphs in this chapter – and 7 points Paul makes to help us understand what place the Jews have in God’s heart.
Point 1 – God didn’t reject His people, many of them rejected Him (1-6)
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! 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 the 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”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
You may know the story of Elijah, in 1 Kings 19 – this prophet had won a huge victory over 400 prophets of Ba’al. Then he ran from one angry woman – Jezebel. He hid away in a cave until God coaxed him out and asked him what in the world he was doing there. Elijah told him, maybe with a little whine in his voice, (1 Kings 19:14) “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
God replied to Elijah: (1 Kings 19:18) Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” Just as there was in that time an unseen remnant of the faithful, God knows the faithful remnant today that has not bowed the knee to righteousness by good works, but righteousness through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Elijah needed to open His eyes to the work God was really doing – just as the Jews needed to open their eyes to see the work God did through Jesus.
But as a nation they were so caught up in external righteousness by obeying the law, that they missed the internal righteousness God offered through Jesus. And even as God told Elijah to anoint another to take his place, the Jews found themselves unable to obtain God’s favor through their own merits, and that rejection brought with it a result.
Point 2 – Rejection led to blindness (7-10)
7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” 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.”
Why do the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah? Here Paul says they earnestly desired to be God’s people but didn’t achieve it – “their table become a snare” David wrote – the table was the law. Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing, “you study the law because in it you think you have life – but that life you want is found only in Me.” No wonder David said “their backs bent forever.” Who can bear under the weight of the obeying the law to get right with God?
Later Paul would write: (2 Corinthians 3:15-16)
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
That “veil” keeps them from understanding that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews will tell you that the Messiah is supposed to do three things: bring peace to the world, gather the Jewish people from their exile, and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus didn’t do any of those things, they say, so He can’t be the Messiah. The Messiah is to be three things – king, priest, and prophet – Jesus is all three, but He fulfills those roles not in a way that the Jews expected.
One source I looked at http://www.messiahpage.com stated that the main difference between Judaism and Christianity was the difference between law and faith. Jews steadfastly believe that the only way to righteousness is by obedience to the law – not by putting faith in Jesus’ obedience for us.
They make several errors in their logic – and I’ll mention one of them. It involves how you interpret prophecy. If you believe that prophecy is told then fulfilled once – then you would look for the Messiah to do the things I mentioned. But in fact prophecy can have both a near and far term fulfillment. An example is the prophecies of Daniel concerning the Anti-Christ. They were fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanies in Roman times, but are still to have their ultimate fulfillment in the last days.
So too with the Messiah. Jesus fulfills both pictures of the Messiah in the Old Testament – the suffering savior of Psalm 22, and the ruling king of Isaiah 9. The Jews think it has to happen at once – but it doesn’t. Other differences include the trinity, free will, original sin, and punishment for sinners after death.
So what do we do – lambaste the Jews for rejecting Jesus? Unfortunately, that’s what many Christians have done down through the ages and I think it’s wrong.
Point 3 – Our purpose is to show the Jews God’s love, not His rejection (11-16)
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
There is hope for the Jews. Many have come to know Jesus as their Savior. Today there are movements of Jewish believers – such as Jews for Jesus. And when a Jew realizes what Jesus really did, they bring the rich history, heritage, culture, and knowledge of the Old Testament with them.
In fact, once God takes the church from the earth, He will lift that veil off the Jewish nation and many of them will come to Christ – becoming super powerful, anointed believers.
Instead of thinking that the Jews are cast-offs, we should seek to understand how they can enrich our own experience with Jesus.
Point 4 – We share common roots with Israel (17-21)
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. 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 be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Some Christians have adopted this arrogant attitude of superiority over the Jews – but we need to keep in mind that we have been grafted in to something God was already doing through them. But what a wonderful heritage we have – all that Abraham and Moses and David went through – we now share in that history – we are now a part of that family. You can trace your lineage now back through Jesus into Israel.
Lest we think we’re something special apart from Jesus –
Point 5 – We have been brought into what God started through Israel (22-24)
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
God is adamant – stern if you will – that only through Jesus will we find His favor. But the point here is – once a Jew realizes they’ve been cut off from God and come back through Yehshua the Messiah – how natural it is and how well they fit. Remember – the veil over the eyes of the Jews is not permanent.
Point 6 – The Jewish hardening is only temporary (25-27)
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
So what is the trigger for the Jews? It is when the last gentile accepts Jesus as Lord. It’s like at the supermarket when all the bells go off for the millionth customer – when the last person comes into the kingdom, God will remove the church from the earth, and remove the veil from Israel – but it doesn’t mean any change in God’s plan of salvation.
Point 7 – Everyone gets to God by His mercy, Jew and gentile alike (28-36)
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Paul is just amazed at the intricacy of God’s plan – we were disobedient to God, and received mercy. Then the Jews rejected the Messiah the Father sent to them, becoming disobedient in the process. Now in that same disobedience that we were in, they can come to God in the same way – through realizing their disobedience and receiving mercy – not by works, not by the law, but by the grace of God through the sacrifice once for all of His Son Jesus.
His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts – His most insignificant thought is infinitely more profound than Einstein, Aristotle, and Steven Hawking combined.
So – what can we as gentile Christians glean from this chapter?
• God’s has an infinitely thought out plan for your life too (vs 33)
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Don’t worry about the big picture – just worry about faithful daily living with God. He’ll take care of the big picture.
• God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable.
Look back at that in verse 29. Do you ever feel insecure about your relationship with God – feel like you’ve just done too many things wrong and He’s going to jettison you? Or maybe He’s done some neat things through you but you feel like the “anointing” is gone.
Take heart from this verse – the word “irrevocable” means “to be without regret.” God doesn’t look at you and say “man, am I sorry I saved that guy.” You can feel secure in His love and in your salvation.
Jesus said: (John 10:29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
It doesn’t mean we go out and sin – that leads to death of life and fellowship. But it does mean that when we mess up, God is still there to love us and cleanse us. He will not reject you!
• Don’t be smug
At the same time you feel secure, don’t get all puffed up about it. Instead, realize the awesome privilege you have been given, of being grafted in as a wild branch to the root.
• All interpretation of Scripture must be seen through the lens of Jesus
Hebrews 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
When you look at the Old Testament, you must see it in light of Jesus – that’s the only way to understand it, it’s the only way it makes sense.
Some Jews will see this – when Paul came to Rome (years after writing this letter) he met with Jewish leaders and they discussed Jesus as the Messiah. At the end of the discussion it says this:
Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
It doesn’t say “some were not convinced” but “would not believe” we need to pray that that hardness of heart will be softened.