Untitled Sermon (31)
Folks the Christian life is filled with ups and downs. There are moments when you have to go through as Christians in order to become better Christians. There are things that we will go through an we will have no explanation on why we're going through them yet God puts us through them for a purpose .
We are put into the fire so we can be refined. So everything that is him pure will leave us and all that is left is purity. And these life lessons we never appreciate in the mist of them. It is always looking back and understanding the outcome of it is when we begin to see it.
Some of the greatest writing I have read on depression was written by the experience of the prince of preachers. Charles Spurgeon. A Baptist preacher in the 1800’s in London, This man, still to this day, is considered one of the most dynamic inspirational preachers to ever live.
I have never met a pastor who did not have Charles Spurgeon in his library. I have also never met a pastor who has said I do not like Charles Spurgeon. Does not mean that there are not out there but I think it's fairly rare.
The most critical people of Baptist are conservative presbyterians and even many of them will refuse to say a bad thing about Charles Spurgeon. He was reformed in his theology and when he spoke the masses listened .
Spurgin was a country boy who decided he wanted to spend his life proclaiming god's glory. And the more he preached the more people gathered. The local newspaper would feature cartoons making fun of him and his popularity . These cartoons made him insecure about his physical appearance as they were deliberately trying to make fun.
And then there was this one Sunday where he was preaching and the room was filled. The building was so packed that the stairway was crowded with people trying to listen to what he was saying. spurgeon and his ministry team already in the process of building a bigger spot, but that takes time.
And as he was preaching a fire broke out. I don't know if it was ever stated how fire broke out come up at a fire did break out. And here is this crowded building where people are trying to escape. Charles Spurgeon was able to get out but there were a few who died in that fire .
Charles went into a state of depression, it is understandable. He blamed himself and to be honest I don't know why pastor who wouldn't. It's what pastors do. His depression was heavy. And he wrote about it. His writings were not how to escape depression as his intentions in his writings were not leading others out of depression.
But his writing is display a heart that is saturated in depression and the focus is still on God. Which is why it is some of the best writings on depression that I have ever read . Because it is a depressed heart reaching out to God .
There were many things about God that brought comfort to Charles Spurgeon. but what he always fell back on was the sovereignty of God.
Now before we can dive in it is important for us to remember the full context. These last few sermons have been heavily focused on the sovereignty of God , and that is not going to change. But it is easy to lose sight of goal of pauls message when we have spent so much time on one subject.
Do not forget the flow of the conversation. This began with Paul stating that he was grieved for his fellow kinsman and that he wishes he can be a cursed for them. That if it were some way possible that he can be taken an all of them be spared he would do it .
Further we have to understand that Paul entire point on us being the clay , the thing molded and God being the molder, that was not a message directed towards the gentiles. Of course we learn from it and we benefit off that teaching, but that is a statement directed towards the Jewish believers.
Why? Because gentiles we're being welcomed into the fold. And this was a great stumbling block for many Jewish people. What we're reading was a moment in history for the gentiles we're outnumbering the Jews in god's plan of redemption.
And Paul's entire point in this section is that God has the free will to do this if he so pleases. And if God wants to draw gentiles to himself he has the freedom and the right to . So that is the context of what we are going to be looking at now.
As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ ”
The quote we have here is from . but it is not a perfected quote. Meaning that the quote is not taken directly from the Hebrew form nor is it taking from the Greek Septuagint. which is what the Greek speaking Jews would have used during Paul's day.
Some people find this to be a discrepancy and by the way this is true of all the quotes we see in this section. That are reports that we see in this section are not perfect quotes . And a lot of people see this as an issue. Some would call this laziness on Paul part.
and it is for that very reason we should conclude that Paul is proclaiming his own opinion here and not god's opinion or truth in this section. Others would call this a contradiction and they would use that as an opportunity to attack what we call the inerrancy of scripture .
And then there are some who will say that the scripture that Paul is quoting is not in the context of what he is talking about. So there are a few things that need to be said about this .
I will begin with context. To those who are claiming that Paul is not staying in context of what he's trying to teach or the Old Testament scriptures he is quoting is not the context of what he is teaching are a little premature in their accusation .
Jesus reminded us that the scriptures pointed to him and after his resurrection he took the time to 2 of his disciples to show them that. So let me know that there are much sections of the Old Testament that have a double meaning.
I like to call it the echo . And I have used that phrase before in echo. So for example , the exodus account. Jewish people are in captivity and here comes a man who leads them out of captivity. Who frees the people of God as a representative of God. Judgment came upon the land of Egypt know only those who are covered by the blood of the lamb were spared .
The Jewish people were freed and while they were trying to escape the land the oppressor was still coming after them. God destroys the oppressors and god's people are going through the wilderness until the enter the promised land . Now folks, that is a historical event that is a foreshadow, that is an echo of Jesus Christ.
It is in a historical event that points to the reality we live in now. And that is true of what is taking place in Hosea that Paul is now alluding to . It is a historical event, that is paganism has crept into Judaism. The people of Israel were divided and they gave in into the ways of the world and God is calling back people that he said do not belong to him anymore to himself.
It is in a historical event to explain the present reality . Now once we can accept that there are some historical situations that are meant as a prophetic message and Paul is revealing to us that prophetic message , once we accept that the other arguments that I mentioned it kind of disappear.
Ultimately what this comes down to, is that Paul is a vessel used by the Holy Spirit to write his word. And what the Holy Spirit has to tell us in Hosea or in Romans it's barely update him on how he wants to communicate that to us . And because it is his word he has the right is stated however he wants.
More important, he has the right to reveal to us the purpose of what was once written. And the Holy Spirit is now taking his Liberty to explain the purpose of the historical event.
So verse 25 is quoting and now let's look at verse 26
“And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
This is a quote, and not a perfect quote from the hebrew, from .So while this section of Hosea has its own context, all under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is letting reader know that this was also in echo, that this was a foreshadow comment that this was a prophecy of the gentiles.
So who is Paul talking about when he is quoting Hosea? He's talking about you, he is talking about me. The gentiles were not the covenant people. They were not the people of God. And the prophetic message in the Old Testament is that God Will call those who were not his people to become his people.
Do not overlook that statement , who is the one doing the calling? God. It is God who reaches out to the gentiles who would not his people and he reaches out to them so that they will be his people. That is not to be understood as every gentile who is ever lived.
this is not some national covenant nor is this a universal covenant. It cannot be a universal covenant because we as Christians reject universalism. I have to emphasize this because mini teach that god's love is an equal love to all. And that is not how the scriptures present god's love.
we know Jesus affirms that the gate is wide And the way is broad that leads to destruction. So we can never be universalist based on the words of Jesus. But it is God who was doing the calling and he is calling those who were not his people to be his people .
And where will this take place? Right where you are at. You do not have to go to Israel in order to be grafted onto Israel. But it happens in the land that God did not call it is there where he calls. So how the Salvation of the gentiles is a stumbling block for the Jewish people, Paul is appealing to scripture and is telling them you should have known.
this is not some new message, I, Paul, am not preaching something new. this was a prophecy long before me.
Paul is not done with proving that this is not something new.
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;
Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tells us that Isaiah cries out. And this is a serious word to use. It means to let out a loud wail, to mourn deeply. the word is used often in the screeching of birds.
Pause painting a picture that what Isaiah has to say comes from a state of great sadness and a loud cry. Why is that? because God told Isaiah to say something that Isaiah found to be shockingly sad.
And so Isaiah cries that although Israel is numbered like the sands, only a remnant will be saved. In other words, it is a repeat of what we have already covered. Not all of Israel is of Israel. That is his whole point of this chapter. This is the reason why Paul is so deeply grieved as he stated it towards the beginning of this chapter.
And the choice of words that he decides to use under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is that not only was he grieved by this but so was Isaiah .
He continues quoting Isaiah;
for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.”
for the Lord will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.” And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
This is a stern warning and a great reminder on how short life is. Unfortunately our attitudes do not allow us to recognize that. This is not just true of our attitudes towards the judgment of the wicked but it is also true of the return of Jesus.
We are an impatient people and whether you are at the throne of judgement or it is at the return of Jesus it is in that moment we will realize how short life truly is. But Paul is letting the Jewish people know or rather reminding the Jewish people let this judgment will come quick.
When you think about Infinity or the word everlasting : 70 years, 80 years, 90 years of life is such a short time. When you think about the word Infinity 2000, 3000 years is such a short time. I mean, apply it to money. In infinite amount of money or $2000. It doesn't even have to be in infinite amount of money .
$2000 versus $50,000. The $2000 is a small amount compared to the 50,000. In the end we will all realize how quick this time has been. And Paul wants his Jewish reader to understand the seriousness of this statement .
And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”
All appeals to Isaiah again this time in a different section of Isaiah more towards the beginning of the book and as a reminder each quote that Paul uses has its own historical context. All is letting reader know that all of this was an echo, a foreshadow of what is to come.
we can look at it as a historical example the present realities. and this specific quote Can be seen as a wrap up statement of what he is teaching throughout Chapter 9 and what he ended with in chapter 8. so he says unless the Lord of the Sabbath had left us a posterity. Or left a remnant, or left a seed .
This is what I am calling old farmers language. A farmer would grow something and sell off a portion for money . Keep a portion for his family. And have a remnant that he will hold onto for the next year's crops.
And that is the language being used here. And the point is this had God not put aside a remnant all of our fate would be the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah . That had God not decided to display his grace hell fire and brimstone would be rained upon our heads.
Do not miss the fact that it is God who puts the remnant aside. So it is God who does the calling and it is God who pulls out a remnant and it is God who sets people inside and though justice will be quick he is withholding this justice so his people will come to repentance .
So while this is a message directed towards the Jewish people what is the message that we should take away from this today?
There are several . The first thing I want to draw out as a general understanding base what we have covered over these last few months. And it is something that I have been emphasizing as the scriptures have been emphasizing and it is something that I will continue to emphasize with my very last breath and that is God is sovereign and you are not.
That while of course we have a will it is God who must condescend to us and change or will in order for eyes to be opened and we can see his love and his grace. It is God who calls his people, it is God who calls his sheep and he knows his sheep by name and he calls them by name.
We must never undercut the sovereignty of God . To do so would be a direct attack on his very attributes. The other thing I want to conclude based on what we have been covering over the last few months is one of the most frightening statements I can ever make.
It is a statement that should scare you to the core and the statement is this: God is good . What? Yup, God is good and we are not. Another way I can state it is that God is holy and we are not . And that simple yeah essential truth should frighten us to our very core. And if there's anyone in this room who has not placed their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his sacrificial work that he did on the cross you should be in the most fear.
If it is anyone here or anyone listening to this message at another time if you have not received Jesus Christ that statement should frighten you to the core. you are not in a safe place and justice will be quick. justice will be here sooner than you think.
And you're very fate will be the same fate of Sodom and Gomorrah . Do not look at this as a vague threat . This is where God will keep his word and his word will be executed . And if we can learn anything from the pages of scripture and throughout history is that God is faithful to his word.
and the last thing I want us to take away is that you were never an afterthought. how many times does Paul have to emphasize that all of this took place before the foundation of the world. You are no after thought.
contrary to what dispensationalism will have us believe. some will have us believe that when Adam failed God went well what now. so God called Abraham and all of Israel. But then Israel failed and God went what now . Well I guess I'll just have to reach out to the gentiles. All my plans have been thwarted by man I guess I'll have to call the gentiles.
That is in no way how this took place . You are no afterthought. We have always been the plan . And even though ball right now is discussing bad news for Israel there is hope for Israel. And we will get them out when Paul gets to that . But the point we have to take away from the end of Romans chapter 8 and all of Chapter 9 is that we are no afterthought..
We were always on god's mind. And every living soul that Jesus took the sins of was on his mind as he was being nailed to a cross you were on the lord's mind as he was being nailed to the cross.
are we to believe that God had no clue who he was dying for? Are we to believe in a universal Salvation? Or do you believe that God knows exactly who belongs to him and was dying exactly for those who belong to him. That he knows every individual that he was taking since 4 and he knows every single sin that he laid upon himself that we have committed.
God knows who he sent his son for and the son knows who he spilled his blood for. You are no afterthought.
So I may not know everything that you were going through. Maybe you are depressed, maybe you do have anxiety, maybe you are still mourning the loss of a loved one, maybe you are going through a season that you just do not understand . I don't know everything that you may be going through right now but I know we can take comfort in the very same thing that Charles Spurgeon to Comfort Inn.
and that is the sovereignty of God. That I am not going through anything that is outside of god's control and I am no afterthought in god's plan. And this is only for a season because life is short breed so where does our focus have to lie? In the sovereignty of God.