Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

God Cares

God sees, He hears, He knows, He understands, He cares for us! I remind you of

I Peter 5:7.  “Casting all your care, (your worries, concerns and burdens)  upon Him for He cares for you.”

Those truths are difficult for us to understand.  God seems so distant and so different and so unapproachable to us. He is Almighty God.  We are but mere dust, sinful men and women.

It’s only as we come to know Him intimately through trusting His Son, Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to pay for our sins and to give us His salvation and it’s only as we spend time in His presence by reading and listening to His Word and communing with Him in prayer that we begin to understand just how much He loves and cares for us. 

Read Psalm 139 and listen to it with your heart. The Psalmist, speaking for all of us, is lost in wonder and amazement and worship of His Creator and Friend who  has known and been intently present with us from the moment of conception in our mother’s womb. His interest and concern continues as our bodies are formed with all the differences that make us individuals, unlike any other person who has ever been born. 

In fact, before the world was ever created He was thinking and planning for each of us in eternity past. In Ephesians 1:4 we learn that He knew about us with all of our strength and weaknesses and with all of our idiosyncrasies  and we were loved and chosen in Him before the foundation of the world to know Him and belong to Him forever.

You may think, “But I am only one of billions of people on this earth. How can He think and care about me?”

Let me answer that by reminding you of even more staggering facts. Jesus reminds us in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:26 that He cares for the birds of the air.  Certainly He is aware of all the animals, birds and even insects.  He feeds them and provides for them and Matthew 10:29 reminds us that He is aware when they fall to their death. To think that through is far  beyond our comprehension.  

Mathew10:30  reminds us that He is aware of the number of hairs on our heads. That number changes daily, perhaps hourly. Why would God be concerned enough  to know the number of the hairs on our head?  I  don’t know.  All I know is that it shows how much and how intimately God cares for each of us.

The Psalmist continues in Psalm 139:17-18 to make us aware of God’s constant, multiplied thoughts concerning us. Those thoughts are more in number than all the sands of all the seas in the world.  The Psalmist describes them all  as precious thoughts.

So the next time you get depressed over your situation in life and feel that God has totally forgotten you and does not care about you, give yourself a good shaking and take time to read Psalm 139 again and rejoice that He understands.

I close these thoughts with a song that has meant much to me. 

 

NO ONE UNDERSTNDS LIKE JESUS

             by John W. Peterson

1. No one understand like Jesus,

He’s a friend beyond compare;

Meet Him at the throne of mercy,

He is waiting for you there.

Chorus

No one understands like Jesus,

When the days are dark and grim;

No one is so near, so dear as Jesus,

Cast your every care on Him.

2. No one understands like Jesus,

Every woe He sees and feels;

Tenderly He whispers comfort,

And the broken heart He heals.

3. No one understands like Jesus,

When the foes of life assail,

You should never be discouraged,

Jesus cares and will not fail.

4. No one understands like Jesus,

When you falter on the way,

Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him,

He will pardon you today.

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December 27, 2011 Posted by | God | Comments Off on God Cares

Israel’s Restoration

As we have continued our study of Romans 11, we have been struck with the obvious fact that  God’s relationship with Israel  is the major theme. We’ve noted that  Israel  has been described as the cultivated olive tree; the main branch which was cut down when they rejected the Lord Jesus as  their Messiah and into which we Gentiles, the wild olive branch,  have been grafted.  

God is not through with Israel!

 

Read now Romans 11:25-32 and learn the following truths.

1. Israel’s blindness is temporary.  Romans 11:25

2. All true Israel  is eventually going to be saved.  Romans 11:26-27

Going back to Deuteronomy 30:1-6,   the fact of their restoration is not a question of  IF but WHEN!

Read the following prophecies of the Jew’s recognition and reception of their  Messiah when He is revealed.  Ezekiel 34:11-16, 23-24, 30,  36:17-21,  23-28,   37:11-28.

Presently Israel hates and rejects the Gospel of Christ. Romans 11:28

 

This is the age of  The Church, composed of regenerated Jews and Gentiles, who have put their trust in Jesus, the Messiah.

God has not forgotten His everlasting covenant to the Jews. He still loves them and will restore them to Himself.

We are all sinners and in need of God’s mercy.   Romans 11:30-32

As  Christians, let us show mercy to the Jews to whom we are so indebted, by reaching out to them with the Gospel of Christ that they will also see the big picture of what God is presently doing in this Church Age and what lies ahead as He restores them to Himself in the Age to come.

 

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Israel’s Restoration

Israel’s Future

In Romans 9 we dealt with  Israel’s past as a nation.  Though they had a great heritage as God’s chosen people of all the people on the face of the earth, they rejected God  when they rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, calling for His crucifixion. They were temporarily switched to a side track, as far as God’s purpose was concerned.  The Church Age began at Pentecost and has been on the main track of God’s purpose ever since.

 

In Romans 10 we see  Israel  spiritually blinded and sitting on that side track through  the Church Age.  When the true Church is raptured to  Heaven, Israel  will once again be switched to the main track of God’s purpose for a week of seven years, known as The Great Tribulation and described in The Revelation.

 

In Romans 11 we learn of  Israel’s future; when through their sufferings during The Great Tribulation, they will come to know and receive Jesus, their Messiah, who died on the cross for them; as well as for the rest of the world.   At that time of conversion to Christ, Israel  will be given a new heart.

 

THE REMNANT

 

Throughout  Israel’s history there has always been a remnant of  Jews who have turned to God, as for example in Elijah’s day.  Throughout the Church Age there has been a remnant of Jews who received Jesus as their Messiah. Read of that remnant in Romans 11:1-6

 

 

THE REMAINDER

 

 

The remainder of  Israel  has been spiritually blinded, according to Romans 11:7-10.   The reason for their spiritual blindness has been hearts hardened by sins to the message of Christ. See Matthew 13:10-17 concerning this blindness.

 

When people reject the Light given to them, it results in hardened hearts, as we learn in John 12:30-41.  This was prophesied in  Psalm 69:20-28

 

 

GENTILES BLESSED

 

 

In God’s sovereignty, Israel’s spiritual blindness and  rejection of Christ opened the door to God’s blessing of the Gentiles. See Romans 11:11-22. But in the future, perhaps soon, Israel  will turn to Christ as their Messiah and through  Israel’s restoration,  the entire earth will be blessed, according to Romans 11:12.

 

 

THE OLIVE TREE ILLUSTRATION

 

In Romans 11:15-24 we read of two olive trees. One, picturing Israel,  is cultivated and well cared for.  The other, picturing Gentiles,  is a wild, uncultivated olive tree.  

 

In this 11th chapter of Romans we read of the cultivated olive tree, picturing Israel, being cut off.  That took place when  Israel  rejected Christ, calling out at the cross,  ” We will not have this man reign over us.  We have no king but Caesar.”

 

At that time the branch from the wild olive tree, (The Gentiles), was grafted into the cultivated olive tree, (The Jews)    That’s what happened when  Israel  rejected Christ.  We Gentiles began to be blessed by our relationship with  Israel’s God.  The warning to us as Gentiles is to not be high-minded and mistreat the Jews, because of their rejection of Christ.  We Gentiles are grafted into the cultivated olive tree.   We are blessed through that relationship withIsrael.

 

Read Romans 11:25-32. Israel, after undergoing the purification of persecution during the Great Tribulation, is going to turn to Christ and receive Him as Saviour and Messiah.  

 

This is prophesied in Deuteronomy 30:1-8  and Ezekiel 34, 36 and 37.  Romans 11:25-36 concludes with the wonderfully good news forIsrael, and concludes with a benediction of praise to God for His amazing mercy and grace shown us, as well as Israel.  Is this too much for your mind?  It is also too much for my mind. Rejoice with me in the truth of God’s unsearchable wisdom  described in Romans 11:33-36.  

 

December 18, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Israel’s Future

Unity and Beauty

 

Unity and Beauty of the Declaration and the Constitution

An Interview with Larry P. Arnn  

LARRY P. ARNN, the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. In 1996, he was the founding chairman of the California Civil Rights Initiative, the voter-approved ballot initiative that prohibited racial preferences in state employment, education, and contracting. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education and The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk By Losing It (forthcoming February 2012).

The following is adapted from an interview by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution for his show “Uncommon Knowledge.” The interview took place on October 3, 2011, at Hillsdale College, and it can be viewed in full at hoover.org/multimedia/uncommon-knowledge/96901.

 

 

Peter Robinson: Larry, I am quoting from you: “You can read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in a few minutes. They are simple. They are beautiful. They can be understood and retained.” Place the documents in their historical context. Why did they matter?

 

Larry P. Arnn: There are three incredible things to keep in mind about the Declaration. First, there had never been anything like it in history. It was believed widely that the only way to have political stability was to have some family appointed to rule. King George III went by the title “Majesty.” He was a nice and humble man compared to other kings; but still, when his son wanted to marry a noble of lower station, he was told he mustn’t do that, no matter what his heart said. That was the known world at the time of the American Founding.

 

Second, look at the end of the Declaration. Its signers were being hunted by British troops. General Gage had an order to find and detain them as traitors. And here they were putting their names on a revolutionary document and sending it to the King. Its last sentence reads: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” That is how people talk on a battlefield when they are ready to die for each other.

 

The third thing about the Declaration is even more extraordinary in light of the first two: It opens by speaking of universal principles. It does not portray the Founding era as unique—“When in the Course of human events” means any time—or portray the Founding generation as special or grand—“it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” means any people. The Declaration is thus an act of obedience—an act of obedience to a law that persists beyond the English law and beyond any law that the Founders themselves might make. It is an act of obedience to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and to certain self-evident principles—above all the principle “that all men are created equal” with “certain unalienable Rights.”

 

For the signers to be placing their lives at risk, and to be doing so while overturning a way of organizing society that had dominated for two thousand years, and yet for them to begin the Declaration in such a humble way, is very grand.

 

As for the Constitution, first, it is important to realize that some of the most influential modern historians suggest that it represents a break with the Declaration—that it represents a sort of second founding. If this were true, it would mean that the Founders changed their minds about the principles in the Declaration, and that in following their example we could change our minds as well. But in fact it is not true that the Constitution broke with the Declaration. It is false on its face.

 

The Constitution contains three fundamental arrangements: representation, which is the direct or indirect basis of the three branches of government described in the first three articles of the Constitution; separation of powers, as embodied in those three branches; and limited government, which is obvious in the Constitution’s doctrine of enumerated powers—there is a list of things that Congress can do in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, and the things that are not listed it may not do. And all three of these fundamental arrangements, far from representing a break with the Declaration, are commanded by it.

 

Look at the lengthy middle section of the Declaration, made up of the list of charges against the King. The King has attempted to force the people to “relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.” He has “dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.” He has “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” So he has violated the idea and arrangement of representation.

 

What about separation of powers? As seen in the charges above, and in the charge that he would call together legislatures “at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant…for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures,” the King was violating the separation of the executive and legislative powers. And in “[making] judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries,” he was violating the separation between the executive and judicial powers.

 

Similarly, he violated the idea of limited government by sending “swarms of Officers to harrass [the] people, and eat out their substance,” by importing “large Armies of foreign Mercenaries,” by “imposing Taxes on [the people] without [their] Consent,” and in several other ways listed.

 

By violating these arrangements—which would become the three key elements of the Constitution—the King was violating the principles of the Declaration. This is what justified the American Revolution. And the point of this for our time is that in thinking about the American Founding, we should think about the Declaration and the Constitution together. If the principles and argument of the Declaration are true, the arrangements and argument of the Constitution are true, and vice versa.

 

PR: I quote you again: “Woodrow Wilson and the founders of modern liberalism call these doctrines of limited government that appear in the Declaration and the Constitution obsolete. They argue that we now live in the age of progress and that government must be an engine of that progress.”

 

Wilson was dealing with conditions that the Founders could scarcely have imagined: industrialization, dense urban populations, enormous waves of immigration. So what did he get wrong?

 

LPA: The first thing he got wrong was looking back on earlier America as a simple age. There was nothing simple about it. The Founders had to fight a war against the largest force on earth. They had to figure out how to found a government based on a set of principles that had never formed the basis of a government. The original Congress was called the Continental Congress, although no one would understand the extent of the continent until Lewis and Clark reported to President Jefferson in 1806. They had to figure out a way for the first free government in history to grow across that continent. These things took vast acts of imagination. And this is not even to mention the crisis of slavery and the Civil War. So the idea that the complications of the late 19th century were something new, or were greater by some order of magnitude, is bunkum.

 

The second mistake Wilson makes is fundamental, and goes to the core of the American idea. Wilson is opposed to the structure imposed on the government by the Constitution—for instance, the separation of powers—because it impedes what he calls progress. But what idea was behind that structure? James Madison writes in Federalist 51:

 

[W]hat is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

 

 

In other words, human nature is such that human beings need to be governed. We need government if we are not to descend into anarchy. But since human beings will make up the government, government itself must be limited or it will become tyrannical. Just as we outside the government require to be governed, those inside the government require to be governed. And that has to be strictly arranged because those inside the government need, and they will have, a lot of power.

 

Against this way of thinking, Wilson argued that progress and evolution had brought human beings to a place and time where we didn’t have to worry about limited government. He rejected what the Founders identified as a fixed or unchanging human nature, and thought we should be governed by an elite class of people who are not subject to political forces or constitutional checks and balances—a class of people such as we find in our modern bureaucracy. This form of government would operate above politics, acting impartially in accordance with reason.

 

Now, it’s pretty easy for us today to judge whether Wilson or the Founders were right about this. Look at our government today. Is the bureaucracy politically impartial? Is it efficient and rational, as if staffed by angels? Or is it politically motivated and massively self-interested?

 

PR: You’ve spoken about restoring a rounded and rigorous sense of constitutional government, and you have put forward, in a tentative way, four ideas or “pillars” to suggest how to begin doing that. The first pillar is this: “Protecting the equal and inalienable rights of individuals is government’s primary responsibility.”

 

Here’s a problem though: Something like 47 percent of Americans now pay no federal income tax, and we hear a great deal about the tipping point—the point at which more people become dependent on the federal government than pay into it. What is it within the Constitution, or within a revived constitutional government, that prevents this majority from simply voting itself the property of the minority?

 

LPA: Well, the first thing is the majority’s larger self-interest rightly understood. Is that practice working out in Greece right now? As Margaret Thatcher used to say, pretty soon you run out of other people’s money.

 

I myself am not particularly gloomy about the tipping point you mention. I do understand that there will come a time, if we do not repair our problems, when we will not be able to repair them. But given that so many people today clearly think the government is out of hand and does not represent them anymore, I think we won’t pass that tipping point. I’ve had the privilege of studying Winston Churchill for a long time, and his great belief—and I think this should be the model for us today—was to make the great political questions clearer to the people and then to have faith in them. I am optimistic partly because the explanations of the great political questions given to Americans have not been very good or very clear since Reagan. What if we were to get better in explaining them? That is our hope, I think.

 

PR: Okay, pillar two, still quoting you: “Economic liberty is inversely proportional to government intrusion in the lives of citizens. We must liberate the American people to work, to save, and to invest.”

 

But here’s a constitutional question that Milton Friedman noticed and that James Buchanan won a Nobel Prize for writing about: The benefits of federal spending accrue to small groups who have incentives to organize and agitate for more and more spending, whereas the costs of federal spending are diffused across the whole population, so that no one has a counterbalancing incentive to organize and agitate against spending. Therefore, you get this ratchet that always leads in the direction of greater spending. Did the Constitution not foresee this problem?

 

LPA: Two points. The first is that we should not blame the Constitution. It is the longest surviving and greatest constitution in human history, and the effort by Progressives to overturn it is now more than 100 years old. It is not a failure of the Constitution, but the success of the political rebellion against it—which has been systematic and going on for a very long time—that brings us to where we are today.

 

Second, public choice theory as you describe it is a true and sufficient explanation of things as far as it goes. But is there not more to it today? Milton Friedman used to say that subsidies to farmers are going to grow and subsidies to old people are going to decline. Why? Because there are so many old people that for us to give them $100 will cost us $175, whereas there are so few farmers that for us to give them $100,000 will cost us only $10. That is public choice theory in a nutshell. But isn’t the fact now that a growing number of people know we are broke? And that they are going to have to pay more and more to sustain the voracious appetite of the bureaucratic state?

 

I believe there is an abiding or overarching sense of fairness that touches a majority of the American people. If there is, constitutionalism will look more attractive than it used to look. I think that if Americans are provided a good and clear explanation of the choices before them, they will be willing to begin moving back toward constitutional government.

 

PR: On to pillar three: “To accomplish its primary duty of protecting individual liberty, the government must uphold national security.” That seems perfectly straightforward. You also write: “Promotion of democracy and defense of innocents abroad should be undertaken only in keeping with the national interest.”

 

Where do you place your views on the spectrum between Ron Paul and George W. Bush?

 

LPA: I side with Thomas Jefferson when he said, “We are the friends of liberty everywhere, custodians only of our own.” Foreign affairs are prudential matters, and prudential matters are not subject to narrow rules laid out in advance. But that practical statement by Jefferson is a brilliant guide.

 

Also, we have to remember that it is a very dangerous world. Churchill believed that one of the effects of technology is to make us both wealthier and more powerful. And both wealth and power can turn to destruction. The great wars of modernity have been much larger in scale than ancient wars, and equal in intensity. Churchill believed that liberal society contains in this respect and others seeds of its own destruction. It is the work of statesmen to find the cheapest possible way to defend their countries without consuming all the resources of those countries.

 

I pray that Iraq is going to be a free country, and I think there is a chance of it, and I give George W. Bush credit for that. But I have been skeptical, and it is a more complicated question than many seem to understand. A senior person in the White House said to me one time, “Don’t you think the Iraqis want to be free?” And I said: “Sure they do. But have you read The Federalist Papers? Do you divine from its arguments that wanting to be free is sufficient?” As it turns out, it is hard to obtain civil and religious liberty, and it is hard to maintain it.

 

But do I think we did a good thing imposing a new constitution on Japan after World War II? Sure I do. Japan did a terrible thing to us, we conquered it, and there was an opportunity in that. It would have been a false economy not to seize that opportunity. Does that mean that in every country where there is a threat to us, we won’t be perfectly safe until they are democratic? Maybe. But even so, is trying to make them democratic practicable and the most practical way to serve our security? Probably not. Again, these are matters of prudence.

 

PR: Pillar four: “The restoration of a high standard of public morality is essential to the revival of constitutionalism.” What is your distinction between public morality and morality per se?

 

LPA: Public morality means laws about morality. Murder is a moral harm, and we have laws against it. Public morality also includes laws supporting the family. Human beings were made for the family, and we should uphold that. It is hard to raise kids right, and it takes a long time. Laws should support that effort, not undermine it. This extends to reducing the size of government so that it does not become a burden on families. The Gross Domestic Product of the United States is about $15 trillion, and state, local and federal spending is about $6.7 trillion. So we are $800 billion away from taking half of GDP out of the private sector, and the new health care bureaucracy is coming. Once it comes, if it does, government will be larger than society.

 

The principles of our country stem from the laws of nature and nature’s God. This word “nature” is full of rich meaning. It comes from the Latin word for birth, so of course the nature of man, and natural rights, must be understood to include the process of begetting and growth by which human beings come to be. This process takes longer, and is more demanding and expensive, than for any or nearly any other creatures. If families do not raise children, then the government will. What then becomes of limited government?

 

PR: And as a constitutional point, do things that undermine public morality and degrade people include the garbage language in some pop songs, or the proliferation of pornography on the Internet?

 

LPA: Yes. At this college, students are supposed to be civil, and we don’t have many problems because they subscribe to that before they come. Having an honor code makes for good order and operation. Teachers, students, and staff come together and make a common effort. A well-functioning college is a microcosm of constitutional rule, and shows what can be achieved in a country when everyone is governing himself.

 

It is important for all of us to understand that free people are not governed by rules. Here at Hillsdale we are governed by goals, and then the rules are very broad. Tell the truth, be straight, do not cheat, do not be foul, take care of other people. Those are rules. But the federal rules pertaining to colleges number now more than 500 pages. We at Hillsdale do not live under these rules because we do not take federal money. But I asked our lawyer once to send me the list to read anyway, and he said I wouldn’t be able to read it. I replied that even though I am not a lawyer, I am a pretty smart guy, maybe I can. No, even he can’t read it, he replied, it is incomprehensible.

 

Ask yourself, who gets powerful under a system like that? The answer is, whoever has the power to interpret the rules. They can do whatever they want.

 

This is the point I hope every American will come to understand—that in our country, we are supposed to have a very powerful government in order for it to do what it must, but also a government of a far different character than the kind we have today. The distinction between constitutional government and bureaucratic government is fundamental.

 

PR: How can we get there from here? I am quoting you once again: “There is only one way to return to living under the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the institutions of the Constitution. We must come to love these things again.” How?

 

LPA: First, you have to know about them. I am like the hammer who looks at everything as if it were a nail. Everything is a teaching opportunity. Teaching is, of course, what we do here at Hillsdale. But the great presidents are teachers as well. It is a generous and fine thing to do, to labor to make important things clear to people—which of course you cannot do unless you are able to make them clearer than if you are just talking to yourself. That is why Abraham Lincoln’s speeches are beautiful. You cannot read many of them unless you read them carefully. An example is Lincoln’s Peoria address on the history of slavery. He labored for months putting it together, and Americans could learn how slavery moved in our country because he laid it out. And then at the end of the speech he combined that history with a lovely explanation of why the principles of our country are capable of reaching and protecting every human being, and ennobling them, because they get to participate in rule. To know that about the principles of our country is to love them. I see that happen all the time in the classroom. So what we need is for people to know and understand our country’s principles. Love will follow.


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December 17, 2011 Posted by | America | Comments Off on Unity and Beauty

What chance?

What chance could Jesus be the fulfillment of prophecy?
 
In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just 8 prophecies regarding Christ (there are over 600 in the Old Testament). He says, “The chance that any man might have …fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (one hundred quadrillion).What is that like? Stoner illustrated: Take 10 to the 1……7th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover the whole state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar on the first try. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man,…providing they wrote them in their own wisdom.”

What a Bible! What a Savior!
copied from Jim Kinnebrebrew

December 15, 2011 Posted by | Prophecy Series | Comments Off on What chance?

A Needy World

Earlier we pointed out that Romans 9 deals with  Israel’s past, Romans 10 deals with  Israel’s present and Romans 11 deals with  Israel’s future.  In the previous message from Romans 9, we dealt with  Israel’s past.  In this message from Romans 10 we deal with  Israel’s present state.

Picture  Israel  and The Church as two trains on the railroad track of God’s purpose. In the Old Testament  we saw Israel  on the main line of God’s purpose and the Church had not yet come into view.

When we come to the New Testament, we begin in the Gospels with Israel still on the main line.  The Church is still out of sight.  After Israel  rejects Christ as their Messiah and crucifies Him, Israel  is moved to a siding  as we enter the Book of Acts.  We see the Church appearing for the first time on the main track of God’s purpose.  That’s the way it has been these past 2000 years.  The Church has been on the main line of God’s purpose and Israel  has been sitting on a siding.

When Christ returns for His Church, composed of regenerated gentiles and Jews, the Church will be whisked off to Heaven and Christ-rejecting Israel will once again be on the main track of God’s purpose on this earth for a period of seven years, known as The Tribulation.  During this time, all  Israel will be saved, at the cost of their own lives, by receiving Christ as her Messiah and Saviour.   That’s the message of Romans 9-11 and prophesied in many Old Testament Scriptures, such as Ezekiel 36-39 and Zechariah 12-14.

Reading Romans 10, we become aware of three divisions of the chapter.

Romans 10:1-3      The need of the world

Romans 10:4-13    God’s answer to that need.

Romans 10:14-17  Our responsibility as Christian in the light of that need.

I. THE NEED OF THE WORLD  Rom. 10:1-3

In these verses we find  Israel  as sinners in desperate need of God’s righteousness just as we found ourselves and the whole world in that sinful state back in Romans chapters 1 and 2.  We’re all in the same boat, sinful, helpless to do anything about it and condemned by a Holy God and in need of His Salvation through Christ.

Note Paul’s concern for his own people, the Jews, as expressed in Romans 9:1 and 10:1.   Like Paul, known as Saul of Tarsus, before he was converted to Christ; they have a zeal for God, but without the true knowledge of God.  Zeal without knowledge is terribly dangerous.  It makes for wild-eyed, hateful fanatics, just as Paul was before his conversion to Christ when he spent his life persecuting and  murdering Christians.

Such are as the enthusiastic crowd of Jews were a week before Jesus’ crucifixion.  Those same people, under the influence of their hateful, religious leaders, a week later became the murderous, Jewish mob when they shouted for the crucifixion of Jesus; not recognizing Him as their Messiah. 

Today, enemies of Christ, as cultists come to our doors with their distorted religious propaganda; ignorant of God’s righteousness as it is revealed in the first five chapters of Romans.  If you missed it, I encourage you to go back to the beginning of this series in Romans and learn how we are made righteous and fit for Heaven in the eyes of God.

 

II. GOD’S ANSWER TO MAN’S NEED    Romans 10:4-13

 

 

Why does sinful man not submit himself to the righteousness of God?  He is willfully ignorant  and rebellious.  See John 5:40.

How are we saved?  Just believe what God says in His Word, the Bible concerning Jesus Christ.  God’s only begotten Son, who died on the cross, shedding His blood for our sins,  is the only answer. Romans 10:4.  His salvation is  near.  Romans 10:8.

If you believe Him, confess Him openly and unashamedly with your mouth.

Romans 10:9-11.  Confess that Jesus is your only righteousness and your only hope of salvation.   To simply confess Christ as your Lord, without first recognizing Him as your Saviour, will not save you.   Confess Him first as your Saviour and then you will desire to confess Him as your Lord.  Don’t be ashamed to make that confession before others. Read Romans10:11 and consider this carefully.

Note in Romans 10:11-13 that this salvation is available to both Jews and Gentiles.  Those two designations cover everyone in the world.  You are ether a Jew or a Gentile.   Note the designation “whosoever”.  Read it in John3:16 and Revelation 22:17, the last invitation in the Bible.

III OUR RESPONSIBILITY  Romans 10:14-17

 

 

Every true Christian has been given the responsibility to share the Gospel with others.   We are all witnesses first.   Everything else is secondary.

Don’t be sidetracked to lesser concerns.  such as cleaning up the environment,  solving social problems,  being involved in political causes, or any other cause.  Meeting eternal spiritual needs is much more crucial than meeting temporal material needs.  Meeting temporal needs such as providing clean drinking water and food and clothing are important,  God can use that effort to open doors to share the Gospel.  But limiting your involvement to meeting social needs and ignoring spiritual needs can send well fed, well clothed sinners to Hell.

The supreme task of the Church is the evangelization of the world.  Every one of us as  Christian should take that Great Commission seriously and personally by either going personally or helping to send others in our place.  We do that by praying the Lord of the Harvest to send forth reapers into the harvest fields of the world and giving to help support them.

Will you read and consider how you fit into God’s plan, as you read Isaiah 6:8  and  Matthew 9:37-38 and Romans 12:1-2 ?

Romans chapter 10 concludes with a problem.  Not our problem, but God’s.

Paul asks whether everyone in the world has had a chance to hear of God?  The answer is yes according to  verse 18.   Review  Romans 1:18-21. God has spoken to everyone of His existence and love through His Creation. See also Psalm 19:1-4.

Today the Jews are provoked to jealousy by God’s grace shown to us Gentiles who have been saved. See Romans10:19   Nevertheless, many Jews continue to reject their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Romans10:21   Would you pray for the Jews that they may find their Messiah yet in this Church Age of grace?

 

 

 

 

 

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on A Needy World

Hardened Hearts

Why is it that the Word of God seems totally ineffective in some lives?  Why do so many reject the Gospel?   God’s Word is not powerless and ineffective.  Our witness is not necessarily ineffective.   The fact is that not everyone is going to be saved.

When God made His Covenant or promise with Abraham to bless the world through him and his Seed; not all of Abraham’s descendents inherited the Covenant.  Only the family of Isaac; not the family of Ishmael. When the Covenant passed to the next generation, only the family of Jacob inherited it.  Of Jacob’s twelve sons, only the family of Judah  inherited the Abrahamic Covenant.   Those outside the Abrahamic Covenant  found their hearts hardened by God. Rom.9:17-18

But don’t blame God for hardened hearts.  God only hardens the hearts of those who have already hardened their hearts towards Him.  Note, for example,  Pharaoh of Egypt in the time of Moses.  Pharaoh hardened his own heart towards God before God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.   See Exodus 8:15,32; 9:34-35, 10:1,20; 11:10; 14:4.

 

WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT GOD?

 

1, God is faithful.  His Word is true.  He promises to save and not cast out anyone who comes to Christ for salvation.  John 6:37 “All that the Father gives to Me, shall come to Me and Him that comes to me I will in no wise or under no circumstance cast out.”   

Don’t get hung up on the first part of that verse and blame God for not being saved.  Focus on the second half of that verse.  Do you want to be saved?  Then come to Christ and trust His blood sacrifice on your behalf.  Look at the promise.  I will in no wise cast out. 

 

Christ promises to keep us saved all the way to Heaven.  Listen to Jesus praying for His own  in John 17:6 and 11.  If you are a Christian, you cannot lose your salvation.  You security is not in your ability to live the Christian life.  You security is in Christ who has His own in the palm of his hand forever.  Read John 10:27-30  That’s security!!!

2. God is righteous.   Read Romans 9:14.  We must NEVER question God’s righteousness. even when we do not understand His ways. Read the story of Job who faced severe testing, even though he was a righteous man.  How that book has encouraged and comforted me in my tmes of severe testing!

3. God is compassionate and loving.  Read Romans 9:15.  God loves the whole world, according to John 3:16;  but to learn how He loves the world,  read Romans 5:8   and I John 4:9-10

Those who reject His love by turning their backs on His Son, face His fierce wrath.  John 3:36

4. God is merciful.  Romans 9:14-18.  No one deserves God’s mercy.  We never have and never will deserve it.  We only deserve God’s judgment and Hell.  In His mercy He saves some. Others reject Christ as Saviour and remain lost. 

It is not our prerogative to judge whether God is fair or not.  It is none of our business.   God is merciful and long-suffering, not willing that any should perish.  Don’t ever besmirch God’s character by teaching it is God’s will to condemn some to hell.  Will you rest in the truth of  II Peter 3:9 ?   

Our business as Christians is to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, starting with our family and friends and our neighborhood.  God will save some.  Evangelistic effort is our business.  Evangelistic success is God’s business; not ours. 

5.  God is sovereign.   Learn Romans 9:19-29 and rest in it.  What a comfort this truth is in times of crises.  God is God and He is under no obligation to explain His ways to His creatures. Read Romans 9:20-21.  We Gentile Christians and the Jews saved in this present church age are His vessels of mercy.  God has promised that a remnant of Jews will be saved. Read Romans 9:27-29

OUR RESPONSIBILITY  Romans 9:30-33

Let’s leave God’s sovereign ways in His hands. 

Away with all our self-righteousness and pride.

Jesus is the Rock of our Salvation.

Most Jews, as well as gentiles  have stumbled over that  Rock.

Those of us who have received Christ as our Rock of Salvation are not ashamed of Christ. We rejoice what He has done for us. 

Let’s thank Him for His love and mercy in seeking us out, drawing us to Himself and saving us by His grace and mercy.

 

December 4, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Hardened Hearts

Privileged People

WITH PRIVILEGE COMES RESPONSIBILITY

Everyone enjoys special privileges.   In this article, you will discover that Israel is a privileged people.  You will also discover that Christians are also a highly privileged people.  When we grasp and understand these privileges, it does not make us proud.  Rather, it humbles us and burdens us with a heavy responsibility to reach the lost  who do not yet know Christ, for with privilege comes responsibility.

 

ISRAEL‘S EIGHT PRIVILEGES  Note them as they are listed in Romans 9:4-5  Note also that through Israel’s privileges the whole world is blessed through Christ.

1. CHOSEN AND ADOPTED

Genesis 12:1-3 records how Abraham was chosen and called out of Ur of the Chaldees to be the father of the Jewish race to bless the world through Christ who would come through his line;  so we who have put our trust in Christ have been chosen and adopted into the Family of God to be a blessing to this lost world.

In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 God reminds Israel  they are a chosen, blessed people above all the nations of the earth in that God chose them to be the channel through whom Christ would come who would bless the world.  He repeats this in Psalm 33:12,  but makes it clear that any nation who honors Him is blessed.

Read Ezekiel 16:3-14 for a very touching story of how God found and chose and blessed Israel  to be a blessing to the world. Then read the rest of that chapter to see how  Israel  forsook her God and brought down God’s judgment on themselves.

In this Church Age we Christians can rest and rejoice in the truth that God chose us in Christ  before the foundation of the world and we are adopted into His family all to the glory of His grace, as taught in Ephesians 1:4-6.

2.  EXPERIENCED THE GLORY OF GOD

Israel  was privileged to sense the presence and glory of God as He led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  When camp was set up, the glory of God dwelt in their midst in the Tabernacle.  

But all of this was but a type of the more wonderful relationship we Christians have with God through Christ, as we experience the constant presence and glory of God through His Holy Spirit residing in our bodies, as explained in  I Corinthians 6:19-20  and II Corinthians 4:6-7.

3. THE COVENANTS

Abrahamic Covenant

The story of Abram begins in Genesis 12 with God’s command to him to leave his home in  Ur of the Chaldees and follow God’s leading to  Canaan  which God gave to him and his  descendants. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and made an eternal covenant with him known as The Abrahamic Covenant. 

This covenant is recorded in Genesis 15 and reconfirmed in Genesis 22 after Abraham showed his willingness to offer his son, Isaac, as an offering to God.  Read the beautiful story in Genesis 22.  It’s a foreshadow of  God’s offering up of His Son, the Lord Jesus, on the cross for our sins.

This covenant is basically God’s promise that through Abraham’s seed would come the  Saviour,  the Lord Jesus.

Davidic Covenant

The Davidic Covenant found in II Samuel 7:12-16 assures David, who is in Abraham’s line through Isaac and Jacob (whose name was changed by God to Israel) and Jacob’s son, Judah,  that through his seed would come Jesus who would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

New Covenant

The New Covenant is not limited to the JewsToday we Jews and Gentiles who put our trust in Christ are made beneficiaries of  The New Covenant, promised in  Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:21-38  and  Hebrew 8:6-13. It involves a personal relationship with God through our personal relationship with Jesus, in whom we trust for our salvation. 

Instead of being in bondage to God’s Holy Law; we are freed from condemnation to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit, to live out the righteousness of the Law through our hearts in our daily conduct, as Romans 8:1-4 teaches.   Legalism is foreign to this gracious work of God in our lives. 

4. THE LAW

Israelites were eye-witnesses of Jesus, as well as  writers and custodians of  God’s Law, the written Word of God, the Bible.  The entire Bible, both Old and New Testament  was  written by and given to the Jews.   We Gentiles are blessed by the Bible which we read and internalize, allowing the indwelling Holy Spirit to live out the life of Christ through our lives.  Our carnal natures which are with us until we die, keep us from living Christ’s life perfectly, even though that is our desire.   This truth is taught in Romans 6-8. 

5. SANCTUARY SERVICES

Sanctuary services were performed by the Jewish tribe of Levi only, we read in Exodus 25:8-9.   In this Church Age our bodies, as Christians,  are the temple or sanctuary of  God’s Holy Spirit.   So  instead of going  to Church,  we ARE Christ’s Church or Spiritual Body and we are to gather together regularly each week, to be edified and challenged by God’s Word to live Godly lives and offer faithful service to Him, as Hebrews 10:25 commands us.   As Christians,  our bodies are holy property.  Therefore, as we learn in I Corinthians 6:9-20 and II Corinthians 6:14- 7:1;  it is our solemn responsibility as Christians to live a morally clean life, turning from sin whenever we are faced with temptation.

It’s extremely dangerous for a Christian who is part of Christ’s body, to allow sin, or sinful influences,  to control his body. If you want to live dangerously, go play with electric wires or with lightening; but don’t play with sin.  You may escape getting shocked by electricity, but you will NEVER escape the consequences of sin.  Numbers 32:23  warns us

BE SURE YOUR SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT!!!

When you as a Christian sin, deal with it immediately by confessing it directly to God, not to some man.  God will immediately forgive you without any penance on your part.  Jesus paid the full price for all your sins when He shed His blood on the cross for you.  For you to attempt to offer money or anything else as payment for your sins is an insult to God.  

Read I John 1  to fully understand how Christians are to deal with sin in their lives.  You will find I, II and III John, at the end of the Bible, just before Jude and Revelation.

6. GOD’S PROMISES

The Old Testament is filled with God’s promises to Israel.  Here are only a few.  Deuteronomy 28,  Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 33:3.  By God’s grace,  we Christians are blessed through these promises to Israel  and hundreds of other promises to Israel and to the Church throughout the Bible. 

I challenge you to read through the Bible, underlining every promise.  As a child, we used to sing a little chorus,  “Every promise in the Book is mine. Every chapter, every verse, every line. All are blessings of His love divine. Every promise in the Book is mine.” For example, read through Psalm 37 and underline the promises made to you.  Memorize them and claim them in time of need, as I have repeatedly throughout my life.

7. THE FATHERS

Finally, we are given the Fathers, that is the Patriarchs,  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah  and on down to David, and Solomon and other through whom Jesus came.  You can read the two genealogies of the man, Jesus,  who was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was God come down in human flesh to die and shed His blood for our sins.  You will read His genealogy through Joseph, His adoptive father,  in Matthew 1  and  His genealogy through the virgin Mary in Luke 3.

ISRAEL

Though Israel  as a nation rejected Jesus as their Messiah and Saviour, yet we are indebted to Israel  for giving us Jesus and we have the responsibility at Christians to share the Gospel with them.  That’s why Paul, a Jew and a Pharisee and Jewish leader, after being converted to Christ, had such a heavy burden to reach his nation with the Gospel.  He shares that burden  in Romans  9 and 10 as we’ve already seen.

AS AMERICANS

Surely America  has been blessed over the past two centuries because the founders honored God and His Word, the Bible. Christianity is woven into the fabric of our founding documents, including our Declaration of Independence and  our  Constitution.  

Being an American doesn’t save us, but it certainly is a blessing to us as we live in a nation that was founded by Godly men and women. We have more access and opportunity  to hear the Gospel than almost any nation on the face of the earth.    For much more on this  thought, go to category, AMERICA.

December 3, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Privileged People