The Election of Grace

The Election of Grace

Scripture: Romans 10:1-21, Romans 11:1-36
Date: 09/11/2010  Lesson: 11
Romans 10 and 11 are discussed. Paul expands on the concept of the Gentiles belonging to Israel.
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Good morning, and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to Sacramento Seventh-day Adventist Church right here in Sacramento, California. A very special welcome to those that are joining us here in the sanctuary. We have a church full this morning, and what a blessing. And a very, special, special welcome to those of you that join us every Sabbath across the country and around the world from wherever you're from, and sending in hymns that you want to sing with us.

Welcome, and we trust that you will be blessed this morning. Our first hymn we're gonna sing with you this morning is hymn number 625, "higher ground." And this comes as a request from birdie and ralph in the bahamas. Frank and veronica in barbados. Ethel, amid and bolbol in Canada. Mary, anna and becky in england.

Kim, kevin, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida. Paul and--bob and Paula in Idaho. Ali in malawi. Valerie in Massachusetts. Kawado and joyanne in New York.

Dr. Thorson and crimson in Pennsylvania. Anyel in the Philippines. Vearmor in qatar. John in West Virginia.

And patricia in zambia. Hymn 625, and we'll sing the first, the second and the last verse. [Music] I wish you could be here and hear what it sounds like in the sanctuary this morning. Someday soon in heaven, we will all be singing together at the feet of Jesus. What a blessing that will be.

If you have a special song, a special hymn, a favorite hymn you'd like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.org. And there you can click on the "contact us" link. And you can choose any hymn in the hymnal that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath, and we would be happy to do that with you. Our next hymn this morning is hymn number 223, "crown him with many crowns." This comes as a request from martin in argentina. Hans, James and mcgalin, columbia.

Christopher in Massachusetts. Elijah in Mexico. Ken in New Hampshire. Keisha in New York. Steven in North Carolina.

Christy in norway. Alejandra in uruguay. And ali in venezuela. Hymn number 223. We'll something the first, the second and the last verse.

[Music] Let's pray. Oh Lord, what a privilege it is to sing to you this morning, to sing praises to your name. You are our creator. You're our God. You're our Savior.

You are everything to us. So as we humbly come before you this morning on your holy day, one of your greatest gifts that you have given your children, we ask you to infuse us with your spirit, Lord. Help us to be shining lights for you to this cold, dark world that is about to pass away. Help us to shine for you as never before that hearts will be touched and lives will be changed. And as many as possible will go to heaven with you when you come in those clouds so very soon.

Lord, we praise your name this morning. And we thank you for Pastor Doug, and we ask you to just anoint his lips as he brings us Your Word. We pray these things in your precious, holy, holy name. Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central.

Morning, friends. Happy Sabbath. I want to welcome everybody. I want to welcome our friends that are watching from all over the place. It's always fun to hear where the different song requests come into.

I want to welcome our members of the class here at central church. I want to welcome our extended central family. We have a lot of central members that are scattered around the world, and this is their church they've adopted. And if you don't have a church you can worship with nearby, then contact us at saccentral.org. There is a method, a way that you can actually become a member here via satellite or the internet, even.

It's fun. We have missionaries all over the world, and they have no church to attend. And central is their church. And we have special guests here in the sanctuary today. We're very excited that weimar college and academy and the afcoe program have all begun in a last week and a half.

And so we've got some additional choir voices here today. Matter of fact, all of the weimar faculty, whether you're part of the college or the academy or even afcoe, why don't you stand right now. I want to see what visitors we have today. Oh, praise the Lord. And you can stay standing.

And now all of those who are part of the weimar academy, why don't you stand. Academy first. If you're academy students, weimar. Oh, there they are. All kind of congregating in the back there, the seat of the scornful.

And then all of those who are part of the college, why don't you stand? Oh, can you say, "amen?" And those who are part of the afcoe program, why don't we have them stand? Praise the Lord. So we've got probably 180 guests here today, between the faculty, afcoe, the weimar college, weimar academy. Can you say, "praise the Lord?" All right, now we're gonna take an action and vote all these people into membership here at central church. You can be seated, because it sounded so nice when they were singing today. And I'll tell you, friends, if you've not heard, the weimar college and academy and the afcoe program are alive and well.

And there's a lot of activity up on that beautiful campus right now. Wonderful spirit up there. I was there Thursday, and I was watching on weimar tv last night, the dedication program from my office. And we're gonna have a little dedication prayer during our worship service today just for the academy and the college as well. Our lesson to these enrollments--oh, you know something I wanted to mention, and it segues well in talking about the weimar college and academy.

For our friends who are watching, there's going to be a special evangelistic rival program, especially for teenagers that's going to be broadcast all over the world. It will be on 3abn, and Amazing Facts tv, and the inspiration channel which on like 70- 80 million homes in North America. And it's called "miq: most important questions." It's an amazing fact program for teenagers. If you'd like to know more about how you can tune in for that, then just go to miqteens.com. Miqteens.

com, and you'll see information about that. We're gonna be dealing with the most important questions that teenagers ask about God. And be praying for us as we go to Michigan. It will be in front of a live group of 240 or -50 teenagers there in Michigan at the great lakes adventist academy. And like I said, it will be broadcast on a charismatic channel all over North America.

Inspiration network's gonna carry it. They said, "we really want something like this for our teenagers." And so please tune in, spread the news. Register your site if you'd like to bring your teens or your school. And I hope you don't mind my announcing that at Sabbath school, but it's a good chance to get the word out. We're getting into our study now on Romans.

We're gonna be dealing today, with lesson 11 which covers Romans chapters 10 and 11. Lot of material. Special offer, it's called "spiritual Israel." It's offer number 174. Just call the number. It's 866-study-more.

That's 866-788-3966, and today it's 50% off free. Okay, into our lesson. Dealing with chapters and 11 in Romans, so much material here. Any small section would fill a lesson. We have a memory verse.

Romans 11:1, and if you want to find that in your Bibles, I would appreciate if we could do that together. Romans 11:1. Are you ready? "I say then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." Now you may not have known, but even as I read that, I was telling the truth, because I am of the seed of Abraham. Might even be of the tribe of Benjamin.

My grandfather's name was albert tarshus. And some say that's from tarsus, others say it's tarshish, which is that different place on the--spain. But either way, I'm not sure what tribe I'm from, but I know I'm a jew. So we're gonna talk about that a little bit, and I'm gonna have fun dealing with this lesson today. Get your Bibles.

Get your Sabbath school lessons. And I want you to take your Bibles, open to chapter 10 of Romans. Romans 10, we're gonna read the first few verses and kind of expound as we go. It's under the section here, the end of the law. "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved.

" Okay, pause. Have you heard some say, "well, Israel now, the jews, their time, their probation is closed. So now it's gone to the gentiles, and they're all lost." There's that extreme. If you haven't heard it, it's out there. And it's almost like if you're a jew, you're anathema.

And there are some who take the position that when the jews said, during the trial of Christ, pilate washed his hands and said, "I'm innocent of the blood of this just man." And they said, "his blood be upon us and our children." And they said, they invited a curse on the nation where jews now cannot be saved. So I don't know if you heard that, but you read some of even the literature of the reformers and martin luther. He wrote a little--i mean I have great respect for martin luther, but he wrote something about the jews. And you read it, and it's kind of scary. And then there's the other extreme.

So there's some that say that, you know, the jews, they rejected Christ as a nation, and now they'll be lucky if any of them can be saved. And then there's the other extreme where they take verses in this chapter, or in our study today, that says, "all Israel will be saved." And they think that all you gotta do is have some Jewish dna, and you have got a golden key to heaven. Like God is obligated to save you by virtue of your being of the seed of Abraham. That's another erroneous extreme. And somewhere in that ilk are those who, all their focus, every day, is what's happening in Israel with the headlines and when will they rebuild the temple and everything's gotta happen with Israel.

And the 144,000 are literal jews. And have you heard that? There's just a lot of literature, and a lot of emphasis on that. One of the hundreds of sermons that I've shared here was on the role of Israel and prophecy. It was just one Sabbath message we posted online. You go to youtube or the Amazing Facts website, that gets more hits than just about any other message.

Kind of hurts my feelings 'cause I thought I did a lot better with other subjects. But boy, Israel, it's like a hot button, and everybody wanted to know about that. And, it is good to know that God makes it very clear. Paul says, "my hope and my desire is that Israel would be saved." And then you read on here in verse 2 of Romans, "for I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." You can read in acts 20, I believe it is, in verse-- no acts 21:20 when Paul goes back down to Jerusalem. And the council of the apostles say, "see how zealous the Jewish converts to Christianity are for the law.

" And so they're talking about that same group, not just the jews who were jews, but the Jewish Christians were also zealous for the law. You know, it's possible to be zealous about something without knowledge. Yesterday, I made a stop at wal-mart, and on my way in, I was in a hurry. But there was a table set up just outside the wal-mart, and there was literature on the table. By the way, I want, somebody here at weimar, afcoe, to take a note of what I'm saying.

How they did this, I don't know, but they got permission. It's a good idea. And as I went by, it had magazines like "watchtower" and "awake." Ya'll recognize that? And they're jehovah witnesses. Two fine, young ladies, that really ought to be in the afcoe program, were sitting there. And I went by, a little voice said.

.. And I said, "oh man, I gotta say something." And so I backed up. And you know I just, I admire their zeal. But they're lacking knowledge. And so I pulled out one of my cards.

It was all I had on me. I didn't go expecting to witness at wal-mart. And, so I pulled out a card that has our website on it. I said, "have you ever seen this before?" They said, "no." I was downhearted by that. And I said, "well, take a look at the website," and I just handed it to them, I went inside.

And while I was in there, I was thinking. I got what I was looking for, and I was headed back out. And I thought, "you need to talk to more because they are not allowed to look at material of other denominations." It's part of the creed for the witnesses, because, you know, their leaders are afraid they're gonna get converted as they get involved in studies. And so when they go from house to house, people say, "well, this is interesting. I'll look at your magazine.

Will you look at my stuff?" And they say, "thank you very much." And they're carefully trained in the verbiage of how to say thank you, but not to read it. And so I came back out and I said, "well, you may have wondered why I gave you that card on the way in." I said, "you know I really admire what you folks do, your zeal for witnessing." I said, "there's some points that we agree on." I said, "you know I don't believe in the everlasting torment of the lost. And we believe that the saved are gonna, literally, inherit the earth." And I said, "you know, there's some things that we hold in common." And they said, "really? What are you?" And I said, "I'm a Seventh-day Adventist Christian." "Oh, I've got a friend." I said, "yeah, yeah." I said, "I know it may be a challenge for you, but please look at that website." "Well, thank you very much." They wouldn't commit to looking. And I wanted to--on the way back to the car, I felt like turning around. I wanted to just-- I was so stirred because they're so sincere.

They got zeal, but not knowledge. If you have a belief that you're not allowed anyone to challenge that belief, it's like having religion where a horse has blinders, and they're not allowed to look around. Now you need those when you're going through las vegas. But when it comes to allowing your faith to be evaluated, if your beliefs cannot bear up under investigation, then your beliefs are suspect. And I wanted to go back and tell them that.

They have zeal, but no knowledge. Now there's a verse where Jesus talks about the zeal of the jews. Matthew 13--no, I'm sorry. Matthew 23:15, we gave that out. Where are our microphones? And you've got here, and pancho's got one here.

Who has that verse that I just mentioned? Right here. Let's get a microphone here. Matthew 23:15. "Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much as The Son of hell as yourselves." Whoo, that's kind of a scathing indictment. Now we all know people out there that are extremely zealous about their belief.

And they might have some truth in their belief, and they've just caught fire with it. And they'll cross land and sea. And they die in some foreign mission field, and it just breaks your heart because they can't support it, really, from the Bible, or they're lacking the full truth. And so they got zeal without knowledge. Can that happen to people even in the church? Was Paul talking to people who were technically in the church? He was.

He was speaking of his people, Israel, that they had zeal, but they didn't have the knowledge. You go on here in Romans 10. "For they being ignorant," in verse 3, "of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not," substituted or not, "submitted to the righteousness of God." Now that problem right there of being ignorant of God's righteousness, they've not submitted to the righteousness of God trying to trust in their own righteousness. Was that just a problem of the jews back in Paul's day, or could that be or is it a problem of people today? Even in the remnant church, could you have people that are still trying to substitute their righteousness for the righteousness of God? What do you think? Yeah. So that is a very relevant study.

And then he goes on, verse 4, "for Christ is the end of the law--" notice some people stop, they put a period right there. And they say, "Christ is the end of the law." I've had it read to me that way before by some of my baptist friends. "We don't need to keep the Sabbath anymore, Pastor Doug, for Christ says the end of the law," period. And I say wait a second, that's not how it reads. It says, "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

" So if people are going to the law for righteousness, that's the mistake that he was condemning. The law still exists, but the law is not for righteousness. And Paul, you know, if you've been coming to the studies, you know from our earlier studies from chapter 5, 6, 7, 8 that it makes it very clear that we don't obtain our righteousness through the law. We are made righteous through faith, but the law is still just and holy and good. And he says, "do we then sin? Do we break the law? God forbid.

" And so--and still, you can't interpret what Paul's saying that way. You gotta read what he says earlier in there. And so you can also read in Romans 10:14 he says, "how shall we--they then call on those who they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him who they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" Now this is a very important passage 'cause it's talking about the sequence of getting the word out. We've got this knowledge. We've got this truth.

How do people learn it? You've gotta send it. Now, I wonder, sometimes, what the apostles would think. Back in their days, they did have a publishing ministry. The publishing ministry was you write a letter, and you send it. Or you could hire a scribe, and he'd copy it.

It was very labor intensive, and very slow. But that was their--Paul would write a letter, and he actually would dictate it, sometimes, through prison cell bars. And they would send it to the churches and the churches, he'd say, "share this with the other churches." And they'd maybe make copies or pass that very letter around, 'cause not everybody could write. And that was the publishing ministry. Look at the publishing ministry today.

You go to one of the high-speed presses today. You ever seen the high-speed press? It doesn't go... Like a copy machine when it's putting out. And some of your copy machines aren't even that fast, right? Some of yours are like printers... And then you get a page.

But the high-speed presses screen. I won't imitate it. And it's just... Page after page is going off. The message is going out.

But you know how, media ministry, back then, was you trained an evangelist, you send him out and he was the 3d media. That was the media ministry back then. And if you wanted a radio ministry, you had a live radio speaker. And you think, what would they think today? So when we send the word today, the power's in the word, right? Look at all the potential for sending the word. Ultimately, it's coming through people.

What the media does is it's multiplying the writing of people, the preaching of people, the teaching of people, but really it's all going back to the voice that God is giving. You can put that voice to pen. You can put it to television tape. We don't use tape anymore. It's all digital hard drive.

Or you could put it to radio waves. People are even texting the word now through the internet. But the power is in the word, but people are sent, you see what I'm saying, to do that. Somebody read for me, Luke 10:1. I think we've given that to somebody.

"And after these things, the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face unto every city and place, where he himself was about to go." You know, that's such a wonderful passage because it says Jesus sent them where he was going to later come. Is that still happening today? When he ascended, did he say, "go teach all nations I will come again"? So he's sending us where he's going to come. He's coming to the whole world, so he sent us to the whole world. Isn't it wonderful to be sent by God? And he's sending us before him. Like John the baptist went before him the first time, and the disciples went before him as he was going into the cities, you are going before him now for his final, main appearance, when he comes personally.

By the way, in Exodus 3:12, when God spoke to Moses, he said, "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." Moses was sent to bring people, by God, empowered by God, to bring people out of slavery. Why are we sent? Same thing, to help people find deliverance from slavery to sin. Am I right? All right, I think I also gave out Matthew 10:5-7. "These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "do not go into the way of the gentiles, and do not enter a city of the samaritans.

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" Again, Christ is sending out the 12, and he tells them, specifically, where to go. He says, "go first, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." And later they expanded that circle. Where's the most fruitful place for us to go first? Why did he tell them to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel first? Who's gonna be your prime, most fruitful territory for evangelism, other than those who already have a great foundation in the Scriptures? The jews, they had a knowledge of God. They knew his name.

They knew the fundamentals. They knew the history of the Bible. The whole truth of Jesus is rooted in the Bible in the old testament, and the people of Israel. So they were the natural ones. They were just missing a few details.

Go to them first. You can make a quick work of it. That's why pentecost, they didn't say, "six months from now, we'll baptize you. Let's start Bible studies." Once they accepted Jesus, they could baptize them right then 'cause they had all the other foundational teachings. They just needed to know about Christ.

So how does that apply to us today? Where is one of the most fruitful places for the remnant church to go? The lost sheep of the house of Israel. I did a sermon on this, I don't know, a couple months ago. I don't think we ever ought to be apologetic as Seventh-day Adventists for going to Christians of other faiths and telling them about the nature of Jesus coming, the eminence of his return, the Ten Commandments are still intact, and that we still have, because of love for God, an obligation to obey him. This is a message that should go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And I'm often criticized by my friends in other churches.

Say, "Pastor Doug, why do you spend your time talking to Christians of other faiths? They're already saved. Go to the heathen in some foreign land." I say, well, yeah, but they have a zeal without knowledge. There's so much they don't know. They don't have the full message. God, in the last days, tell me if this doesn't make sense.

In the last days, there's only gonna be two groups. One group is gonna worship the beast and receive his Mark. The other group is gonna have the seal of God and have the--and be worshiping the Lord. And one is gonna--they're both gonna ostensibly worship the same God. One is counterfeit, one is true.

How important is it, then for us, since there's only gonna be two groups at the end, to be part of that polarizing of the truth? Are people gonna come out of Babylon in the last days? How are they gonna come out of Babylon? Someone's gotta talk to them. "Babylon is fallen, come out of her my people." And so there is going to be a unifying, based on the Bible, there's gonna be a call and a message that will go to God's sheep. Jesus said, "other sheep I have that are not of this fold," right? "Them also must hear my voice." How they gonna hear it? Through those that are sent. And then there'll be, how many folds? One fold, one shepherd. When Jesus comes back, he said, "all men will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.

" There'll be a unity. He prayed that there might be one means that there's gonna be a great uniting on the truth, a great oneness of God's people in the last days. And so there is a group that are sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Does that make sense? And there'll be a polarizing of Babylon too that gets the Mark of the beast. So don't ever apologize for trying to build unity of belief.

I've heard people say, "Pastor Doug, why do you do these evangelistic meetings? You just talk about doctrine, doctrine, doctrine. You should be talking about Jesus." I thought they were one in the same. I mean when you--Jesus gave the sermon on the mount where he said, "love your enemies." And when he got done talking about love your enemies, it says, "they were amazed at his doctrine." And so love your neighbor is a doctrine, right? And so it's really a myth. It's a diversionary tactic. If you start preaching theology, they say, "well, that's divisive.

" Well, Jesus said the truth was a sword. You want me to preach the Gospel without a fence, is that what you're saying? That's what they're saying. Just preach the things that don't divide. You mean, don't preach the truth? Isn't that--it's code. This is big code that's being, you know, it's a big deception.

Anyway, back to our lesson. Romans 10:15, "as it is written: how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" How many of you want to be workers for God? Show your neighbor your feet, and then tell them whether they're beautiful or not? No, don't do that. Some of us, we don't want to be taking off our shoes right now. But, you know, you go to some parts of the world and you all leave your shoes at the door, I mean even Christian churches when you come. It's kind of a neat habit.

But there's a great big, ol' pile of shoes when you go into church at the door, or sandals, and then you gotta try and find them. I'm always a little worried when I get out there, hoping mine are still there. But, they always have been. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet?" Why does he say that? You know Jesus washed the feet. What do the feet represent? The angels in Isaiah cover their, what? They cover their feet.

God told Moses, "take your shoes off, this is holy ground." And so God has blessed the feet. It's like Jesus kneeling there at the feet of the apostles. Your feet represent your walk, in life. And Christians and the messengers of God ought to have a holy walk, before the Lord, right? That's what the significance is there of Jesus washing their feet. "And those who are preaching the Gospel, how beautiful are their feet," it says.

Let's keep on going. Now we're gonna talk about that passage here in Romans 10:9. I've got a lot left to cover, and we're still in Romans 10. Says that you confess, "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Now have you heard that used before to say that it's a special abracadabra term that you're supposed to repeat? These are the magic words, if you say these words, you'll be saved. Have you heard it used that way? Well, it is true that everybody who is saved should do these things.

But it is not true that this is all you do. You see what I'm saying? It is true that this is something that you should do if you are among the saved. You ought to confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised them from the dead. By the way, John adds further, they had problems with people believing Jesus really was raised. And John says, "if someone does not believe that Jesus has come in the flesh, then he is not of God.

" And that was sort of like a litmus test. That was one of the tests among the genuine believes. Did you believe that Jesus really came in the flesh, that he really did rise again? That was important, but that wasn't the only thing. It is good to hear him say, "you will be saved." And then again, Romans 10:13, "for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." I was reading this with nathan last night. And he said, "dad, what does that mean? Does that mean that you just call out?" Like Peter was sinking there on the sea of Galilee, he said," "Lord, save me.

" And he was saved. Well, certainly that would be the starting point of anybody who's saved. But that word there, calling on the name of the Lord, is not a word, it's not a phrase that would denote that at one point, you call on his name and then you go and live like the devil, and you'll be saved because of that one moment you call on his name. Calling on the Lord is something that Daniel did. Daniel had a habit of daily calling on God.

He was constantly calling on the Lord. So think about calling on God like a teenager with a cell phone. It's something that is continual. I was driving to church yesterday morning for prayer. We gather Friday morning, pastors and i, principally we just visit and talk about the service.

We pray. And I drove by, there's a college bus stop right here by howe avenue and fair oaks. And all of these college students were there. And every one of them had either a cell phone to their ear, or I saw them doing something to collect messages on their cell phone. Every one of them.

There were several of them there, and I looked. I almost ran off the road 'cause I went... And they all had hair phones up. Well, you know, I think that when you love the Lord, you're constantly in communion with him. All who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

Do you have a relationship with the Lord? They've got these phones now where you're constantly, all you do is press one button, and you're connected with your party. I forget what they call that. Huh? No, not speed dial. No, it's almost like a walkie-talkie. They use them in corporations where you're constantly going back--construction sites use them.

Their cell phone is like--it dubs as a walkie-talkie too. They just--what is it? Push-to-talk. Yeah, something like that. Anyway, that's kind of the relationship that we need with the Lord where just he's always there. You say, "oh, Lord, but, oh, Lord.

" And you're just constantly talking to him. All that call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. It's not one prayer that you utter, though that one prayer's a starting point. It's not like you come to the altar when you're years old and you pray and prayer. And then, you know, like some churches teach, you go off and you live in sin.

They say, "yeah, well he was saved. He's saved now so. You know he came to the Lord when he was 13. I know now he's, you know, dealing in arms, and he's got a meth lab and everything, but he was saved when he was 13. He called on the Lord.

" Have you heard it that way? Yeah, that's really an insult. It's not what it's talking about. All right, keep going here. Election of grace. Romans 11:1.

I know we're jumping down a little bit. "I say then, has God cast away his people?" Now this is a very important verse. If any of you think that God is done with the Jewish nation, underline this 'cause Paul here is not talking about spiritual Israel. You realize there's a literal Israel. Do we still have literal jews in the world today? Has God totally blended them in with the general populous so that he doesn't recognize them at all as a nation, or does he still identify who they are? They are still a recognized group before God.

I believe that and yet, I still believe in spiritual Israel. I'll talk about that here in just a moment. And first let me say more about that. He makes it really clear. Has God cast off his people? Is he talking about spiritual jews or literal jews? Literal jews.

"Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." This was our memory verse. Paul is saying, I've got that Jewish blood in me." God has not cast him off. This is after the cross, after the resurrection. God still had his eye on the literal seed of Abraham. Spirit of prophecy supports that God has a special work to do among the Jewish people.

And you know what, friends? I can understand the misguided attention many of my evangelical friends aim at Israel. They do deserve attention, but I think it's overboard. You have to admit it, there is no nation like the Jewish nation. There is no people like the Jewish people. No small people have affected the history of the world more than the Jewish nation.

It doesn't matter if you're talking about china or russia or south America, all influenced by the jews. And you're thinking, "how's that, Pastor Doug?" Because the writings of Moses have affected the laws, the calendar, the government of every nation in the world which, of course, springs from the jews. The modern civilization is even the Christians all root back to the jews. They're all influenced by them. What other nation has been conquered, carried away to a foreign land, physically displaced, evacuated from their country, placed in a foreign country where they were free to marry and just blend in? But they reMained a distinct people, and they came back again from the Babylonian captivity, retained their history, their heritage, their sacred writings, their religion, conquered again by the Romans, scattered all around the world for just about 2,000 years, 1,900 years.

Then they go back to their territory again. They fly their flag again. They're still a unique people again. Name one other nation, out of the hundreds of nations in history, thousands, that has done that. None.

If for no other reason, we should respect Israel for the obvious intervention of God in preserving them as a unique people, in spite of the dispersion around the world. It's so obvious to me that he has a plan for them. Now I'm not waiting for the temple to be rebuilt. I think there's a lot of confusion about the role of Israel. One of the most important things that God wanted from Israel, and as he studied this chapter, about Israel first you have to say, "why did he call him?" Did God say, "I've decided to save some people more than others, and I'm gonna do it because of their dna or their physical characteristics"? Or did God say, "I am gonna call a nation, and I'm gonna call a nation based on their father, Abraham, who believed in me.

" Abraham believed in God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. "And of his seed, I want to save the world through them. I will make a nation of Kings and priests to save the world. I'm not saving them to save them, I'm saving them to save others." Now that's the most important thing I said so far. He didn't save Israel to save Israel.

Yeah, he wanted them saved, but they were saved to be trained in that wilderness for a year to be a nation of Kings and priests that all people might flow to them, like the queen of sheba, and learn about the God of Israel. They were then to introduce the Messiah to the world. And by the way, in spite of the Jewish nation officially rejecting Jesus, God still accomplished his purpose. Who was it that introduced Jesus to the world? Twelve Jewish apostles that were preaching to devout jews from out of every nation under heaven that after they accepted Jesus during pentecost, then went back to their countries all over the roman empire. The word, the truth about Jesus, was taken by the jews to the world.

For that first 3 1/2 years after Christ ascended, Paul and the apostles, everywhere they went to, they went to the Jewish settlements. It was God's will that the Romans had scattered them everywhere because that's how they spread the Gospel. It was a great network. It was the internet back then. It was a Jewish internet.

They would go back to Jerusalem for these feasts, and then they got scattered back. And the message was dispersed from them. Now Paul ran into opposition. He'd go to some synagogues and he'd say, "you judge yourselves unworthy. Lo, we turn to the gentiles.

" And then he goes somewhere else, and they would study, they'd be noble. And they would believe those things were so. And so, you know, it varied from one place to the other, but the jews, devout jews, were the first ones that took the message from pentecost and scattered it everywhere. So he did accomplish his purpose. All right, let's read on here.

Somebody has Romans 2:28-29. Hold your hand up if you've got that. Right here. "For he is not a jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God." All right, so you got three or four kinds of people out there. You've got pagans.

I guess you got four kinds. You got pagan pagans. There are pagans by blood, and there are pagans by faith. Then you've got pagan jews. They may be Jewish by blood, but they're pagan by faith.

Then you've got Jewish pagans. They are jews by faith, pagans by blood. And then you got the best of all worlds, Jewish, jews. That means a Christian jew, that's me. And so you got all these different kinds.

And that Paul is identifying here. So can you be a jew spiritually and but not be-- have any Jewish blood at all? Some of you remember the famous entertainer, sammy davis jr. He was an african American, but he wore a Jewish star. He converted to judaism, as did elizabeth taylor. There were so many people in hollywood they knew that were jews.

And they became friends, they learned about it, and they converted. And they were pretty much secular jews. But Paul is making it real clear here that there is a spiritual Israel that was always foretold that it would come. Romans 9:6-7. Who? You have that.

Okay. Why don't we go ahead and read that? "But it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham." All right, so he's making it clear, if you are Christ, you are Abraham's seed. John the baptist said, "think not to say within yourselves that we have Abraham as our father and then God is somehow obligated. God is able to raise up from these stones, children unto Abraham.

" All through the new testament, Jesus was saying, "many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the Kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And the children of the Kingdom, those who may be natural jews, could end up in outer darkness, if they don't accept the truth." And then those who may be are like Lazarus, laying at the gate full of sores, they're in Abraham's bosom. These gentiles, they're in Abraham's bosom, and the rich man who is feasting on the truth, but he didn't have Christ or love his brother, he's in torment. You see, the message, all through the new testament, is don't think that it has anything to do with God's gonna save you because of your race. Because of your race, you are the guardians of the Gospel.

The oracles of truth were committed to Israel. Because of your race to the jew first, then the gentile, you get first opportunity. First 3 1/2 years after Christ, the Gospel went to the jews. When James wrote in 1:1, "to the twelve tribes that are scattered abroad--" who's he talking to? Is he talking to the literal tribes of Israel? I don't think so. I think James understands he's talking to spiritual Israel.

First of all, the 12 tribes, what was left of them, many of them disappeared. Some were very small. They were conquered and overwhelmed by others. That's why it's important to know that when you get to the 144,000, and it talks about those 12,000 from 12 tribes. Interesting, same amount from all 12 tribes.

If you study the tribes of Israel, they all had different Numbers. Judah was enormous. Benjamin was very small. They had almost been wiped out. They were down to just a few hundred at one point.

And so the idea of 12,000, that's not accurate. Hey, you know, I'm gonna run out of time, and I want to talk about my olive tree here. Karen went to great lengths. And our next door neighbor, who also is a member here, he's got an olive tree out front. Now it talks here in Romans 11 about Israel being the olive tree.

Now olive trees, and it talks in Zechariah about the olive trees, in Revelation, about the olive trees. From the olive trees came olive oil. What's the oil a symbol of? The Holy Spirit. And so here you've got, let's just suppose this is an olive tree. I need a volunteer.

Let's see here, all right, come on up, erin. This is a covelo girl. Hold that for me here. That's the tree. This is actually too long.

I'm gonna--oh, I can't break it. It's tough. There we go. I just need a little graft to illustrate this for a second. So here you've got the tree of Israel, but they're not bearing fruit.

We got two olive trees on the central church campus. We've got the ones in the courtyard. You notice they're very nicely manicured. They kind of look like french poodles. They actually have very good edible olives.

For years, the youth would collect them, and we'd jar them. And we'd do stuff with them, but they often dropped on the floor, and then the olive oil would stay in the carpet. We finally decided to prune them back. But the ones that are back out there by the road is a different variety of olive. Olives aren't that good.

Whole different tree. You can't poodle trim them. And so they're all different kinds of variety of olives. Paul is drawing on this, and he's saying the gentiles now, when Christ came along, what God did is he said to the Jewish nation, look, not all of them, 'cause they're the root. He said, "if you're not gonna believe in Christ--" oh, this stuff's tough, or I'm weak.

They said, "we're gonna--" they were cut off. That's not talking about all of Israel and all their history and all their Scriptures, but there was a generation that was rejecting Christ during the time of Paul. And he said, "look, if you're not gonna believe, you're gonna be cut off. And they're gonna be grafted in." Now, this is a very bad graft. You're supposed to make a clean cut and then tie it up, and pretty soon it draws the sap and the nourishment from the tree.

Now you know what that means? Every Christian must be a jew to be saved under the new covenant. Someone know the new covenant? It says, "a new covenant, I will make with the gentiles." You won't find that anywhere in the Bible. You will not find any Scripture in the Bible where God says, "I'm making a saving covenant with the gentiles." We are saved under the new covenant, new testament. It says, "a new covenant, I will make after those days with the house of Israel." So if you say you're a new-covenant Christian, that means you've gotta be grafted in, become a spiritual jew. That's really what it's saying.

Now, then he tells, in Romans 11. He says, "now gentiles, don't think ha, ha, ha, we've been grafted in and you've been snipped off." He said, "if you think that your graft is gonna take you--" you never know if this graft's gonna take or not 'cause it's a little different variety. Some are more compatible than others. But he said, "you don't have to worry about--" I don't want to drop this here. You don't have to worry about this other variety.

You might have to worry a little bit about this variety coming in 'cause it's different. But this came out of this. It is naturally compatible with this. He said, "they can be grafted back in again." So in the last days, I think you're gonna see a great revival of jews that will be grafted back into the original stock that are gonna bear fruit, bear olives. Thank you very much.

You can keep that. Special gift, from me to you. Let me show you something really fascinating. When we're studying Israel--wait, I want to read Romans 11:23. Romans 11:23, "and they also," if they in their unbelief, "if they continue not in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted in contrary to nature--" in other words, you're not even part of that same kind of tree. "Into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these, who are natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree?" You know, it's been something of a mystery. Why hasn't there been a historic revival among jews accepting Jesus? Because they are naturally the most obvious believers in Christ. They've got the whole foundation. I've tried to study with my Jewish family, and it's like there's a blindness there.

And you know for one thing, there's a little bit of animosity and resentment because they have been persecuted by professed Christians for the last 1900 years. And, you know, during world war ii, a lot of those nazis were devout lutherans, and they were justified what they were doing. Saying, "after all, these were the people that killed Christ." They heard that a lot. They were called Christ killers. And so when you talk to them about Jesus, many of them tense up.

They say, "don't use that name in my house." Now my grandfather, he was very open to Jesus. And some are, some are not. It depends on what their experience has been and what--how it's been witnessed. Paul makes a statement here in Romans 11 where he said, "blindness in part happened to Israel for your sake." What ended up happening is because the natural olive tree in that generation, did not see Jesus for who he was, that there was a great appreciation among the gentiles. It says, when the jews rejected it, the gentiles went and grabbed them and they said, "oh, preach these words to us next Sabbath.

" There was a great hunger and appreciation. Then the jews started becoming jealous and said, "what's all this about Jesus? Look at how all the gentiles are believing them. You can't take our Gospel. You can't read Moses, that's our book." And so there was like a jealousy. And Paul said, "that's good, I want you to be jealous.

I want you to see that they are appreciating it more than you." Now you know how that applies to us today? You know, one of the ways that typical adventists, people who have been raised in the truth all of their life, you know how they're often revived? They see a new convert. These new converts come in during an evangelistic meeting. They start reading the books that we've had all our lives. And they say, "wow, this is great." And they sharing it with everyone. "Let's give them out.

Let's read it. Have you read this quote and that quote?" And they just catch on fire. They're so excited about the message. And those who have been raised for several generations in the church, they see the enthusiasm of the new converts and they go, "what's wrong with me? What am I missing? I want what you've got. Where do they get this fire?" And so it kind of creates a jealousy.

And they say, "I want that kind of first love." And Paul is using that same analogy saying the gentiles were creating a jealousy and a hunger for that first love among the jews. Look at the parallels between the calling of Israel and Jesus, himself. Jesus was the embodiment of Israel. Look here, psalm 80:8, God calls Israel a vine. John 15:1, Jesus said, "I am the vine.

" In Exodus 4:22, God calls Israel, "my firstborn." Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called the, what? The firstborn. Isaiah 41:8, God calls Israel the seed of Abraham. Jesus is called the seed of Abraham in Isaiah 41:8. I'm sorry and in Genesis 3:15 it says that the serpent would bruise the woman's seed, which was Jesus. So both Israel and Jesus were called the seed.

Matter of fact, I gave this one to somebody else. Isaiah 41:8, who got that? "But you, Israel, are my servant Jacob whom I have chosen the descendants of Abraham my friend." Israel is called the servant of God. And then Isaiah says in Isaiah 42:1, speaking of the Messiah, behold my, what? Jesus is called the servant. Hosea 11:1. "When Israel was a child, I loved him called my son.

" Israel is called my son. Matthew 2:15, it says, "out of Egypt, I have called my son," speaking of Jesus when he was called out of Egypt. All through the history, and this is just a small sampling. The very titles that are given to Israel are then given to Jesus. And so the Israelites were to be, sort of a portrait of Christ to the world.

Now if that was true of Israel in the old testament times, how much more true is it of Israel today, which is you? If you are Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, amen? And so we want to be grafted in and bear the fruit. We're out of time. Friends, don't forget our free offer, "spiritual Israel." We'll send it to you if you ask. It's offer number 174. That number, one more time, is 866-788-3966.

Thank you for joining us. And God bless you until we study again next Sabbath.

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