Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 14
God fully revealed himself in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that God fully revealed himself in his Word, that God fully revealed himself for us in order to know what we need to know, namely that we can be saved, that we can be redeemed, that we can be encouraged in our walk with him, that we can be victorious over temptation, that we need to learn how to be obedient to him, that he revealed to us enough to know that we can look forward to eternity in heaven with Jesus. But God did not reveal everything about himself. We couldn't handle it, to begin with. I mean, we couldn't handle it. Because God has always to be God and we're not.
What is happening today in the 21st century? Listen to me very carefully. Our culture has been working doubly hard to humanize God and deify man. This travesty could end up not only destroying western civilization... make no mistake about it, when the church fails, civilization fails. Romans 11 reminds us of the indescribable riches, majesty, and wisdom and knowledge of God. Romans 11 reminds us of the absolute necessity of bowing to God and bow whether we understand what we're going through or not. We bow to him in our difficult circumstances, in our joys, and in our sorrows. We bow to him and to remember that God alone is God and we're not.
That is why the key verse in Romans chapter 11 in verses 33 and 34. I want you to look with me because if you miss those two verses, you miss the whole chapter, you really do. "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgment, and his path beyond tracing out"! Verse 34: "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Who has been his counselor"? And the answer is no one. You cannot put God in a little system or a small formula. You cannot put God's plan on a chart and say, "This is the way God works". No, the Pharisees did exactly this and when the Messiah showed up, they failed to recognize him and they wouldn't believe in him. They missed him completely and they rejected him.
So much so that Jesus said in John chapter 5:39 to 40, he said, "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you'll possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, and yet you refuse to believe in me, you refuse to come to me and have life". Among this unfathomable wisdom of God, listen to me, in his wisdom how he can love sinners like me? How can he die for sinners like me? How can he redeem sinners like me? How can he forgive sinners like me? How can he work miracles on behalf of his children? How God gives victory to his children? It's unfathomable. It's inexplicable. I can't explain it. Can you?
Well, see me at the end of the service if your answer is yes. Romans 11:33 is like someone who has been climbing Mount Everest. Have you ever seen one of those documentaries? There's climbing Mount, I mean, step by step, painful step after painful step, and it goes on for days. And then when that person reach the summit, when they reach the top of the mountain, he looks around and said, "Wow, look at that beauty. Look at the splendor. It is indescribable. I can't put it in words". And here's what the Apostle Paul in the first ten chapters of the Epistle to the Romans, in the first ten chapters. He's been crawling step by step by step about the great reality of salvation on the part of God.
And then he comes to the summit. He comes to the top and, verse 33 of Romans 11, and he says, "God's footprint are unsearchable. God footprints are untraceable". It only causes me to bow in awe and in wonder. In the difficult times, in the good times, I bow and I say, "You are God. You are God". If you look with me, there are three things that I want you to see here in Romans 11. In verses 1 to 10, you're gonna see this indescribable God, this indescribable God in his dealing with Israel in the Old Testament. Then in verses 11 to 24, you're gonna see this indescribable God in his dealing with the Gentiles in the New Testament. And thirdly, verses 25 to 32, you'll see this indescribable God of grace and his grace is indescribable.
First, God is unsearchable. He is indescribable in the way he dealt with Israel in the Old Testament. Look at verses 1 to 10. In verse 1 Paul asked the question, "Did God permanently reject his Jewish people"? And he said, "Absolutely no way". After all of the pain they caused him for 2000 years, God had not reject his Jewish people. He has not. He said, "God forbid, because I'm a Jew myself. If that's the case, how can I be an apostle"? He is saying, this type of erroneous thinking began actually in the church of Rome. That's why he's writing what he's writing. This erroneous thinking started back then and continues to this day. This erroneous thinking is persistent.
This type of thinking gave rise to Nazism and anti-Semitism and Hitler. This type of erroneous thinking is behind all anti-Semitism, all of it. If you dig deep, this is the thought behind it, which is absolutely contrary and incompatible with and inconsistent with the Christian faith. Paul calls this type of argument flawed, false. What is the proof? Paul said, "I myself is the proof. I'm a Jew. I am now the ambassador and apostle of Christ". All of the apostles were Jewish. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the early church were all Jewish. Furthermore, this type of thinking runs opposite to the character of God.
Today, we can look at the thousand, no, tens of thousands of messianic believers around the world. Some of them are my dear, dear friends. And you know for sure that God has not rejected the Jewish people. He has not. To be sure, I said in the last message because God chose Israel to be a light to the nations, that is to proclaim Yahweh to the world, and when they failed, the Commission, you get that right, the Commission of making God known to the world was taken from them and given to the church. The Commission. But that does not mean for a moment that God completely rejected his people or rescinded his offer of salvation through the Messiah Jesus. And that is why, throughout the Old Testament, the Bible speaks of the faithful remnant. Israel as a race, inside there is a faithful remnant.
Let me show you from the Word of God. The first one, Paul mentions in Romans 11. The prophet Elijah said, "God, everybody defected from you. They're worshiping Baal and they're now following Ahab and Jezebel. They've become Baal worshipers. I'm the only one who's left". And God said, "No, no, no, Elijah". God said, "There's 7000 faithful Jews who have not bowed down to Baal or kissed him". Second reference: Amos 9:9. The Bible tells us that God had sifted Israel like corn and all the faithful remnant remained in the sieve. All the husk has fallen through. Three, Malachi chapter 3, verses 16 to 18, God declared that this faithful remnant is his treasured possession. In Zechariah 8:12-13, God declared that he will keep the faithful remnant safe, and Jeremiah 23:3, God said, "The remnant will remain faithful".
Number six, Ezekiel 14:14: the Bible declares that the individual faithful Israelites will come to receive salvation. And then finally, Isaiah chapter 7, 8, and 9, we find that the faithful remnant within Israel will be saved. To say that all of the Israelites were faithful to God would be like saying all of the churchgoers are born again and are believers. Question: what does Paul mean when he says all of Israel will be saved? From what I just showed you, the seven verses, seven references, and there are more, it's saying that the faithful remnant are the true Israel and every one of them are gonna be saved.
Now you understand that whether you're studying the Old Testament or you're studying the New Testament, it is faithfulness, not ethnicity that will save. Salvation is to whomsoever. Whomsoever. It was, starting with Abraham, is, and always will be faithfulness. What does that mean? That relationship with God, beloved, listen to me. Relationship with God is determined on an individual basis. If I look at this congregation and you are masses of people, a blob of people, in front of me, God does not see it that way. He see each individual. You, as an individual, is what he's focusing on. It's an individual salvation. No one is saved because they were raised a Baptist or Presbyterian and, God help us, Episcopalian. We don't get saved because our church background or family background or any background.
In the same way, Paul is saying just because a person, ethnically a Jew, does not mean that he's a believer. But only the faithful Jews whom the Bible calls the remnant will be saved. Why? Because this remnant looked forward by faith like Abraham to the cross of Jesus, just as we, in the New Testament, look back by faith to the cross of Jesus. Let me show you from the Old Testament, Ezekiel 18:20. Here's what the prophet Ezekiel said: "The soul that sin, it shall die". It's individual salvation, the Old Testament, New Testament. Individual salvation is both in the Scripture. God does not change and, beloved, this is the reality.
Paul is telling us the fact that some individual Jews have hardened their hearts toward the Messiah does not mean that God rejected them all as a race. No way. What Paul is saying about the hardness of their hearts is a sobering, it's sobering, listen to me. It's sobering to the Jews and to the Gentiles, to every one of us. It's sobering. Verses 7 to 10, there is a universal principle here that you must take to heart. What is it? If anyone keeps on hearing the truth and refuses to respond to the truth, the time will come when that person will be incapable of responding. This ought to make us weep over the lost.
If somebody here or listening, watching, anywhere, you've been hardening your heart and hardening your heart and you know the truth and God's speaking to you, there's gonna be a time when that gonna be difficult for you to respond. Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 13:12. Listen to what Jesus said. "Whoever has will be given more, and will have an abundance. But whoever does not have, what he has will be taken from him". There are some who thinks, you know, they can lie and cheat and live any which way all week long. As long as they go to Mass or go to church on Sunday, everything is fine. No, no, beloved. Paul is saying there is a spiritual danger that can develop in the life of such a person, in the life of this type of person, and it is called spiritual callousness.
You see the indescribable God in his dealing with stubborn Israel. That's what Paul is saying. He's saying, "You see this indescribable God in his dealing with the Gentiles". Look at verses 11 to 24. First, 11 to 16, you see, Paul makes an incredible statement regarding the sovereignty of God. He really does. When the Jew becomes callous and indifferent and spiritually insensitive toward the Messiah, what does God do? What does God do? He uses that same callousness, that same insensitivity toward the voice of God, to bring Gentiles to be saved and into salvation and into knowledge of Jesus Christ who is the Jewish Messiah. Why? To provoke the Jews. In order to provoke them into jealousy and they want to come to their Messiah. Just because the Jews refused the good news, it does not mean that God washes his hands, no.
The fact they refused to listen to the fact that they're faithful remnant waited for, longing for, expectant, and they didn't, it doesn't mean that God permanently rejected them as some people say, no. It is offered to those who did not have the privilege of the covenant and the relationship that the Jews had with God. I'm gonna ask you a question. Have you ever heard a professing Christian try to blackmail God? I have. "God, if you don't do this for me, I'm out of here, right? I'm out of here". Poor saps, you know, really, when you think about it. And that's what Paul is saying here. They don't know the grace of God. I know people who do this with churches. They do this with ministries.
"Unless you do this, I'm out of here". We do this with politician. That's fine, you can do that with politicians. It's all right. But not with God. Not with God. It doesn't work that way with the indescribable, unfathomable, almighty, all-powerful, El Shaddai God. Please, every time you are tempted to do this, take a deep breath and recite Romans 11:33: "Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God". Look at verse 11 all the way to 16 again. When you are tempted to feel high and mighty toward an unbelieving Jew, or when you are tempted to look down on an unbelieving Jew because they've rejected Christ, remember three things. It was through the rejection that you've been accepted. Your salvation should make a Jew jealous to turn to their Messiah. And thirdly, when a Jew believes in Jesus, his Messiah, it is a greater riches to the world. It really is.
Beloved, God has provided only one way for salvation and it's through the Jewish Messiah, Jesus. And I'm blessed to have some Jewish friends and I often tell them, "I owe you. I owe you Jesus. You gave me Jesus". Question: what about that olive tree? Listen carefully. Listen carefully. The root of the olive tree is the faith of Abraham. The trunk of the tree is the Lord Jesus Christ. The church made up branches of both Jewish and Gentile believers. The Gentile believers were grafted in but the Jewish believers in Jesus, they were the natural branches. You see, our indescribable God, you see him clearly in dealing with the Jews in the Old Testament and you see him, incredible God, clearly in the way he deals with grace with the Gentiles. And, thirdly, finally, you see our indescribable God, the God of grace, verses 25 to 32. Verse 25 says: "Don't be uninformed".
Don't be ignorant. You know, there's nothing worse than an uninformed person thinking that he or she's an expert on something. But you know what I found out in my experience what's worse? A person who's half-informed. They're dangerous. They're dangerous. They really are, when they just have partial information. Bad information or half information can only lead to false pride and it will lead to conceit. And the complete antidote to pride is the truth, objective truth, biblical truth. The Jew cannot despise the Gentile because they both are made in God's own image. And a Gentile cannot despise a Jew for Judaism is the very foundation of the Christian faith. And both can only be saved by God's mercy through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beloved, that can be said of all of us, all of us. None of us can boast about anything, none of us can brag about anything. We're all sinners and deserving of hell. Verse 31: But God's mercy is exercised toward us who are disobedient, Jews or Gentiles. How? Because only the mercy of God can rescue us from the consequences of disobedience, whether you're a Jew or a Gentile. Salvation for all of humanity has no regard of ethnicity. It is only based on the merits of Jesus Christ and this cross. Beloved, the ground is level at the mercy seat of Christ. None of us have anything to brag about. None of us has anything to boast about or feel better than somebody else, no. This is the gospel. This is the Christian faith. This is our only plea and the door is wide open to everyone who repent of their sins, regardless of who they are. Beloved, this is the glory of the Christian faith, amen?