Skip Heitzig - Romans 8:28-9:6
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Good evening. That was a great last song. Wow, so good. The whole set was good, but that was just great. I thank God, amen. Let's turn in our Bibles to the book of Romans, let's go to chapter 8. That's what I said last week, and I should be saying, let's go to chapter 9, but I never finished chapter 8, so we're back in chapter 8 to finish up this chapter. But like I had mentioned, and if you're new to our Wednesday night, let me explain, and that is that we cover every book of the Bible, every verse of every chapter. And we let our time run out, stop there, pick it up next time. But eventually, God willing, unless the Lord returns before next week, we'll just keep going, and eventually, we'll finish it.
So we study an Old Testament book, then a New Testament book, then an old, then a new, than an old, then a new. And so we're in Romans, and then after the Book of Romans we'll be in the book of 1 Samuel, then 1 Corinthians, and then 2 Samuel, you get the idea. But it breaks it up enough, and let's us cover through the entire word of God. So our Wednesday night is vastly different than the weekend message, which is more honed to a point, very expositional, nonetheless, on a weekend. But this enables us to spend more time covering a large swath of scripture, so we get the entire sense of the book. And so it's just a different approach to studying the Bible. But we left off, and the reason I left off, I could have just kind of brushed through it, but not when you have Romans chapter 8 verse 28 untreated, that's where we're going to begin in a moment. Let's have a word of prayer.
Father, we rest our hearts after thanking you, after thinking of the way you have so blessed us, and the way you called us and have forgiven us. And Father, we have reveled in your care for us. And now, Father, we seek to understand what your grace and plan for our lives might be. Thank you that you have washed away our sin. You don't hold it against us, it's past tense. We are new creations in Christ. We are sons and daughters of the living God, and we didn't do anything to deserve it. But you chose us. And Lord, that is such an honor to even just to think that you would think of us, let alone pick us to be on your team. But you have, and Lord, I pray that we might, as Peter wrote, grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To do that, Lord, we need to push things out of our minds, push activities, agendas, appointments out, and let your Spirit in. So take control. Minister to us, speak to us, and then work through us. In Jesus' name, amen.
During World War II, the ten Boom family was arrested for hiding Jews in their home. Corrie and her sister were sent to a concentration camp, as older girls. They survived. Corrie ten Boom went on to speak, she lived in Southern California, in Orange, California. She lived right around the block from where I used to work, before she went to heaven. But she had such an interesting perspective on life, and a joy in the Lord, after suffering such horrors in the concentration camps, after surviving them. And one of the great things that she said, I'll never forget, is this, look around and be distressed, look within and be depressed, look to Jesus and be at rest.
If you look around at our world today, and that's all you look at, you will be distressed. There's enough distressing news on a single news cycle to just cause you to throw your arms up and say, what's the point? No good news there. You're distressed. Then, when you look within, it gets worse, because you see all of the corruption around you, and if you're honest, you realize, I have the same capacities to do any of those things that I am distressed about that I hear about in the news. But when I look to Jesus, then, and only then, am I at rest. And really, that has been the story of Romans up to this point, Paul looked around at the Gentile world in the first few chapters, all have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God. In chapter 7, Paul looks within himself, and he's depressed. It's a depressing chapter, chapter 7.
Paul talks about himself a lot in that chapter, 47 personal pronouns, I, me, mine. So he has looked around, he is distressed, he has looked within, he is aptly depressed. He even brings it to a conclusion by saying, oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death? But then, he looks to Jesus in chapter 8. Chapter 8 is such an important chapter to us, because you can sense the rest that overcomes Paul the apostle. He looks to Jesus, In fact, when he says, oh, wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death? He answers this question immediately by saying, I thank God through Jesus Christ.
It was Robert Murray McShane who said, for every one look that we take at ourselves, we should look at Jesus 10 times. Good advice. You do enough self-analysis and self-evaluation, and you should, but you get to a point, if you stop there, you will truly be a depressed individual. And perhaps, the reason you are leaning toward depression so much is you think so much about yourself, and how far you have fallen short. And how you don't really meet the criteria, the standard that you think you should live at. And so, look to Jesus, and be at rest.
So beginning in chapter 8, Paul begins by just saying, look, there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. And he unfolds the work of the Spirit, that we're adopted into the family of God, that even though we suffer, we are promised glory. And now, we come to a verse of scripture that is, well, if I were to ask, take a little poll of how many of you have this is your favorite verse, I'm sure a lot of you, see hands are already going up. God bless you, I see that hand. It is, in fact, I was looking through lists of favorite Bible verses, and one of the lists, and this is pretty consistent in those who take these polls, of the top 10 favorite verses in this one list of all times, Romans chapter 8 verse 28 ranks about number four, as far as famous, or most important verses.
I mean, you've got Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd, there's a lot of contenders. But this is usually right around number four. You can look at it this way, if all of the scripture were a meal, a feast, for your soul, Romans chapter 8 is the main course. Verse 28 is the entree. It really gets down to it, it's been good, but it gets really great with this incredible verse that is before us. One person called Romans 8:28 a soft pillow for a tired hard. And I love that description so much, I stole it, and I called one of my sermons a soft pillow for a tired heart, based on Roman 8:28. I have laid my head on this pillow many times.
And the reason it's so great is because, well, again, I've spent a whole hour just on this verse, but Paul begins with a very strong affirmation. He says, in verse 28, and we know. You see, there's so much in life that when I look at it, it just seems haphazard, it seems weird, it seems wrong. It makes me say, I don't know. And there's a lot of things I don't know about life. There's a lot of things God allows and I don't know why. And I get people say, why would God allow? Don't ask me, I'm not God. I don't know. I'm in it with you. There's just a lot of things I don't know. But life is not haphazard as a child of God. And whenever there are things you don't know, gravitate and hold on to those things you do know. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Now, notice the phrase, all things work together. The words work together, it's one word in the original language. ... and ... literally is translated, together worked, or together energized. And we get the term, synergy, our English term, synergy, from the word.... God, in His power and in His providence, causes the things in life, even those things that seem haphazard, to be synergized. That is, synergy is where you have two or more things that have a relationship with each other, an interaction with each other, and they produce a result greater than the sum of those things. That's the idea of synergy.
God causes all things that happen to you in life to work together for good to those that love God. So God is working together all the elements, all the things you know about, don't know about, understand, can't figure out, but He has a result. Now, you can't see the result, and you wish God would tell you what He's up to. And so that's where faith comes in. You trust God based upon the character of God. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace, to give you a future and a hope. God said that to a group of people wondering, how could this possibly be good? We're in Babylon, man. We've been taken away from our homes in Jerusalem. The city has been destroyed, burned with fire.
We are out of the country, the nation of our covenant God, in foreign powers. How could this be good? God causes all things to work together for good. It might not feel good, it might not be good, that very element might not be good, but just wait to see what God can synergize. So here's a little example. Some time ago, one of you awesome folks gave me a bag of tomatoes. Not that you had purchased, that you had grown. So they were home grown, garden fresh tomatoes, or tomato. You say tomato I say tomatoes. But I took them home, they were awesome.
Now, I'm not saying that so that if you all grow tomatoes, I don't want a bushel of them. But these were outstanding. So I took them home, and I poisoned them, and I ate them. Now, I heard a go up, because you go, what do you mean, you poisoned them? Well, I put something on them that in its pure form would be poison. I put a mixture of sodium and chlorine on those tomatoes. Now, sodium in its pure form will kill you. It's a poison. Chlorine in its pure form will kill you, it's a poison. But if you mix those two elements together, at just the right measurement, you get sodium chloride, in other words, table salt.
Well, now it's not poisonous any longer. Why? It's the combination. Now, there are things in life that happen to you and I, and we say, that's bad. Yeah, there are certain things that are bad that happen. Bad things happen. And yet, God, in his divine chemistry lab, can mix those elements together, and wants to say to you, just wait for the outcome. You don't see it now, but wait for the taste. It's coming. Wait for it. All things. Aren't you glad it doesn't say most things? Because there's plenty of things that we would put in the other category, not this thing. Maybe those other things, but not this. He didn't say most things, he doesn't say some things, he says, all things.
And it's something he says we know. I hope you know that. There are certain truths you need to know to get through life. Like I said, because there's going to be plenty of times that you look in the future and at what's happening, you go, I don't know. I don't get it. I don't understand, it's dark. So that's where you rest on what you know. And we know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose.
OK, let's just explore it a little bit, I know I'm only on one verse still, this is always my problem. He does not say, and we know that all things work together for comfort. Because if you think that's what for good means, you're going to be disillusioned and disappointed. You're going to go through something, oh, wait a minute. Isn't the promise all things work together for good? This isn't good. Doesn't say comfortable, or for your comfort, or for your ease, it's for your good, as God defines good. Well, I just got to tell you, there's a lot of latitude in that. I'll give you an extreme example. Joni Eareckson Tada over five decades ago became a quadriplegic. She's in a wheelchair. She has lived her life in a wheelchair.
One question that people ask her more than any other question, you could figure out what that's going to be, how could God allow that to happen to you? How could a God of love allow that? How can you follow a God and trust a God like that? And yet Joni will tell you that she believes that she is in that wheelchair permanently until she goes to heaven by the will of God, and that it was probably the greatest thing next to salvation that happened to her. You should read her books, they will encourage you.
And what she says is that, God sometimes will allow what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves. That's an incredible description of this verse. God will sometimes allow what He hates in order that He might accomplish what He loves. And those who have trusted God, the God of this verse, the God of this promise, know the depth of that meaning.
So we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined, to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called. These He also justified, whom He justified, this He also glorified.
Now, I have gone into depth on these verses, so if I do that with every verse like I did verse 28, we'll never make it through this chapter, let alone on into chapter 9. But let me just say that, God has a goal for you, to conform you so that you resemble His son. And you some of you inside are shaking your head, going, man, I've got a long way to go. So do I. So do I. But I can say, and I'm sure you can say, you're on the road to that. You're nowhere near that, but you're not what you used to be, either. So He wants to conform you, He said, into the image of His son.
Moreover, whom He predestined, He chose you in advance, He picked you in advance, He elected you in advance, these He also called. That's when you received Christ. Now, God chose you in advance, but there came a day, a time, in time and space, I know the date when I gave my life to the Lord, or round about, I didn't really write it down. But I roughly remember the time, the afternoon, when I was called, when I said yes to Him, and I cooperated with his choice made in eternity past.
So He predestined me, He called me. That's the day of your salvation. Whom He called, He also justified. When you said yes to Jesus, God said yes to you. He declared you righteous, justified you. And whom He justified, these He also glorified. Now, wait a minute. Last time I checked, Skip Heitzig is not glorified. I look in the mirror every day, it's not looking better. If I'm waiting for glorification in this body, I'm highly disappointed with the results. Yet, though I realize glorification is an event that will happen in the future when I'm in glory, itself, face to face with God, my body will be glorified, I'll have a resurrected body one day. Yet, notice that when the Holy Spirit, through Paul the apostle writes about it, he writes about it as though it's past tense.
Now, if you know anything about scripture, you know that God's good at this. That God will often speak about future events, but He'll write about them with a past tense verbiage. Why would He do that? Because He's God. And if God, see, here's the thing, and here's the problem we have. God has an attribute you and I don't have, it's omniscience, He knows everything.
So you can sit, I don't know if you ever do this, try to figure out, what would it be like to know everything? Well, if you know everything, then you can't learn anything. So God never learns, he's not in the process of learning, like finite theism teaches, that God is in the process of learning the human race, as history goes on. No, God knows everything, so He can't learn anything.
So if you know everything, do you even need to think? I won't get deeper than that. I'll stop right there. But because God knows everything, He knows that one day you're going to have a glorified body, and to God, it's as good as done. So He can write about it in past tense, even though it is future to you and I. To God, it's as good as done. That's why He can do prophecy so well. He speaks about future events as though they've already happened. If you read Isaiah chapter 53, Jesus hadn't even been born yet, and yet the prophecy is about what Jesus would do, but it's written in the past tense.
That's how sure God the Father is about the work that His son would do. Now, He writes about you being glorified. You know, I don't feel it, man. Don't worry, you don't need to feel it, you just need to believe it. If He called you, and He did, He'll glorify you, He will. So what we have here is a panorama of God's work from eternity past, to eternity future. These are five links in the golden chain of God's sovereign care for us, from predestination, election, to calling, to justification, all the way to glorification.
In verse 31, Paul says, what shall we say to these things? Well, first of all, what things is he referring to? Well, let me answer it three ways, number one, he's speaking about the entire book of Romans. All that he has said up to this point, he has described the gospel, but then he went right into the wrath of God for chapter after chapter. After the wrath of God, the wrath of God is eclipsed by the grace of God. So maybe he is just sort of following Romans, and he stops midpoint here, and he says, what shall we say to what I've written so far in the book of Romans? Maybe that's what he means by these things. Or, perhaps he's just speaking about the truths that we find in the eighth chapter.
There's no condemnation in Christ, we're placed as adult children into his family, adopted, we cry, Abba, Father. There's the work of the Spirit in our lives that guarantees that even though we suffer, we're going to be in heaven with Him, and enjoy His glory. Maybe he means those things. Or maybe he's just referring to what he just wrote about imminently, just in the paragraph. All things work together, he's predestined, et cetera. So it means one of those three things. Take your pick. But answer the question, what shall we say to these things? Here something I can say, hallelujah. That's what I say. Awesome, that's great. What shall we say to these things? This is what Paul says, but he answers it with a question, if God is for us, who can be against us? Now, there are many against us. We live in a society right now, and the society is changing rapidly against the Christian.
I recommend a book to you I started reading on my iPad called Dark Agenda by David Horowitz. Subtitled, America's War Against Christians, Against Christianity. What's interesting about the book is it's not written by a Christian, it's written by a Jewish man who is an avowed agnostic. And he, himself, was very liberal in his thinking, his parents were in the Communist Party. He started many liberal causes, but he started noticing the agenda on American soil, especially against Christianity. So from an unbiased outsider's look, an agnostic Jewish author's look, he writes about the dark agenda. There's a lot of people against us, and that is concerning. But it shouldn't shake you from your faith. So when he says, if God be for us, who can be against us?
You see, if God is for you, it doesn't matter who's against you, if God is for you. And I'm here to tell you, God is for you. And if God is for you, who cares who's against you? Well, there's a lot of people against me! So? I'm here in Jesus' name, you know what I mean? Just kind of like, oh, in your face. Be there. Be who you are, be Saul, be light. Yes, there are those who are against you. But listen, Gideon knew God was for him. And that's what enabled Gideon to take 300 men and fight against 135,000 Midianites and win. How could David face Goliath? Only because he knew God was with him.
How could Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego kind of thumb their nose at Nebuchadnezzar, and say, we're not going to bow to your stupid image? Throw us in the fire. Our God's able to deliver us. And even if He doesn't, so? The only way you could think that way is if God is for you, and you know it. If God is for us, who can be against us? He, who did not spare His own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him freely give us all things? Now, follow his rationale. All things work together for good, you're part of God's plan from eternity past. It happened in real time in the present, it's going to go all the way into eternity future. What shall we say to these things? Awesome, far out, praise God, hallelujah. If God is for us, who cares who's against us?
And then, here's his rationale, he who did not spare his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? Hold that thought. What do you need tonight? What things do you really need? Do you need a job? Do you need hope? Do you need God's peace? Do you need direction? You've been praying about direction? I just need rent. I just need to pay my rent for this month. I'm subsisting day to day, week to week, month to month. Now, God knows that you need that.
Now, if God was willing to give his very best in Jesus Christ, if that was the demonstration of what He is willing to give to provide for your needs, that's His very best, then follow the rationale. How shall He then not freely give us all things? I mean, what do you really have to worry about with that kind of care? If God's for us, who can be against us? If God didn't spare His son, don't you know he'll also give you whatever else you need? It's pure logic, it's logical and theological, all at the same time.
If you were to walk into a jewelry store, and you're looking around at diamonds for your fiancee, what if the owner of the jewelry store just had a big heart and unlimited budget? And said, you know, I just have something in my heart for you as a young couple. I see how you dote over her, and how she dotes over you, and I know you're trying to get the best you can for the money that you have. But you know what? Let me show you this diamond. It's a few carats. It's quite expensive. You would never, ever be able to pay for it in your lifetime. I own it, I'm going to give it to you for nothing, for free. I'm giving you the very biggest, best diamond in my store. It's yours, I'm giving it to you.
Now, if he was willing to give you that diamond, would you hem and haw and feel really guilty to say, well, do you think I might have a little piece of brown paper to wrap it up in? He would look at you like, what are you, it's an insult. I was willing to give you the best, you don't think, I'm going to give you a velvet case with it. Not just a little piece of brown paper. You get the analogy, if he's willing to give you that, anything short of that, I'm sure he'll toss in. It's like when you buy a car, you buy a car and they'll say, look, you buy the car, we're going to throw in the rubber mats for free. We'll even tint the windshield. We'll give you your first tune-up for nothing.
There's things they throw in, because if you're willing to pay the price for the car, there are certain things that come with it. If God was willing to pay the price for your salvation, in sending His son, the very best heaven could afford, then God will give you everything else that you need. So that's why when you pray, oh, God, I'm going to ask you for something, it's really big, it's a really big request. Big? He gave you Jesus. Everything's small compared to that. Oh, but I don't know if you can heal, I don't want to, I'm not worthy, I can't, just ask Him. Ask Him. You have not because you ask not. Won't He freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge, he continues his question and answering, who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died. And furthermore, is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Now, he says, who can bring a charge against God's elect? Well, I can think of a few. I've been accused of a number of things over the years. I've even kept, believe it or not, a file of certain letters and accusations that I've received.
Every now and then, I'll pull them out. That's sort of like, that's depressing and punishing? No, actually, I go, God, thank you for delivering me there, and thank you, Lord, for delivering me there. But I have been misunderstood and misquoted and improperly judged on a number of issues by a number of people over a number of years. After a while, it just gets to be expected. And honestly, after a while, I just don't care. So he asked the question, who shall bring a charge against God's elect?
Well, I have a file, Lord, I could show you, if you're asking the question. But that's not the intent of the question. The question is actually written in a legal format, who can sustain charges against God's elect? If you go to court and you file charges, who can bring charges that will be sustained before God? Well, since God freely gave His only son to cover my sins and to pay for my sins and to wash my sins away, again, it really doesn't matter who's bringing the accusation. It could be the devil, himself, and believe me, he has plenty of ammunition to use. So there's the devil, there's demons, there's people who don't care to understand the whole truth, and will make an accusation.
But so what? It is God who justifies. God has made a declaration concerning me. So because God has made a declaration concerning me, that I'm righteous in his sight, doesn't matter who brings in accusation against me, because God has made a declaration. God justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God. Who also makes intercession for us. I want you to think about that just for a moment.
Have you ever been encouraged when somebody has walked up to you and said, I've been praying for you lately. Or the Lord laid you in my heart this morning, in my quiet time, I lifted you up in prayer. Does that make you feel good? Does that encourage you? I get awfully encouraged when somebody says that. Imagine Jesus saying, I've been thinking about you lately. And I've been talking to the Father about you. How does that make you feel? Well, honestly, better than anybody else saying they've been praying for me. Jesus Christ died, has risen from the dead, ascended to heaven, knows my every need, is willing to meet my every need, and talks to the Father on my behalf. He intercedes for me, He prays for me.
I can't tell you what a, well, it's a monumental truth. He makes intersession. So here's the summary paragraph, who shall separate us from the love of Christ? And he lists several experiences that could make a person feel separated from the love of God, several, seven, to be exact, painful experiences. Shall tribulation? Or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Well, certainly if these things happen, somebody pulls out a sword to kill me, or I'm in deep distress, because he mentions distressed here, or I get persecuted, or I don't have enough food to eat, famine, or no clothes to wear, or apparel. Any of those experiences in life will cause you to pause and question, God, do you really love me? Because if you love me, wouldn't you take better care of me?
Now, God just said, He didn't spare His son, He's going to give you everything else you need. So with that in mind, what can separate us from His love? Well, yeah, but why would He allow me to experience hunger? Why would He allow me to experience distress, or why would He, again, all things work together for good. See, we're always thinking about our comfort, our need, our well-being right now. But God's got something in the future. And think of an artist, an artist that has a canvas who's painting a picture, has something in his mind, the finished product in mind. If you're an onlooker, you're not the artist, you don't know what he has planned, even though he tells you in advance.
You know, he starts laying stuff out on the canvas, putting outlines, penciling, and then, or she, and then adds color, and forms, at first, it just looks like a blob, or several blobs converging. And if the artist was painting a portrait of you, and you went and looked at it, right in the middle of the portrait, you would probably say, thanks a lot, this is what you think of me? I'm a blob? I'm a convergence of several colored blobs? And the artist would be a little crestfallen at your reaction, because the artist knows what it's going to be in the end. Just get out of here. Go back there, and get in the light again, and let me finish up here. Because it's going to be beautiful.
So God is working on your life, He is sketching out what's perfect, and He knows the end from the beginning, that's part of omniscience. And He's working it all out together. And, but this blob and that blob, yeah, but the synergism, it's going to work out. And He knows what it's going to be like in the end. So what will separate us from the love of God? All of these things might hurt temporarily, but they are working eventually for something much better. As it is written, and it's quoting Psalm 44, one of the sons of Korah's Psalms. As it is written for your sake, we are killed all day long, we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
I love the faith-filled words of the apostle Paul. Paul the apostle, writing from experience, he's gone through nakedness, famine, distress, peril, sword. Went through it a lot, that was his normal experience, kind of Paul's daily life. Ask the question, what will separate us? And then, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Let me explain that. The word, more than conquerors, we have to have three words in English to translate a single word in Greek. The Greek word is ..., or ..., that's the one word. One is the actual form, the other is the lexical form, forget that. So one word, hyper conquerors. So, hyper, or super, or more than. And then... So some of you are Nike shoes, it's from the Greek god Nike, that's the Greek word, conqueror. So, hyper super conquerors, that's what Paul says. We aren't just conquerors, we're more than conquerors. We're hyper conquerors, we're super conquerors. OK, so that's what it means. But what does it really mean now? Translated, what's the idea of this?
Well, you can have an automobile, for an example. You have four cylinders in that car. Not a lot of power. It's a small engine, small four cylinders. It'll get you around town, it'll get you up to speed on the freeway, it'll give you a great gas mileage. But there's not a lot of power to spare in that thing. So you can't really tow much with it. If you try to tow anything, and you go up a hill, like La Bajada Hill, good luck. You'll take it down from 65 down to about 35, floored. But if your car has a fuel-injected, turbo-charged V8, you have power to spare. Now you're a hyper-conqueror. You can not just go places, you can go places, you can tow things, and you've got extra power just in case you want to do 120. Which you shouldn't, but you could.
So if you're a conqueror, you rejoice when you win the battle. If you're a hyper conqueror, more than a conquer, you rejoice in the midst of the battle. See the difference? You're fighting the battle, there's distresses, and nakedness, and famine, and sword, and you rejoice, because I know how this battle is going to end. I know the outcome. I'm OK. That's more than a conqueror. So I just love his spirit-filled thinking. For I am persuaded, so we said in Romans 8:28, I know, we know, this is what we know. Now he goes, I am persuaded.
Now, that's Paul writing. Paul is persuaded. I don't know that you are, only you can answer that. Now it becomes personal, for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, probably referring to demon angelic forms, nor powers, same idea, but different ranking, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. What an... Thank you, Lord.
Now that concludes the eighth chapter of Romans. Chapter 9 begins a third part. Remember we divided the book of Romans up into four parts? Now we've said them every week, you know them now by heart. So he talks about the number one, wrath of God, followed by the grace of God, followed by now the plan of God, followed by the will of God. So we are beginning the third section of Romans.
And the third section is Romans 9, 10, and 11, it's the same subject matter. And that is God's plan, especially regarding the Jewish nation, the nation of Israel. Jew and Gentile, but especially the Jewish nation of Israel.
Now, Paul is writing to the Roman church. In the Roman church, there was a mixture of both Jew and Gentile, there were different ethnicities. But something was happening with the church. The church began all Jewish in Jerusalem, everybody was Jewish, everybody believed in Jewish prophecy, everybody believed in the fulfillment of Jewish promises, and Jewish scripture, was all Jewish.
But now, there are more Gentiles in the church than there are Jews. By far, it has become in the last 2,000 years, a non-Jewish, or a Gentile movement. And an Orthodox Jew will point this out, look, I'm not going to become a Christian, I'm Jewish. Remind that Orthodox Jew, the early church was exclusively all Jewish, because they followed a Jewish Messiah, believed in Jewish promises, and prophecies, et cetera.
But that mixture of Jew and Gentile, and the fact that more Gentiles are now believing in a Jewish Messiah, and the Jews have largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah, has brought up a number of issues. What's God's plan? How does the Jewish nation fit into God's plan when they have rejected their Messiah? Is God then done with Israel? So that question, that issue, that was paramount in the church, and is still asked today, and should be answered today, is answered in chapters 9, 10 and 11.
So chapter 9 verse 1, now, me just give you a quick outline of 9, 10, 11. Chapter 9 is Israel's past. Chapter 10 is Israel's present. Chapter 11, you're going to guess this, is Israel's future. That's how Paul approaches it. I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart, for I could wish that I, myself, were accursed from Christ for my brother, and for my kinsmen, according to the flesh who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises. Of whom are the Father's. And from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is overall the eternally blessed God, Amen.
Now, please just notice that before I unwrap this little section of verses. Paul, here, unmistakably refers to Jesus Christ not only as God, but as the eternally blessed God. And just so his readers get the point, he adds the Amen to it. So he's not going to even wait for them to say, Amen, he's going to say it. Amen, this is right, this is true.
So Jesus Christ came, who is overall the eternally blessed God, Amen. What is he saying in these verses? Simple. God made a choice, a sovereign choice, to form a nation, the Jewish nation. And through that nation, to reveal himself, God revealed himself through the Old Testament prophecies, the Old Testament scriptures, before the New Testament was written, that was the Bible. So God used Israel to reveal himself, to reveal his plan, because Jesus is predicted, world history is predicted in the Old Testament. And to reveal his son. So himself, his plan, and Jesus Christ, his son, all revealed through the Jewish nation.
So that's why the believer, the Christian believer, the modern church person has a huge debt to the Jew. Because scriptures come from it, God's plan comes from it, our Savior comes from Israel. Jesus said to the woman at the well of Sumeria when she said, well, you know, we worship in this mountain, we kind of do our own thing up here on Mount Gerizim and Sumerian, you Jews worship in Jerusalem. Interesting how Jesus answered it. He said, you don't even know what you're worshiping here. We know what we worship. Listen to what he said, for salvation is of the Jews.
Now, Paul would say to that, Amen, salvation is of the Jews. Jews gave us our scriptures, Jews gave us God's plan, and the Jews gave us our Savior. In verse 5, he mentions the fathers, of whom are the fathers, those are the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob had 12 sons, 12 tribes, the 12 tribes of Israel. And they were selected by God, God promised them a land, they were taken down to Egypt, for 400 years they were slaves. God delivered them through Moses. Brought them across the Red Sea into the land that we call today Israel. They, again, occupy that land. But it all came through the fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 tribes of Israel.
It's worth going to Israel, if you can make it. You're going to make it in the millennial kingdom, but it's kind of nice to have a before and after picture, I always say that, because it's going to look vastly different then, than it does now. I mean vastly different. So if you kind of want to get a biblical history, a New Testament history of Jesus walked, the roads Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked on, it's great to see that.
It's also good to see modern Israel, because it's the only functioning democracy in the Middle East. It's one of the strongest economies in the world. Today in Israel, there are 9 million people, thereabouts, that's the population of Israel, 9 million people. 6.7 million of them are Jewish. There's about 15 million Jews in the world at large, 6.7 million of them live in that land of Israel.
Israel today has a $300 billion per year gross national, gross domestic product, GDP. They are the fourth leading export of citrus in the world, the third leading exporter of flowers in the world. So when God said to Abraham, one of the fathers, I'm going to bless you. I'm going to make your name great, He wasn't kidding. The sons and daughters of Abraham have been blessed, and are being blessed today in the land.
Of whom are the Father's, and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is overall the eternally blessed God, Amen. But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect, for they are not all Israel who are of Israel. So the contention might be, well, so many Jewish people have rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, maybe that means God's promise has failed, God's promises to the Jewish nation has failed.
He says, it's not that the word of God has taken no effect, for they are not all Israel who are of Israel. So just because you're Jewish, and the majority of those who are Jewish have rejected the Messiah, Paul's point is, not all of them have. Yes, it's a minority, but here's the point, their rejection of God's promise by the majority does not negate God's promise to the minority.
Do you understand that? Just because most people reject something doesn't mean, well, they've got to be right, because that's what most people think. I hope you've gotten over that. If you think, well, you know, most people think this, so? I don't care what most people think. I care what's right and what's wrong. And I care what God thinks. And if what most people think isn't what God thinks, I don't give a hooey what most people think. Because at the end of 1st John, it says, we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. So John says, the whole world's wrong, when it comes to spiritual truth.
So Paul's point is a strong point, the rejection of God's promises by the majority does not negate God's promises to the minority. There were still a remnant of Jewish people, were and are to this day, who believe in the Messiah. And by the way, that's going to happen all the way to the end, in the very end, a very small amount, compared to all the Jewish people who live, if there's 15 million Jews in the world, and yet, the book of Revelation says, how many people are going to be sealed by God who are Jewish? 144,000. That's a very small remnant.
But once again, their disbelief, their unbelief doesn't negate God's promise to the minority. Nor are they all children because they're of the seed of Abraham, but in Isaac, your seed will be called. That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are the children, that is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but the children of promise are counted as seed. I'm going to have to let this dangle until next time. Because we're getting into some deep waters once again with Paul.
You know, it's funny, because people say, oh, I love the book of Romans. And I always say, have you ever really read it? What do you like about it? What do you love about it? I mean, there are certain verses, that's really what they mean. There's a few verses in it that I really love. Like that 8:28 thing, that's awesome. But Peter, remember, did say, there were some things Paul wrote that are hard to understand. Now, it's not that it's hard to understand, it's that the way the language is, and if you're not familiar with the Old Testament, it kind of makes you go, huh? What?
But here's what he's going to say, I'll give you a preview, God makes a choice, because God knows everything. He's omniscient, He knows everything. So because He knows everything, He makes his sovereign choice, chooses a nation, chooses people out of that nation, makes a choice as to a family lineage. So you've got Abraham, Abraham had a couple of sons. Got picked one of them to fulfill his promise. Isaac and Rebecca had two sons, God chose one of them, and it wasn't the oldest one in either case, it was the younger. That's God sovereign choice. And so I'm going to unravel that next time. I just wanted to give you a little bit of a preview of it. Didn't want to extend my time, but next time, we're going to swim in the depths of election, predestination, and choice, human volition, OK?
So thank you, Father, that we had the opportunity to get into this section, even just a little bit, but to conclude such an incredible chapter. And it demands a response. Paul said, what shall we say to these things? We're about to sing a song in response. We say, thank you, we say, praise you. We say, we're humbled and honored that you chose us, that you love us. Well, Father, we are confronted with a world filled with accusers that indeed have an agenda, a dark agenda. But you are for us. And though we are surrounded by 135,000 Midianites, and we're just 300, we are more than conquerors. We know how this battle ends, we know how the war ends. You've written about the victory on the last pages of scripture. So Lord, you already show that you're willing to give your utmost, your son, and anything short of that, you will also freely give because our needs, and we are your children. Even when we suffer distress, peril, famine, nakedness, sword, we know that we will not be separated from your love. You will provide somewhere, somehow, and we just want to say, bless you, thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen.