Monthly Archives: October 2012

Reaching Out

This is the working outline for the October 7, 2012 message at San Pedro CRC. It is not complete and I am an emergency preacher for this –since I will enflesh when I preach it.

Text: Romans 9: 14-24

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

 Intro:

There’s a old song –and I’ll just read it:

Watching every day go by , living in a foolish game 

Just the way I feel today
Living my life without you
Never hear a single word , living in a lullaby
Praying every tear I cry
Living my life without you
And everywhere you go I fly
And darling till the day I die

I’ll be reaching out, I’ll be reaching out

This is a song of a man Beegees -but we will be talking of a different kind of Love today who reaches out even today.

I mentioned last time that Man is a dangerous rebel –He can destroy life as we know –since there is no living spirit in him-he is dead for- Radical Corruption means:

  1. We are sinners in Adam-we have died in Adam
  2. We are unwilling to come to Jesus-and we suppress the truth
  3. We are unable to come- held back by our fears, our idols ,our habits – by our chains.
  4. We are blinded by the devil
  5. And if not stopped either by Special or Common Grace –we are in spiral of degradation

Man is a kingdom builder. He is either building the City of God or He is building the City of Man –hoping it will last forever- but it is just a city of the devil.

The Middle East is experiencing the so-called Arab Spring- to date, rulers have been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and  Yemen; civil uprisings have erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests have broken out in Algeria, IraqJordanKuwait, Morocco, and Sudan. But many are dying in civil war in Syria. These include children and women being gunned down by snipers or bombs.

If these are not of God –then it can degenerate into either an endless chaos and civil wars or a Hitlerian state ruled by a strongman. Man cannot really create –for his god is of this world –and he is liar, deceiver and murderer from the beginning. He is sterile. Chaos or a totalitarian state ruled by iron hands.

So we continue with the teachings on GRACE:

G-God’s Free Choice

R-Radical Corruption

A-Atonement Definite

C-Continuing Preservation

E-Effectual Calling

We will be discussing today : G for God’s Free choice-with a slant- we will be seeing how God made sure that from the time of Jesus until now –we will be hearing the message of salvation.

Election or God’s free choice is a teaching not about the abstract out there God who lives in eternity but the God who reaches out in history and to our lives. It is a teaching that says that salvation is totally free and unmerited-God has free choice –free hand to give His Love to anyone-especially for a creature with Radical Corruption.

But we will start on what God started to build so that His message can be understood;

  1. He had created the nation of Israel and its institutions

Romans 9: 1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship ; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised![a] Amen.

 The Jews are privilege with a lot of blessings -Let us enumerate them:

  1. 1.     Adoption- The nation of Israel is adopted as His firstborn-and this is asserted infront of Pharaoh-since Egypt hostaged /kidnapped Israel during the time of Moses.
  2. 2.     Glory- The fire by night and the cloud by day- a visible representation of God’s glory with His people-Israel
  3. 3.     The Covenants –plural referring to the covenants with Abraham-renewed with Isaac and Jacob –then At Sinai, then with the Levitical priesthood, The Davidic covenant-then the promise future New Covenant.
  4. 4.     The Law- with its 613 laws-given through Moses.(there 365 negative commandments in there) covering the personal, sacrificial and civil laws.
  5. 5.     The Services – the temple, the altars, the priests, the sacrifices, the feasts, and the institutions relating to them. This was Israel’s privilege as a priestly nation-to represent the people in spite of their sins.
  6. 6.     The Promises- which related to the Covenant promises for being faithful.
  7. 7.     The Fathers/patriarch- refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and then..
  8. 8.     The Messiah

As with most religious people-they live and die in it-and thought that this privilege and will not go away and that it will be automatically given to their children. But it is not the covenant that primarily defined them-It was election:

Deuteronomy 7: 6     “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,8 but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt

And they will learn the hard way that election is not:

John 1:12-13 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

1.     Election is not based natural descent-blood relations

Romans 9: It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b] In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”

Not through Ishmael –the son through Hagar will the lineage be –but through the one promised son-Isaac –conceived when they were too old.

During New England’s time of Jonathan Edwards-there’s the error of the Halfway Covenant wherein the grandchildren of the Believers were baptized through the intercession of their grandparents –since their parents did not become believers themselves. In God’s kingdom-there are no grandchildren-only children.

2.     Election is not based on seniority-or works

Romans 9: 10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Esau was firstborn –but he was not the chosen (much like David as well since he is the youngest) line of the Messiah or the nation of Israel.

And this was decided even before they have even done anything –good or bad- and so even by belief or unbelief which is also an action. It is completely God’s free decision. Totally of Grace.

Some Christians believe that God chose us because He saw us we will have faith or believe later- but this is contradicted by this verse-and if it true-then salvation is not wholly of grace-but faith plus works –which is faith. So this teaching guards the teaching that we are truly saved by grace alone.

Election is to show both God’s mercy and His justice

  1. 1.     Mercy

Romans 9:14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Moses is a murderer himself and yet he was shown mercy –while Pharaoh-a demigod-with a pantheon (group of ) gods in his disposal –was showcased as an example of stubborn sinner fighting against God –and thus setup for destruction –in the presence of Israel. He is hardened when all the common graces and reminders was withhold from his own stubborn sinfulness.

Paul’s Jewish contemporaries who rejected Jesus as messiah –is likened now to Pharaoh- who are being setup for Judgment in AD 70. While the Jewish Christians- though still sinners-are likened to Moses. And the great mystery is the conversion of the Gentiles.

2.     Justice

Romans 9: 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h] 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?

I will not discuss reprobation in detail today-suffice to say that God can bypass others-because all are sinners-and other sinners He can also showcase some for their sins so that He can show that He is just when he judges them. This is not arbitrary-on a whim or caprice-but based on His full knowledge and wisdom.  And love motivates Him to save the elect to salvation-which they don’t merit.

Paul does not say that God’s action is against justice and equity- that His conception is different from us. He only means that we don’t know all the facts-which He does and so He acts with full wisdom. He wants to save a people for His Son –and He must intervene through history so that this have to happen-and He is not accountable to men he created himself.

Though we are in covenant to Him due to the Covenant in creation-we are not equal partners in that covenant. We cannot assert that we are owners or masters of our lives. God remains –from the beginning to the end of time –the creator –and we are just His creatures. We are not Mormons who believe that someday we will become gods.

And Election is about:

            3. Glory

Rom 9:23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

My only comment here is that this glory-God’s- is also shared with us- whom He prepared in advance. And this is repeated many times in the New testament-that His glory He will share with his people-with believers. He is not greedy or self-absorbed Deity. And we are part of a group- called Gentiles –which were scorn and hated by the Jews in Apostle Paul’s time.

And what did God do to make us part of God’s people?

Rom 9:25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;

and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and, “It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,

‘You are not my people,’

they will be called ‘sons of the living God.'”

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,

only the remnant will be saved.

28For the Lord will carry out

his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

29It is just as Isaiah said previously:

“Unless the Lord Almighty

had left us descendants,

we would have become like Sodom,

we would have been like Gomorrah.”

Jews in Paul’s time-there is only a remnant who believes in the Messiah-Jesus. This hardening is done by God in order to reach the Gentiles.

And how can we differentiate the chosen amongst Jews and Gentiles?

By their works?

By their zeal for the Law?

By their zeal for righteousness?

No !- but their faith in Jesus –trusting merely in the Messiah for righteousness.

Rom 9:30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33 As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall,

and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

We are in God’s vision years before we were born. Besides enlarging God’s family to includes gentiles-We Filipinos are fortunate. In 1521- when most of the islands are becoming Moslem- Magellan circumnavigate the globe so that we can be under the Spaniards for 300 years –so that in 20th century when the American missionaries came to our shores –we will eventually know the gospel message of salvation.

Today –it is not a coincidence that we are hearing in our land-freely the message of Jesus. If the Spaniards came late- this archipelago will be pure Moslemized land like Indonesia and we will not have the same freedom to worship, praise, pray and share the gospel about Jesus.

Application:

  1. If you are hearing the voice of the Father- for some time now- then you have not responded and you are wondering if He even exists-and that if He really cares about you-then this message is proof that He arranged world history and even other people’s lives so that you will be able to make a response today. Yes, 500+ years from the time of Magellan up until now – He moved everything so that each one of us will be able to say –Yes Lord- I am yours.
  2. You have been a Christian for a time now and your wondering if being a Christian means anything or something and you are looking for a reason, a path to move forward –then understand this- He has a purpose for you-we are kingdom builders and he has enlisted you in this Kingdom of His Son. We have a long way-and every step and every effort is needed to fulfill that dream, that vision. Repent now and get back to your calling as God’s child in Jesus.

Concluding  Verses:

1 Corinthians 1: 26              For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

All For Love

All for love the Father gave

For only love could make a way
All for love the heavens cried
For love was crucified

Oh how many times have I broken Your heart
But still You forgive
If only I ask
And how many times have You heard me pray
Draw near to me

Everything I need is You
My beginning, my forever
Everything I need is You

Let me sing all for love
I will join the angels song
Ever holy is the Lord
King of Glory
King of all

All for a love a Saviour prayed
Abba Father have Your way
Though they know not what they do
Let the Cross draw man to You

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