Growing Cloer to God pt 26

book of Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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As we again look at Israel, Paul saved his best witness for last—God. Paul again is stating that Israel’s heart was hardened so that they would crucify Christ in order that the love and mercy of God be open to the gentiles. This partial hardening will take place until all who will accept Christ are born and then born again. We don’t know the day or the hour in which that time will come, but Paul states at that point Israel will be brought back to God. Paul goes into something we have covered before, but essential answers the question why is there Evil in the world?
Romans 11:30 ESV
For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,
Romans 11:30–31 ESV
For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.
In God’s vast wisdom God has allowed disobedience and evil so that his love and acceptance may be known. Without Evil we wouldn’t know good. Without hard we wouldn’t know easy and without sin we wouldn’t know grace. Earlier in this book we read are we supposed to sin more so grace abounds? By no means, but grace is there for when you lived a sin filled lifestyle so that if you come to accept Jesus you may dwell with him forever.
Then God does something interesting.
Romans 11:32 ESV
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
God lumps every human into one pile and his word states that he impressions people in disobedience. For the past few weeks we have talked about God testing us in trials, but there is another reason tough times fall upon us—Judgement.
Galatians 3:22 ESV
But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Paul is saying that the very word of God condemns us to be sinners. Not so that we are condemned for condemnations sake. God isn’t a masacist who loves to torcher his people, but he will allow us to Go through hard times so that we get to a place of accepting his mercy.
God doesn’t enjoy judgement, he judges so that we come to realize that we need Him in our life.
All through out history we are faced with stories of false God’s judging people to appease themselves. It seems that even many of today’s “gods” enjoy other peoples pain, but this isn’t God’s plan. Upon hardening Israel God wanted to show them the error of their ways so that as scripture says—they may come and realize their reliance on Him.
We see this written all through out the OT By submitting Israel to physical slavery God hopped to show them that they strayed from the path of right living. Just as though the word of condemns us and shows us our errors-not so that we slump in defeat, but so that we call out to God for victory. Israel isn’t without hope.
Romans 11:29 ESV
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
God’s promises of salvation still stand for Israel just as they stand for us. But here is the promise of God—His gifts and his calling in your life isn’t messed up just because you got delayed in the wilderness of your life. His promises are still coming to fruition.
Ephesians 6:13 ESV
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
So how does one stand firm to receive in the irrevocable gifts and calling
Return from whence you came
6 ways to stand firm
—you must return to your first love.
Revelation 2:4–5 ESV
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Pride is often times the biggest thing that keeps people in sin. They feel they are too far to forgive, they are to big to turn back, or they are too stubborn to ask for forgiveness. There were times in my life where I had to give back everything earned in a life of sin to obtain forgiveness. I had to walk away fro relationships, sell cars and items, and start over with little to nothing, but God’s promise to restore the broken has always made it worth the painful journey through repentance.
2. Ask
Psalm 71:4 ESV
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.
There is the old saying we have not because we ask not. We need to learn to ask in Faith. This past week we had many shut off notices. My wife asked Cindy how much we needed to pray in. Cindy said $2,000. My wife, unknown to me, began to pray just for that. Later that night we recieved an anonymous check for exactly that amount. It takes humility to reach out and ask for help, but if you want to stand firm on the promises of God you must ask for the strength and the power to do so.
3. Remember
Psalm 71:5–6 ESV
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.
Psalm 71:
Much of a Christian’s strength comes form past experiences. I know God is faithful because I have seen him be faithful. So when life threatens to overtake me I look back and recount all the times God had my back. All the times he never let me fall. And it gives me strength knowing that God is the same yesterday today and forever. Which means he won’t fail me now nor will he ever fail me.
4. Praise
Psalm 71:8 ESV
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.
Even in your troubled times praise God. It realigns you. Praise helps you get past your own struggles and realize that God hasn’t left you alone. Praise reminds you that God is still in control. Sometimes the best thing you can do is turn on praise music because
Psalm 22:3 ESV
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
God in habits your praise and Satan can’t be in the same space God inhabits.
5. Place
Psalm 71:14 ESV
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
Psalm 71:2 ESV
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!
Make sure you are placing your hope in the right area.
We must be careful not to place your hope in the process, but the one who designed the process.
God may give you a plan, he may show you how to escape the sin, trial, or struggle you are in, but you need to make sure you don’t make a god out of the path of escape. Like Israel at the base of the mountain. Dn’t get comfortable where you are and begin to draw strength from the coming freedom. Draw your strength from God.
6 Anticipate
Psalm 71:21 ESV
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.
What keeps me humble is realizing I can only celebrate a victory for short periods of time because I know that God continues to move. He doesn’t give you a win and then stop. He continues That’s why we are told to go from glory to glory. We have to know where we are, but also anticipate with joy what’s coming next. It’s what keeps Christians and churches growing. If you don’t have a vision for your life you will never have a plan to get where you are going.
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