Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on June 3, 2018
Let us begin this morning by reciting our brand new June memory verse. This is a short verse, which will be good. It will give you a chance to spend this month reviewing all our past memory verses. Let us recite this verse together, Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
This morning we find ourselves winding down Romans 9. Next week, Pastor Jim Edgell, our candidate for Preaching and Teaching Pastor here at Cornerstone will be preaching the beginning of Romans 10. I want to take a second to prepare you for his sermon.
As we have repeatedly stated at Cornerstone Church, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word is preeminent in the life of the Church. It is the Word of God that reveals to us who God is. It is the Word of God that brings us to a knowledge of salvation. It is the Word or God that sanctifies and equips a believer.
It is because of the central role the Word of God, that one of the distinguishing marks of an elder as laid out in 1 Timothy 3:2 is the “ability to teach.” Likewise the qualifications of Elder is discussed in Titus and this is what it says in Titus 1:9, “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”
A Biblical Elder is one who with a white knuckle grasp clings to the Scriptures. He does not deviate from God’s inspired and inerrant Word. A true Pastor is one who knows that he has no authority except that which is laid down in the Bible. A godly Pastor is one who proclaims God’s Word, not his own. And they way that he is to do it this is by way of instruction. The Word must be understood by those who are being taught. It must be exposited in a way where people are actually learning about God, about Christ, about themselves, about the gospel.
Having said this, next Sunday we should not be evaluating Pastor Edgell on his attire, on his tone, on his charisma, on his ability to be funny, or to entertain. We should be evaluating him based on his ability to rightly handle the Word of God and teach the Scripture that is before him.
Between now and then, I would encourage all of you to be in prayer. Pray that God would give us spiritual ears and spiritual eyes. Pray that God would give us discernment. Pray that God would lead us not to be tempted to look at worldly and superficial matters, but to evaluate based upon God’s commands as found in his Word.
Now with that said, let us now turn our attention to our text for this morning. Romans 9:25-33. I titled my sermon Pursuit of Righteousness, but that was before I wrote must of it. This morning we will spend most of our time in verse 25-29, and just briefly look at verses 30-33. I believe this will work out well in light of what Pastor Edgell we preach on next week, for the end of Romans 9 is continued into the beginning of Romans 10. So with that said, let us stand in honor of the reading of God's Holy Word.
Paul, in support of this answer uses the Scriptures. He begins by looking in Genesis and unpacks the relationship of Ishmael and Isaac. God choosing Isaac because he is of the promise. Paul then looks at the relationship of Jacob and Esau, focusing on God's selection of Jacob over Esau even before they were born. These two Biblical examples proves that it is God who chooses who is Israel, not man.
Paul then directs his readers to the Book of Exodus and God’s conversation with Moses on Mt. Sinai regarding God’s glory. As we saw from that text, Moses asked God to show him God's glory. God responds by saying that his glory is best seen in his sovereign choice of who receives mercy and who does not receive mercy. Therefore, to truly see, or know, the living God is to know him as the one and only being that has Ultimate free will. No other being in all of God’s creation has ultimate free will, only God does. And this truth is a manifestation of his glory. And this is summarized in the heart of Romans 9 with verses 15 and 16, “For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
From that point the Apostle Paul moves to the Book of Isaiah and refers to Isaiah 45 when he says in verse 21, “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” Showing, once again, from the Scriptures that God has authority to do whatever he desires with men because he is the Creator. God is the one who thought up the idea of Creation. God is the one designed the idea of Creation. God is the one who implemented Creation. It is his and his alone. This gives him absolute right to do what he desires with Creation.
Which brings us to our text for this morning. And what does the Apostle Paul do in verse 25? He goes back to Scripture, specifically Hosea and continues his argument proving that the Word of God has not failed. Paul is showing the consistency of God in Scripture. He is showing that Christ-centeredness of Scripture. Paul is showing that there is not a God of the Old Testament and a God of the New Testament, there is merely God. And His plan has always been his plan, before the ages.
Her Who Was Not Beloved I Will Call Beloved.
So let us begin by looking at verse 25 and 26, “As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’” 26“And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
My guess is that many of you have not read the Book of Hosea. If that is the case, your assignment this week is to read Hosea. The Book is only 14 chapters, therefore you can read two chapters a day and finish by next Sunday. If you have your Bibles with you, turn with me to Hosea 1.
The Book of Hosea is a Book in the Old Testament. It is considered a Book of the Minor Prophets, not because it is minor in its importance or relevance but because it is shorter compared to the other Prophetic Books like Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
The Book of Hosea was written by the prophet Hosea around the year 725 B.C. In this book, God has Hosea use the institution of marriage as a symbol to show the nation of Israel that they are an adulterous people. Hosea is commanded to marry an unfaithful woman, a wife who was bound to cheat on him, and Hosea was to remain faithful to her no matter what. In this marriage, Hosea had three children and God was going to use those three children as symbols to the people of Israel. So with that said, let us read chapter 1 in its entirety.
In this section Paul is referring to God calling Gentiles. This is the point of the quoting Hosea. Gentiles were considered not God’s people, but now they are. However, in Hosea, this book is not about Gentiles it is about Israel. Now Paul is not stupid, he knows that Hosea is about wayward Israel, so why does he use this text to show that God is calling Gentiles?
It is because Israel in the mind of God is not physical, it is spiritual. The Apostle Paul is saying that Hosea is about Gentiles, for the Gentiles who are God’s elect are Israel in the mind of God. If you recall back in Romans 4:16, the Apostle Paul said, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Abraham is the father of us all, both Jews and Gentiles, who have faith in Christ.
Jesus spoke of this truth in Matthew 3:9 when he said, “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” Jesus is clearly teaching that it is God who determines who is a descendant of Abraham. It is God who determines who is true spiritual Israel and this includes Gentiles.
Galatians 3:7 says, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.” It is not physical attributes that make you a son of Abraham, it is a spiritual attribute, namely faith, that makes you a descendant of Abraham. We see it again in Galatians 3:29, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Therefore, Gentiles who put their faith in Jesus Christ are Spiritual Israel.
We who were not God's people have become God's people through the blood of Christ. We who were not beloved have become beloved through the blood of Christ. Today we can confidently say that we are children of Abraham.
A Remnant of Jews
However, Jesus is not just a savior for the Gentiles, he is also the savior for the Jews. Paul, after quoting from Hosea goes back to the book of Isaiah. Look at Verse 27, “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” This is a quote from Isaiah 10. And this time, the Apostle Paul does not say that this text in Isaiah points to the Gentiles, but that it points to the prophecy that only a few Jews will be saved through Christ.
The Greek word for remnant is hypoleimma (hü-po'-lām-mä) which means a remainder, a few, a small part. Last night I was curious about how many Jews in the nation state of Israel are Christians. According to Wikipedia, 2% of Israeli citizens are Christians. What does that sounds like? It sounds like a small part, a few, a remnant. Therefore, even Israel's disbelief proves that the Bible is true. It is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and this is all a part of God's divine plan.
But why does a remnant believe in Jesus, when the rest will not? Look at verse 29, “And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” The only reason that 2% believe in Christ is because the Lord of host has left an offspring. Israel deserves to be annihilated like Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin, but God has shown them mercy, he has allowed them to continue as a people so that the remnant may be saved. This is the Lord's doing. He is the one who preservers the Jews and saves the remnant.
Made us Both One Through Faith in Christians
Which leads us to the conclusion of Romans 9. How does God apply his purpose of election, how does he pour out his love on Jacob, how does he have mercy on us; how does he call a people who are not his people, how does he keep his remnant?
We see the answer in verses 30 to the end of the chapter. It is through faith in Jesus Christ. Christ is the cornerstone that is the foundation of God's elect. It is through placing your faith in Christ for a righteousness that is not our own. Christ is the keystone that holds the Church together, both the Gentiles and the Jewish remnant. This is the plan, and it has always been the plan. Before the ages, God's chosen people would be redeemed through his beloved Son. The Word of God has not failed. As it says in Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”