Paul's Anguish for His Fellow Jews, Part 2 (Romans Sermon 61 of 120)

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Paul's Anguish for His Fellow Jews, Part 2 (Romans Sermon 61 of 120)

March 06, 2005 | Andrew Davis
Romans 9:1-5
Covenant, True Israel, Evangelism, Blessing of Abraham

Introduction: The Wailing Wall

If you were to visit Jerusalem today, you could see a place that's a great attraction to people. To some it is a tourist attraction, but to others (Jews especially) it is the focus of intense religious feeling, a place that really is somewhat like a Jewish shrine. It's called the "Wailing Wall," the western Wall of Herod's temple. It's what's left of the temple after it was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. For centuries, the Jews had no access to Jerusalem, it being under Muslim domination, but finally they were able to come in a regular pattern. And Jews come from all over the world. There is a picture on the cover of your bulletin, and they face those ancient stones, and they bob back and forth and they weep and they wail for the past. For blessings from God that they no longer experience.

Now, 2,000 years ago, a man who was perhaps the preeminent Jew of his day, a Hebrew of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul, wept and wailed and mourned. But not for some past tragedy but for something far greater. He wept for a future tragedy that he saw, for his kinsman, his countrymen, fellow-Jews, because of their sins and their rejection of Jesus Christ, their only hope, their Lord, their Savior, their Messiah. And so Paul begins this section of Romans as we saw last week with an outpouring of personal grief over the status of the Jews. He says there in verse 1, "I speak the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit. I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish for I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, the Israelites." He is yearning for their salvation, and he speaks of that. He speaks of that with great intensity and great passion. We discussed that last week.

I found it greatly challenging to myself because I didn't know if I ever experienced this kind of sorrow and sadness and anguish over the loss the way Paul did. And I have been praying and I'll continue to pray. You know, I think God gives us the desire of our heart, but the first thing he does is gives us that desire and then fulfills it. And for me, it's my desire to have this kind of sorrow and sadness and anguish over the lost that are around me that Paul displayed here.

I. Recap: The Cause, Depth, and Authenticity of Paul’s Anguish

And so we saw last time the cause of Paul's anguish. Every place he went, he began by preaching the Gospel to Jews, he went into synagogues, and the pattern was established again and again. He would reason with them from the Old Testament scriptures, he would try to prove from the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah. What was so obvious to him was not obvious to them. There was a veil over their faces, over their minds, really, whenever they would consider the Scripture, whenever they would consider the Law of Moses. What Paul could see so clearly in prophecy, they just could not see. Israel is experiencing a hardening in part, and it brought him great grief, and they would then turn not just to be rejecters but persecutors. They would violently persecute him, they would chase him from place to place. And so Paul relates the cause of his anguish, that is Jewish lostness. They're rejecting the Gospel.

He also talks about the depth of his anguish with overpowering emotion. He says, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish," and then he says an astonishing thing. He says, "I myself could wish to be cursed and cut off from Christ. I'm willing not only to not see Christ but willing eve to be cursed by Him for the sake of my fellow kinsmen." And then he has to give us a sense of the authenticity of his desire. He says, "I speak the truth in Christ. I'm not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit." Why does he use all these words, except that his attitude is unusual? His attitude really is supernatural. Nobody cares that much. Nobody cares that much. But Paul did. He said, "This is a desire that God has given me." We saw all that last time.

II. The Shock of Paul’s Anguis­h

But what we didn't discuss is the shock in Paul's anguish. Look at verses 4 and 5. There, he talked about what's really shocking about this whole situation with the Jews. He says, "They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption as sons. Theirs is the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them, from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised, amen."

Contrary to All Expectations

 Now what Paul does is he goes through and he lists nine spiritual advantages that the Jews had, which makes what was happening in his day and which has continued now for 2,000 years all the more astonishing, contrary to all expectations.

The Gentiles, having not in any way been racially or historically prepared to receive Christ as their Savior, are receiving Christ in huge numbers. You heard the account that Scott gave earlier, about what's happening in the nation that we're intending to reach out. Huge numbers from that country coming to faith in Christ. Large numbers. And it's been that way for 2,000 years. God's Spirit poured out on the Gentiles. The Gentiles coming in large number to embrace a Jewish Savior, to be grafted in as a wild branch into a naturally cultivated olive tree. This is the image Paul uses in Romans 11. It's contrary to anything you would expect, that that wild branch could actually start receiving nourishing sap and life-giving nutrients through this Jewish tree, that we could in effect the Jews, latter-day Jews, contrary to all expectations.

But every bit as contrary to expectation is the opposite reaction by the Jews. What seems so obvious to us, that Isaiah 53 and that Daniel 7, and Psalm 22, and Psalm 16, and all of these passages point to Christ. Who else could they be pointing to? They just don't see it. It's amazing, really. They've been reading the scriptures all their lives, some of them, and they still don't see Christ in the most obvious places. It's incredible.

Amazing Spiritual Advantages for Israelites

And so what he does is he goes through and traces out these Old Testament advantages. They are inadequate for personal salvation. And if you don't understand that, you'll miss the whole point. All of these advantages that he describes are inadequate in and of themselves for personal salvation. Now each one of them could have been the grounds of faith, just like it was for Abram when he heard one promise of God and believed. Any of these could have been enough for saving faith. And it was for many of the remnant, the elect, and we'll talk about that. But for the nation as a whole, they were inadequate.

The Israelites

And what does he talk about? Well, first, he calls them "Israelites." They are of the nation of Israel. That name, of course, coming from the night that Jacob spent wrestling with the angel, you know, and the angel said, "Let me go," and he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." That was the night he thought he was going to be slaughtered by his brother Esau who was riding down with 600 of his closest friends who all happened to be soldiers armed to the teeth, wanting to greet his brother and say hello to him. It was a tough night for Jacob. And that night, he got the name Israel, "he who struggles with God." And so that became kind of the national heritage as well. A nation that wrestles with God, they are the Israelites.

The Adoption

Secondly, he says that theirs is the adoption as sons, fascinating term and it has caused some to stumble. This is not the same as that eternal and individual personal adoption spoken of in the previous chapter (look back at Romans 8:14-15). And there it says, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." In other words, if you are being led by this in-dwelling Holy Spirit, being led by the Spirit God, you're a son of God. Next verse says, "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back again into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons by whom we cry, 'Abba Father.'" Now, let me tell you something. If this is the exact same thing over here in Romans 9, then you have a big problem, and so do I. Is it really possible to be individually, personally adopted by faith into the family of God and then later evicted from the family? If so, then God's Word has failed. That's the whole problem. That's why Paul's dealing with this.

But this is not the adoption that I think Paul has in mind here. Rather there is more of a national big-picture adoption that God did for the Jews and spoke in that manner. You remember the time when God called Moses to go back to Pharaoh and say, "Let my people go," and there's a whole interchange where Moses does everything he can to get out of God's call in his life? Some of you are like that, I've been like that myself. Moses does not wanna go. But at one point, the Lord says, "Say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the Lord says. "Israel is my first-born son, and I told you, let my son go that he may worship me."'" That is the adoption that I think is in mind here in Romans 9, a national adoption.

So also, Hosea 11:1 says, "When Israel was a child, I loved him and out of Egypt I called my Son." And you remember how the tenth plague, the most dreadful, the plague on the first-born. Basically God said, "You didn't let my first-born go, so I will kill your first-born." That's the connection there. Israel is God's first-born so. And then he says the same thing in Deuteronomy 1:31, "There you saw how the Lord your God carried you as a father carries his son. All the way you went until you reached this place." God basically picked up little Israel and put Israel up on His shoulders and carried them right to the Promised Land in a powerful way. That's the language used in Deuteronomy 1:31. But it's a national adoption. It's not individual adoption of individual Jews to personal relationship with God.

The Glory

Thirdly, he speaks of the glory. Again, this is not that personal glory that all of us will experience at the end of our salvation process, what we call "glorification." That's not what this is talking about. Theirs is the glorious, rather the outward and visible displays of glory that were part of Israel's heritage and history. For example, on Mount Sinai, in Exodus 24, it says when Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days, the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day, the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites, the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went up on the mountain, he stayed on that mountain 40 days and 40 nights.

Now, what happened inside that glory cloud, we'll talk about later in Romans 9, because that has to do with individual and personal salvation. But I'm saying that the nation as a whole got to watch that glory cloud come down on the mountain. They got to see it. It's extraordinary, you and I have never seen anything like it. And it happened again and again, in Israel's history, didn't it? It wasn't just at one time. For example, in Exodus 40, after they had built the tent of meeting, the tabernacle, and it says the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud had settled upon it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

And so there's this sense of immediacy, the presence of God. You could see a cloud, you could see the glory. Moses physically couldn't go in the tent because of the glory. What an incredible thing that was. What would have been like inside your heart to have been there that day, to see that manifestation of the glory of God, and to read stories about it future generations? To know that Israel had that experience? Or later in Israel's history, at the time of Solomon's temple dedication, 1 Kings 8:10-11, "When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud for the glory of the Lord filled the temple." That's what they came to call "the Shekinah glory," the glory of the presence of the Lord. And the Israelites saw it and they experienced it in some way.

But may I say to you that standing there among the congregation and seeing that glory doesn't save your soul. As a matter of fact, in some cases, it might have even been the final day of your life. In Numbers 14, the people rebelled against Moses and Aaron and spoke angry words against God. They wanted to choose leaders and go back to back to Egypt and eat all those leeks and onions and have the good life they had back there in Egypt. You remember how it was making those bricks without the straw? Forgot about that part. But anyway, they just wanted to go back. They were willing to get rid of Moses and Aaron, and the glory of the Lord showed up that day. The glory of the Lord. But it was not a good thing for them. It says as the whole assembly talked about stoning them, then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me inspite of all the miraculous signs that I have performed among them? …Not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert, but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times, not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it." So just to have the experience of the glory didn't save your soul.

The Covenants

It also speaks here of the covenants. This refers to the pattern of covenants that God had made with Israel. For example, the covenant made with Abraham in which He said, "Through your offspring, all peoples on earth will be blessed…" and "I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore…" And "To your descendants I will give this land." This was a unilateral covenant made by God with Abraham. But it did not guarantee individual, personal salvation for all of Abraham's physical descendants. That's the very point of Romans 9, which we'll develop more when we get to verse 6, not all Israel are Israel. It didn't guarantee them salvation. Or the Mosaic Covenant, "If you obey Me and keep all My commandments, then I will preserve you in the land, and you will be my people and I will be your God." Problem with that covenant, that little word "if." "If you will obey Me and keep all of My commandments, then we will have this relationship." But they didn't, they couldn't keep that covenant.

Or the Davidic covenant. "You will never lack a son," said God to David, "to sit on the throne. I will build the house of your son and his kingdom will never end." Again, unilateral covenant. God said, "This is something I will do." And He did in Christ, but it did not guarantee individual and personal salvation for all of the Israelites. But those covenants were forms of display of God's glory, of communication, redemptive history. There was ample opportunity for the Jews to improve them through personal faith. But they didn't.

The Giving of the Law

It also speaks of the giving of the law. Clearly, this refers to Law of Moses. This was a tremendous blessing, to have the laws of God given to them. To understand, like the psalmist says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my paths." "Oh, how I love Your law. I meditate on it all day long." It was a great gift to have the law of God. It says in Deuteronomy 4:8, "What other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?" What a wonderful body of laws it was. However, as you well know, simply having the law doesn't save your soul. Frankly, quite the opposite. The law actually condemned the Israelites because they did not keep it. Like it says in Romans 2:23, "You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?" There's no glory in having the law; there is glory in keeping the law, and they couldn't do it. Romans 3:20, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law, rather through the law, we become conscious of sin." It's not salvation that comes through the law. My friends, if salvation could come through the law, then what did you need Christ for? Galatians 2:21 says precisely that, "If salvation could come by the law, then Christ died for nothing." But it couldn't come that way.

The Worship

He also mentions this worship, which Eric said accurately earlier refers to the sacrificial system, the temple worship. The fact that animal sacrifice were given day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Blood sacrifices. A great advantage for the Jews. Not because the blood of bulls and goats could take away sin, oh, they should have known it couldn't, but rather it was the clearest depiction of the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross you would ever have in history. The Jews got it day after day. What a great advantage. But did they take that advantage and improve it with faith? Did they believe the Gospel? No, they did not. David knew it, he said, "If offering bulls and goats could cleanse my sin, I would do it. You could have all of my bulls, if it could take away my sin with Bathsheba." The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart You will not despise. He knew that.

Isaiah knew it when it said, "The multitude of your sacrifices, 'What are they to me?', says the Lord, 'I have more than enough of the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.'" I don't need this trampling of My courts, bringing these offerings endlessly. That's not what they were for. And so the sacrificial system did not guarantee personal salvation. As a matter of fact, in my opinion, if ever you think your ministry is hard, think about the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah. How would you like that ministry? "Okay, Jeremiah, here's your job. Why don't you go to downtown Jerusalem and as Nebuchadnezzar approaches with that huge army of his, I want you to tell them that Nebuchadnezzar's going to win, that he's going to destroy the temple, and that all of you people... Just a remnant of you, as a matter of fact, the rest will be slaughtered by the sword, famine, and plague, but the rest of you, the little remnant, the small few of you, the blessed ones, will get to go in exile to Babylon. Now go preach that, Jeremiah."

And it's especially tough in that the Jews were trusting in the temple of the Lord. They were thinking, "God will never destroy this place." Well, now they're Jews standing wailing at the Wailing Wall as Herod's temple was destroyed. Well, that was just Herod The Great's temple, this was the temple, the Temple of Solomon, they thought God would never destroy it. Oh, how wrong they were. This is what the Lord said to Jeremiah, "Stand at the gate of the LORD's house and there proclaim this message: 'Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.  Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!" Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"-- safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?'"

 "But I am watching," says the Lord.'" Oh, there was no safety in that physical temple, God proved it when Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers destroyed it. But they had the temple worship and it was enough so that if they had improved it with faith, their souls would have been saved. But it did not guarantee individual salvation for the nation.

The Promises

And then it also speaks of the promises, God's made many promises to Israel throughout their history. It's really closely tied to the covenants. But then there are other promises like that He would restore them back in the promised land after 70 years and He did. In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah brought them back, God fulfilled that promise. He's fulfilled more promises than we can imagine. They show God a faithful God a promise keeping God. They have a heritage of promises made and kept, greatest of them of all is Jesus Himself. They have the promises, but you know those promises don't guarantee the salvation of everyone because you know the Israelites, they have to believe the promises personally, for themselves. Abraham believed the Lord and was credited him His righteousness. Without that individual personal faith in the promises, the promises made to the nation meant nothing for you, meant nothing.

The Patriarchs

And then finally he mentions the patriarchs, the example of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the immense spiritual advantage Godly heritage to these men. But let me tell you something, having Abraham or Isaac, or Jacob as your father didn't mean you were going to Heaven. Not at all. As a matter of fact, that's one of the major points that Paul is going to be making in Romans 9:6-13. Physical lineage from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not guarantee salvation.

The Human Ancestry of the Christ

The culmination of all of this though, the highest privilege ever, was the fact that God chose the Jews to bring His Savior into the world. That your Messiah, your Savior and mine is Jewish. Jewish ancestry. Do you find that humbling? You Gentiles, I'm a Gentile, it's humbling that God chose the Jews to bring His Son into the world and it is meant to be humbling. All of those nations on their high horses, all the Greeks and the Romans and the Babylonians with their great pride and they're great accomplishment. God didn't choose any of those nations. He chose the Jews.

You think, well then Israel's up on their high horse. Well, that is the very point that Paul is going to make in Romans 9-11, how God gets Israel off their high horse, because God has bound all men over to disobedience in order that He may have mercy on them all. No one's on their high horse in front of God, not on Judgment Day. We are all humbled. What a great advantage that your nation, your little nation was chosen to be the physical avenue through which Jesus Christ would be born. The genealogy is Jewish from Abraham, through David to the Christ. It's a Jewish genealogy, and what a great advantage. But you know, for the Jews, it was no advantage to some degree, it was the stumbling but they couldn't get over.

When Jesus went to preach in His home town in Matthew 13, He begins preaching and by this time, His ministry is well known, this is the second time coming to Nazareth. And began teaching the people in their synagogue and they were amazed, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" They said, "Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't His mother's name Mary and are all His brothers with us James Joseph Simon and Judas and are all His sisters here with us too? Where then did this man get all these things?" Do you see the disdain? And Jesus said to them, "'Only in His home town and in His own house, is a prophet without honor,' and He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." So the fact that Jesus was Jewish grew up in their home town actually in the end was the stumbling block, they couldn't get over. Notice by the way, here a strong statement of Christ's deity. Look at verse five, "Theirs the patriarchs," He says, "And from them is traced the human ancestry, the according to the flesh, ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever blessed, amen."

Now, I know that there are other translations but I believe (and I'm not going to take you through all of the exegesis), but I believe that he's intending fully to give a strong statement of Christ deity here, to balance off the strong statement of His fleshly humanity through the genealogy. This physical one who took on human flesh and blood through the Jews is actually God over all blessed forever, amen. Now these are the advantages to the Jews. But let me tell you something, the key concept. None of these advantages, guaranteed individual salvation for every Jew, and that's why He weeps, that's why He cries, that's why He is in great anguish.

The Status of Unbelieving Jews

Now the beauty is each one of those comes to full fruition when you come to faith in Christ, you become a true Israelite like Nathaniel, a genuine Jew, even if you're a Gentile, grafted in, by faith, you receive the adoption as sons, individually and personally. Romans 8. You get the divine glory. And I don't just mean some kind of fiery thing coming down on a mountain or a temporary glowing thing inside a tent.

You get to see the glory of God with your own eyes, Jew or Gentile, if you have faith in Jesus, you get that, you get the covenants, all of them wrapped up in this. "This is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant…" that's Jesus summing up everything in the New Covenant you get it all. You get the receiving of the law, not outside written on tablets of stone, but inside your heart by the Spirit, yearning to obey and fulfill the Law of God love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, love your neighbors, yourself, that's what you get inside you. Jew or Gentile, you get true worship, Jesus as your final sacrifice, you get to worship Philippians 3:3, "By the Spirit of God," you get to taste what it really feels like to worship by the Spirit of God, and you get the promises. How many of them? Well, 2 Corinthians 1:20 says that as many as are made, they're yours, you get them all. All of the promises are yes and amen in Christ. Jew or Gentile, you get them all, and the patriarchs you get to have Abraham as your in faith. Following in his footsteps, and you get Christ.

Now, last time I talked about Paul's anguish, the fruit of his anguish, was not mere emotionalism in chapter 10:1, he says, "Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved." We also get the outpouring of Paul's life, as city after city. He goes into any reasons with the Jews, puts up with their abuse he talks to them preaches to them, he shares with them. Now, let me ask you a question, what is the significance of that?

Isn't it obvious that Jews need the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to go to Heaven?  Now, why do I have to believe this? Because some people don't think it's true. Some people through interesting and elaborate and intricate theology think that Jews are fine as such, leave them alone, it's just maybe plan A and we're plan B. You just go along that way, and they're fine as they are, and we're coming in our way and in the end we'll meet, that is utterly false. If that is the case, why is Paul weeping? Why would he exchange his salvation? Why?

It's because there's great danger for them. Listen to this, this is a statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops recently, this is what it says, "The command of the resurrected Christ in Matthew 28:19, to make disciples of all nations means that the church must bear witness in the world to the good news of Christ so as to prepare the world for the fullness of the Kingdom of God. However this evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history. Thus while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also acknowledges," listen, "that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God."

Be horrified at this statement. Be horrified. If Jews already exist in a saving covenant with God, then what's Romans 9:1-5 about? What is the sorrow and the unceasing anguish about? Is it not clear that Paul feels passionately to the depth of his being that Jews must be evangelized, that you must share the gospel with Jewish people no matter what it costs? And what did it cost Paul? I think it cost him his life. Cost him his life. Old Testament blessings are limited. The list of those blessings, is not enough to save your soul.

It's magnificent and wonderful, but it's not enough to save your soul.

III. Application

Now, what application can we take from Romans 9, especially four and five. Well, first of all, can I urge you to thank God that you're in a covenant with better promises than these?

Thank God for the New Covenant, thank God that Jesus came to be mediator of a better covenant than all of these promises, as it says in Hebrews 7:22.

Thank God, it says in Hebrews 8:6, "But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which He is mediator, is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises." We have a better covenant, we have better promises now better than these. Promises of the New Covenant are overwhelming and better. And you know why? Because they reach right into our souls, and they take out our heart of flesh and they give us a heart of stone, and they give us a heart of flesh, that we can obey. Other than that, it just stands on the outside. And do you really think you as a nation would have done any better than the Jews? I tell you no, but because of the blessings of the New Covenant, we have eternal life.

So be thankful. But secondly, like Paul is going to say later in Romans 11, "Don't be arrogant but be afraid." Remember how he puts up the image of a healthy olive tree with all of this redemptive history and the sap flowing through in these natural branches, the branches are getting stripped off, stripped off and then these wild branches from who knows where are being grafted into this Jewish olive tree and sap is flowing up through them. And you will say, he says in Romans 11, "Branches were broken off so I could be grafted in," granted. Interesting, he says, "Granted." "But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you Gentiles, as a whole, you stand by faith, do not be arrogant but be afraid for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either."

Now, what do I mean? It's not that we should say, "Hey we're in first place now, and there in the back," that's not it. Rather, realize what's happened to Israel, realize that because they rejected what God was doing, they stand in the present situation that they're in, and therefore, if today, you hear His voice, don't harden your heart, you individual Gentiles who call yourselves Christians, follow Jesus today, follow Him, walk with Him day by day, and serve Him.

Thirdly, can I urge you to evangelize your children?  Do you know that no one gets saved because they had a Jew for a father? And do you know that no one gets saved because they have a Christian for a father either? You understand what I'm saying? You Christian parents, you're bringing your children to church, praise God for that, praise God for that. The central purpose of your family should be the glory of God at this point when your children are growing, the glory of God in the conversion and discipleship of your children, that's your first greatest purpose. Evangelize your children. What benefit, what good would it be to gain the whole world and lose your family? So, you're out doing ministry do it, but don't assume just because they are kind of under the New Covenant blessings. Hebrews 6:4-6 lists how you can be enlightened, and taste the heavenly gift, and you can go through all these things and still be reprobate, you can still turn away.

And can I speak to you children? You're coming here right now because your parents make you right? I hope you're coming also because you delight in the Word of God, because you delight to be here, because you want to be here, because there will come a time when you'll be out from under your parental authority, and you can be whatever you choose to be. You don't have to go to church then, but just having a Christian mommy and daddy doesn't get you to Heaven, you must repent. You must believe, you must follow yourself because you know if God didn't spare the Jews because they didn't believe, because of their heritage and their ancestry is not going to spare Gentile unbelievers either.

Finally can I urge you to be active in prayer for and evangelism to Israel. Be willing to share the gospel with Jews. I was on a plane flight coming back from China and sitting next to a Jewish woman, and we introduced each other, and we started talking. I kind of felt sorry for her because she was in the window seat and I was in a middle seat and she was there with me for I guess about 10 hours. So, and when the conversation began, I started talking to her about Christian things, and she said "Oh I'm Jewish." Meaning, you don't need to talk to me about this. Shot it down, I said, "Oh great, I'm talking to the right person." It didn't end the conversation, that began the conversation. If you're ever going door to door, you're witnessing a coworker or a roommate or a classmate, or something and they say, "I'm Jewish," they think that ends the conversation. I'm telling you, it begins it.

You have so much to work with, you have so much to work with. You have all of those prophecies. Say "Well have you ever read that vision of the Son of Man in Daniel 7? "The what?" "Well, let's look at it." And you can ask them about Isaiah 53. You start looking at it with them. It's not the end of the conversation, folks, it's the beginning of the conversation. And let me tell you something. God has His elect among the Jews, too, He says, "Has God rejected His people?" Romans 11 He says, "No, by no means, I'm an Israelite too." He's still saving Jews, but He saves them through the hearing and believing of the gospel. So can I urge you Gentiles, be like Paul, "My heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is their salvation." And then evangelize with courage and conviction. Don't let that be the stop when they tell you, "I'm Jewish," say, "Praise God. Let's go on and talk." And you'll see a fruitful harvest. I trust.

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