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Many of us were raised in churches that didn’t teach great doctrine, so we might not have been taught the importance of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, even while we received it and believed it. But many of us had not seen the urgency of that because it hadn’t been communicated clearly. This leads us to the question: What difference would it have made if Christ had not risen bodily from the dead? What difference would it have made if Jesus’ body was still in the tomb?
It seems like every Easter there is some kind of objection that comes up in popular media. They find some new book that they think should be included in the Bible, or they supposedly find the tomb of Jesus. It’s amazing how much effort the unbelieving world expends in their unbelief, because there is no historical fact that is as well-attested as the fact that Jesus Christ lived, died on a cross, and rose again. Everything hinges on the resurrection. If they can find the tomb of Jesus and authenticate it, then you and I need to throw away our Bibles and just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. But the fact is that they will not find the tomb of Jesus Christ with a body in it because He’s in Heaven. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the linchpin, the foundation of our faith. Everything hangs upon it.
And the subject of the text is, directly speaking, is Israel's rejection of God's righteousness and Israel's rejection of God's Rock. Now, what we're going to see is that it all boils down to what you do with Jesus. The reason that Israel is lost is because they rejected God's Rock, His chosen Messiah, Jesus Christ.
And the question the text is going to ask of you and me is: "What is our response to Jesus?". And we need to look a little more carefully at that than we might be inclined to. Because we're going to see, as we have seen, in looking at this mysterious rejection of the Jews, how could the Jews, how could Israel... the nation of Israel reject the HOPE of Israel?
The most basic, fundamental need in every single human beings life is to see and savor the Glory of God. That is THE need. It may not be a felt need... and for most people it's the farthest thing from their mind. But it is the real, fundamental, urgent cry of every human heart to see and savor God. Now the problem is for humans is, in our sin, we hate God . But the deepest need of our heart, it doesn't change, is to see and worship him. So we're in a quandary... The soul's need can only be satisfied in God.
Now we live in an era of cotton candy Christianity.
Now, I say, cotton candy Christianity is something that is assailing the church and afflicting the church because our worship today is light, fluffy and sweet but it does not satisfy...
The objector that Paul is envisioning is saying and voicing what the natural man responds to when he looks at this. He says, "Paul, you've said that God uses men for His purpose. You've said that men cannot resist Him. Therefore, Pharaoh could not resist Him. And God used Pharaoh for His own purpose... to oppose Moses. So that, God could do great wonders in Egypt. That's what the text says. We saw that in Exodus and if you read this week you saw that again and again in those chapters.
So, Paul, Pharaoh was truly and instrument in God's hand. So God uses the instrument to accomplish His purposes, how then can He then condemn the instrument for what the instrument has done?
That, on the surface, from a human understanding, seems like unassailable logic.
There are Christians who will argue and say, "If God would condemn people who have never had a chance to be saved, then I'm not sure I want to serve a God like that".
Men today imagine the Most High is moved by sentiment rather than actuated by principle. They suppose His omni potency is such an idle fiction that Satan is thwarting His designs on every side. They think that if He has formed any plan or purpose at all that it must be like theirs, constantly subject to change. They openly declare that whatever power He possesses must be restricted lest He invade the citadel of man's free will and reduce him to a machine.
The God of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle... the glory of the midday sun.
The God who is now talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday School, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the, so called, Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality.
The heathen outside of the pale of Christendom form gods out of wood and stone, while millions of heathens inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their own carnal mind.
Now, turn with me in your Bibles to the ninth chapter of Paul's epistle to the Romans. We're continuing our verse by verse exposition of this letter and today we come to one of the most challenging passages in all of scripture, Romans chapter nine, in verses six to thirteen.
The text is challenging because it presents to us the doctrine of predestination. This doctrine stretches the mind and humbles the heart in an extraordinary way.
We're going to see in this chapter that God deals with the glorious doctrine of divine election. That is that, we're going to see as we go through the passage that God presents a truth that is beyond our ability to comprehend and we know, as those who have been studying the word of God for some time that, whenever you study God's Word, you're always going to be confronted with things that you don't already believe. You know you don't... you know that's why you're in the Word. The Word renews the mind. It transforms us through the renewing of the mind. And we're going to see some challenging truths. And one of those truths is this idea of election... predestination.