Our unity is based upon essential doctrine not preferential opinion. We’ll see that the gospel that transforms our lives, also forms the basis for our unity.
“I don’t understand how someone could really love Jesus and still go to the movies, drink wine, or approve of dancing. I mean, are they really serious about the Lord?” Comments like these reveal a reality that has existed from the beginning of the church. The reality that Christians have many differing opinions on issues that the Bible doesn’t explicitly speak to. And as the above quote reflects, sometimes these opinions are very strongly held.
So, how does the church handle things like this? Do we duke it out in the hallway? Do we fire pastors and stiff arm members with whom we disagree? Do we flaunt our freedoms and label everyone else as legalists? Do we start new churches around our preferred opinions? I mean, how can the church work when we bring together so many different opinions on lots of different issues? Well, that’s exactly what Romans 14 is about.
Paul has spent the first 11 chapters of Romans describing the Gospel, leading to a moment of worship and exclamation when viewing the Palace that God built. It leads him to a moment of awe and joy that overwhelms him and and should take us right along with him.
We’ve spent a great deal of time working verse by verse through the book of Romans and have made it through a lot of heavy doctrine in the process. Though we’ve worshiped our great God throughout and have marveled at His redemptive story each week, we come tomorrow to Paul’s worship-filled conclusion of the first 11 chapters.
Paul is in awe. In awe of God. In awe of His gospel. In awe of its depths. In awe of His mercy and grace to redeem. You see, Gospel doctrine leads to Gospel doxology! I’m amped for this study and want to invite you all to prepare your hearts to worship our amazing God as we contemplate His remarkable, breathtaking, and beautiful truth!
As we’ve wrestled with the questions of whether God has abandoned Israel, we’ve seen that His grace is emphatic that His promises are still intact and certain. In today’s message, we peek ahead to a time when it will no longer be promises but fulfilled.
Paul’s question in Romans 11 if God has rejected Israel for their rejection of Jesus. He very quickly answers that question as “no” and then focuses our attention on how God has used their rejection to spread the wealth of the Gospel around the world, ultimately using that to bring Israel back to Him.
God is fully trustworthy. He has always kept His promises to Israel, and He will always keep His promises to us. God’s Word has not failed, and he will never reject his people. In fact, He will always preserve a remnant of believing Israelites.
When we focus on getting to the bottom of why something isn’t work as it should or perhaps why someone isn’t doing what they should, it’s common to use the strategy of ruling things out. This leads us to a rational method of understanding things without always assuming the worst. Paul uses that strategy in Roman 10:5-21 to understand why we may not take the action that the Gospel leads us to.
The message of Easter offers us something much better than a guess or a magic pill and gives us more confidence than a shrug and an “I hope it will work” when it comes to our hope in reaching Heaven. The message of Easter offers us a true miracle that brings confidence, assurance and hope!
In his book called the Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis beautifully imagines the creation of Narnia by the song of the Great Lion, and it is wonderful. But, not everyone in the story sees it as such. Here Lewis notes that “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing.
As we come again to the often perplexing text of Romans 9, I’m praying that God will help us to have a better “standing” in order to see what God intends for us to see. We all have questions about election, but don’t miss the point… God wanted you first and that he will keep you until the end.
Last week in our Romans series we considered chapter 9:1-5 and Paul’s broken heart over a perplexing reality – the reality of Israel’s national rejection of Jesus as their messiah. This reality spurred in Paul an impassioned desire to see his fellow countrymen saved.
You see, Paul understands that Israel’s rejection of Jesus allows an elephant in the room. Therefore, Paul addresses it head on. He spends three chapters helping us understand the state of Israel’s present and future and ultimately proves and proclaims that God is utterly trustworthy to keep His promises. In chapters 9-11 Paul anchors the promises of chapter 8 in an infinitely trustworthy God.