Sunday, June 22, 2014

Paul's Epistles Part 21 – Justice and Mercy

Paul's Epistles
Part 21 – Justice and Mercy
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

We are going to look at the Epistles of Paul in this series of sermons. In Chapter 6 we looked at Paul telling us to be Dead to Sin, and Alive in Christ and that we are Slaves to Righteousness, Released from the Law and Bound to Christ, That which I hate, I do, Life in the Spirit, Present Suffering and Future Glory, More than Conquerors, Paul's Anguish Over Israel.

Today we will take a look at Romans 9, and Justice and Mercy.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”

20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”

26 and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
    only the remnant will be saved.

28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: “Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.”

Here we read of Paul's anguish over Israel, and God's sovereign choice.

                   I.            WHO IS TO BLAME?
a.      God holds us accountable
                                                                         i.      Why are we held accountable for our actions?
1.      Because we are the ones who choose them
2.      Therefore, we are accountable for the consequences, or fruit thereof

b.     Man blames God
                                                                         i.      Adam blamed God
1.      "It was the woman you gave me"

                                                                      ii.      We do it all the time
1.      "act of God" clause in insurance

2.      We blame God when people die
a.      "God needed another angel in heaven."
                                                                                                                                                  i.      This is just the politically correct way of saying God killed someone.

b.     Ignoring the fact that;
                                                                                                                                                  i.      We all must die
                                                                                                                                               ii.      how we live effects the time we have
                                                                                                                                             iii.      this is a fallen world, and bad things do happen

3.      "God made me this way."
a.      "I was born this way."

4.      Unwilling to take responsibility for our own sin and its consequences.

c.      We have a choice though
                                                                         i.      We can choose righteousness, or unrighteousness
1.      Paul showed us in the last chapter, that there are two covenants, Old and New, one is Law/Flesh/Sin, and the other is Forgiveness/Spirit/Freedom

2.      We chose which we live by. Our flesh or Spirit.

               II.            GOD'S WILL
a.      God has three wills I have found in scripture
                                                                         i.      All are called to be saved
1.      I Timothy 2:4 "God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people."

                                                                      ii.      All are called to share the Gospel Message
1.      The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
a.      Go and teach ALL NATIONS
b.     Baptize in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
c.      Teach them to obey all that I (Jesus) command

                                                                   iii.      All have a special gift, unique to them to carry out God's (2nd) will
1.      Through the Holy Spirit, when you respond to God's calling of Salvation, you are given tools to carry out God's Second Will (Great Command).

a.      Whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

b.     Spiritual Gifts
                                                                                                                                                  i.      Exhortations, giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, teaching, administration, discernment, faith, healing, helps, knowledge, miracles, tongues, wisdom, evangelism, pastor, celibacy, hospitality, martyrdom, missionary, voluntary poverty.

c.      Spiritual Fruits
                                                                                                                                                  i.      Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

b.     However, not all come to know the Lord
                                                                         i.      Why? Because they "choose" not to.
                                                                      ii.      There will be no innocent people in hell.

c.      God is patient with us and our sin
                                                                         i.      Not because He does not "know" which path we will ultimately choose, but because some take longer to come to Him.
1.      2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

d.     Pharaoh and his hardened heart
                                                                         i.      Some may try to blame God for Pharaoh's heart hardening.
1.      God does promise Moses that He would harden Pharaoh's heart.
2.      "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go." Exodus 4:21

                                                                        ii.      Yet the Exodus account shows us time and time again that Pharaoh was the one who was unwilling to listen therefore hardening his own heart.
1.      Exodus 7:13 Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.
2.       7:22 Pharaoh's heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said
3.      8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said
4.      8:19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said
5.      8:32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go
6.      9:7 Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go
                                                                   iii.      As you see the story unfold God gives Pharaoh opportunities to either repent or continue to be rebellious and in opposition to God and His plans. Every time God showed Pharaoh mercy and ended a plague in Egypt, Pharaoh would respond in stubborn disobedience and arrogance.

                                                                     iv.      God "knew" His mercy shown to Pharaoh would cause his heart to harden.

1.      Pharaoh was given many opportunities by God to either repent, or to be rebellious to God and His plans.

2.      Every time God showed mercy, ending a plague, Pharaoh responded with disobedience and arrogance.

            III.            THE CHOICE
a.      We each have a choice
                                                                         i.      Just as Pharaoh
                                                                      ii.      Do not confuse foreknowledge with God's removing free will

b.     If we choose to answer God's call, we will be called children of the Living God
                                                                         i.      What if...
1.      God showed us great patience (vs 22)
2.      God showed mercy, not just to Jews but Gentiles (vs 23, 24)

                                                                      ii.      I will call them my people, who are not my people

c.      Only a remnant will do so
                                                                         i.      Even though the number of them be like sand by the sea, only a remnant will be saved. (vs 27)


Who is to blame for our actions?
Without a doubt, we are.

What can we do about it?
Answer God's Will and call, live by the Spirit in the New Covenant.

The Choice.
We have it, so make it the right one.

Deuteronomy 30:19
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!    

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