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Paul, ever the Pastor as well as the Theologian, wants to make sure that Gentile pride does not mar the Gospel. Basic to this parable is a warning to beware of pride. Paul mentions it 3 times: “Do not be arrogant!” (11:8); “if you are arrogant, remember!” (11:18) and “Do not be conceited!” (11:20). Pride is natural to sinful flesh (Romans 1:30); hateful to God (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5); alien to the Gospel (1 Corinthians 1:29) and a particular danger for the Gentile. The Jew had despised him for over a 1,000 years and it was ‘natural’ but sinful…

Mindful of the Jew

Romans Chapter 11 contains some of the Bible’s most clear teaching regarding the future restoration of the nation Israel. Paul is clear. God is currently saving individual Jews through the Church, but His national promises to Israel in the first 39 books of the Bible are still in effect. God said in 2 Chronicles 21:7, the last book in the Jewish Bible: “Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant which He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.” The…

Grace Envy

The parable of The Laborers in the Vineyard is unique. Many parables like The Sower, New Wine in Old Wineskins, The Wicked Farmers (Matthew 21; Mark 12; Luke 20) and The House on the Rock appear repeatedly in the Gospels. This parable appears only in Matthew. This is one of 3 key parables that Jesus spoke as He approached and entered Jerusalem before His crucifixion. Believers usually associate parables with Matthew Chapter 13, the ‘Parable Chapter,’ because it includes the most parables (7), all of them famous (The Sower; The Wheat & Tares; The Mustard Seed; The Yeast; The Hidden…

What Makes Jesus Sick?

Evaluation is an essential component of every successful life. A business will not succeed without scrupulous assessment of its performance. A student will not graduate without passing an exam. A doctor will not prescribe medication without first diagnosing the disease. Of all the assessments one can possibly undergo, spiritual assessment must take priority. In fact, Scripture commands us to test our spiritual health-“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves” 2 Cor. 13:5. The end of the year is a good time for all of us to take a long, hard, and honest look at our…

The Magnificat

The joy of Christmas comes from a deep appreciation of Christ. Take Christ away and you would have no Christmas. By rejoicing in Christ we worship Him. Joy is an attitude of worship! Joy is what worship feeds on. Take joy away and there is no worship. True worship originates in joy of what God has done for sinners. You cannot worship God without joy! People can do many things; prophesy like Balaam, heal the sick like Judah Iscariot, and serve like Demas. But one thing they can’t do is worship God without JOY! If you are not thrilled this…
Human history is a sickening story of man trying to improve himself and failing. Man does not ‘naturally’ humble himself and depend entirely on the grace of God. The Apostle Peter wrote: “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13) but men don’t do this. Men depend on their own limited resources and end up worsening their condition irrevocably, and satan encourages this sinful attitude. Men need God’s grace in order to humble themselves, repent of their distrust of God, and rely completely on Him. The message…

The Most Unusual Birth

No one has ever had a birth like Christ. The Bible, especially Matthew and Luke, impress upon every reader how unusual Jesus’ conception and birth was. God announced His Immaculate Conception and Birth by an angel (1:20) and appointed and determined His Name before He was born (1:21). God prophesied His First Advent during every age of man dating as far back as the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15); the time of Joseph (Genesis 49:10); the time of Moses (Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:18); David (2 Samuel 7:12-13); Hosea (11:1); Isaiah (7:14; 9:6); Micah (5:2); Daniel (7:13) and many others. Supernatural…

Israel's Pain - The Nations' Gain

Despite their crucifying of Christ, Israel has not forfeited its national promises of Kingdom and blessing. Israel’s Old Testament blessings are still in effect. God’s grace can overcome even the crucifying of His Son. Paul gives 3 evidences. First, is his own conversion (11:1). Paul was the great Christ-hater, the great persecutor of the Church, and yet God forgave and saved him. By granting repentance, God can forgive someone who hated and rejected Christ! Second, is God’s foreknowledge or foreordination (11:2), which means that God was not surprised by the Jews killing His Son – in fact, He foreordained it!…

Israel’s Judicial Hardening

Romans Chapters 9 -11 are landmark theological chapters. These chapters deal with two of the most difficult and controversial doctrines in the Bible: Election and Dispensationalism. Romans Chapter 9 is the key Bible chapter on election. There, Paul states: “Though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger,’ just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved but Esau I hated’” and “He…

Israel's Favored Nation Status

Some doubted Paul’s Gospel because most Jews rejected it: ‘Could the Gospel of Christ be correct if God’s historic, chosen people were rejecting it?’ Paul answers first by the sovereignty of God (9:1-29); and second, by the sinfulness of the Jews themselves (9:30-10:21). First, Paul explained that God’s promises to the Jews never included salvation for every individual Jew: “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel . . . that is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants” (9:6, 8).…

Missions Made Possible

Romans Chapter 10 is primarily apologetic, not evangelistic or missional. In this chapter, Paul does not command anyone to evangelize. He talks mostly about the historical failure of the nation Israel. His primary purpose for writing this chapter is to defend the Gospel against opponents and doubters who want an explanation for why so few of God’s historic people (Jews) are repenting and why so many of those who were previously separate from the God of Israel (Gentiles) are accepting it. Although Chapter 10 is primarily apologetic, it has tremendous application and implications for missions and evangelism. In defending the…

Failure to Obey

Like Adam, the ancient Jews had every spiritual advantage. Romans 9:4 enumerates them. They had ‘the adoption as sons”: of all the peoples of the earth, they had the unique claim to being God’s chosen people (Amos 3:2). They had ‘the glory,’ the very presence of God, God the Holy Spirit, the Shekinah glory cloud from the Old Testament, in their midst. They had the covenants, the irrevocable promises of land, seed and blessing to the Jewish fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3; 26:24; 28:13-14). They had the giving of the Law from the very mouth of God on…