Here’s my sermon outline for Romans 9:6-13, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville on 5/1/22. You can hear the audio here.
“The Unfailing Promises of God” Romans 9:6-13
INTRO: Sometimes, from a human perspective, it looks like God’s Word has failed. It looks like God’s promise has failed
-Our own lives:
Jere 29:11 “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you, not to harm you”
-We hit trials and hardships and pain, and think: God’s Word has failed. It is not true.
Matt 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given; seek, and you shall find; know and it will be opened”
-We pray and pray and don’t see answer we hoped.
-God’s people have struggled with what at first appeared failures in God’s Word and promises
-ASSYRIA, EXILE, Psalms
-Looked like God’s Word and Promises to his people failed
-Apostle Paul wants to help us deal with what looks like an apparent failure of God’s Word and God’s promises
-Failure of Israel’s unbelief: If gospel is fulfillment of OT (Rom 1:2), why don’t more believe?
-Have God’s promises failed?
-The Christians at Rome and us today need to be reminded of this truth from Scripture:
*God’s Word has not failed; God’s promises are unfailing!
–Romans 1-8 RECAP
-Romans 9-11: Wrestling over and addressing the question of unbelieving ethnic Israel.
-Last week: Paul’s broken heart of the situation (9:1-5)
-THIS WEEK: Paul begins the first answer to the question.
-God’s promises to save his people have not failed! We see this clearly when we recognize who the
people of God actually are and as we take into account the doctrine of election.
MP: God’s promises are unfailing.
1. Word of God has NOT failed (6a); 2. Here’s Why it has not failed (6b-8); 3. Two Examples to Illustrate this point (9-13)
1. Word of God has NOT Failed (6a) “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.”
Unspoken question or argument that Paul is addressing:
“If the gospel was promised to God’s people in the OT, promised to bring about a salvation, how come the vast the majority of Israel refuse to believe the gospel? Is it he case that God’s Word has actually failed to achieve what it promised?”
ANSWER: The Word of God has NOT FAILED.
-Paul is reassuring us about God’s Word: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.”
-“God’s Word” is most likely mainly speaking about God’s promises to save and redeem Israel
-Romans 1:2 speaks about the gospel being “promised in the holy Scriptures”
-Don’t get mistaken in thinking that somehow God’s Word has failed.
-Unlike our words and promises—which often fail—God’s Word does not and cannot fail!
-Let’s build our life, our souls, our eternity on the promises given to us in the Scripture
-Eternal life, forgiveness of sin, God work all things together for our good.
-When everything in your life feels shaky and uncertain cling to the unfailing Word of God
*God’s promises are unfailing.
2. Here’s Why God’s Word has NOT FAILED: (6b-8)
Paul now proceeds to explain why it is right to understand that God’s Word has not failed when we think about the question, ‘If the gospel was promised to Israel in the OT, why have not more people believed?’
-The ANSWER: Not all physical descendants of Israel are spiritual Israel
-Physically belonging to the Jewish people of Israel does not mean you part of God’s people (6b-7a)
-“Not all who are descended from Israel” =biological descendants of Abraham, part of ethnic Israel
-“…belong to Israel”= belong to SPIRITUAL or TRUE Israel
-Merely being a physical descendent is NOT enough
–Same point (7a): “and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring”
-Truly belonging to Spiritual or True Israel comes about through God’s Sovereign Decision (7b) -but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”—Isaac is the son of Abraham. -RECAP STORY OF ABRAHAM:
-Age 75 God promised all nations would be blessed through his descendent
-Age 86 Abraham has a child (Ishmael) through Hagar, his Egyptian Servant
-Age 99 God promises a child through Sarah, & nations blessed through Isaac not Ishmael
-Age 100 Promised child, child of the promise, Isaac is born
-Deduction (point to see) from the argument (8)
–NOT: “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God,”
-Being physically born an Israelite does not make you a child of God (one who is saved)
-Just as being born in a Christian home does not make you a child of God
–BUT: “but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.”
-The children of the promise—promised by God—are the true offspring of Abraham and part of Israel
*Main point: God is the one who determines who is in Israel.
-This means that the refusal of most of ethnic Israel to believe is not a failure of God’s Word or promise.
APP: We will fall into mistaken ideas about God and salvation unless we allow God’s Word to shape our thinking
‘God won’t give you more than you can handle’=not even a Bible verse!
‘God has good plans for you’ (Jere 29:11)=His plans for his people include suffering (Phil 1:29)
-We need to fill our minds and hearts with Scripture and study it diligently
-Let’s learn from mistaken view Paul corrects and not fall into it ourselves
-Being a physical descendent of Israel did not make one truly a child of God.
-Having Christian parents, Christian spouse, being part of Christian school does not make one a Christian
-We must personally place our faith in Christ and turn from our sins to be saved.
-If we do place our faith in Christ, we will be saved! And be assured we have been chosen by God
*God’s promises are unfailing
3. Two Examples to Illustrate this point (9-13)
Paul carries on his argument with 2 examples to further illustrate his point that God’s Word and promises have not failed, because not all of ethnic Israel is true or spiritual Israel. We are led to the glorious biblical doctrine of election.
-Example 1: Sarah (with Isaac) (9)
–God promised Sarah (when she was 89 and Abraham 99) she would have a son (Gen 18:10, 14)
-God was faithful to his promise and Isaac was born the next year.
-God determined it would be Isaac, not Ishmael, who be would be of Israel.
-Not all of Abraham’s decedents are part of Israel, but those whom he has chosen.-Example 2: Rebekah (with Jacob) (10-13) –Rebekah has similar story of being unable to conceive, but God ‘opened her womb’ (READ Gen 25:21)
–When she conceived children, she gave birth to twins: Esau and Jacob (READ Gen 25:22-28)
–God determined the destiny of the children, and it was not based on them at all (READ Rom 9:10-11)
-“though they were not yet born”
-“had done nothing either good or bad”
-“in order that God’s purpose of election might continue”
ELECTION=God, in his good and mysterious wise purposes, choses some to believe and be part of His people.
-“not because of works but because of him who calls”
-God elects people to Himself not because of the future works they will do or future faith
-His chooses in grace—we don’t deserve it—and in love and mercy
-His reason for chooses some and not others is veiled to us.
-Our task of evangelism is the same: share the gospel with everyone.
-Those who are appointed for eternal life will believe (Acts 13:48)
-God is the one who ultimately decides (9:12-13)
–“she was told, “The older will serve the younger”
-“ As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
-Quotation from Malachi 1:2-3 Reflecting on God’s special love for Israel
-Doesn’t God love everyone? How can he be said to HATE Esau?
-DA Carson “Difficult Doctrine of Love of God” speaks of 5 ways Bible talks about God’s love:
1. Intratrinitarian love; 2. Providential Love toward Creation; 3. Salvific love to World; 4. Love for Elect; 5. Love in Obedience
-Romans 9:13 is speaking about God’s electing love, which was not bestowed upon Esau or those not elect
-Because of sin, none deserve God’s love—we deserve his hate toward sin and sinners
-It is only sheer grace and mercy that any are chosen or saved.
APP: God’s Promises are unfailing, and the doctrine of election helps us to see that.
-God accomplishes his purpose to save His people.
-Our task is the same: preach the gospel to everyone
-Scripture holds tension: God chooses some AND humans are responsible for actions and to believe
-Mystery of Scripture (also known as COMPATIBALISM)
CONCLUSION: We can trust the unfailing promises of God.