25. November, 2018Sermon Notes No comments

god-is-real

Scripture: 1 Kings 18: 36-39

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

 

“He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant.” (1 Chr. 16:15-17)

 

1. Reality of the God of Israel

Some dispensationalists advocate the Replacement Theology – that Israel has failed and replaced it with the Church. But Paul says,

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (Rom. 11:1)

A. A Jewish Remnant

God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.  (Rom. 11:2-5)

B. Divine Judicial Blindness

Israel has not obtained what it seeks… the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: “God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.” David says: “… Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always. (Rom. 11:7-10)

C. Isaac and Ishmael

Ishmael was Abraham’s physical descendent while Isaac was the child of promise (Rom. 9:8). Ishmael was born when Abraham had the natural ability to produce a son. Isaac was born when he and Sarah couldn’t produce any. Isaac was born by the supernatural power of God.

D. Jacob and Esau

At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand…), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. (Rom. 9:9-13)

E. Divine Election & the Jews
  1. A Codicil for the Jewish people
    • Rom. 9-11 apply to the Jews based on the eight textual factors: “the adoption as sons… the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the Law, the Temple worship and the promises… the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ” (Rom. 9:4-5)
  2. An Elect Nation
    • unless those days [the Tribulation] were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s [the Jews] sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 2:42)
  3. Two Nations
    • “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people [Israel] shall be stronger than the other [Edomites], and the older [Esau] shall serve the younger [Jacob].” (Gen. 25:23)

 

2. Reliability of God’s Word

A. The Sovereignty of God

“Therefore [God] has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens” (Rom. 11:20)

Four OT passages on the relationships of the pot and the potter may be instructive for us:

Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; for shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? (Isa. 29:16)

Woe to him who strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him who forms it, “What are you making? (Isa. 45:9)

O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. (Isa. 64:8)

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?”… as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand… The instant I speak concerning a nation… to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation… turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation … to build and to plant it, if it does evil… so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. Now… speak to… Judah and to… Jerusalem… Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.’” (Jer. 18:1-11)

Paul makes three points using these examples:

  1. As its unthinkable for a port to tell the potter what to do, so a man can’t tell God what to do in his life.
  2. God has total sovereignty in our life, and can do what He wants without giving us any reason.
  3. We have a choice to turn from evil. If we don’t, God is just to destroy us.
B. All Israel will be Saved

The Deliverer will come out of Zion… He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them… (Isa. 59:20-21)

They will look on Me, the One they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child. (Zec. 12:10)

  • Pierced (Heb: daqar) – thrust through with spear
  • Pierced (Heb: ‘ariy) – nailed as in crucifixion

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also obtain mercy. (Rom. 11:30-31)

 

3. Why Christians Should Support Biblical Israel

I will also gather all nations, and… enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land…Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:2, 14)

He who touches [Israel] touches the apple of His eye. (Zec. 2:8)

  1. Israel is created by a sovereign act of God. (Gen. 15:18; 17:2-8)
  2. Christians owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for giving birth to the Christian faith. (Rom. 15:27)
  3. Jesus never denied His Jewishness.
  4. To support Israel will attract blessings from God. (Psa. 122:6)
  5. God judges the Gentiles for their abuse of the Jews.

 

Conclusion

  1. We are living in the very end of time. One of the key signs of the end times is the “budding of the fig tree” – an allusion to the burgeoning of Israel.
  2. Israel’s existence from ground zero is nothing short of God’s miraculous intervention. God is real. He says He will honour His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob forever.
  3. We’re called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
  4. God’s promise made to Abraham stands – God will bless those who bless Abraham’s descendants. So let’s bless the Jewish people with kind thoughts, deeds and prayers.
  5. Believe in God even when things don’t go as you wish. Trust in His sovereignty. Learn to be yielded clay and be fashioned by the Potter.

 

 

By: Rev. Peter Lui

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