Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
There are times when we must allow The Word of God to go deeper than the mind - and drop right into our heart. We are in Romans Chapter 11 - crucial verses for today. These three Chapters – 9,10,11 - deal basically with the Jews - and the place of the Jews in the Plan of God - and Paul was a Jew who had found Jesus Christ as The Messiah - and he never forgot he was a Jew.
Paul was a Jewish believer - we are Gentile believers - and Paul is writing to both Jew and Gentile - he so wanted them to be ONE in Rome. They are ONE in Christ - if only they would let the world see this UNITY - this oneness.
What he goes on to teach is that the Jewish believers are like the cultivated and natural part of the plant – the olive - whereas we Gentiles are wild and unnatural. When you look at the plant you should not be able to tell which part is which.
God has not rejected the Jews. He says - I am one - and look at me - and Paul was one of the worst - one of the hardest - and yet the Grace of The Lord Jesus Christ changed him.
God has always had a group - remnant - 7,000 He reserved in the days of Elijah - when things in Israel were bad - and so he goes on with another question in verse 11.
Verse 12 - If we have received all this blessing through their fall - what will the blessing be when they are restored?
Did they become impossible cases? NO.
Verse 15 - the resurrection of the Jews will be like life from the dead.
In verse 17 Paul begins to explain what is happening by using the illustration of the olive tree. Israel is frequently described as a vine - a fig tree - or an olive tree. Paul was continually wrestling with this problem of the unbelief of the Jews.
On this olive tree - Israel - there was little fruit - so some branches are broken off.
God cuts off some branches and engrafts wild branches. I am told you can engraft a wild branch into a cultivated but languishing olive tree to invigorate it. The result is better fruit.
You are wild - you were not born a child of God - you were not born a believer. You were picked up - rescued - salvaged - and engrafted into what is holy. Gentiles - it is not your olive tree - it is a Jewish olive tree. It is from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob upwards.
You are engrafted onto the Jewish root - and it is the root and the trunk which supports the branch and feeds and nourishes it - so be careful as to how you regard the Jewish people. This Book is a Jewish Book - first of all, the Church was a Jewish Church - to the Jew first and then to the Gentile.
God has done what is contrary to nature - contrary to all the principles of grafting.
We are linked forever with the Jews - and we cannot deny that link. To do so would be like a man up a ladder - kicking away the ladder from under him.
Verse 20 - There is only one thing holding you in - FAITH. So don’t be arrogant - rather be afraid with the right kind of fear. It is possible to be cut off - we are not the natural branches.
Consider the kindness of God and avoid the sternness. Many people only wish to hear about the kindness - and not the other word.
Verse 22 - There are not many choruses from this verse. One day the other branches will be brought back in - in fact we are seeing that in these present times. The Jews would just be getting back into their own tree.
We in Europe have been very arrogant regarding the Jews - and only over these past years have bold courageous men pointed this out to us.
GOD is able to graft them in once again.
All this is something of a mystery - a secret - which the world does not know - the media certainly has not a clue about this. Many in the Church today have great difficulty with these truths. They are not going to be excluded for ever - God can take the cultivated branches and bring these Jews back into their own tree.
Verse 25 - ignorance can be a terrible evil. Paul has to refer often to ignorance and mystery and arrogance and conceit.
When the full number of Gentiles has come in - GOD will bring back The Jews - as a veil is lifted from their eyes - and they see him whom they pierced - crucified.
Our future and theirs is bound up together. The present situation is not permanent.
We hear of individuals coming to see Jesus is the Messiah - one day GOD will bring the whole Jewish people to see Jesus is the Messiah. It will happen politically, and it will happen spiritually.
One day Jesus will reveal Himself to His brothers - it will be like Joseph - he sent the Egyptians out of the house - and he revealed himself to his brothers.
God has a number of Gentiles He plans to save - who will be saved - forgiven and rescued - and we do not know the number - nor will we know the day when it is reached - just make sure you are among that number.
How will God do it? By facing them with Jesus Christ - similar to Saul of Tarsus.
He confronted Saul with Jesus on the Damascus Road.
Verse 26 - The deliverer will come from Zion - He will turn godlessness away from Jacob – from Israel. This is My Covenant with them - when I take away their sins!
God cannot go back on His word. Hold on to His Word.
The Gospel and election and Covenant and gifts and calling are all tied up together.
What you have received they too one day will receive.
No wonder he finishes this section with a song of praise - I cannot understand it all - but I will praise GOD for it all.
You can go as deep as you want to in this - but still you will never plumb its depths.
There was a day when men tried to measure the depths of the oceans by adding on line after line - and they could not reach the bottom of the ocean bed.
That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is like - it is as least as deep as we can go - and then more - such is His Love - His Mercy - His Grace - His Power.
Literally - “We cannot fathom it!” No human mind can ever grasp it all.
The riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
When we receive revelation - we want to praise - and worship. That is the only appropriate response.
Jesus the King of the Jews comes to the Jews - Jews reject Jesus - Gentiles become believers - then the Jews are brought back.
Who can tell God what to do? Who can advise God what to do? Who knows what God is going to do? God does not owe us anything - but we owe everything to God.
All I have comes from God.
This is what happened in Rome - there were a few believing Jews to begin with - some Gentiles came in - then, all Jews were banned from Rome, and it became a Gentile Church. Some 14years later the Jews returned – they came back in - and they lived together in Christ. What happened locally in Rome will one day happen universally
Therefore - begins Chapter 12. In the light of all that - offer your bodies - as living sacrifices. We are not to be super-spiritual - but physically practical.
“Almighty God – hear our prayers for the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ – for the unity of the Kingdom of God – we know only Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord can bring that about – that is why we pray – but trusting the truth of Scriptures – believing and knowing that it will happen – for that day when Jesus comes again, we pray. Amen.”
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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