Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Having spent some time in Romans Chapter 1, I am moving on to Romans Chapter 9 , for a very special and specific reason. In these chapters of Paul’s letter, we come to a section which deals with the Destiny of Israel and The Church - where we see God’s Sovereign Grace operating through His Choice. (This theme of Choice and Calling - continues – Abraham – Isaac - Jacob.)
Very few contemporary Christians have grasped these truths - in fact very few are aware of the truths revealed to us by GOD in Romans. This is why we go through a Book - and not just verses here and there. One of the most helpful lessons I learned early on was to preach through a book – or part of a book.
When reading Romans many do not read further than Chapter 8 - or they jump over to Chapter 12 – and so Chapters 9 to 11are not, generally speaking well known.
Some know favourite passages in Chapters 1 - 8, but not very much about 9 - 11.
They can be disturbing - they can upset people’s pre-conceived ideas - they develop this theme of Predestination.
Many politicians would shudder if they were to read these verses and see The Place and Destiny of Israel and The Church of Jesus Christ in the Plan of God.
The very thought that God should manage and rule my life is offensive to people.
The fact that God chooses - elects - can be repulsive to a mind still soaked and saturated by sin.
This is why we must not choose what are regarded as the nice parts of The Bible.
This Book delivers us from man centred thoughts - to being God centred. Again, we see something further of The Sovereignty of God - which basically means - God does what He wants in the way He wants - and He doesn’t ask our permission.
Do you trust God to choose? Do we trust His Choice? His Timing? His Plans and Purposes?
Remember there were no Chapter divisions when Paul wrote these words - and we ended up by saying that nothing could separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus.
But Paul was prepared to be separated from the Love of God for the sake of The Israelis. Israelites sounds religious - and as if those people were different from the people who live in the land today.
This section grows out of Chapter 8. When God chooses you, He keeps you.
So what about The Jews - He chose them - where do they fit in?
We have here not only Paul’s sermon notes - but also his personal problems. Paul was a Jew who had met Jesus Christ the Messiah and he saw his relatives out of God’s Blessings. That is a problem which never disappears.
1. They are God’s Chosen People - but they are out of His Blessings. They are scattered and suffering - it seems as if they are out of His Will - it seems as if God has forgotten all about The Jews and let them go and forgotten His Promises made to them.
In Chapter 8, we have rejoicing - I know - I am persuaded - I am convinced - ABBA - and suddenly Paul is plunged into the depths of despair and sorrow. Joy to sorrow - assurance to burden - hope to heaviness.
In his heart there is a sorrow which is there all the time.
“Nothing can separate you” - but it looked as though the Jews were separated from God. There is this anguish in his life.
Paul had this intense desire to bring his fellow Jews to Jesus Christ. This is the ‘unsuccessful’ side to his ministry which is seldom mentioned.
“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, as we come to this passage dealing with Israel – the Jews - Your Chosen People – help us to understand what Paul is saying and teaching – always reminding us that this is part of Your Holy authoritative Word. Loving Jesus, King of the Jews help us grasp the significance of this people – and our relationship with Israel – Father, we pray in Jesus Name. 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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