An exposition of Romans 9:1-33. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 28, 2010.
Can you believe the weather we’ve had this year? Oklahoma weather has always been crazy but this year seems to take the cake. One day the sun is shining, it’s warm, flowers are blooming and the next day we are covered with snow and ice! Just last week I was in my office near the end of the day. I had come back from lunch about 3 hours earlier and it was nice and warm outside. I didn’t even bother to wear a jacket. After working at my desk for a couple of hours I looked out the window. The sun was behind the clouds, I could see the tree limbs bending to the wind. When I stepped outside I wondered, “Where is my coat?” Temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees and I was in shock. That’s not unlike the experience one has moving from Romans 8 to Romans chapter 9. Chapter 8 is all sunshine. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No condemnation, no separation and in between – no defeat! What a glorious word. What comfort. What encouragement. What peace. Then comes the dark clouds of chapter 9. Paul’s heart is broken over the lostness of his brethren, according to the flesh. He is burdened to the point he could wish himself accursed, damned, for the sake of the Jews. As you work your way through the chapter there are questions about God’s faithfulness and justice, teaching on sovereign election and God’s sovereignty in showing mercy to some and hardening others. Romans chapter 9 is not for the faint of heart!
As I worked my way through the text trying to outline the chapter here is what I came up with:
- A burdened and broken heart – 9:1-5
- A somber and troublesome question – 9:6-13
- An even more disturbing answer – 9:14-29
- An undeniable conclusion – 9:30-33
While this is a theologically heavy chapter don’t let that frighten you away. This is a wonderful chapter affirming God’s power and sovereignty which are essential to our having any hope or confidence. At the heart of chapter 9 is the question of God’s faithfulness. In responding Paul appeals to God’s sovereignty as the basis of our hope. The truth of the matter is that if God is not faithful to His word, we cannot count on Romans 8 being true!
Once again there is the danger of focusing on the question of election and missing the larger truth. I’m not saying it is nonessential or unimportant. I’m saying too often we focus on the wrong aspect of the truth and neglect other applications. At the heart of this chapter is the question of salvation and how it is we come to faith in Christ. I’m afraid there is the tendency to analyze such passages to death. We want to dissect this doctrine, analyze its particulars and methodically explain it when it is intended to inspire worship and adoration! I’m convinced this is a text that ought to inform our understanding of the gospel and evangelism. Far from discouraging evangelism, the truths of this passage ought to inspire it. Rather than distract us it ought to empower us.
As we work our way through this chapter I want you to keep this in mind…
Thesis: Biblical evangelism demands a full-orbed Gospel.
Full-orbed means a well rounded, complete and faithful, taking everything into consideration.
Text: Romans 9:1-33
There are 3 things I want to point out, in light of this text.
- A full-orbed gospel understands “lostness” and knows the pain of a broken and burdened heart. (9:1-5)
- A full-orbed gospel boldly grapples with the weighty issues of theology in seeking to be faithful in applying the biblical text. (9:6-29)
- A full-orbed gospel comes to rest on the doctrine of salvation by faith because of God’s mercy and grace. (9:30-33)
What then shall we say? What are we to conclude?
Those who didn’t pursue righteousness – found it.
Those who did pursue it – never did.
Because salvation is by grace because of faith.