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There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)

Pastor Heo, Romans: The Righteousness of God, Sermons

There is a Future for Israel (Romans 11:11-24)

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There is a Future for Israel

Romans 11:11-24 (Pastor Heo)

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!


Romans 9, 10, 11 as one unit = the Vindication of God’s Righteousness through Israel’s full history

  1. Past election
  2. present rejection
  3. future restoration

This is full of the story of Israel.

Each chapter starts with a great concern about Israel.

  • chp 9: I speak the truth, my conscience confirms it, I have unceasing sorrow and anguish in my heart for the salvation of Israel.
  • chp 10: My heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
  • chp 11: Did God reject them? By no means, I’m an Israelite myself.

Jesus: “Blessed is the one who cries, for he will laugh.”

If you have joy/peace/laughing in your heart because of your salvation, you must have great sorrow/pain/weeping for the salvation of others.

For whom do you cry?

Last Sunday, we saw 2 of 5 proofs for the restoration of Israel.

In chp 11, there are 5 proofs that God is not yet finished with Israel.

Proofs

  1. Paul himself – his own conversion is an illustration of the future restoration of Israel
  2. Elijah – he lived in the worst era of Israel’s history – God said, “I have reserved 7000 for myself who don’t bow down to Baal”

What does this mean?

  1. There has never been, nor never will be a time in history when the WHOLE nation has been faithful to God
  2. NOR is there a time when the WHOLE nation has been unfaithful.
  3. There is a remnant in every country.

This morning. Let us see proofs #3, 4

#3. Gentiles

v. 11-15

“11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring! 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

In chp 2:1-3, Paul used the Gentiles to prove the Jews guilty of sin. “You, Jews, have no excuse – you who pass judgment on others – because you are doing the same things.”

Here, again, Paul uses the Gentiles to assure the Jews’ future restoration.

When the Jews rejected this gospel, God sent it to the Gentiles, and they accepted and believed and were saved. At least three tragedies happened to the Jews.

  • v. 11 – the nation fell
  • v. 12 – the nation diminished
  • v. 15 – the nation was rejected

But none of these three things suggest a “final judgment” on Israel. The amazing thing is that through the fall of Israel, salvation came to the Gentiles.

Hosea 2:23 “God says, ‘I will show my love to the one I call not my loved one, and I will call them my people who are not my people, and they will call me their God.'”

These OT promises to the Gentiles were connected to Israel’s rise. Isaiah 60 make it clear that the Gentiles will share in the kingdom and life of the Gentiles. But… Israel did not rise, they fell. So, what did God do to the Gentiles? He introduced a new factor: the church. This church is called a “mystery.” (Eph 3) This was not revealed in the OT. But this does not mean that God has abandoned his kingdom project for Israel. They are only set aside until the appropriate time.

Now, the Gentiles have a vital ministry to Israel. They provoke Israel to jealousy because of their spiritual blessings in Christ.

Today, Israel is spiritually bankrupt, and have fallen away. When Jesus comes again, they will be accepted again. This is called “full inclusion” (v 12) and “acceptance” (v 15).

Yes, God wanted to rule over Israel in their history – but they didn’t allow God to rule over them. So, God will OVERrule them. This is God’s plan for them.

#4 Patriarchs – founders of Israel

Today’s lesson is Hard Food, not soft.

Review the 4 proofs up to now:

  1. Paul
  2. Elijah
  3. Gentiles
  4. Patriarchs

Paul looks to the past to show this. He used two illustrations to prove that God is not finished with Israel.

  1. Lump of dough (for baking bread)
  2. Olive tree

v. 16a “16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy;” (reference: Numbers 15, Leviticus 23)

1. Lump of Dough

The first part of the dough had to be offered to God as a symbol that the whole lump belonged to God (tithes & firstfruits). This also happens in the Feast of the Firstfruits. The priest offered the first sheaf of the harvest as a symbol that the whole harvest belonged to God – by God’s mercy and grace.

The principle: If God receives part, he sanctifies the whole.

God received the founder of the nation of Israel (Abraham) and so set apart the whole nation as holy. He also received the other patriarchs – Isaac, Jacob, etc – despite their flaws and sins. This is another proof that God has set the whole nation apart as holy and has a plan for them.

In our personal lifestyles, we also offer tithes.

We recognize that “all I have and earn” belong to God. “I’m a steward” and all I have belongs to God. This is the starting point, the beginning of the true Christian life – practically and spiritually. Offering tithes is the beginning point of the Christian lifestyle.

If the first part is holy, the whole batch is holy.

2. Olive tree

This is a symbol of the nation Israel. (Jeremiah)

v. 16b-24 “if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

To understand this passage clearly: keywords

  1. Olive tree
  2. Root
  3. Grafted in (접목하다)

Paul is not discussing the relationship of individual believers to God. But he is discussing the place of Israel in the plan of God.

  1. Jeremiah / Hosea declare the olive tree as a symbol of the nation Israel.
  2. The Root is a symbol of patriarchs who founded the nation. God made his covenant with the patriarchs. He never denied them nor changed them. Thus, his promise to Abraham sustains the nation of Israel even today.
  3. Many Jews do not believe in Christ even today. They are pictured as the branches that are broken off the tree.
  4. Other branches are grafted onto the tree and share the life of that tree. These other branches are the Gentiles (collectively).

But there is one strange thing (v. 24) – Paul says that this grafting in is “contrary to nature” – going against the natural principles of this world.

  • Usually, cultivated branches must be grafted into wild trees to share the tree’s life.
  • But in this case, wild branches were grafted into a cultivated tree.

This is because “Salvation is from the Jews.”

No matter how far the nation of Israel (branches) stray, the root (patriarchs & God’s covenant to them) is still good. God will never neglect his covenant with them. That means that some day, the nation of Israel will flourish again in God’s kingdom.

Some of us may ask today:

“So what does this matter to me?”

Even through three chapters – in one of the most important books in the NT – the #1 epistle of Paul’s – we cover the story of Israel. Why is this so important?

Application to our lives (4 things):

#1 Physically, Christ came as a Jew

Salvation is from the Jews. The Bible is the story of the Jews (past, present, future)

  • PAST: Elected by God’s grace/mercy – not because of their faithfulness or merit
  • PRESENT: Rejected because of their faithlessness

If this rejection lasts forever, then our own salvation is completely unstable. It would mean that our salvation also depends on our faithfulness.

BUT – we can say that our salvation is due to God’s grace, not our own merit.

So, we must be humble and thankful to God through our study of Israel. Our own salvation is due to God’s covenant and promise to the patriarchs of the Jewish nation (through whom the Messiah, Jesus, came).

#2 We are debtors of the gospel

The message of the gospel came to us through the rejection of Israel.

So, we enjoy the gospel today, but it must go back to Israel through our preaching.

  • Because of Israel’s rejection, we received the gospel.
  • This gospel must return to Israel through our preaching.

#3 God’s covenant with Abraham is still alive

We are “children of Abraham”

The first covenant is in Genesis 12:1-3 “I will make you into a great nation. I’ll bless you and make your name great. I’ll bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. All people on earth will be blessed through you.”

This is through God’s “WILL”

This covenant is being fulfilled spiritually through us (Gentiles) – and in secular, physical history, it is already fulfilled through the Jews as well.

In history, no nations that remain against the Jews, remain prosperous.

  • BC 721, Assyria conquered Israel. There is no more Assyria.
  • BC 586, Babylon conquered Israel. There is no more Babylon.
  • Amalites, Moabites, Edomites, Hittites, etc, no longer exist anywhere on earth.
  • But there exists the nation of Israel.

This is the physical fulfillment of God’s covenant.

And spiritually, all nations will be blessed through you (through us) – is happening now.

#4 God’s final plan: to unite in Christ

No more Jew and Gentile, no more male and female, no more slave and free, etc.

Eph 2:11-18

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Getniles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human nhands )- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foriengers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

In Christ, we are ONE. Brothers and sisters. We are members of one eternal family.

Conclusion: Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female. We are all ONE in Christ.”

In the eyes of God, there are only 2 kinds of people:

  1. IN Christ (saved)
  2. OUTSIDE Christ (lost)
  • If you are outside Christ, you must come to Christ to be saved.
  • If you are in Christ, you must go to the lost and say to them, “Come!”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you life, rest, salvation, peace for your souls.”

Let’s pray individually now.

In the beginning of my sermon I said, “If we have joy for our salvation, we must have sorrow for others. If we laugh for our salvation, we must cry for the salvation of others.” Your brothers, sisters, family, loved ones, parents, children, neighbors, etc.

Let’s pray.

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