Romans- Session 10- Mercy- Romans 11:17-32

Romans 11:17-32

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Subject:  Mercy

Central Theme:  Responding to God’s Mercy

Objective Sentence:  We should respond to God’s mercy in salvation with three attitudes.

Keyword:  Attitudes

Attitude #1- Humility.  V. 17-21

Attitude #2- Gratitude.  V.22-24.

Attitude #3- Awareness.  V.25-32

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Today I want to take you back to your playground or P.E. days.
  • It’s time to play dodgeball and they are choosing sides.
  • What’s the first thing you do?
  • 2 Kids decide to be captains. They stand to one side and then the rest face them on another side.
  • They bicker over who will choose first. Once they come to some kind of agreement they start to choose.
  • Usually there is no mystery to two of the choices. Most of the people about to play know who is going to be picked first.  They also know who will be picked last.
  • Were you ever the person to be picked last?
  • Or stated another way- were you ever left out?
  • Maybe it wasn’t dodgeball. Maybe it was by a particular group of friends.
  • Maybe you didn’t get invited to the party.
  • Maybe you thought you interviewed really well, and then you found out someone else got the position.
  • Whatever your story is, you know the pain of being left out.

Tension:

  • Today we are going to see that Paul shared some great news.
  • That great news is that no one is excluded from the gospel.
  • No one is uninvited.
  • In fact, the invitation of the gospel is meant for all people.
  • No one is left off the invitation list.
  • God’s mercy is extended to everyone.
  • And for those of us who have been invited and received God’s mercy we can have a wrong response to the mercy of God.
  • We can begin to think wrong things about our position in Christ.
  • We can have ungodly attitudes in response to the mercy He has shown to us.

We should respond to God’s mercy in salvation with three attitudes.

Attitude #1- Humility.  V. 17-21

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (18)  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.  (19)  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  (20)  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:  (21)  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.  Romans 11:17-21

 

Explanation:

  • In Romans 10 Paul had emphasized that salvation was possible to all who called on Christ for salvation, both Jew and Greek.

Romans 10:12-13  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  (13)  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

 

  • This was potentially controversial to many Jewish people because they thought of themselves as God’s chosen people.  This is true.  They are God’s chosen people, and not all the promises made to ethnic Israel are for anyone but them.
  • It was also a concept that could make gentile believers have a heart of arrogance about themselves.  They could begin to believe that now they were better than Israel, or that God was through with them.
  • Paul wanted to make it clear that God was not through with Israel.  Earlier in the chapter of today’s highlighted text Paul addresses this concept:

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  (2)  God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.   Romans 11:1-2a

 

  • He says in verse 3 that there are a remnant of Israel who believe in Christ by faith.  They are saved by faith through grace just as the gentiles are (v5).
  • When we get to today’s highlighted text, Paul likens the scenario to two different olive trees.
    • There is the cultivated olive tree (Israel) and the wild olive tree (Gentiles).
    • The gentiles who believe in Christ are like branches of the wild tree that have been grafted to the cultivated tree.
  • What does the word “graft” mean? Here is a definition:

1a: to cause (a scion) to unite with a stock

also: to unite (plants or scion and stock) to form a graft

b: to propagate (see PROPAGATE sense transitive 1) (a plant) by grafting

 

Here is a picture of an olive tree that has had branches grafted in:

  • He warns them to be careful not to be “highminded” or arrogant, but rather to be fearful or respectful of what God has done.
  • Why?  “Because of unbelief they were broken off”.  He goes on to say, “if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”
  • One of the interpretive mistakes that people make in this text is to take this passage in an individual way rather than in the way Paul intended for the original readers to take it.
  • He is not saying that if the individual gentile believer is prideful, they will lose their salvation.
  • He is making the statement that the gentile believers as a group ought to be careful not to be high minded and arrogant.
  • Salvation came through the children of Abraham, through the lineage of David, to be obtained by the blood of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Application:

  • Our salvation should in no way make us haughty or prideful.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says this,

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

  • There is no boasting in anything but Jesus Christ in the life of the believer.

Attitude #2- Gratitude.  V.22-24.

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  (23)  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.  (24)  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?  Romans 11:22-24

Explanation:

  • “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God”
  • Paul is describing here the response of God that flows out of His nature.
    • Those who reject Christ and choose to follow their own way, in this context describing the unbelieving Jews, would be dealt with in God’s “severity”.
      • This is speaking of the righteous judgement and wrath of God on the unbelieving.
    • To those who believe, in this context the gentiles to which Paul is writing as part of the local body of believers in Rome, God’s goodness in salvation is expressed.
      • God’s response is to the faith of the individual.
      • Those who are truly regenerate are saved.  Those who reject, if they were to repent and believe, will be graffed back into the tree.
      • All who reject, jew and gentile, will endure the severity of the Lord.

Application:

  • These two traits seem at first glance to be incompatible.
  • God is able to be holy and loving at the same time.  He is gracious and just.  He deals with severity and goodness.  These are not incompatible for an infinite being.
  • The most obvious and necessary response to this passage is for both groups- the unbelieving and the believing.
  • We must choose to respond understanding the severity of God.
  • If you don’t know Christ, let this cause you to pause and consider the state of your soul, and your eternal destiny.
  • If you know Christ as Savior, may it cause you to ramp up your evangelistic activity, for “how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Attitude #3- Awareness.  V.25-32

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  (26)  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  (27)  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  Romans 11:25-27

Explanation:

  • In these verses Paul wants to reveal a “mystery”.
  • A mystery in the New Testament sense is a previously unrevealed truth that God was now revealing.
  • He says He wants the gentile readers to know this mystery because he doesn’t want them to be “wise in your own conceits”.
  • This was another reference to pride that they may have been tempted to feel.
  • He had already mentioned to the gentiles that they ought to be careful about thinking that they were something because God was working among them in verse (see Romans 11:18-20).
  • The mystery being revealed about Israel is what is called in this text the “blindness in part” of Israel.
  • God had allowed for blindness among His people for His missional purposes.
  • What were those purposes?
    • Here it is called the “fulness of the Gentiles”.
    • The idea of fulness is the idea of something filling up, or coming to some kind of completeness.
    • God has a plan to allow this hardening while many gentiles come to know him as Savior.
  • He wants the gentiles to know though that God is not through with Israel, as he stated in verse 1.
  • He says here “all Israel shall be saved”.
    • Just because God is dealing with national Israel at a different level it doesn’t mean that he will not keep His promises to national Israel.
    • God does not have in mind here that every individual person who is ethnically Jewish will be saved, but rather God will keep His promises to Israel as nation and do for them what He has promised to do.
    • There will be a ruler again on the throne of David in Jerusalem where the Deliverer, Jesus, will rule and reign.
    • There will be many who come to know and recognize Christ as the Savior and Messiah.  They will follow Him as King.
    • There will be a spiritual repentance and turning back to God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

Application:

  • God keeps His promises.  You can trust God to do what He says He will do.  There is a time between the promise and the fulfillment, and we must trust Him in that time.
  • God is a missionary God.  When God called “father Abraham” and made the promise to him, the promise was that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.  This promise is being fulfilled as the missionary purposes of God to redeem people from every nation, tribe and tongue are coming to pass in the world today.  This was and is God’s plan.
  • God wants us to be humble.  Salvation is available and all glory in it should go to God and not to us.  He should get the glory!

Response:

  • Trust God.  You may be in a time between the promise and the fulfillment.  Remember, the just shall live by faith.
  • Be on God’s mission today.  God has asked us to join Him on His mission.  Proclaim the Gospel to someone today.
  • Watch out for pride!  Find a way to humble yourself and glorify God in word and deed.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  (29)  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  Romans 11:28-29

Explanation:

  • When it comes to the gospel and the great commission, many of the Jews had made themselves the enemies of these gentile believers.
  • They did not recognize Jesus as Messiah, and had at times even persecuted local assemblies of believers in Christ.
  • In that sense the Jews as a category of people had made themselves the enemies of the gospel.
  • Paul makes the distinction though, that this did not mean God was going to abandon Israel.
    • Israel was and is still going to be the chosen people of God because God had made promises to the patriarchs like Abraham and David.
    • God will fulfill the covenant He made to Israel through Abraham, David and others.
    • This does not mean that every Jew will be saved.
    • It does mean that every Jew can be saved, and that God will keep His promises to Israel.
    • The gifts and calling of God promised to Israel are for Israel and will be given to Israel despite how the Jews at that time were responding to the gospel.
  • Verse 29 does not mean that repentance is not necessary for individual salvation from sin.
  • To be saved one must recognize their sinfulness and call on Christ to save them as a sinner.
  • Paul is referring to the promises of God made to Israel that were unconditional.
  • Since God made unconditional promises to Israel, He will fulfill those promises despite the present heart condition of many of those people.

Application:

  • We should have a desire for all people, including Jewish people, to believe on Christ.  God has not cast away His people.  He loves them.  We also should trust in the promises of God.  He is a promise keeping, never changing God.

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: (31)  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.  (32)  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.  Romans 11:30-32

Explanation:

  • The partial and temporary allowance of Israel’s hardening in unbelief of the Gospel has resulted in the gentiles hearing and believing the Gospel.
  • Ultimately there will be a revival among the children of Israel and they will believe in great numbers again.
  • God has allowed a temporary and partial unbelief so that his Divine salvation can be heard and believed throughout the world.
  • We know what God’s will toward the individual:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9

Application:

  • What God has promised to Israel He will do.
  • What God has promised to us He will do.  His desire is for His glory, and for the salvation of sinners.
  • God is working in the course of human history so that people would know and believe in Him.

Response:

  • We must trust God in all that He does because of who He is.  What is a way that you can trust in God’s plan today?

 

Conclusion:

Objective Sentence:  We should respond to God’s mercy in salvation with three attitudes.

Keyword:  Attitudes

Attitude #1- Humility.  V. 17-21

Attitude #2- Gratitude.  V.22-24.

Attitude #3- Awareness.  V.25-32

1 thought on “Romans- Session 10- Mercy- Romans 11:17-32”

  1. Praising our glorious Lord for His love and amazing grace! That He saved and loves me and has equipped me for serving Him on His mission field is an incredible and powerful act of grace! To faithfully and humbly obey Him in gratitude is truly a precious!

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