Green Valley Sermons

A Remnant Saved by Grace  

Sunday, May 10, 2015         

Rom 10:16-11:15

16 However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, " Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "Their voice has gone out into all the earth,And their words to the ends of the world."

19 But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? At the first Moses says, "I will make you jealous by that which is not a nation, By a nation without understanding will I anger you."

20 And Isaiah is very bold and says, "I was found by those who sought Me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me."

21 But as for Israel He says, "All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."

11:1 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 "Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life." 4 But what is the divine response to him? "I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 7 What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day."

9 And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap,And a stumbling block and a retribution to them. 10 "Let their eyes be darkened to see not,And bend their backs forever."

11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? NASB

We move into the 11th Chapter of Paul's letter to the church in Rome. Since chapter nine (9) Paul has been expressing his heart felt desire to see his people, that is, the people of Israel, saved.

What Paul does for us is to use Israel as an example of what NOT to do to be saved. He follows the example of Jesus who was very hard on the leaders of Israel, the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus was often at odds with them because of their self-righteous use of their religion for their own purposes. They were not interested in glorifying God. They were seeking to glorify themselves.

Paul has continued in that way, to point out to the Jews who would be reading his letter, to the Gentiles, and to us, that the means of salvation is grace through faith. It is not in obedience to the law, but walking in the Spirit of God that saves us. It is putting our faith, not in our ability to obey God, but in God's ability to love us and to lead us that saves us.

Paul quotes God, speaking through Isaiah, in chapter 10 verses 20 and 21: "I was found by those who sought Me not, I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me."

21 But as for Israel He says, "All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."

God laments over the children of Israel for their disobedience and obstinance. They refused to follow God, to trust Him to love them and to lead them. God stretched out His hands to Israel, but they refused to accept His offer.

God says He was found by those who did not seek Him. And He became known to those who did not ask for Him. We, who are not members of the family of Abraham, have come to God and accepted His offer of grace. We have come to believe that God loves us and will lead us to glorify Him instead of ourselves.

God loves us. He is our Lord.

As Paul wrote about the loss of God's people Israel, I can hear the sorrow in his voice. He was concerned about the loss of his people. Paul, however, does not believe that all of Israel has lost their way. As we move into chapter 11, we see him point out that fact. He uses himself as an example. He has come to believe that many of his people are seeking God in the wrong way, but not all have forsaken God.

There are many who have come to Christ and are living out their relationship with God based, not on their own works, but on the basis of God's amazing grace received by faith. He says that in the same way that there was a remnant of Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal in Elijah's time, there was also in Paul's time a remnant who had accepted the truth and were trusting God instead of their own works to save them.

There were many who believed that God sent Jesus as Messiah, that He had given His life for them, and that God had brought Him back to life. They were trusting God. Paul was one of those who had been won over to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

In the early chapters of the book of Acts, we see more than 5000 in Israel who have come to accept the Lord, to believe that He is the Messiah for whom they had been waiting for so long.

A remnant. I think I first heard the word remnant from my Dad's mother. She made quilts and rugs. Some of you know where I am going with this. The quilts she made were constructed from old clothes that had been discarded because of tears or they had been outgrown. She would take those, cut them into squares and other shapes and piece those “remnants” together.

She also used remnants of old clothes to make rugs. She took those clothes, cut them into strips and sewed them together. Then she set up her loom and used heavy string as the base for the rugs. The strips of cloth, that is the remnants, would be woven into those strings to make rugs. I used to sit on the floor by her and watch her weave those rugs. I can almost picture her hands, swollen with arthritis, taking the hand carved wooden shuttle and weaving it in and out of the string. She knew how tight to pull the remnants, and when to stop and pull down on the rows of cloth to tighten them up.

Her loom was hand made. It was made from boards and nails.

It was always nice to have a rug to step onto when you first got out of bed on cold winter mornings. Mom also kept them near the doors of the house and we were to wipe our feet on the rugs when we came into the house.

This is the picture Paul paints when he uses the word remnant. The kingdom of God is pieced together from the broken and worn out of the world. We come to God when we have given up on being able to live without Him. We hear the good news that God loves us and has a plan for good for us. We can either accept this gift, or reject it. The church, God's people are the remnant of the world who have chosen to give themselves to God and trust Him to save them.

Paul was more specifically speaking of the remnant of Israel that was saved. In Romans10:2 he said of them: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” NASB

They had missed the truth. They were seeking to be righteous, but were not going about it in God's way. We must seek Him according to His plan. As John tells us, there is no other way to come to God, to be saved, than through the Son of God, through the plan that God has made.

We do not please God by obeying the Law. We please Him when we put our trust in Him to save us and begin following Him out of love for Him, instead of out of love for ourselves. This, Paul says, is God's righteousness. Israel missed this truth. They sought God, but were not seeking Him in the way that God had planned. We must seek Him on His terms, not our own if we would be part of the remnant who are saved by God's grace.