Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Church and Israel - Rom 9:1-5

Few topics have caused as much controversy in the Evangelical churches as that of the relationship of the church and Israel. Much of this controversy comes from the popularity of End Times books by Tim LaHaye. Having failed to have a lasting effect in the scholarly community, modern Dispensationalists, like LaHaye, have taken up the genre of popular fictional writing. Few Evangelicals know the history of these teachings which started with John Nelson Darby in the early decades of the 19th century. Couple that with concern for the state of the world and the potential for profit is enormous.

Lectionary text for Week ending July 31, 2005
This week the Lectionary text is Romans 9:1-5. The subject of Romans 9-11 is God's relationship to Israel. Earlier in Romans 8, Paul has just completed saying that God does not forsake His people. He then proceeds to say why Israel was forsaken by God. The stumbling block is Jesus as Messiah. Their refusal to accept Jesus as their Messiah is the reason that they are rejected by God. They were loved for the Fathers, but if they do not love the Son, they are not accepted by God.

Weakness of the Lectionary text this week
Unfortunately, the Lectionary text is quite short. That allows the preacher to bring in extra information. Verses from the rest of chapter 9 of Romans can be used. The idea that God has extended the call from beyond historical/national Israel into the world is both humbling and awe inspiring. We are not to take this the wrong way. We could be grafted out if we do not have faith, too.

Preaching Option #2
Another course may be to go into the life story of the Apostle Paul. The conversion of St. Paul is one of the best proofs of the Christian faith. How else could one explain the change in Paul unless he really met Jesus on the road to Damascus. The fact that Paul was willing to die for Israel is seen clearly in his return to Jerusalem in Acts 21.

Preaching Option #3
Another course may be to explain the future of Israel. The Lectionary texts of the following weeks will cover Romans 10 and Romans 11 so it is probably best to leave that for another week.

The Lectionary

The Lectionary is a weekly selection of Biblical texts. Two of the texts are taken from the Old Testament and two come out of the New Testament. One of the Old Testament texts is from the Psalms. One of the New Testament texts is taken from the Gospels and the other text is taken from the Epistles.

The Lectionary texts are widely used in worship services in a variety of Christian worship services. The Lectionary texts cycle through on a three year rotation. These texts are often read and preached from on any given Sunday.

In theory, using the Lectionary texts allows a preacher to avoid pet subjects. There are possibilities for doing series going through a particular book of the Bible. For instance, the Epistle readings for this summer go through much of the book of Romans. Next summer the Old Testament series will go through the life of King David. This way the preacher can preach a series with predefined texts. Not all verses in a given book are selected. For instance, the Lectionary text for this week is Rom 9:1-5 and the rest of Rom 9 is not used.

Having the texts known ahead of time helps worship committees plan services in advance. Local area ministerial associations may provide a reference for local Lectionary study groups. In these groups, preachers get together and discuss the texts that they will be preaching on that Sunday. This allows for the ideas of others to help in forming Sunday morning messages. There are also a number of Lectionary websites and on-line study materials. Often these archive the materials over multiple Lectionary cycles. These are good sources for sermon illustrations and children's sermons as well.

From time to time, this blog will have Lectionary study notes posted - most often for past weeks. I make no promise to keep them current for the given week, but if there is enough interest and feedback to the BLOG then I will consider doing that.

No condemnation

Lectionary Text - Rom 8:1-11

Series: Help for the helpless

Message: No Condemnation

<>Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you

But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

v1 - No condemnation for those in Christ.

§ We have been told the mosquito is the state bird of MN

o Are mosquitos then in flocks at sunset?

§ The mosquito illustrates the power of the flesh

o Mosquito is a very small bug

§ Yet the mosquito can control a very large person

§ Sends a group of people running

Power Point of this text

· As Christians we have the power to overcome sin.

· Before coming to Christ, we were helpless

· Our help has come

Looking at the text verse 1

Therefore

· therefore = based on the previous points in the previous chapters

· The overall case that Paul is making

· because we are saved by grace ...

· because justification is by faith and not by the works of the Law

· certain things follow

there is now no condemnation

· Illustration - prisoners on the way to the electric chair

· At the very last moment a call comes in from the governor granting a pardoned

· Not because we were found to be innocent

· But because of pure mercy

· There are no more wonderful words than to have no condemnation

· This was back in Romans 5…

· Rom 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

for those who are in Christ Jesus

· for those - select set

· Not all people are justified

· There are people who just play church

· They are not in Christ

· “in Christ Jesus” - key phrase in Paul’s writings

· Our identity is found in Jesus

· We stand in the righteousness of Jesus

v2 - Christ set us free from sin and death.

For the law of the Spirit of life

· Unusual usage of the phrase “Law of the Spirit of Life”

· We usually think of the spirit in contrast to the Law

· In Paul’s writings, "Law" usually refers to the Old Testament Law.

· Law of the Spirit of Life is the Spirit Himself

· Important to remember that the Holy Spirit is not a principle

· The Holy Spirit is a person

· The third person of the Holy Trinity

· Trinity - The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. There is only one God.

in Christ Jesus

· This phrase “in Christ” again

· Identity - who are you?

· As Christians, we are in the process of discovering our identity.

· We wrongly think of ourselves as individuals.

· We ought rather to think of ourselves as being a part of something bigger – the body of Christ.

· For many people the 1960s and 70s were a search for identity.

· The children of those people who were trying to "find themselves" in the 1970s face the consequences of that search today.

· The search to "find themselves" took people far and wide - many away from their Christian heritage.

· The Beatles are a good example of this

· Did any of them become Christians?

· Paul uses "in Christ" 8 times in the book of Romans.

· Paul uses the phrase more than fifty times in his letters

· He uses the phrase "in Christ" three times in significant passages in Romans

· Rom_3:24 - redemption is "in Christ"

· Rom_6:11 - consider yourselves to be dead to sin "in Christ"

· Rom_6:23 - eternal life is the free gift of God found "in Christ"

· The phrase "in Christ" is the key to the reality of our identity as Christians.

· To say that the church is the body of Christ is to say quite a bit about us and Him.

· You could meditate on the phrase and never come to the end of the meditation.

· The search for who we are can only properly be ended by finding our place "in Christ".

· First you find out who He is, then you find your place in Him.

has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

· The Law of the Spirit is set in contrast to the Law of sin and death.

· If you have the Holy Spirit in you, then you have been set free from sin and death.

· Are they equal and opposites?

· Things are never equal and opposite when it comes to God.

· There were slaves at the end of the Civil War who chose to stay on the land of their masters.

· They are freed by they kept acting as if they are slaves.

· We do not have to be slaves to sin any longer if we have been freed by Christ.

· We need to stop acting like we are slaves.

v3 - The Law was weak and could not save

For what the Law could not do

· The Law did not have in it the ability to give eternal life

· Gal 3:21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be!
For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.

· The Law was never intended to give eternal life.

· The Law only had a downside.

· If a person did not keep the Law they were lost.

· Those who kept the Law were never promised eternal life for keeping the Law.

weak as it was through the flesh

· The Law was not inherently flawed.

· The Law came from God.

· The Law is the revelation of the will of God.

· The Law is perfect, holy and true.

· But the Law was weak

· The Law required humans to participate.

· That's where the weakness is found.

God did

· God was the one who put the Law into place

· God was not surprised by the inherent weakness of the Law.

· The weakness of the Law was known even in the creation of the Law.

· There was provision for human failure in the law.

· The law provided a sacrificial system for sin offering.

· But as Heb_10:1 points out even that system had weaknesses.

· Heb 10:1-3 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.
Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins?
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year.

· The system required repetitious offerings.

· Jesus appeared at the right time and place.

· After the destruction of the temple in 70 AD there was no longer a place for sacrifice.

· It took God to do the thing that made us righteous.

· God's requirement was righteousness.

· The Law could not make a person permanently righteous.

· It took a sacrifice on God's part since God is the only truly righteous Being.

· The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for all time and for all people.

· We don't continue to re-sacrifice Jesus.

sending His own Son

· God sent His own pure and holy Son to pay the price for sin.

· This was pointed to way back before the Law.

· God asked Abraham to take His Son, Isaac and sacrifice Him on Mount Moriah.

· This was done as a shadow of what was to come.

· 2200 years later, God sent His Son to die on the very same hillside.

in the likeness of sinful flesh

· This verse has been difficult for some to understand.

· The flesh is not inherently evil.

· Jesus was in the flesh but did not live according to the flesh.

· Jesus faced the same temptations because He was in the body just like we are.

· Jesus was not a puppet for God.

· Jesus overcame these real temptations.

· The three temptations were both real and significant

· Hunger

· Desire to have a sign/wonder to easily convince the Jews

· To be given the entire world

· We do not face temptations of this scale.

· It's not just the death of Christ that gives us power over sin, but the life of Christ that gives us power.

· Great mystery here.

· Jesus had to be in the flesh to die for our flesh.

and as an offering for sin

· The Old Testament had offerings for sin, but they had to be repeated showing their weakness.

· The sacrifice of Jesus is a human sacrifice.

· The Jews were forbidden to sacrifice humans.

· The pagan nations sacrificed children and adults.

· The sacrifice of a human was to only be Jesus - unique in Israel.

He condemned sin in the flesh.

· We were the ones who deserved to be condemned.

· Rather than condemning us, God condemned sin itself.

· This was a might big cost.

· It cost God His only Son.

v4 - The requirements of the Law are fulfilled in the believer

so that the requirement of the Law

· All of the translations have issues with this passage

· GNT "τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ νόμου "

· LITV "righteous demand of the Law"

· NASB "requirement of the Law"

· NIV "righteous requirements of the Law"

· KJV "righteousness of the Law"

· The minor problem is the word translated.

· Most of the words a pretty close.

· Usually the word is translated as righteousness.

· The nuance here is the requirement or demand of the law.

· Bigger issue here is the singular "requirement" since the text is singular, not plural.

· NIV's use of the plural "requirements" is just plain wrong and obscures the point of the text.

· It could have been translated as righteous requirement.

· If you are comfortable with the idea

· You can cross out the "s" on the word if you want to get closer to the text.

· What is being pointed to here is not the hundreds of individual laws, but the single requirement.

· Perfect obedience to the Law is the single requirement of the Law.

· If you break the Law in one point, you break it in all the points (Jam_2:10).

· The problem with this standard is that we all broke that requirement.

· If perfect obedience is required we are doomed without help from outside of us.

might be fulfilled in us

· We are created to obey the Law.

· God wants nothing less than obedience from us.

· But God made provision for our weaknesses.

who do not walk according to the flesh

· Paul is a black/white thinker

· This passage is black and white

· Flesh/Spirit

· Most of us feel like we walk part of the time in the flesh and part of the time in the spirit.

· When we fail to walk in the Spirit, we are sure that we are in the flesh and feel lost.

but according to the Spirit.

· Walking in the Spirit is the only way to have victory over sin.

· Walking in our own flesh will result in death.

v5 - Setting our minds on the things of God

For those who are according to the flesh

· More of Paul's black white thinking

· There are two kinds of people in this world

· Those who believe that there are two kinds of people and those who don't.

· Either you are in Christ, or in the flesh.

· As Christians we are not so much bothered by those who are in the flesh

· We can usually recognize them

· What bothers us more is when we feel like we are in the flesh

set their minds on the things of the flesh

· Here is the place of the battle ground.

but those who are according to the Spirit

· This is part of casting our new identity.

· Do we see ourselves properly - as living in the Spirit?

· Or are we setting our minds on the flesh?

the things of the Spirit.

· Set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

· If you are not in that mode, you can be.

· This is not some mystical thing.

· It is the day to day life of a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ.

· We are to set our minds on the things of the Spirit.

· Parallel passage in Gal_5:16-18.

v6 - Living by the flesh leads to death

· Paul presents yet another contrast here between the flesh and the spirit.

For the mind set on the flesh is death

· The wages of sin is death.

· If you have your mind set on the flesh then the result will be death.

· Not just physical death is in view here, but spiritual death.

· This is a life that is the opposite of life and peace

· This is death and anxiety.

but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

· The gift of God is eternal life.

· Life that is eternal.

· Peace is here and now.

· This peace is between us and God.

· We are no longer enemies of God since we have set our minds on God.

· That may or may not be peace in our external situation.

v7 - To live accord to the flesh is to be hostile to God

because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God

· Battleground is in the mind

· The battle is a daily battle.

· There is no vacation from this battle.

· In fact, taking a vacation from the battle would be to lose the battle.

for it does not subject itself to the law of God

· If you belong to God, then you subject yourself to the Law of God.

· The subjection starts in the mind and the flesh is to follow along.

· "not subject" - military term for taking orders

· Used here to represent continued insubordination to orders

for it is not even able to do so

· Description here is that of a helpless person.

· This person cannot rescue himself.

v8 - In the flesh we cannot please God

and those who are in the flesh cannot please God

· God has extremely high standards.

· God does not find pleasure off those who set their minds against Him.

· The reverse is true.

· If you set your mind on the things of God, then God does have pleasure in you.

· RWP puts it as:

· "This does not mean that the sinner has no responsibility and cannot be saved.

· He is responsible and can be saved by the change of heart through the Holy Spirit."

v9 - If the Spirit is in you, then you are not in the flesh

· Using Paul's black and white thinking

· Either you are in Christ or you are not in Christ.

· How do I know if I am in the flesh?

· Where is my mind set?

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit

· The test is not your actions.

· Good deeds are not the test of whether a person is a Christian or not.

· Church attendance or membership does not make a person a Christian.

if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you

· The test is the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God.

· The Spirit will abide with you always.

· The Spirit promises to never leave or forsake you.

· The key word here is "indeed"

· There are those in this world who have deluded themselves on this point.

· They think that they have God's Spirit but they don't.

But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ

· Spirit of God = Spirit of Christ in the same verse here.

· Parallel usage same thing described.

· RWP sees this as an argument for the deity of Christ.

· The test for Paul was simple.

· This all comes down to the Son.

· Either a person has the Spirit or they don't.

he does not belong to Him.

· Universalism is not true.

· Not everyone is included here.

· Not everyone is saved.

· Either you are a child of God or not.

v10 - Body of the believer is dead but the spirit is alive

If Christ is in you

· Christ is in every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit.

· Christ is in you and you are "in Christ"

though the body is dead because of sin

· We are told to recon the body as dead to sin.

· Paul is going to do something remarkable in the next verse with this point.

· The body will not remain dead.

yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

· The Holy Spirit dwells in the believer.

· The Holy Spirit is called by several names in this passage.

· Spirit of Christ.

· Spirit of God.

· These are the same Spirit.

· The Holy Spirit is the source of our righteousness.

· This righteousness does not depend upon our right actions.

· This righteousness comes from God.

· We did not get this righteousness by actions, nor do we maintain it by actions.

· We aquired this righteousness by faith.

· We maintain this righteousness by faith.

v11 - The Spirit gives life to even our bodies

But if the Spirit of Him

· Spirit of Him - Holy Spirit

· If the Holy Spirit...

· There is no easy test for whether this is the case or not.

· There is no secret handshake or special mark on the body of the believer.

It is the mind set on the things of God.

who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you

· Raised Jesus from the dead - used twice in this passage

· More to this than meets the eye.

· The resurrection of Jesus is more than just a promise for us of our own resurrection.

· There is a connection between Jesus being raised from the dead and our present life.

He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead

· God was the one who raised Jesus from the dead.

will also give life to your mortal bodies

· Interesting part of the passage.

· Some commentators see this as describing the resurrection of the body.

· Others see it as describing more than the resurrection of our body.

· Calvin and others see it as the "ethical renewal of the believer".

· Either way it is a remarkable thing.

· The life of Jesus extends to our physical bodies.

· If the Spirit of God dwells in your body there has to be some difference in that body.

· It may be dying, but it has to be touched with life at the same time.

· The Spirit of life is in you.

· IMO "mortal bodies" - not just in our resurrection bodies, but our current state of mortality

· Parallel passage in 2Co_4:11.

· Even though our bodies continue to be mortal

· They are endowed with life from God.

· This is, in part, why we pray for physical healing.

· True, sickness is a part of this world.

· We all get sick,

· We will all die,

· but the life of God in the body of the believer is a reality, too!

· Our bodies are given life by God here and now.

· We are not completely done with sin or sickness, but we are not powerless over either.

· In Christ we have victory in both areas.

· Ultimate victory is in the eternal state.

· Our bodies won't get sick and we won't die there.

through His Spirit who dwells in you

· People try cosmetic surgery.

· There is only one source of life for your mortal bodies.

· The life of Christ in you.

· Even if the mind was set on the flesh it would still not make a person righteous.

Invitation

· How do you know if you are Christ's?

· After all, we all do sin.

· A simple test is:

· If you do not belong to Christ, then you don't care about this point at all.

· The things of God are foolishness to you.

· 1 Cor 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

· It is only if you are Christ's that the tension of this point is significant to you.

· Failure and recognition of that failure is a good sign.

· A battle present in the mind with sin is a good sign of life.

· If there is no battle then there is no hope.

· If there is a battle then you have a hope.

· Even if you presently do not yet have victory, do you want victory over sin?

· This points back to the inability of the Law to make someone righteous.