Dear jesus
our lord our risen savior we thank you
that you are raised from the dead
that you have called us to a holy
that you are the firstborn overall
you’re the first of many sons
risen from the dead and we thank you
because of your resurrection
we live in hope of our resurrection
we thank you for that grace poured out
we thank you for the love of jesus
shared father you have called us to
that grace and that love in the world
father we pray that you will make
us a faithful
people a faithful vineyard
in your church that brings the hope of
to our neighbor and to the world
in jesus name all god’s people said
amen please be seated
our parable this morning
is really about it’s really a paradox
thanks brother i appreciate it the
about service and faithfulness when we
look at it jesus is telling the parables
of the kingdom
here in matthew and he tells of a master
of a house who planted a vineyard
and as any master would do
an owner of land he expects it to
and yet he goes away
and the servants not only don’t really
but they take it for themselves
and there’s a lot of this idea of
in jesus parables of this stewardship
and producing fruit and
also of keeping what we have
for ourselves right
and you know that uh
parable of that we are not to uh
put our light under a basket
but we’re to be a light a city set
on a hill as
jesus says in the sermon of the mount of
of matthew’s gospel
and so we enter into this kind of
paradox where god’s
called us to faithfulness but as we read
our passage in romans this morning
and as we’ve been reading in romans
that’s not always so easy
is it it’s not always easy to be
faithful because
you know we are bound by our own flesh
we have weakness we have inconsistency
and sometimes we
sometimes we get comfortable
and not
not laboring at our best
and yet god has called us to this
paradox of faithfulness and he’s called
the church
into the world
to be a light to the world
and so it’s good for us to ask ourselves
every now and then what
is the purpose of the church
what is the body of christ here for
why did god put us
and i can say initially that the church
is here
to serve the spread of the gospel
now if i use the book of matthew as
cliff notes you know
then it makes it kind of easy when i
look at those last verses in matthew
the great commission go therefore and
disciples of all nations
baptizing them in the name of the father
son and the holy ghost
and teaching them all that i command he
gives us both the task
and the content of that task what are we
to do we are to make disciples and
baptize and when we
when we baptize people
we baptize them into the body of god
we are part of this body of
christ this universal body of christ we
live in one locally and that’s our our
to be a faithful member in the local
church is to be a faithful member
in the church catholic as we may call it
because this is where we live right this
is where
these are the christians that god put us
and this is the neighborhood
and part of the world that he put this
to labor in and so the great commission
calls us to bring that message
of the gospel when we
come to paul’s passage this morning
he says this i’m speaking the truth in
christ i am not lying
my conscience bears me witness in the
holy ghost that i have
great sorrow an unceasing anguish in my
for i could wish that i myself were
accursed and cut off from christ
for the sake of my brothers my kinsmen
according to the flesh they are
israelites and to
who to them belong the adoption the
glory of the covenants and the giving of
the law
the worship and the promises
and to them the long the patriarchs and
from their race according
to the flesh is christ who is god over
blessed forevermore and paul
shares here for us a burden that he has
for his brothers his jewish brothers
who don’t seem to know jesus
and our situation isn’t quite the same
as paul’s it’s very similar
because we have brothers and sisters and
mothers and fathers and
and and friends and neighbors
okay we’re we’re not most of us in this
room to my knowledge most of us are not
and paul is talking about a special
burden here but paul’s burden for his
was came out of his overall burden for
christ he was the missionary
apostle to the gentiles he was driven
by bringing the message of the hope of
jesus to the gentiles
and yet he brings out this paradox to us
this morning with this
controversial doctrine in the new
called the purpose of god or the four
the predetermined purposes of god
a great paradox
those words that some of us sometimes
don’t like to hear
predestination and election and those
become scary words to us and they don’t
to scare us and if the whole doctrine
is upsetting to you that’s okay you
don’t have to spend
a lot of time on it i was spending
some time with a friend recently and
he asked me why some people get so
worked up
about this doctrine they spend so much
especially when you’re dealing with the
kind of the presbyterian and reformed
crowd he said the new testament doesn’t
talk about it that much so why do they
get so worked up about it and i
i explained well you know that’s what
our human tendency does sometimes we
pick particular doctrines that we’re
going to fuss over
get everything out of balance you know
and it’s very possible to have all the
furniture in the room but have it very
and so we have to keep things into
when paul is talking about predestined
election here
he’s not talking about something that
to fuss and fight over as the church
it’s a
paradox it’s a paradox it’s hard for
human minds to understand how god can
give us
a will and say you’re responsible for
your actions and yet
at the same time said we would we would
do nothing right if it wasn’t for the
purposes of god
the name of john calvin is usually
associated with this i think
calvin would repudiate that himself
and calvin actually said much to his
credit he said this is
not a doctrine you should think about
too long unless you enter into a
labyrinth for which there is no escape
so calvin who’s usually doubted at the
guy the calvinism
you know he didn’t come up with that
term calvinism
and uh he he recommended about spending
recommended against thinking too long on
it because it’s beyond the human mind
but my question for us today is in our
service to jesus in bringing the gospel
world how does it matter and that’s why
paul brings it up
in romans that’s why we don’t sugarcoat
it that’s why we don’t skip it
and what i want to say to you is that uh
you know it’s one of the toughest
doctrines the bible and it’s often
presented as being against
evangelism but in the new testament it’s
actually presented
as just the opposite you see we’ve been
reading with paul the book of romans and
we’re now in chapter nine
and all through chapters one through
seven we heard
all about about how lost man is
and how depraved we are and how
even paul as the illustrious apostle
laments in chapter 7
that even when he wants to do the right
thing he still goes and does the wrong
thing sometimes
now listen let’s all be honest you know
when you open up the pages of the new
testament you see someone like
paul or matthew or peter you’re like
oh we all like
they were godly men they were godly
and you know what they were godly but
you know what what i love about the
bible you know one of the reasons why i
know it’s truth
is because it never covers up their
you know in galatians paul is talking
about when he dressed down the apostle
peter in front of the church
he ripped into him and called him a
hypocrite in front of the whole church
that’s the apostle peter
okay all of us fall short
all of us slip into hypocrisy all of us
fall to our ego and with paul’s very
dim view of humanity his dim view of his
humanity how would anybody
come to jesus if god didn’t make the
move if god didn’t come
to make the first move you see the
reason the book the
the idea of predestination election is
brought up in the bible at all
it’s to humble us that at the end of the
day if we succeeded anything
what do we say glory to your name o lord
you did it that’s what it’s about it’s
about humility it’s not about
theological arguments
see paul says in back in romans 7 18 he
says for i know that
nothing dwells in nothing good dwells in
me that is in my flesh for i have the
desire to do what is right
but not the ability to carry it out and
so with paul’s view
of our sin nature how would anybody come
to jesus
without the spiritual help of the holy
without the spirit of jesus you see
the predetermined purpose of god is the
basis for
evangelism and you don’t need to turn
there but i’m going to read something to
you from acts
and acts 18 9-10
luke writes this and the lord said to
one night in a vision do not be afraid
but go on speaking so paul was being
at this time in his evangelistic
and he says you know what i want you to
do go on speaking
go on preaching the word do not be
for i am with you doesn’t that just
sound like the great commission
go make disciples and lo i am with you
to the end of the age and then he says
and no one will attack you to harm you
i have many in this city who are my
i have many in this city who are my
why does god say that to paul
what he’s saying is be encouraged don’t
lose heart
there are people that i have already
to be my people that i’m sending you to
tell them about
and they don’t know me yet
but they’re already my children i’ve
called them
in this city and you’re the scent
emissary and that’s as true for
us as it is for paul we
are sent into the lives and circles of
friends that we live in
to bring the hope of jesus
we got that we are sent and the
basis of your confidence to share your
is that jesus has already called
anyone that you will lead to jesus
and if you feel god that you know that
little annoying reminder that little
annoying tap on the shoulder
have you called this person to spend
some time with them have you
thought about inviting them to your
bible study have you thought about
doing this or that and you’re like yeah
i don’t know i don’t know
that might be the spirit saying this is
one of the people i’ve called
and he’s trying to get our attention you
know what i’m talking about right
you see the whole gospel is based on
predetermined purpose and foreign
knowledge of god in fact i’m going to go
to acts 2
right now all right and i’m gonna read
you something it’s a very important
scripture in the new testament i think
one of the most important
jesus at paul is i mean peter speaking
on pentecost
and he says this to his jewish
that he’s trying to witness to he says
this jesus
delivered up according to the definite
and foreknowledge of god
jesus is we say in the creed weekly
whether it’s the nicene or the apostles
and in all the scriptures we read
crucifixion was not an accident
jesus’s crucifixion was planned
the writer of revelation says that he
was the lamb that was slain
from the foundation of the world
before we even sinned at the foundation
of the world god somehow
saw you and me and everyone
that he is called by his name redeemed
the blood of the land him being
delivered up according to the death of
definite plan of foreknowledge of god
you crucified and killed with lawless
hands of
men but god raised him up losing the
pains of death because it was not
possible for him to be held by it why is
it not possible for
jesus to be held for by it
because it’s the purpose of god amen
it’s the purpose of god and why
is it impossible for the gospel to be
by it because of the determined purpose
and foreign knowledge of god
and if you’re saying right now well i
still don’t get this doctrine that’s
you don’t have to you’re never going to
you’re never going to completely
understand it it’s what we call an
it’s a paradox there’s things in god
that don’t apply in our world
in the physical world you can’t put god
in a box
you can’t measure god you can’t pull out
your ruler
and apply it to god and so paul asked
the word
does the word of god fail he says in
verse 6 but is it it is not as though
the word of god has failed for not all
who are descended from israel belong to
and not all children of abraham
because they’re his offspring what he’s
saying is not just according to
to fleshly birth he says but through
isaac shall your offspring be named and
he’s making a point there
that it wasn’t that the the called
offspring wasn’t ishmael
it was isaac and god did good to ishmael
he made a point of that but he says this
in verse 8 this means that it is not the
children of the flesh who are the
children of god but the children of the
are counted as offspring for this is
what the promise said
about this time next year i will return
and sarah shall have a son
you see god has called
the children of the promise
so the question is is how is it that god
well god’s saved by his word of promise
made a promise to abraham
and then he continued that promise to
isaac and jacob
and says i will give you a son
and in that promise there would be
a great son a son
of adam as we learned in chapters 5
and six of romans a son
of abraham isaac and jacob as we see
here and a son of david as we see
in so many other places and that son
would be jesus
and you see god brings life
from the dead the whole gospel
in a dead womb
did you get that in a dead womb
a 90 year old woman
we recently buried our sister
barbara jennison that would be like
barbara jennison
getting pregnant
that’s mind-boggling to us
but that’s where the gospel begins
god likes presenting the gospel in a way
nobody can take credit but god and
that’s the way it is
in our evangelistic pursuits it’s not
the pressure’s not on you all he asks us
to do
is to share because he’s already got
people in the city amen
he’s already got people and so god
takes what is impossible and makes it
and so he says i will have mercy
on whom i will have mercy in what
follows below
and verses 14 through 18.
what shall we say then is there
injustice on god’s part by no means
for he says to moses i will have mercy
on whom i will have mercy
and i will have compassion on whom i
will have compassion
and so here it is so it depends not on
human will or exertion
but on god who has mercy and oh there’s
so much more we could talk about there
how god raised up pharaoh to destroy him
and we could banter and we could
argue about that and we’re not going to
do that
if you want to talk about it i’m my
door’s always open
but paul asks is there unrighteousness
with god no
god is a god of compassion
you know i think c.s lewis was right
this isn’t his exact words but he
basically said
and this is the gist of his book the
or one of the gists of his book the
great divorce my favorite book
next to the word of god is that there’s
nobody what he basically said is there’s
nobody in hell who doesn’t choose to be
and how that works out with the
predetermined foreknowledge of god
is not always clear
god seems to have the plan made from the
beginning that’s what he says in his
he believe he says it i believe it and
i’m just going to be an
obedient child and follow it but i still
think louis is right
i don’t think there’s anybody who’s in
who doesn’t want to be there
but we can say this
without the foreordained purposes
of god there would be absolutely nobody
in heaven
without the four ordained purposes of
there would be absolutely nobody in
because it’s goodness that gets us
that’s goodness that gets us to heaven
and only god
is truly good as paul has been teaching
us here
and so it doesn’t depend on our own will
or our human exertion but on god who has
and brothers and sisters getting back
to our own salvation that’s what carries
that’s what carries you that’s what
carries me
into the kingdom is not our own will or
but the will and exertion of god and so
when you
feel broken down when you feel exhausted
when you feel bound by your own
sin it’s the grace
of god that carries you
it’s the grace of god that carries us
and he’s called us to just share that
grace to share
that hope that no we don’t have to carry
ourselves across the finish line
jesus carries us across the finish line
and so my question for us as a church
is who has god put in your life to bring
the hope of jesus
if you can’t answer that question
there’s no condemnation
right there’s no condemnation to those
who are in christ jesus
but maybe it’s time for us to start
praying that god
you put me here to share the hope of
your son
who am i supposed to be talking to now
am i supposed to be sharing the hope
of your resurrection and the hope of
eternal life
and then what steps god will you
lead us in to engage that person
with the love of christ
and i don’t mean that you’ve even said
anything sometimes it just starts with
having coffee or tea having them in your
life you know
every person that i’ve had the privilege
of seeing them come to faith
in the lord through my life
and through mine and my family’s witness
it’s always after they first
became a part of our lives and then they
started becoming a part of our church’s
that’s how how god means for it to
it’s a process of adoption into
this new body the church
and you see so many times we start with
it upside down which we want to call
people to believe do you believe this
are you ready to accept jesus
rather than invite them into the
experience of our life
and our church where they go oh these
people love me
and accept me and uh
there’s something about these people
that care about me
and they begin to experience the gospel
instead of being called to just make
some kind of cerebral
decision that comes that’s part of it
it’s absolutely necessary
but most of us don’t make our biggest
just by the facts
so paul’s lament is that his israelite
that they might know christ so my
question for us this morning brothers
and sisters
is what is our lament don’t necessarily
mean a sorrowful
lament maybe a joyous lament
maybe tears of joy who is god
calling us to touch their lives
this week this year amen

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