Alright, Romans chapter 9. Romans chapter 9, and we begin now this extraordinary chapter. So let me begin by reading the passage. If you’re taking notes, this is entitled, “Burdened for the Lost.” “Burdened for the Lost,” Romans chapter 9. We’re going to look at the first five verses today, we’re just going to put our toe in the pool of this extraordinary ocean of truth.
Paul writes, “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”
So, with these verses we start a whole new section in the book of Romans. Romans 9, 10, and 11 stand as one unit and address a monumental question that Paul must answer. The question is this, if God is sovereign in salvation, if God chooses those whom He will save from before the foundation of the world, and if God irresistibly calls to faith in Jesus Christ every one of His chosen ones, as we just saw in Romans 8, then why are God’s chosen people, Israel, still in unbelief? That’s the question on the table. If God is really sovereign and has chosen people for salvation, then why are God’s chosen people not saved? That is the question, and Paul will take now three chapters to address this monumental question, and in these three chapters there is extraordinary truth for us to know and to have.
So, why are God’s chosen people still lost? Why have God’s chosen people not chosen Christ? And so the question is, has the eternal will of God failed? Have the promises of God gone unfulfilled? And so, Romans 9 will present Paul’s magnum opus on the doctrine of sovereign election. Nowhere else in the entire Bible do we have a tour de force like what we have in Romans 9 in his presentation of the sovereign election of individuals for salvation from before the foundation of the world.
And it will take us several weeks in February to plough our way through Romans 9, and I think it will be one of the most rewarding spiritual experiences that you will ever have in your Christian life. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. And what Paul will demonstrate to show is that within the chosen nation there is a remnant that are chosen for salvation, that not everyone in the chosen nation of Israel is chosen for salvation, and he will say and we’ll look at it next week, not all Israel is Israel. There is a larger circle of national Israel, but within the larger circle of national Israel, God always has a chosen people that is a smaller, concentric circle.
It’s just like not everyone in the church is saved. There is a smaller circle within any church, within every church that actually really is regenerate and knows the Lord. So, not all Israel is Israel and not all the church is the church. And there is the sovereign election of God that is a smaller, tighter circle, and that is what Paul will set forth in this entire chapter of Romans chapter 9. And it will be breathtaking, it will be jaw-dropping as we will work our way through it.
But first, this morning, the first five verses, and the importance of these first five verses to us – and this is still by way of introduction – is that we do not want to ever become callous or lukewarm toward unbelievers. We do not ever want to become cold Calvinists. We do not ever want to become one of the frozen chosen. We do not ever want to become callused about the state of unbelievers. And just because we believe in the doctrine of sovereign election, in no way whatsoever does that pour cold water on the flame in our heart. In fact, it pours gas on our heart, and it causes our heart to be ignited even more for those who need Christ.
So, verses 1 through 5 in Romans 9 plays a very important part in how we view even the doctrine of sovereign election. It should never make us just merely academic or theological. It should never make us passive or apathetic. We want to put ourselves into the skin of the Apostle Paul in these opening verses, and his heartbeat must be on our heartbeat. And what we see here is Paul is deeply burdened for his fellow Jews who are without Christ, just like you and I need to be deeply burdened for our own family members who don’t know the Lord, for our own work associates who do not know the Lord. We can never see the world the same again. There needs to be deep sorrow within our hearts for those who are without Christ.
I mean, when we go to the grocery store, when we go to a football game, when we go to the mall, there needs to be a recognition within our own heart, “Not all these people know the Lord, and I need to be concerned for them that they know Christ and as God gives me the opportunity for me to speak for the Lord Jesus Christ.” My wife yesterday was in a department store and shared with me giving a witness to a man as she was trying to find some shoes and talking to him at length as God just opens this door to walk right through it with a semi-truck, testifying to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. God gives us these divine appointments, and we need to be spring-loaded and ready but we also need, within our own heart, to be moved for people who need Christ.
So, let’s look at these verses. I’ve got a killer outline for us, alright! The first thing I want you to know is in verse 1, “Paul’s Affirmation.” Paul is about to say something that is so extreme and seems so over the top that he has to say what he says in verse 1 before we get to verses 2 and 3. So, verse 1 is Paul’s affirmation that he really is telling the truth, as he says this. So, he begins by saying, “I am telling the truth.”
Now, let’s just stop right there. Paul, don’t you always tell us the truth? Hah! I mean, why would you say, “I’m telling the truth,” when you always tell the truth? Because what he’s about to tell us is so unbelievable that in a sense it takes this prelude to say, “No, I really am telling the truth.” And he is stressing and over stressing the veracity of what he is about to say.
And then he adds, “in Christ.” Do you see that? And when he says “in Christ,” the essence of this is “I am calling on Christ Himself to bear witness that I am telling you the truth. I wouldn’t lie to you, but I sure wouldn’t lie in the presence of Jesus Christ to you,” and this is just like 2 Timothy 4 verse 1, where Paul says, you know, “I’m saying this to you in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and by His coming.” He brings Christ into this. This is almost like taking an oath, putting your hand on a Bible and saying, “I’m telling you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
If that were not enough, he then adds, “my conscience bearing me witness,” which is just another layer of emphasizing “What I’m saying to you is the genuine truth.” Your conscience is what distinguishes between what’s right and what’s wrong, and it’s like an inside smoke alarm that goes off when you don’t say something is true. As soon as it comes out of your mouth, your conscience reminds you, it awakens you and says, “You know that’s not true, you know you just exaggerated.” That’s your conscience, bearing witness to you on the inside. And Paul says, “My conscience is crystal clear and clean as I tell you this. I am not exaggerating.”
And then, if that were not enough, he gives a fourth layer and adds “in the Holy Spirit.” And so, he now appeals to not only the second but to the third Person of the Trinity, the Spirit of truth. That’s how Jesus identified the Holy Spirit in John 14, the Spirit of truth. So, it’s even the Spirit of truth who testifies in my inner man that I’m telling you the truth in this. So, Paul bears down on the truth.
And just a word of application, men, before I go any further, it is a mark of godliness to always tell the truth. We cannot shade the truth, tell a half-truth. Half the truth is no truth, half the truth is a lie. We have to be men who are truth tellers, and especially in your business practice your word needs to be your bond. It should just be a formality that you would have to sign a contract or have some notary stamp as this is authentic. You need to be known as a man of the truth and that your word is solid gold.
Alright, so that’s “Paul’s Affirmation.”
So this leads now, second, to “Paul’s Anguish,” and we start to get in to why he would belabor the point that I’m telling you the truth. So verse 2 is Paul’s anguish, and he says that, “I have great sorrow.” Now you know what this sorrow is about because I’ve already read the whole passage. It’s about those who are without Christ. Now please note, he doesn’t just have sorrow, he has great sorrow. And this word “great” in the original language is a word that you’ll recognize immediately. It’s the Greek word megas, which comes into the English language as “mega.” Paul says, “I have mega sorrow,” and when you look this up in a dictionary, this word means exceeding sorrow, immense sorrow, enormous sorrow, like heart wrenching, heart breaking sorrow.
And the word “sorrow,” I looked it up. I just want us to have a feel for the intensity of this. It means “sorrow to the point of deep pain within your innermost being.” It’s a deep heaviness that will not go away. It’s used in John 16:21, Jesus uses the very same Greek word to describe a woman in labor and the excruciating pain that she suffers in delivery. It’s the word that was used in John 16:6 when Jesus told the disciples, “I’m about to leave” when He was in the upper room and gave the upper room discourse. And it brought heart wrenching sorrow that they’re about to leave… He’s about to leave them.
So, Paul has this great sorrow and then he adds, “and unceasing grief,” which means it won’t go away. It’s not something that comes and goes, it’s is not something that every once in a while, I have this fleeting emotion. This…he wears this like a coat. I mean, this is constantly pressing upon his soul.
When he says, “unceasing,” it means it’s continuous, constant. And the word “grief” here means it’s just all-consuming, it’s eating him up, it’s tearing him apart. And then he adds, “in my heart,” and he wants us to know this isn’t something that just lays on the surface of his life, it’s not something that’s just an external facade, but it’s something down deep in the very epicenter of his being. You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt this, just to be very honest, to this extent, and it’s something that only God can do. We can’t just kind of psych ourselves into this, this is an overflow of your own walk with the Lord and your deep convictions about heaven and hell, and salvation and damnation, and for the weightiness of this to rest upon you as you consider the Great White Throne Judgment and what awaits those, or even loved ones, who do not truly know the Lord.
As you contemplate this with an eternal perspective, we begin to wade out into the depths of what Paul is experiencing here. And Paul is not a spiritual lightweight, I mean he had a gravitas about him. The word gravitas is Latin, it comes from “gravity.” There is a pushing down, a weightiness about this that you and I need to feel something of this. We are men of joy and men of happiness, but we are also men of deep sorrow for those who are without Christ.
And let me just give you one verse from the life of Christ Himself, because this is very Christ-like. And it’s Matthew 9 and verse 36, it’s a very important verse. And Matt, remember when your dad did a word study on this verb I’m about to read, it was an eye-opener for me, I’ll never forget it, and he did it maybe twenty-five years ago. Matthew 9, in fact, your name for this book in the Bible, Matthew 9 verse 36, just to remind you the obvious. Matthew 9 verse 36, John MacArthur actually sent Matt here to get my notes, okay, so they’ll be going back on the plane. So all right, Matthew 9 verse 36, “Seeing the people,” which means the vast multitude of people without the Lord, “He felt compassion.” He felt compassion for them, “because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”
Let me tell you what this, “felt compassion,” actually means and it’s such a long Greek word, it’s too convoluted to even try to repeat. But it means “out of the bowels,” to yearn out of the bowels. We normally say “out of the death of our heart,” but the Hebrew expression was even deeper, because my heart’s not only here metaphorically, or physiologically, my intestines are even deeper. And that’s what this verb “felt compassion,” it means “to have the bowels yearn.” We would put in the vernacular “to feel something in the pit of your stomach.”
I mean, there are times you receive news that is just so alarming that you just can’t eat. It may be the death of a loved one, it may be the shocking news from a doctor, and you just lose all sense of appetite because there just like a bowling ball is down in your stomach, this weightiness. That’s what this word “felt compassion” means, and it means to feel something in the seat of your emotions. Well, the walls came tumbling down. That’s how Christ felt, that’s what Paul is feeling here, a deep sorrow and unceasing grief.
So, here’s what I want to say to us. As we will be studying the doctrine of election in this chapter, Romans chapter 9, and we have already studied it in Romans chapter 8, “predestined,” may it never cause us to be desensitized to people who are without Christ. It’s the heart of Christ for us to love all people, and we don’t know who the elect are, and we don’t know who the non-elect are. We just go share the gospel with everyone but to share the gospel with everyone, we need to feel something for everyone.
And when you study these doctrines of grace, you really have to think, you have to be a cognitive thinker to connect the dots, you have to be analytical. And sometimes it can pull us away from our emotions and detach us, and sometimes we see some hyper-emotional church service on television, and we go “No, I don’t want to be hyper emotional,” and so we swing the pendulum in this…way in this other direction and we just become like library nerds who have no feelings, whatsoever.
No, we need to be moved to the point of tears for people without Christ. So, may we never be mechanical in our ministry and just go through the empty motions, may we never be so cognitive that we lose our affections and our affections for lost people.
Alright, this leads to the third, and I guess I should just ask you the question or make this point of application before I move on to the third heading. Ask God to give you this kind heart, ask God by the Holy Spirit to plough up the hardened crust around your soul. It’s not going to happen with just mood music, it’s not going to happen with just some deathbed illustration. It’s going to have to be a deep, abiding work of God in the epicenter of your soul, so deep that only God can do it. Ask God to do that. I need for God to do this in my life.
So, this now leads to third, “Paul’s Affection,” and we see now why he is so broken up on the inside. And so he begins verse 3, “For,” which I’ve told you introduces an explanation of what he has just said. So the word “For” tells us, “here is why I have unceasing sorrow, here is why I have great sorrow.” “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ.”
Now, as he says this, we know that this is hypothetical because he just told us, let me remind us in chapter 8 and verse 35, “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” rhetorical question, the answer of which is “nothing and no one.” So, he has just belabored that, and in verse 38 and 39, he says he knows that nothing can separate him from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. So he knows, doctrinally and theologically, nothing will ever separate him from the love of Christ. But there is such a conflict going on inside of his soul as he considers those who are without Christ that he wishes, and he genuinely, genuinely is saying, “I would bear their tribulation if they could but know Christ.”
The word “accursed,” I need to point out to you, is a Greek word that…as soon as I say it you’re going to recognize it, anathema, and the word anathema means “to be damned.” It means “to be doomed to destruction,” it means “to be plunged into the lake of fire and brimstone and to suffer the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, and to come under the fierceness of the unmitigated wrath of God in hell.” That’s what the word “accursed” means, and it means “to be cursed by God.” It means “to be the object of the vengeance and the fury of a holy, omnipotent God.”
This is not a light thing and “to be accursed” is reserved for false prophets and false teachers who distort the gospel, Galatians 1:8 and 9. And Paul says, “I could wish that I were accursed, that that I could be damned in their place,” and then he adds, “separated from Christ.” Well, we know that he cannot be, but he is in essence saying, “It’s what I’m feeling in my soul. My head tells me I’m eternally secure in Christ, I know that. But my heart hadn’t caught up to my head, and my heart is being ripped apart on the inside.”
And this is so real, that’s why he had to say in verse 1, four layers, “I’m telling the truth,” “in Christ,” “my conscience bearing witness,” “in the Holy Spirit.” “What I’m about to tell you is so heavy, I’ve just got to nail it down with these statements that I’m telling you the truth.” This is not hyperbole, this is not an exaggeration, this is the absolute truth of Paul’s testimony.
And he gives more information now. Why? He says, “I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren,” When he says, “my brethren,” he’s talking about fellow Jews, “my kinsmen according to the flesh.” And when he says, “according to the flesh,” he’s talking about racial, national Jews, Israel. Kinsmen, “my fellow countrymen related by blood birth.” So here’s what Paul is saying, let’s just get the full impact of this, “I am willing to lose Christ if they would but gain Christ. I am willing to go to hell, if they could but go to heaven. I am willing to suffer damnation, if they could but savor salvation. I am willing to be plunged into the lake of fire, if they could but drink from the river of life.” That’s what Paul is saying.
And I want to tell you the truth in Christ, I’m not at this point yet. And I need to be making strides to get to this point. And you with me need to be taking at least some baby steps in this direction to feel pity and compassion for those without Christ, or we will never get out on a limb and be the witness for Christ we need to be. We’re just going to hold our cards close to the vest, and we’re just going to play it safe and not fly the flag of Jesus Christ until we get to this point of feeling this.
So let me just ask you, as Paul’s talking about his kinsmen according to the flesh, let me make this personal for you. You have kinsmen according to the flesh, you have blood relatives, you have a mother and a father, you have a brother and a sister, you have a son and a daughter, you have in-laws, you have an aunt and an uncle, you have cousins, and out of all those different buckets there are people who are without Christ. There’s not a man in this room who can say, “No, across the board every single one of us know the Lord.”
And there will even be people in your family who go to church and who say they’re a believer, but there’s no fruit that really accompanies their confession. And you cannot be so naive as to just take their confession at face value. We’re not to be judgmental, but we are to be fruit inspectors. And if there is no fruit, then with love in our heart we need to be continually bringing the gospel to them in different ways as is appropriate, as God opens these doors, and as you give careful thought “How can I let out some rope? How can I scatter some seed to witness to them about Christ?”
But Paul is burdened here for those who are the closest to him. And we need to be burdened for people we’ve never met, we need to be burdened for people in China and India and Tibet, but it needs to begin at home, and it needs to begin with those in your inner circle. And that’s where Paul is, and that’s where you and I need to be. And again, we need to be taking steps in this direction. We can’t be rescued off the Titanic and not feel something for those who got on board with us, and who are sharing a cabin with us and who are sitting at the same dining room table with us when there is an extra seat in the boat, the rescue boat, that they could hop in, if we have to go back in and swim to get them and pull them into the boat, we need to be persuasive and do this. We need to be burdened for the lost, and that is the heart of God and the heart of Christ and the heart of Paul. We need to have not only the mind of Christ and the mind of Paul, but we need to have the heart of Paul to go with the mind. It’s not either/or; it’s both/and.
So this leads now, fourth, to “Paul’s Assessment” in verse 4 and the first part of verse 5. Paul now itemizes why Israel has such privileges with God. And it deals with why Israel has squandered such privileges that have been afforded to this nation, and he will now give eight privileges that have been afforded to the Jew. And there’s parallel application for those of us, you know, people who have grown up in church, these same privileges. But please note in verse 4 he says, “who are Israelites,” so he’s defining the end of verse 3, “kinsmen according to the flesh,” lest there be any mistake in anyone’s mind, they’re Israelites, “to whom belongs,” and now comes this laundry list, and I’m going to walk us through it, because Paul put it in the Bible and there’s eight of these.
Number one, he says “the adoption as sons.” What that means is in the Old Testament, in Exodus 4:22 and in Hosea 11:1, God refers to the nation Israel as His firstborn son. Now that’s not referring to the new birth per se because not all Israel is Israel, but it’s referring to God’s care and provision for the nation Israel, like a firstborn son. Ford, you’re a firstborn son. I’m a firstborn son. Matt, you’re a firstborn son. Kent, are you…you’re a firstborn son.
There is a certain special care for that firstborn. I mean, I had more pictures taken of me, you would think my younger brother was never born, and you would think there were like twenty-eight of me, but there is a certain care and affection that a firstborn son receives, and that’s the idea behind this. And so, it’s just referred to as the adoption as sons, that Israel was adopted out of all the nations in the earth. God showed far more care for Israel than He did for the Egyptians, you know, the Canaanites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians. They receive special attention.
And then he adds, “and the glory,” that’s second. “And the glory” here refers to the outshining revelation of God, that God made Himself known to Israel. It’s not just that God was good to Israel; God made His glory shine to Israel. And this is really referring to even the making known of the gospel and the way to know God that was not made known to nations around the globe. God gave special saving revelation of Himself to the nation Israel and how to know Him.
And then third, “the covenants.” That refers to the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic covenant, the Palestinian covenant, the Davidic covenant. I mean, God entered into a contractual relationship with the nation Israel and pledged Himself and promised and swore by His own name that He would keep His word to the nation Israel in ways that He did not so enter into binding relationship with other nations.
And then fourth, the giving of the Law. Wow! God gave the Scripture to the nation Israel, the moral law in the Ten Commandments, the ceremonial law, the entire sacrificial system, the civil law of the nation Israel was to govern itself. What a privilege!
And then fifth, “the temple service,” referring to just the entire sacrificial system, the priesthood, the sacrifices, all of that was a picture of Calvary. It was all a graphic illustration of Jesus our high priest who would give Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins upon Calvary’s cross. Every sacrifice that was brought in the ceremonial system was a dress rehearsal for Golgotha. Israel was so privileged.
And then seventh…excuse me, “the promises,” sixth, “the promises,” I skipped over, the promises referred to the promises of the coming Messiah. From Moses to Malachi, all of the…oh, there’s over a hundred specific prophecies that were given in the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and even more.
And then seventh, “whose are the fathers,” and this refers to the birth of the nation from the loins of the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And then the cherry on top, eight, “from whom is the Christ.” I mean, think about this. Jesus was born a Jew, He was born of a Jewish mother. He was born in the Messianic lineage. He was a son of David, a greater son of David. He was as Jewish as any Jew could be. I mean, what privileges were afforded to those who were born in the nation Israel. And all this did was escalate their accountability and responsibility to act upon the truth to God. “Unto whom much is given, the same shall be required,” that’s Luke 12 verse 48. “From everyone who has been given much, much will be required.” God’s expecting far more from a Jew than someone born on the other side of the globe who never heard the name of Christ. Both when they die without Christ will go to hell, but there will be a far greater and more severe or severer punishment in hell for those who have the greater privilege but who trample underfoot the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, let me make an application before I go on here, I wonder if the same could be true of you. I don’t know where everybody is, only the Lord knows where everybody is. Have you been given special spiritual privileges of hearing and knowing the truth of the Word of God as you have grown up? Did you have parents who took you to church? Did you have a mother who prayed for you? Did you have a father who told you the truth about salvation in Jesus Christ? Then why do you, like Israel, remain unbelieving if you are not yet committed to Jesus Christ? Greater privileges have been afforded to you than even Israel knew because you live in a day of the fulfillment of the promises, and the Messiah has already come, and He has already kept the law.
So, before I move to the last heading, I just want to ask you this heart-searching question, men, have you been born again? Do you know the Lord in your heart? Do not be like Israel and even have the privilege of coming to a Bible study like this and have someone who’s preached for almost fifty years and who has studied the Word hard for over forty years, go verse by verse through the book of Romans, word by word and pull it out, and still not have Christ in your heart. Don’t let that happen to you. Be all in with Christ.
And if you’ve never committed your life to Christ you can do so before I get to the fifth point. You can do so right now, just say, “Lord what a sinner I am. I confess my sin, have mercy upon me the sinner.” And believe in Christ who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless and perfect life, died a sin-bearing death upon the cross, was buried, raised on the third day, has ascended to the right hand of the Father. And whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. To call on the name of the Lord means you’ve come to that crisis point of commitment of your life to Christ.
Well, let’s go now to the fifth and final point. And it’s “Paul’s Adoration.” At the end of verse 5, Paul breaks out in into a doxology, and Paul’s cup is so full of love for Christ that he cannot even mention the name “Christ” without bursting forth in a doxology. And it reminds me, and Kent, you can connect with this, it reminds me of W.A. Criswell down at First Baptist, Dallas. In his preaching he could not say the name “Christ” without crying, without his voice. And Matt, your dad, came to his funeral here. And W.A. Criswell preached the twenty-fifth anniversary of your dad’s…remember, he took the Bible and threw it out into the…that’s what liberals do. Took the Bible and he threw it out into the congregation about eight rows up into Grace Community Church.
I remember the last times I heard W.A. Criswell preach, he would say “Christ” and that voice would just begin to crack, he just couldn’t hold the emotion back. That’s were Paul is. He cannot say “Christ” without bursting forth into this doxology and men, I need to get to that point. And I want to tell you I’m not always at that point, sometimes but not always. And we all need to get to that point, that Christ just moves our soul that just even the mention of His name stirs the waters.
So, notice how he ends verse five, and this is really a great way to end because the juxtaposition of this, as I read this, Paul now turns on a dime and he goes from the depths of despair, “I wish I was accursed,” and “great sorrow,” to now to the heights of ecstasy. I mean, it’s like a round of golf. I mean, this is like from double bogey to hole in one. I mean, this is like he’s burdened and broken up and now by the end of verse 5, he’s like a rocket launch to the heights of heaven, and we need both. We don’t go around just moping all the time, we have this sorrow, but there is also this celebration within our soul on the greatness of Christ, right? It’s not mutually exclusive; it’s mutually inclusive.
So, notice how verse 5 ends and I want God to imprint this on my heart, “who,” and that’s a personal pronoun that refers to Christ, who, not what, “who is over all.” Let’s just linger here for a moment, let’s just enjoy this. “Over” means “to have authority over, to have charge over.” It’s not just you’re seated up in the clouds, it means you have the reins of the universe in your hand, and everything is under you. You are over it all. If you had an organizational chart of the universe, this pyramid at the top is Jesus Christ, and everything and everyone is under Jesus Christ. This is a statement of sheer sovereign lordship is what this is. This is Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto Me,” all authority. There is no authority but that it’s in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let’s just play with this for a moment. “Over all,” “who is over all.” He is over all demons, He is over all circumstances, He is over all His enemies. He is over all unconverted hearts. I mean, He can crack open that heart anytime He wants to. He is over all spiritually blind eyes. He is over all unregenerate souls. He is over all prayer requests. He is over all human wills. He is over all opposition. He is over all difficulties. He is over all trials. He is over all persecution. He is over all martyrdoms. He is over all. It’s all under His nail-pierced feet. And He exercises His right to rule over all. There’s no little side bar on this organizational chart of the universe. You know how sometimes there’s a little dotted line and some secretary’s way out over here on the side or some, you know, intern? No, no, no, there’s no side dotted lines on this organizational chart. Everyone is lined up, marching order under the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the potentate of the universe, Jesus Christ.
Now note the next word, please note the next word, “God.” Who is Jesus? God. Here is an explicit declaration of deity. Not an implicit, meaning reasonably assume, no, this is blaringly obvious, it is explicitly stated. He is God. Let every cult member read this loud and clear. He is God, capital “G.” That’s not referring to the Father; that’s referring to the Son. You can see that in your own Bible. “Christ who is over all,” “God blessed” means to be praised, to be worshiped. And this too is another statement of His deity, because only God is to be worshiped, right? No angel, no man is to be worshiped, God and God alone. “You shall have no other gods before you,” that’s the first commandment, Exodus 20 like verse 3, but Jesus is to be worshiped.
For how long is Jesus to be worshiped? “Forever,” and that is a Greek word that means “unto the ages,” unbroken ages without end, forever and ever and ever.
So, what should be our response? Next word, “Amen,” for the Presbyterians, “Aamen,” amen, and if you’re like a back-row Baptist, “A-a-a-men.” Amen, and in the Greek, you know what it is? Amen. It just comes directly into the English language exactly as it is in the original language, and it just simply means “it is true,” “it is so,” “so be it,” “yes, a thousand times yes.” And Paul Amens his own sermon here. Kind of like the Baptist preacher, the sermon was so good he signed his own Bible. Paul is just like saying, “This is good stuff, this is great truth, amen to what I just said,” and amen from every one of our hearts as well. So, this is the doxology, this is the adoration, this is the praise that must be within our own heart and soul for God, and specifically for the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So I’ve been applying this all the way through, and I can see Kent looking up some questions here, and I won’t have time to take some. Do we have any questions there?
“It was real confusing, so I have a lot.”
Okay, okay. So, what did you type in, Kent? Oh okay, all right.
Let me just begin this closing application. What we should take from this is, as we walk out of here, we need to see people as either saved or lost, not as Republican or Democrat, not as Texan or foreigner, not as male or female, you’re either saved or you’re lost. Those are the only two categories in the world. And as we see and discern people to be lost, we need to see them as in the flames already, and we need to feel something for them, or we’ll never talk to them, and we’ll never reach out to them. We need to almost have smoke on our clothes that we’re so close to the flame that we feel, in the depth of our being, their lost condition.
And though I can never lose my salvation, to know some little small smidgen of what Paul is saying here, I would trade places with you if that’s what it took to get you in Christ. And we need to do whatever is necessary to bring the gospel to people like this.
All of us either do this, we either take the gospel to lost people or we bring lost people to the gospel, it’s one of the two. So, we either go to people who need the Lord and with a burden in our heart, or we bring them to where the gospel can be heard, one of the two.
So all of us need to be thinking about that, to whom would the Lord have me reach out and risk maybe even a relationship and say, “I have a concern out of love for you,” and just share the gospel? Or to risk a relationship and say, “Hey, would you come to church with me? Would you come to Bible study?” And you know, not everyone that you would invite even to this Bible study is going to think, “Wow, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.” I mean, there are going to be people you might invite be turned off by this, especially with these next verses that we’re going to be looking at. But let the chips fall where they may.