Go to Calling the Wayward Home ministy at a specific location.
or view all locations .

Calling the Wayward Home

socialmedia@cityrise.org July 19, 2021 sermons, cityrise, Crosspoint Church - Bellaire, Good News, roger patters, romans, sermon, West U Baptist,

The following is a manuscript of the sermon presented by Roger Patterson on Sunday July 18, at our West U Baptist Church campus. To view the sermon in full, please visit our YouTubpage.

Last week we entered into Romans chapter 11 and we saw the fact that:

  • God’s purposes for Israel have not failed.
  • God has always had a remnant set aside for himself.

Remember Romans 11:1-2…

Romans 11:1-2

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel?

So, God’s purposes for Israel have not failed and he has always had a remnant set aside for himself.

And, I want you to keep in mind that as you study Romans, you are studying the Theology of Salvation – what is called Soteriology.

Now, this section of Romans that we are in, where Paul talks specifically about the Jews, their unbelief, and God’s purposes for them, as well as the Gentiles and their belief in Jesus…this section begins in chapter 9 and goes through chapter 11.

It’s here that I want to point something out to you once again from chapter 9.  As Paul is writing about the Jews, he says in Romans 9:1-3…

Romans 9:1-3

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 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.

Paul introduces this entire section with his burden for Israel’s salvation.

Now, as we get into the heart of chapter 11, I want you to keep this burden of Paul’s in mind. His burden for the Jews is not too dissimilar to that of a parent whose soul aches over a wayward child, and this wayward child has been raised in the faith, taught the things of God, shown the truth and tasted of God’s goodness—yet they still refuse to believe – or they renounce their faith – your faith.

Here, Paul is going to show us that God is up to something with what He is doing in this time in which the rest of the nations are coming to saving faith in Jesus.

By the end of this chapter, he will say that Israel will be saved and we will cover that next week, but let’s read our passage today and see what we can learn from it.

Romans 11:11-24

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion[b] mean!

13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root[c] of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Wow!  Once again, reading this is like trying to take a drink out of a fire hydrant.

But here is what I want to do today. It’s a little different than how I approach most of my messages – but I think it might be the most value-added way of teaching this text.

First, I am going to give you a list of four things that are happening here in this portion that helps us understand Israel’s stumbling over the message of grace found in Jesus. These things are significant and important and help our understanding of this age in which we live as well as enhancing our theological understanding of what God is doing and where history is going.

Then, I’m going to go back to that burden that Paul has – that burden for Israel to be saved – you know, that same burden you have for your loved ones, and in particular, maybe a wayward child.  I’m going to extract some principles to help us all when we come to this place where someone we love, someone we are burdened for, rejects Christ.

Let’s first quickly look at four things going on in this passage that helps us understand Israel’s stumbling.

Four Important Points to Israel’s Stumbling

  1. Israel has “stumbled,” but their stumble is not final.
  2. Their “stumble” had a purpose; it would be used by God to bring salvation to the Gentiles.
  3. The salvation of the Gentiles will lead in time to the salvation of the Jews as a nation, and this in turn will lead to even greater Gentile blessing.
  4. The way this will happen is by the spiritual riches of the Gentiles making Israel envious.

Now how does this impact our lives?

  • Well, as I already said, this helps us understand the age of grace in which we live and that God is and will use us – Gentile believers—to get Israel’s attention.
  • We also see the time in which we live – the church age – where the church is taking the good news to all of the nations.

But I also see some principles that help our burdens for those we love who have rejected Christ that I want to highlight.  You see, this burden for him to swap places – to become accursed for the sake of his brothers and sisters if he could – this stirs me.

You see, Israel is like that wayward brother or sister, son or daughter, husband or father, that we all know and love and want to come home.

  • What do we do with our wayward child?
  • What do we do with our wayward spouse?
  • Is there any word for us?

I believe that there is. And I see three principles here in this text that an help us.

Here they are:

What do you do with your loved ones who reject Jesus?

  1. Double down and don’t give up ground.
  2. Trust that God can move their heart.
  3. Stay open to the unconventional – it may be exactly what God uses to change their heart.

Let’s look at this first one –

I. Double Down and Don’t Give Up Ground

Look at verses 13-14 with me.

Romans 11:13-14

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 

Notice this word, “MAGNIFY.”  It means to PRAISE, or to GLORIFY.

When we give praise or glory to something, we give weight to it. We give emphasis to it. We ZOOM in on it and make it more significant.

Paul gives weight to and glory to and worth to his ministry to the Gentiles. Paul ZOOMS in on it to show the joy, the goodness, the life-transformation, the mercy, the riches and the great blessings of God.

And he does so, in order to what?  In order to help them see, “Hey, you are missing out.”

When I see this principle in play – Magnifying God’s work in other’s so as to let someone else know that they are missing out, I can’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:16.

Matthew 5:16

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

All too often, when someone we love is tired of hearing it and they have hard hearts, they demand we shut up – “PLEASE BE QUIET!” they demand.

But that would be hiding our lamp under a buschel, wouldn’t it? Instead, let your light shine!

MAGNIFY!  ZOOM IN! GIVE WEIGHT TO:

  • your righteous way of life
  • your boring testimony
  • your peaceful good relationships
  • your walk with God
  • the joy you get at the church with the people of God

Zoom in on the Gospel and submitting to the Gospel message so that others can hear and see and be saved.

My friend – DOUBLE DOWN AND DON’T GIVE UP GROUND!

But Don’t…try and take the role of the Holy Spirit.

Which leads me to my second point.

What do you do with your loved ones who reject Jesus?

  1. Double down and don’t give up ground.
  2. Trust that God can move their heart.
  3. Stay open to the unconventional – it may be exactly what God uses to change their heart.

What do you do with your loved ones who reject Jesus?

II. Trust that God can move their heart.

Look with me at verse 23.

Romans 11:23

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.

If they don’t continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them in again.

You see, Paul is about to say in verse 26, “And in this way all Israel will be saved…” and then he will express the, “…the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God.”

Paul is saying, God has a plan. You may not see it all or be able to comprehend it all, but He has a plan to save Israel.

But I want us to focus on this statement in verse 23, “…for God has the power to graft them in again.”

Romans 11:23b

…for God has the power to graft them in again.

Here is my question for you: Do you believe that God has the power to capture the heart of your son or daughter, sister or brother, husband or father?

  • Is he strong enough…yes or no?
  • Is he kind enough…yes or no?
  • Is he wise enough…yes or no?
  • Is he patient enough…yes or no?
  • Is he loving enough…yes or no?

Answer it out loud with me this time: Is God strong enough…yes or no?

YES…He is strong enough.

Notice the longsuffering patient nature of God.

2 Peter 3:8-9

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God’s heart is for their salvation. God is patient, desiring all to reach repentance. Church, God is mighty to save. He moves mountains. He parts seas.  He brings dry bones to life and gives them flesh.  He knows how to take out giants that threaten with fear. He is not limited.

So, trust him, as only He can change hearts.

And listen, to trust in God means to wait on God. When you put a deadline on it, it’s just another way of trying to control things.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

Okay God…you’ve got 3 weeks to fix this!

You’ve got 5 days to change his heart.

I’ll stay for one month, God. After that, I am out of here.

We impose deadline on God – timelines in which we mandate the Almighty to work, and then we say – “That’s it! I’m done. I’ll take over from here and take the action I want to take!”

My friend, that’s not trust.

You see, inherent in what Paul is teaching about the nations coming to faith and all Israel being saved is a sense of trust – trust in God’s timing – trust in God’s leading – trust in God’s plan.

And I don’t know if you know it or not, but folks who live in our part of the city – you know, the hard charging, type A’s of this city – not you of course, but your neighbor – well, guess what?  They aren’t prone to trust!  They are prone to taking over and taking action.

But there are a handful of things that expose our lack of control more than someone else’s life that we love going off the rails.  And we try to fix it. And we try to lecture it.  And we try to shame it into conformity. And we love it and we give and we give and we give and then we take away whatever we can. We do it all in order to fix it.

And guess what?  We…Can’t…Fix…It!

We have to trust and surrender and believe God is in the heart changing business.

Let me say that again…we have to trust and surrender and believer that God is in the heart changing business…and we have to put them in His hands.

Because we can’t…but HE CAN!

Dave Robbins, singer for the Blackhawk country music band, is featured on an “I am Second” video.[1] With the popularity in the 90s and 2000s and traveling with the band, he found himself giving into temptations with other women while his wife and children were oblivious. When he found himself overwhelmed with his duplicitous life, he told his wife. She said that pain is only second to the loss of a child. They struggled through what this meant for her, the kids, and him. Finally, realizing his own desperation, he admitted his failures to God and sought forgiveness through Jesus. He knew his wife may still leave him, and would be justified, but he was right with God. She saw the change in him and extended grace.

Many of their close friends thought their marriage was beyond repair. As God repaired his life, he also began to restore their marriage. Nothing is beyond God’s repair. The Jews are not beyond forgiveness. No one alive today is beyond God’s saving work.

Now, the third principle that I want to quickly touch on is this:

What do you do with your loved ones who reject Jesus?

  1. Double down and don’t give up ground.
  2. Trust that God can move their heart.
  3. Stay open to the unconventional – it may be exactly what God uses to change their heart.

III. Stay Open to the Unconventional – it may be exactly what God uses to change their heart.

Notice verse 24.

Romans 11:24

For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

Now, in verses 17-24, the Apostle Paul is going to use the illustration of grafting branches into an olive tree to make his point.

The origins of Israel as an olive tree likely trace back to Jeremiah 11:16, “The Lord once called you, ‘A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit’” (see also Hosea 14:6). It is possible that there was an existing Jewish parable in which proselytes, those who converted to Judaism, are pictured as branches from a wild olive grafted on the good olive tree of Israel. Paul may be picking that up here as a basis for his illustration about the Gentiles.[2]

Now, typically, according to normal procedure, it is grafts from the cultivated olive tree which would be inserted into the wild tree. However, Paul describes the opposite. Sir William Ramsay quotes Theobald Fischer regarding a practice that was still customary in Palestine at the beginning of the twentieth century that is in line with Paul’s words, that “to reinvigorate an olive-tree which is casing to bear fruit, by grafting it with a shoot of the Wild-Olive, so that the sap of the tree ennobles this wild shoot and the tree now again begins to bear fruit.”[3]

The process Paul describes here is unnatural. Wild shoots are not usually grafted onto cultivated roots as Paul describes; typically it is the other way around. Some scholars have called the process that Paul id describing as “valueless”, something that would “never be performed.” As mentioned above, some have suggested that Paul is just ignorant—a city boy trying to comment on something outside his expertise.

We have already mentioned William Ramsay’s studies on this matter, which actually redeems Paul’s illustration a bit. Ramsay quotes a Roman writer Columella, who said that, “When an Olive-tree produces badly, a slip of Wild-Olive is grafted on it, and this gives new vigor to the tree.” Another writer, Palladius, in his Opus Agriculturae, also wrote that “The Wild-Olive graft invigorated the tree on which it was set.” The renowned Mediterranean fruit-tree botanist Theobald Fisher said that the process described by Paul “is still in use in exceptional circumstances at the present day.”

The point of Paul’s illustration is that this was an unnatural process, and he knew it. It was utterly unnatural that God should work in this matter to save the Gentiles, yet it is what God has done.

And so, we see our principle here – Stay open to the unconventional methods to reach people for Jesus, for we never know what God will do.

And I want you to know that one of the reasons we do offer the various things that we do is in order to reach some.

  • We use Apologetics to appeal to the mind – in order to reach some. We have partnered with Dr. Tour and the combination of Science and Faith in order to reach some.
  • We are doing medical ministry – in order to reach some.
  • We are doing Mercy House Ministries – in order to reach some.
  • We do Sports Ministry – in order to reach some.
  • We are looking at a number of opportunities for 2022 that are different and unconventional – why? So we can reach some!

God uses all sorts of Avenues to bring the Gospel to people.

And He uses churches and individuals who are willing to try unconventional strategies in order to reach people.

Are you burdened for a son or daughter, sister or brother, father or mother to come to Christ?

  1. Double Down and Don’t Give Up Ground.
  2. Trust that God can move their hert.
  3. Stay Open to the Unconventional – it just may be the means that God uses to save them.
  • Would you like to pray for someone that you love to come to Christ or come back to him?
  • We want to offer a time of prayer this morning for those you are burdened for:
    • Come to our kneelers and give them to the Lord
    • Place them in his hands – trust him
  • We would love to pray with you personally.

 

 

[1] https://www.iamsecond.com/film/dave-robbins/

[2] F.F. Bruce, Romans, 215.

[3] W. M. Ramsay, Pauling and Other Studies, 223.

comments