Understanding God's Plan (Romans 9-11)
I first met Jacob Gartenhaus about forty years ago. When I was a teenager growing up in a small town in Alabama, our pastor invited Dr. Gartenhaus to speak to us on the subject of Jewish evangelism. It was the first time I had ever heard a Jewish Christian speak. It was also the first […]
It’s not often that a book title tells the whole story. Usually titles are chosen because they are catchy, not because they are informative. But occasionally you stumble on a title that both catches your attention and also tells you exactly what the book is about. A generation ago J. B. Phillips wrote a book […]
Earlier this week I received a copy of John Ensor’s book Keep a Quiet Heart. In one of the chapters she discusses the “Jesus Prayer.” It is a prayer that arose in the Orthodox tradition over 1,000 years ago. Though the prayer appears in various wordings, its most basic form goes like this: “Lord Jesus […]
When I was a teenager in Alabama, I spent a week at a Methodist church camp. This was during the revolutionary days of the 60s when the talk was of LSD, the Beatles, hippies, the Vietnam War and protest in the streets. No one had heard of fax machines, virtual reality, personal computers, DVDs or […]
This sermon argues that the term “Israel” in Romans 11 always refers to ethnic Israel and that Paul foresees a day when Israel as a nation will come to Christ for salvation. Events in the Middle East remind us that Jesus Christ may come back sooner than we think.
Tell them, Pastor Ray, tell them that nothing matters except Christ. The young people need to know this before it’s too late.” So said my friend Jim Johnsen on my visit with him in the hospital shortly before he died. “Nothing matters except Christ.” We all know it’s true. Why does it take sickness or […]
In this sermon series we are looking at Romans 9-11, arguably the three most difficult chapters in the New Testament. I’ve called it “Understanding God’s Plan” because these chapters help us understand the flow of events in history from God’s point of view. To us in the 21st-century, these chapters are unusual because they talk […]
This passage brings us face to face with a very important question, one that we face in a variety of ways. The question is, What is the church’s responsibility to those who have never heard the gospel? Sometimes it is phrased this way: “What happens to those who never heard about Jesus?” And that question […]
This is a very familiar passage of Scripture. Most of us know certain parts of it by heart. I have asked the Lord to do me a favor and not let me say anything new. I don’t want to say anything you haven’t already heard. All I want to do is reinforce a truth that […]
I’d like to talk to you about who goes to heaven. We all know that the Bible teaches the reality of heaven and the reality of hell. Jesus himself spoke of both places many times. All of us, I’m sure, would like to go to heaven if we could. Even if you are not a […]
Last week’s sermon was called Straight Talk About Predestination. If I were giving someone else advice, I would say that a title like that is just asking for trouble. I think it’s called leading with your chin. It’s hard to think of many topics that get people hot and bothered faster than the whole question […]
In the history of the Christian church, few doctrines have been so hotly debated as the doctrine of predestination. Since predestination is a biblical concept, we must face this doctrine squarely whether we like it or not. It’s in the Bible, therefore we must first seek to understand it and then to ask what difference it makes.
While studying Romans 9, I was struck by Paul’s question in verse 14: “Is God unjust?” In our hearts we already know the answer. God is not unjust. But oftentimes he seems inconsistent. The very examples Paul chooses seem to uphold that inconsistency. He chooses Isaac over Ishmael. He chooses Jacob over Esau. He loves […]
For many people no question seems as puzzling as the problem of unanswered prayer. Why is it that some things we pray about are never answered? We could all spend hours remembering times when we prayed and prayed, often with tears, only to conclude in the end that our prayers had not been answered. —Every […]
This week we are beginning a new series called “Understanding God’s Plan” from Romans 9-11. This is one of the most overlooked passages in the New Testament. It is certainly the most overlooked section in the book of Romans. I have in my library a book by a very famous preacher who has dozens of […]