Romans 11:1-10

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I’m going to invite you to Romans. Chapter 11 is where we’re going to be today. Romans Chapter 11. We’re going to kick off in verse one. And I want you to know, last week I made a huge mistake in Sunday’s message. I, I talked about the way that God desires to work in this world and primarily saying to us, like God, God’s primary means of making himself known in this world is through his people, because he created us in his image. And as you live for the Lord in this world, be patient in the way that you do that. Understanding how God has been patient with you. That was the whole theme. And at some point I brought up Romans 1015 where it says, How beautiful are the feet of those who in the world and spread good news? And I started talking about my feet. And that was a big mistake on my part because I found out there is something wrong with a lot of you guys. I wasn’t even I’m at lunch and I’m getting like these text messages. It’s like group therapy time. People tell me stories about their feet. I mean, I’m to the point, you guys are sending me pictures of your feet. Like I don’t want pictures of your feet. I don’t want I don’t want to know about your feet. I don’t. What is wrong with you? I’m never doing anything like that again. So today we’re going to talk about something different.

Let’s just put the past in the past, all right? We don’t need to catch up. If you’re late to listen to last week’s sermon, don’t feel any need to send me any more views of your feet. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t care. And I don’t want to know. All right. That’s that’s how it goes. But today, we’re going to talk about three beliefs of a of a courageous Christian in Romans Chapter 11. Paul is actually going to take a passage of scripture where people are concerned and he’s going to help them understand not only do they not need to be concerned, but they need to walk boldly in this world in Christ. And he helps us understand the framework for for moving that that in that direction. He’s he’s specifically referring in Romans chapter 11 to 2. He’s talking to the Jewish Christians. Right. And the concern they have in their life is they know in the Old Testament that they’re God’s chosen people, that God wanted to bring his blessing through them to the world. And now when you get to the New Testament, it seems like God is primarily working through the Gentiles. And they’re asking the question, Well, where does that put us in relationship to God? Because God has given us specific promises to work through his people and has He forgotten us? Has he abandoned us? Is God not good? They’re asking all these questions because they they feel sort of lost in their identity now, because forever they were the chosen people.

And now it seems like it’s spread to the to the Gentiles. And and now they’re wanting to know where do I fit in in all of that? And so Paul’s giving them this application to their life and understanding how how this will all play out. But but the truths that he’s teaching to these Jewish Christians are the same truths that really apply to our lives today. So all of it becomes relevant in how we would perceive our life and living for the Lord. And the things that they’re struggling with are things that all of us will struggle with from time to time in our relationship with God. And so talking about feeling abandoned and all of a sudden stepping into being a courageous Christian is what Paul is encouraging the believers to. And so point number one in your notes is this there’s actually this is an A and a B part. So point number one in your notes. But God does not abandon his people. Paul wants the Christians there to be absolutely clear and understanding that, in fact, he asks this question as if to understand where they’re coming from. He’s preemptively asking this question, thinking that they would they would have this sort of thought in their mind. As he’s writing the book of Romans in 11 verse one, it says, I ask them, has God rejected his people? Has he left the Jews in the dust? And and Paul’s answer is very clear.

Absolutely not. Absolutely not. In fact, in the next half of this verse, he goes on and says, Let me just give you a prime example. Me as well. Paul says, I’m a Jew, right? And I’m following the Lord and God hasn’t abandoned me. In fact, you can see his hand of faithfulness as his move from generation to generation up until my life. And he goes back and he refers to Abraham, for I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin Paul is saying, Look, if you think God has just left his people behind, then what do you do with me? I’m a demonstration of God’s goodness and grace in this world. In fact, starting with Abraham, that’s how the story goes. We talked about this in in Romans chapter four, recognizing who Abraham was as his name. Abram originally was in praise to False Deity in Babylon. He was a pagan from a pagan place. And God, by his grace, drew him out. And and the book of Romans in Chapter 11, Paul is saying, just like Abraham. And now unto me, God’s grace is being made known. God does not abandon his his people. In fact, in First Timothy chapter one, verses 16, Paul uses his own life as an example.

He says, But I received mercy for this reason that in me, as the foremost Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. Paul saying, Do you know what God was like in my life? I mean, if anything, God is an absolute demonstration of his grace over me because of the kind of person that he was previous to, knowing the Lord. And Paul attacked God’s people, even willing to kill God’s people. And God radically changed his life. That God’s grace would go even further than Paul sinned to, to transform his life. And so God does not abandon his people. I would even say one of the major lessons I’ve learned in Christianity, maybe the the most important lesson I learned in my Christian life was, was that truth that God is with his people wherever they go. And in fact, in the Gospel of Matthew, at the very end of Matthew chapter 28, verse 20, he tells his disciples after he calls them to go in the world, he says, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. God’s presence is always with his people. It is it is important for us to recognize that, because if you if you walk in the uncertainty of of God being with you, we as human beings, we look for affirmation, connection, purpose, meaning belonging. Right? And if we doubt that we’re going to find it in God, then we will start to look for that affirmation in people.

But if we know God is with us wherever we go, then that’s what we need. Like you. Plus God is always the majority because God is always the authority. He doesn’t even need you. So wherever you go, having his presence becomes important. And I remember in my life reading that in Scripture over and over that God is with us people, God is with us, people, God is with his people. At one point, I finally decided to say to myself, Wait a minute. What if God is actually with his people? Like, what would that mean to my life? I can tell you one of the one of the major fears I had in pursuing God is thinking, Man, God might ask me to stand up one day and say something. I don’t want to get in front of people, right? I get like nervous and embarrassed and start worrying what people think. And and then one day I thought, But wait a minute. What if God was actually with me wherever, wherever I went? And you think about the authority and power in that. And whatever happens, it’s okay because God is with you. Then all of a sudden you start to realize, who cares what people think, right? Like your life matters too much. The precious gift that God’s given you to represent him in this world.

I think people’s thoughts are important. But there’s a place in the order of how things should rank right. Like what God calls me to is far more significant than what people might tell me I should or should not do with my life. And I want to live to please an audience of one. I want to live for his glory in this world. And so putting a backburner to the thoughts of people to live for the purpose which God made me, There’s far more joy in that. What if I really believed God was with me? And from that point on, God used that that that thought to to transform my life. And he goes on and he says this. He says, verse two, God has not rejected his people, whom he foreknew. Saying, look, God has called his people and God has made a plan for his people from the beginning. And God’s not going to walk away from that because this this is who his character is. And God is always consistent with his character. But but what he’s always also recognizing within really. Romans nine, ten, 11 is within the people of Israel. There is believing Israel and unbelieving Israel. There is there is the remnant in Israel, the true believers, and there’s the rejectors, the apostates. And the same is true today. Like just because you come to a church, which I’m glad if you come to church, that’s great.

And just because you might carry the label and tell people you’re a Christian, that doesn’t automatically make you a Christian. That’s just because you call yourself a Christian, doesn’t make you a Christian within the body of Christ. There can be people or not literally within the body of Christ, but people who show up to attend in the body of Christ. There is a remnant, those who truly believe, and then there’s those that are apostate. In fact, I find as I interact with people in this world, like people will take the name of Jesus and then define the name of Jesus Howard as they please. And that’s not Jesus. You don’t get to define your own Jesus. Jesus is who Jesus says He is, and whether or not you give your life to Christ, that’s what matters. Like if you don’t believe that Jesus is God, come in the flesh, resurrected from the grave, gave his life for your sin that you could find freedom in him. You may call yourself a Christian, but you’re not a Christian. That’s not Christian, right? I think like in this world there we have a religious group of people that that follow a teaching of Jesus, but they’re not dumb enough to call themselves Christian because they know and I shouldn’t even call them dumb, but they know that that they’re not Christian, right? Like Islam teaches about a Jesus, for example.

But Islam knows that what they teach about Jesus is not what Christianity says. And so they don’t call themselves Christian. And and the same is true for us. If what you say about Jesus isn’t what Jesus says about himself, that’s that’s not biblical and it’s not Christianity. And so Paul is acknowledging within Romans nine, ten, 11. Look, just because you’re born in Israel doesn’t make you a believing Israelite. God doesn’t care who your parents are. God cares where your heart is right now and whether it belongs to him. There’s not this, Oh, because my parents were super religious. I get the extra ticket into eternity before God. That’s not how this works. All of us have to come to the Lord the same way. It’s through the the Cross of Christ. But Paul is reminding us that God does not abandon His people. It’s based on his character. And then the second half of point number one then is this. Even if you feel alone. Even if you feel alone. Sometimes within Christianity we mistake. Our faith for our feelings. Faith and feelings are not the same thing. It’s great when your feelings align with your faith. But it’s not always the case. And faith always takes precedent over feeling, because faith is intended to be rooted in truth. And truth doesn’t change no matter what you feel. And so there’s going to be times in your life when you’re walking with wonderful feeling in your faith, established in truth.

But there might be times where you feel a little bit distant and alone and you’re and you’re feeling even though your faith gives you the promise that God will never abandon you. And in those moments, it gives you an opportunity to demonstrate before the Lord what’s more important in your life? Feeling or faith. And when you demonstrate feel feelings are fleeting, right? They they come and they go. But when you demonstrate to God that what takes priority over everything is faith in Him. You’re showing to God above all else. What you love more than anything is the Lord. And to know Him. And in fact, Paul goes on from an example of himself saying, Look, God doesn’t abandon his people. Look at me as this example. And then he goes into a story of Elijah and he says, Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah? How he appeals to God against Israel? Lord, they have killed your prophets. They have demolished your altars. And I alone am left and they seek my life. If you know the story from from the Book of Kings, this is in First Kings. It really starts in chapter 18, where Elijah goes to Mount Carmel during a time where Jezebel and Ahab are ruling and they’re they’re awful leaders. And Israel is bowing down to the gods of Baal. And and Elijah says, okay, bring your prophets to the Mount Carmel, and let’s let’s let them create an altar and they’ll cry out to their God and they can ask their God to bring down fire.

And if their God is is real and he cares, then you will watch that God do that. And and after that, then I’m going to do it. I’m going to call me by myself. I’m going to call on my God and ask him to bring down fire to ignite this altar. And we’ll see who God, who’s God is the real God. And so hundreds of these false prophets of Baal, he says, Bring them all right, and then brings them all to Mount Carmel. And all day long they’re crying out to their God. It tells us in the at the end of First Kings 18, like they’re even cutting themselves and they’re they’re worshiping, they’re all bowing down and chanting. And Elijah, during this whole time, he’s mocking them. He says things like, maybe your God is on vacation. He can’t hear you. Maybe he’s indisposed in the bathroom. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with your God. Just keep crying out to him like that and he gets to the end of the day and no fire comes down. And then finally, Elijah, he comes to his altar and he says, okay, let’s let’s douse the altar and let’s do it again. And finally, three times this altar is just soaked. And Elijah then bows, Praise the Lord, Fire comes down and it consumes the altar and burns the sacrifice you would think, in that moment.

Everyone look around and say to themselves, Man, maybe Elijah is right. Right. Oh, I’ve been blind this entire time. But that’s not what happens at all. These these false prophets are killed. But but what happens immediately after that is we find out Jezebel has hiding 400 other false prophets, and she brings them out, and then she pursues Elijah for his life. And Elijah has to run and hide in a cave. And Elijah is just distraught in this moment. He’s thinking, I just stood before Israel and they saw this miraculous event and they recognized the false God versus the real God. And when it came time to stand up, no one stands up against Jezebel. I have to run and hide. All Israel has turned against the Lord. And I’m the only one left. Elijah feels alone. And he feels frustrated. And this comment that Paul quotes in Romans is Elijah now talking about Israel saying, God, there’s not one godly person left in this country but me. And he starts to feel isolated. But then but then God says something. Verse four, he says, But. What was God’s reply to him? I have kept for myself 7000 men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. What God is saying is, look, we go through these moments where we feel alone as Christians.

You ever felt alone? Sort of like you’re the only one you get in this place of this loathing and self-pity. We go through these hard things and and rather than look up to God, we start looking deeper into our problems and struggle. And before you know it, it’s all that we can see. And what God’s saying in this verse is Stop looking at yourself and start looking at God’s presence. God works in ways that bigger than we realize that God wants to make a difference in this world. And we’re called to stand for something more more than popularity among people. We’re called to stand for truth. And to make a difference in this world. And when we start to look where God is moving in this world, we can stand with others and begin to make a difference. When the when when a group of people start collecting together, there’s there’s power in that numbers. And and God is saying to Elijah, look, Elijah, let’s let’s let’s stop throwing the pity party and, and think about the way that God wants to move in this world because God is He is moving in this world. And when God’s people, they get on mission, they start to see that and they start working in that in that direction and gathering with the people that want to do that with him, it makes a difference. I was reminded that when I was in high school, I think I was maybe 17, 18 years old.

I went down to my friend’s and I got free tickets to watch the Charlotte Hornets play in basketball. They were playing the the Boston Celtics and wasn’t that great of a game because I think both teams that year it was they had the worst two records in the NBA but we we drove down to Charlotte and Charlotte had a blizzard and Charlotte is far enough south where the city of Charlotte, at least at the time, didn’t own one snowplow and they got two feet of snow. And we being from further north are used to driving in the snow. So we just drove to the game thinking this is entertaining, you know, snow plus a game. It’s beautiful outside and drove to the game. We got there less than 200 people showed up to the game. There were so few people at the start of the game, they had to postpone the beginning and they let anyone that was already there go on to the floor and shoot around with all the players. It was incredible, except for no one cared about these two teams because there was no one good on them. This year. It was it was Paul Pierce’s rookie year. I remember I met Paul Pierce. Paul Silas was the coach. Rick Pitino was the other coach. I got to meet all these players and shoot around with them. I thought this was incredible.

And then they decided to start the game and we went and sat in the section where the where the fans are supposed to sit and you were allowed to sit wherever you wanted. And people at first didn’t know that. So they went and sat in their seats. And when the game started, what we found out was when there are no fans in the stands, it is incredibly boring. It is awful like 200 people. And then they announce you can sit next on courtside if you want, and you look around and people are so indifferent to the game. Everyone’s like are already sat in my seat, so they all just stay where it’s at. And you start to realize how much people make a difference, right? When you’re on mission and you’re excited and you gather together and and you start to celebrate what God is doing and you start stop self-loathing. And you look outside what God wants to accomplish and you belong to that and you live for that purpose. This is what God is saying to Elijah, right? Like when God’s people gather, even when when they may be a minority, they can make a difference in this world. And Elijah, it’s not over. God is still with his people. Even if you feel alone. You know what’s interesting? This passage of scripture when it knowing we’re discussing Jezebel here is. Throughout the rest of scripture, Jezebel really becomes a picture for us.

That even when you turn to the Book of Revelation, Jezebel’s name is still mentioned in Revelation. It says this I know your deeds. Talking to the church in Thyatira, it says, I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance. As John is writing to this church, he says, and that you are not doing more than you did at first. Nevertheless. So you see there, there this church that’s living a godly life. Right? But verse 20, he says, Nevertheless, I have this against you. You tolerate the woman Jezebel. Who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching, she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. What what John is saying here is, look, during during Elijah’s day, there was a Jezebel and she was awful. She led the the people into gross immorality, worshiping false gods. But but what he’s also acknowledging here in Revelation, but in every generation, the spirit of Jezebel still stands. And it’s up to that generation to determine what they’re going to listen to. And I love the way he says it here because because this is this is the struggle of every generation as well. He says you tolerate the woman, Jezebel saying to the believers, the risk that Christians always feel like they have is like, what if I offend someone? Right? Oh, my word. What if I offend someone? And it’s as if the to be more concerned about the way people think about you than to stand for the truth that God has given you and to do something about it.

Truth is offensive, and standing for it is important because it’s how we find freedom. Even when you look at the life of Jesus, Jesus, when Jesus walked around this world and he and He and he served people like people. People love the nice things Jesus did for them. But you know what got Jesus crucified? What Jesus said. When Jesus said, You will see the son of man coming in the clouds. That’s when the high priest tears his robe and says, Crucify him. It was the truth for which Jesus stood for. That got Jesus crucified. And God calls the church to do the same thing. To take a stand in what you believe. It doesn’t mean that you have to be unkind to people. It doesn’t mean that you have to be mean to people. You shouldn’t be any of those things. But it does mean that truth is worth standing for. And every generation needs to understand that there is a spirit of Jezebel that runs the risk of bringing the church’s message to nothing because the church is afraid of, Well, what if I offend somebody? And it even tells us within this passage of scripture, some of the things that were running the risk in the church that were becoming this temptation, this idea of of sexual immorality.

Redefining the purposes for which God created humanity. And here we are again in a generation where that same thing is happening. Guys, you don’t have to get past the first three chapters of the Bible, the foundation of all of Scripture before you immediately see in the first few chapters how how God created people in his image and he deals with sex and sexuality. This is not rocket science. There is there is something important within your generation to stand for in regards to truth as we find our identity in God, not what culture says. Who we are in him. And there are many different ways you could you could take a stand today and and representing the the Lord and graciousness kindness, but also being firm and truth. Let me just give you an example. When it comes to young people today. Parents. Can I tell you? God has given you first priority in the education of your kids. There are all sorts of ways to educate kids and kids are all made different. So I’m not telling you there’s one right way or wrong way, but I am telling you, it is it is your prerogative before the Lord to understand. It is it is your calling and the education of your children. There are other people that may come along and say, I am going to provide for your kids the sense of morality of what’s right and wrong, but it is your prerogative before God to take a stand for truth.

God holds you accountable for that. Every generation has a spirit of Jezebel. And God’s people sometime remain passive because, well, we don’t want to offend anyone. We want to be tolerant. Tolerance will lead you straight to hell. I. I think of Jesus. Jesus gave his life for that, right? Like. He understood the significance of who he was to the point that he would not silence his mouth in saying it even to the risk of his own life. If Jesus is willing to do that for us, it should tell us how important our position is in him. It’s a very serious, isn’t it? Because it’s true for us today, as it was in the first century. If you study early church history and you look at first century Rome, Rome is not much different than we are today. Biblical truth transforms. And if you believe that, stand on it and grace, that should move on even if you feel alone. He is with us. Point number two, then his grace secures your future. His grace secures your future. Verse five, he goes on and he says, So, so too. At the present. At the present time, there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works. Otherwise grace would no longer be Grace. Um, verse five, Paul is reminding Elijah.

He’s reminding the church there’s always the remnant for where God desires to move. Look where God is moving and join him in it. Yes. Things can be hard sometimes. Yes. You may go through the struggles of feeling like you’re alone sometimes. But God is always moving somewhere. God works through his people to accomplish his will in this world. And. And so rather than go off to yourself, there’s power in numbers. Join with God’s community and and live for the purpose which God has called you on. There is no such thing as an isolated Christian. And I know sometimes people like to say things within Christianity. Well, my church is at home and I just I just worship God on my own. And I want you to know that that is not healthy, that is not selfish or that is selfish and it’s not obedient to the Lord. And God gives you spiritual gifts to to live for him. In this world, gifts are about giving themselves away. And it begins in the body of Christ. If Jesus was willing to give his life for his church, one of the best ways that you can show your love for Jesus is by loving on his people. I know his people aren’t perfect. Sometimes they may rub you a little different, right? But but that’s how we learn and grow as people is when we’re willing to love one another through adversity, for the sake of honoring God and blessing each other.

And so he’s encouraging us there to to think that way, that there is a remnant, a way that God desires to move among his people in a generation to make a difference in this world. And then he goes on, he talks about God’s grace, very powerful verse on grace that juxtaposes itself against the idea of of trying to work or earn your salvation in Christ. If you want to know a good verse to turn to your friends when they think you have to religiously perform to, to show God you’re worthy of his love, all you have to say is go read Romans 11 six. This is a great verse that reminds us that it’s all about God’s grace. And here’s the important thing related to this, I think, in terms of your security in him last week, I told you God does not need you, which for some people that sounds upsetting. Like, oh man, I’m not that important. God doesn’t need me. But but here’s the encouraging reminder for you. If you ever worship a God that you think needs you, you’re worshiping an inadequate God and you should run away. Right? If God at any point ever needs you for something, your God is less than and your God at some point will disappoint. The true God does not disappoint. The true God does not need you. He is the authority over all things.

He has the power within himself. He’s more than capable. But the beauty is that God wants you. And that’s one of the wonderful things about God’s grace, because it’s saying to you, rather than you work yourself to God, which is an impossibility. It’s God choosing you, which is the only thing that can truly make you secure. If someone says to you, How do you know you’re going to be in eternity with God, your answer should be found in where you are, in your position with God before His grace. It’s not about what you do. It’s about what He’s done. And the only reason he’s done anything for you is because of his grace. So when you lay your head down at night, you don’t have to worry in terms of where is my eternity? If you’re resting in him because God’s nature, it doesn’t change. And if God promised you to, those who believe in him will have salvation, then God will deliver it. Your salvation is not up to you. You did nothing to earn it. You do nothing to keep it. God has given it to you by his grace. And that carries more weight than anything. And so you, as God’s people, based on where you find yourself in Christ, if you’ve come to the cross of Christ and you’ve said God, I am surrendering myself, I am a I am a sinner. Thank you for dying for me, rescue my soul, save me that I can belong to you and know you and live for you for all of eternity and be in your presence.

If that’s been your heart to the Lord, the promise is that you get that forever. Because not you. It’s not because of you, but because of Him and His grace. This verse gives us incredible confidence in our position in Christ because of Him. And so point number three, then. In a courageous Christians life. Is to encourage you this way. Guard your heart before the Lord. Guard your heart in the Lord. If you want a path in life without God, he’ll give it to you. In verse seven, he goes on and he starts to talk about this. He says, What? Then Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it. Right. He he he talks about the remnant again here versus the rejectors the apostates. The the elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened. As it is written. God gave them a spirit of stupor. Yes. That that would not see and ears that would not hear. Down to this very day. If you want. Life without God. He’ll give it to you. This passage for us also becomes a warning to think about where you really are before the Lord. Because the danger is your hearts can become calloused to the things of God. Proverbs 423 says this Keep your heart with all vigilance from it for from it flows the wellspring of life.

Some translations say guard your heart, which is what I quoted in point number three of this Guard your heart before the Lord. And this passage is talking about vigilance. I actually prefer vigilance for this reason. When we think about guarding our hearts, oftentimes as people, we we become so insular and protected that we sort of separate ourselves from society. Like, I’m the good, that’s the bad. Let’s stay away and hide. And that’s that’s not what God calls you to do. You don’t guard your heart in that sense, but rather you’re mindful of the condition of your heart. As you move in this world. You keep a vigilant watch of your heart as you move in this world, because God doesn’t call you a spirit of fear. Not called to be afraid of things. You have the Lord with you. So as you move into the dark things of this world, the spirit of Jezebel around you, it’s always going to be around you. You can’t escape it. But God also by His power, calls you into the world to be a greater light in the midst of darkness. Because he is with you. You can do that. And so there’s this, not this idea of hiding from the world, but rather being vigilant as you move through the world to to look over your heart, to make sure that it’s faithful in Christ.

Be. Be vigilant over your heart. And what is it to keep vigilance over your heart? The idea is, is that your your spiritual life will be be determined by the course of your life or. Excuse me, let me say it different. The course of your life will be determined by your spiritual life. And if you if you have your heart set in the right direction, you’ll get to the right destination. Keeping an eye on the heart to make sure it’s surrendered in the proper place. John Flavell, one of the early Puritans, used to describe the heart as as a stringed instrument. He would say, It’s just like when you tune a string instrument. You tune it, you play it. It sounds beautiful, but if you hang it on the wall for a couple of days and come back, what you find out, it’s out of tune and you’ve got to tune it again. Or if you’re playing it and all of a sudden it gets bumped or the weather changes, it’s out of tune and you’ve got to tune it again. And same thing is true with our heart before the Lord. As you encounter things in this world and you bump into things that make you anxious or fearful or worried or angry or upset, whatever it is, it has the tendency to to get you to bow down to other things than the Lord, and it can bring you out of tune.

But rather be vigilant over your heart. And why should we be vigilant? Because he says in this passage from it flows the wellsprings of life. God’s desires, the springs of life to come out of you. And what he’s saying is, look, something is going to come out of you and sometimes it’s not good. But what God intends is for what flows out of you to be a blessing because of what’s going into you is him. And so you guard your heart with all vigilance as you move through this world. The beautiful grace of God is made known to the hearts of people around you. And how do you guard your heart? I think if I just gave us one word, it would be worship. Worship the greatest tool. I think we have to avoid foolishness in this world. Is to worship by by knowing the Lord through his word. And surrendering our life to what it says and seeking his face through prayer. And living for him and how we serve to bless others and glorify his name. Worship. Coming to know God through his word. Surrendering our hearts to what it says. Seeking him in prayer and living for his glory to the benefit of others. All of it. All of it. A means of worship. And then Paul goes on here in these last two verses, we’re going to look at it together. David says, Let their table become a snare and a trap.

A stumbling block, a retribution for them. He’s talking about those that are apostate. The rejectors here let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see and bend their backs forever. In this passage. Paul’s quoting David from Psalm 69, verses 2223. I’m. This psalm is the most one of the most messianic psalms in all of the Old Testament. It’s a psalm that that talks about the coming of Jesus. And he talks about when this coming of Jesus, there’s going to be a group of people that reject him and God let them have what they pursue. In fact, he describes it this way Their table becomes a snare and a trap. And what he’s saying is God has blessed them plentifully. It’s on the table before them. But but rather than see the giver who’s giving these good things, they they instead choose to worship the gift rather than the giver and the things that God has given them to bless them. They fail to see the God who has delivered it. Instead, they just see the desires in front of them. And the same can be true for us that all of a sudden our hearts crave to own things and we think that we own things. But really what we find out is rather our things own us and we lose sight of the God who gave us all things. And Paul is saying in this Psalm, then it becomes a message of condemnation when we lose sight of the Lord.

But you know what’s interesting is you look at this passage of Scripture. At first glance, David’s prayer seems like it’s just a curse. But what you also find in this same psalm in Psalm 69, verses 32 and 33, it goes on and it says this. When the humble seed. They will be glad. You who seek God. Let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy. And does not despise his own people who are prisoners. What he’s saying is a road without God. It leads to destruction. A road without turning to the grace of Christ and recognizing who he is. It leads to destruction. Psalm 69 tells you that. But that same psalm. Also talks about the deliverance of the hardened heart. And the answer for us is to lay ourselves down. To come before him humbly. And in so doing, our hearts are revived in Christ. This is the messianic psalm. That’s the promise of the Lord. Our hearts revived in him. Guard your heart before the Lord’s. Let me let me end with this. This is not a real picture, by the way. Okay? This is not. This is not really happen. And I’ll take this in my backyard. I did not see an ant crawling on top of a rock and hold up a giant stick. But. But this is the best picture I could find to describe this.

There was a man who he was watching an ant carry a stick far larger than the ant. And the man was amazed at one of the strength of the ant, but mesmerized that an ant would want to carry such a large stick. And he thought to himself, Why in the world is an ant exerting himself like this to carry such a large stick? Maybe he’s going home to brag to his friends. Who knows what he’s doing? But he just watched this hand just amazed at the strength of his hand. And why in the world would this hand carry this stick? Now, all of a sudden, on the ants journey home, the ant came to a massive crack in the ground. And the ant couldn’t get across. And the ant stood there and thought and walked around a little bit and couldn’t figure out how to cross this great divide in order to to get over. And finally the ant realized if I would just lay down this burden, this stick, I could use the stick as a bridge and it could get me across. Because I say in our lives it works the same way. And the strength of ourselves where we might want to impress other people with who we are. In so doing, we end up carrying a large amount of burden. And we get to a place in life where we realize. The divide is way too big.

And we need to lay down that burden. Be able to find ourselves able to move forward. And the only way to do that. It isn’t through you. It’s through Christ. The power of the courageous Christian is never found within themselves. It’s it’s found in the surrendering of their heart and trusting in the one who is the authority over all things. And the promise of this psalm is that in that your heart is revived. You know what’s interesting, when you study the gospels, there was a group. That always got the identity of Jesus, right? Every time Jesus is around, they clearly articulated publicly who Christ was. But you know what’s interesting about that group? They never fully surrendered to him. Do you know who that group is? And the Gospels. Steemans. Demons. Demons always got the identity of Jesus, right? But they never surrendered. Out of all the people in the New Testament and you read in the Gospels about Jesus, everybody at some point got it wrong. But the demons, they always got it right. But the never surrendered. Guys. The same could be true for us. You can understand every truth that you could know about the Lord in the Bible. But still. Never surrender your life. But when your life is surrendered. The promises of God and the strength of God becomes personal to you and how you live for God in this world. And in so doing, it gives you the opportunity to be courageous not because of you, but because of him and the security you receive in that truth.

Romans 10:14-21

Romans 11:11-24