Presentation on theme: "“Sinful Census” The question being addressed was, “How is it that most Jewish people had rejected the gospel?” People today ask a similar question, “How."— Presentation transcript:
“Sinful Census” The question being addressed was, “How is it that most Jewish people had rejected the gospel?” People today ask a similar question, “How can the Bible be the truth when so many people reject it?” The Holy Spirit makes it clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the gospel, “...it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Secondly, God had not rejected the Jewish people, for Paul (about as Jewish as they come) had obeyed the gospel (Romans 11:1). Thirdly, we need to remember our Old Testament history. Finally, being related to Abraham had never been an automatic ticket to heaven (Romans 9:6-7).
“Sinful Census” Elijah and the Remnant: Romans 11:2-4 “Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? ‘Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life’. But what is the divine response to him? ‘I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal’”.
“Sinful Census” What is the Divine Response? I stand impressed that while Elijah was discouraged, God wasn’t. He does not focus on the unfaithful many, rather He seems extremely happy and satisfied with the faithful few. No mention is made of changing the message or lowering the spiritual standard so more will qualify. 1 Kings 19:15 “The Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way... and when you have arrived” God does not allow Elijah to give up, and neither does God pity him, rather one of the best ways to deal with discouragement is to remember that you have important work to do.
“Sinful Census” The Remnant in the Old Testament The idea that God always has His faithful few and that the truly faithful are always a smaller percentage than those who claim to be believe is found throughout Scripture: After the death of Abel and the apostasy of Cain, Seth and his descendants are the remnant: Genesis 4:26 During the time of the flood, Noah and his family are the remnant: Genesis 6:8 After the Exodus, Joshua and Caleb stand out as the true believers among many unbelievers: Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9; 14:24 Among the corrupt sons of Eli at the Tabernacle, Samuel serves as part of the remnant: 1 Samuel 2:25-26
“Sinful Census” Good kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah were part of the remnant in their time. There are many times when the “remnant” refers to the small percentage of Israel that would actually return from captivity, and at other times, it definitely has a Messianic and New Testament application. Isaiah 11:11 “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people who will remain” When Jesus was incarnate, men like Nathanael and the other apostles were part of the remnant: - John 1:47
“Sinful Census” “In the same way then... at the present time”: Romans 11:5 Not only did a remnant exist in the Old Testament, but the Holy Spirit argues that in the First Century this remnant still existed and will always exist.
“Sinful Census” The Conditions For Being Part Of The Remnant God’s grace: Romans 11:5 Being part of the remnant is not rooted in simply being related to the right person, it isn’t something that can be purchased, grandfathered in, inherited from parents, or earned by doing humanly devised good deeds. No one deserves to be part of the remnant. In Romans 11 we find that “unbelief” cut off the physical descendants of Abraham from being in the remnant; it if disqualified them, unbelief will disqualify anyone, for salvation was offered to them first.
“Sinful Census” An obedient faith: Romans 11:23 “And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in” (Romans 11:23). From a simple reading of the book of Romans it is clear that the “faith” that saves in the book is far more than a mere mental acceptance of God, rather it is a faith that obeys the will of God: – 1. “...To bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles” (Romans 1:5) – 2. “The righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16). – 3. “To those who by perseverance in doing good” (Romans 2:7).
“Sinful Census” – 4. “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart... and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). – 5. “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1). – 6. “...the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26). – 7. We equally see this concept in the Old Testament, when the different spirit found in Joshua and Caleb resulted in following God fully (Numbers 14:24).
“Sinful Census” Applications Quality is Valued over Mere Quantity: God had only eight righteous people at the time of the flood, yet He did not change His message or alter His standards, and neither did He admit failure or defeat – He brought judgment. God had only a handful of men who stood up and believed when Israel was offered the land, and yet God did not move from His position. God had 7000 during the time of Elijah, and He did not say, “I have only 7000”. In like manner, when God came to the earth, He clearly showed the few on the path to salvation and the many on the path to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).
“Sinful Census” Unfaithfulness Does Not Prevent God From Rejoicing In The Faithful: – Even though God grieves over the lost condition of mankind (Genesis 6:6) and is patiently waiting for all to repent (2 Peter 3:9), at the same time, the lost do prevent God from rejoicing in His faithful few. – In like manner, Jesus proceeded to use and work with a handful of faithful disciples. Will I be part of the Remnant in my generation? – The choice that has been presented to every generation in the past is still being presented to our generation. – Which path will I choose? The wide path that is very popular and very accommodating? Or the narrow path that demands real change on my part and genuine commitment?
“Sinful Census” The Remnant Always Exists In the book, Quest for a Christian America, David Edwin Harrell, Jr., noted: – “The religious history of the United States has been marked by recurring cycles of decline and revival. The early religious interest which played such a major part in the founding of several of the colonies declined in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. After 1740 this decline was followed by a second period of enthusiasm, the Great Awakening, which worked it way through all the colonies by the 1770’s. Although the vitality of American religion never quite died in the years before and after the Revolutionary War, there was a marked decline and ‘there was probably never a time when there was as large a percentage not only of religious indifference, but of active hostility to religion, as during the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Around the turn of the century a second awakening stirred the American religious scene” (p. 2).
“Sinful Census” Concluding Questions Well, what about our generation? Will we be marked by indifference, hostility, compromise, or will we be noted for our conviction?