Lesson 11

The Elect

(Romans 10-11)
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Introduction: In many ways the Gospel of Jesus is completely different than traditional culture. Hard work, self-sufficiency, getting points for wanting to do things right even though you have it wrong - these are all contradicted by our study today when it comes to salvation. Let's plunge into our study of Romans and see if we can better understand God's message for us about salvation!

  1. The True Gospel


    1. Read Romans 10:1-4. Can you be zealous (working hard) for God and still not be saved? (Apparently.)


      1. What, in addition to working hard, is required? (Knowledge. This is bad news for those who are not concerned with getting the gospel right.)


      2. Let's be sure we understand this correctly. Paul tells us that belief in Jesus' work on our behalf is the key to righteousness. Hard work for God, coupled with a misunderstanding of the gospel is the road to being lost. Is that right? Do you know people who are on that road?


      3. Look again at Romans 10:4. What does Paul mean when he says that Jesus is the "end of the law?" (Jesus ended the condemnation of the law. That is why those who believe in Jesus are saved, and those who believe they must keep the Ten Commandments (and all other law) as their means of salvation are lost. Why are they lost? They have not accepted what Jesus has done and therefore the condemnation of the law remains for them.)


    2. Read Romans 10:5. Did you once believe this? That those who are true Christians obey the law and thus show they are righteous? Do you still believe it?


    3. Read Romans 10:9-12. What is the true formula for salvation? (Confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead.)


      1. Let me ask you two questions. Could this be any clearer? Do you believe it?


      2. Let's look again at Romans 10:11. Are you still concerned about the obedience side of being a Christian? If so, what do you think this means? (If we trust Jesus, we will obey Him. This teaches us that obedience to God's law keeps us from being put to shame. Our relationship with God has the salvation aspect (believing and confessing) and the practical living aspect (obeying and living better).)


  2. Our Opportunity


    1. Read Romans 10:14-15. What is our obligation with regard to this gospel message? (To tell others so they will hear and understand!)


    2. Read Romans 10:16-18. Will all who hear the gospel accept it?


      1. Notice that Romans 10:18 is a quotation from Psalms 19:4. Do you recall what is the "voice" in Psalms 19? (Read Psalms 19:1-4. The heavens declare not just the glory of God, but Paul tells us that they declare about Jesus.)


        1. Why do you think that is true?


    3. Read Romans 10:19-21. Did Israel, who heard the gospel, not understand the gospel? (The implied answer is that Israel did understand, and they rejected the message because they chose to be "a disobedient and obstinate people.")


      1. Isn't this "disobedient and obstinate people," an odd phrase for people who rejected justification by faith? Aren't these the people working to keep the law? (They are disobedient and obstinate because they rejected Jesus and His work on their behalf.)


      2. Notice that these verses refer to Israel being "envious" and "angry." Why is that? (Those who were not chosen to be God's messengers believed in Jesus.)


        1. Is that still true today - that those who are hammering obedience to the law as the means of salvation are envious and angry about those who are saved by grace alone?
  3. The Elect


    1. Read Romans 11:1-4. Will we know how many people remain faithful to God in the midst of persecution?


    2. Read Romans 11:5-6. Why do you think that Paul compares those who believe in salvation by grace alone to those who survived persecution?


      1. Why does Paul compare those who promote salvation by works to those who "bowed the knee to Baal?" (It makes perfect sense in that idol worship is worshiping what you have made - which is logically the equivalent of "worshiping" your obedience to the law.)


    3. Read Romans 11:7-10. Who are the "elect" here? (Not those who were originally elected, Israel, but rather the Gentiles who were not originally elected to be God's people to share His gospel.)


      1. Why would God hinder anyone from understanding the gospel? (Read Romans 11:11-12. I do not understand precisely what Paul is writing, but what is clear is that Israel can be saved - and indeed, the gospel being passed to the Gentiles is a means for doing this.)


    4. Read Romans 11:13-16. What is Paul's hope for the Jewish people? (They will become envious of what God is doing through the Gentiles and will accept faith in Jesus.)


      1. Let's get back for a moment to our discussion of God giving a "spirit of stupor" ( Romans 11:8) to Israel. Were the Jews performing their role to share God with the world? (No. In general, they failed to understand the connection between the sanctuary service and Jesus' mission and message.)


        1. If God did nothing, what would be the result? (His mission would fail.)


        2. Instead, those "blinded" to the truth persecuted those who accepted Jesus. The persecution that followed scattered the new Jewish believers around the world. Does this make Paul's "stupor" and "they could not see" comments make sense to you?


    5. Read Romans 11:17-21. What sin is Paul describing that we should avoid? (Arrogance.)


      1. Paul tells us that we should be afraid of what God might do. Why? Haven't we been discussing God's great love and mercy towards us? (That appears to be the point, we cannot be arrogant because grace is a gift. If we teach some works must be done to receive the gift, then we can be "cut off" just like the Jews were cut off for promoting works over the gift of Jesus.)


    6. Let's skip down a few verses. Read Romans 11:25-27. What prophecy is Paul making about the future of Israel? (At some point Israel will accept Jesus.)


    7. Read Romans 11:28-32. How has God "bound all men over to disobedience?" (We are all sinners. After the decision of Adam and Eve, we were born with a sinful nature. God has shown mercy on all of us.)


      1. What other point is Paul making in these verses? (The fact that the Jewish nation turned away from God's call simply reflects the fact that we all are sinners and God continues to offer His mercy to all of us.)


    8. Read Romans 11:33-36. As we discussed Romans 11, were you having trouble understanding all of what Paul has written? How do these quotations from Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:11 help to explain our difficulty? (While God wants us to study His word to know Him better, there comes a point where we simply say "I'm not sure that I understand. God is God and I am not." At that point, our response should simply be that we trust God.)


  4. Friend, Paul's message this week is that the gospel message is easy. Salvation comes from confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised Jesus from the dead. If we complicate it, and arrogantly claim that it requires more, then we are in mortal danger of being cut off, just like Israel. Even if you have complicated the gospel in the past, the great good news is that God still holds out His hand to Israel, and He holds out His hand to you. Will you come back to the simple message of salvation by faith alone?


  5. Next week: Overcoming Evil With Good.

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Lessons on Romans

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