Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message.
- How did this message confirm and/or correct your previous ideas about salvation?
- Read Romans 10:9-10. Why is it important that we both believe in our hearts AND confess our faith with our mouths?
- Have you ever struggled to accept God’s grace? Why?
- What is the potential danger of viewing Sunday gatherings as the primary means for your sharing the gospel to friends and family?
- If God is all sovereign and all-powerful, why do we need to share the gospel message?
- Practice sharing the message of Christ. Consider – how would you share the message of Christ with a close friend or family member? How would you share the message of Christ with a coworker, acquaintance, or a stranger at a coffee shop?
- In what ways can you apply today’s message to your life?
- Reflect on the first time you believed with your heart and confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Praise God for the people he used in your life to share of His love and prayerfully commit to be the disciple described in Romans 10:15.
- Each morning, pray for one person in your life who has not yet confessed Jesus as Lord. Journal your prayers. Share each name with your group at the next Community Group, and spend time in prayer over the entire list of names.
Choose one of the following challenges:
- Tell someone what you believe about who Jesus is and why this is important to you.
- Share the prayer you wrote from last week with a family member.
- Pick a verse from what was taught on Sunday and share what you learned from it with someone.
A good friend of mine who's from out of state said something one time that I didn't need to write down. I heard it sunk in and it was just, it was wise. He said this. He said, sometimes God permits in his wisdom what he could prevent by his power. I don't know where the phrase originated from, whether it was him or somewhere else, but sometimes God permits in his wisdom what he could prevent in his power. We know that to be true, right? God is not impotent. And the truth is that there are many bad things that have happened in the world that we live in. And truthfully god has prevented many more that we don't even know about because he's God and he's good. But in his sovereign choice, he has chosen to allow this freedom to exist among humanity under the umbrella of his sovereignty that people can say no to him and what he offers or can say yes to him. The truth is that love is never love until it's acted upon and it's completed, and it's willfully given. It's never fully rounded. If God forced us to love him, we would be robotic, we would be automatons, and is that really love? But when we can say yes to the love that he has initiated and that he has offered, it's what makes love complete and full because he has offered this love, and we respond in love. It's difficult because we live in a world where there are so many things that we simply don't understand. It's actually past our ability to understand many things, why they happen, what is happening, why people chose this? Why has God permitted this to occur? I don't always know how to answer those questions to be quite honest with you, it's very difficult. And I'm not sure that any of us really know fully how to answer those questions, and I always go back to when a woman who was hearing pastor Charles Spurgeon in the 1800s preach is a British pastor, a wonderful theologian. And she was asking him after a sermon about this whole idea of not being able to understand, and he made this statement, whether it was in the sermon or whether it was afterwards, I don't know. But he said, when you can't trace God's hand, trust his heart. When you can't trace his hand, trust his heart. See, I think that's important for us when we're looking at Romans 9, 10, and 11, and we're seeing God's Choice or God's Choices. And we're unpacking those. You see what we do when we are seeing God's Choices is if we look carefully, we can actually look through the lens of his choices and we can see his heart. And that's what's important to us because we get to know God better in the process of seeing and reading about the nature of what God is doing and what God chooses. And as we've been studying in Romans 9 and now Romans 10 and will be studying in Romans 11, soon, we learned in Romans chapter 9, that God has chosen Israel. Why did he choose them? Because they were great, because they were numerous, because they were powerful, no, he chose them in his sovereign wisdom, because he's God and he gets to choose. But he not only chose Israel, he chose Israel within Israel. There's a remnant that's within Israel, a remnant that believes by faith in the gospel that has been offered to them. And then he chose mercy to show mercy to so many whether Jew or Gentile, he's chosen this. And he's also chosen that the only way that someone experiences righteousness, which remember is not just about being good morally, but is about right standing before God, that the only way that anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, any human being experiences, righteousness, or right standing before God is by faith in Jesus. God chose that because God gets to choose. These are God's Choices. And he gets to make them because he is all wise. He knows everything about everything, all at the same time, all information, all details, all potentialities, all are right there with God, and he knows everything. And every choice he makes is the wisest of all of the possible options, is the best and most good of all the possible options. So when we look at the nature of God's Choices, we learn about God's very heart. And so in Romans chapter 10, as we're working through that, Paul had started talking about this righteousness that is by the law and a righteousness that is by faith. And of course, he's talking about how it's only righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ that we can have right standing before God. And he begins to continue on in that line of thinking and what Paul starts talking about in righteousness, he ends up morphing that idea of righteousness into salvation and being saved. It's like it rolls right into it in Romans chapter 10, he's talking about right standing before God and using the term righteousness, but then rolls naturally into the term saved or salvation. These are very closely linked. We could theologically dissect them and talk about the idea of justification and all of those things, but truthfully, they all go together in the heart and the mind of God and they all go together for us as well. And so what we'll do over the course of the next number of verses in Romans chapter 10 is we conclude the chapter is that we're going to see, we're going to explore some of God's Choices. The first choice that I would point out to you is this is that God chose to come near. If you're jotting notes down, just write that down, god chose to come near. And then pay attention to what Paul said in Romans chapter, number 10, beginning in verse five, Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law, the person who does these things will live by them. But the righteousness that is by faith says, do not say in your heart, who will ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down or who will descend into the deep that is to bring Christ up from the dead. But what does it say? The word is near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart. That is the message concerning faith that we proclaim. That if you declare with your mouth, Jesus Lord and believe in your heart, that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved for just with your heart, that you believe and are justified. And it's with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. You see what Paul is talking about here is he opens up by talking about a contrast. He's continuing on what we were talking about in the first four verses of Romans chapter 10, the righteousness that is by the law and the righteousness that is by faith. And obviously he's talking about and affirming the righteousness that is by faith. And when I look at this contrast, I'm reminded of the reformers, because the reformers talked about the idea of law and gospel, whether it's Martin Luther or John Calvin, they were all talking about this idea of law and gospel. And they said, the law is what God commands us. And the gospel is what God gives us by grace, right? The law is what God commands us. And the gospel is what God gives us by grace. And then they made the argument, which is a true argument that no human being could actually live up to the standards of the law because we have all been affected by sin, it is human depravity. All of us have been afflicted by this disease that is called sin, and as a result, none of us could ever live up to the standards of the law. But Paul had quoted Moses here, those who, you know, who have the law will live by them. That's the only way that you could do that. If you wanna find a righteousness by the law, then you've gotta uphold it perfectly in every way. And you can't because you have been stained by sin. Just like I have been stained by sin. Just like the entire world has been stained by sin. No one can do that. That's why the law points to the only one who has fulfilled it, Jesus. The law is a tutor, a school master that is pointing us to something beyond itself, Jesus, the one who, when he came said, I've not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, to complete it, to bring it to its completion, Jesus is the one. And it is now only by faith in him that anyone can be in right standing with God. Righteousness is by faith, not by the law. So what does this righteousness that is by faith say? Paul actually gives it a voice. He personifies righteousness by faith and he says righteousness by faith actually speaks and listen to what it says. Here's what, here's what he says in verse number six. But the righteousness that is by faith says, do not say in your heart, or do not say to yourself, same translation, who will ascend into heaven, that is to bring Christ down or who will descend into the deep, that is to bring Christ up from the dead. But what does it say? The word is near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart. That is the message concerning faith that we proclaim. Now, you know that when we get into the scripture, we get into the scripture here. We believe in teaching and opening up the word of God and paying attention. And I want you to follow with me here as we track through this, because you kind of have to put your mind to this just a little bit, to be able to see what exactly Paul is doing here. You see Paul is quoting the Old Testament a lot in Romans chapter 10 and there's a reason for that. Because Paul's reaching back into the Hebrew scriptures to show them that the gospel has been talked about and he is bringing the gospel. Now that it's not brand new, that this was God's heart all along, that God's heart for the good news of Jesus was God's heart all along. And now what Paul is doing is he's reaching back into the Old Testament specifically here in the book of Deuteronomy. And he's reaching back there and he's pulling it forward in time, and he's saying, I'm going to bring Jesus into what you read in the book of the law. And Paul starts out by giving just a fragment quote in the book of Deuteronomy. He takes this little fragment where he begins when he says the righteousness is by faith says, and then he says, this do not say in your heart, or do not say to yourself, same translation. That's a fragment quote. Let me tell you where it's from. It's from Deuteronomy chapter 9. I'm gonna show it to you in just a second, because what Paul is doing is he's trying to set the context for everyone that righteousness by faith says something. And so he pulls out a fragment of Deuteronomy chapter 9. And when you pulled out a fragment of the Old Testament scripture, you were pointing people to the context of what that passage said. I want you to see what it says in Deuteronomy chapter 9. After the Lord your God has driven them out before you do not say to yourself, there it is. You see it, do not say to yourself, that's the phrase that he stole from, that he borrowed from, right? Don't say to yourself, the Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness. No, it's on account of the wickedness of these nations, that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you're going in to take possession of their land. But on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord, your God will drive them out before you to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, understand then that it is not because of your righteousness, that the Lord, your God is giving you this good land to possess for you are a stiff-necked people. I hope you caught it three different times, Paul or Deuteronomy says, it's not because of your righteousness. It is not because of your righteousness. It is not because of your righteousness. So when Paul here is saying the righteousness that is by faith, says something, he starts with a fragment quote to remind everybody. Here's what it says, it's not about your righteousness. Don't think for a skinny minute, that's a kind of a Southern phrase isn't it? Don't think for a skinny minute that you have the opportunity to do enough good things to earn right standing with God, the righteousness that is by faith says, this is not about your righteousness. And then that sets Paul up to quote from Deuteronomy 30, which is what he does. And he starts interjecting some things in there, but I'll show you the original context of what he's talking about, and by the way, Deuteronomy 30 was talking about the giving of the law. Okay? It is not up in heaven so that you have to ask who will ascend into heaven to get it. That's what he's referring to here in Romans. And proclaim it to us, so we may obey it nor is it beyond the sea so that you have to ask who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us, that word sea is also the word abyss, same quote that he's making right here so that we may obey it, no, the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it. See, this is where Paul's borrowing from. He's borrowing from Deuteronomy chapter 30, which talks about ultimately the giving of the law. And what Paul does is he brings Jesus into that passage. Look at it again in Romans 10 verses six and seven. But the righteousness that is by faith says, do not say in your heart, that fragment quote, to remind us this isn't about your righteousness. Then he quotes Deuteronomy 30, who will ascend into heaven, and then watch this. He adds something in that is to bring Christ down. Or, and he quotes Deuteronomy 30 again, who will descend into the deep, and then he adds this. That is to bring Christ up from the dead. See, Paul is actually bringing Jesus into the context of this Old Testament passage of scripture that's talking about the giving of the law. And now Paul is talking about it in terms of Jesus. You see the giving of the law originally was given certainly for people to obey, but you know why it was given? It was given as an act of grace because God was establishing relationship with his people. They needed to know who he was. They needed to know his heart. They needed to know how holy he was. They needed to know expectations of how you live as the people of God. And so it was given out of relationship, a desire for establishing relationship. God brought the law near. In other words, he said, you didn't have to ascend to the heavens to get it because you couldn't, you didn't have to go to the abyss to get it because you couldn't. I brought it near to you. I brought the law near to you so that we could establish relationship. And just like God brought the law near, Paul says, God brought Jesus near. Why? For the sake of relationship. That's why God brought Jesus near. He said, now don't think to yourself like, I've gotta go to the heavens to retrieve Jesus. Nope, he's already come down. God sent him. I've gotta go to the abyss to get him, nope. God's already brought him up from the dead. You don't have to do any of that. God is the one who has come near and he's chosen to come near. That's been his MO though from the beginning, hasn't it? In Eden, what did he do? He came near and he walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. With Abraham, what did he do? He showed up and he pronounced a covenant of how he was going to rescue the world through his seed. Through Moses, he led the people of God out of Egypt and out of bondage, led them toward the land of promise, gave Moses the covenant of the law and even showed his presence among his people by being a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God came near through the prophets where he would communicate to the people of God, what God's heart was, what God desired, God has always been coming near. And God demonstrated that as he culminated it in the one who was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, the Lord Jesus, who put skin on God, the son who was born of a Virgin and who lived a sinless life, God came near. That's why we call him Emmanuel, God with us. You see this is what God has been doing from the very beginning. And Paul is making the point that the good news of Jesus is near to us, it's accessible to us, it's understandable to us. And then Paul finishes by walking out the implications of Deuteronomy 30, because he says in Deuteronomy 30, from what he's quoting, he talks about how it is in your mouth, it is in your heart. And that's why he continues on in verses 9 and 10 and says this. If you declare with your mouth Jesus' is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved, for it is is with your heart that you believe and are justified. And it's with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Paul's now, he's walking out the gospel from Deuteronomy chapter 30. He's just walking it out, it says, the word is near you. How is the word near you, it's near you in Jesus. In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God. And the word was God. And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. He moved into the neighborhood. God chose to come near. And now he's working out the implications of that, he says, he says, the word is near you in Deuteronomy talking about the law. Paul says, I'm now talking about Jesus. The word is near you. It's in your, it's in your mouth. It's in your heart, and he says, if it's in your mouth, you will confess that Jesus is Lord. And in your heart, you will believe that God has raised him from the dead. You see what Paul is concentrating on here really is listen to this. He's talking about what the righteousness of faith says. That's what he's doing. The righteousness of faith says this. And now he's talking about the faith of our heart. What we confess is just an overflow of what we have believed by faith in our hearts. And that's the emphasis that Paul is giving right here. The emphasis is on the heart and confession is really just the overflow of what happens by faith in our own hearts, you see, here's something that I know, the mouth doesn't confess what the heart doesn't possess. You don't confess that Jesus is Lord, unless you have really put your faith in him. Because when Paul said, you confess with your mouth Jesus' Lord. That would mean in Rome, this is the book of Romans in Rome, where the Caesar was, if you confess Jesus' Lord, you're saying Caesar is not. And that could get you martyred. It could get you jailed. It could get you killed. This wasn't just about saying some formulaic thing he's talking about you're confessing that Jesus is king over every king he's Lord, over every Lord. Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not. I know that Caesar has claimed divinity. Cesar has claimed to be godlike. Cesar has put that on the coins that are distributed in Rome, but Jesus is Lord, Jesus is. And in my heart, I know that because he came, he lived sinlessly, he died on a cross and God raised him from the dead. He raised him from the dead. We, we didn't even have to go do this. God did it, god came near. God's the one who's done this. God sent him down and God raised him up. God is the one who has come near to us because it is God's choice that he does that. That's why Paul says, it's in your mouth, it's in your heart, it's by faith that this happens. And he's not just talking about facts. Even though these are facts. It is a fact that God sent his son into the world, born of a virgin. It is a fact that Jesus Christ lives sinlessly in word indeed, in every way. It is a fact that he went to the cross to die for the sins of humanity because the justice of God was poured out on him. It is a fact that he rose from the dead on the third day. It is a fact that he ascended to the father in heaven. It is a fact that he is coming back. These are all facts, but listen carefully. Satan also knows these facts. What's the difference? Faith, faith, submission, trust. That's the difference. And some of us haven't come to that place. We acknowledge the facts, but the facts aren't enough. They are facts, they are true. This is true, this happened in historical time. This isn't some just fanciful mythical tale that we tell to make ourselves feel better, it happened in time, in a real place at a real time. But even though people know the facts, they have not put their faith in Jesus. But boy, when we back up for just a second, don't you thank God that God chose to come near to us in Jesus? That was God's Choice. That should tell you something about his heart. God chose to come near. Let me show you a second choice. God chose everyone to have access to salvation. Notice, I didn't say that everyone will be saved. That won't be the case, but God chose everyone to have access to salvation. Let me show you what I mean, he, Paul continues on in this line of thinking here in Romans. As scripture says, say this with me, anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between you and Gentile. The same Lord is Lord of how many? All. And richly blesses, how many? All. Who call on him for how many? I hope you picked up on this. Paul's making a point here. It was anyone, all, everyone, anyone, all, everyone, anyone, all, everyone, everyone. Do you know what he's saying? God's chosen everyone to have access to salvation, everyone. And then Paul makes the point, he says, 'cause there's no difference between Jew and Gentile. Listen carefully. If Paul had to going through the book of Romans many times over say repeatedly, there's no difference between Jew and Gentile. Why do you think he had to say that? 'cause there was a problem. If everything was fine no big deal, but there was a problem. Let me summarize the problem super quickly. In the very beginning, when the early church was born in Rome, it was mostly Jewish Christians, that's what happened. There was a persecution and they were all spread out. Remember the first Christians were Jews. And so they're spreading out all over the empire because of the persecution that happened in Jerusalem. Many of them ended up in Rome. And so you've got a church full of mostly not all, but mostly Jewish Christians. You can imagine that there was some sense of what that looked like. But then in the early forties Claudias who was leading the Roman empire at that time, he kicked all the Jews out of Rome, kicked them all out. So if you were just a Jew like an Israelite, or if you were a Jewish Christian, if you had a Jewish ethnicity, goodbye, but a few, a number of years later, they were able to come back. But imagine now what the makeup of the church in Rome looked like. It was now more Gentile than it was Jewish. And there became an issue mostly from the Jewish folks. Paul is talking about, there became an issue related to how the Gentiles can experience salvation If they're not Jews because the Jews have all the stuff they've got all the privileges, they've got all the promises. And so Paul is having to say again and again and again and again in the book of Romans, there's no difference. There's no difference. You know what they had there? They had an ethnic supremacy problem. That's what they had. You think that's new to us? It's been around. And Paul is saying, there's no difference between Jew and Gentile. You see when you and I get to a place where we begin to understand very clearly that this is about everyone, and in fact, that's what we saw when Paul is making this argument beginning in Romans chapter 10, when we got to verse four, remember 10, four last week, remember what he said? Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for how many? Everyone who believes. Jew, Gentile, everyone who believes, every single person. You see what we learn when we begin to read the gospel, when we begin to understand the good news of Jesus, we learn from the scripture that there are many ethnicities, but there's one race, the human one. That's what the scripture actually talks about from beginning to end. There's a celebration of the ethnicities. When you get to the end of the book of Revelation, you see every tongue and tribe and nation that's represented there. And the Kings of various cultures and backgrounds and skin colors and ethnicities are coming into the city. It is a beautiful celebration because the church of Jesus Christ is made up from anyone, anywhere of any kind of people who have put their faith in Jesus, anybody, anywhere of any kind of background, who've put their faith in Jesus. That is what the church of Jesus actually is to look like. Because everybody has been born an image bearer of God and is worthy of the dignity and respect that comes with being an bearer of God. But also everybody, whether Jew Gentile, Black, White, Brown, all have been stained by sin. That's why Paul says that in Romans chapter three, all of sin and come short of the glory of God, all everyone, every single person, Jew, Gentile, anybody, any background, everybody sin and come short of the glory of God, which means that whoever you are wherever you are, you've all been stained by sin, regardless of what you think you are. And all of you can only experience forgiveness and right standing with God in and through faith in Jesus. That's the only way, that's it. So let me make sure that I'm as clear as I can be in terms of what we're talking about here. If anyone is ever tempted to think about one ethnic group of people as superior to another ethnic group of people, I can assure you that thought has come on an express train from hell and Satan himself is the train conductor. But because the gospel of Jesus detonates that kind of thinking, God chose everyone to have access to salvation in Jesus, regardless of where you come from, what you look like, what your background is, third choice, God chose heralds to proclaim the message of Christ. I didn't say God chose a dude named Harold, right? I'll explain what heralds is in just a second. God chose heralds to proclaim the message of Christ. But if your name's Herald or you're moving in the right direction, listen to what verse 14 and 15 say, how then can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they've not heard, and how can they hear without someone preaching to them and how can anyone preach unless they are sent/ As it is written. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news? Now what Paul does here is he actually works backwards through the process behind salvation. Like what has to happen for people to be saved? It's kinda like when I walk into a, when I walk into a room and I flip a light switch and the light comes on, it's awesome. Seems simple. But there's a whole lot going on behind the scenes. There's currents and there's breaker boxes and there's conductors and there's electrical poles that are hung up all over the city, and there's a electrical grid. And if I keep talking, I'll show you how little I actually know about any of this. Right, but there's a lot that goes on behind it. You just, you flip on the switch and you're just like, okay, I've got light, but there's a bunch that's behind that, right? Well, Paul starts to work backwards in this process of salvation, and what I wanna do is I wanna, I wanna start from his backwards and work forwards because here's what he says. He basically says, preachers are sent. Now that word preacher there, where it uses that term, it's the word Caruso in the Greek language. And it means to be a herald. A herald is someone who proclaimed publicly often good news. You know, sometimes they would even blow and then it would be, I've got an announcement to make, that's a herald. They are heralding, good news. So these heralds are sent. These heralds are sent and they preach the message of Christ. These heralds that are sent that preach the message of Christ, people hear the message of Christ. But what we don't have is the end result listed by Paul in this passage of scripture, did they respond by faith? Now, Paul, who is going to target Israel because he's an Israelite in his heart is really heavy for them. He answers that question in the next few verses. He answers that by saying, no, generally speaking, they didn't, generally speaking, they didn't, they rejected. But what should we do with just this passage, as a reminder? How can they call on the one they haven't believed in? How can they believe unless they get an opportunity to hear, be preached to how can you preach unless you're sent, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news? You're saying, well, Jerry, this doesn't really have anything to do with me. This has to do with you because you're a preacher. That's kind of what you do, that's your job. That's your calling, that's your responsibility. Yes, like I, yes, I preach the gospel. That's what I do, it's what I've been called to do. And that's what I'm doing, and I wanna do so faithfully, but I need you to understand something. You are a herald of the gospel. You have a circle of influence that I don't have. You are connected to people in your sphere that I'm not connected to. You have influence relationally. You have relational capital in their world that I don't have. So you listen. So it's not enough just to say, well, I'm gonna drag them by the collar and have the professional guy talk to them. You need to stop looking at me as a replacement for your ministry. I am a supplement to your ministry. I wanna partner with you. So when you are reaching out to people, you are sharing with people and then you have the ability to have them next to you on a Sunday, sitting in listening to the preaching of the gospel, that I am just supplementing what you are doing, but I'm not the replacement for it because you listen, you've been sent, you've been chosen. You've been called to share that good news in your circles. Let me show you the last choice. God chose to hold out his hands, even to the obstinate. Now you'll see what I'm talking about here as we get closer to the end of our text, here's what verse 16 says, but not all the Israelites accepted the good news. You kind of knew where that was going because Paul was setting that up. For, Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message, consequently, faith comes by hearing the message and the message is heard through the word about Christ, but I ask, did they not hear? Of course they did, he's speaking to Israel now. Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world, he's talking, quoting from Psalms there. Again, I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says, I will make you envious by those who are not a nation. I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding. He's talking about Gentiles there. And Isaiah boldly says, I was found by those who did not seek me. I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me. That's what Paul was talking about in chapter 9, about the Gentiles. But concerning Israel, he says all day long, I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. Here's what I've found. I've found kind of anecdotally that for people generally, and for religious people specifically, they really struggle with grace. People generally and religious people specifically feel like grace is hard to accept. They need to earn something. They need to deserve what they get. I was reading a story of a pastor who's now with the Lord, but he was telling a story of a friend of his who came to faith in Jesus. He's a reasonably younger man, I mean, not super young working of course, but was very wealthy. And this younger man had come to faith in Jesus and started sharing his faith with all of his friends. And they were not responding. They simply were not responding by faith in Jesus Christ. And he was frustrated by that. And so he figured, you know what, I'm gonna do something wild. I'm gonna just, I wanna give him an illustration. I wanna do something wild. And he was, he was a person of means. So he pulled out his checkbook and he went to his first friend and he said, you know what? You have been such a friend to me. I just, I thank you for it. Thank you so much. I said, I wanna give you a gift. And he writes a check for a million dollars to this friend and hands it to him. And he wouldn't take it. And every friend that he did this for, he was good for the check too, by the way, some of us like might try to pull that and our friends would just go for real? Like you literally borrowed money for Mighty Taco last week. It's not happening, right. This guy was good for it. And for all, like, I don't know, 5, 6, 7 friends, whatever it was, he made the same offer, wrote them a check. Here's a million dollars. None of his friends took it. And he said to his pastor, he said, I've learned something. The human heart rebels against grace. It just does. They want to feel deserving. They want to feel like they were worthy of, they wanna feel like they earned something. You see, friends, this is where Israel was. Paul is heartbroken over Israel because this is where they were. Not all the Israelites accepted the good news. Their hearts had become hardened. They heard the message of the gospel. They understood the message of the gospel and they rejected it. But Paul concludes with this passage from Isaiah. And in it, he actually does something remarkable because he puts this beautiful, sweet melody of grace in it. Yes, does he call Israel and obstinate and disobedient people? He does, but listen to, what's said right before it. All day long, I hold out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. All day long, I do this. This, my friends is the story of grace in Jesus, Because all of us, not just Israel, all of us were at one time disobedient and obstinate. If you're among us now, and you're going, not me. Check yourself. You were disobedient actively or passively to God and you were obstinate, your heart was rebellious. We, we are called, listen, we are called enemies of God before we've been regenerated. We are at enmity with God. We are out of relationship with him. We are foreigners and aliens to the promise of God. Ephesians tells us all of these things. We are already under condemnation, according to the book of, every book that Paul wrote, basically, we are already under condemnation, But God in his grace has offered Christ, listen to this, and Christ put his hands out. He extended his hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. That's why Paul tells us in another portion of Romans, God demonstrated his own love toward us in this while we were yet sinners Christ held his hands out for us. He died for us. That's what he did. So that by faith, in what he's done, not in our own works, not in our own righteousness, but in what he's done in him, our faith in him, we can now be in right standing before God, not because of what we've done, but because of what he's done. And because God chose, listen to this. God chose patience and long suffering for us. I held out my hands all day long to a disobedient and an obstinate people. You know what that means? It means that God showed such patience to you and I in Jesus, that in turn, the people that are in our circles of influence, who keep saying no to Jesus Who keep being obstinate before God who keep being disobedient, We still hold our hands out because his are. We keep praying. We keep loving. We keep serving. We keep sharing. 'cause that's what he's done. We all were disobedient and obstinate people before he rescued us, you didn't find Jesus. He found you. God chose to come near. God chose to make salvation accessible for everybody. God chose those who he has made this salvation accessible to who have put their faith in Jesus. He chose them to be heralds to other people that they might also know the good news of Jesus. And God chose to hold his hands out To people who have rejected and said no. And if he held his out, so can we. Let's bow our heads together. In a moment we're dismissed but if you're here and you've never before put your trust in Jesus, then I would hope that you understand that you need to quit trying to figure out like how you can make your good outweigh you're bad or how you can somehow earn enough. You can't. Stop. It is only by faith in Jesus, only based on what he's done, not our own righteousness. And if you want to know more about what that looks like and what it means to have a relationship with Jesus, to have your sins forgiven your life, made new, everything changed. Then when I say amen to my prayer in just a moment, I hope that you'll walk straight across the atrium, into the fireside room. We've got some folks there who would love to take a moment, pray with you send you home with something that's gonna help you in your journey of faith. I hope you'll do it. Father, you've said much to us today about your choices from your word. Thank you that we get to see this because every time we look at your choices, we look through it as a prism and we see your heart. That you're the one who's initiated coming close to us when we were far from you. Thank you for that. That you're the one who has said everybody everywhere, everyone, all, no matter where we're from, background, country we grew up in, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, all come to you the same way, through Jesus. Thank you that you've called us and that you've sent us that have been rescued by your grace to be able to share that message with other people. And thank you that you've showed us such patience in holding out your hands to us. Even when we were disobedient and obstinate and that we can hold our hands out to our family members and friends and work colleagues who seem to continually be disobedient and obstinate and rebellious. May we be like you because your choices tell us about your heart and your heart is good. So even when we can't fully clarify everything that happens in our lives and happens in our world and happens in our workplaces and happens in our families. When we can't trace your hand, we can trust your heart because every choice you make is wise and good. Help us to follow you in that for your glory. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.