Friday, August 19, 2016

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday August 21, 2016

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GOD’S MERCY ON ISRAEL
(That same mercy is also for everyone)
(Romans 11:1-24)

   In Romans chapter 11, Paul brings to the Jewish thought, the divine idea of “The Remnant”. Here he uses the Old Testament prophet Elijah, as his example, but certainly he could have equally chosen the likes of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Ezekiel, Zephaniah, or even Micah, as they all came to realize, one by one, that there was never a time when the whole nation of Israel was true to GOD, and, that there never will be. They all experienced times when they felt as though the work that they were doing in ministry to GOD was futile, or, of non-effect.
    Listening to Paul, the Jews probably felt that GOD may have already rejected his chosen people as a whole. Here Paul seeks to re-assure them that no such thing will ever happen, because of GOD’s promise to their patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Vs. 1-2a & 28b).
    Here Paul brings to the Jews memory how the prophet Elijah complained to GOD about the people of Israel when he said, “LORD, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:14). There GOD re-assured HIS prophet that, indeed, he was not alone. HE tells Elijah that there were 7000 others in Israel who had not yet bowed down to the idol gods of Baal (Vs. 2b-4).
    Time and time again Scripture returns our thoughts to the idea of a faithful remnant of people who had always lived in obedience to GOD, and it is still that way even today, as hard as that may seem to believe. And, even though there is no Church, denomination, or group that will be saved “en masse”, there always exists among us, certain individuals who are saved by way of their faithfulness, which leads to GODly behavior on their part.  
    A relationship with GOD has always been, is now, and, will forever be an individual and personal one. A person must individually give their own heart, and surrender their own life to GOD. None of us can go to Heaven based on the GODly life that “Big Mama” lived, unless, of course, we imitate her GODly behavior and obedience in our own life, and teach it to our own children.
    The Jews had to learn that they could not be saved based on their membership in GOD’s “chosen nation” alone, they must instead, live their lives in a way that is pleasing to GOD, based on faith in GOD, before GOD would consider making them a part of HIS “chosen family”. Here Paul is teaching that a person can only be saved by the personal decision that they make to walk with GOD, based on their faith.
    There can be no nation that can be lumped together as a “chosen people”, simply because of their heritage, national origin, or pedigree. The chosen people of GOD are those individuals who choose to obey GOD, and choose JESUS CHRIST, as their LORD and SAVIOR. It is those individuals who are members of “The Remnant”, that the Scriptures speak of, and that has nothing to do with race, creed, color, or national origin.
    GOD will graft into HIS family, whosoever he chooses, to replace those Jews, or anyone else, who has rejected HIM, however, those who are grafted in, must be careful not to boast of being righteous of themselves, but instead, must be willing to continue to walk in the righteousness of CHRIST JESUS (Vs. 15-20). If GOD did not spare those family members, the Jews, who were originally included in HIS family, certainly HE won’t spare the non-Jews who HE replaces HIS family members with (v. 21).
    Remember, GOD is both kind, and severe. HE is kind to those who obey HIM, and severe in HIS punishment to those who don’t. Paul goes on to say that, whenever the unbelieving Jewish people turn from their unbelief, GOD is willing to graft them back into HIS family again, because HE has that power. And not only does HE have the power to do it, HE will do it with exceeding, unspeakable joy (Vs. 22-24).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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