What About the Jews?
3:1-20, "What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or
what value is there in circumcision?
Much in every way!
First of all, they have been entrusted with the very
words of God.
if some did not have faith?
Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?
Not at all! Let
God be true, and every man a liar.
As it is written:
that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when
you judge.' (Psalm
But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness
more clearly, what shall we say?
That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us?
(I am using a human argument.)
Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?
Someone might argue, 'If my falsehood enhances his
glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?' Why not say--as we are slanderously reported
as saying and as some claim that we say--'Let us do evil that
good may result'? Their
condemnation is deserved.
No One Is Righteous
shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all!
We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles
alike are all under sin. As
it is written:
'There is no
not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they
have together become worthless;
is no one who does good, not even one.'
(Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3)
throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.'
'The poison of vipers is
on their lips.' (Psalm
'Their mouths are full of
cursing and bitterness.' (Psalm
'Their feet are swift to
shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of
peace they do not know.' (Isaiah
'There is no
fear of God before their eyes.' (Psalm 36:1)
Now we know that whatsoever the law says,
it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth
may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his
sight buy observing the law; rather, through the law we become
conscious of sin." [NIV] Or, the King James renders this last sentence as "For by the law is the knowledge
[I.e. the law is our spiritual mirror that shows where
the dirt is. It doesn't
clean the dirt, just shows where it is.]
morning I would like us to open our Bibles to Romans chapter
3. I've entitled my message "What About the Jews?"
You hang in there with me, because you're going to
see the awesome faithfulness of God. I just pray this knocks us over spiritually.
That we really see how much God loves us and cares
for us. But let us
to pick up in Romans 3, verse 9, and we'll go back and pick
up the first eight verses in a minute.
Paul's whole point of the first three chapters is now
evident in verse 9, as he has been painting this dark picture
of the human race. Showing
us of our great need of a savior and of salvation. You know, unless you know you're a sinner, you
don't need a savior, unless you're drowning, you don't reach
for the life-preserver. Unless
you know that you have a sickness, you don't reach for the
cure, so that's what he's been working on.
And now in verse 9 he says, "Then are we better than
other words, "Are we Jews any better than the pagans out in
the world?" "Not at all. For
we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all
under sin." Now
have you ever had accident, and they've totaled out your car? Doesn't take much today, does it, to have your
car totaled? These
cars today are made out of the same stuff that pop cans are
made out of. Leslie was shutting the door, her wrists are
so bad with arthritis that she sort of uses her whole body
to do things like shut the door, and she was shutting the
door and I said, "Oh, be careful honey, you might dent the
car, you know." She's
a light thing herself, but it doesn't take much, because they're
made out of such cheap stuff, you know.
And I've seen cars that just had a couple of dings
in them, but because everything's all tied together [unibody
construction], they've totaled the car. And of course you always lose money, generally
when they total out your car.
It's better not to have your car totaled. I made my way through college with this car
that just kept getting hit.
I had this old Ford Galaxy 500, weighed about 500 tons
and every time I went to school break to Oregon
somebody would hit me. And
it was never my fault. And
I just never repaired anything, and used the money to go to
college. Things would
get real bad [financially] and I'd start driving, you know,
OK Lord [laughter]. But God provides in mysterious ways, doesn't
he. Never got a whip-lash
or anything, they were always nice accidents.
But anyway, cars will be written off as a total loss. We say 'they were totaled.' Well God estimates the damage done to the human
race by sin, and God says in verses 9 through 20 that it is
a total loss. Mankind
has been "totaled" by sins' impact.
"As it has been written,"
verse 10 says, "there is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they've become
useless." The word "useless" could be translated "sour milk".
Ooh. 'All together, the human race, he says, they
stink.' 'There's none
that does good, not even one.'
"their throat is an open
a real bad breath problem, isn't it.
"And with their tongues,
they keep deceiving. The
poison of asps is under their lips, whose mouth is full of
cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their paths. And the path of peace they have not known.
There's no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know whatever the law says, speaks to those
who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed (or
shut up). And all the
world may become accountable to God, because, by the
works of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight.
Through the law comes the knowledge of sin."
And so the grand climax of humanity's problem being
given to us in Paul's great letter here to the Romans, and
he's telling us, 'Come on, cut the baloney, stop fooling around,
nobody is good enough to be saved. By the deeds of the law, nobody can be declared
not guilty in God's sight.
Cut it out. Get
real. The world is going to hell-unless there is intervention
by the gospel of God through Jesus Christ.' That's
the whole point, that's why we're here, because we believe
there's no way to get to [into the kingdom of] heaven, but
by Jesus Christ. And we believe that because we know we've got
a problem. I know that
if I die apart from Christ, I won't go to heaven.
I know that if I die apart from Christ, I'll have a
load of guilt I'm going to have to answer to God for someday.
Understand that it is appointed unto man once to die,
and after that the judgment.
Because I know that and understand that I'm less than
perfect, I know I need a savior and I know I need Jesus.
As Paul is presenting this great defense of the gospel
and presentation of God's grace, he anticipates some arguments
from his Jewish brothers.
He knows that they're not going to just swallow this,
they have some concerns and some questions, and so in the
first 8 verses he tries to answer those questions, he anticipates
their arguments. In
verse 1, the first argument is 'Well, what about the Jews?' 'Are you saying, Paul, that there are no advantages
to being Jewish? What's
the use, Paul, of me being a Jew if we're all sinners? If I'm just like this Gentile, then what difference
does it make if I'm one of God's chosen people? And Paul, you just said in verse 29 of chapter
2 (or 28), that an uncircumcised Gentile could be more acceptable
to God than a circumcised Jew(?).
Well, if that's true, then why waste our time?
It's been a total waste.
The Jews were never God's chosen people.'
And Paul responds in verse 2, 'Hey, there's great advantage
in having that Jewish background.
There are great advantages to having this Jewish heritage.'
First of all, he says, "They were entrusted with the oracles of God." That means
God chose the Jewish prophets to communicate his Divine will
and revelation. In
other words, there were certain things that God could not
communicate to us by [us] looking at a sunset, or by looking
at creation, looking at his power in nature--things that we
would never know if he didn't tell us.
We could never seek these things out for ourselves
and find them. God had to reveal them to us, because he's infinitely
greater then we. And
so he chose to do that, and he took Jewish prophets, Jewish
kings, Jewish leaders, and finally Jewish apostles to communicate
his will, his Word, his grace, to the world.
So we're greatly indebted to the Jewish people for giving us our Bible. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have the written
Word of God. God communicated
it through them. Oh,
the Jewish people even to this day, the Orthodox, hold the
Word of God in such awe and reverence, they love God's Word.
Childs E. Feinberg relates an incident that occurred
New York years
ago that illustrates this point.
He said, "A member of The Love of Moses congregation,
a synagogue, upon opening the Ark of the scrolls, to
conduct the rites of the Passover service, found to his dismay
that one of the scrolls had been stolen.
A search began, and in a vacant alley, in a vacant
lot not far from the synagogue, they found the scroll that
had been desecrated, partially burned. They lovingly picked up the scroll. They took it back to the synagogue, and the
people began to mourn. They
cleaned up the scroll the best they could.
They wrapped it in a prayer shawl, they prepared a
pine casket for it, and they conducted a regular funeral service,
just like they would have conducted had a human being died,
for that Scripture portion.
And then the whole congregation fasted an entire week,
mourning the loss of that Scripture."
I don't think we appreciate the Word of God like that.
I mean, many of you have lost your Bibles.
And they're in 'lost & found'.
And we haven't had any funeral services around here. You haven't called, "Where's my Bible, I've
lost the most precious thing to me!'--Aah, we've got ten at
home, it's just one.' But
oh, how they [the Jews] love the Word of God.
And we've lost something there.
Feinberg goes on to say, "I can remember my father
and grandfather on Sabbath eve, as they would read the portion
of the Scripture for that Sabbath, and as they would close
the book, they would kiss it over and over again," kissing
the Law [Torah], kissing the Word of God, showing the respect
for the Word of God. We don't have that. "O how I love thy law." David would say, he
meant the Torah, the Bible they had.
"The Law of the Lord, the Word of God, it's perfect,
converting the soul, the testimonies of the Lord are sure,
enlightening the eyes, more to be desired are they than gold,
yea, than much fine gold. And sweeter also than honey in the honeycomb."
As I was raised as a little boy, I remember, and to
this day, it's my practice, I was trained, 'You never
put anything on top of your Bible. Never put any other book on your Bible. You never do that, because this is God's Word.' And I'm not
into Bible worship and superstition
and all of that, but it put in my heart as a little kid this
awe and reverence for the book I didn't understand yet, and
would some day grow to love, and swear my allegiance to.
Do you realize that held in your hand right now is
the only thing besides your soul that's leaving this world
with you. You know
the Word of God is the only thing of this world that's going
to go on forever. The world of God and human life [resurrected
to immortal human life] that's the only thing that's going
to live forever. And
we have it in our hands right now, a piece of eternity right
here. Isn't it awesome.
I think it's neat to think about.
David Hocking told a group of us pastors a few years
ago that when he prepares his sermons he gets down on his
knees, he places his Bible on his chair and he gets down on
his knees and he just falls down in front of the Word of God,
and he says, "Lord, you show me, this is your holy Word Lord,
I want to approach it with fear and trembling.
Oh God, don't let me mishandle it.
Give me an awe and reverence for it--this is your Word,
these are your commands, this is your gospel."
How neat, that there are men of God like that, that
love the Word of God. Being
Jewish had many advantages, they had the Bible, they had the
Word of God. Secondly,
Messiah was going to come through them, they were the channel
through which Messiah would come. It was their lineage, David's lineage through
which the Messiah would come.
[There is a huge misconception that the Jews have suffered
down through history because they helped kill Jesus, the Messiah.
This is totally false.
If anything, the Romans killed the Messiah, the Italians. No, the Jews have suffered down through
history because Satan hates them.
the Messiah, the one who would crush Satan, would come through
the Jews, the lineage of David. The Jews were suffering long before Messiah
was born, for this very reason. Satan was trying to kill off the Jews long before
Messiah's birth. Read
the Book of Esther, also Josephus writing about
Antiochus Ephiphanes IV. Satan's
hatred of the Jews is intense, and that's the chief source
of anti-Semitism. Coach Bill McCartney brings this out in his
recent book Blind
Spots (log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/messianicmovement/BlindSpots.htm).] They have
many advantages. Paul
realized that there were other arguments that people would
raise against the gospel. Verse 3, Paul knew that someone objects to the
gospel by accusing of him that God is not going to keep his
word to Israel. In other words, the Jews believe that they,
God had made certain promises to them that were irrevocable
and unbreakable. 'And Paul, you come in here with this church
and stuff. Are you
saying that God isn't going to fulfill his promises, are you
saying that God is a promise-breaking God?'
Verse 3, "What then, if some did not believe,
their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will
it?" Paul responds,
it never be. Rather
let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as
it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy word,
and mightest prevail when thou art judged." Some are
reasoning that if God cannot break his word, then how could
it be that any Jew would be lost? 'We
don't have to believe in your Jesus, we're Jews. And God promised to save Israel.' And Paul showed them, 'Wait a minute, you've
got the wrong idea. God
has made irrevocable promises to the nation Israel, but to the individuals that
make up that nation, each one of them must be saved individually
and personally. And
now that Messiah has come, they must be saved by putting their
faith in Him. The Old Testament talks the same way. God didn't save Jews differently than he saved
anybody else. But they
were operating under the false assumption that just because
they were ethnically Jewish or had gone through some kind
of a ritual, ceremony, a rite, that they were safe.
I told you last week, they, the teaching of the rabbi's
at the time of Jesus and the time of Paul was that 'not one
circumcised Jew would ever enter into hell.' 'All you need to have is the rite, the ceremony
performed, and you'll go to heaven.'
Sadly, a lot of religious people are that way today,
aren't they. 'I've been baptized.' What makes you so sure you're going to heaven?
'Well, I've been baptized.' So what. 'I
was confirmed.' Well,
have you confirmed your reservation?
Confirmed into what?
'Into the church.' Well, do you think church membership will save
you. Did church membership
die on the cross for you?
'Well, I'm a Catholic.'
So what. 'I'm a Mormon.' So what. 'Well,
I can trace my lineage back to Joseph Smith.' So can millions of other people. So what. It's
not salvation by pedigree.
It's salvation by personal relationship with Jesus
Christ--faith in his blood atonement for your sins.
The point Paul has been making is that just being born
a Jew doesn't save anybody. God made this very clear to his people [the
Jews] in Isaiah 55, the Lord said "seek the Lord while he
may be found. Call upon him while he's near. Let the wicked forsake his way"-- that means repent--"and
the unrighteous man his thoughts,
and let him return to the Lord, and he will have compassion
on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
You see, salvation is always for the individual, in Israel, has always been
the same--repentance, turning from your sins, and accepting
the gift of God, the gift of his grace.
Salvation has never changed, it wasn't different before
the cross and after the cross [look at king David's life,
first of faith in the Lord, then sinning, then of repentance,
and ultimately his salvation].
It's always been by grace through faith.
Before the cross it was faith in what would come, the
Lamb to come. After the cross it is faith in the Lamb that
has come. And so individuals
in Israel had to be saved by repenting and turning from sins
and believing. But the nation, as a nation, is safe and secure.
never, ever, get rid of the nation
of Israel. Some say 'Well, wait a minute, isn't it true, that
because the Jews rejected Jesus, they were scattered and forsaken
by God?' Well, there are those who teach today, that
because the Jews rejected Jesus, God is finished with them.
The teaching is that they no longer have a right to the special
promises that God made to Israel.
But you know, Israel's rejection of God and rejection
of Messiah, Jesus
(Yeshua), was no surprise to God.
God didn't see that they were rejecting his son and
go "Oh no! I can't believe it, I killed these people and
they're doing this?! Oh
boy, did this one catch me off guard!
Well, we'd better come up with a plan, quick.
Ahhh, let's see, A, B, C-church!
That's what we'll do.
We'll make a church. We'll build my church, that's what I'll."
He knew. He knew when he made the promise to Abraham,
that they would reject his son, nothing catches God off guard--God
is all-knowing, right? He
knows the future, the past, it's all right now to him.
In fact, hundreds of years before Jesus was even crucified,
Isaiah the prophet under the inspiration of God's Spirit declared
that the Messiah would be rejected, despised of men, and he
would be pierced through for our transgressions, that he would
be numbered with transgressors, that he would die, and he
would rise again. God
knew. The prophet Zechariah
predicted that they would pierce him, and some day after he
was pierced [at his 2nd coming, literally, Zechariah
12:10] they would look upon him whom they have pierced, and
mourn. But it would
be years after. You
know, nothing catches God off-guard.
He knew his people would reject his son and he knew
that he would have to discipline them because of that.
Do you know that before they even got off the runway
as a nation, God predicted that they would be scattered?
Look at Deuteronomy chapter 4.
You say, 'Mark, what does this have to.I have, do you
know what I'm going through, and we're talking about Israel,
we're talking about the Jews.'
Well, obviously you're not Jewish, but if you hang
with me, you're going to see that this has a whole lot to
do with you right now today. It has a whole lot to do with you. Hang in there. Deuteronomy chapter 4, we'll look at verse 27.
They're not even in the Promised Land yet. They haven't even walked on the real estate
yet, and God's telling them 'You're gonna get scattered.' Verse 27, "And the Lord will scatter you among
the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the
nations where the Lord shall drive you."
Look at chapter 28, Deuteronomy 28, verse 64.
Man, is this ever prophetic.
Same guy writing under the inspiration of God, Moses
is still writing. They still haven't even gotten into the Promised
Land yet. "Moreover
the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end
of the earth to the other end of the earth, and there you
shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you and your
fathers have not known. And
among those nations you shall find no rest.
And there shall be no resting place for the soul of
your foot. But there the Lord will give you a trembling
heart, failing eyes, and despair of soul."
And if you know anything about the history of the Jewish
people, you will know that after the destruction of Jerusalem
in 70AD right up until just the late 1940s this was a picture
of those people. They had no rest, they'd removed out to Alexandria,
Egypt, they've moved to Rome, they've moved to Spain. And then persecution would hit them and they'd
have no rest, they could never put down any kind of roots. They'd go to Spain, the Muslims take over Spain,
persecute them there. They
would finally let up and then the Crusaders pushed the Muslims
out and the Crusaders (Catholic motivated and instigated)
set up the Inquisitions and began to spread vicious lies about
the Jews, blaming the Black Plague on the Jews because they
didn't get the plague. The
only reason they didn't get the plague is because they practiced
the Mosaic health laws, they washed their hands, and so they
didn't get it. But since they didn't have it, they thought
they started it. And
the Roman Catholic authorities said "OK, if you don't convert,
you burn" and they burned Jews at the stake by the millions.
[And is it any wonder why Jews who are now coming to
a knowledge that Jesus is the Messiah want nothing to do with
Gentile Christianity, even once or twice removed, like the
various Protestant or evangelical persuasions, who still hold
predominantly Catholic eschatological doctrines such as amillennialism
and replacement theology.]
They'd flee to Germany, and then in Germany Luther
and his gang advocated that they ought to be wiped out, hunted
down [this also happened in pre-Luther days, as you'll soon
read]. You know, it's amazing how a reformer can be
used so awesomely by God and have such big blind spots too. And then finally we know what happened in Germany
in World War II, where six million Jews were murdered, exterminated. Is this prophetic or something? It goes on to say in verse 66, "Your life shall
hang in doubt before you.
And you shall be in dread night and day, and shall
have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say 'I would that it
were evening', and in evening you shall say, 'wow, I wish
it were the morning', because of the dread of your heart which
you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall
see.'" All of the horrors
that this race of people have seen.
"And the Lord will bring you back to Egypt in ships
by the way about which I spoke to you, you will never see
it again, and there you shall offer yourself for sale to your
enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer."
That will happen during the tribulation.
[And some of this happened during WWII as well.]
[Just to back up what Pastor J. Mark Martin is saying
here, I found parts of the European history of the Jews in
"A History of The Jews, From Earliest Times Through The Six
Day War" by Cecil Roth (which I have on my bookshelf). It is from pages 209-217 and is a part of a
section titled "Diaspora 425-1492".
Diaspora means "dispersion", "a scattering". Historian Cecil Roth says: "Closest akin to the Jews of England in culture,
in condition, and in history, were those of France. Here, ever since the outbreaks which had accomplished
the second Crusade, they had lived a chequered existence. From the close of the twelfth century, the ruling
house of Capet had developed an anti-Jewish attitude which,
for sheer unreasonableness and brutality of execution, was
perhaps unparalleled in Europe as a dynastic policy.
At the outset, owing to the encroachments of feudalism,
the royal authority was restricted to a small area in the
immediate neighborhood of Paris. Outside this district its influence was little
more than nominal. Hence
the hostility of the Crown did not affect the Jews much more
than that of any major baron would have done.
The history of the Jews in France is therefore to be
understood only in relation to the extension of royal authority
over the whole country, which, in the end, spelled for them
With Louis IX (1226-1270), better remembered
as "Saint" Louis, religious zeal reinforced ancestral prejudices
in an unusual measure. The
prescriptions of the Lateran Councils were enforced with the
utmost severity. A personal interest was taken in securing converts.
It was under the royal auspices that the famous Disputation
was held at Paris between Nicholas Donin and Rabbi Jehiel,
and the Talmud was condemned to the flames. Finally, before setting out on his first Crusade
in 1249, the King decreed the expulsion of the Jews from his
realm, though the order, it appears, was not carried out.
The sufferings of French Jewry reached
their climax under Philip the Fair (1285-1314), St. Louis'
grandson. From the moment of his accession, he showed
that he considered the Jews merely as a source of gold. Spoliation succeeded spoliation, wholesale imprisonment
being resorted to periodically in order to prevent evasion. The climax came in 1306, when, the treasury
being once more empty, the policy of Edward I of England was
imitated, with significant differences.
On July 22nd, all the Jews of the country
were simultaneously arrested, in obedience to instructions
secretly issued some time before.
In prison they were informed that, for some unspecified
wrongdoing, they had been condemned to exile, and must leave
the realm within one month, the whole of their property being
confiscated to the crown. By this time, owing to the vigorous and unfortunate
policy of the French in recent years, its authority extended
over the majority of France proper, including Languedoc and
Champagne, where the schools of rabbinic learning had especially
flourished. The banishment spelled accordingly the end of
the ancient and glorious traditions of French Jewry.