What About Israel? Part 2

Romans 9.19-33

Two great truths collide in this passage…God’s sovereignty and our responsibility. Both are true. God chooses and yet we have a choice. Nothing happens contrary to God’s purposes and yet we can’t say, “It’s not my fault.”

But we don’t want to miss Paul’s point…he’s not trying to create a Gordian knot for theologians to argue and debate over. He ultimately wants to bring us back to the gospel…to God’s love and His mercy, His patience even with those who reject Him, and His plan to redeem His creation.

The idea of God’s sovereignty often causes folks to immediately question His fairness. And yet if God acted on the basis of fairness, none of us would be saved. It’s not fair that any of us would receive His mercy. We all deserve to be vessels of wrath destined for destruction because of our sin. It’s only His mercy that allows even one of us to be a vessel of mercy…to make known the riches of His glory to a watching world.

Mercy and wrath. Heaven and hell. Definitely not topics that folks like to talk about these days, and yet it’s imperative that we understand that one day we will all have to give an accounting for the lives that we lived. The only determiner of our final destination will be whether or not we trusted in Jesus. If you have, you are a vessel of mercy prepared beforehand for glory. If you have not, you are still under God’s wrath. So will you choose to trust in Jesus today?

pro rege

This post is based on a sermon from our Romans series. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster

A Bride for Isaac

Genesis 24

Big decisions…how do you go about making them? What role does your faith play in the process? How do you discern God’s direction?

Three major characters carry most of the action in this episode…Abraham, the servant and Rebekah. Each one demonstrates incredible faith in a tale that on the surface is just another love story. Could, except for the Main Character who is driving the action of the story. Abraham refers to Him as the LORD, the God of heaven and earth. Both God’s providence and man’s responsibility are clearly evident. Moses makes it clear that the LORD is orchestrating the events…the human characters respond.

So what can we learn about making decisions, about discerning God’s leading in the decision-making process? A couple of practical things that hit me right off the bat.  The servant really did want to know what God wanted…and he wanted the same thing. The psalmist writes, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” How’s that? Because when we delight ourselves in the LORD His desires become our desires, so that we begin to trust in the good that He reveals instead of our own version of good. And trust is key…we won’t follow Someone we don’t trust.

So how do we delight ourselves in the LORD? Time spent in His Word, in prayer and with His people. When walking with Jesus is a daily habit, it’s easy to delight in Him. As we do that, we begin to recognize His voice…My sheep hear My voice. When we hear His voice, then our job is to respond. Isaiah says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make all your paths straight.” If we are trusting that what He says is “Good” really is good, then it’s easy to walk down the path.

Notice also that the servant was practical and shrewd…as my wife says, “He used the brain God gave him.” He was in the right place at the right time. So we too to put ourselves in places and at times to cooperate with what the LORD is doing.

The servant was in constant prayer and responded to where the LORD led. He trusted God, but recognized the human players involved. He not only was cognizant of the LORD’s working, but was able to give evidence of it to others. He was active in his faith.

When I thought about my own life, I tend to get tripped up on step one…wanting what God wants. If I’m honest, I want what I want, and I want God to bless it. And in that moment I’m really not trusting the good He has for me. I want my own “good”. Even though I’ve found out time and again that my “good” is anything but.

What about you? Any big decisions coming up? How’s your walk with the LORD? Do you believe that He interacts with your world? If He was clear, would you really want what He wants?

May God give us the grace this week to discern His leading and the clarity and courage to follow Him.

Until next time…stay salty.

This post is based on our Genesis series. Listen online at:http://www.centralchristian.org, or follow us on twitter: @ccclancaster