God desires us to have "Beautiful Feet!"
General Idea: Israel's Rejection and Inexcusability! Do you fear to witness? Have you done evangelism with all of your heart and passion with little to no results? Well, so did Paul! Although he had no fear, he did have little results with his own people and continues to obey God anyway! This is a great passage for all those who do evangelism (Actually we all are called to do it, yet so few do because so few Christians actually respond to God's call!!). Paul appeals to the Jews using Moses example, saying that the Patriarch exemplified both obedience and faith and the law does the same. Obedience and faith is a trust relationship and Christ bridges our gap of sin so we no can have an intimate relationship with God. Paul defends himself that he is just preaching what Moses taught which is now fulfilled in Christ. Then Paul gives them the Gospel, to know who Jesus is and confess Him as your Lord and that is the only way of salvation now, the only way to be right with God.
Then Paul turns his attention that many will reject the Truth of Christ, the very people he has been witnessing to and some of the very people this letter is addressed too. He asks them how can they be saved unless they believe and trust in Christ, to receive His call. Then Paul appeals to them using the prophets who had the same problem of getting people to look to God and not themselves and their traditions.
1. Paul expresses His heart for evangelism and His trust in the Lord Jesus Christ!
a. Righteousness of the law refers that we can still receive our salvation though the strict adherence to the law, but who can and who has done this (Lev. 18:5; Deut. 30:11-16)? However, the Jews then and many still do today, believed that God elected all of the Jews to be saved which contradicted the Law!
b. Do not say in your heart, Paul uses the Hebrew literary devise called "midrash," which means a Talmudic exposition of the law; Paul gives theirs and then his commentary and explanation (Deut. 30:12, 13, 14). The point? God has consummated His salvation for us by what Christ has done period: Grace not our efforts (Rom. 3:31; 8:2-4)!
c. Salvation comes only by our faith in Christ from the hearing of His Word (Holy Spirit and The Holy Spirit though the Bible).
d. Jews over the years have not only turned their back on the gospel, but on their own faith as well. They have become agnostic, antagonistic, and bitter, holding onto their culture while rejecting truth and faith. They hide behind their ancestor's faith and persecution as an excuse to "pew-sit" and do nothing. Just as some Christians do today who grew up in the church and think they know it all; but never let their knowledge fall 18 inches to their heart, and another yard or so to their feet.
e. Mouth, Heart, the act of faith comes from our heart and then through our mouth. The heart gives what it means from what we believe. The mouth confesses it and makes it real to others. There is a big difference between "self-imposed" righteousness and obedience to righteousness (Ex. 20:1-17; Duet. 30:1-6; Lev. 18:2; Jer. 31:31-34).
f. The true believer is the one who bases all their life," IT ALL", upon Christ, with full trust and assurance by faith and obedience (Gal. 2:20-21; Col. 3:1-3).
2. The Hebrew Scriptures say, Paul is strengthening his argument from Isaiah and appeals to their knowledge and points out their contradictory thinking to what the Scriptures really say (Isa. 28:16; 52:7; 53:1; 56:3-8; 65:1-2, 8-9; 64:8-12; Joel 2:32): The righteousness of the law is what we do; righteousness through faith is what Christ does for us.
a. Whoever, refers to all who hear the Gospel, Jew and gentile.
b. Some Jews, as well as people in general, do not feel they have the need for Christ (Luke 15:11-32; 18:9-14).
c. Paul's arguments contain: So who has the better way? So why do we reject Him?
d. The O.T. righteousness has been fulfilled in Christ (Jer. 31:31-34; 2 Cor. 3:7-18).
e. A restatement on the importance of justification by faith alone, even for the Jews, who thought they were immune.
f. Their faith was the law, but the law's goal was Christ (Ex. 32:16).
g. Confession and belief are the acknowledgment of justification. All we do is accept what Christ has done, speak the word that I believe! Christians receive the gift of grace, but do not purchase the gift.
h. No Distinction, The gentiles have been accepted by God into the Jewish nation and plan. There is no distinction of ethnicity in Christ, yet Christians tend to be the most prejudiced lot, who stick to their own race and subculture. Hence all the various ethnic churches, all ignoring each other, yet all a part of the body of Christ. How this must cause our Lord to weep!
i. God delights in showing us His mercy, and gives no greater delight to a Jew or Gentile, for we are all His children.
3. God desires us to have "Beautiful Feet" to bring the good news (Isa. 52:7).
a. This is why (vs. 14-15) we send our missionaries and evangelists from our churches. These are the further marching orders from Matt. 28, to evangelize and disciple, yet so few Christians ever do it, so few churches do it! What an extreme insult we must be to ignore His call!
b. Here is further testimony to "General Revelation" (Psalm 19:1-4; Rom. 1), that God reveals Himself through creation (General Revelation), thus we have no excuse. His moral character and duty is in all human kind, even without knowing Scripture. ("Special Revelation" is the Word of God.) Thus, we are truly blessed to have such an abundance of both revelations!
c. Despite Paul's passion, and the willingness of God to gather His chicks, Israel rejected God anyway (Isa. 65:2).
d. Remember it is not our efforts that save, but it is our responsibility to preach and witness, regardless of the results! We are not responsible for results only for our personal obedience!
e. Christ Himself is the true preacher and witness (John 10:16; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Eph. 2:15-7).
f. People reject God because of misunderstandings about righteousness (vs. 6:14; 8:4; Gal. 3:24; Col.2:14), as did Israel. They did not understand what God really required (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21).
g. Be aware we have no excuse (Duet. 32:21; Isa. 65:1); we will be judged regardless of understanding or beliefs. Misunderstandings are the fault of the hearer; the one who receives the clearly presented information has the responsibility to understand and apply it.
Never just rest your faith in a simple sinner's prayer and nothing else. Christ's grace gets us the admission into the club, but what good is the club if we never use it. Our faith and practice must be real, so use the club, but do not just rely on its privileges! How to do this? Rely on Christ; be real in your faith completely! Christ's sacrifice must have reached in the depths of your personality, will and aspirations wholly, so all you are and strive to be in life is because what Jesus has done for you.
Paul with all of his passion, love, and zeal bats a near zero with witnessing to the Jews, his own people. The Jews did not respond to Paul's heartfelt plea or God's open loving arms, and many will not respond to you too. That is OK! So when you are discouraged and find so few people responding to your praying, efforts, and witness, remember Paul himself did not do so well at times, especially with his own people. Yet, the Gentiles were believing and coming into the fold of our Lord. Remember we are not responsible for results; we are only responsible for our obedience. So be encouraged and continue in your obedience, keep it up; keep your feet beautiful!
Learning Outcomes: a. Identify with God and what He had to do with His Son. b. Be aware of your witness and how you are characterized by others.
1. Tell us a story of one of your witnessing efforts.
2. Have you felt discouraged by telling others about Jesus and received little response?
3. Has your passion and zeal for witnessing grown or diminished over the years?
4. What were the reasons?
5. What can you do to re-ignite your passion for the lost?
6. Why would someone who is a Christian refuse to share their gift of salvation by telling others?
7. Why did the Jews over the years turned their back on the gospel and even on their own faith as well?
8. What causes bitterness in people?
9. How does bitterness come into play when you witness?
10. When some one is antagonistic to you because of your faith, how do you: Feel? React and respond?
11. Let say you live in a country that is non-Christian, and even against the law to be a Christian, how would you hold onto your faith and reliance upon the Lord?
12. How would you witness?
13. If you ever ventured into a church, you will find people who claim to be Christians, (perhaps they are, perhaps they are not, we cannot judge another persons salvation) maybe they even grew up in the church and think they know it all; but they never let their knowledge of Him fall 18 inches to their heart, and another yard or so to their feet. Why are they like that?
14. Are you like that, if so what can you do about it?
15. What are the distinctions, character and personality of a Christian who bases all their life," IT ALL," upon Christ, with full trust and assurance by faith and obedience?
16. How would you define "self-imposed" righteousness?
17. How would you define obedience to righteousness?
18. How do we get to be righteous? What is the key ingredient?
19. Some Jews, as well as people in general, do not feel they have the need for Christ So what can you do to show them the Light?
20. If you and your family have been a Jew all of your lives for many generations, how do you think you would respond to Christ?
21. Why is justification by faith alone important (that Christ paid our debt of sin, which we receive by faith, nothing more, nothing less is added to be a Christian)?
22. Have you ever believed that you were immune from God's plan or judgment?
23. If so why, and what changed your mind?
24. If you were able to change, and Paul the "chief sinner" was able to change, how can this give you hope for others and perseverance to be a good witness?
25. What was the goal of the Old Testament law?
26. How do we acknowledge our justification?
27. Have you ever purchased a gift for yourself? If so, what is more exciting to you; to give your own gift to yourself, or receive it from another person?
28. Christians receive the gift of grace, but do not give the gift to ourselves. How does this make you feel that you cannot earn or buy God's most precious gift?
29. There is no distinction of ethnicity in Christ, yet Christians tend to be the most prejudiced lot, we tend to stick to our own race and subculture. What steps can you and your churches do to rectify that problem?
30. What has your church done or could do to cause our Lord to weep?
31. God desires us to have "Beautiful Feet" to bring the good news! What can you do to keep your feet beautiful?
32. Evangelizing and discipleing are the main goals (Matt. 28) of the church and what Christ has called us to do and be. In what ways do you and your church do this?
33. How can you do it better?
34. From your experience what are some of the misunderstandings about righteousness people reject God?
35. Despite Paul's passion, and the willingness of God to gather His chicks, Israel rejected God anyway. Why did Paul keep it up?
36. Remember it is not our efforts that save, but it is our responsibility to preach and witness, regardless of results. We are not responsible for the results; we are only responsible for obedience. Why or why not is this true?
37. Given the fact we are not responsible for the results of evangelism, how can this keep the fire lit under you with perseverance and zeal?
38. How can you keep yourself and others from being discouraged from witnessing or obeying Christ when it is hard to do?
39. Take a close look at verses 9-13, what can you do with them? That is who in your life, at work, school, at the shoe store or wherever has not confessed these words; how can you bring these most precious words to them?
40. Make a commitment to memorize verses 9 - 10!
"Repent and be saved?!" A phrase we hear so often, but have you considered its organs? Is this in the Bible? Surprise….NO it is not! We may say it with genuine good intentions and both ends of this phrase are very biblical and essential. We need to repent and we need to be saved. But this phrase is backwards! It should read, "be saved and then repent!"
Repentance is the result of the acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us, and not the cause of Christ giving you grace. That is we do not have anything to do with our salvation other than to accept and live it by faith. We do not initiate or cause it or just receive it in some way alone. Something else happened to cause it and that is what Christ did on our behalf on the cross. His righteousness transferred unto us. We then receive His salvation then the proof of that receiving is our repentance. Our receipt of His purchase of our soul is in our repentance. Thus, repentance does not save us, it is the proof that we have been saved, and only Christ saves us.
Repentance in Scripture (Psalm 51: Jer. 23:22; 25:4-5; Zech. 1:3-6; Mark 6:12; Matt. 4:17; Luke 13:1-8; 3:8; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 17:30; 26:20; Rev. 2: 5-22) means to under go a complete and great change, a 180 degree turn, that changes our heart and mind: Such as turning from sin to Christ. Grace is the gift He gives by His choosing (Election) because God is pure and His decisions are just, way beyond our understanding. Most Christians misunderstand this and say, because I have repented and prayed a special prayer, I am saved. Maybe they are, maybe not. It is God who judges; however, this quick prayer is 'cheap grace' and is not found in Scripture (this was started by a evangelist named Finey in the late 19th century, who had good intentions but very bad theology). Yes repentance is necessary for salvation, and will entail full confession, restitution, and the will to turn and not burn! But again repentance does not cause our salvation! Know that people do respond to evangelism with prayer, with repentance that is genuine. But remember it is not of our doing or our repentance or even prayer; it is of Him.
Yet we are still to witness, prayer, evangelize, do missions and put every effort we can to expedite His Word. And as a Christian saved by His grace we have to remember we still need to repent, even though He paid it all, because we love Him and want to obey His decree.
© 1998, revised 2004, Into Thy Word http://www.intothyword.org/(Condensed from "Walking by Faith: Impressions from the book of Romans," by Richard J. Krejcir ã 2000)