These Jews share many similarities with the professing Church in today’s society.
The biggest similarity? They preferred the moral code of the Bible over the righteousness of God. After all, homemade is always better, right?
They were all about the Bible and biblical morals. Leading voices in religious affairs. Angry and upset about government involvement and regulations. They vigorously pursued righteousness through the law of Moses. Zealots that they were, they chased after the God of the Bible like nobody’s business.
But when their Bibles brought them before their long-awaited Messiah, they stumbled and fell.
Even as Christ stood before them in the flesh, and they were clueless.
(John 5:39–40 AMP) 39You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these [very Scriptures] testify about Me! 40And still you are not willing [but refuse] to come to Me, so that you might have life.
How could this happen?
Instead of receiving the righteousness of God, they sought to establish their own righteousness. They preferred their moral code over the righteousness of God and would not submit.
What made it so difficult for the Jews then and many who profess Christ in our country today is that they were so Bible-based.
The sadness and tragedy? They were building their lives on the Bible but not letting the Bible build their lives.
Message Title: Submitting to the Righteousness of God
INTRODUCTION: Our metaphors in today’s text say it all.
God is the Potter. And we arethe clay.
OUR QUESTION: Should the lump of clay tell the potter what to do?
▶︎ Object Lesson: Red terra cotta clay from Hobby Lobby.
Who has the most experience and the best resources to construct our decisions?
God (the Potter) has a catalog of human experience since time began. Every person, every experience, our birth, our death, jobs, personal relationships, religions … everything.
God (the Potter) is experienced with humanity and the affairs of this Earth on every imaginable level. God has life and work experience on Earth and in Heaven. And God is the only Person we know who is eternal. He knows all about this life and the next.
So how about the lump of clay? What is on our resume? Maybe not so impressive. Finite beings whose time on this earth is compared to a vapor or a mist. But not only limited by our finiteness, but our perspective is obscured by the darkness of sin. We have the experience of one person living on the planet for a very brief time.
So let’s come back to our question: Should the lump of clay tell the potter what to do?
▶︎ Please turn with me to Romans 9:19.
(1) The Potter has the right to do whatever he wants with the clay, 9:19-21.
▶︎ Do we trust the Potter? Who do we believe the Potter to be?
(2) The Potter reveals the riches of his glory to the mercy vessels, 9:22-24.
▶︎ GET THIS: The Potter patiently tolerates the vessels of wrath because of his desire to show the vessels of mercy the riches of his glory. He endures the rebellion of the “wrath vessels” with much patience in order that we (“the mercy vessels”) may better understand the riches of his glory.
(3) The Potter is the one who makes people “his people,” 9:25-29.
News flash! What God tells us is sometimes shocking. Things that are just not found in the categories that we humans usually run to that help us sort out life.
And we have to trust God. Without even understanding what he is doing. Maybe note just a little sarcasm here.
God tells us things about vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy that are very hard to accept. Notice I didn’t say hard to understand. Most of these things are pretty clear but they seem so arbitrary on God’s part.
And we at times struggle with God’s sovereign will because … Well … We forget who God is.
God is God. Sovereign LORD of all.
So as we will see in this week’s text, the lump of clay has no business telling the Potter what he should or shouldn’t do. Even (especially) when it comes to our lives.
The fact is that for those who trust in Christ, everything goes to them. All of the riches and blessings of God are inherited through Jesus Christ. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and have received his gift of eternal life.
You, as a vessel of mercy, GET IT ALL.
“And the hell of it.” You’ve heard that expression? The HELL of it is that the vessels of wrath get nothing, absolutely nothing but the wrath and judgment of God.
Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated.
Sounds kind of mean, doesn’t it?
But I know that my God, the Sovereign LORD before whom I bow, that God …
Let’s hear it from the psalmist …
(Psalm 33:1–5 NLT) 1Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. 2Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. 3Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. 4For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. 5He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.
Yay! It’s Monday, right? But we are another week closer to Spring!
They couldn’t see God’s glory in Christ because they were blinded by the pursuit of their own glory. God offered salvation, but they just couldn’t get their mind around the amazing gift that comes by grace through faith.
They had it all and lost it all. Depending on their spiritual heritage instead of God, they found themselves in a spiritual wasteland.
Sometimes I hear on the radio: “Don’t be that guy!” Can’t remember who says it, probably more than one person.
My point here is: “Don’t be that guy. Don’t be that gal.”
Don’t be the one who thinks she has it all but actually has nothing because she pursued her idea of salvation rather than God’s.
Still winter. Still cold. But Spring’s a coming! 🙂
The Jews had forgotten that the gospel of God is the Gospel of GOD!
They had it all but squandered the opportunity. God’s chosen people, richly blessed, but now as a whole spiritually bankrupt.
They were like lottery winners who four years later are broke and in debt. Or the former professional football player who made millions and rose to the top of his sport but now has to sell his Super Bowl ring so he can eat.
So how did they “lose it”? How could something like this happen?
They could not accept a salvation that came by grace through faith. Salvation apart from the works of the law was inconceivable to them.
Do you know what mercy and grace tell us? Mercy and grace tell us that we can’t do it. In fact, we can’t even think it. Mercy and grace mean that only God, and God alone, could come up with such an idea for our salvation and carry it out.
Mercy and grace should not be inconceivable in our minds.
Thinking that we could work for the spiritual riches of God in Christ Jesus. That is what is ludicrous. Believing that God would offer a salvation so low, so pitiful, that we, mere sinful humans could somehow do good enough, be good enough, run fast enough to earn his salvation.
That is what should be inconceivable to us. The Jews in Paul’s day did not realize this, and sometimes we don’t either.