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“The Proper Pursuit for All People” (Romans 9:23-10:4)

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“The Proper Pursuit for All People”

First Baptist Church Bartow

United in the Gospel / Romans 9:23–10:4


Thus far in our study of Romans 9, we have asked and answered two monumental questions regarding God? Did God fail? By the way, the answer to that is “no.” And, we asked if God is unjust? Again, the answer is no.
However, Paul has also pointed out in this chapter that there is something happening with the Jewish people. Paul has pointed out that many of the Jewish people of his day had rejected Jesus the Messiah.
Yet, Paul points out that God is not done! God will not only redeem a remnant of the Jewish people; He will also redeem many who are not Jewish, those who are among the Gentile people.
Remember, Church: as God is doing this work He is creating a beautiful masterpiece.
In today’s passage, we will look back at what Paul has said regarding the prophecies about Israel and what else that means for Israel, and others, going forward.
We will also discover where true righteousness can be found and what we should truly pursue? Today’s sermon is entitled, “The Proper Pursuit for All People.”
Before we go any further, let’s pray together and ask God to guide us in this sermon.
Remember, Church: we discussed God’s election of His people for a couple different weeks. Today, we’re going to see the human responsibility side. We’re going to see that it greatly matters how people respond to God’s offer of grace and love.
So, today we’re going to talk about two differences as it pertains to the old way of things for God’s people.
First, let’s talk about . . .

I. Other people (9:23-29)

So, remember: as we concluded last time we got into the idea that God is working His will, by His choice, for His reasons, and according to His prerogative.
Paul pointed out that part of God’s reason that He may be doing certain things is for the good of His people.
So, let’s do some review in our first point. Look at Romans 9:23-29:
9:23 And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory—24 on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As it also says in Hosea, I will call Not my People, My People, and she who is Unloved, Beloved., 26 And it will be in the place where they were told, you are not my people, there they will be called sons of the living God. 27 But Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, Though the number of Israelites is like the sand the sea, only the remnant will be saved; 28 since the Lord will execute his sentence completely and decisively on the earth. 29 And just as Isaiah predicted: If the Lord of Hosts had not left us offspring, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.
So, Paul points out that sometimes we don’t see why God is doing what He is doing in the world. Sometimes He does so to, “make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory—24 on us, the ones he also called.”
Church, how wonderful is it that God is doing something special in the world in order to bless His people with knowledge of Him and His ways? What a display of God’s wisdom, grace, and love shown towards His people!
Notice also the definition of who these people are. Paul has been speaking in here about his love for the Jewish people, the failure of the Jewish people to receive Jesus, and God’s plan for the Jewish people; but here Paul mentions a larger audience than just the Jewish people.
Paul says that there are otherpeople, who are a part of God’s people. Check out verse 24: Paul says, “ . . . not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.”
So, we know who these otherpeople are, don’t we? The blood of Jesus Christ is so powerful, the love of God is so grand, and the plan of God is so majestic that God chooses to not only bless and redeem the Jewish people but also people from multiple languages, multiple ethnicities, and multiple locations! What a miracle!
Church, aren’t you grateful that the deep and wide love of God includes otherpeople? Aren’t you glad that God’s love touches you?
As Paul explains this truth, He connects prophecies from two prophets to the reach of God’s love to other people.
What’s fascinating about this is that the Jewish people who were familiar with these prophecies would probably not have any idea how far the fulfillment of these prophecies would go.
The two prophets whom Paul quotes are Hosea and Isaiah.
Paul references each of these prophets twice for a total of four prophecies. Paul refers to Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23, as well as Isaiah 10:22-23 and Isaiah 28:22.
Well, what’s the heart of these prophecies to which Paul is referring back?
Let’s start with Isaiah.
Paul says in verses 27 and 28 that Isaiah points out that the descendants of Abraham were indeed like the sand of the sea; there were many of them Yet, out of all that number of Abraham’s descendants, only a remnant would be saved.
Then, in verse 29, Paul says that Isaiah predicted that the Lord had to intervene to save some of the offspring (or the children) of Israel, or else they would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Well, what happened with them? Remember, Sodom and Gomorrah were completely destroyed because of their sin. They were totally wiped out.
Isaiah said, if it wasn’t for God saving some of the Jewish people, they would completely be wiped out as well.
So, Isaiah makes this clear: the people of Israel had some serious issues and if it wasn’t for God’s mercy, they would have all been wiped out.
Now, let’s move to Hosea.
Hosea makes a reference to the fact that God once referred to His people as “Not my people” but He will later refer to them as “My people.” Similarly, those whom He referred to as “Unloved” He will refer to as “Beloved.”
Here’s the beautiful thing about how Paul helps us interpret these prophecies: Paul is connecting verses 25-29 of Romans 9 with verse 24. Paul says that God’s love is being shown to otherpeople and then he says, “As it also says . . .”
Let me make it clear for you, church: Paul is saying that the prophecies of Hosea and Isaiah not only point to a remnant of Israel who will be saved, it also points to a greater understanding of a remnant of God’s people who will be saved. God’s people not only includes Israel, it also includes otherpeople, including you, me, and many, many others.
Praise God that He not only will redeem more Israelites through Jesus the Messiah but He will also redeem His people from all over the world throughout generations and generations.Through Jesus, God is redeeming otherpeople as His own.Second, as it pertains to the old way of things for God’s people, we now have . . .

II. Other pursuits (9:30-10:4)

Paul now comes to this moment where he is wanting to provide a little more explanation about how we arrived at this point. How did the Jewish people fall away at such an incredible rate so that there will only be a remnant who return to the Lord?
Well, listen to what Paul says starting, in Romans 9:30:
9:30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law., 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written, Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and the one who believes on him will not be put to shame., 10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation. 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 Since they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
As we talk about these otherpursuits, pay attention to the two different types of righteousness and the stumbling stone.
Paul says that the Gentiles were not pursuing righteousness yet they found it. While the Jews were pursuing righteousness but they didn’t find it.
What’s the issue? The issue is all about the pursuit.
First of all, let’s be clear, in all of this God is the one who is pursuing; God is calling people to repentance. So, the pursuit starts with God.
Where Israel messed up is that instead of pursuing godliness and pursuing God Himself, they pursued the law. In trying to pursue the letter of God’s law, they forgot to pursue God.
The Gentiles, on the other hand, didn’t know about the Jewish laws and customs. When they were exposed to the love of God through Jesus Christ, they placed their faith in Jesus and His righteousness.
Many of the Jews pursued righteousness for righteousness’ sake. They pursued righteousness and they missed Jesus. The Gentiles to whom Paul is referring pursued Jesus and gained righteousness too.
Church, trying to be good and godly without actually having God is a waste of time. It’s like trying to be a parent without having kids in your life. It’s like trying to pastor a church without having any church members. It’s like trying to be married without having a spouse. You cannot be godly without God. You’re spinning your wheels but you’re not going anywhere. You cannot be truly righteous without having a relationship with the only one who is truly righteous: Jesus the Messiah.
This brings us to the stumbling stone.
The Jewish people whom Paul is speaking about were so excited about pursuing their own righteousness that they actually missed pursuing Jesus. They not only missed Jesus, they actually stumbled over Him. He was right there all along. However, instead of embracing Him, they rejected Him and crucified Him. By acknowledging Jesus and then rejecting Him they actually brought more condemnation and judgment upon themselves.
Paul again references Isaiah here. He is referring to Isaiah 8:14 and Isaiah 28:16. This moment of Israel’s rejection of Jesus was actually prophesied by Isaiah many years before it ever happened.
When you reject Jesus to pursue otherpursuits, Jesus begins to look more and more like a stumbling block instead of the One whom you should be pursuing.
Paul says in chapter 10:1, “Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation.” He says again what he’s said already, he wants to see the Jewish people come to salvation. However, they cannot come to Jesus through their own effort. They cannot be good enough on their own to win God’s approval. As Paul said in 9:32, “ . . . they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works.”
Paul then moves on to say that the Jewish people have zeal. Zeal is great energy and enthusiasm. The Jewish people have great energy and enthusiasm about God but that zeal is not based on a proper understanding of God.
The Jewish people did not understand the righteousness of God so they created their own righteousness and pursued that instead. They had great zeal, but there was a great problem: their zeal was leading them the wrong way.
The Jews were sincere in their religion but they were sincerely wrong.
As Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.”
So, what is our hope? How do we truly pursue righteousness? I’m glad that you asked. Look again at Romans 10:4. Paul says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Paul transitions us very nicely to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: The proper pursuit for all people is Jesus.

Listen, church: Jesus is what we truly need.
As the early apostles said in Acts 4:12“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
As Peter said in 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God.”
Our greatest pursuit should be Jesus. He earned righteousness for us, He found meaning for us, He secured all that is valuable for us, He was obedient for us, He was loving for us, He found love for us, He is all that we need and He should be all that we pursue!
Those Jewish people who rejected Jesus missed out on all the future promises and blessings of God. Likewise, all those non-Jewish people who reject Jesus the Messiah will also miss out on the promises and blessings of God.
So, let us consider our pursuits. Will we pursue God through our own means, our own good deeds, our own ideas? Will we pursue something other than God, such as money, acceptance, success, love, or fame?
Or, will we pursue the righteousness of God through the only One who is truly righteous, Jesus the Messiah?
Challenge yourselves to live out this passage this week in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge 1. Realize where your righteousness resides.

Where do you find your righteousness? Do you think that you’re a good enough church person to please God? Do you think that you’ve got things figured out on your own and you don’t need God in your life? Or, do you find your righteousness in Jesus? Where does your righteousness reside?

Weekly Challenge 2. Pursue those who need to pursue Jesus.

The beauty of the Gospel is that God is pursuing us. However, did you know that God uses His people to pursue His people? He used Moses to pursue His people. He used the prophets to pursue His people. He used John the Baptizer to pursue His people. He used the apostles to pursue His people. He uses pastors, missionaries, and everyday Christians like you to pursue His people.
The truth of the matter is there are so many people whom God is pursuing with His great love. Those people are pursuing so many other things and they should be pursuing Jesus. God is pursuing them and He wants to pursue them by using me and you.


If you didn’t know, now you know: God is pursuing His people. Will you answer the call? Will you receive Jesus as the Lord of your life? Will you embrace the righteousness of God through faith in Him?
As Paul said in chapter 10, verse 4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
Do you believe? Will you believe?
(Gospel presentation)
(closing prayer)

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