Don’t Give Up Hope

We’ve been studying the book of Romans in the Bible for the past year.  It was written by Paul, and you know what?  He felt the same way many of you do when you look at your lost loved ones or you remember how those people have hurt you deeply in the past.  Paul was a Jew.  But when he became a Christian, all of his Jewish friends and family rejected him.  They even tried to kill him several times.  This was very painful to Paul.  What was most painful for him was the fact that these Jewish brothers and sisters did not believe in Jesus and therefore were facing eternal judgment.  In chapters 9 and 10, Paul writes very emotionally, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart…my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Jews is that they may be saved.”  Oh, how many of us in feel this same pang of grief for our lost loved ones.

But there is good news in this grief.  In spite of the hurt these loved ones have caused by their rejection of Christ…and in spite of the hurt they have caused by their sin, sometimes directly against us, we have much to be thankful for.  In fact, Paul argues in Romans chapter 11 that we can be thankful for the very sin of these loved ones!

Don’t give up hope:  Your lost loved ones may have rejected Christ for many years, but there is still hope.  God overcame severe hardness in both Jews and Gentiles.  He can overcome the hardness of your loved one’s heart. Continue to ask the Lord for their salvation.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be glory forever.  Amen!”

Read Romans 11:11-32

Sermon Outline:

If you were blessed with saving grace because of the sins of others, imagine the blessings to come if they receive Christ! (11:11-16)

Don’t be arrogant toward Jews or other lost people, for your faith is simply a gift of God’s kindness (11:17-24)

Only our amazing God can use sin to bring about salvation for all His people! (11:25-32)

Recommended Resource:  Spectacular Sins by John Piper. Get one at the Welcome Desk!

Discussion Guide for Romans 11:11-32

BIG IDEA: God will save Israel and all His elect people…even through sin and disobedience.

CONNECTING:

What are the common viewpoints in popular culture concerning Israel?  Which one do you tend to favor?  

Did you come to know Jesus through trials and suffering that others brought upon you? Briefly share your story.  

UNDERSTANDING:

Read Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8; 11:19-21; 13:42-52; 18:1-6.  How did God ensure the Jewish Christians would complete the Great Commission to reach all nations (11:11-12)?

Why do we tend toward pride in our status as saved believers in Christ?  Why is this pride so contrary to the message of the gospel and dangerous when one bases their salvation on a high view of themselves (11:22-23)?

How can it be that God uses sin to bring about salvation (11:32)?  Can you think of accounts in Scripture where this is the case?  (hints:  Genesis 3:14-15; Exodus 6:7; 14:17-18; Acts 2:23-24/Isaiah 53:10)

LIVING

What are some ways you might have become proud of being a Christian in a way that does not exalt Christ but rather your status compared to unbelievers and Jews?  What should we do when we find these feelings in our hearts? (1 John 1:9)

Have you gotten discouraged waiting on your loved ones to come to Christ?  Don’t give up hope!  How has Paul’s reminder that even the seemingly “most lost” (i.e., unbelieving, but elect Jews) will come to Christ one day and the fact that God uses even great sin and disobedience to show His greater mercy, give you hope?

Assignment:  

Reflect this week on the sufferings you have encountered in life because of the sins of others, as well as on the ways in which you have turned your back on Christ.  Then recount how God has used these dark spots in your life to shine the light of Christ’s mercy in and through your life. Write a personal prayer of Thanksgiving to God. Share this with your friends in LIFE Group.  

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