SUBJ: Paul’s continued concern for
his beloved Israel and that connection with the inclusion of the
Gentiles as partakers of the root which is Christ.
AIM: That in observing the case of
Israel and their being cut off we may never presume either upon the
grace of God or against any other situation.
INTR: The concern of Paul for
Israel is evident even as he acknowledges their unbelief, yet he does
not leave off the importance of his ministry to the Gentiles and so
magnifies his office.
1. It is here that much controversy over last
things arises with the future of Israel at the center of it – we can
only relate what the scripture does, and we dare not speculate.
is always safe to take the writer literally unless he indicates
otherwise such as the use of an allegory as he does here.
reference to the olive tree and grafting takes to the issue of Israel’s,
the Gentiles present, and the future of both.
THESIS: We would never lose sight of
the fact that salvation is by grace through faith whether of Israelites
or the Gentiles.
I. A case for Israel (vv. 11-15)
1. We would
remember the long history of the Lord’s dealings with Israel and the
identity of a spiritual seed that is present all along – not all Israel
were Israel. Seth to Shem and beyond!
2. Paul here inserts another
emphatic denial at the idea that Israel was finally cut off or that God
provoked it. God Forbid!
3. Two things come into view – The inclusion
of the Gentiles and the provocation of Israel; we note the resentment at
Paul’s ministry among the Gentiles.
1) The fall of them resulted in
the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles
2) How much more if they
should come to maturity as such a provocation.
4. Paul magnifies his
office and not himself and would have all to know that one is not set
off against the other.
5. His aim was the Gospel to the Gentiles and
a challenge to Israel and that brought to a glorious end with the
receiving of them back.
II. A Picture of the Spiritual see (vv.
1. The figure of the olive tree lends itself well to the
illustration of a long line of believers.
2. And, we are reminded of
the words of our Lord – I am the vine, ye are the branches…
Paul is writing to Gentiles and Israelites alike in the Roman Church
concerning the nature of their relationship to Christ as coming from the
root. See And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall
stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and
his rest shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:10.
4. We may trace the
spiritual heritage of Israel through both history and the prophets and
certainly there we see Christ in the Old Testament (although many, if
not most, rejected and pursued idols).
5. They were wild branches and
through hearing the Gospel became partakers of the divine nature through
their connection to the root and became heirs to it all.
6. And so,
warnings against presumption are issued – see verses 18-21
reminder as to who God is (vv. 22-24)
1. This is a climactic point in
this passage – we are called to note the goodness and severity of God
1) God reaction to the fall of Israel was severe in that they were left
to their unbelief and were blinded.
2) He was and is good in that a
people who had long lived with no thought of God and were given over to
horrible sin not have the gospel preached to them and repentance is
3) If the same errors persist with the Gentiles, they will
be cut off as well – there is no place for presumption.
4) If they
come to faith they are grafted back in to the natural olive tree.
And so, our desire should be the same as that of Paul’s that they should
come to faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.
3. Salvation is of the Lord
and it is spiritual and proceeds from the root which is Christ our Lord.