Title: God the Master Artist

Focus: God is more faithful and wise than we could ever imagine. He demonstrated his faithfulness by remaining true to his covenant even when we were unfaithful. He demonstrated his wisdom by using Israel’s disobedience to save Israel as well as Gentiles. This shows that God has a vision so large, that nothing could thwart it.

Function: To motivate the hearers to adopt God’s vision of humanity as their own, which would move them to evangelize.

Text: Rom 11:25-32

1.  Have you seen bumper stickers that say “Be patient, God is not through with
me yet.”
	a.  I heard of a guy who want to make his own bumper sticker
	b.  “I am trying to be patient, but God sure is taking his time with you.”
2.  From our perspective, God sometimes seems sooo slow
	a.  But we can be assured that God has not stopped or given up
	b.  Title of sermon:  God is not through
	c.  Can learn how God deals with us by how he dealt with his
	     people in the past
3.  This morning’s text - Rom 11:11-32
4.  Tells us God does not give up.  How do we know?  Demonstrations of God

I.  God demonstrated his faithfulness (v.25-29)
	A.  Other words for faithful:  Loyal, trustworthy, devoted
	B.  It may seem like God rejected Israel, but he hasn’t
		1.  Paul referes to mystery - Now it is revealed
			a.  Israel was hardened - but only temporary
			b.  It was to allow Gospel to go to gentiles
		2.  ...Thus all Israel will be saved (Quotes Isa 59:20)
			a.  Isa 59 is pretty heavy
				- v.1-2 - Sins separated from God
				- v. 3-4, 7-8, 13-15 - They were very sinful
				- v.15b-18 - God to make war with them
				- v. 20-21 - But God not give up on covenant!
			b.  Paul quotes this to show Israel not lost forever
		3.  (v.28-29) - The status of Israel?
			a.  Enemies for our sake - salvation came to us
			b.  Beloved for the sake of the fathers (covenant)
			c.  Irrevokable - God made an everlasting covenant
		4.  Several kinds of covenants in ancient world
			a.  Suzerain/Vassal; Parity; Conditional; Unconditional
			b.  Covenant with Abraham was unconditional
			c.  God covenanted with him four times (Gen 12, 15, 17, 22)
			d.  The last time God swore an oath
	C.  ILL:  Have you ever swore an oath?
		1.  Military, swear (or affirm, same thing) allegience
			a.  You “pledge” allegience to the flag
			b.  In court, you swear to tell the truth
			c.  Purchase agreement, you “sign” on the dotted line
		2.  Why?  To know that you will be true to the agreement
		3.  It shows you have “bound” yourself to the agreement
		4.  Gods oath shows he bound himself to his covenant
	D.  That means God is not through with Israel
		1.  Psalm 118 - His lovingkindness is everlasting
			a.  Hebrew:  Hesed
			b.  Means: love, mercy, loyalty, faithfulness
			c.  God’s faithfulness is everlasting
		2.  (Isa 54:6-10) - God is faithful to his covenant
			a.  My lovingkindness will not be removed from you
			b.  My covenant of peace will not be shaken
		3.  God does not give up on his covenant

II.  God has demonstrated his Wisdom (v.30-31)
	A.  Paul alluded to this in 9:22-24
		1.  Potter (God) makes vessels of wrath and mercy
		2.  God hardened and endured vessels of wrath (Jews)
		3.  In order to show glory to vessels of mercy - Jew & Gentiles
		4.  9:24 - Vessels of wrath became vessels of mercy!
	B.  Paul now comes back to this in chapter 11
		1.  Us disobedient gentiles shown mercy
			a.  Through Israel’s disobedience
			b.  Now mercy shown to us can be shown to them
		2.  In other words, God used their disobedience to save them
			a.  He hardened them to save them
			b.  Rejection of Christ initiated means of their salvation
	C.  ILL:  In sports, or military terms, this is called “strategy”
		1.  Coaches & commanders learn weaknesses, strengths, patterns
		      tendencies, of the opponent
		2.  Then they formulate a “strategy” in order to win
		3.  Problem - The other side is formulating strategy as well
			a.  There is a level of unpredictability
			b.  Try to anticipate their response based on what you think 
			      opponent knows about you
		4.  Satan did his best to out-strategize God
			- Tempted Jesus, turned heart of Israel away from God . . .
	D.  But noone can out-strategize the master strategists!
		1.  God is all-knowing and all wise
		2.  He worked rejection of Jesus into his strategy
		3.  God demonstrated wisdom - He knows how to save us in 
		      spite of ourselves!
		4.  Let it sink in.  Who can thrwart God’s plan?  No one!
	E.  What can we do but praise him as Paul does in the next verses?

III.  God demonstrated vision (v.31)
	A.  His vision bigger than patriarchs, Israel, or just us
	B.  Isaiah tells us of God’s overarching vision (Isa 10:31ff)
		1.  God chopped down the trees, and they fell
		2.  The nations will resort to the root of Jesse (that’s us)
		3.  After than, another “Exodus” for Israel
		4.  God not through with Israel yet.  Not given up!
	C.  ILL:  Reminds me of Michelangelo’s David
		1.  In 1501, Florence commissioned Michelangel to sculpt statue
			a.  They had adopted David as their city’s symbol
			b.  They were small, but fierc and strong
		2.  Given a beat up, twisted, hacked at piece of marble
			a.  It rejected by other sculptors
			b.  Sat abandoned for over 35 years in Cathedral work yard
		3.  For next three years, he worked it over to a masterpiece
		4.  So good, decided to put it in city square to inspire citizens
	D.  God is a master artist with vision
		1.  Those without vision would say the job is hopeless
		2.  But God not look at how things are, 
		      but at how they will become in his hands
		3.  May not be pleasant - God works his people over with hammer 
		     and chisel
		4.  But he doesn’t give up just because the hunk of marble is 
		     twisted, and ugly

1.  If God not give up on Israel, he wont give up on you
2.  Anyone lost, it not because God gave up on them, they gave up on God
3.  God is not through with you, don’t give up on him, he not give up on you
	Demonstrated - faithfulness, wisdom, and vision
4.  Maybe you need to step up to his work bench, let him start working on you
	a.  If you believe Jesus son of God, died, resurrected
	b.  Then be baptized, wash away sins
	c.  That is how you step up to his workbench
5.  If you have done this already, let me issue challenge
	a.  Part of becoming his masterpiece is making his vision yours
	b.  Don’t look at how things are, but at how they can become
	c.  Dare to think BIG
6.  We have been talking about life-groups; LTC; other things
7.  These are good for us, but God’s vision is bigger than us - Let’s evangelize
	- Time to have the vision of planting a sister church