Sermon:  Who are God's People?

1.  Years ago, watched the movie "Masada," 
	a.  Explanation of what Masada was in 72 A.D.
	b.  Romans build a siege ramp, everyone inside committed suicide
2.  A member said we need to remember these Jews, they were "God's people"
3.  A lot of people are confused today about the status of Jews
	a.  Some believe as an ethnic identity, they will be restored
		- Back to their land
		- Temple will be rebuilt
		- Old Testament worship will resume
	b.  Christ will reign as king over the whole earth
	c.  All of this based on the promise made to Abraham, land, people
4.  What do we make of all this?

I.  (Gal 3:29) - Christians are Abraham's seed
	A.  This may sound kind of strange to some people
		1.  Many of us are descendants of European peoples
		2.  Some of us are descended from Asians peoples
		3.  Some of us are descended from African peoples
		4.  How many of us are descended from Semitic peoples?
	B.  (Rom 4) Paul explains more in Romans 4
		1.  (3:28-30) - God justifies by faith in both old and New Testament
		2.  Then uses Abraham as an example of faith
		3.  (4:11) - Became the "father" of all who have faith
			a.  Whether circumcised or uncircumcised
			b.  Whether ethnically a Jew or not a Jew
		4.  (4:16) Abraham is the father of those who have faith in Christ 
			a.  Not just "faith" in general
			b.  (10:17) - Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the 
			     word of Christ
			c.  Object of our faith is Christ
	C.  Therefore the promises God made to Abraham apply not to just ethnic 
	      Israel, but to us who have faith

II.  (Gal 6:15-16) - Christians are the Israel of God today
	A.  Circumcision does not mean a thing anymore, but a new creation
		1.  What is this new creation?  (2 Cor 5:17)
		2.  If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature
		3.  Old things have passed away, new things have come
		4.  When become a Christian, old self dies, new self rises
	B.  Therefore, we as Christians are "Israel"
		1.  It is not based on ethnic, or national identity
		2.  You are not "born" into it, you are "reborn" into it
		3.  (Rom 9:8) - Not children of the flesh who are children of God, 
		     but the children of the promise
	C.  (Eph 2:11-16)
		1.  Brought near by Christ's blood
		2.  Made into one body with Israel through the cross
		3.  (v.19) - We are fellow citizens, God's household
	D.  God has transformed the meaning of "Israel" in Christ
		1.  Based on the work of Christ at the cross
		2.  Based on faith in Christ

III.  Lessons to take from all of this
	A.  God is faithful  (Rom 11:1)
		1. Trouble people have is thinking God has given up on his people
		2.  Paul is an example that God has not rejected his people
		3.  God so loved the "world" - Jew and Gentile
		4.  Jews are able to be saved (Rom 11:17-24)  
			a.  Jews rejection of Christ was part of God's plan
			b.  To save the world
			c.  To save the Jews as well
			d.  Rom 11:30-36 - What God did, and praise for Him
	B.  Do not rely on the wrong thing
		1.  Jews relied on national identity, ethnic identity, and even 
		     religious identity
			a.  Thought they could be right with God in this way
			b.  But they could not
		2.  We might think the same sorts of thing
			a.  Hey I grew up in Christian home, went to church
			b.  I have my name on the rolls of the church
			c.  I attend worship, say prayers, sing, give
			d.  But it is more than this…
		3.  It is by grace through faith we are justified and are right with God
			a.  Grace is God's initiative through the cross
			b.  Faith is our life long response
	C.  We need to understand what it means to have faith
		1.  Faith involves what we believe in the mind 
		2.  Faith involves trusting with our heart 
		3.  Faith involves doing with our hands

1.  You are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise, God's Israel
2.  Not because you sit in that pew, but because of your faith in Christ
	a.  Faith that is expressed in words in worship and prayer
	b.  Faith that is demonstrated in action as you serve and minister to others
	c.  Faith that is spread to the lost 
		- God's plan to save outsiders through the insiders
		- We are now the insiders whom God uses for his mission