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Sermon #3268

Did God Reject His People?

A Sermon on Romans 11:1-4


Romans 11:1-4 ESV KJV
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals …

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Sermon Description

Has God cast away the Jewish people? After several passages concerning the fate of the Jewish nation, in this sermon on Romans 11:1–4 titled “Did God Reject His People?” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones unfolds how Paul asks this question and then follows his answers with several pieces of evidence. Paul says that there is no way the Lord has cast out His chosen people because Paul himself is an Israelite. Paul is saying this not just as a nationalist or proselyte, but he shows his historical lineage which proves he is of Jewish descent. It is possible that some Jews will be saved because Paul was saved. There are a large majority of Jews that do not believe the true gospel. God did not cast them all away because He foreknew them. This means that God foreordained them and knew that they would be believing Christians. The Jews were a group of people that God took special interest in and had a special affection for. Israel was set apart by God for a purpose. If God cast them out, this would mean that God changed His mind and Christians know that the Lord does not change His mind as it is not part of His character.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul asks the question "Hath God cast away his people?" in Romans 11:1. He responds with "God forbid" meaning "may it not be".
  2. Paul gives his first reason for saying "God forbid" - his own case. He says "I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew."
  3. There are two ways to read Romans 11:2. The first is "God hath not cast away his people, which he foreknew" referring to the nation of Israel. The second is "God hath not cast away his people, which he forenew" referring only to the elect within Israel.
  4. Commentators Charles Hodge and Robert Haldane believe the second reading is correct. Paul is referring only to the elect within Israel, not the nation as a whole.
  5. There are issues with Hodge and Haldane's view. It is doubtful to give the same word different meanings in close proximity. Their view leads to tautology. Their view contradicts the purpose of Romans 11 which is to deal with the nation of Israel as a whole. The story of Elijah fits better with the view that Paul is referring to the nation of Israel, not just the elect within it.
  6. The word "foreknew" is better translated as "foreordained". It does not just mean God knew who would believe, but that God set his heart and affection on Israel. God made and prepared Israel for himself.
  7. If God has cast away Israel as suggested, it would contradict God's purpose and plan. God foreordained Israel as his people.
  8. There are two mistakes often made regarding Israel. The first is making too much of them, as dispensationalists do. The second is making too little of them or getting rid of them altogether, as British-Israelism does.
  9. Paul's statement "I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin" contradicts the British-Israelism view that there is a distinction between Jews and Israelites. The promises were not to Israel as Britain but to the nation of Israel.
  10. British-Israelism is a fatuous teaching not supported by facts. Romans 11 teaches Israel is currently rejected, contrary to their view that Britain is receiving God's blessings.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.