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Sermon #3216

The Case of Jacob and Esau

A Sermon on Romans 9:10-13


Romans 9:10-13 ESV KJV
And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was …

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Sermon Description

Although everyone is under God's sovereign control, His special purpose and promises are only for His children, those who are born of the Spirit. As Paul argues this case in Romans 9:10–13, he gives examples in the Old Testament including that of Isaac and Ishmael. Because Paul understands that there may be some arguments or disputes against this example, he then goes on to give the example of Esau and Jacob. In this sermon on Romans 9:10–13 titled “God’s Purpose Made Sure,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out that Paul always refutes any arguments with facts first, and later provides doctrine to prove his point. The example of Esau and Jacob proves that God intervened in their situation because Rebecca was barren. Before the twins were even born, God said that he would choose Jacob to fulfill his promise and not Esau. This shows that the Lord draws distinctions among people, proving the doctrine of election. God did this because it was part of his holy plan. God’s purpose is always worked out by means of election. Dr. Lloyd-Jones reminds that God’s plan is never based on works and it is all through those whom he calls. Therefore, only those who are born of the Spirit are truly part of God’s plan.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul continues his argument regarding the position of the Jews with respect to the gospel.
  2. His main point is that God's purpose is accomplished through election, not through natural descent or works.
  3. Paul cites the example of Jacob and Esau to prove his point. Though twins with the same parents, God chose Jacob over Esau before their birth.
  4. God told Rebecca that "the elder shall serve the younger," showing that He had already chosen Jacob.
  5. Paul quotes Malachi, who wrote that God loved Jacob but hated Esau. This shows God's choice of Jacob was not due to their works or character.
  6. Paul explains that God's choice of Jacob was "not of works, but of him that calleth." It was based on God's election, not human effort or merit.
  7. God's purpose is accomplished through election "that the purpose of God according to election might stand." If it depended on human works, it would fail. But God's choice ensures His purpose will stand.
  8. Just as God enabled the birth of Isaac, He chose Jacob over Esau. His choice was completely independent of them and ensured by His action alone.
  9. In summary, God's purpose is accomplished through election, not natural descent or human works. His choice of Jacob proves this.

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.