Learning the Lessons from Israel’s History
A Sermon on Romans 10:18-21
18But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? On the contrary:
“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
And their words to the ends of the world.”
19But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, …
18But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and …
How could it be that the foolish and ignorant Gentiles would predominately receive the gospel, whereas God’s chosen people, the Jews, would predominately reject the gospel? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has been tracing the apostle Paul’s argument through Romans, seeking to answer this query following the inspired text of Scripture itself. In this sermon on Romans 10:18–21 titled “Learning the Lessons,” he transitions from exposition to application of the many exegetical principles he has established in earlier messages. Dr. Lloyd-Jones notes the important role in the personal application of Scripture, which many of the Jews in Paul’s day missed. Furthermore, he traces the history of the church as illustrative of “dead orthodoxy” that abandons the Lord Jesus Christ and persecutes His church. The answer to such alarming tendency of so-called “Christians” persecuting the church is a posture of self-examination and returning to the ultimate authority – the word of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones asks the church to remain open to the scrutiny of Scripture, remaining humble before it and others, while rightly handling the whole of the Bible. Listen to this vital message from Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as he cautions the church to take serious the tragedy of the Jews, not merely as a historical interest, but more importantly as a means of God’s grace in the life of His people.
- The apostle Paul is summing up his case against the Jews in Romans 10.
- The Jews had a false idea of salvation. They trusted in their nationality, knowledge and works rather than faith in Christ.
- Their main problem was the hardness of their hearts. They were disobedient and unwilling to listen.
- Though God pleaded with them, they refused to believe.
- The principles Paul teaches here recur throughout church history. Opposition to the gospel comes from relying on tradition and works over faith.
- Examples of this include:
- The early church becoming the Roman Catholic Church
- The Protestant Reformation and persecution of reformers like Luther, Calvin and Wycliffe
- The Puritans and Methodists being persecuted by the Church of England
- This pattern continues today with an emphasis on tradition, works and institutions over faith and doctrine. Evangelicals who preach the true gospel are still persecuted.
- God has often had to bypass his disobedient people and raise up new groups to carry on his work, like the Protestant churches coming out of the Catholic Church.
- We must learn from this and be humble, test everything by Scripture, and be open to how God wants to work, even in new ways.
- Our hope is that though man fails, God and his purpose remain the same. He will carry on his work, even if it means working through new and unexpected groups of people.
- God is calling the evangelical church today not to harden their hearts but to be ready to be used by Him to carry on His work. We must not resist the Spirit.
- Though the future of the church looks bleak, God is sovereign and will accomplish His purpose. We must make sure we are not left behind like the disobedient Jews.
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.