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Sermon #3279

The Olive Tree

A Sermon on Romans 11:16-17


Romans 11:16-17 ESV KJV
If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the …

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Sermon Description

In this sermon on Romans 11:16–17 titled “The Olive Tree,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones discusses what or who is the olive tree and the relationship of the Jews to the Gentiles within God’s economy of salvation. Learn of the importance to understand what Paul means in Romans 11 and the tendency to lean towards the two extremes—to make too much or too little of this relationship. What is meant by this “olive tree”? Who are the children of the promise? Listen as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones dives into explaining who are the true spiritual people of God. There is a spiritual nation that surpasses the natural. Understand from where the roots of this olive tree are derived. There is a continuity that binds the Old and New Testaments: “There is only one way of salvation and it has always been the same one.” See that salvation is not a matter of nationality but of being grafted into God’s people. What does it mean that the Jews have a “special” yet not “separate” position? Rejoice that both Jews and Gentiles will be joint heirs and partake in the promised blessings of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. Paul is dealing with the relationship of Jews and Gentiles in God's plan of redemption.
  2. There are two dangers in this subject: claiming too little or too much for the Jews.
  3. Paul argues from two illustrations: the firstfruits and the root (vv. 16).
  4. The key question is: What does the olive tree represent? There are two main views:
  5. The olive tree is the Jewish nation. This view is problematic.
  6. The olive tree represents the people of God, the spiritual nation that comes from Abraham. This is the correct view.
  7. The unbelieving Jews were cut off from the olive tree due to unbelief. They were not truly part of the people of God.
  8. Believing Gentiles were grafted in to the olive tree. They were brought in from outside and joined to the people of God.
  9. The olive tree has always been the people of God. It did not start in the NT. God's people have always been one.
  10. There has always only been one way of salvation: faith. Faith has always been the only way to be part of the olive tree.
  11. Nationality and natural birth are not decisive factors. Only faith relationship to Abraham and the olive tree matters.
  12. The blessings of the olive tree have always been the same. Believers in all ages receive the same blessings.
  13. The Christian church is not completely new. It is a continuation of the people of God from the OT.
  14. God's people have always been one, though the form has changed. There are differences in degree but not in kind.
  15. The Jews held a special position as the first natural branches. But they do not have a separate position.
  16. The Jews will be grafted in again to the same olive tree as the Gentiles. They will not have a separate salvation or position.
  17. There is one olive tree and one church. There are not two separate churches or two separate destinies.

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.