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Sermon #3295

The Only Hope

A Sermon on Romans 11:33-36


Romans 11:33-36 ESV KJV
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” …

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Sermon Description

In this sermon on Romans 11:33–36 titled “The Only Hope,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones talks about something that no amount of words can adequately explain. God’s ways are so immense that they cannot be traced out. There is a great divide of Christianity; not in regard to particular details, but rather “our whole approach to the gospel.” Is the Christian called to proclamation or to dialogue? When one looks at the apostolic method and message, do the apostles start with modern humanity to make their declarations for the gospel? People must be born again of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God. The natural person constantly misunderstands the whole of God’s way. God is absolute, infinite, and holy in every respect. The listener is encouraged to look of humanity’s limited nature in a way that may have never been considered. The gospel is hid to those who are lost and in their natural state; all humans are sinners and ignorant of who God truly is. Look upon the grace of God and stand in awe. His ways are far beyond finding out, but it is here that one gains assurance for salvation.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The apostle Paul bursts forth in praise of God's wisdom and knowledge in Romans 11:33-36.
  2. Paul illustrates God's depth, wisdom and knowledge in three ways: the riches of His grace, the wisdom displayed in His plan of salvation, and God's knowledge which covers every eventuality.
  3. Paul divides this doxology into four sections. The first emphasizes the depth and profundity of God's wisdom and knowledge. The second section follows logically and discusses the incomprehensibility of God's ways and judgments.
  4. Paul says God's judgments and ways are unsearchable and untraceable. Our efforts to understand them will never bring us to full comprehension. They are unfathomable and inscrutable.
  5. Paul uses two words to describe God's incomprehensibility: unsearchable, meaning inscrutable or beyond searching out; and untraceable, meaning unable to be tracked or traced out. We can never reach the end or limit of understanding God's ways.
  6. The modern teaching that we should have dialogue and discussion with unbelievers contradicts the Bible's teaching and the practice of the apostles. The apostles proclaimed and declared the Gospel. They did not suggest dialogue or discussion.
  7. The Bible teaches that natural man cannot receive or understand spiritual things. Unbelievers prove this by misunderstanding, ridiculing and rejecting the Gospel.
  8. God's ways and judgments are incomprehensible because God is infinite and eternal while man is finite and sinful. Man's faculties are fallen and imperfect. Natural man is at enmity with God and blinded by the devil.
  9. God's judgments refer to His decisions, thoughts and plans. His ways refer to His methods, dealings, paths and plans. Both are beyond our understanding.
  10. We should rejoice that God's ways are past finding out because the Gospel is God's power, not man's. It offers hope for all. And it guarantees our ultimate glorification despite opposition.
  11. Those who understand that God's ways are past finding out, like Paul, rejoice and praise God for His amazing grace in saving them.

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.