The sermon: God’s promises

Hi, today my dad preached on Romans 15 and here is his sermon:

Jesus Christ, the Fulfillment of All God’s Promises
Micah 5:1-4 1 Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod. 2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” 3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. 4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.
2 Corinthians 1:18-22 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.
Well let’s ask a few questions this morning to get us thinking about this passage of Scripture. What did Jesus Christ accomplish when He came to this earth? Well that’s easy, He came to save the world. True, but the Bible tells us that He came to accomplish something specific for the Jewish people. And He accomplished something for the Gentiles. What did He come to do? And what does this have to do with us today?
Well if we look at our passage of study today we’ll see what He accomplished for the Jews and what He accomplished for the Gentiles. Let’s look at Romans 15 verses 8-9:
Romans 15:8-9 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
And so we see clearly that Jesus came to show the Jews that God is a truthful God, that He keeps His promises. And He came that the Gentiles might praise God for His mercy. The Jews are to praise God for His truth and the Gentiles are to praise God for His mercy, and we see both of these in Jesus Who is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
So in this passage let’s notice just two points: 1–what Christ became, and 2—why He became it.
So just looking at verse 8, first we see that Christ became a servant. I wonder if you are in awe of the tremendous humility here? Before this time, Jesus was the King of heaven and He received the worship of all the angels. He is Lord of all created beings in the whole universe, and was clothed with majesty and glory, and now He has become a servant. One day He took a towel and washed His disciples feet like a common house-slave would do. Though He was the Lord of glory, He became the servant of all, the lowliest of the low. What tremendous humility. And what a stark contrast to today’s world where people walk all over other people to get up one step higher on the ladder of success. Here Jesus came down, and made Himself nothing, taking on Himself the form of a servant.
And just notice in passing that this word “servant” is “diakonos” where we get our word “Deacon.” One who ministers to the body of Christ. Christ became a deacon. Now we have deacons in this church and they are charged with ministering to the needs of the body. So think how Jesus elevated the role of a deacon by becoming one Himself. Deacons you have the same ministry Jesus did: a servant who meets the needs of the body. What an honorable role.
And secondly, why did Jesus become a servant? Verse 8 tells us it was “to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs.”
So the very existence of a man named Jesus Christ tells us something right away: God is a truthful God.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? The existence of Jesus Christ answers these questions: God has said and He did it. In Jesus. God has spoken and He fulfilled it. In Jesus.
And turn with me if you would like to the Book of John chapter 3. Here John the Baptist is speaking about Jesus and he says something very interesting about all believers:
John 3:31-33 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.
So if we’re here this morning and we believe in Jesus Christ what we are saying is that God is true. But if we reject Christ in essence we are saying “God, you are liar.” But God cannot lie. God has fulfilled His promises in Jesus Christ. The Jews are to praise God for His truth, and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and therefore the Jewish nation is to praise God for Jesus.
Now what does this have to do with us? I wonder if you have considered the amazing benefits of reviewing the promises God made to Israel and seeing the fulfillment in Jesus Christ? This method of study convinces us that God can be believed, His Word is good, we can count on what He says.
And what Romans 15:8-9 invites us to do is to examine the promises God made to the Jewish nation, and then to see the fulfillment of them in Jesus Christ. So today we’re going to look at just a few promises in the Old Testament, and see their fulfillment in Christ. Wait a minute, aren’t we studying Romans? Yes, but sometimes a passage of Scripture invites us to study other passages to confirm the truth. And that’s what Romans 15 has done, both last week and this week. So we just take a little break from Romans and come right back to it. Now just watch how this creates faith in us. See if you don’t find tremendous confidence in the Word of God as we do this study together.
So I invite you to turn to Micah chapter 5, which was our first Scripture reading this morning. It has been proven beyond all doubt that Micah was written 700 years B.C. So 700 years before Jesus was born as a baby in Bethlehem, Micah wrote this book of the Bible. And here God promised that Israel’s ruler would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). And of course we know that Jesus fulfilled this. And it says that his origins would be “from old”, from ancient times. And so Jesus said to the Jews of his day, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
But did you notice that His sufferings were actually predicted before His birth? Vs. 1 says that Israel’s ruler would be struck on the face with a rod. It reminds us of Matthew 26 where Jesus is before the Roman soldiers and verse 67 says, “Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him.” Jesus was fulfilling the promises and predictions of Micah chapter 5.
And vs. 3 says that “Israel would be abandoned until” this ruler would be born. And we know that for 400 years God said nothing to the nation of Israel. 400 years of silence, of no prophets, and no visions. Nothing. Until Jesus was born. And He was born as the Word of God—God’s final communication to man.
And vs. 4 tells us He would stand and shepherd His flock. In John 10 Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd—the Good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” And vs. 4 tells us He would be a king. A shepherd-king like David who ruled in the majesty of the Lord His God. And so over the cross Pilate wrote “The King of the Jews.”
And vs. 4 tells us that His greatness would reach to the ends of the earth. His ministry wouldn’t be limited to the nation of Israel. And Philippians 2 shows the fulfillment, that because Jesus was obedient unto death, and rose from the dead, at the name of Jesus every knee will bow. Unity of worship through the gospel. The whole world will acknowledge the greatness of King Jesus.
And finally, notice what the effect of this ruler would be on the nation: vs. 4 says “they will live securely.” Well of course. If you had a Shepherd that would die to save you, if you had a king who would reign in righteousness and justice, and these two were combined into one Person, you could live in security. You would have peace and safety.
And so look what hope the nation of Israel would have, based upon this writing 700 years BC. Someone was going to come and be born in Bethlehem, who would be their ruler, but He would be struck on His face with a rod, there would be suffering in His life, but then He would reign as a Shepherd-King over the whole world, bringing security and peace and joy to the people. And Jesus fulfilled every word of this promise.
So we looked at His birth, now let’s go back and look at the first promise God made, in Genesis chapter 3. And in this chapter we see that sin has entered the world: Adam and Eve have disobeyed God and now everything is messed up. When sin came in the ground was cursed (vs. 17), thorns and weeds came up (vs. 18), hard work; Adam would work by the sweat of the brow (vs. 19), pain in childbirth (vs. 16), banishment from paradise (vss. 23-24), and finally death (vs. 19). All of this came through sin.
But God had promised that somebody would come and fix the whole mess. Look at vs. 15. God is talking to the serpent, to Satan, and He says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Now notice that this promise is to the woman’s offspring, not the man’s. Well how can the woman have an offspring and without the man? I mean it would have to a miracle, like a virgin birth for this promise to be fulfilled, where the offspring is only the woman’s, the man is not included. And we read in Matthew 1:21-25 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”
And then notice the reference to the battle in Genesis 3:15. There would be a fight. But the woman’s offspring would win: he would bruise the head of the serpent, a fatal blow, while He Himself would be bruised in the heel. Like someone stomping on a serpent, who might be bit as their foot is coming down. So the woman’s offspring would be victorious and would destroy the devil and His work; He would fix the whole mess and put things back right again. 1 John 3:8 The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. Hebrews 2:14 Jesus “shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil.
So Jesus, the Seed only of the woman, not a man, destroyed the work of the devil, made everything right. He perfectly fulfilled the promise in Genesis 3:15, born of a virgin, destroyed the devil and his work, receiving wounds in His flesh as He did so.
Now there are literally hundreds of these promises made to Israel, it would take us years, maybe a lifetime to go through them all. But let’s look at one last promise, this one in Isaiah chapter 9. We hear this a lot at Christmas time:
Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
So the promise is that David would have a descendant who would sit on his throne forever. A king would rule forever. Now question: looking at the nation of Israel today, who is king? I was just in Israel last week and there is no king. There’s a democracy but there’s no theocracy: no king is reigning. Has God lied? Could He not fulfill this promise? Well let’s look at the promise:
Notice verse 6 says “to us a child is born.” That’s just a natural thing, a child would be born, a human being would become king. But look at the next part, “to us a son is given.” A son given is different from a child born. A child born is humanity, but a son given is deity. It reminds us of John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” This God-Man would be King. The Government would be on His shoulders. And so Jesus said to Pilate, “you’ll see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, sitting at the right hand of God.” And He would be called “Wonderful.” Do you know Jesus as wonderful? Marvelous? Magnificent? As the Counselor, Mighty God.” The Son given is the Everlasting Father. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
But still, we don’t see a king reigning on the throne in Jerusalem. Did God not fulfill His promise? Oh yes He did, because Hebrews 12:2 …for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Revelation 7:17 says the Lamb of God is “in the midst of the throne.” He’s reigning from the heavenly Jerusalem. We aren’t people who put off the reign of Jesus for some time in the future, no He is reigning right now in the heavenly Jerusalem. He’s on David’s throne.
And so this promise is wonderfully fulfilled. The child born is a human, the Son given is God, the God-man reigning on the throne forever and ever. So just like the cross was a sign, the throne is a sign that says “God is truthful. He fulfills His promises.”
Now as I said, there are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of promises God made, and Jesus fulfills them all! So, what does this mean to us today? We’re not Jews, what does God fulfilling His promises in Christ mean to us today? Just this: God is trustworthy. Jesus confirmed the promises made to Israel. We can believe Him, put our faith in Him, trust in Him, rely on Him, count on Him, take His Word to the bank.
This builds our faith, it gives us confidence in God. We can say just like Joshua did: Joshua 21:45 Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.” We have faith that God will be true to His word because He sent Jesus. And so we see that Christ did indeed come as a minister to the Jews to fulfill all of God’s promises to them.
So let’s close by just looking at a couple of promises God makes to us today. We can be sure that God will be true to His Word as we read these. So the first one is in John chapter 6. As we read this together, see if you can pick out the promises God gives:
John 6:37-40 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
This passage tells us how to be saved. By looking to Christ and coming to Christ. In other words, all people whom God saves first are made to see our sin and feel condemned and rejected and hopeless. We have failed, we don’t measure up. But then we hear the words “whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” No matter what you’ve done, no matter the sin you’ve committed, come to Jesus and He will welcome you and receive you and never send you away. All you have to do is look away from your sin and look to the Son of God as having paid your penalty on the cross, and believe that. And His promise is that He will save you and never lose you.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Do you believe this promise that God is always with us, will never leave us? There is a way to know if we believe this promise. When something catastrophic happens in your life, do you lose it? Do you go crazy? Or do you have absolute confidence that God is right there with you in the midst of it? So that you have stability and strength? David could walk through the valley of the shadow of death, even, because He knew God was with Him.
Galatians 6:9-10 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Do you believe that if you do good you’ll reap a harvest if you don’t give up? If you stay the course, if you keep plugging along, doing good?
Jesus came as a minister to the Jews, to show that God has fulfilled all the promises in Him. And He will fulfill all His promises to us too. Let’s pray.

Grace and truth, Charity Cleveland

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