SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Katz, Israel and the Church 02

Print Thread (PDF)

PosterThread
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Katz, Israel and the Church 02


An item not for intellectual combat and killing.
An item to be digested unto life and holiness among Gentiles and Jews.
An item to be regarded as a heart cry on the Walls of Jerusalem, the heavenly and the earthly.
An item for the prayer chamber, to mobilize a heart when the many turn against the Jew.
Lars W.


The Mystery of Israel and the Church
Art Katz

Chapter 2 - The Heart Cry of Paul

By and large, chapters 9 through 11 of Paul’s letter to the Romans bewilder commentators and theologians. They do not know how or why these chapters were included, or whether or not they are just a parenthesis that is to be circumvented and leaped over. Everything from chapters 1 through 8, however, is preparation for chapters 9 through 11, and everything that follows in chapters 12 through 16 is the practical outworking of what went before chapters 9, 10 and 11. In fact, the very first verse of chapter 12 begins by saying:
I urge [plead with] you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice...(Parenthesis and emphasis mine, here and throughout).
This implies that chapters 9 through 11 are not going to be fulfilled short of that kind of ultimate and sacrificial living on the part of the saints who take the text seriously.
Chapter 9 begins with a great cry to which there is no comparison, except the cry of Moses, who was, himself, also willing to be blotted out for this same people:
For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom. 9:3).

That cry has a very important application for today, especially with regard to the popular ‘two-covenant theory’ that is currently being promulgated, which teaches that either God is finished with Israel, and that we, as the Church, are the inheritors of their promises, or, equally deceptive, that God has another covenant for Israel, and that we need not occupy ourselves with it. By implication, therefore, we, as the Church, have the new covenant, while Israel has its own covenant, called the old covenant. For the Church to hold this view with regard to Israel is to thereby absolve itself from all obligation and responsibility toward the Jew. It believes that God will magically do His independent and sovereign will toward the Jew at the end of the age without any participation by the Church at all. And the Church, therefore, believes and acts as though their beliefs and actions will have no bearing on the unfolding of the events in these Last Days, or as many believe, the Church will not even be present in the earth at that time.

This is, in our estimation, a tragic view, and it is certainly not God’s way. In the subsequent chapters of this book, we are going to see that the Church is the explicit agent, chosen of God, to obtain the restoration of Israel to their God and to their Land in the Last Days. When you see the magnitude of this, knowing Israel’s historical opposition to the gospel and their Messiah, you begin to realize that it will require a Church of an ultimate kind. In fact, it has got to be a Church that, to some significant degree, even takes Paul’s own heart cry, stated above, as its own. A Church that merely gives mental assent to the significance of Israel, but has not the heart for that people, which Paul exhibits in his cry, cannot possibly succeed in being the instrument of God for their salvation.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/29 2:06Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



In Christ
How does Paul come to this disposition of heart and spirit? How does he have such a compassion and attitude toward the Jew? From where does he get his great concern for their eternal salvation, so much so that he is willing himself to be cut off from Christ, thus losing his own salvation, and willing to bear substitutionally their judgment, as Christ Himself before him, if only they could be saved? The answer lies solely, we believe, in Paul’s union with Christ. It is certainly not his intrinsic Jewishness by birth that explains this compassionate disposition. Paul writes,
I am telling the truth in Christ, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1).
Twice in his very first statement, and without a self-conscious design to impress anyone, he reveals his secret, namely, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This is the beauty of an apostolic man. He is making a statement of such a strenuous and ultimate kind, that someone would be tempted to dismiss it as Paul in his ethnic Jewishness identifying with his own nation. But, if so, it would have the effect of absolving Gentile believers from needing to have a corresponding disposition when they themselves are not ethnically Jewish. Indeed, Paul’s basis for the depth of his compassion is not his natural identification with this people, but, as we have said, his union with Christ. It is precisely this basis that needs to be ours as well. In fact, the whole challenge of these scriptures is to compel us to that relationship with Christ, which, otherwise, we might not have earnestly enough sought.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/29 7:48Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



To be in Christ, both in your emotions and will, even to the point of being considered an anathema, means to be devoid of any self-concern, even concern for your eternal destiny. There is no way to come to that place, except by a complete separation at the Cross. In the last analysis, and whenever we scratch deeply enough, every issue of the faith is always the issue of the Cross. We need to be discerning and recognize that this issue is implicit right here from the beginning of chapter 9 of Romans. And if this is true for the apostle, then it has got to be true for the whole apostolic people that Israel will meet in the wilderness places as they are sifted through the nations at the end of the age (Amos 9:9). As we shall see, Jews are once again going to be dispersed throughout the world, and they have got to see believers of this separated kind, because to see this kind of believer is to see Christ! It is this recognition that brings them into the bond of the covenant. As we shall see, it is in the wilderness of the nations that they will meet with Him face to face (Ezekiel 20:35).
So, it is not by natural sentiment that Paul expresses himself; he speaks as a man in Christ. In fact, the phrase ‘in Christ’ is one of Paul’s favorite phrases. And it is not a mindless phrase; it is a statement that is the foundation of Paul’s whole apostolic life. There is a way to be ‘in Christ’ that God has made available by our identification with Him in his death and resurrection that He intends as the root principle of the authentically spiritual life. On the other hand, there is a kind of Christianity in which we can embrace principles, quote Scripture, and invoke choruses, but we are living our lives essentially in ourselves and through ourselves; we are living a Christian life naturally. It has become a Christian form, even culture, and perhaps that is what has prevailed in Christendom in recent generations, and particularly now. And every great move of God has always been a cry to bring people out of a Christianity that had degenerated into a mere culture, and to bring it back again into its vital power, by living in His life.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/29 15:36Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



If Paul spoke as a man in Christ, then there is hope for us, and that we too can speak as Paul, we can live as Paul; we too can be in Christ, and have the mind of Christ and the character of Christ, and the ability and the strength of Christ. The genius of the faith is that God has intentionally called us to things that are patently beyond ourselves.
In a word, we will never be God’s salvific agency to Israel in the Last Days except on the basis of being ‘in Christ.’ God is concerned for Israel’s restoration, but He is also concerned for the Church’s transfiguration! He is not content that we should be mere ‘respectable’ Christians. He gave His life for more than that; His call to us is to be formed in Him, and to be Christ-like, particularly in the Last Days when men’s hearts will fail them for fear when they see the things that are coming upon the earth. We will need to be islands of sanity, people of such faith that we are not at all moved, depressed or defeated by external circumstances; that we will be in a place in Christ that is triumphant. And when crisis-ridden Jews see this demonstration before their eyes, they will be arrested!
There is a yet greater mystery of which what we have been saying is only the beginning and the paradigm, namely, the reconciling of all things unto Himself, both in heaven and on earth. The work of the Cross was the work of atonement, of oneness with God and reconciliation: ourselves with God, ourselves with ourselves, and the Jew and the Gentile as one new man. This is the model for all the world, and then for all things, both in heaven and earth, to be reconciled unto Him. This is God’s full ‘Salvation History.’


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/30 1:41Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



Paul speaks in Christ as a man whose whole being is renewed and illumined, and a man who at the very time of writing is conscious of being under the direct operation of God’s Spirit. This is God’s own cry. It is not as a natural man, but as a spiritual man; it is not as a Jew, but as an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile; it is as an inspired apostle that he speaks. And it is as an inspired apostolic people that God would have us to speak, and to be and to have our being. Our whole vision for the faith and for the Church needs to be greatly enlarged, and brought back to God’s original intention, because it has degenerated, more than we realize, into a mere Sunday culture.
I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1).
Who would ever think that the apostle would, or even could, lie? How would you like to live like that, not just with regard to the Jews, but in everything? In fact, if we do not live like that consistently before the advent of the Last Days’ trials of the Jews, then be assured, we are not going to find it when the Last Days are upon us. Conscience is a mechanism that God has implanted in mankind as a device to keep us from the evil that would otherwise consume us. We need to be brought to a place in God, where our consciences are so sensitive, that a wrong word, a wrong look, a gesture, a thought or disposition of spirit stops us immediately.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/30 3:37Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



That I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart (Rom. 9:2).
This implies that the rejection of Christ has grievous consequences, and unquestionably, Paul is looking, as Jesus did when He wept over Jerusalem, to the future of what that rejection would mean.
For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh...(Rom. 9:3).
These are the same brethren who said of Paul that he was not fit to live, and who vowed neither to eat nor drink until Paul was dead. To have this kind of a sensitive and tender regard for the same people who are out for your life is a remarkable thing. It is a revelation of the extraordinary Christ-likeness of Paul, and this kind of character is what God is after in the whole of His people, His Church. The point is that we cannot dismiss this, saying that this is just some Jew pleading for his own; this is the apostolic man whose proximity to the heart of God and whose knowledge of God are so deep that he is expressing God’s own heart! And if the apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the Church, and if the Church is built on that foundation, God can reasonably expect that we too should see as Paul sees, cry as Paul cries, take Paul’s apostolic heart for our own, in having as much privileged access to God as Paul himself had!

My kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites...(verses 3b-4a).
There is a difference between Israelites and Israel, because later we are going to read that not all Israel is Israel, though all are Israelites. One is a physical, generic and ethnic description, and the other is a spiritual statement. Not every Israelite is the ‘Israel of God,’ but every Israelite is an ethnic Jew making up the past and present nation of Israel.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/30 10:40Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02



Israel’s Privileges
...to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises... (Rom. 9:4).
This is a people who are not only missing their salvation, but also their call and the privileges that belong to them alone. In their rejection of Christ, they are acting contrary to every advantage to which God has uniquely called them as a nation from among all nations. This reference to ‘sons’ goes back to Exodus 4:23 where Moses was commanded by God to say to Pharaoh, “Let My son go that he may serve Me.” God was speaking of Israel as an entire people, and the privilege was to have God as Father.
...And the glory...
In Israel’s Old Testament experience, the glory of God was not an abstract figure of speech, but a visual and experienced phenomenon. Whenever they saw the glory, they fell on their faces and cried out, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” The fire that fell was the glory of God. At other times the glory filled the temple in such a way that the priests had to come out, unable to minister. The mountain that was wreathed with fire, the cloud by day and the fire by night, which were continually with them for forty years, were also visible manifestations of His glory. Glory and presence are one and the same thing. For us it is all too often hypothetical and an allusion to something theoretical, but never actual. It is for that reason we do not have a jealousy for the glory of God. We tend to think of the glory of God as some kind of an abstraction, some kind of ethereal thing that is not visible or demonstrable. God wants, however, to fill His house with His glory, and we can probably say that it is the absence of any sense of God’s glory that accounts for the shallow condition of the Church today. There simply is no fear of God, because the glory also inspires the fear.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/9/30 13:05Profile
lwpray
Member



Joined: 2003/6/22
Posts: 3318
Sweden

 Re: Katz, Israel and the Church 02




...Whose are the fathers...
What a distinguished lineage of men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with whom we have a continuum—men who knew God and walked with God!
...And from whom is the Christ...
Paul cannot resist bringing in this last great glory, namely, the coming of the Messiah out of Israel.
...According to the flesh...
That is to say, Jewish flesh.
...who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen (Rom. 9:5).
Everything has been rejected. In fact, if they had properly esteemed, maintained and kept their adoption as sons, the priestly service, the covenants and the promises, then they would have likely been prepared for, and been able to recognize, their Messiah. The Messiah’s coming revealed the covenantal failure that had had a much longer history. The sin of Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the bringing of Him to death, awesome though it is, is not so much the sin in itself as it is a final statement of a much longer history of apostasy and alienation from God. The apostasy of Israel had its final crystallization and expression in the tragic rejection of Messiah unto death, which was the final statement, the culmination of their long history of turning their backs on their adoption as sons, the priestly service, the covenants and the promises. Paul’s great sorrow and unceasing grief are the whole recognition of that.

The theme of this letter, then, begins with Paul stricken in his grief, and if he did not begin in that way, then it is safe to say that nothing else would have followed. Paul as the quintessential apostolic man is the pattern for the entire Church. God is calling the Church to an apostolic stature and mode of being, and this grief, as it hurts the honor of God, over Israel’s apostasy is one of the deepest expressions of it. Paul is not a man debating in his mind the things that might bless the Church two thousand years later; he is a man who is being utterly unselfconscious, and it is this very thing that truly reveals the depth of his union with Christ. By every logical reasoning, the man who was the principal persecutor of the Jewish believers would have carried out that same hostility, not now against the Church, but against his own unbelieving kinsmen. In his natural humanity, he would have retaliated against them in kind, in the way that they were against him, but we see the profound transformation of the man. Likewise, the issue of the Jew is God’s provision for the transformation of the Church, and we will not obtain it independent of Israel. It is clear that there is a sanctification that works continually, but the depth of it is reserved for that final relationship with Israel and the Church’s own conscious, willful preparation and anticipation of that relationship.


_________________
Lars Widerberg

 2004/10/1 1:19Profile





©2002-2020 SermonIndex.net
Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Privacy Policy