SermonUnderstanding Biblical Context
An all-creatures Bible Message

Understanding Biblical Context

A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church

6 August 2017

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Acts 10:9-16
Romans 9:1-18

Understanding Biblical context is very important if we are truly going to learn how to reject the corrupt ways of the world and follow the heavenly ways of God.

Unfortunately most people either jump to conclusions or follow traditions that are outside Biblical context and the heavenly will of God.

An example of understanding Biblical context is realizing that God’s creation and heavenly intent is that there should be no pain or suffering or bloodshed or death, which means that anything that brings about pain, suffering, bloodshed, or death cannot ever be from God, but is part of the corrupted world system.

Last week, we looked at a few verses in which Jesus explained God’s creation and heavenly intent about marriage, which was quite different from the ways of Laban, Jacob’s uncle, and which Jacob followed.

So, with these things in mind, let’s look at what Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 9:1-18, because if we don’t read it in a way that will bring us to understanding Biblical content, we could easily believe it means something else.

1. I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit,

2. that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.

3. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,

“According to the flesh” most likely means in our bodily form, and not necessarily in the spiritually transformed way we are to become.

4. who are Israelites, 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,

Here we need to think a little more deeply, because not all who are Israelites will be adopted as sons, because many of them are living in the flesh and the corrupted ways of this world that cause millions of humans and billions of non-human animals to suffer and die every year.

Children of God are those who have truly repented of their former worldly ways and are bonded to Christ in the heavenly will of God; and only those who are true peacemakers will become children of God.

But Paul goes on and adds more to what he said above…

5. whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

Referring to Christ according to the flesh only can mean the human side of Him who is born into this world, but Jesus is also God and cannot sin as we humans do.

So what Paul writes can be confusing if we stop here, for unless we look more deeply into what he wrote to the Romans we may not understand Biblical context; for we don’t have the full picture.

Then Paul seems to explain what he wrote, so that we wouldn’t misunderstand the meaning.

6. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;

This is the problem that we commented about above, and Paul continues…

7. neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named."

8. That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

This could also include worldly people who live on this corrupted earth and follow the corrupt ways of the devil and his minions.

9. For this is a word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son."

This promise came true, but as we have seen and discussed in recent weeks, these descendants did not always follow the heavenly will of God.

10. And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;

11. for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls,

For God to do such a thing would be out of context with One who is Love; for if God actually said this or did this it was because Esau sold his birthright and was a hunter and enjoyed killing.

12. it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger."

13. Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Then Paul goes on…

14. What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

15. For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

If there is no injustice with God, then whether or not God shows compassion or doesn’t show compassion to someone is not a random choice, but one based upon the way the person lives.

16. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

However, besides having mercy, God is also righteous and just, and looks to see if a person is sincerely trying to be one of His children who follow His heavenly will.

17. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth."

18. So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Only humans think this way.

God is above the ways of humans; He may choose to do some of these things, but it is always based upon their character and the way they live before Him, for He is merciful, just, and righteous.

Let’s take a look at another example of understanding Biblical context by looking at Acts 10:9-16…

9. And on the next day, as they [the servants of Cornelius] were on their way, and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.

10. And he became hungry, and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;

11. and he beheld the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,

12. and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.

13. And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!"

Unfortunately most people who are not living in the heavenly will of God, stop here, and say, “see, God is telling us to eat any and every kind of animal,” and nothing is further from the truth, for they have taken this passage out of context.

They are not understanding Biblical context, for they have not read the whole message contained in chapters 10 and 11.

14. But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean."

15. And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

16. And this happened three times; and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.

And Peter never did try to kill or eat any of those animals.

When we read the whole message we come to the understanding that Jews did not enter the homes of Gentiles, and God was graphically showing Peter that He wanted him to go to the home of Cornelius and tell them the good news of Jesus Christ, which he did.

And the whole household was saved.

It had nothing to do with killing and eating animals, and God knew that Peter would refuse to kill or eat those animals and ponder why God would give him such a vision.

There are several other passages in the Bible that are taken out of context because people jump to incorrect conclusions.

We need to always seriously think about anything that seems to be counter to the heavenly will of God, and ponder what the true message is that God wants us to understand.

We can and should always be doing this.


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