SermonChoosing Evil, Rejecting Good
An all-creatures Bible Message

Choosing Evil, Rejecting Good
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
20 August 2017
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Romans 11:1-36

Choosing evil, rejecting good is unfortunately the major problem in the world today, for among other things, it causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
God wants us to recognize the evil in the world around us and reject it, for He is faithful to forgive us and help us become His peacemaking children who live in His heavenly will.
But the vast majority of people refuse His offer of grace; thus they are choosing evil, rejecting good, and following the evil ways of the devil on this earth with all its violence, pain, suffering, bloodshed and death.
In Romans 11:1-36, Paul writes about the problems in our society with people choosing evil, rejecting good, and turning away from God.

1. I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

However, this does not mean that God has accepted every Israelite, which Paul will explain, in part, later.

2. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?

Elijahís pleadings and Godís response are very important for us to keep in mind as we continue this discussion.

3. "Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life."

This is the way that Elijah feels in the depths of his soul, and we need to see the utter disregard for Godís heavenly will here on earth, where most people are choosing evil, rejecting good, particularly when it comes to the horrible way animals are treated and killed, animals whom God created as living souls just as He created us.

4. But what is the divine response to him? "I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

Note what Paul is really saying by quoting this passage. God has not rejected all of Israel, but He has rejected most of them, for only a remnant of them are not following the ways of the devil and his minions, for most of them are choosing evil and rejecting good.
And letís not forget that God has preserved only 7,000 out of perhaps hundreds of thousands, which is less than one percent of the population; this means that very few people are getting into heaven, that is, unless they sincerely change and choose to live in Godís heavenly will.

5. In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.
6. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
7. What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;
8. just as it is written,
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day."

In other words, God gave these people what they wanted.
They really didnít want God, and they didnít really want to live in His heavenly will, even though some of them may have said they did; rather, they just wanted to live in the corrupt ways of this world and reap whatever benefits they could.
They have rejected God!
They are choosing evil, rejecting good, and doing their own things.

9. And David says,
"Let their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.

And today, most peoplesí tables have become a snare and a trap to them, too, for they are filled with dead animal products, and their bodies have become the animalsí grave.
They have lost all empathy for the animals, or they never had any, for they participate in the exploitation of animals by directly raising and killing animals, or through buying the products of animal suffering and death.
Either way they are choosing evil, rejecting good.

10. "Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs forever."

In other words, let them have what they want in this world.

11. I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they?
May it never be!
But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles,
to make them jealous.

To clarify what Paul is writing, in case we may have missed it, the Israelites became jealous because of the Gentiles whom God accepted, which is the way it is to this very day, but as with the Jews, God has not accepted all the Gentiles, but only a remnant of them, too, for like most Israelites, the Gentiles mostly seek to live in the corrupt ways of this world.

12. Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!

In other words, if the failure of the Israelites, who should know better, is the same as the failure of the Gentiles, the Israelites will receive a greater punishment, but the reverse is also true if they truly repent from their choosing evil and rejecting good, and truly seek to live in the heavenly will of God.

13. But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
14. if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.

If Paulís actions can make his fellow Jews jealous, it may be enough to cause them to repent of their evil ways of choosing evil, rejecting good, and seek the heavenly will of God and be saved.

15. For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16. And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too.

In other words, goodness and righteousness can be just as contagious as evil, but unfortunately the evil and ungodly ways of this world have lured many a person back into the ways of the devil, for they wanted what the world had to offer more than they wanted the heavenly ways of God.

17. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,

This means that some of the Gentiles were accepted by God in place of the Jews that desired the ways of the world more than they desired the heavenly ways of God.
However, Paul cautionsÖ

18. do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

The root is the promise of God to the Hebrews; they are the root of this holy tree of salvation.
But it remains that both Hebrews and Gentiles must stop choosing evil, rejecting good, and truly start living in the heavenly will of God here on earth as it is in heaven.

19. You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."
20. Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
21. for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you.

This is the caution that we keep encouraging the people of this world to recognize; that we should not do anything that hardens our heart and soul, such as being indifferent to the pain and suffering inflicted upon billions of innocent animals every year to satisfy human lust for their flesh and by-products.
For we strongly believe that it is the hardness of heart that will keep many people out of heaven.
And when a personís heart is hardened it becomes easier to be choosing evil and rejecting good, for they are listening more to the devil than to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

22. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

This is what we fear hardness of heart can cause because with hardness of heart people lose compassion and empathy.
We need to remain in the heavenly will of God.

23. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again.

This statement is also counter to the doctrines that say: once saved always saved, and that once saved you cannot lose your salvation, for Paul is clearly saying that people can lose their salvation but, upon truly repenting, they can be grafted in again and saved.
And this is true of both Jews and Gentiles for God is not partial to who a person is, for He sees the intent of the heart, and if it is set in living in the heavenly will of God, they will be grafted in and saved.

24. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
25. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
26. and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
"The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob."

He will remove the ungodly people who refuse to repent of choosing evil and rejecting good, but God is always willing to remove the sins from all truly repentant people.

27. "And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."
28. From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;

For God always leaves the door open for truly repentant sinners, that is, until God decides it is time to close the door.
Therefore, we all need to wake up to the unction of the Holy Spirit, and truly seek to live in the heavenly will of God.

29. for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Paul is not saying the salvation is irrevocable, but that the offer is always open to all who truly repent of their worldly ways.

30. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
31. so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
32. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
33. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

We may not always know the things that God knows, but we should know enough to stop choosing evil, rejecting good, and truly enter into the heavenly will of God.

34. For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?
35. Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?
36. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

And this is why we are constantly encouraging people to stop choosing evil, rejecting good, and to seek Godís heavenly will for their lives.
Remember that anything that is not loving and kind is not from God, and anything that is in any way violent or causes pain or suffering is not from God, but from this corrupt and evil world.
Choose good, reject evil, so that we can truly be Godís peacemaking children.

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