Hope everyone is having a good beginning to your week. We had a great day Sunday worshipping the Lord together at Pine Grove Baptist Church.
We are carefully and prayerfully taking steps to resume normal church activities. We moved from the gym into the sanctuary and next Sunday, April 18th, we will begin our small groups again at 9 am. We are excited to get back to normal ( or as close to normal as we can get). I hope you can be a part of what God is doing at PGBC!
We continued in our sermon series in Romans, as we looked at Romans 9:30-10:3. Paul wrote about Israel in chapters 9 through 11 to a Gentile audience. He wanted the Gentile believers to understand that the present unbelieving status of many Israelites did not mean that God had failed to keep His promise to them or that they (the Gentiles) should doubt their own eternal security as believers.
The title of the sermon is So Close Yet So Far Away because Israel knew the Scriptures better than anyone and they should have been able to recognize Jesus as the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies, but many of them couldn’t see it.
I’ve heard other preachers tell a story similar to the one I’m about to share. It’s a hypothetical story about a couple: we’ll call one of them the church attender and the other the church avoider.
The church attender was a faithful attender at their church for decades. Volunteering in just about every possible ministry along the way, teaching various classes, basically being involved every way possible, the church attender felt very good because of their faithful involvement. If someone asked church attender how someone gets to Heaven, church attender would say something along the lines of being a good person and doing good things gets people into Heaven.
Church avoider on the other hand never went to church. Church avoider didn’t mind church attender going to church as long as avoider wasn’t expected to go too. Church avoider didn’t really give much thought to spiritual matters for the great majority of their life, until an unexpected diagnosis of a terminal illness forced avoider to think about eternity. Someone shared the Gospel with avoider and avoider accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Avoider died a short time later and entered into their eternal rest in the presence of God Almighty.
Church attender lived several years after this and continued to faithfully attend church until passing away. Attender never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, though they attended church all those years. Attender will remain eternally separated from God in Hell because of their sin.
Attender was so close and yet so far away. No doubt they heard the Gospel, but never responded to it in faith. Attender was very religious but never was made righteous through faith in Christ.
The difference between being RIGHTEOUS and being RELIGIOUS can make all the difference in your eternity.
30 What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness—namely the righteousness that comes from faith. 31 But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law.[a] 32 Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works.[b] They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written,
Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over
and a rock to trip over,
and the one who believes on him
will not be put to shame.[c]
10:1 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God concerning them[d] is for their salvation. 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 Since they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God’s righteousness.