Who are the chosen people of God?

Sermon by Rev. Julius A. Harper, Senior Pastor Santa Clarita Christian Fellowship Church

                  Who Are The Chosen People of God? 

Romans 9:25-27 (NLT)
25  Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.”
26  And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
27  And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out, “Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved.

May the Lord add a blessing to the reading and the hearing of HIS holy word.

Who are the chosen people?

Who are those who form the group of individuals whom God whom has determined will be the beneficiary of his love, grace, mercy and blessings.

This of course is a question that raises all kinds of feelings and reactions in our minds, just by asking a question about or raising the specter of “chosennes”

When I was a child I must have been exposed to and or heard something about the fact that the Jewish people were the chosen people of God.

And as a child I remember vividly that I did not like the idea of there actually being a “chosen people” especially when I was not one of them. 

It didn’t seem fair; it rubbed me the wrong way, because in my childish mind the idea that God would have a chosen people, who I presumed would all go to heaven and inherit all kinds of blessings, based on their ethnic background or racial heritage, just didn’t sit right with me.

Again, remember that I as a child presumed this.

Here the apostle Paul gives us a teaching that sets the record straight and he outlines the context and reality of God’s “choosing”, letting us know that his choosing of and or having a chosen people isn’t about playing favorites, no in fact his choosing and how he chooses is a reflection of his great love and mercy and HIS plan, laid out before the foundation of the world.

Now the subject very much seems like a repeat of the sermon I shared two weeks ago from Romans 9:6-13 entitled “who are the true children of God.

But here the Apostle Paul is teaching us more about this idea of “chosennes”

God does in fact have a chosen people.

This was part of his plan from the beginning, he has chosen, he has elected people according to his foreknowledge and that includes some people who are part of the nation of Israel, but it also includes people like you and me AND others who come from the other nations of the earth.

So let’s learn about that today; let’s get a clear understanding of the wonder and blessings of being one of God’s chosen.

Four points to the sermon today and then we are finished …AMEN.

Who are the chosen people of God? 

  1. They are a mixed group of people, chosen from among those who were called God’s people and those who were not called God’s people

Romans 9:25b-c (NLT)
25 “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.”

Hosea 2:23 (NLT)
23  At that time I will plant a crop of Israelites and raise them for myself. I will show love to those I called ‘Not loved.’ And to those I called ‘Not my people,’ I will say, ‘Now you are my people.And they will reply, ‘You are our God!’”

1 Peter 2:9-12 (NKJV)
9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Revelation 7:9 (NKJV)
9  After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

In answering the question as to WHO are the chosen people of God, we find number one that the chosen people of God are people of Jewish heritage as well as those who are of a Gentile background.

Now what exactly is the meaning of the word GENTILE?

From got questons.org we harvested the following:

The word Gentile is an English translation of the Hebrew word goyim (“people, nations”) and the Greek word ethne (“nations, people groups, people”). The Latin Vulgate translated these words as gentilis, and this word was then carried over into English as “Gentile.”

The term refers to a person who is not a Jew.

During Jesus’ time here on earth, many Jews took pride in their cultural and religious heritage and they considered Gentiles as being “unclean”

In fact they looked down on non-Jews so much that that called them “dogs” and lumped all non-Jews in to a group that they simply referred to as the un-circumcision.

This may in fact explain why among people there is generally a negative reaction to the idea of a group that is identified as the chosen people.

And some folks use this as an excuse for the an·ti-Se·mit·ic, prejudice.

Now the truth of the matter is that the Gentiles, in comparison to the religious standards of Judaism, were incredibly depraved and morally corrupt on a level that was way over the top.

The Gentiles were people who practiced human sacrifices.

These were the folks who burned their children on the fire to Moloch.

These were the folks who were involved bestiality, cannibalism, and sexual perversions that defy description.

These were a group of folks who put the eeky in freaking.

Gentile societies and practices were steeped in idol worship and demonism.

Yet here we read in the word of God, that God said I am going to choose a people for myself, I am going to raise of a crop of folks, in which there will be a mixed multitude, of Jews and Gentiles.

Thought:

Now when I first got this clear in my mind, I was floored.

This new understanding made God’s grace shine even brighter.

This reality spoke to me concerning the incredible grace and plan of God, in which he determined before the foundation of the world, that his grace would be demonstrated in HIS choosing folks that could on no level qualify as being good in God’s eyes.

God is calling a NATION of chosen people comprised of Jews and Gentiles and he is combining them into one group.

We read just a bit earlier the words of the Apostle Peter who defined that group as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, his own special people “who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

His love and mercy are so great that he “chooses” to express his great love to Gentiles, who were known to be the most morally evil people in the world.

God puts us all together AS HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE, making us ONE with the very people he had chosen and blessed to be the oracles of his word and the ones through whom the Messiah had come.

His plan was to choose, not on the basis of ethnic or racial heritage, but to create for himself a new nation, chosen to proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Who are the chosen people of God?

  1. They are group that includes a remnant of the nation of Israel (Jewish people

Romans 9:27 (NLT)
27  And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out, “Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved.

Acts 2:37-39 (NLT)
37  Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38  Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39  This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles—all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

Romans 11:4 (NKJV)
4  But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

This second point helped clear up some things that I had in my mind from the time I was a child.

Some how or another, I had lived for many years with the impression that all Jews would be saved and would automatically go to heaven.

In answering the question as to whom the chosen people of God are, we learn secondly that concerning the nation of Israel, the chosen who will be saved, are a remnant of the nation of Israel.

Thought:

Not everyone who is born Jewish is automatically going to go the heaven; just like God doesn’t have a family plan that gets you into heaven because of your parents, he does not have a plan that automatically gets a person into heaven because of his or her ethnic or racial background.

Remember now what we’ve learned in point number one.

The chosen people of God are among a group that is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles.

The prophet Isaiah declared that only a remnant would be saved.

Even though the Nation of Israel and the descendents of Abraham would be as numerous as the sands of the sea shore, not every one who is born Jewish would truly believe and trust in God and therefore not everyone who was born Jewish would be saved or counted among God’s chosen people.

Thought:

Now you might say, I’m not Jewish so WHY does this matter to me?

Well if you love people, it should matter to you.

Some of you may have Jewish friends or family members who are Jewish.

And if you listen further you’ll see that there is something for you here, no matter what your background may be.

Thought:

The passage we read from Acts 2:37-39 is an interesting passage to consider and listen to, especially if you are from a Jewish background or have Jewish friends.

You see Peter was preaching that day and speaking to a crowd, which was primarily Jewish.

After the miraculous events of Pentecost, Peter steps up and begins to preach to the crowd.

The scripture records that the words of Peter cut them or pierced their hearts and they said to him “Brothers, what should we do?”

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins.

  • Peter was preaching to JEWS who had the privilege of having the laws of God.
  • Peter was preaching to religious folks.

Peter was preaching to a group of people who were morally heads and shoulders above the Gentile world, but to these Jews, Peter would communicate the truth and reality that every one needs to repent and turn to God in order to be saved.

He didn’t tell them that they had an automatic ticket to heaven.

He told that that everyone needs to come to JESUS and embrace him as LORD by placing their faith in him, expressing by the act of being baptized and declaring publically, that they understood and believed that it was only by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, that they could be and would be saved.

Does that sound familiar to you ?

Peter told them you’ve got to make a choice to embrace the reality of what it takes to be among those who are truly God’s chosen people.

Thought:

On that day, Peter was talking to his fellow Jews, but what he said then applies right now to us GENTILES.

You see, God is still in the business of choosing a people for himself.

But each of us has to position ourselves to be chosen.

Each of us must repent of our sinful rebellion and pride.

Each of us must recognize our lost-ness without the love and grace mercy of God.

Each of us must come to the full realization that we cannot save ourselves and then having come to that realization, we must open our hearts, fall upon our knees and them come to Christ and ask him to save us.

Today and this morning, the question I want to lodge in your mind is this.

Have you done what Peter said that we must do?

Have you repented, have you declared your faith in Jesus, have you made a public declaration by being baptized according to the commandment and authority of Jesus Christ and confessing with your mouth HIS Lordship over your life.

Who are the chosen people of God?

  1. They are people who understand that they cannot pursue righteousness by the works of the law.

Romans 9:31-32c (NLT)
31  But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.
32c  Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him.  

Romans 3:20 (NLT)
20  For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

Romans 10:3 (NLT)
3  For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.

Ephesians 2:9 (NLT)
9  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Matthew 7:22-26 (NKJV)
22  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

For the third point of this teaching, the answer to the question of who are the chosen people of God, is given to us in the negative and it really builds upon and explains why it is that only a remnant of Israel will be saved.

Thought:

Israel was the nation that was identified as God’s own people; they had a special relationship with God.

They had the law and the prophets.

They were given the honor of being the nation through which the Messiah would come.

But they as a NATION they never succeeded at flowing in the reality of there chosen status, because they failed to trust God.

They didn’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself.

They didn’t understand the example of their father Abraham, the father of faith.

Thus in answering our main question that we posed as the basis for the sermon, we can simply say, that the chosen people of God are those who pursue righteousness by faith.

Thought:

Now there is a tough warning for us in the church today….

Tells your neighbor, hold tight, it’s toe stepping time…

What Paul teaches us about the nation of Israel is not just a teaching for the JEWS, it is a warning.

If we are not careful, we in the church can miss “God’s way”, just like Israel missed it.

This is especially true and applicable for those of us who are quite comfortable in our own religion and or self-righteousness.

The chosen people are NOT those who think that they can get into the group or be accepted by God because of their own religion.

The chosen people of God are NOT those who presume that they are in because of their spiritual pedigree.

The chosen people of God are NOT those who believe that they get in because of the good deeds or works.

And this is a warning and a danger to every one.

To Jews to Gentiles. To Christians.

To Muslims, To Baptist. To Pentecostals. To Catholics, To non-denominational Christians, In fact it is a warning to anyone who presumes to rely upon their own goodness or their own works, or thier own religion.

It didn’t work for the nation of Israel and it won’t work for you.

In that day, when we stand before God, I fear that there are going to be a lot of people who are shocked by what the Lord says.

I fear that there may be many who consider them selves to be part of those who are the chosen of God, who will stand before the master on that day.

Some will give a run down of their works and religion.

Some will give a resume of their accomplishments as preachers and teachers of God’s word.

Many will say to Jesus that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name.

Lord have we NOT cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’

And then the LORD himself will declare to them, ‘I never knew you.

You didn’t put your trust in me.

You didn’t learn God’s way of making people right with himself.

You didn’t learn that salvation isn’t a reward, but instead you missed it, because you failed to put your faith and trust in me.

Who are the chosen people of God, 4th and finally….

  1. They are those who embrace the “stumbling stone” and place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Romans 9:32d-e (NLT)
32d-e   instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path

Romans 9:33 (NLT)

33  God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 

Matthew 13:57 (YLT)
57  and they were stumbled at him. And Jesus said to them, `A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, and in his own house:’

John 5:24 (NKJV)
24  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Here we come to a close, looking again at Israel and the Jewish nation, as a teaching example that speaks to us and answers the question that we posed and are addressing in this sermon today.

We learn 4th and finally that the chosen people of God are those who by faith “embrace the stumbling stone”.

Jesus came to the earth as a humble servant; born into poverty.

He didn’t have great material wealth or anything attractive about him at all.

He talked about giving up all that you had.

He talked about turning the other cheek when someone strikes you.

He spoke of forgiveness and he told people about the reality of their sins.

Instead of marching into town on a great big stallion, he came riding on a donkey’s colt.

And worst of all he died on a cross, stretched out naked between two criminals.

So when it came to embracing Jesus as Lord and savior, a lot of folks stumbled.

This is what happened to Israel.

Only a remnant could get past the stumbling block that Jesus represented and the offense of all that he stood for, when he said trust in me.

The chosen people of God, are the ones who embrace the stumbling stone, who’s name is Jesus Christ and the beauty of this blessedness is that anyone, from any background or any racial group can place their faith in and embrace Jesus Christ.

Today my friend, no matter who you are or where you’ve been, I want you to know that God is still building and planting and raising a nation of chosen ones, who will place their faith and trust in HIS precious Son Jesus Christ.

God is still seeking to save the lost.

God is still building a nation of chosen ones, called forth to show the praises of him, who has called you from darkness and into the blessing of his incredible light

I wonder this morning if there is ONE who is ready to be among the chosen.

While all eyes are closed and heads are bowed.

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