Romans 9:30-33 / The Stumbling Stone (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on February 21, 2014


This is the thirty-ninth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Romans. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of February 9, 2014. This message deals with how Christ has become a stumbling stone to the church today. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Rom 9_30-33



Romans 9:30-33

Paul is making a contrast between Gentiles and Israel.

He is emphasizing that what has come to the gentiles by faith, has been denied to Israel due to their insistence on seeking righteousness by works.

There is no blanket inclusion of all gentiles, just as this does not included all Israelites.

It is more of a contrast between the faithless religion which typified Israel, and religionless faith that typified the gentile believers.

The entire thrust of the Jewish system was grounded in works based acceptance, which is not possible.

They tried to work for their righteousness, and that did not work.

This doesn’t mean that the law is against the promises of God.

Galatians 3:21

It simply means that you can’t be justified by the law.

Galatians 3:11

The law became a wall between them and God, one they could never climb over on their own.

Why? To try to keep the law without faith is pointless.

Hebrews 11:6

Absorbed by their own efforts, the Israelites did not recognize Christ as the stone of their own prophetic Scripture.

They were so self involved that Christ had no place.

Things haven’t changed much in the church today.

We become so self involved and program driven, that we squeeze out Christ.

For many, church has become all about works, and those works are a source of pride.

We use those works to exalt our own goodness rather than to Glorify God.

We love to point to what we have done, rather than praise God for what He has done.

Our good works are meaningless apart from faith in Christ, and if those works aren’t pointing people to Christ, then its all in vain.

More often than not, we use those works to point people to ourselves.

They become nothing more than bragging rights and a marketing tool for the church.

We should simply do what we do, to the Glory of God, and without fanfare.

Unfortunately the modern church has become market driven instead of Christ driven.

Ministries are focused on market research and driven by consumer demand.

It looks impressive from the outside, but serves only to tickle ears and create false converts.

It’s not uncommon for a church to tout the many “benefits” that it offers.

In doing so, they put the focus on you instead of Christ. After all. That’s how you sell things. You make people think about themselves and what benefits them.

The benefit that we should be touting is Christ. It’s not about us at all, it’s about Him!

What is the main attraction?

It’s better to be in a church of ten people, who are sold out to and on fire for Christ.

Ten people who are hard workers and hard prayers.

Ten people who will always point to Christ, then to be in a church of ten thousand who are simply good at advertising and putting on a show.

This market driven church is contrary to Christ, and He has become a stumbling block.

The church is literally stumbling over Christ.

The fact that Christ had become a stumbling block was prophesied by Isaiah, long before.

Today, just as then, a lack of faith has caused Christ to become a stumbling block. (refers to Isaiah 8:14)

1 Corinthians 1:23

But, “whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame”

Those who trust in Christ as the Saviour whom God has provided need never fear that their trust will prove to be ill-founded.

There is no shame in our faith, neither do we need to be ashamed.

Even so, sometimes we are like these people, trying to get right with God by keeping his laws.

We may think that attending church, doing church work, giving offerings, and being nice will be enough.

After all, we’ve played by the rules, haven’t we? But Paul’s words sting—this approach never succeeds.

Paul explains that God’s plan is not for those who try to earn his favor by being good.

It is for those who realize that they can never be good enough and so must depend on Christ.

We can be saved (become righteous) only by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

There is no other way, and no other name.

John 14:6

Acts 4:12

May we all be able to say:

2 Timothy 1:12

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