1. We started with a quick review of what had been said thus far in Romans 9.
A: One of the first things mentioned Sunday was the importance of going through even the most challenging of Biblical text, rather than skipping over them. Why is it so healthy for the people of God to take time to work through challenging passages such as Romans 9?
2. We then talked about v.14-18 & the question posed along with Paul’s response.
A: We see that Paul responds to the question of fairness from v. 14 by speaking of the mercy God shows towards Israel in v. 15…which is a quote from Exodus 33. It was said that God’s choosing to show mercy was not a forced decision, but an act of sheer mercy. How does thinking about the fact that God doesn’t owe anyone mercy change the way you think on the mercy of God?
B: In v. 16, Paul is direct in saying that no one merits or has a right to mercy. The example was then given of the gift to 20 out of 20 million. What are ways people assume that God owes them mercy, owes them the gift?
C: Next we moved into v. 17-18 & Paul’s use of Pharaoh as an example. First we heard that God’s glory is NOT contingent upon His mercy…God is glorious both in His mercy & in His judgment. Why is this difficult for many people to affirm?
D: We then worked through the idea of hardening & saw that the Bible speaks of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart as well as Pharaoh hardening his own heart. We said that based off Romans 1 we see that hardening is God “giving them up” to their own plans and actions. How does this “giving them up” reveal God’s sovereignty as well as a person’s responsibility?
3. We then moved to v. 19-24 & the next question brought up along with the response.
A: Paul knows the question that now lingers in light of all that’s been said. Its as if he’s had this conversation & knows the natural question in the flow of that conversation. What are some of the major questions people have today concerning God? How prepared are you to address those questions? How can you better prepare yourself?
B: Paul’s response starts in v. 20 with a question reminding us of our position in relation to God. What are ways we can remember the authority & power of God & our lack thereof?
C: Then we see in v. 21 the phrase, “out of the same lump.” The lump was defined as all of our humanity in our natural state: sin. So how does knowing that this is the state of all of us highlight then the goodness of God to make any for honorable use?
D: We ended by looking at v. 22-24 & the two types of vessels. It was said on Sunday that we are the authors of our own ruin, and God is the author of our salvation. This is based off the way v. 22-23 speak of God’s activity. How does this idea of who is the author of each vessel help make more sense of sin, evil, salvation, God’s timing?
E: On Sunday, even with all that had been said…it still leaves us with an element of mystery in that we don’t know everything. The best example is that God endures evil & shows mercy towards some…in order to make known the riches of his glory. How can coming to grips with the fact we can’t fully comprehend the ways of God lead to praise of God? What would it say about God if we could fully understand, explain & even give input on the workings of God?
4. We ended with one point of application: to set our minds on the greatness of the mercy of God.
A: Multiple ways were suggested on how to set your minds on the mercy of God…
(read this news in the Scriptures over and over again, tell our kids/grandkids/neighbors/friends, memorize passages that speak this news, sing songs that remind us of this news, remind fellow MBCers of this news, dwell/ponder/write about this news, work diligently and gladly in light of this news)
So what is one way you want to do this more regularly?