Today is Wednesday, March 21st, 2018.  We are tackling a section of Scripture that lends itself to an example.  We enter Romans 11:25 having seen the agricultural image of grafting yesterday.  God wants all peoples to come to Him, not just Israel. He miraculously makes room for those he calls!  Today’s Scripture highlights that in the fullness of time, God not only sent His Son, but He navigates the hearts of many, both Jews and Gentiles.  In Romans 11:25 we see that the Jew’s (Israel’s) hearts are hardened to the truth. It is no mistake that Paul’s own life is a living testimony to the truth he is proclaiming as the author of Romans Chapter 11.  When we meet Paul he is hard-hearted toward Jesus and His followers. He is Jewish and fully trained in the law. Because of Paul’s wholehearted persecution of Jesus followers (many were Gentiles) more actually came to hear about Jesus.  This was a temporary hardening of heart for Paul. We know that Jesus, Himself, met Paul on the Damascus Road and softened his heart to the truth. Paul’s deliverer had come to him personally and with power. Paul then put his faith in Jesus and turned from his law-centric and self-righteous ways.  Paul, a Jew, representing Israel after turning from the truth for a time, had returned, repented, and been saved.

CONNECT
(Take time to write down responses to these questions or discuss in your group)
_ Tell of a time you were on fire for the Lord.  Tell of a time when you felt far away. How did it appear that God had changed in each circumstance?  In hindsight, tell how God really was the same!
_ How is the Lord giving you or someone you are walking with a Damascus Road kind of experience?

PRAY
This third verse of Daniel Whittle’s famous hymn, “I Know Whom I Have Believed” came to mind as a prayer for today:

“I know not how the Spirit moves,

Convincing men of sin,

Revealing Jesus through the Word,

Creating faith in Him.”

Lord, You know how Your Spirit moves.  Move in us! Lord, You know how You convict men of sin.  Convict us! Lord, You know how You revealed Jesus to Paul on the Damascus road.  Reveal Jesus to each of us through your precious Word! Lord, You know how You create faith.  Create faith in us to believe Jesus is our only Deliverer!

DISCOVER  [Romans 11:25-27] and [Isaiah 59:19-21]
+ WHAT is this passage saying and what do we learn? (Use these questions below each portion of text to clarify the main point)

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,

   he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”

27 “and this will be my covenant with them

   when I take away their sins.”

Romans 11:25-27 (ESV)

_ What has “come upon Israel” in verse 25?
_ How long will this be the case? Vs 25
_ How will Israel be saved according to verse 26 which is cited from Isaiah 59:20 (below).
_ What does this “Deliverer” promise to do in verse 26 and 27?

Isaiah 59:19-21

19 So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west,

   and his glory from the rising of the sun;

for he will come like a rushing stream,

   which the wind of the Lord drives.

20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion,

   to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord.

21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”

_ After reading Isaiah 59:20 in direct context, why might Paul have quoted Isaiah?
_ How do God’s promises to you in both Romans and Isaiah both comfort and convict?

+ HOW am I compelled to confess sin and how does the gospel compel me to respond with a simple step of action/obedience?  (Here are some thoughts to discuss in break-outs)
_ Is there an area of your life that you are being invited to be a witness for Him?  In church? In your neighborhood? In your place of work? In your home? What is your next step this week?
_ Are there any areas where you have hardened your heart to God?  How can you instead trust in what God has promised?
_ Is there a place that you are lacking power or strength?  Is Jesus calling you to ask for power from the prophesied Deliverer instead of working harder in your own strength?

+ WHO are you walking with to discover or grow in Jesus and what is your next step with them, how can we help?