Romans 11:25-26 God’s Time Limit on Evangelism
Romans 11:25-26 God’s Time Limit on Evangelism is a sermon that explains the need for evangelism because God has a time limit on its effectiveness.
“So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25, HCSB)
God has a time limit on evangelism. This was the mystery which God finally revealed in the New Testament. A mystery is something in the Old Testament which was unknown and which now has been revealed to be understood. Paul is referring to a truth which the people in the Old Testament could not yet grasp. The truth is that God had a number of people who were not Jews, whom God wanted to bring into His eternal family. In order for that to happen, the people of Israel would have to be unwilling to hear and accept the Gospel. We are living during this time.
This was mentioned in the Old Testament:
“And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Liberator will come from Zion; He will turn away godlessness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:26, HCSB)
This quote is a combination of two Old Testament statements, the first of which came from the prophet Isaiah:
““The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those in Jacob who turn from transgression.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit who is on you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children’s children, from now on and forever,” says the Lord.” (Isaiah 59:20–21, HCSB)
The other quotation is from the prophet Jeremiah:
““Look, the days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant they broke even though I had married them” —the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them” —this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin.”” (Jeremiah 31:31–34, HCSB)
This is often called the “New Covenant” which Jesus instituted.
Jesus predicted this when He was on Earth:
“He answered them, “Because the secrets of the kingdom of heaven have been given for you to know, but it has not been given to them.” (Matthew 13:11, HCSB)
The kingdom of heaven has been given to some, but not everyone will receive it.
“Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages” (Romans 16:25, HCSB)
The mystery has been kept hidden by God. However, it has been revealed by the Holy Spirit:
“On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: What eye did not see and ear did not hear, and what never entered the human mind— God prepared this for those who love Him. Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:7–10, HCSB)
It has been revealed to certain people (the apostles and prophets):
“The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:” (Ephesians 3:3–5, HCSB)
We have received this answer through the writings of the New Testament. This is all to say that for a time, Jesus will accept people into His kingdom who were not part of His tribe. He opened up eternal life for people who will follow Him. The problem is that there will be people who will reject this wonderful gift.
What about the people who reject?
“What then? Israel did not find what it was looking for, but the elect did find it. The rest were hardened,” (Romans 11:7, HCSB)
“as it is written: God gave them a spirit of insensitivity, eyes that cannot see and ears that cannot hear, to this day.” (Romans 11:8, HCSB)
Even Jesus mentioned the fact that not everyone who hears the message will listen:
“For this reason I speak to them in parables, because looking they do not see, and hearing they do not listen or understand. Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says: You will listen and listen, yet never understand; and you will look and look, yet never perceive.” (Matthew 13:13–14, HCSB)
Moses said it this way:
“Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a mind to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.” (Deuteronomy 29:4, HCSB)
Isaiah said it this way:
“For the Lord has poured out on you an overwhelming urge to sleep; He has shut your eyes—the prophets, and covered your heads—the seers.” (Isaiah 29:10, HCSB)
David said it this way:
“Let their table set before them be a snare, and let it be a trap for their allies. Let their eyes grow too dim to see, and let their loins continually shake.”
(Psalm 69:22–23, HCSB)
So God’s people have been warned about rejecting His covenant, His agreement. They have warned that God would send this covenant to another group of people. He warned that there would be people who would reject His message. The time of that message to be heard is winding down.
You want extra Biblical proof that the time limit is coming for evangelism? Look at what God said to his prophet Daniel. He gave two very specific prophecies.
One about the Gentile world powers. God reveals to the first most powerful Gentile king about a set of Gentile kingdoms which will rule upon the earth. He talks about the world powers which will come through time. He then describes how that ends.
““In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44, HCSB)
So there will be a future kingdom, which has not come to pass. This will be made up of ten leaders. The other powers will “awaken” to be on the scene when Jesus returns.
Then later in the same book, God gives Daniel another specific dream. This time, it is about Israel. God gives a time limit on Israel as well.
“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city— to bring the rebellion to an end, to put a stop to sin, to wipe away iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place.” (Daniel 9:24, HCSB)
This prophecy is about a period of 490 years. Seventy weeks of years. So seventy years times seven. You get 490 years. But it is divided into two parts. The first part is a time clock between when it starts and when the Messiah dies on the cross. That is 62 weeks of years or 483 years.
But notice that the last seven years. When does it begin?
“After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming prince will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed. He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”” (Daniel 9:26–27, HCSB)
Jesus comes and dies (is cut off.) Jerusalem is destroyed. This happens in 70 AD. Then it says that the end will come like a flood. What does that mean? It will come fast. The time limit will come on us when we don’t expect it. Then an evil Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel for seven years. After three and 1/2 years, he will break it with Israel and then persecute Israel and the Christians.
This is a specific prophecy about Israel. But it also shows that God has a time limit on Israel, and as a result, how much time we have to share the Gospel. So Daniel shows us that time will be up with the world powers. Time will be up with Israel.
This is why it is imperative that we continue to share the Gospel with the Gentiles as much as we possibly can. Because at some point, time will be up. God will stop the clock. He will say it is time to finish business. The time of hearing the message that will save us will end.
“He swore an oath by the One who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: “There will no longer be an interval of time, but in the days of the sound of the seventh angel, when he will blow his trumpet, then God’s hidden plan will be completed, as He announced to His servants the prophets.”” (Revelation 10:6–7, HCSB)
God shows us in Revelation, that He will stop the clock. He is patient. However, His patience doesn’t last forever. There will come a time when there will no time to save the world. The hourglass is going. The stopwatch is ticking. The time is running out. Don’t be left out of God’s family.