Sermon Starters

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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

“The Mind Of The Lord”
Romans 11:33-36


    A. Enough to understand Him completely–vv.33-34;  Job 15:7-16; 36:22-26

    B. Enough to be His Counselor–v.35; Job 21:22; Job 38-40 passim.


    A. His Wisdom & Knowledge–v. 33b; Eph. 1:4-8;

    B. His Love–Eph. 2:4-7; 3:16-19; Col. 2:2-3

    C. His Lordship over eternity--1 Chr. 29:11ff.; Dan. 2:20-23; John 5:22-23; 1     Cor. 8:5-6; Rev. 1:17-18

Albert Barnes writes:

For who hath known? …—This verse is a quotation, with a slight change, from Isa. 40:13, "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?" It is designed to express the infinite wisdom and knowledge of God, by affirming that no being could teach him, or counsel him. Earthly monarchs have counsellors of state, whom they may consult in times of perplexity or danger. But God has no such council. He sits alone; nor does he call in any or all of his creatures to advise him. All created beings are not qualified to contribute anything to enlighten or to direct him. It is also designed to silence all opposition to his plans, and to hush all murmurings. The apostle had proved that this was the plan of God. However mysterious and inscrutable it might appear to the Jew or the Gentile, yet it was his duty to submit to God, and to confide in his wisdom, though he was not able to trace the reason of his doings.

Or who hath …—The sentiment in this verse is found substantially in Job 41:11. "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him." The Hebrew word "prevented" means to anticipate, to go before; and God asks who has anticipated me; who has conferred favors on me before I have on him; who has thus laid me under obligation to him." This is the sense in which the apostle uses the word here. Who has, by his services, laid God under obligation to recompense or pay him again? It is added in Job, "Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." Thus Paul, contrary to the prevailing doctrine of the Jews, shows that no one could plead his own merits, or advance with a claim on God. All the favors of salvation must be bestowed by mercy or grace.

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