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The Upside of Envy

Matt Herndon - Sept. 15, 2018


“Again I ask, Did Israel stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.” Romans 11:11-16

God's "Save Israel Plan"

Step 1: Take the Gospel to the Gentiles


“Did they stumble beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” (11:11)


“Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, ‘Your blood be on


“Israel’s transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles.” (11:12)


Step #2: Arouse Israel’s envy by blessing the Gentiles


“…because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles…to make Israel envious.” (11:11)


“I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.” (11:13-14)

Step #3: Reconcile the whole world to God


“If Israel’s transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater will their fulness bring!”

Application #1: No one stumbles beyond recovery.


“Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!” (11:11)


Application #2: Live such envy-inducing lives that people want what we have.


“Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).


“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35).


“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). 


Application #3: The party doesn’t start until everybody’s here.


“If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches” (11:16).