Our family moved to Queensland in 1979 when I was in Grade 5.
We moved to Brisbane.
One of the things that stuck out to us
a strong memory I have from my childhood
is that when we arrived
people talked about
What happened in 1974?
Now I wasn’t in Brisbane in 1974
I was just a young kid in Adelaide in 1974.
So I never saw those 1974 floods.
But after we moved to Qld in 1979
we never stopped hearing about the 74 floods
even though it was a full 5 years after the event!
The number – 1974
it became synomous with the word “apocalypse” for Queenslanders.
It was the bogeyman
the ultimate disaster
1974 became almost mythical in character.
The big fear.
And what have we seen this last week?
Except I suppose now 1974 won’t be referred to as much anymore
1974 will be replaced by
A future generation of Brisbanites and Queenslanders
will grow up in fear of that dreaded number
Friends we have experienced unbelievable scenes this week.
This time last week
we thought Queensland had been through the wringer
an area greater than France and Germany combined
- under water.
But this time last week we couldn’t have imagined that what had happened up to then
was only the tip of the iceberg.
Who can forget those images from Toowoomba
of that wall of water streaming through the CBD
tossing cars around like matchbox cars.
It looked like something out of a Hollywood movie
it was hard to believe it was real.
Who can forget the tragedy of the Lockyer Valley?
Towns like Grantham, Helidon, Murphy’s Creek?
Virtually swept away
houses uprooted and carted for miles
- with people in them.
And that wasn’t all.
Ipswich, then Brisbane
hit by 1974 type floods.
The state is in shock
The nation is in shock.
I personally am in shock.
And we’ve got the world’s attention
Headlines on BBC, CNN
those with friends and family overseas
have no doubt been contacted by them
asking if we are okay.
And in the midst of it all
we’re aware that something is wrong.
Where did all this water come from?
What has gone wrong?
the clouds, the rain
those things that are supposed to feed us
keep us alive
by making our crops grow
have instead unleashed their fury on us.
the rain that should be feeding us
is killing us.
What is wrong?
What has gone wrong with the creation?
Why is the creation corrupted?
And you know
is shockingly close to home.
Floods aren’t new
Last year who can forget the massive floods in Pakistan
where 2000 perished
And even now
while Brisbane floods
Rio de Janiero is also flooding
and over 500 people have perished.
But as tragic as the floods in Pakistan are
and the one in Rio at the moment
as tragic as volcano eruptions in Indonesia
earthquakes in Haiti and Chile
we watch those on the news
but they are unfamiliar places
they are unfamiliar people.
But our floods
they are close to the bone.
Most of us have been to Toowoomba
many of us have walked those streets where the flash floods were.
Someone in our church
was telling me they’d been in that very spot only a few days before the flood hit.
Most of us have driven the Warrego Hwy between Brisbane and Toowoomba
we’ve passed through towns like Grantham and Helidon.
And most of us
perhaps all of us
know someone in Toowomba or the Lockyer Valley
or Bundy or Rocky
or one of the other many places affected.
And most of us probably know someone
Some, like me
have lived in Brisbane for many years
to see familiar sites,
even suburbs where I’ve lived,
to hear of friends, my sister
It hits home.
And it hits home even more
because we too here in Gympie
were in the middle of it as well.
We’ve been affected too
we saw the Mary River rise
to almost a km wide.
Something is wrong with the creation.
Who’s fault is it?
Who was responsible?
Anna Bligh said,
"Mother Nature has unleashed something shocking out of the Toowoomba region,"
and then after the waters in Brisbane started to subside she said:
"I hope and pray that Mother Nature is leaving us alone for us to get on with the job of cleaning up and recovering,"
So was it Mother Nature that is responsible for all this?
Others said that we are in the lap of the gods.
Was it the weather gods that were responsible?
Others said the floods are of biblical proportions.
If so, is it God’s fault?
And if so,
Why does He allow these things to happen?
Today we are going to answer that question.
Please open your Bibles
Romans 8:18-25 pg 944.
This is a passage
that talks about the creation
and how it has been corrupted.
We are going today to look at these things:
Why is creation corrupted?
Will creation always be corrupted?
and where is your focus in your life
- this life, or the next?
Let’s have a look at our text.
Romans 818 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Already in verse 18 we see a few things
Paul, who wrote Romans,
recognises that in this present time we have sufferings.
Sometimes in Australia we don’t realise that
most of the time
most, but not all of us, live fairly well off lives.
we have enough food on the table
petrol for our cars
we never question if we can get our basic needs.
but now in the last few days
we’ve seen what empty shelves are like.
the majority of the world’s population
doesn’t know if they are going to get food today.
And throughout history
most people have never had it as good as us Aussies do in our current era.
the last few days here
hard to find petrol
empty shelves at the shops
reminded me a lot of what normal life in many poorer countries is like!
Yet even in Australia
with all our wealth
with all our mod-cons and technology
we are still at the mercy of the elements
and even when the elements don’t batter us
we are still at the mercy of our mortal bodies
which will one day break down and die.
this time, this age
as it says in Romans
is an age of suffering.
But the sufferings of this age have got nothing
on the wonderful glory that will be revealed to us.
That word “revealed”
it’s the same word that gives the book of Revelation its name
one day in the future
not in this age
but in the coming age
the age to come
there will be glory
which we will participate in.
and that glory
is so wonderful
that the sufferings of this world
will not compare to how wonderful that future is.
Now let’s look at the next verse:
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Now in the Greek
the sense of eager longing in this verse is really really strong.
Verse 19 literally translated reads something like:
The deep, eager longing of the creation waits expectantly for the revealing of the sons of God.
And the sense of expectation comes from a word that means to crane your neck forward
trying to see something
the creation is eagerly, expectantly, anxiously, awaiting for the revealing of the sons of God.
Why is it eagerly awaiting the revealing of the sons of God?
Well if we jump to verse 21 it says:
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Ah, now we see the picture.
The creation has been in bondage
- the word literally means “slavery”
the creation has been in bondage – slavery – to corruption
it still is
- and awaits the freedom that will come with the glory of the children of God.
Well, here it mentions the children of God again.
So now we know why the creation eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons, the children of God.
The reasons is
that when these children of God are revealed,
then the creation will be released from its slavery of corruption
and be free
and no longer corrupted.
Well that answers that question
but raises two more:
who are these children of God?
well we’ll hold off answering that question till later.
But the other question is
what is this corruption?
And why is the creation corrupted?
Well that is answered for us if we go back one verse to verse 20
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it,
Here we learn that the creation was subjected to futility
That means - if was subjected at a point in time to futility
it means that there once was a time when it was not subject to futility
a time when it was not corrupted.
a time when creation helped us live
and didn’t turn around and try to kill us as it has over the last few weeks.
And that time was the time before the fall
what we learned about when we looked at Genesis 1 in October
Remember when we looked at Genesis 1
we learned that God had made the world and everything in it
a paradise where creation always worked for us
never against us
and our own bodies were not subject to decay
we humans had the potential to live forever.
And then what happened?
God gave our ancestors Adam and Eve a choice
to obey Him
or to question God, to doubt God
and to obey the devil.
What did they choose?
they spurned God’s command
and instead of obeying God
they obeyed the devil.
that is – rebellion against God
entered the human race.
But not only did it enter the human race
the effects of that sin were so great
that creation was affected also.
We read in Gen 3
that God cursed the snake – the devil
and the man and the woman
because of their sin
their rebellion against Him.
but let us listen to part of that curse
Gen 317 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
Notice that not only is the human race cursed
but also the ground is cursed.
And why is the ground cursed?
Well, as it says here in Gen 3
“the ground it cursed because of you.”
Because of Adam
Because of his sin and rebellion against God
and the rest of creation is cursed.
And that’s exactly what we read in Romans 8:20
The creation was subject to futility
- but not willingly.
but because of Him who subjected it.
Who subjected the creation to futility?
it was God
but why did He do it?
It was because of mankind’s sin and rebellion against God.
The subjection of creation to futility
the corruption of creation
was a by-product of the consequence of our sin
and the judgement that it brought.
So that’s why creation is corrupted.
That’s why we’ve had terrible floods these last few weeks.
That’s why Grantham is all but destroyed
why friends and family have lost their houses in Brisbane or Bundy or Rocky or elsewhere in Qld.
Creation has been corrupted
and subject to futility by God
but the reason is because of us
because of our sin.
And I guess that leads us onto a small diversion.
Some say these floods and other natural disasters
are the judgement of God.
Australia, or Queensland, is being judged because of our sin.
Now is this correct?
or isn’t it?
Well the answer is – in one sense yes
in another sense – no.
It is true in the sense that any natural disaster
is the result of a corrupted creation.
and as we’ve just seen
creation is corrupted because of our sin.
So in one sense,
the answer is yes
it is part of the judgement of God.
But it is a specific judgement?
Did the fact that Grantham get hit harder than say Kingaroy
is that because Grantham is more sinful than Kingaroy?
Or the fact that we Qld got flooded in 2011
- is that because we’ve committed some extra bad sin lately
something worse than we normally do?
don’t we read in the OT of specific judgements against specific nations
because of specific sins?
And that’s true
for example, in Ezekiel God prophesies against Israel
He lists very specific sins that the Israelites have committed
that bring judgement upon Israel for their sin
and that judgement was that they were conquered by another people and carried off into exile
For example, w read in
Ezek 2213 “Behold, I strike my hand at the dishonest gain that you have made, and at the blood that has been in your midst. 14 Can your courage endure, or can your hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and disperse you through the countries, and I will consume your uncleanness out of you.
The sin is specific
That is- the Israelites had been involved in dishonest gain – cheating people
they had been shedding blood – killing others.
and the judgement is specific
– they would be scattered and dispersed among other nations and peoples
So it is perfectly possible that the floods we have just experienced
may be the result of a specific judgement for a specific sin or sins.
we have to be careful in jumping to conclusions in this area.
You see, we have it revealed in the Bible why Israel suffered this specific punishment mentioned in Ezekiel.
- God has told us why.
But we don’t have Ezekiel with us in our midst
or another prophet like him.
So while there may some direct cause and effect here with the Qld floods
the fact is
that God has not told us that direct link
and so if we postulate some cause and effect for our current disaster
it is pure speculation
we just don’t know.
And if we don’t know
we should avoid speculation.
In fact, the Bible tells us we should avoid speculating about things we don’t know.
You might ask – where does it do that?
Well you see
in Jesus’ time it was very common to blame any disaster
or indeed disease or disability
on a specific sin.
Once some people told Jesus about some people who had suffered a natural disaster and it is interesting to read Jesus’ response.
Luke 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Two disaster are actually mentioned here
some Galileans who had lost their lives under the Roman governor – Pilate.
and 18 people who had been killed when a tower fell on them.
The people at that time assumed that these people had lost their lives because of some specific sin
But Jesus says
no, they aren’t worse sinners than others who didn’t perish..
But were they sinners?
but so were those who weren’t killed.
and Jesus closes by saying,
“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
And we’ll get back to that later
- the need to repent.
So I hope that answers that diversion question
are we suffering in Qld because of some specific sin?
but God hasn’t told us
so to say we are or to even name a specific sin
is pure speculation
which is something we should avoid.
But what is certain
is that we did suffer in a general sense
because of our sins.
we suffered because
the creation is corrupted
subject to futility
because of our sin.
But will it always be like that?
The good news is:
no it won’t!
The creation is eagerly awaiting the day when the children of God will be revealed.
And it says in
Rom 823 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
So it’s not just creation who is eagerly awaiting for this day
but it is us too
those who have the first fruits of the Spirit.
We groan inwardly
we know something is wrong with our world
yes we have the firstfruits of the Spirit
we have been born again
we have come into relationship with God through Christ
we have the assurance of sins forgiven
we have these firstfruits of the Spirit
we still live in a fallen, corrupted world.
we suffer the effects of that.
we still in mortal bodies with decay, get sick and die
we still struggle with sin in our own lives
and so groan inwardly
we eagerly await the redemption of our bodies
the adoption as sons.
Our adoption as sons.
And that last bit answer that question we had before
“who are the sons, the children of God”?
It is us.
those who have trusted in Jesus
those who have repented of their sins
those who are born again by His Spirit.
Those who live for Him
those who make Jesus the priority of your life.
we are adopted as God’s sons.
We are the sons, the children of God.
And one day
Jesus will return
Then our bodies will be redeemed
we will know in full measure our adoption as God’s children.
and the creation will be set free from its slavery to corruption
no longer will it try and kill us.
Brothers and sisters
what a week we’ve had.
a week of tragedy
and a week of seeing what a corrupted creation can do.
But here in Romans we learn
that this will continue until Jesus returns
we learn why creation is corrupted
because of our sin.
And we learn that one day it will be redeemed
when the sons of God will be revealed.
And we also learn that the creation eagerly awaits that day
and we learn that those who are God’s
also eagerly await that day
we await it, not just a little bit
but we groan inwardly as we await that day.
Which leads to the question
do you really groan inwardly for that day?
Or are you too much caught up in today’s life?
But it is foolish to be caught up in the things of this life.
Some of the most prestigious properties in Brisbane were waterfront houses
which are now devasted.
People who had banked everything on this world
lost it all.
And even if you don’t lose your material possessions in a flood
the Bible tells us that the things of this world are passing away.
Only God’s heavenly kingdom will last for eternity.
Do you think about eternity?
Do you eagerly await that golden city?
do you yearn for that day
when you will be sinless?
Do you yearn for that day
when there will be no tears or crying or sorrow
no more floods, earthquakes, cyclones, droughts?
Do you yearn for that day
when we will be in total communion with our creator God
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit?
Do you yearn for it?
If you are really God’s child
then you should yearn for it.
And if you are here
and you don’t know God
if you haven’t yet recognised that you are a sinner
if you haven’t yet recognised that you are in rebellion against God
if you haven’t yet repented
asked God to forgive you of you sin
which He can do because of what Jesus did by dying on the cross for us.
If you haven’t trusted in Jesus
and asked God the Holy Spirit to come into your life and change you
so that you are born again.
If you haven’t done that
then you should
and you should immediately after the service ask me or someone else here
how to get right with God.
Because remember what Jesus said in Luke 13:5
“Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Some people have suffered great loss in these floods
others haven’t suffered at all.
But regardless of how much suffering we have in this life
or how much we escape it
every one of us will one day meet his or her maker
- are you ready for that?
There are many questions after an event like this.
“where is God in all this?”
Sometimes events like this can shake our faith in God
but on the contrary
God’s holy word
tells us plain and clear why these events happen.
The creation was created perfect.
Then we sinned
and our sin affected not just us
but the creation
and because of our sin
the creation was corrupted
and so we experience natural disasters
But one day
Jesus will return and set up His eternal kingdom
where there will be no tears, no crying, no pain
- and we who are God’s
we will be set free from corruption
and obtain the freedom of the glory of God.
In the midst of despair
in the midst of anguish
in the midst of loss
we have a hope
as it says in verse 24
Romans 824 For in this hope we were saved.
Let us now sing of that hope
as we close with the song
“It is well with my soul”
A song that firmly places our hope in God
and of a perfect day in the future
while we travel in the midst of this corrupted world.