A Groaning Universe
(Romans 8:18-25 with 2 Corinthians 4:17-5:2, 17)
1. Odor May Be Clue to Missing Airport Fish
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A strong odor led airline officials to what they believe is the 40 pounds of halibut a traveler reported missing from his checked bags two weeks ago.
Brenee Davis, a general manager for Continental Airlines in Anchorage, said the company’s baggage handlers discovered "a ton of rotting fish" under a luggage conveyor belt recently at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
There’s no way to be certain, but she suspects it was the halibut that Ray Bolanos reported missing from a fish cooler he checked on a flight June 24 from Anchorage to Seattle. The fish smelled terrible and was thrown away immediately.
"We’ve gone through a few cans of Lysol," Davis said.
She said there is a new baggage belt system in the room, which has been in use for only a few weeks. Her theory is that Bolanos’ cooler wasn’t properly secured and came open on the conveyor belt.
Bolanos is not sure he buys that explanation.
When his fish cooler came off the luggage carousel in Seattle, he said he found a rope he had tied around the chest inside and his 40 individually wrapped one-pound chunks of halibut gone.
Reached on his cell phone Saturday in Kenmore, Wash., Bolanos told the Anchorage Daily News he had already heard from a Continental official about the rotten fish.
(Source: USA Today)
2. We just have to admit it: there are times when life stinks!
3. Rotting fish is just a prime example of the lot of all creation: entropy.
4. We live in a world of decay, of constant death. Not only do we live in that world, we are part of the cycle. But at the same time, those of us in Christ are part of the New Creation. How can these both be true? Paul addresses this and other issues in the text before us.
Main Idea: When our future glory is revealed in the fullest sense, the universe will be changed radically. God has a plan for His New Creation, and our new life in Christ is the first installment of that plan.
I. The Temporary Status: Things Which Are NOW Seen (18-22)
1. This temporary state began with the ____curse___ and resulted in death. With
death come entropy (___decay______) and _____suffering_______ (18)
2. Note: God allows this on a temporary basis to pave the way for something much __better___ on a permanent basis. In comparison, life’s miseries are actually ___temporary___ and ___shotr-lived___, though they seem beyond our ability to bear and tediously slow (18)
„h You don’t compare two contrasting states!
3. All ___creation___ is waiting for the _____complete______ revelation of the sons of God (19)
„h Revelation 22:3, ¡§No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.¡¨
„h After the Millennium, when the last mortal becomes immortal
4. A decaying universe is the result of God¡¦s _____ curse______ (20-21)
„h God is the one Who pronounced the curse
„h But even the cursed state of creation was all in the plan of God (see 8:28)
„h Creation will one day be liberated, freed; this means that heaven is not just a state of mind, but a location
„h We will inhabit the new heaven and the new earth (which is a renewal and major renovation of the old heaven and earrth) in physical but immortal bodies, like the Resurrection Body of Jesus
„h Have you ever spent time thinking about your eternal destiny?
„h Have you ever contemplated that you will be absolutely fascinated forever as you spend eternity learning about God and His Creation? Have you ever contemplated the social life we will have once we are in a glorified state?
5. This entropy has affected the entire _____universe_______ (22)
*This verse is a verse only mothers can appreciate! Creation is feeling birthpangs, waiting for the New Creation to be born.
„h Black holes and anti-matter
„h Plants, animals, humans, single cells
„h Even the holy angels have to fight in battle
„h Scientists Prove Plants Feel Pain (parody -- not completely serious; the first part is actual about the theory that plants feel pain; the second is satire):
DALLAS--Research scientists at Baylor Medical Center have proven that plants, including vegetables, feel pain when subjected to trauma such as being yanked out of the ground, peeled, cooked, and eaten. "Veggies and plants initiate a massive hormone and chemical barrage internally when they suffer any kind of injury," says professor Barry Lindzer. "This response is akin to the nerve response and endorphin release when an animal is injured. We cannot ignore the similarities."
Other agencies, namely People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the sum total of the world’s hard-core vegetarians (known as vegans) registered formal complaints against the research. Their team of lawyers has already submitted a motion to have the results of the research destroyed or sealed. Others fear the damage has already been done. A spokesman for PETA said, "This is bad for us. Most of our members haven’t eaten anything since hearing about the results. Our lawyers are looking into suing Mother Earth for false advertising, but concede that the suit will probably be inconclusive. In the meantime we’ll be surviving on vitamin supplements and water." (source: http://www.department13designs.com/vegan.html)
The term creation is roughly equivalent to our concept of "nature"
February 20, 2004: Waves crashing on a beach. Woodpeckers peck-peck pecking. Whales calling plaintively across the sea.
These are the sounds of Jupiter.
There are no whales or woodpeckers on Jupiter. There are no beaches. But Jupiter beams these sounds to Earth anyway. They emerge from the loudspeakers of short-wave radios during Jupiter’s occasional, intense radio storms, caused by natural radio lasers near the planet’s magnetic poles. (source: http://www.yubanet.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/8/7956/printer)
6. So we need to line up with the reality of entropy:
„h We don’t need to freak out about aging
„h We have to face the reality that we can delay death or make it more comfortable, but, unless we happen to live when the Lord returns, we’ll all have our turns at the funeral home
„h We can and should try to reverse or delay some of the physical affects of the curse; trying to fight the curse is NOT the same as trying to fight God
„h E.g., God cursed the earth to produce weeds
God has a plan for His New Creation, and our new life in Christ is the first installment of that plan.
II. Believers Are the ___Bridge_____ Between What Is and What Will _Be__ (23-25 and 2 Cor. 4:16-5:2, 17)
1. Like everyone else, we experience _____physical____ entropy (23)
„h You need to understand this: the Holy Spirit is the first fruits, the advance on what is to come. He is elsewhere called the "down payment"
„h Eph. 1:13-14, "Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance"
„h God has us on layaway!
„h We would not need a deposit if all the benefits of Christ’s death were ours now! If you pay cash for a car, there is no down payment
2. We do not experience ___spiritual___ entropy!
2 Corinthians 4:16, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
3. Our current status: on ___hold____ in hope (24- 25)
„h Spiritually, we are part of the New Creation (sons of God)
„h 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
„h Physically, we are part of the Old Creation (sons of Adam)
God has a plan for His New Creation, and our new life in Christ is the first installment of that plan
1. We are in a wonderful position to share Christ with others.
2. Physically, we are human and as vulnerable as anyone else.
3. Even our sinful nature requires us to sometimes apologize, thus making others more comfortable with us (and not intimidated)-- if we are honest and up-front. We are to be authentic, not perfect.
4. Yet our new nature should be evident to all who know us well. Others should see a life with a different set of priorities, qualities in us which are not quite explicable. They should see a taste of Christ in us.