Summary: Romans 8:31-39
STRAIGHT FROM ROMANS 8 - More Than Conquerors
August 25, 2019
Romans 8:31-39 (p. 787)
On my second trip to Haiti I met a 16 year old young man named Max that lived in the orphanage called Christianville where we were serving…Max told me that his father was a voodoo high priest and his mother a priestess. I remember on my first trip to Haiti trying to go to sleep on the first night while I could hear voodoo drums and muffled chants from the communities outside the orphanage walls. I remember coming across a voodoo shrine decorated with a shot glass full of whiskey, cigarettes, and some tarot cards…strangely enough there was a St. Christopher’s medal too. Paul Ronk, the missionary, explained to me that voodoo in his region had become a strange mixture of spirits, catholicism and blood sacrifices.
Max had found his way to a church service in a remote village called John John. Max had continued to come, even after his parents forbid him…and when Max made a decision to give his life to Christ, his father and mother threatened his life and kicked him out of their home. He was forbidden to speak to or see any of his family.
So at 16 Max came to live at the Christianville orphanage because he chose Christ over being separated from his life or his family. That’s quite a choice for anyone…much less a 16 year old.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, many of them were having to make the same decision as Max…
Stephen Neill, in his History of Christian Missions, wrote “Undoubtedly Christians under the Roman Empire had no legal right to existence, and were liable to the utmost stringency of the law…Every Christian knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life.”
John Piper in the book Don’t Waste Your Life says…“There was a risk. It was always there. Maybe you’ll be killed for being a Christian…maybe you won’t. It is a risk, and to become a Christian under those circumstances was right.”
Clearly, even today in places like North Korea, Afghanistan, and Somalia, being a Christian “might” cost you your life.
Here in America that would seldom happen. Culturally there is a shift that might cost us popularity or even ostracism in some cases…but the risk physically isn’t as costly. I knew that when I gave my life to Christ, coming from the lifestyle I was living, that it would cost me most of my friends…and there would be an instant separation, but I also believed it was worth the risk. Jesus is always worth the risk!
Our study through Romans 8 started with the soul rattling truth…that “we are no longer slaves to the law, but set free from its chains…Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Our judgment has been transferred to Him. Our minds have been radically changed through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. We’ve been resurrected to new life. God is our adopted Father…we have a glorious future…that we and all creation “groan for.” In our struggles the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray…but we can be assured “God is working.” He’s got a plan to make us like Jesus, His Son. And it’s on the heels of all these truths the Apostle Paul says…
I. WHAT SHALL WE SAY IN RESPONSE TO THIS?
If my wife ever says to me…“Did you hear what I said?” my response is “absolutely!” And then I pray that I can remember enough of it to answer the next question…“What did I say?”
I don’t want to be like the guy who said, “My wife told me there are two things that really bother me about you. 1. You don’t listen to me and 2. I can’t really remember the second one!” (LOL)
Paul is saying, “Were you listening to me when I shared all that God has done and is doing and will do for you?”
“What shall we say in response to this?”
“If God is for us…who can be against us?”
Some might think…“Well, if God is for us, “No one can be against us.” And my response….that’s not true at all. Clearly it’s not true for the Roman Christians, or Christians in Somalia or North Korea…it’s not true for American believers either. The Apostle Peter writes…“Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He tells us to be sober and alert because of this truth…
This worldly culture is against us. Jesus said so…
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. (John 15:18-20)