Summary: It is said that teachings are only judged as being effective when the desired behavior is displayed. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul is laying a foundation that is needed if the church was ever going to act and react in such a manner that the t
Sermon Title: All Eyes on Heaven
Date: March 2, 2003 NASB
Context of Scripture:
It is said that teachings are only judged as being effective when the desired behavior is displayed. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul is laying a foundation that is needed if the church was ever going to act and react in such a manner that the teaching of the word of God to them is a success.
The problem with this section of Scripture is that the lesson is unwelcome to those in Rome as well as being unwelcome to the ears of the world of today and in that I include the church of today as well. We don’t want to hear that our sufferings in the present will mean noting compared to the rewards of the most excellent future that is to come. We don’t want to hear that, we would rather listen to the soothing sympathetic chatter of someone who is more concern with the instantaneous now then the forever then.
As a pastor, I have witnessed the difference in the magnitude of final sufferings and the difference that is manifested between those that have a relationship with Christ and those who are lost. I am not minimizing the horrible and debilitating effects of pain, but there is a certain calm among the children of God as they enter their final earthly moments.
I was asked to visit the father of a couple that were interested in becoming active at a church that we once pastured. He was a tithing and active member of a church in a different town, in a different denominational belief. The problem was that his pastor could not and would not attend to the final needs at the hospital. He missed out on a tremendous blessing. Dean, the couples father was eaten alive with cancer, he had fought long and hard but now the battle was nearing an end. He had reached the portal that led from the here and now to the hereafter. Dean knew Jesus intimately as his Savior, and surrounded by family from all different Christian and Catholic persuasions, he was the only one who was at peace.
Despite the pain, despite the impending separation from the ones he loves on this earth, despite the fact that many of his loved ones were lost without Christ, he had peace. Dean had his eyes on the finish line and was prepared to feel the loving arms of His Savior, embrace Him and take Him home. Oh how much different is the thrashing and the fight for continuation in a soul that is lost without Christ.
This is the message that Paul is bringing to Rome and to us right here and right now. He is instructing now, but the fruits will not be evident until the behavior is displayed in the times of distress and even in impending death.
Let us stand for the reading of God’s Holy Word.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.