Summary: This sermon is a New Year’s call to remember some important foundational truths for the Christian life.
“BECAUSE HE LIVES” Romans 8:28-39
INTRO – “In the cellar of your heart lurk the ghosts of yesterday’s sins. Sins you’ve confessed; errors of which you’ve repented; damage you’ve done your best to repair…Do yourself a favor. Purge the cellar. Exorcise your basement. Take the Romans nails of Calvary and board up the door. And remember…He forgot.” (Max Lucado, God Came Near, p. 50-51)
Today, I want to give you the opportunity to do that by reminding all of us of some wonderful foundational truths that apply to those who are Christians. I want us to close out the year 2001 and start the new year by nailing down some things that WE KNOW. The Christian life is a wonderful life b/c WE KNOW that what we believe, what we stake our lives on is the truth, the only truth, and nothing but the truth. We’re not trying to be smart alecks about it. Not trying to be smug about it. Not trying to be narrow-minded or naïve. Not spouting off trite spiritual clichés with a slaphappy attitude. We simply KNOW that what we believe and Whom we believe in is the Way – & b/c Jesus is the Way, He shows us the way to live our lives, the way to conduct our business, the way to build our marriages, the way to rear our children, the way to cultivate our friendships, the way to be a church. He shows us the way to out of hell, the way to heaven, the way to peace, the way to contentment, the way to fulfillment, the way to the abundant life.
Someone might say, “Well, how do you know? How can you be so sure?” 3 ways:
1. The witness of the Holy Spirit – When we are saved, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives and confirms to us that what we believe, that Jesus is the only Way, is the absolute truth. John 14:26 – “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
2. The work of God around us – As Christians, we have a different perspective. We view things through the lens of our relationship to God and His work in the world around us. We can see His hand at work when we see an awe-inspiring sunset, or hear a moving piece of music. We can see His hand at work when we see a baby in a manger or a baby born in a hospital. We can even see His hand at work in events like 9/11, Wedgwood BC in Ft. Worth, or the death of a loved one.
3. The Word of God – This wonderful book – the owner’s manual for our lives – God’s love letter to us – our guidebook for life – the ONLY Word of God – It teaches us the truth about the Christian life. We believe that it is not a stagnant, stale, literary document, but is the living Word of God. Heb. 4:12 – “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” We believe that it is a powerful Book that gives us the directions for living a successful, prosperous, meaningful life. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
All of these things hinge on the most important foundational truth of all – Jesus is alive! The poet said:
“He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high,
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need!” (Samuel Medley)
And because He lives, there are some wonderful truths that we know. I want you to be encouraged, to be built up, to be comforted, and to be blessed as we nail these truths down today.
BECAUSE HE LIVES:
I. WE KNOW THAT GOD IS AT WORK FOR OUR GOOD – v. 28
A. Aside from John 3:16, this may be the most powerful and most comforting verse in Scripture for the Christian.
a. “For Christians, this verse contains perhaps the most glorious promise in Scripture. It is breathtaking in its magnitude, encompassing absolutely everything that pertains to a believer’s life.” (John MacArthur, Romans, p. 471)
B. What could be more assuring than to know that for the child of God, He will work everything, “all things,” out for our good.
a. “work together” – Gk. sunergei – means to create and eliminate, to place and replace, to connect and group, interrelate and intermingle, shape and forge, press and stretch, move and operate, control and guide, arrange and influence. These words are also present action meaning that all things are continually working together for good. God is in control of the believer’s life. Daily, moment by moment, God is arranging and re-arranging all things for the believer’s good.