Summary: PENTECOST 11(A) - Believers are more than conquerors in the face of all trials and by the victory of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
BELIEVERS ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS
Romans 8:35-39 - August 15, 2004 – Pentecost 11
ROMANS 8:35-39 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that nei-ther death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any pow-ers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
And the winner is…! We wait for the envelope, it is opened, and we are told the winner of some great and important prize. Or this week the Olympics have started, and we see those who win the gold and the bronze and the silver. They are considered to be the best of the best in the entire world. We wonder if we can ever match up. We wonder to ourselves if we ever are going to be winners or champions or victorious. Because of our Christian faith we live lives that are humble lives, not grabbing for the gold as it were. At times we might not consider our-selves as winners, as champions. Yet, this morning the Lord reminds us that we are more than that. We are more than conquerors. Our God says believers are more than conquerors, be-cause the victory that is ours is the eternal victory of eternal life.
In the middle of our text Paul quotes Psalm 44. There is more to Psalm 44 than that one verse, of course. Psalm 44 also says this to us: "You give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame. In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever" (PSALM 44:7,8). The Psalm says just as Paul says: Believers are more than con-querors. We use that as our theme this morning that
BELIEVERS ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS!
More than conquerors: I. In the face of all trials
More than conquerors: II. By the victory of Jesus Christ our Savior
I. IN THE FACE OF ALL TRIALS
Our text today begins with a question, a question that is easily answered. Paul writes in verse 35: 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Now Paul knew in his heart and be-lieved because of faith that no one could separate him from the love of Christ. When we look at Paul’s life, we note his persecuted life. Paul had been put into prison. Paul had been stoned and left for dead. In the midst of all that those who oppose Christ could not separate the love of Christ from him. Paul says no one can.
Then he describes a list that says that nothing can--not only no person can, but no thing can sever Christ’s love from the believer. We heard this list and as you listen to it again, you will note that it gets progressively worse: Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Shall these separate us from God’s love? Paul starts with "trouble," the run-of-the-mill, daily troubles, troubles that affect every believer such as stress and worry. As trouble goes on, it can increase in intensity and leads to "hardship." This hard-ship might come about because people are so worried and so stressful that they begin to not function properly.
The list goes on to the next one that says, "persecution." In our day and age we proba-bly don’t suffer as much persecution physically as these believers did. In the early church we know that from time to time the government stood opposed to Christianity; and from time to time the believers were driven out of their homes and out of their countries. Their possessions were taken. Shall such severe persecution separate us from the love of Christ? The next listing is "famine or nakedness." When these believers had to leave everything behind because of per-secution, they will be hungry, famine. They can’t take their food or clothing with them, naked. Shall that separate us from the love of Christ?
Then Paul says "danger." Even that word strikes fear in the hearts of men--severe dan-ger. Then he adds "sword." The sword was the most lethal street weapon during the time of Jesus. So when he says "sword," he meant death. Can all of these things separate us? Of all of these trials that these believers would face (and they faced about every one of them) and Paul also faced, believers could and would still love God and God still loved him. They could not change that fact.