Summary: Using a Q&A format, we will see that God protects us, provides for us, purifies us, prays for us and preserves us.
Rev. Brian Bill
5-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone: “It’s dark in there and I’m scared.” She asked again, and he gave the same answer. She smiled and said, “It’s OK – Jesus will be in there with you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw that it was dark and started to leave…and then an idea came to him and he asked this question: “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me a can of tomato soup?”
Life is filled with questions, isn’t it? Some questions make us laugh while others make us scratch our heads. Here are a few that I’ve come across…
* Why do we press harder on a remote when we know the batteries are going dead?
* Why doesn’t glue stick to the bottle?
* Is there ever a day when mattresses are not on sale?
* Why do we constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?
* Why do we continue to pay $1.39 for a bottle of Aquafina water when the Pepsi Company has admitted that it uses public drinking water as its source (a lot of these bottles are filled with water from my hometown)?
* Why did over 17 million people watch High School Musical 2 on August 17th when it celebrates school getting out while students around the country were getting ready for the start of school?
On top of these really deep questions, you may have some questions about Pontiac Bible Church. If you’re new here you may wonder what the next step is for you. Here’s a pathway for you to follow. Start with Sundays and then plug into a small group. After joining a group, then look for somewhere to serve. We believe that this will help you connect with Jesus and it will equip you to become a growing and faithful follower. We also have a new member’s class beginning September 9th.
Some of you may have some questions about our Sunday morning worship services. We’re beginning a new series called “Worship Matters” two weeks from today to help answer some of those questions. Incidentally, I’ve been intrigued by the questions that Jesus asked in the Gospels and so we’re going to focus on some of His questions in October and November.
As we come to the end of Romans 8, we’re faced with a crescendo of questions. See if you can spot them as we read verses 31-37: “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
What Shall We Say?
While most of these questions are rhetorical, they are no less real. In fact, Paul is using this method to get us to pause and ponder these amazing truths. He’s also doing something else that is not real evident in English. Instead of using connecting words, he’s utilizing a Q&A format in a rapid fire manner, moving quickly from one question to the next.
The first question really helps frame the entire passage. As a preacher Paul has been giving a lot of information in the first eight chapters of Romans. Now, in these closing verses he’s moving from information to application to transformation: “What, then, shall we say in response to this?” I think he’s tying everything about justification, sanctification and glorification together and is likely returning to the theme of “no condemnation” from Romans 8:1. But in the context, he’s linking what immediately came before. Let me just summarize the last two weeks.
* We are never alone when we’re in the groan zone. What, then, shall we say in response to this?
* God’s good for us is not our comfortability, but our conformity to Christ. What, then, shall we say in response to this?