Summary: Present circumstances do not reflect the future glory we have in Christ!
• SLIDE #1
• Have you ever heard the statement, “You cannot see the forest for all the trees?”
• It means we cannot see the big picture because we are focused on something too close to us.
• Today we are going to delve into another one of the freedoms what we can enjoy in Christ. The freedom from the present.
• We live in a fallen world and because of that fact we can get so focused on the present that we can forget what lies ahead for us in Christ.
• It is so easy to get fixated on our circumstances that we lose sight of the fact that our circumstances are not permanent.
• What a blessing to know that we can enjoy freedom from the present, that no matter what is happening in the here and now, that we have something AWESOME waiting for us!
• Let’s start by turning to Romans 8; we will start in verse 18!
• SLIDE #2
• Romans 8:18 (ESV) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
• SLIDE #3
Since we can experience freedom from the present…
I. Don’t be a prisoner of the moment! (18)
• When we look at this passage it helps us to remember how difficult it was for the early Christians. Paul was not just discounting the difficult times the people were facing.
• Life in general was not easy, but for many it became more difficult for a person when they became a Christian.
• Life of Paul was much more difficult when he gave his life to serve Jesus.
• I know when we are going through difficult times; it is easy to think our problem is the worst thing that could happen to a person.
• The word “suffering” deals with any evil, afflictions, misfortunes, calamities, persecutions, or sicknesses. If more or less covers anything bad that can happen to a person.
• One would think when we give our lives to Jesus, that God would protect us from any bad things happening to us to us.
• When Paul tells us the sufferings of this present time are not “worthy” he is saying when you put all the suffering we face on one side of the scales and glory that is waiting for us on the other side, there is not comparison. The glory awaiting us is so much greater!
• The glory spoken of is the time when Jesus returns and we are raised again
• Suffering has been happening ever since the fall of man. Why? Why do we see suffering in this life?
• One of my college professors, Gareth Reese gives six reasons in a footnote in his Romans commentary. (footnote 106 p312)
1. All of creation was subjected to futility when Adam sinned. Adams sin has caused some of the suffering we face. (Things run down)
2. Some suffering is a result of our own sins and faults which necessitate chastisement. (Hebrews 12:4-11)
3. Some suffering is a result of the sin of others. (Murder, robbery, Drunk driver hitting you)
4. Some suffering happens for the glory of God. (John 9:3)
5. Some suffering is for the temporal punishment for sin that by God’s design automatically accompanies or results from the sin. (Romans 1:27) (Waste your money and suffer the consequences)
6. If a person is in Christ, they will face suffering. (Romans 8:17)
• We must guard against letting the present troubles keep us from realizing our glorious future!
• Let’s turn to verses 19-21
• SLIDE #4
• Romans 8:19–21 (ESV) 19 For the creation waits with eager longing 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 will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
• SLIDE #5
We can experience freedom from the present because…
II. Our future is glorious! (19-21)
• In verses 19-21 we are given an explanation of the awaiting glory.
• In these verses Paul gives human feelings and emotions to creation for illustration purposes.
• The creation Paul is speaking of is the whole world of nature in this context.
• Verse 20 explains that as a result of Adam’s sin all of creation was cursed. We see this curse found in Genesis 3:17-18.
• SLIDE #6
• Genesis 3:17–18 (ESV) 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.