Summary: The knowledge of the love of God who sent Christ Jesus into the world to rescue sinners such as you and me is the super glue that can hold our lives together through any adversity.
Romans 5: 1 – 11 / God’s Super Glue
Intro: Billy Crystal’s monologue as Mitch in the movie City Slickers: “Value this time in your life, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager, you think you can do anything, and you do. Your 20s are a blur. Your 30s, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “What happened to my twenties?” Your 40s, you grow a little potbelly, you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. You 50s you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your 60s you have a major surgery, the must is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. 70s, you and the wife retire to Ft. Lauderdale; you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering, “how come the kids don’t call?” By your 80s, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but who you call mama.” It’s just depressing.
I. Let’s face it. We all suffer; just in different ways. Paul says in says something in Vs. 3 “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings” What is wrong with this man. Is he crazy? How many people here want to learn how to rejoice in suffering.
A. The Greek word for “suffering” is “thlipsis” – it literally means pressure --- To have different things pressing down on you. A modern translation might say, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our pressures.” Yeah. Right!
B. No pain; no gain. We do everything we can to avoid pain whether it be psychological or physical. Many escape into drugs or alcohol to avoid pain while others shop, hoard or eat to cover up the hurt. But none of it really works.
C. Paul says, “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, What is wrong with this man. Is he crazy? How many people here want to rejoice in suffering?
III. Paul is saying, we are like a piece of coal under the pressure of problems and difficulties. Some days you really feel the heat. But God is changing you, working on you, transforming you from a worthless piece of coal into a beautiful diamond that shines in God’s kingdom.
A. We have a choice to make when tough times come; we can get bitter or we can allow God to make us better. Suffering is inevitable, but misery is optional. Bitter or better! The choice is ours. Paul is saying that God is more concerned with us being holy than He is with our being happy. He is more committed to our character development than He is to our comfort.
B. Pressure can do one of 2 things: it can make something stronger or cause it to crumble. The same is true of us. Pressure can make us strong or cause us to crumble. What makes the difference?