Summary: How to stand when life knocks you down ... what God is doing to help us regain position when events of life make us wonder if we're going to make it. Romans 5:1-5
HOW TO STAND WHEN LIFE KNOCKS YOU DOWN
Introduction: No matter how strong or independent we think we are, there are times when things in life knock us down. Things that happen to us - out of our control. Things that others do to us - out of hatred or fear. Troubles that we make for ourselves - so often the case. Troubles brought about by our Enemy the Devil. Whatever the source of troubles we face each day, we do face them. Christians know that life is more than just about solving problems and making things work out alright. We are Spirit-led people and we recognize spiritual goals and dreams. When life knocks us down we can’t always fix it - we can’t always make things right - we can’t always be victorious.
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Still, we know that there are some circumstances that just seem to big, some weights too heavy, some burdens we cannot overcome. When life knocks us down, how can we possibly take a stand? Our answers are not on the self-help shelf, they are in the Bible. And it all starts with God.
1. WE STAND IN THE PEACE OF GOD
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
John R. W. Stott wrote, “The pursuit of peace is a universal human obsession, whether it is international, industrial, domestic or personal peace. Yet more fundamental than all these is peace with God, the reconciled relationship with him which is the first blessing of justification.”
The truth is that we can never have peace in our hearts until we have peace with God as a basis for facing the realities and struggles of life. At the end of Romans 8, it is the peace of God that gives us victory over all of the knock-out punches that the world and our Enemy can throw.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither 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.
When we have peace with God we can face whatever comes our way.
2. WE STAND IN THE GRACE OF JESUS
Romans 5:2 Through whom [Jesus] we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
We can stand in Grace because it comes through Jesus - and not our own efforts!
Romans 6:23“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Grace is God’ s gift to the unable. Since I am unable to save myself, Grace teaches me of my inability – my NEED for God’ s work in my life. I cannot accept grace and at the same time hold up myself as a righteous individual ... grace admits the need for forgiveness.
Barclay: Jesus ushers into the very presence of God. He opens the door for us to the presence of the King of Kings; and when that door is opened what we find is grace, not condemnation, not judgment, not vengeance, but the sheer, undeserved, incredible kindness of God.
We can stand in Grace because Jesus has opened up access to the highest power!
Five times in this chapter and almost 20 times in the book of Romans Paul writes about grace. His epistles are filled with the message of grace. Do we wonder why? Did Paul ever hit rock bottom? What about Saul of Tarsus? Paul's only claim was to be the chief of sinners saved by the glorious grace of Jesus.
Because we stand in the peace of God and the grace of Jesus, we have hope...
3. WE STAND IN THE HOPE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
In an ancient prayer Augustine expresses this. “Oh come, thou refreshment of them that languish and faint. Come, thou Star and Guide of them that sail in the tempestuous sea of the world; thou only Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked. Come, thou Glory and Crown of the living, and only Safeguard of the dying. Come, Holy Spirit, in much mercy, and make me fit to receive thee.”