Summary: This is the fourth in our "Toy Story" sermon series focusing on the ifinite opportunites that lie in front of our church if we are willing to step out and risk to achieve them.
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
We have been working through a sermon series called “To Infinity and Beyond.” We have followed the central characters of a movie called Toy Story these past few weeks as we have been discussion the future of our ministry. The first week, we talked about moving beyond fear. The second week we talked about moving beyond doubt. Last week we talked about displaying infinite love. This week we bring the series to a close with a sermon about infinite opportunity.
A few months ago I wrote a newsletter article about why I accepted the call to Fairbury. The biggest reason that I felt God calling me here, was the infinite opportunity that this church has waiting to be seized. When I visited for the first time, I could feel it in the air. It was electric… it had the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit all over it. It was like a welcome banner was placed over the carport… “God has big plans for First Presbyterian Fairbury.”
You see, our church is unique to any other church. Our church has a unique opportunity to do ministries that no other church can do. We have unique gifts and a unique calling in Fairbury. We can’t worry about being like any other church because we can’t be like any other church, nor do I think we would want to be. We want to be the church God is calling us to be, nothing more.
There are churches in Fairbury having success, but even in their success… there are still close to 2,000 people in this town who do not have a personal relationship with Christ. 2,000 people, not being reached by the churches and ministry already here in Fairbury… and I can’t help but keep thinking “God has big plans for First Presbyterian Fairbury.”
Over the last few months I’ve been seeing something develop. You all are beginning to see it too. Some of you have seen it for a long time. Some of you are just beginning to scratch the surface of it. It’s been developing since long before I got here… and God will continue to nurture it long after I leave. But it’s there! It’s hope. Hope of a future. Hope of a bright future! It is the knowledge… that greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done! Hope is going to be the focus today… so I want you to turn to the person next to you and say, “There is great hope!”
Now I want us to go back to our scripture text today and just focus on verse 18 a bit. Paul is writing a response to the problem of suffering, and turns to the prospect of hope in verse 18. He writes, “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Now I wanna stop there.