HOLD ON JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER
My brothers and sisters as we go through life, we discover that it is full of ups and downs. It appears that for every step we take forward, we would take three backwards. And the more we try the more we struggle. Now, I don’t want you to get me wrong, because as Lady Edna Owens says “I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining” and it might sound like complaining to you, but one thing I’ve found in the Scriptures is that the things I go through is not even worthy to be compare to the glory that will be revealed in me, providing that I hold on.
I’m reminded of my ministry life. The first sixteen years or my formative years in ministry, I spent with my mentor, who was more than my uncle, he was a surrogate father after Daddy passed, but he was even more than that, he was my pastor. I realize now that his job to prepare me for ministry was a hard one because he had to instill into me the fact that I needed to know when he was my uncle, when he was my surrogate father and when he was my pastor and to be able to discern the difference. But during those sixteen years, it appeared that I would never get from under his wings. I would complain to him that he was harder on me than he was the others, but he would let me know that the others did not bear the family name. But he would assure me to be patient and my day will surely come. This is the message that Paul is trying to relay to the Christians in Rome. He wanted them to know that they would be freed from struggles and sufferings of this world by the Spirit, if they would just wait on the promise of the Lord.
This lesson starts off where last weeks lesson ended. To help you in your memory, Paul ended the 17th verse by saying that since we are heirs and joint heir with Christ, we should be prepare to suffer with Him. We must understand if we are to share His glory, then we should be willing to share in His suffering. Then verse eighteen shares with us a wonderful thought while we are going through. Paul says, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory that the Lord will reveal in us later. I find that statement give not only the Christian Church in Rome hope, but it give anyone who is called a Christian the hope he needs to endure the sufferings of this world. So come along with me as we are encouraged to Hold On Just a Little While Longer.
First of all we must understand that. . .
1. OUR SUFFERINGS ARE LIGHT IN COMPARISON TO OUR GLORY (v.18)
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present times are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The N.I.V. puts it this way. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
As we study this text and many of the other Scriptures that we’ve read from time to time, I discovered that suffering as a Christian is as much a part of our spiritual growth as reading God’s word. Now if you had not figured it out by now, you should have noticed that from time to time there are challenges in your life. A challenge that will cause you to suffer for the cause of Christ as well as for the stand that you have taken against sin. And the challenges don’t come from the one that you expect to challenge you, no, they will come from the one that you thought was close to you. Think about it during Jesus last days on earth, who posed the biggest challenges, His disciples. Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and Thomas doubted Him, the two sons of Zebedee and Peter slept on Him, I tell you Jesus’ challenges came from within not from without.
As we look at this text, in one sense this verse is found to be the conclusion of the preceding verse in which believers are assured of being heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus and His glory. However, Paul reminded his readers that sharing in the glory of Christ in the future required sharing “in His sufferings” in this life. But after careful consideration, Paul concluded that our present sufferings are far outweighed by the glory that will be revealed in us, through us and to us. This future glory is so great that present sufferings are insignificant by comparison. Also the glory is forever, whereas the suffering is temporary and light at best. 2 Cor. 4:17 speaks of our afflictions as being light and momentary, and it works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
In other words this text along with our study text allow us to see that as David says in Psalms 30:5; suffering may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. The future glory shall be an eternal weight of glory. Also the future glory shall far exceed anything we have seen or heard or longed for in our hearts. So as I had said before, the sufferings we face are temporal, but the revealed glory will be eternal. So I our sufferings are light in comparison to our glory.
Secondly, if we hold on . . .
2. WE WILL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION AS THE CHILDREN OF GOD (v.20 &21) (NIV)
“For the creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subject it, in hope 21. that the creation itself will be liberated from it bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
The N. L. T. says, Against its will, all creation was subject to God’s curse, but with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.
This text explains to us how the creation along with mankind was subjected to God’s curse that was handed down to Adam and Eve. Creation was condemned to vanity by God along with Adam and Eve. Creation did not willingly choose to be condemned to corruption. The world was made to be the home of man, the place where he lived. Therefore, when man sinned, his world was doomed to suffer the consequences of sin with him. That is why we have earthquakes and floods, this time of year tornados hits the Mid-west, fires will soon hit California, starting in June hurricane season starts in the southern regions of the Atlantic, it is because the creation was cured along with man. Man’s world was cursed right along with him. The animals were killed for food for man’s nourishment, the trees were destroyed because man needed shelter from the elements and man destroyed himself because of greed. Everything was cursed because of man. But in the text we can find hope. Notice what is said in the last part of verse 20 and the first part of verse 21. It said and I paraphrase, creation was subject to frustration or God’s curse, not by his own choice but by the will of the one who did it, he did it in hope that the creation will be liberated from it’s bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Did you see how verse twenty and twenty-one connected? This is another classic example of God having to do something to us in order to do something for us. Even today the Father have to bring some of us to our knees or our beds of affliction in order to get our attention. He sends warning after warning to some but they will not listen to the voice of reasoning. But if we hold out through our many sufferings, he will deliver us from the bondage of sin that cause the curse in the first place.
Finally, if we hold on . . .
3. THE SPIRIT WILL GUIDE US TO OUR GLORIOUS HOPE (vv.24-25)
“For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man sees, why doth he yet hope for? 25. But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
My brothers and sisters, hope is an essential and fundamental element of our Christian lives. So essential in-fact, that, like faith and love, it can itself designate the essence of Christianity according to (1Peter 3:15). In it the whole glory of the Christian vocation is centered. Unbelievers are without this hope. Christ is the center piece of the believer’s hope, because it is in his second coming that the hope of glory will be fulfilled. Consider this, hope is one of the three main elements of Christian character. It is joined to faith and love, and is opposed to seeing. Hope is, the expectation of something, and Faith is, the substance of that something and love is the reason for it all.
Let me give you an example of hope. A couple of weeks ago, the Pope made an appearance here in the DC area. Catholics from far and near came to town with the hope to get just a glance at him. They found out through the media, the Pope’s routes for the day and they lined the streets hoping to see him. Some got to the parade routes early in the morning before daylight to get a good look at him, while other scouted for the best vantage point to see the car if not the Pope. Regardless they waited in earnest expectation to see the Pope. Likewise, we as Christians have hope much like those who wanted to see the Pope. We too, rise up early in the morning of our lives to get our souls saved, so that we can see not the Pope, but so we can see Jesus in His glorious appearing. I can hear the saints singing while they are waiting;
“Oh, I want to see Him, to look upon His face, There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice; Cares are past, home at last, ever to rejoice.”
Before I take my seat, I have a question and I really need to know the answer. Do you really want to see Him? Can you look Him in the face?
If you had the chance, on the streets of glory, Will you lift your voice?
If so hold on, just a little while longer.
Hold on, even when the times are hard.
Hold on, when your so called friends turn their back on you.
Hold on, when the doctor gives you bad news.
Just Hold on!!!