STRAIGHT FROM ROMANS 8 - More Than Conquerors
August 25, 2019
Romans 8:31-39 (p. 787)
On my second trip to Haiti I met a 16 year old young man named Max that lived in the orphanage called Christianville where we were serving…Max told me that his father was a voodoo high priest and his mother a priestess. I remember on my first trip to Haiti trying to go to sleep on the first night while I could hear voodoo drums and muffled chants from the communities outside the orphanage walls. I remember coming across a voodoo shrine decorated with a shot glass full of whiskey, cigarettes, and some tarot cards…strangely enough there was a St. Christopher’s medal too. Paul Ronk, the missionary, explained to me that voodoo in his region had become a strange mixture of spirits, catholicism and blood sacrifices.
Max had found his way to a church service in a remote village called John John. Max had continued to come, even after his parents forbid him…and when Max made a decision to give his life to Christ, his father and mother threatened his life and kicked him out of their home. He was forbidden to speak to or see any of his family.
So at 16 Max came to live at the Christianville orphanage because he chose Christ over being separated from his life or his family. That’s quite a choice for anyone…much less a 16 year old.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, many of them were having to make the same decision as Max…
Stephen Neill, in his History of Christian Missions, wrote “Undoubtedly Christians under the Roman Empire had no legal right to existence, and were liable to the utmost stringency of the law…Every Christian knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life.”
John Piper in the book Don’t Waste Your Life says…“There was a risk. It was always there. Maybe you’ll be killed for being a Christian…maybe you won’t. It is a risk, and to become a Christian under those circumstances was right.”
Clearly, even today in places like North Korea, Afghanistan, and Somalia, being a Christian “might” cost you your life.
Here in America that would seldom happen. Culturally there is a shift that might cost us popularity or even ostracism in some cases…but the risk physically isn’t as costly. I knew that when I gave my life to Christ, coming from the lifestyle I was living, that it would cost me most of my friends…and there would be an instant separation, but I also believed it was worth the risk. Jesus is always worth the risk!
Our study through Romans 8 started with the soul rattling truth…that “we are no longer slaves to the law, but set free from its chains…Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Our judgment has been transferred to Him. Our minds have been radically changed through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. We’ve been resurrected to new life. God is our adopted Father…we have a glorious future…that we and all creation “groan for.” In our struggles the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray…but we can be assured “God is working.” He’s got a plan to make us like Jesus, His Son. And it’s on the heels of all these truths the Apostle Paul says…
I. WHAT SHALL WE SAY IN RESPONSE TO THIS?
If my wife ever says to me…“Did you hear what I said?” my response is “absolutely!” And then I pray that I can remember enough of it to answer the next question…“What did I say?”
I don’t want to be like the guy who said, “My wife told me there are two things that really bother me about you. 1. You don’t listen to me and 2. I can’t really remember the second one!” (LOL)
Paul is saying, “Were you listening to me when I shared all that God has done and is doing and will do for you?”
“What shall we say in response to this?”
“If God is for us…who can be against us?”
Some might think…“Well, if God is for us, “No one can be against us.” And my response….that’s not true at all. Clearly it’s not true for the Roman Christians, or Christians in Somalia or North Korea…it’s not true for American believers either. The Apostle Peter writes…“Your adversary, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He tells us to be sober and alert because of this truth…
This worldly culture is against us. Jesus said so…
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. (John 15:18-20)
The Apostle Paul is presenting teams again. On one team is God and those whom He’s called, justified and will one day glorify.
Individuals on this team are filled with the very presence of God through His Holy Spirit…Jesus Himself has promised…“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart…I have overcome the world…Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
But on the other side is the one who brings charges against the individuals that God has chosen…Listen again:
ROMANS 8:31-34 (p. 787)
Who brings charges against God’s chosen ones…Satan does. He has a team also…Ephesians 6 specifically says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)
The name Satan means “Accuser” or “Condemner.” He accused Job before God in the Old Testament…He wanted to sift Peter like wheat in the New Testament. It requires all of the armor of God to fight him, his schemes, and the spiritual forces of evil.
But the amazing truth for the born-again, Spirit filled and led follower of Christ is…NO POWER COMPARES TO GOD’S POWER IN US, OR HIS PLAN FOR US.
Satan will “accuse, attack, bring trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger…even the sword.”
Paul says, “For your sake we face death every day, all day…like sheep going to the slaughter.”
Our team is under attack every day, all day, from the accuser and his forces…But he does not win! (Romans 8:37-39)
On one side of the battle is evil…a murderer, a liar whose native tongue is untruth…He’s a thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy…Revelation 12 describes Satan’s attack…along with those angels who followed his rebellion.
REVELATION 12:10-12 (p. 867)
Our enemy is filled with fury and hatred…He knows his time is running out…He’s the accuser, the schemer, the liar and murderer…the original rebel.
But we as God’s spiritually adopted sons and daughters have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Our testimony is “No matter what this world or the god of it throws at us…Jesus is Lord…He is worth the risk…Nothing is stronger than the bond of His love. NOTHING!!!
Let me end with this truth from Romans 8, in the midst of this worldly struggle, where Paul says:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (v. 36)
Where he faced trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and the sword.”
It’s his answer to this life…It’s his answer to Max, Rick, the Roman Church and each one who is a child of God…
II. NO MATTER WHAT, THE LOVE OF CHRIST HOLDS US
Here’s the powerful truth God’s Word promises to all true believers…“He who did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all - how will He not also, along with Him graciously give us all things?”
[If I gave Ricky, Tyler, Cyndi, or Karissa to save your life…is there anything after that I wouldn’t give to save you?]
“For God so loved the world He gave His only son…that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
He didn’t do that to condemn us…He did this to save us…and after Jesus died to save us…He rose from the dead. He conquered death so we could also be raised to life. This is our inheritance…no matter what this world throws us, this amazing love holds on to us.
Jesus beat death, rose from the grave…He is victorious…He is King of kings and Lord of lords…and even now is at the right hand of God, interceding for his followers. He’s connected with them through the Spirit the Father provided to make them one. What can separate that person from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord?
Death can’t, life can’t, angels and demons can’t, the present or the future can’t, no powers in the world can or any other world! Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from that kind of love.
You know…the kind of love that gave His only son to provide an eternal adoption process for mankind…for me…for you.
So today will you answer His call, believe His Word, repent…turn from your old life to Christ for new life. Would anyone die, be buried and rise again? Filled with His Holy Spirit…crying out in testimony “Dad.”
I will not tell you life will be easy following Christ as Lord…but I will tell you it’s abundant, freeing, filled with purpose, hope, and you will never ever regret doing it!