Pass the Liniment
1. A woman walks into a doctor’s office. She schedules an appointment and sits down it the waiting room. When it’s her turn to talk to the doctor, she describes all of her symptoms, and they’re unlike anything he’s heard before. The doctor runs a few tests and steps out of the room. He comes back later, and says, ‘Well I have good news and bad news.’ The woman says, ‘I’ll hear the good news first please.’ The doctor replies ‘The good news is we’re naming a disease after you!’ [source: https://worstjokesever.com].
2. Some people come down with diseases or serious conditions while in childhood, but the older we get, the more likely we are to run into trouble.
3. Sometimes I have to put liniments on my joints or muscles to relieve pain. In a sense, life is filled with pains, physical, emotional, or relational.
4. We feel emotional pain in the same part of our brain that feels physical pain, So when you have a heartache, it does hurt. When you are in emotional agony, a tylenol will bring you a little bit of relief, because you feel that emotional pain. It is real. We groan in many ways. And liniment only relieves some physical pain.
5. Why do we get sick? Is it because we lack faith? Is sickness an illusion? Does it mean God is targeting us for punishment? We will address these questions later in this sermon.
Main Idea: We live during a time of groaning while awaiting the glory to which we, as believers, are destined.
I. CREATION Groans (18-22)
A. ALL creation is suffering.
• This probably means all living things in creation are suffering, but it could refer to the entropy and destruction within the universe as well.
• Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes all evidence a groaning creation.
B. Suffering is a result of the FALL and resultant CURSE by God.
1. The Coronavirus is a result of the curse.
2. Birth defects, cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure – all a result of the curse. Whether germ or our bodies wearing out, this is all part of what it means to live.
3. Paul elaborates on this theme which takes us back to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, alluded to in chapter 5. Paul interprets the curse for us to refer not merely to planet earth, but to all physical creation.
4. WE know, in a general sense, why life has its tragedies and why nature has its destructive bent. We may not know why a particular thing happens specifically, but we do know why these sorts of things happen generally.
C. But God has had a PLAN all along.
God’s creation will be led out of corruption as a by-product of God’s people being fully redeemed.
D. Right now, however, all creation is STILL groaning.
That groaning can be spiritual, as righteous Lot groaned because of the immorality of Sodom. Do you find yourself groaning because of our modern day Sodom-like behavior?
Maybe you long for that lost person –spouse, child, parent – to come to the Lord.
The groaning can be relational or emotional. The groaning of divorce or a wayward child.
It can be physical. Your joints or muscles might be deteriorating. Your digestives system punished you ever time you eat a meal. Pain might be a constant companion.
Maybe you groan from loneliness or frustration or disappointment or worry.
JII. The BELIEVER Groans (23-25)
A. The Holy Spirit is a FIRST FRUIT of what awaits us (23a).
1. This means our salvation is not complete.
2. The HS is called our down payment (earnest); there is more to come besides His indwelling us.
B. In a sense, our full adoption – the redemption of our BODIES – is yet future (23b).
C. Some ASPECTS of our redemption are yet FUTURE (24-25).
1. Why do we get sick? We all experience the effects of the curse.
2. Is it because we lack faith? No, our bodies are not yet redeemed! The atonement made provision for our physical healing, but that is realized later.
3. Is sickness an illusion? It is real and not to be denied.
4. Does it mean God is targeting us for punishment? Can be, usually isn’t.
5. We suffer along with – sometimes more sometimes less – than everyone else.
Jesus provided not only for the redemption of our souls, but our bodies – and the redemption of creation in the new heavens and new earth. Their on the dockett.
III. The HOLY SPIRIT Groans (26-27)
A. We are often CLUELESS about how we should pray (26a).
We don’t know what is really good in the long term, and we don’t know if God wants us to suffer to develop us or if He wants us to be relieved as an answer to prayer to His glory.
B. The Holy Spirit WORDLESSLY prays on our behalf (26b).
1. This has nothing to do with tongues at all. The Spirit speaks without any language or words.
2. He prays for our best interest, sometimes contrary to what we are praying!
3. We might pray for comfort while He might be praying for us to be stretched through a trial.
C. The Spirit prays according to the WILL of God (27a).
1. Praying according to the will of God is no cop out. Jesus prayed, “Father, no my will, but Your will be done.” Here, the Spirit prays according to the will of the Father.
2. When someone accuses us of lack of faith because we pray, “If it is according to Your will, Lord,” such persons think they are a step above Jesus and the Holy Spirit in faith. That is the height of arrogance.
C. The Holy Spirit groans with our spirit as the FATHER listens (27b).
1. “So three persons are involved in our praying. First, we ourselves in our weakness do not know what to pray for. Secondly, the indwelling Spirit helps us by interceding for us and through us, with speechless groans but according to God’s will. Thirdly, God the Father, who both searches our hearts and knows the Spirit’s mind, hears and answers accordingly”(John Stott, Romans, p. 245).
2. This groaning affirms that the Holy Spirit feels with us. He is not a machine or impersonal force; He is a Person of the Godhead, the comforter who feels with us and comforts us.
Living and groaning go together. But it is not forever. For us, there is a blessed future.