Title: “You are Loved”
Big Idea: “God is for us”
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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?
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
34 Who then is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” (!) 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced (persuaded) that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.
Engraved on the inside of my wrist-watch are these words: “to the moon and back.”
You can’t imagine how much I cherish this watch – because of who it's from and what it says... my adorable daughter, Heather, now 25, a paramedic in Toronto...
The words come from the children’s book - “Guess How Much I Love You”
The entire passage reads:
‘I love you up to the moon,’ said Little Nutbrown Hare.
‘Oh, that’s far,’ said Big Nutbrown Hare. ‘That is very far.’
Big Nutbrown Hare settles Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves.
He leaned over and kissed him goodnight.
Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,... ‘I love you to the moon and back.’
Isn’t it hard to communicate your love?
And so, happy Valentine’s day, everyone!
Romans 8 “ is a brilliant oratorical passage worthy of any orator in the world ...
The context... - Paul is writing from Corinth in AD 57
o Paul has been a believer for about 25 years now.
o Believers have been killed and persecuted by Rome and by Jews
Hardship is “normal” for the early Christian community... being thrown to the lions is a real and present danger.
o Romans is a letter of gospel proclamation/theology and a call to unity for the church in Rome.
o ... at times Paul seems to be preaching... he is so passionate about the good news....
o Paul also wants the church in Rome to help him get to Spain.
Chapter 8 Is The Climax Of The Book!
o It begins...There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ; v. 1-
o It moves into a celebration of Life in the Spirit: v. 2-17
o In verse 18 Paul says, our Present sufferings cannot compare with our future glory: v. 18-27
o And then the famous words of v 28-30 “All things work together for our good... v 28-30
o This concluding section of ch 8 is ...pure poetry.
1. God’s Eternal, All-Powerful Love Is Affirmed for Believers: 31-39
In this passage Paul makes frequent use of 5 rhetorical questions...(5 of them)
Q.1 - What Then Shall We Say In Response To These Things? V. 31
Q. 2 – if God is for us – who can be against us?
“What things” is Paul referring to?
Likely persecution and hardship...
What shall we say in the face of the global pandemic?
Paul’s Answer ...is to focus on Christ and his love for us...
This passage here in vv. 31-39 is essentially a summary of chs 5-8.
And so Paul launches into a celebration of God’s love... we find here some of Paul’s most eloquent words... words of timeless beauty... written about God by a man who knew him better than most...
3. Paul says, God is “for us” (!) (redemptively, cosmically) ...so, who can stand against us?
Question. 2 – v. 31 who can be against us?
Answer – Nobody!
“... having God “for us” literally changes everything in life for God’s people –
That includes us ...who have come to God through the work of Christ Jesus and the ministry of God’s Spirit!”
*** ...and The Ultimate proof that God is for us is the cross!!!
Verse 32: “He who did not spare his own son what gave him up for us all how will he not also along with him graciously give us all things ?
God is for us in the present... through his past work on the cross... and into the future generations... to all eternity! P 755
*God is for us!
Therefore... Who can be against us?
The Evil one? (he was defeated on the cross)
The sinful Self? ( I am crucified with Christ...)
The empire...Rome?... empire’s come and go...
? Egyptian empire
? Babylonian empire
? Greek empire
? Roman empire
? Turk- Ottoman empire
? British empire
? Soviet union/ communist empire
... these don’t rate much in Paul’s mind.
They cannot defeat us!
Who can be against us says Paul.
**Now, with 2000 years of history behind us we can be even more confident of the enduring power of the kingdom of God.
Christ showed us his love and his power on the cross....his victory over sin... his victory over the evil one... yes, even his victory over death by his resurrection – which the NT tells us – is the foretaste of our own resurrection!
... to embrace us, his beloved, Jesus opened his arms upon the cross.”
“The cross says P. Yancey, revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, ...and a God of sacrificial love.”
Look at the ironsmith... working with iron – it's not like working with wood or wet concrete... or plastic... or soil
Iron is unyielding...
When asked “Why are you an ironsmith?” the reply was insightful...
... I work with iron because iron is so hard to bend into something beautiful.
We're like that with our sins. ... we are rigid, and we do not bend easily. We go back again & again to the same old sins.
I have a friend from Argentina who makes beautiful pieces out of iron... he turns iron into poetry”!
He’s an artist!
He made me a coffee table out of iron... absolutely beautiful.
That’s what God does with us... he takes us as stubborn and hard pieces of iron and turns us into poetry.
...our great big God loves us ... he is “for us” - not because of anything within ourselves.
There is no reason why he should love us.
He loves us because he is love!
He loves us so much - that his face was scorched on the cross of Calvary, and his hands were wounded, and his side was pierced by the iron-ness and hardness of our sinful ways.
They spat on his face.
They gambled over his clothes.
They mockingly put a crown on his head – a crown of piercing thorns
When he was thirsty -They gave him vinegar to drink.
But when he was on the cross – you were on his mind.
God is for us.
Jesus showed his love for you on the cross.
Paul says, ...Since God Gave us His Son – He Will also Graciously(!) - (Not Grudgingly!) - Give Us All Things! (Eternal)...
4. V. 33 ... Question 3 - Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
– it is God who Justifies Us! v. 33
...Definition : declared righteous. /instant/ a legal term/
o “ it has to do with God’s present justifying of his own people against all opposition and charges.” P. 756.
Q. 4 -- 8:34 - Another Question - Who Then Is The One Who Condemns Us?
No one! (no one can... none should dare to try!)
Here is Paul’s triumphant reply...
Jesus (who died and rose) - is at the Father’s right hand – interceding for us!
Paul incorporates in v. 35 to 37 at least two early Christian affirmations of faith –
in other words, early Christians repeated or recited these phrases...
isn’t that beautiful... let your mind reflect on these early Christians... coming out of Greek paganism... coming out of bondage to sin... now alive... now set free!
... Jesus dies for you... Jesus intercedes for you... Jesus loves you... he is for you!!!
Because God is for us - Accusations Have No Power; V. 33
Condemnation has no power... God is the justifier!
Jesus is alive ... sitting at the right hand of the father - and is interceding for us! V. 34
Think of that for a moment...
... Do you have a prayer partner?
Do you have a prayer group?
How would you like to have Jesus praying for you?
...There he is... at the right hand of the Father... interceding for you.
What is he praying? (May I carefully consider this question..._
...I’m holding you... “I’m for you...”
I think he might be praying ...Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me … and you will find rest to your souls.
...Father, I died for this man... this woman... they are justified - they are free from condemnation... I pray victory...
Father, when I look at him/her – I see a conqueror!!!
I think we can look into John 17 and get a good idea of what Jesus prays...
...Protect them from the evil one:15
...Give them joy:13
...Sanctify them; v. 17
...I pray that they will do your work; 18
...I pray that they will be one – as we are one: v.22
5. Question #5 - v 35 – 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
No one and nothing can separate us from God’s love...
A young man was sitting in a classroom and there he had a divine encounter with God. The Holy Spirit spoke deeply into his heart and soul...
Later he wrote down ...
"Child I love you. I love you eternally, unconditionally, and uncontainably. Out of your trials, I will bring good. Out of your problems, I will bring comfort. In your comfort, I will challenge you to go further. I will lead you with the greatest care, and I will never let you go. Feel the fire of love that burns inside me for you. Come into my arms. I want you to live with me forever. Nothing can separate you from my love. Be at peace. I have not planned a tragedy for you. I have not planned a farce. I have made you to be a love story. The most devoted mother would sooner forget her child than I could forget you. Rest in my peace; on fire with my love. My love burns for you. Peace, my son. I love you."
That young student became a missionary in India...
people asked him why... why spend your life in India?
And you know what he said?
He said what David Livingstone said when he poured himself out on Africa.
He said what William Carey said when he offered himself in India.
He said what Hudson Taylor said when he gave himself to China.
... because he first loved me!!!
Our God is for us!
Paul isn’t ashamed to detail the challenges of his life ... he does so here and in other places...
? Shall Trouble?
? Shall Hardship?
? Shall Persecution
? Or Famine
? Or Nakedness
? Or Danger
? Or Sword
No... Paul’s is a strong and confident and defiant no! ... in all these things we are more than conquerors!
You know a champion is a champion for a season – and then typically someone else becomes the new champion... but at least you had a moment in the spotlight...
But Paul reminds us here ... “we are MORE than conquerors!!!
In 2 Cor 11:23-29 we read this long litany of Paul’s troubles
23 ... I have ..., been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, ...
What is this???
It's perhaps beyond our ability to grasp...
“these represent Paul’s alignment (participation) with the sufferings of Christ.”
...when God called Paul – in Acts 9 – he said this... “ I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
And you know what – Paul counted that suffering a privilege!
Phil 3: 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
*Here’s the crux of the matter ...
Because God is for us doesn’t mean he puts us inside some angelic bubble wrap and keeps us from trouble and pain.
So, when life turns ugly – we don’t lose our faith... we are not confused... we don’t say where is God? We don’t think – “God, you let me down.”
Instead we say, I’m so thankful for God’s abiding love... I’m so glad that God is for us... I’m so thankful that he has justified me... I’m so thankful that he is interceding for me.”
I’m so thankful that he will graciously give me all things!
...We enter into his suffering – and he enters into ours.
Paul writes in v 37 ? in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
"The crucified Jesus is the only accurate picture of God the world has ever seen."
The sight of Jesus on the cross disclosed God as one who suffers with humanity.
My friend, professor Denis Ngien (Tyndale) of Malaysia tells this story...
A few years ago, I was in the former Czechoslovakia on a preaching tour. ... a government official spoke to me. He told me that he had attended the service when I had spoken about Christ's suffering for his people, and he had left the service in rage, cursing God for the suffering he and his family had known: 40 years of suffering under Communist rule; the starvation and death of his parents; the long years he had spent as a lonely child in an orphanage.
His rage continued when he arrived home. On his apartment wall hung a crucifix, given to him by his mother with the prayer that one day he would come to Christ. Furious, he hurled a cake topped with thick, white icing at it. The icing covered the crucifix, dripping down the face of the crucified figure. And in that moment, my words about Christ's suffering came alive to him.
For the first time he looked closely at the crucifix and he saw Jesus' tears.
There in his apartment, he knelt in front of the cross and gave his life to Christ. And he uttered these words: "Christ is for me, not against me."
The man looked at my friend Denis and said this... "I don't understand many of the things that happened politically, but I know that Jesus did not forsake me. He was in pain when I was in pain. He was in tears when I was in tears.
... friends, this is where faith comes in.... and Faith is best nurtured over a lifetime... day by day.
Because suffering and adversity will come...
In v. 36 Paul Quotes Psalm 44:22 - About Sheep Being Slaughtered
Paul is not in denial to life’s suffering...
But God is for us!
Can Any Of This Separate Us From God’s Love – Or Come Between Us? v. 38-39
...Not even close!
Paul declares... “I am convinced/ I am persuaded/ that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Suffering actually increases the evidence of God’s love!
Paul says” (NLT) ...despite these things” (v. 37) – suffering - rather than diminishing or hiding God’s love – actually enhances our experience of it... because in the suffering we conquer!
Because we triumph!
...In all these things(!) ... we are more than conquerors...Through him who loved us
***this is a foundational Christian conviction: “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” --- he is “for us”!
So ... we are more than conquerors! V. 35...that means, nothing and no one can defeat us!
God is for us!!!
A Christian‘s confidence in the face of personal adversity is not based on our own human skill – it rests entirely in the hands of God!
This is Paul’s testimony ... nothing can separate us from God’s love: v. 38
1.1.1. Neither death (grief)/murder/sickness/ accidents
... or Anything else! (10/10)
Is that your testimony too?
What’s On Your List?... what has life brought across your path?
• Mental illness
Here the word of God... “nothing can separate you from him and his love!
God is for us!
In all these things we are more than conquerors!!!
So friends... “Happy Valentine’s day!... Happy Valentine’s life! ... you are loved!
God’s Love Is Supreme...
God’s love cannot be conquered – therefore we are more than conquerors! 37-39
1. God is not a deity who needs to be – or even can be appeased/satisfied by any human endeavour – rather, God is “for us.”
2. God has demonstrated his love by giving up his Son – and “graciously giving us all things”
3. No one can “bring any charge against” or “condemn” God’s people - for it is God himself who justifies us ... and the risen Christ is now interceding at the right hand of God.
4. No circumstance, “in all creation” is able to separate God’s people – who are “in Christ” – from the love of God.
Notice the literary symmetry ...
v. 35 – who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
v. 39 – nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus Is Undefeated…You Are Undefeated!!!
We Are Winners/conquerors !
Because God Is For Us!
He Is Our justifier And Our Protector…
He Is Our good shepherd
He is our intercessor...
He Is Our Source Of Strength And Endurance.
God is for us!
“Happy Valentine’s day!... Happy Valentine’s life! ... you are loved!
My friend (Pete) tells his kids this... over and over again... “I love you more than you will ever know.”
A few years ago I officiated a beautiful Christian wedding...
At the reception the father of the groom gave a toast to his son... he talked rather eloquently about his son’s character, his Christian commitment and what a privilege it was to be his father... and then he said this; “this is my beloved son – in whom I am well pleased...
It stopped me right in my tracks – wait a minute I thought – that’s what God the father said about his son, Jesus our Lord...
can this father say these words too?
Well he did – and I was very moved ... I shall never forget it.
Now today, I want you to hear these words from God our Father – “you are my beloved son - with you I am well pleased... you are my beloved daughter, with you I well pleased.
God says, “I am for you” ... I have rescued you... I have for you, a future and a hope.
No one can stand against you – my son died for you! I will defend you; I will protect you; I will intercede for you. You are mine!
God is indeed for us !!!
“Happy Valentine’s day!... Happy Valentine’s life! ... you are loved!
God is for us!