I found out last Sunday that for the first time I slept through an earthquake. What I did not sleep through was KC waking me up in the middle of the night to feed her.
Many of you know I am taking Japanese lessons. It is coming along slowly and I need lots of practice. So I hope I will be able to practice with you. Please speak slowly. Today is Sunday 2 October. My birthday is 1 March. My telephone number is 927-1739. And my favorite airplane is a Boeing 777.
Have any of you climbed Mount Fuji all the way to the top. I want to do that sometime while I’m here in Japan. When you get to the top it is quite an exhilirating experience. You have noticed that this sermon is entitled The Mountaintop Experience. What exactly is the mountaintop experience? I mentioned making it all the way to the top of the mountain. Very simply a mountaintop experience is something exhilarating, something to shout about. It is something that makes you want to really celebrate. Let me give you a good example. Have you seen the movie Titanic? Do you remember when Jack Dawson, who was played by Leonardo DiCaprio was at the very forward part of the Titanic? He was enjoying the wind, the sea and the experience. And then he shouted, “I’m the king of the world!” That is a good description of a mountaintop experience. Just so you know, Jesus Christ will one day return and rule as the King of the world.
These experiences are great. And they apply to the Christian life as well. Have you ever had a time in your life when everything was going great in your spiritual life? You were excited about being a Christian. You spent hours reading your Bible and taking in every word. You spent long hours in prayer, and you were seeing answers to your prayers. Jesus Christ was very real to you. You wanted to tell everybody about it.
We do have these mountaintop experiences in our lives. But more often than not this is not the experience for most of us. I’m sure there are people in New Orleans who do not feel that way.
I want to share with you a passage in Romans 8 in that no matter how good or bad things are in your life, God loves you and is going to see you through. Our passage is Romans 8:28-39.
We have been studying the book of Romans in the English Bible study and we are now on chapter 10. Time does not permit me to explain the whole book. But I want to show you the theme of Romans before we get to Romans 8. Please turn to Romans 1:16, 17.
The theme of this book is living by faith. We stand before God only by faith. Before I go to Romans 8, I want to explain that what I will share is only for a believer in Jesus Christ. If you are here today, and you have never trusted in Jesus Christ before, these promises do not apply to you. In Romans Paul explains how man’ sin has separated him from God. In fact Paul shows us that it is impossible to earn favor with God by our own good deeds. We will always fail. But Paul also explains that because of His love for us, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, which is death. By placing your faith in Jesus Christ, then you are promised that you have eternal life. Not by your good works but by faith. God has made some wonderful promises. But these only apply to those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
There are several points I want to make in Romans. And this is not something to remember when you are going through difficulties in your life. They will encourage you during that time but there are things we need to remember all the time.
In verses 28-30 we see God’s ultimate purpose for us. Most of us are familiar with verse 28 and we often quote it to ourselves and others who have problems. Please remember that this verse does not say all things are good. Most of us will agree that they are not. What it says that God will use all things in our lives toward His ultimate purpose which is good. What is that purpose? In verse 29 we see that it is ultimately to make us like Him. God knows about what is happening in your life because He planned it that way. It didn’t just happen by chance. Look at verse 30. These are things that God has done in your life. He called you to Himself, He declared you as righteous because of your faith in Jesus Christ. He has also glorified you. Now you won’t see that until you go to heaven, but He has already done it.
The next point is that God is for you. We will see this in verses 31-34. God is not against you, He is for you. I did not believe that at first, because at one time I thought that if it is what I want, then it is not what God wants. What it does mean is that God is on your side. It doesn’t mean He is always going to do what you want. Remember we looked at His ultimate purpose in verse 29, to make us more like Him. Now how do we know God is for us? Look at verse 32. It might be a little difficult to understand how costly it was for God to give up His son, so let me explain it better in human terms. I’ll give you 2 examples. The first one is that KC and Simone are very precious to me, and they would be very difficult to give up. The second example is found in the Bible. I will give you the Bible reference, but because of time and it is a long passage, I’m not going to have us turn there. In the book of Genesis God made a promise to Abraham that he would have a son, and through that son, he would have many descendants. In other words, God made a covenant with Abraham. Fast forward to many years later, when Abraham was 99 years old, and he still had not yet had his son. His wife, getting impatient, offered her maiden to Abraham. Through Hagar, Ishmael was born. But that was not the promised son. God told Abraham he would have a son. True to His word, Isaac was born when Isaac was 100 years old. Talk about Respect for the Aged. Several years later, God told Abraham to take His son, and offer him up for a sacrifice. This is found in Genesis 22, but for sake of time, we won’t go there. Now remember that all God’s promises to Abraham were to be fulfilled in Isaac. So I can’t help but wonder what was Abraham thinking. But Abraham obeyed God, and when he was just about to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice, the angel of the Lord told him not to do it. God blessed Abraham for his obedience.
God gave up His son Jesus Christ. In the English worship service, we are studying the gospel of John. What is so interesting is that God does want to reveal Himself to man. He did it through Jesus Christ.
And we have in verse 32, that because God gave up His Son, He will also freely give us all things. Now that does not necessarily mean that God will give you everything you ask Him for. What it does mean, that God will give you all things that have to do with His purpose with your life. And because He freely gave up His Son, He will freely give us these things. He will give them to us and He will do it freely. He loves us.
Another indication of God being for us is seen in verses 33 and 34. Right now, Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and He is interceding for us. He is on our side. And because of this, nobody can make any accusations against us. Now our enemy, Satan will try to accuse us. He will try to condemn us. But Jesus Christ is not going to let him do that. He is interceding for us right now.
And the last major point is that nothing is going to make God stop loving us. Paul asks that question in verse 35 and he will answer that question up through verse 39.
No matter what happens, God will never stop loving you. Whether you are on the mountaintop or the valley. And he lists several things that could happen in verse 35. Now look at verse 36. The 1st century Christians often faced death because of their faith. A couple of weeks ago, when we celebrated Respect for the Aged day, the youth group did a skit on the Prodigal son. Remember there were a couple of pigs in that skit? Now if you try to slaughter a pig, it will put up a fight, and you will know it. Not so with sheep. They will follow the shepherd wherever he leads them.
Now if I were to stop here, I think all of us we would be pretty discouraged. But here is what happens because of God’s great love for us. We are more than conquerors. Look at verse 37. Whatever happens, we will make it through. We won’t just make it, we will come through with flying colors. Paul lists several different things that can happen to us, in pairs.
First life and death. Look at verse 38. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated with our members who have lived a long time. Some of us may live longer. Others of us will not live as long. But we will eventually all face death. But we will be victors over death. Christ’s resurrection is proof of that.
Second is angels and demons, or supernatural powers. I could not even begin to address the fact that Satan is our enemy who will do everything he can to destroy us. He has his hosts of demons to help. But we will be victors over him.
And third, he lists our present and future, and powers. You may be going through some very difficult times right now. You may not be going through difficult times now but you may go through them later. You will still have victory over your problems.
Include height and depth with that. If you ever are concerned about God being with you read Psalm 39. We can go to the top of the highest mountain, or the bottom of the deepest ocean and He is with us.
And just to make sure he didn’t leave anything out, Paul says no created thing will separate us from God’s love. I guess I can include an earthquake.
Some of us may be experiencing great blessings of God at this time. That’s great! But others may not be experiencing great blessings. The good news is that wherever you are in life, God loves you and nothing will ever make Him stop loving you. Whatever happens to us in our earthly lives He will take care of us, and we will make it. The fact that nothing will separate us from God’s love is what will always keep us on top of the mountain.