Summary: This sermon dives into verses eighteen to twenty-five, a section in which we will discover supernatural hope.
I never get tired of hearing how God changes lives. That’s what we want to multiply – life change. We are engaged in a movement to multiply – multiply Christ fellowship so we can multiply life change. We know we will reach more people if we are in more places. This week it was a joy to get emails and Facebook messages telling me how much God is impacting you through Romans chapter eight. From last week, two truths have been mentioned again and again: adoption into God’s family and killing sin. Over lunch one couple told me we need to hear that message once a month. The truth of our adoption into God’s family has brought us deeper assurance of God’s undying love. The challenge to kill sin has motivated us. Of course the frustration is that sin keeps coming back to life so we have to keep killing it. Sin cannot be eliminated. It is a life long struggle to put sin to death. Never give up. By the power of the Spirit keep putting sin to death.
We are in the third week of our series: Supernatural, a study of Romans chapter eight. At Christ Fellowship a series such as this involves more than worship services. We follow a simple discipleship pattern, a rhythm that grows us to be better followers of Jesus: Study the Word, Hear the Word, Discuss the Word and Live the Word. Each week study the Word yourself as you engage God on the biblical text we will teach that week; then come to worship gatherings where you hear the Word in a sermon; then connect in a group where you discuss that same biblical text and finally go live the Word to impact others. It’s a very simple, powerful weekly discipleship rhythm that will change your life: Study the Word, Hear the Word, Discuss the Word and Live the Word.
Open your Bible to the amazing Romans chapter eight. The big point of the chapter is that you can live a supernatural life by the Spirit because of God’s amazing gifts in Christ. Today we are diving into verses eighteen to twenty-five, a section in which we will discover supernatural hope. The Scripture gives us a divine perspective on suffering. Why do floods ravage Australia? Why does an earthquake destroy Haiti, killing over 200,000 people? Where is God? How could there be a loving, all-powerful God since there is so much evil?
More personally for Christians today, why do we keep on experiencing so much suffering if we have been saved? So far in Romans chapter eight Paul has listed many great blessings we have in Christ, but life is still really hard. Why? Why does your wife get diagnosed with cancer? Why does your child have a mysterious illness we can’t fix? How can we live for God in this kind of world, full of pain and suffering? How can those who have been set free “from the law of sin and death” die? How can God’s very own, dearly loved children suffer? Do not these contradict, or at least call into question, the reality of Paul’s “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”? In our passage today we see an answer. Paul shows us how we can have supernatural hope. (Moo, Douglas. The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistle to the Romans. Grand Rapids. William B. Eerdmans, 1996, (Pp 509))
In verse seventeen, Paul mentions suffering with Christ and sharing in his glory. Our passage today, verses eighteen to twenty-five, develops the contrast between suffering and glory. Broadly speaking Paul shifts from our present status in Christ to our future inheritance, our awesome future to come. As you prepare to read the text, notice that verse eighteen is a thesis sentence, then Paul develops his argument in two parts: creation’s response and Christians’ response. This passage puts our salvation in a cosmic perspective. Let’s pause to pray for God’s Spirit to transform us by His powerful Word.
Please stand for the reading of God’s Word. I am reading from the NIV (2011) translation that just came out:
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.