Summary: Our suffering in this life is a prelude to glory. God will end suffering and decay and give us new and immortal bodies.
The Groan and the Glory Rom. 8:18-25
INTRO.: Charlie Brown illustration. Charlie was about to kick a field goal and Lucy held the ball. When Charlie kicked, she moved the ball. He kicked so hard that he flew into the air and landed flat on his back with a groan, "Aaaaargh."
We all groan while in this body for a variety of reasons.
In the Scripture, three things are groaning: The whole creation, we ourselves, and the Holy Spirit. Today we will consider the first two. Next week we will look at the groanings of the Holy Spirit.
I. The suffering is not worth comparing with the glory:
A. Paul knew a lot about suffering. II Cor. 11:23-28
1. One of three things he wanted to know. Phil. 3:10
2. Acts 16:16ff records an event the Philippians would have remembered from the time Paul was in their town.
3. The Church was composed completely of women. V. 13. Every congregation needs some men. God gave Paul and Silas an opportunity to evangelize a jailor.
4. But they paid a great price in suffering to do it. 22-24. They endured the kind of beating Jesus went through in the movie, "The Passion."
5. He could say it was worth it because the groaning is not worth comparing with the glory.
B. There will come an end to all suffering. Things are not now as they will be. I Jn. 3:2
1. Think about this verse when you are aching in body and groaning in spirit because of sickness or injury.
2. Think of it when you visit someone in the hospital or nursing home.
3. When some brother or sister in Christ breaks your heart, slanders you, betrays you.
4. Think, "This is a child of God. What he will be, we don’t yet see, but . . ."
C. There is great glory awaiting us.
1. The word translated "in" can mean in, to, into, among, for, throughout, toward. Make your choice or choose all of the above.
2. We will be involved in the glory to be revealed.
3. We now read of God’s glory in the Bible. His power, majesty, beauty, love, etc. One day we will be directly involved in it.
4. Like the difference between looking at pictures of a beautiful landscape and being in it.
II. The glory involves freedom from the bondage to decay. 21
A. Bondage to decay is something with which we are all familiar: Scientists call it "the second law of thermodynamics" or "entropy."
1. To the best of my understanding, it means energy spreads out if we don’t do something to stop it. A hot pan gets cold when you remove it from the stove. It’s why light bulbs burn out and pastures need fertilizer.
2. If a tree dies, it doesn’t become bigger and more beautiful. It rots. If you sit a 1950 Volkswagen in a field and leave it a hundred billion years, it won’t evolve into a Lexis. It will rust away.
3. It means we are all getting old and will one day perish. When we do, our bodies won’t become stronger and more attractive.
4. The entire creation is struggling in this bondage. Things are getting worse, not better.
B. Some day we will be freed from this.
1. Imagine a car that will never wear out, clothes that will last forever. Like those the children of Israel wore in the wilderness. Roses that never fade, tires that never wear out, a house that never needs dusting.
2. All the frustration and decay is God’s choice. His sentence on man for sinning. He can change it and He will one day.
3. None of that is important. What is important is new glorious bodies that will never die or get old, a home in glory that will never rot away, eternal life.
4. I Pet. 1:4 The law of entropy will one day be abolished. God can do it.
III. Glory involves the redemption of our bodies: 23
A. Our adoption as children of God is not quite complete.
1. Our souls have been redeemed, but the redemption of our bodies from the grave is yet to come.
2. Here’s another encouraging verse from Paul: Phil. 3:21
3. We groan inwardly, waiting for this.
4. "Wait eagerly" translates a word that literally means, "stand on tiptoe and stretch the neck."
B. Remember, entropy will be suspended forever. I Cor. 15:51-54
1. ILLUS.: My mother was practically blind. At her funeral, the Minister said, "Now she can see." Our daughter-in-law remarked, "I had never thought of that. It’s a wonderful thought."
2. Imagine coming to homecoming and finding everyone exactly as they were fifty years ago. No one is sick, or fat, or older.
3. More than that, no one has died. No empty places at the tables.