Summary: The fears and hardships of life can weigh heavily upon us, and sometimes the best way to cope is to transcend them by focusing and pondering the truths of God’s Word, particularly His promise to bring us through.
Transcending Life’s Challenges
1. Today is Father’s Day and today’s sermon has a lot of Jewish Roots to it. So I decided to begin with a joke about a Jewish father.
2. Sid Samuels, 79, was on the operating table awaiting surgery, to be performed, at this insistence by his own son, a renowned specialist.
“Before they put me out, sonny, I want to say one thing.”
“Yes, Papa, what is it?”
“I just want you to know, you shouldn’t be nervous. Do your best. And just remember, if things don’t go well, should a knife, heaven forbid, slip, your mother’s coming to live with you and your wife."
3. Humor has a lot of value, and can be a great diversion.
4. Turning our attention toward the spiritual, however, helps us to transcend this life. you remind yourself that the problems or disappointments before you are only part of the picture, and you purposely choose to remember there is more, much more, and that there is a God to whom we relate on a spiritual level.-- that is transcending this life.
5. And that is the theme of our text. In our English text, we see seven questions. Some of them are expansions of other questions.1
The first question is answered with a question in vs. 31. The question in vs. 33 is asked in different words in vs. 34. And the first question in vs. 35a is expanded in vs. 35b.
Today we will look at the first four verses in this section, because we have a lot to cover.
Main Idea; The fears and hardships of life can weigh heavily upon us, and sometimes the best way to cope is to transcend them by focusing and pondering the truths of God’s Word, particularly His promise to bring us through.
You will see a pattern here in Paul’s argument: Midrash, argument from greater to the lesser, argument from lesser to the greater, and another Midrash.
I. Paul Uses Midrash: With God for Us, We Will PREVAIL – Ultimately (31).
A. This is a MIDRASH on Psalm 56:3-4, 9-11.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”
“Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
B. Notice the connection between God and His WORD.
To praise God’s word is to glory or take pride in it. The Word should be a pleasure to us.
C. People, social pressure and Satan ARE against us; the idea is that they cannot PREVAIL against us ultimately.
Hebrews 11:32-38 makes it clear that sometimes we can be delivered in the here and now, but other times our deliverance is in the hereafter:
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
Martin Luther’s hymn, A Mighty Fortress, leans heavily upon these verses. Here is the last part: “
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill: God's truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever!
D. People may be HOSTILE or mock, but God is faithful will prevail in the end.
People live as though they will never die, and as though their works escape God’s notice.
Death humbles the most arrogant ego.
II. Paul Reasons Between LESSER and Greater (32-33).
A. An argument from GREATER to lesser (32)
B. An argument from LESSER to greater (33)
1. Any accusations against the believer are nullified by God’s act of justification.
2. This doesn’t mean we will not be held accountable for all we do, think, or say.
3. This is about our legal status, whether we are fit for heaven or not. In Christ, we are.
III. Paul Uses ANOTHER Midrash: Jesus is Our Defense Attorney (34).