Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

How Future Glory Affects Present Suffering (Romans 8:18-25)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you're able, please remain standing and will give our attention to God's word in Romans Chapter Eight, the Romans eight verses eighteen through twenty five, for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revelate revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it. In hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now, and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the spirit grown inwardly, as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now, hope that is seen is not hope, for who who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. May God indeed bless his word to us. Please be seated. Sometimes in life we are called to do difficult things. We're called to do things that are are difficult, things that are perhaps above our paygrade or beyond what we feel we are capable of doing. Kids, maybe your parents come home from Costco and ask you to carry some giant thing into the house. You say, I can't do it, it's too heavy. Or maybe you're given a project at work that really is just beyond your skill levels and capabilities, or school assignment that is too hard. When you're in these kind of situations, it feels bad, feels scary, maybe even overwhelming or at least frustrating. The task that you are given to do can feel, in a situation like this, a somewhat feudal. How am I going to carry these three hundred toilet paper rolls into the house when my arms are only this big? It just feels udle. But if the person who gave you the task knows what they're doing and knows what you are capable of, then they will encourage you, at least a loving one will. They'll encourage you, they'll support you, that'll let you know they this is something you can do. Let me show you how, let me teach you the way. They give us consolations and remind us that they haven't given us something beyond our ability, that the three hundred rolls of toilet paper are rolling only thirty rolls and that our arms onn't this big, they're actually this big. Well, that's what God does here in Romans, Chapter Eight, verses eighteen through thirty, he has called us to a very hard calling. In verse seventeen, we are told that we are heirs with God and fellow airs with Christ of this great inheritance that we receive as adopted children, provided that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified...

...with him. That's a hard calling. God calls us to suffer, and indeed that suffering is not just a future thing, but it's a now thing. That is defined. In Verse Eighteen, Paul says, I consider that the sufferings this is the next verse. I consider that the sufferings of this present time, this time now, these sufferings that we are dealing with, are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed. This is an encouragement he makes, and there's actually three big encouragements, three reasons that God gives in verses eighteen through thirty, eighteen through thirty, that bring us a lot of consolation and encouragement and and courage. I'm to suffer to move forward with patience and what God is calling us to do. He calls us to patiently endure the suffering until Jesus returns. We are to go through difficult times, hard times, but not give up and not give in, and so God encourages us. The first thing, which will focus on today, he encourages us with, is with a world that hopes on the second thing he'll encourages encourage us with, that will have in verses Twenty Six and twenty seven, is a spirit that helps. And then, finally, in the last versus, we have a good plan that benefits us today. Is the first one, the the first big reason God gives here in Romans eight why we can go out into the world and make this calculation that Paul makes. We can weigh things and say, you know what, the sufferings of this present time are are not little compared to the things that are coming, but they're not even worth comparing to the things that are coming. It's not even worth comparing them to one another. That's how great the the glory is that is to come. So how is it that we can come to this and have courage in this and persevere? inness well, Paul points us to something perhaps kind of odd. He points us to a fellow sufferer, fellow growner, we might say, someone who has to patiently endure the things of this world, someone who, in a sense, knows how you feel and persevers in hope. Well, might surprise you to learn who that is. It's a not a WHO, but a what. This one who is patiently preserving, this one who is groaning and suffering but also doing so in hope of the things to come, is God's creation. The rocks and the trees, the skies and the seas are father's world. This world is a test of my provides a testimony to us. It is a testifier, a witness to US and in encouragement. So let's consider what God says. There is apostle here. Well, for the first thing to say is that if you hear this passage right and have never considered point before, I think you really will see the world in a whole new way. I remember having a time once where my view of the world changed in a big way. I was little, I don't remember how a little, probably seven or something like that, and my dad took me out in the backyard and he said, he told me, if you were to look at this garden that we were looking at and put it in fast motion, you wouldn't see just plants sitting there,...

...as they seem to do, but they're clawing at one another and pulling one another out and expanding and growing and dying. There's all of this activity going on and that really fascinated me. And then the first time I got to see some fast motion videos of plants doing this. It's it's amazing. I watched one the other day of a bean stock. The IT sends out these little sprouts with these earth shoots, I guess you'd call them, with hooks on them, and they spin around and around and around and around and around until they grab onto something and then they send another one in on their spinning, Spinning, spinning their amazing things. The world in many ways seems somewhat static. If you look outside here, you see rock sitting there, a tree sitting there, shoots of lall of trees coming up, not much as happening. But really a lot is happening. A lot is going on, though perhaps somewhat imperceptible to us at times. But that the things that are going on are described here by Paul as feudile. He says the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God because of a problem that you read of in Verse Twenty a groaning world. The world is groaning. This is the first point, for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God. And then verse twenty two. Here's the word, that word groaning comes in. We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. What this means is that when we look out on the world, if we perceive it as Paul describes it here, and as I think any farmer or household plant keeper or even a worker in the world understands, there is a lot of futility. You plant seeds that don't grow. Hope. This morning showed me this beautiful wasp, this powerful wasp with all kinds of venom in it, that was hit by a car and she found it on the road right, this amazing creature flying along and all it's glory and then done. This is a kind of futility that we have in all kinds of places. You know this in your own work environment. You put tons of energy and effort into a project that fails, or you think something's going to be easy and it falls apart. You go into a marriage and it's not working like you expected it to. The whole world, even creation itself, has this kind of futility in it. Things are not working as they are supposed to be working. This is all not a random thing and it's also not what was originally intended. The plants that are planted are supposed to grow. We are supposed to live in harmony with nature. There is a supposed to be a goodness and in a healthiness and balance and all of these kinds of things. But something happened. We read of it in Genesis. The world that God made that was to enter into a glorified state did not happen. Instead, the man that was supposed to care for it and take care of it and rule over it with this kind of sovereign wisdom and discretion, under God's authority and as a kind of vice regent, failed miserably. He was called to work and keep the garden and he failed miserably, and in that, as a curse, God subjected the world. He cursed the world. We read of it in Genesis Three. He says, cursed is the ground because of you,...

Adam, in pain. You shall eat of it all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your face. You shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken for your dust, and to dust you shall return. These famous words, these words that set a course for what we see today. When we look out on creation and we see dams that break and things that get misaligned and problems with beetles and forest fires and the earthquakes and all of these things, it's because there's a futility in the world and in that Paul Talks about it, he personifies it in this way and says there's this kind of groaning that you can you can sort of see in creation oh sense in which creation itself seems to be saying, this is not how it's supposed to be. It struggles along, it groans, and in that it has the world around US shares the same kind of groaning that we feel in our daily lives, as Paul puts it, and not only the creation. This is verse twenty three, but we areselves who have the first fruits of the spirit grown inwardly. There's something about our lives that is not right and the sufferings that we are under, the difficulties and frustrations that we feel do not feel right. We warnt something more and we groan and we say this is really hard. I don't know what your weeks were like. Some of you I know a little bit because I had a chance to talk with you, but if you had a normal week, chances are there was a fair amount of groaning. And I don't just mean complaining, I mean heart ache, I mean trouble, sadness, death, frustration, futility. This is our life and the Bible recognizes this. God doesn't take this kind of Pollyanna view of the world and act as though everything is just fine and you should be happy about it. Everything is not fine. We grown, we have heart aches, we are frustrated and sad, we go to the hospital. It's hard and that, Paul says, is something you see all around you. It's not just in you, it's not just in your heart, it's everywhere. And we have this fellow sufferer in the world itself, everything around us, the context we are living in, speaks to this kind of groaning. But the groaning world is also a hopeful world. The futility is not an ultimate futility. It feels that way. There is this kind of subjection that's happening, but that's not the end. What does the apostle say? Well, he says in Verse Twenty One that the creation was subjected to futility, but it was subjected, at the last two words of that verse, in Hope. There's something else that characterizes the kind of frustration and groaning and futility and darkness the world faces and that we face. Hope. That hope is not a general feeling. It's very specific and it's listed in it's a it's a specified in...

...verse twenty one that the creation itself will be set free that's the hope that what it feels, it's doesn't feel forever, that what you feel, you won't feel forever. It will be set free from its bondeds and corruption and a tame freedom. Paul gets even more specific about that freedom. Notice what he calls it, and let this encourage you. He calls it they will, the creation will obtain the freedom of the glory of the Children of God. It will obtain the freedom that is your freedom as children of God. That's what the creation is longing for. It's waiting to participate in what you are already participating in. In that sense, you're a little farther down the road. We're going to get to this in a moment. But Paul Compares the world in this groaning and anguish to a woman in the pains of childbirth. In this sense that it's like the the the world is in their next room, just having come in, and she hears US screaming. There's that there's a way in which we're ahead in the process because we already have the first fruits of the spirit. The creation is longing to participate in something that we has already begun in us. That should be somewhat encouraging, as we see the creation waiting in hope. Let's not give up, seeing that we ourselves have the first fruits of the spirit and that the that the creation has this same kind of hope. Well, as I said, this hope as and and and is described as and groaning, as described as a woman in the pains of childbirth. I have not been in the pains of childbirth, but I have seen it several times and it's terrible. The first time with Samuel, when Samuel was born, my wife screamed a scream that was terrifying, chills up my spine. I've never heard anything like it in my entire life. It was extremely, extremely painful and in many ways she, like many women, wanted to give up. This is too hard, I can't make it, and she often describes how people stood around her saying very weird things like you're doing fine, everything's going great. She's like, it's not going great, I'm dying. This is the experience right of being in Labor, of having a child. It is terrible. Everything inside of you feels like this is going wrong, this is going to fall apart, I am not going to make it through. But God is speaking to us outside like our our good doctor and saying it's going to be okay, you're doing fine, you can do this, you're gonna make it. The world testifies to that as well. It's persevering on in hope, and it does that not just like a woman in Labor, pushing on, pushing on, pushing on, knowing that what's coming is totally worth it. It does it not just like a woman, but because of a woman. Back in Genesis three, when God cursed the earth and cursed man, he also makes a promise that through the woman would come a child who would set all things right, who...

...would make it so that the ground wouldn't be cursed forever, so that man wouldn't always have to eat by the sweat of his brow, so that the sin that came into the world through Satan would be crushed and put out forever. The world perseveres for a very specific reason, because of the promise of God and because of the Work of God. The creation doesn't just the world doesn't just spin on and on and on because, well, you know, that's what happens. It does it because God makes that happen, so much so that God has even made a covenant in with Noah, where he says the world will continue on and I will preserve the world until those last times when, until Jesus returns. This perseverance of the world by God and according to his promise, so that salvation can be achieved, is the reason for the hope that creation has. It's why it perseveres and hope not just because it does and that's what creation does, but because that's what God is doing in the world. Well, if that's true of the world, how much more for you, who have the first fruits of the spirit? Is God working in you? Is the creative power of God in you? Has He brought you to new life? Has he given you the first fruits of the spirit? Well, if your faith is in Jesus and his work for you on the Cross, then absolutely that work has begun. The Salvation, the the the glory, the hope that is to come is in some ways already here. As those who are saved, we have this hope and we have this labor buddy, so to speak, creation itself, and this is the consolation God gives us. He calls us to look at the world and see it's groaning and see its futility and recognize corruption and bondage for what it is. But he doesn't just want us to see that. He also wants us to see that the groaning world is a hopeful world. How do you see hope? You see hope in perseverance and continuing on and striving on and moving one foot in front of the other. Why does the creation hope as it does? Why does it persevere as it does? Because of God, because of God's plan for the end, because of the revealing of the sons of God, because of the redemption of our bodies. Sometimes we feel the futility of our lives and suffering, most presently, I suppose you could say, in our bodies. They don't work as they ought to, and the older we get, the more that seems to be true. The more it is true. And Death itself is the end, the very feudal end of what was all previous to that called life. But God promises to overcome these things. He already has in causing you to be reborn and bringing you to this salvation. He promises this mercy and he gives it to us and he makes covenantal promises and he secures all this by the very blood of his son by the work of Jesus on the Cross, the redemption of our bodies is guaranteed. Jesus himself, who did all of this for us, has already risen...

...from the dead. We have a lot to look forward to. We have a great hope, a glorified hope, a hope of the future, a hope we're bondage and corruption and suffering no longer remain, and only the freedom of the glory of the Children of God. One of the things that often surprises women is that they want to have babies again after going through this near death experience. They say when can we have another one? Why is that? Well, I don't know, but I think something of it has to do with it. The glory that is revealed, so to speak, that baby is not worth comparing to all the suffering and pain that came before. It's sort of goes away. I mean, you remember how hard it was, you remember how difvidal old it was, but then you go, but that was so wonderful. Realize I'm giving my mother's Day sermon a week early, but so goes it. There is this wonder and beauty and joy and glory in the newness of life. If that's true of children being born, is it not true of the new birth, of a birth that will not end in death, that moves on forever and ever, that lives with God into eternity, without bondage, without corruption, with complete freedom and absolute glory? Absolutely so, brothers and sisters. That's why we persevere. We persevere because we have a very real hope that is secured for us in Jesus, hope that is guaranteed by a spirit, a hope that's already begun in us, a glory which we already are participating in. But we have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have to endure the sufferings and do so with patience. But, old boy, you can do it because God is in you, God is working in you. He is the one who is sustaining you, he's the one who gave you to the hope and he's the one who will keep you to the end. When you feel discouraged, remember these things and look out at the world that is itself continuing on and persevering and hope and be encouraged and wait for the same. Let's pray.

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