Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

How the Spirit Helps Us in Suffering (Romans 8:26-27)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

These remain standing, and let's hear God's word from Romans Chapter Eight. Romans Chapter Eight, versus Twenty Six and twenty seven. If you're using one of the bibles that you picked up on the back cart, this is page nine hundred and forty four Romans Eight, verse Twenty Six. Likewise, the spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know what to pray for, as we ought, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the spinner, Spirit innercedes for the saints according to the will of God. May God bless his word to us. Please be seated. The first word that begins these two verses is likewise, and that tells you that we're in the middle of something. Comparison is being made. Well, I'll tell you what we're in the middle of. We're in the middle of one of the most comforting chapters in the entire Bible. We're in a chapter where we have been called to suffer with Christ in order that we may also be glorified with Christ, but a wet but we are also being consoled in that suffering, comforted in our suffering, reminded of all kinds of things that we can bring to mind in the middle of our trials, tribulations and various difficulties. God has a reminded us that we are those who have been born of the spirit, that we live by the spirit, and by the spirit we are called sons of God, receiving an inheritance and and an adoption, an adoption by which we can call God our father. Any prayer that begins with our father is a prayer that is speaks richly of our relationship with God, is not one of fear and a trembling and slavery, but one in which we go to him and we lean on him as we would an earthly father, a good one anyway, and God is always good. So we are here in this very comforting chapter, and Paul is in the middle of giving us three reasons, three ways in which we can be reminded and we can remind ourselves, calling to mind these words, of why it is verse eighteen is true. Paul says in verse eighteen that I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed. Paul is very persuaded about something. He is persuaded that everything is going to be okay, that there is a real, solid hope in God, which puts into perspective the things that we must face, the things that we must endure in this world. God speaks to us, and ways in which week to help us and do our suffering, hardship, personal weaknesses. Let me ask you a very personal and practical question then. Is that something that you need? Do you need comfort, consolation, courage? Is...

...there tenacious sin in your life? Is there a relationship that is gone sour? Is there a fear that's overpowering or doubt that is disabling? Are there other things going on, things which you don't often speak of, things which trouble you and bring fear into your hearts? If so, and listen, listen to what God says in Romans Chapter Eight, because here he's giving to us this comfort, this consolation in the middle of these things. We so often, as I mentioned earlier in the in after the called worship, we so often neglect to go to the place where we can find salvation, to establish or set our feets upon a rock, but instead leave them in the sifting sands of our her shifting sands of our own souls. But here we have God and his word to us, and he says likewise. The spirit helps us in our weakness. He says likewise because he's just told us of another hope or another given us another consolation. That was a world that hopes. He says that when we look out into the world, we see a world that is subjected, yes, but it is subjected in hope. Verse Twenty One, creation itself will be set free from its bondage and corruption and will obtain the freedom of glory. That's something that Paul wants us to see. It's how, he says, we are to evaluate the world. When we look out the world, we see corruption and problems and bondage, but we see a world that is ultimately hoping for freedom of glory that is to come. But that glory is not just any glory, Paul says, at the end of that verse it is a glory of the children of God. That's why it's a hope for us as Christians, because the the the groaning that the creation is in and dealing with is a groaning that is similar in our own hearts. Weaknesses and struggles, but it has hope and likewise we can have hope to the reason for that, Paul tells us, is because of Jesus. The world that was subjected back in Genesis three was subjected in hope because of the promised child that would be born that would undo the curse and set everything right. Well, that child, of course, is Jesus Christ, who tones for our sins, who we read in First John, is an advocate for us, who sits now at the father's right hand, please eating for us against any accusation that would come against us. But we also have another advocate. In Verses Twenty Six and twenty seven, we hear that we have the spirit helper, who intercedes the likewise, therefore, is a kind of a second hope. We have a world that hopes. That's our first consolation, but we also have a spirit that helps. That's our second consolation. The spirit helps us in our weakness. So what does he have in mind when he says our weakness? Well, he speaks specifically about our prayers, but because of the context it's more than that. He really has any kind of weakness in mind. Mostly sin and its effects, the...

...sufferings that we face in this present time, our sufferings that result from sin. That's where they come from. We know throughout the Bible God speaks to this. We realize that what happened in the fall was damaging, even mortally damaging. What does sin do? What kind of affects do we feel? Well, in a personal sense, it affects every faculty in our souls, are in our persons, I'd rather, and our mind and our heart, in our will, in our mind, it takes any knowledge that we have. Sin Takes any knowledge that we have of God and perverts it, and then it clouds any possible insight with pride. It's like having a bright, beautiful sun which can shine and illumine all things, but sin comes in and covers it all up. Rather, it might be closer to putting on sunglasses or blinders even. This is what we do in our sin, and it's what sin does to us. It causes us so that we can't see the things that are there. It's it's blinding. Sin also works in our hearts, in our affections, in our desires, and you know this is true. It takes good and holy things and it bends them. It takes our deepest wants and it moves them towards sinful cravings, things that are against God and against his law of love, and it does this with our wills to it binds them to disobedience. And so if it was just you on the earth all by yourself, there would be enough sin all there to cause you all kinds of suffering and pain and turmoil and heartache. You bought, Paul says earlier, in Romans, are bound to it, in enslaved to it, according to original sin. This is how we are all born. But it gets even worse sin and suffering in the world, because it's not just you here, it's you and me in a room together with our sinful selves bumping up against one another, sinning against one another, spreading disease and causing more and more pain. And so what we have happit, what we have in the world in this present age because of sin, is deep and troubling things in our own hearts and our minds and our wills, and then also in our relationships, and cought that in all the conflicts and other things that arise. We don't need to give many examples to show that we all face the effects of sin and suffering in this world. Well, that is all sort of narrowed down and very poignantly put with prayer. Even in our prayers, on this place where we meet with God, where we can communicate with God, we see all this weakness as well. How is that so? Well, Paul says that in this way, he says he gives this one reason. We do not know what to pray for, as we ought. This is insane. We are the most needy, despicable creatures. We have all kinds of troubles and problems and suffering, and yet we don't know how to pray, we don't know what to ask for. God has created us in all of this wisdom and Righteousness and glory. He's revealed his Justice and His Holiness to us, and we don't know how to speak to him, we don't know how to communicate with him. But it's true, isn't it?...

We find ourselves without words, we find ourselves blanking, stammering, saying things that aren't true, confessing things that are unbiblical, wanting things that aren't according to the will of God. And that's just the content of our prayers. The manner of our prayers can be demanding, proud or just plain neglectful. There are so many weaknesses, I'm in all to our shame, and this is true for every single person on earth, because sin has its effects on this way to every single person on earth. But there is a distinction among humanity which Paul wants us to recognize, a distinction between the lost and the saved, between the believer and the unbeliever, between the Christian and the Non Christian or, as Paul calls us here, the saints or Holy Ones. Even though we all struggle with these weaknesses, there's a difference in the Christian if you have been bought by the blood of Christ, redeemed out of slavery and bondage, if you have received the spirit of adoption through faith in Jesus, then something is different. You face these weaknesses, but in a different way. Because of this, the spirit of God is helping you, instead of being bound and enslaved and totally controlled by your weaknesses, instead, you have God himself helping you, strengthening you, uplifting you. Imagine trying to carry a big heavy weight all on your own. I'm going to move soon, so I'm thinking about this. You're carrying a giant entertainment center. It's a three man job and you're doing it all by yourself. It's impossible, it breaks your back, it her hurts you. But the spirit helps us in our weakness. He comes and he lifts us up, he gives us courage, he helps us in every way, even in our prayers, even in the ways that we communicate with God. Now God helps the unbelievers in their prayer to sometimes you remember, for example, the sailors on Jonah's boat calling out to God asking for a calm from the storm if and asking that he would not visit wrath on them for throwing this Prophet of God overboard, and God answers that prayer. They make a smart move in a sense, and they save their lives as a result. God preserves their lives and saves them. But it's different for a Christian. Those sailors didn't enjoy the comfort of God or the communion of God, or the Fellowship of God or the love of God. It was all fear, only fear. They were reaching out to a great and powerful force that they hoped they could be saved from. They didn't want to die. But for the Christian, the one whose spear who in whom God's spirit dwells. It's not just fear, it's love and hope and joy and faith and trust. I'm quoting passages from the prophets and proverbs. I'm drawing images from them. John John Owen says that...

...the prayers of the Saints Are Incense and odors to God, allusion to revelation eight, but those of others are howling, cutting off a dog's neck and offering swine's blood and abomination unto the Lord. These are the images that God uses to describe the prayers of Pagans. They are Powling, they are disgusting, they are an abomination, but the prayers of the saints are a Pleasant Aroma, like incense in the temple, going up before the Lord. It brings him pleasure. Why is that? How can sinful, corrupt, perverted hearts do that? Because of the spirit of God living in us, working in us, dwelling in US, helping us, interceding for us. Christ is always advocating on our behalf in heaven. When anyone comes before the father, whether it's the law or our consciences or Satan himself, to accuse us like he accused job. Jesus stands there and says there is therefore now no condemnation in this one, because he is in me. This is what Paul is going to say, I'm later on. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ, Jesus, and this is the father's ruling. Each and every time we are accused. My blood is good enough, Jesus says. There he is interceding for us. But this objective ruling in heaven, Paul says, is accompanied by a subjective working in our hearts. The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us, also advocates for us, helping us here on Earth, even as Christ does in heaven. He speaks this comfort internally and produces a holy fruit externally. So what does the spirit do? How does he help us in our weaknesses? Well, there's many different ways. Let me give you a list that Isaac wots offers in his book on prayer. He says that the spirit adds to our natural capacities, and this is true. He fills our memories, he strengthens our our fluency with language, he gives us strength and just the basic requisites of prayer. He also blesses our labors and our study of prayer. He causes what is sown in study to be reaped and harvested. The spirit also inclines our hearts to pray. Have you ever not wanted to pray and then wanted to pray? Well, ask yourself how did that happen? Where do holy things come from? Well, from the Holy Spirit. That's where holy things come from. That's how we change. And when you see that happening, when you see your heart do a one hundred and eighty, give praise to God, because it's the Holy Spirit working in you. He inclines our hearts to pray. He brings to mind content for our prayer. Have you ever prayed and wondered, where did I think of that? Let's because the spirit of God has spoken in his word, he's put it into your hearts and he brings it to your minds. He gives you content for prayer that is holy, in a coreding to his word. He helps you not only in the content but in the manner or method of your praying to he helps you not to come proudly,...

...arrogantly, disrespectfully to God, but humbly before him. This is most evident, perhaps in these groanings that Paul describes. He says the spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. There are these these groanings in us that we recognize that can't really be expressed, and I think they can be of different kinds. Maybe it's joy in the Lord, maybe it's praise for his name, maybe it's deep confict conviction of sin. Have you ever been, ever felt deep within you a joy and you want to share that with someone and you try to and it just never quite expresses what you really feel? You feel like even if you had thousands of words available at hand, even if you are the most excellent and fluent in your language, you still wouldn't be able to express that holy joy that's inside of you. Or maybe it's praise of God. Or maybe it's conviction of sin, weight of sin, of feeling the pangs of it and the heard of it, the shame of it, feeling heartbroken and lost, but also full of faith and praise for God. These are things that we can express and do express. The fact that some prayers are inexpressible doesn't mean we shouldn't try to pray out loud. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try to express these things or sing these things or speak to one another of these things, but it does mean that there are movements of the Holy Spirit within us that are not entirely managed by us, that we can't control everything and master everything. And that isn't itself, I believe, is our reminder of the spirits work in us. The spirit himself intercedes with us with groanings too deep for words. There is in US another words, in these groaning something that's produced. And what do we in which we see something that is beyond us, in a sense, beyond our ability to express, and yet is there nevertheless, is holy and good. And then verse Twenty Eight adds this. And we know that those who love God, I'm sorry, and and and I'm sorry. That's verse Twenty Eight, will get there next week. Verse Twenty Eight, Twenty Seven. And he who searches hearts, that is God, the father in particular, according to his work, and he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the spinner intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. How wonderful is it that the spirit of God is interceding for you, helping you praying, in a sense, according to the will of God. This is such an amazing thing, considering the fact that we don't pray according to the will of God, that we're full of weakness and and difficulties. Here is God speaking within the Trinity and according to his perfect will. The spirit never gets it wrong, because the spirit is God. What is so comforting in this is this communion and union that we have with the Lord. God is working. If you are one who is loved by God,...

...if you are one of the saints, one of the holy ones, this one who has put your faith in Christ, then God himself is working immediately directly with you, through Christ and faith in him, in your hearts. He is uplifting you, encouraging you, strengthening you in your weakness, and this is something that we believe by faith, but it's also something we know by experience, and this should be a good consolation to us, because we do face many weaknesses in this life, the tenaciousness of sin, relationships gone sour fears that are overwhelming, doubts that are disabling, all these things and more, and we say where is God, and I say he is in you, helping you. This is God's gift to you. Isn't an amazing these gifts that he gives us, the ways that he encourage us, encourages us, the ways that he uplifts us. God is indeed good. Let us go to him in prayer.

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