Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Super Victory (Romans 8:31-39)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you would please remain standing, if you're able, and let's hear God's word now. From Romans Chapter Eight. Paul has been writing throughout this chapter telling us about how secure we are. He begins in Chapter Eight. He says, therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because the spirit of God has done what the Law of God could not do. Then after that he moves into various implications of this and talks about our life in the spirit and these various consolations that God gives to us, even as he calls us to pick up our cross and follow him. And now he comes to this glorious conclusion in verse Thirty One, to the end of this chapter, before moving on to somewhat new train of thought. So let's hear God's word now in Romans Eight, verses thirty one through thirty nine. What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own son but gave him us, gave him up for us all. How will he not also, how will he not also, with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect it is God, who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us? WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword, as it is written? For Your Sake, we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things, we are more than...

...conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus. Our Lord, you may be seated. Kids, sometimes you get yourselves into difficult situations, don't you? Tricky situations, situations which you're not sure you know how to get out of. And it's not just you. Adults get themselves into difficult situations too. We remember, when we were children, finding ourselves with a bully, someone being mean to us, someone treating US poorly. We like you have also had unfair teachers and coaches and leaders and people who were not fair to us, didn't treat us well, no matter how hard we work, no matter how much we did the right thing, it just we found ourselves in these difficult situations. We've all been in situations where we've been lost or stuck or in danger. I'm finding you know, we walk out into the desert and we find thorns in our legs, where we find ourselves lost and in these times, we know you remember adults when you were young and kids, you know, even now, this is when you say, Mom, Dad, come and help me find me. And even when we know that they're there and they've come and they've grabbed US and they've picked us up and they're holding us, what do we want them to say? We want to them to say it's going to be okay, I love you, I'm going to take care of you, I I'm rescuing you. That's what good parents do. Of course they're.

Love is more powerful than the dangers we get ourselves into or the dangers that the come upon us. This is what's so great about a loving parent, as they can come in and rescue us out of these bad situations. We don't know how to do any different. We don't know what we might do to get out of something, but mom and dad know, they know how to take care of it. Well. That's what God does for us. Is His children. As his children, we all face very difficult things in this life and this is a passage where God has grabbed us up into his arms and he says nothing can separate you from my love. Nothing. I have you in my arms. I am very powerful, I can I control all things. As we read earlier in Romans Chapter Eight, our good God works all things together for good. You know, when we think about our parents, we all know that they are somewhat limited in what they can do. They can only run so fast and jump so high. They get tired and frustrated, but not with God. The greatest acts of love that we see in other people are infinitely supass surpassed by our God, who takes care of us and loves us through all things, through thick and thin, and that's what he's telling us here. We do face difficulties in this life and he names a many of them. Think about some of them that he names here, some of the things that we as Christians must face. There are, he says, beginning in first thirty five, shall tribulation or distress, persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. That list continues on.

When he talks about a whole host of things, I'm both good and bad, death and life, angels, rulers, things present, things to come. The list goes on and on. He says absolutely nothing. If you look at life from any perspective, if you point to anything, that thing cannot separate you from my love. If you imagine the image of a shepherd who's watching over his sheep, that shepherd says to his sheep nothing can hurt you. There's no wolf, there's no bear, there's no lion that can hurt you. There's no nothing in me that is bad, that can bring about neglect or or trouble. Our Good Shepherd never gets the vaccinations wrong. Our Good Shepherd never leads us to waters that are dry. He never takes us into a dangerous places, he never lets us out and forgets or falls asleep. He's always, always there watching because of love. That's how it's put here. There's this great power that's expressed right in the way that he overcome hums, all these things, tribulations or danger, you name it, he is powerful to overcome it. But the word power doesn't really come up here, does it. It's the word love, like at the end when he says nothing are nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In verse thirty six, there's a little quote says, as it is written, for your sake, we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. And when you read this, or maybe when you heard this, perhaps this stood out and you said what, what is this? What...

...is what's being said here? What Paul's doing is he's quoting someone else, or rather a group of people that have been in the same situation I'm describing. What I'm saying to you, what Paul says to you, is that we all find ourselves in these situations of peril and distress and we go where is our God? Has He left us? Has He neglected us? Is there in fact something that can separate us? He quotes some people that for feeling that, just like you, it comes from Psalm forty four, which I'm going to preach on this evening, so you can come back for that. But to touch on it just briefly here. It's from Psalm four, be four, verse twenty two. I'm here in the ESV. It's translated. Yet for your Sake, we are killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. What is the context of this thing that's being said? WHO's saying it? It's a little difficult to know who's saying it. We're not exactly sure on the Bible doesn't say. But here we have the Holy Spirit putting into giving Israel these words at some particular point in her history, and they're very surprising words for two things. First of all, this cry of desperation, says we are being killed all the day long, we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered, begins with a very confidence sound at the beginning of the Psalm. Let me read you the first few verses. These same people that are saying this about their troubles say at the beginning this, Oh God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us what deeds you have performed in their days, in the days of old, with your own hand, drove out the nation's but them you planted, you afflicted the people's but them you've set free. For Not...

...by their own sword did they win the land, nor bought nor did their own arms save them, but your right hand and your arm in the light of your face, for you delighted in them. You are my king, Oh God, ordained salvation for Jacob. This is a happy song, right. It starts out with this very confident feeling. We know what you've done in the past, how you've rescued your people, how you've brought salvation. They say, we didn't, we didn't earn all of these things, we didn't earn these blessings, we didn't defeat these people on our own. You did that, Oh God. But then when it comes to they there's some more of that kind of confidence. And in verse nine there's this Butt and says, but you have rejected US and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies. They're saying, we've seen your salvation in the past. We know the goodness that the goodness you've done in the past. But what about now? Have you ever had this feeling too? You say, I know that God has given his own son, I know that he's taken care of me in the past, but what about now? I'm hurting, now, I'm struggling. Now I feel like a sheep to be slaughtered now, not a sheep that's being protected, a sheep that's being watched over. That's how these people felt. You have rejected us, you have disgraced us, you have not gone out with our armies. You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil. You have made us like sheep for the slaughter. You have scattered the nation's and it in a lot of other places we would say, well, of course we know why, Israel, because you've sinned. This is what happens. But listen, in a very unique way, what this psalm says. The spirit puts these words in his people's mouths, they say in verse seventeen. All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you and we have...

...not been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way. Yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with a shadow of death. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign God. Would not God discover this, for he knows the secrets of your heart, of the heart. Yet, for your Sake, we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. And then they call on God to a awake. Why are you sleeping, a Lord, rouse yourself. Do not reject US forever. You see what they're saying. They're kind of saying what job says. Why? You say you are my God, you say you love me, you say that you are great, and yet I am suffering and I haven't done anything wrong, I haven't committed idolatry, I haven't rejected you, I haven't been false to the covenant. Even my heart has been with you. Notice how they appeal with this great confidence, even to their own hearts. They say, if we had neglected you, are forgotten you in our hearts. You, of course, would know this. You are the one who searches these things out. This is a cry of desperation and it's a cry that each of us have felt. Sometimes we get into our own bad situations, don't we? We sin, we mess up, we make bad decisions and then boom, there we are in the middle of our mess and we go to God and we say, Ah, this is very embarrassing and I'm ashamed, but here is where I am. But there are other times when we go before God and we say, of course I know I'm sinful and of course I know that...

I don't deserve anything from you, but nevertheless I've done the right thing here. Think about Christian martyrs who have confessed the name of the Lord, who have endured great suffering and pain and yet still find themselves in jail or being burnt at the stake or hung on across to cry out, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? I feel alone, I feel separated from you. This is the cry of these people, these Israelites, in some forty four and Paul reminds us of this, to remind us that God knows he does here, even as we, under the new covenants, also feel these ways. It's not like tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger our sword are sort of easy to shrug off, as if they don't hurt. I barely miss a meal and I'm finding myself a crumpy and needing some kind of snack. But famine, I don't know about famine, to go long periods of time hungry, waiting, waiting, not being able to find or know when your next meal is to going to come, or nakedness, to not be able to clothe yourselves, to be ashamed, to be persecuted by the sword or otherwise, to feel the way of the government or your neighbors coming down hard upon you. Because you believe in Jesus, because you have been born of the spirit, because you belong to the Kingdom of God and our citizens of his kingdom. These are not things...

...that we just say, no big deal. They hurt and, like the feet the people in Psalm forty four, we feel like we are being killed all the day long, because sometimes Christians are killed all the day long. They feel like they are being regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. But the beginning of these words, the beginning of their confession, for your Sake, is what really grounds there their cry in faith. They cry out to the Lord. They feel separated from him, they feel on distant from him, they feel like they are not under his protection, not under his love, but at the bottom of their souls they know, even though I can't explain this, God knows what is right for your sake. It's not because the armies that are overthrowing them want to overthrow them. No, it's not because of their great weakness or anything else. It's only because God is doing what he wants to do. This, by the way, it is always the the response of a Christian who finds him or herself in a situation they do not understand, faced with some kind of truth that you can't just fit put together, and yet you know it's true, what do you say? You say you are God and I am not. And this is what they do. Well, Psalm forty four expresses this perilous situation from the perspective of us, the people. Romans eight expresses this perilous situation from the perspective of God. These are the words of God, swooping them up and saying, I know things are bad, but nothing can separate you from my love. He...

...gives a three questions. It starts with this kind of umbrella category. If God is for us, who can be against us? Think about just that. When you think about the things that are powerful in this world, what comes to mind? Money is powerful right that can accomplish things. You hear people or you read of people sometimes saying things like don't worry about it, we have plenty of money right it can do things, it can make problems go away, it can take care of difficult situations. Money is very powerful. There are lots of other things that are powerful. Governments are powerful. On leadership is powerful. Food is powerful. You can list on and on and on many things that are lifted here on things both in this world and and spiritual things as well. When the people in the Bible see angels, they they don't pass by them and take no notice. They bow down before them, they shaken their boots before them. They are fearful, for for them not just the angels but the demonic powers as well. The Bible says that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour someone. That is a picture of power, is it not? There are very powerful things in this world, but what this passage tells us is that each and every single one of those things doesn't even begin to compare to the power of God's love. If God is for us, who can be against us? If you're not sure about this, you can think about your own lives, the ways in which God has exercised his powers at vary as power at various points to bring things together, to make good things out of bad things. Or you...

...can look at the lives of other people to think about the power of God over the power of evil. You think about Paul sitting in prison, or you think about Paul of being regenerated. You think about Joseph sitting in prison or in a pit, or the Prophets of God being killed or shamed or exiled. The list goes on and on. The Bible is full of these kinds of examples, people that are doing the right thing, that are working and striving for God, and yet find themselves in pits, in jails, on crosses, being beheaded and more. And yet these people did this willingly because of what thirty one says. If God is for us, who can be against us? Remember Paul sitting in jail, he says, riding from jail and he says, well, here I am. And yet isn't it great that the Gospel is going out to all the Roman guard amazing? Or Joseph out of jail, sitting in this great position of power, rescuing God's people from a famine and bringing them into Egypt. The list goes on and on, God bringing about good things from evil. If God can be for us, who can be against us? If the one who created all of these things, if the one who rules sovereignly over all of these things, is for you, is on your side, what possible power could come between you and him? Well, these are all very valid things to think about and be reminded of, but Paul points us to one in particular, in verse thirty two, and you must, you must rest your mind on this.

He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, with him, graciously give us all things? Drop it down for a second and think about just human relationships, and you're asking yourself, is my boss going to give me a raise this year? You think, well, he liked my midyear report, he was pleased about the performance I did on such and such a project. I remember this thing he said at the dinner party a while back. You're you're pointing on these moments, these acts and which your boss or whoever has been affirming in some way, and you say, yeah, I think it's going to happen. I think I'm going to get this race, or think about a friendship. You say, boy, this is going to be a really difficult thing, some kind of trying situation between you and a friend. But you remember back and you say, you know what, she was there before. She was there for me before. Think about all the fact when I think about all the things she's done in the past, I think she'll be there for me again. We think on these actions. Right, if somebody's just words, as we say, they are all words and no action, that word is pretty meaningless. Now raise it up again. What about God? What about the past actions of God? Does God prove himself to be true or prove himself to be false? What kinds of things might we think about? What kind of thing might we point to when we ask, will God be Foreigny in this situation? What about now? Well, he did not spare his own son. He gave his son to you. Jesus humbled himself, having the glory of God, became a man who is hungry and...

...tired and facing all these things in this list. God faced these things as a man and you know what happened to him? He got put on a cross, he got beaten, he got whipped, he got spit upon, he got shamed, he got dead. When God became a man, when God put himself into the same situations that we face, you know what happened. He died. He understands what it means to be in peril and in danger and under persecution. He understands what it means to have the powers of the enemy railing and arming themselves against him. Satan himself took Jesus out into the Wilderness and tempted him and pushed him to the brink. So far was his need that angels came and ministered to him after his temptations. This is what God did. It's not just a sympathy either. It's something he actually accomplished. Jesus Christ went to the Cross. The father gave his son up unto death. Which of your friends has given you their child that you might have something good? No one. I'm not going to do it. Can you imagine? And yet this is what God has done. He gave up his son, he gave up himself because he loved us. If God has given us himself, if God has given us himself, what will he possibly...

...with old is he going to give you his son and then forget to take care of you and your needs? Now, of course not. God's words are proved by actions, and this is true in the court room. Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? Well, no one even has the right, because it's God who justifies and who has the power to condemn? Well, no one, because God is the one who has the power over that. And besides that, Jesus Christ is the one who died. Sin has been condemned in the flesh, in the sun. But it's not just death that happened. Paul says more than that. who was raised and who now is at the right hand of God interceding for us. You See, Satan comes before God, I'm just like he did with job. Comes before God and he accuses us. He says, I know the darkness of this person, I know the sins of their heart. I know that they've done bad things, things that are deserving of death. And you know what Jesus is saying? He says this one is mine and you have no right to even be here. God, in his courtroom, stands strong, he doesn't bad an eye. He never sort of thinks. Well, you know, the devil's kind of got a point. This person is evil, this person does have wickedness in their heart. No, he says, I have justified them through my son. There is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. Begone, and we should have the same kind of confidence. When the devil whispers in us, a whispers in our own ears. You don't belong, you don't deserve when he tries to separate us from the love...

...of God in Christ, shut the door against him. I'm not going to listen, for there is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing can separate me from the love of God. He has given me his own son. How can he not graciously give me all things? Get Out, get out. I don't want to listen to you, I don't want to hear you, I don't want to be around you. My Lord is my Lord, my God is my God, and his love has conquered all things. This is Paul's answer to these questions. Verse Thirty Seven a big and Oh, what part of no? Don't you understand? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. This is a great word. More than conquerors. It's actually one word in Greek. We translated into three because the word is. It's like, well, there's another word for victory or conquering, to be victorious, and this is like hyper victorious or even greater than Victoria, super victorious. There's this preposition added on to it. It's only with place. We find it here in the Bible. So it's like he could have said, in other words, there's another word he could have used that it says in all these things we are conquerors or victors through him who are through him who loved us. That's not what he says, though, in this passage where he's saying nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing can separate you from the love of God. He does he he doesn't just say you are victors, he says you are super victorious, you are more than conquerors. You of course know what it's like to win a fight but barely right, to get out of a situation but barely get on the other side by the skin of your teeth. You know, we say, that is not the case here. This is the case of complete and utter victory, entire conquering, glorious battle and a glorious...

...win. That's what we are in Christ. This is what God is saying to us. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. To conclude, I started by talking about children that find themselves in these difficult situations and desperately need their parents to reassure them and comfort them. In my house we have a at least a couple books that do this kind of thing, you know, kind of bedtime books, or there's a character in the book that asks this question, usually to a mother or a father. Yeah, I think we have both, but ask the question of their parents. Says, I'm how much do you love me? And then there's some back and forth in the story. You know, do you love me as tall as a tree? I love you taller than a tree. Do you love me as deep as an ocean? I love you deeper than an ocean. Do you love me as as big as the sky? I love you bigger than the sky? These books which describe to the child and give words to the parent to to say I love you a lot more than you can know. My Love is big, big, big. This is that kind of story for us, and it's true. God says I love you beyond all things, beyond anything that could possibly separate you from me. I love you and I will take care of you and nothing can separate you. If a parent's love is beyond the trees and beyond the clouds, God's love is about beyond the farthest reaches of the universe. If God's if of our if...

...human love, will go to great lengths and even give up our own lives. Here we have God himself giving up the life of his son. God's love is infinite, unchangeable, unboundless. We cannot even begin to understand or imagine how much love it is. So when you find yourselves in the situations that we find ourselves young, the situations that bear down on us, and we wonder where is God, trust in the words that he says here. Remember this bedtime story and know that it's not just for bedtime, but if but it's for all times, that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ, Jesus, Our Lord. And if you don't know Jesus as your Lord, then why are you waiting? Why are you separating yourself from so great a love is this? Come to him who gives and gives himself freely. Come to him who loves with a love that's greater than you can ever imagine. Come to him whose love is eternal and inseparable. You and God, let us pray.

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