This Week's Gospel Sermons
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March 3, 2013
One of the most encouraging passagesin the New Testament is Romans the eighth chapter. Allow God to bless you by taking time to re-read it now. In these words the Holy Spirit through the Apostle gives us four great assurances. No person who takes this chapter to heart can ever faint from discouragement.
WE ARE FREE FROM OUR GUILT [vv. 1-8]. “No condemnation,” how sweet the sound. Some ask “Where is the God of justice?” The truth is that we all need mercy. The greatest problem we face is our sin and its consequence. People with a conscience feel their guilt. The fair application of the Law of God only makes our failure obvious. In opposition to a righteous God, we are failed, helpless, condemned and without excuse. But God, because He loves us, does not leave us to face our fate alone. He paid the price for us by giving His own Son to die for us [Romans 3:23-24; 5:1-8]. Because I have been redeemed, I do not have to live with guilt and fear. Hope is the gift of God.
WE HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD [vv.9-18]. Surely mere men are unworthy of such company. We are creatures of God at best, His rebellious creatures in fact. What use does the All-righteous, All-mighty have for us? He has selected us for an intimate, personal relationship. He adopts us as His children, and we call on Him as “Abba, Father.” We are made “heirs with Christ.” Christ is said to be “in us.” “The Spirit of God dwells” in us. He purposes nothing less than to make us His own temple! The Christian is the greatest example of remodeling in history. It would be an easier job to turn a lawn mower shed into the Taj Mahal, yet God has done it! In Ephesians 2 we are taught that God takes men dead in sin and makes them “a habitation of God through the Spirit.” It is truly “God’s workmanship.” How blessed we are, and how encouraged we should be. Do we walk each day with the knowledge that we are joined in this close relationship with the Trinity?
WE WILL BE MANIFESTED AS GOD’S OWN [vv. 19-25]. This intimacy with God does not display itself in “halos” or guarantees of an untroubled life. God’s people may live many years in this world overlooked and unappreciated (or worse—Matthew 10:22ff.) The promise here is that there will be a day of “manifestation,” when God Himself will identify His own. The resurrection of the righteous will announce the end of “bondage of corruption” and the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” God’s people should never be discouraged by the slander of this world. Do right, be patient, and remember “The Lord knows them that are His” (2Timothy 2:19). One day so will everyone else! John 5:28-29— “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
WE ARE BLESSED BY GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL CARE. God will acknowledge us as His own one day, but He has not forsaken us NOW! Romans 8:28, KJV—“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Would the God who planned our salvation, called us to obedience, justified us from our guilt and glorifies our vile weakness, AFTER ALL THIS, forsake His people? If God did not withhold His own Son, what would He not give? Who can charge us as guilty when God justifies? Who can condemn us when Christ intercedes for us? How can we doubt God’s care and oversight for us for the future, when we can see it in the past and present! These were not empty words for Paul personally. 2Timothy 4:16-18, KJV—“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” God works all things together for our good. All things might not be pleasant, but we must not be short-sighted. God sees all and He is our Protector.
It is essential to note that these great promises are CONDITIONAL! In verse one, Paul said they were for those IN CHRIST (cf. Romans 10:9-10; 6:1-4; Galatians 3:26‑27). In verses four, the promises are for those who WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT (cf. Galatians 5:16-24). The great promises are made to people who MIND the things of the Spirit and “through the Spirit MORTIFY the deeds of the body.” (cp. Colossians 3:1‑11; Romans 6:11-22]. Romans 8:14 tells us these promises are for those who are LED by the Spirit (that is, by His inspired word!) [cf. John 16:13; Acts 2:42; 1Corinthians 2:9-16; 2Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 3:3‑4, 6:17]. Paul’s words of comfort are for those SUFFERING with Christ, and WAITING PATIENTLY in the travail of pain—Romans 8:17,25. [cp. 2Timothy 2:9-13, 3:12-13].
The sobering fact is that there is no assurance given to those OUTSIDE of Christ. There is no blessing promised if we do NOT PUT SIN TO DEATH. The encouragement is that being “in Christ” and “walking after the Spirit” (and all the blessings that come with them) is a CHOICE WE CAN MAKE! Why would anyone remain in “condemnation” when the water of life is FREE? Matthew 11:28-30, KJV—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”