This is the sermon for Sunday, August 14th, 2011.
Unless noted, all Scripture is from the ESV.
Lessons from Paul part 2
The lesson concerning hope.
Romans 8:18-25 – 18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
This is the second sermon in our two part series, “Lessons from Paul.” Last time we looked at, “The secret to contentment.” Today we will look at, “The lesson concerning hope.”
Though we pray for healing in the midst of sickness, joy in the midst of sorrow, provision in the midst of lack, and deliverance in the midst of pain; our hope is not predicated on whether we receive these things in this life or not. That being said, what is our hope based upon?
Well, that is what this sermon is all about; and I believe this is the lesson we can learn from the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.
Let’s look at what Paul says about hope here in our text.
Our present suffering cannot compare to the glory that will one day be revealed.
Romans 8:18 – For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Notice that Paul talks about, “the sufferings of this present time…”
That should give us an indication that Paul is talking to Christians that are experiencing some type of suffering in their lives. Not only that, but Paul, the author of this epistle, experienced great suffering as well. Not only in the form of persecution, but great physical suffering as well. Some of Paul’s suffering that can be found in Scripture: stoning, shipwreck, arrest, physical threats, an eye condition (Galatians), something that Paul calls, “a thorn in the flesh,” fellow co-ministers abandoning him, fellow co-ministers being sick, etc… So we can see from these examples that Paul had lived a life, that while it was abundant in Christ, it was also filled with present suffering.
I would do you a dis-service if I didn’t declare that we too will suffer in our present time.
These sufferings will be persecution, maybe arrest, maybe lack, maybe sickness. I’m not trying to discourage anyone here, but at the same time I want to leave some realities with you this morning: we will suffer. But our suffering is not the greater thing revealed in this verse.
Paul goes on to say, “…are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
There is something that we should look forward too that is greater than our suffering, and that is this glory that is to be revealed to us. You see, it is a future glory, and this future glory is what our hope rests upon, not our present circumstances.
Let’s look at just a few Scripture passages that support that statement.
Philippians 3:20-21 – 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Colossians 3:4 – When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
1 John 3:2-3 – 2Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Even creation longs and hopes for this future glory.
Romans 8:19-22 – 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Creation itself is waiting and groaning with a deep anticipation of this future glory.
I don’t quite understand this honestly. Perhaps Paul is using a little hyperbole here, describing creation as a personal being. Whatever the case, Paul is referring to the fall, where man sinned and was separated from a holy God. And while we are saved and redeemed – there is a greater salvation and a greater day of redemption coming – when the curse of the fall will be completely erased, not just from mankind, but all of creation.
Let’s look at Isaiah’s description of this day, as well as what the author of Hebrews states.
Isaiah 11:6-9 – 6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Hebrews 9:28 – …so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
We patiently endure suffering now, because our hope is in an eternal future.
Romans 8:23-25 – 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
We hope, ultimately not for what we can see and experience in this life, but we hope for what we can see and experience in the next life in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, if we experience healing, miracles, deliverance, and provision in this life; while it is great – it will always be only temporary. But the salvation, healing, deliverance, and provision of the next life is eternal; it will never fade away nor grow old.
What is the lesson learned this morning? Not to put all your hopes in what you might receive from the Lord in this life; knowing there is a future life in His presence that the ultimate rewards are found. So whether you or I receive things from the Lord in this life or not, put your hope in Christ’s coming for you and I to completely do away with the effects of sin and to reward us with a new life – free from sin, sickness, poverty, sorrow and pain forever.