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Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 14

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 1:00 am

Finding Purpose-Romans with Russ Andrews episode 14

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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February 21, 2024 1:00 am

Today, Russ Andrews brings our fourtheenth lesson from the book of Romans.

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This is Stu Epperson from the Truth Talk Podcast, connecting current events, pop culture, and theology, and we're so grateful for you that you've chosen the Truth Podcast Network. It's about to start in just a few seconds. Enjoy it, and please share it around with all your friends. Thanks for listening, and thanks for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God, and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, Glorifying God by Helping Men Find Their Purpose for Living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us on our website at

online at, or connect with us on Facebook. Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. And Lord, you're the one who draws us to yourself by your grace, and you're the one who implants faith within our souls so that we might believe, and so we might be given the gift of eternal life. And Lord, because we know you, and because we know the promises in your Word, we have hope.

It's not just a hope zone, it's a real hope. And Lord, I pray for the man who's sitting here tonight who does not know this hope, that he will hear you speaking to him, and that you will draw him to yourself. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. All right, men, I want you to take your Bibles, everybody take your Bibles, okay, and turn to Romans chapter 8. And we're going to actually be looking, I'm going to begin with verse 14.

We're going to look at verses 14 through 17, and I've entitled tonight's message, The Hope of Coming Glory. Florence Chadwick was the very first woman to swim the English Channel, and she actually did it both ways. And then in 1952, she decided that she wanted to swim from Catalina Island to the shore of California, which was a distance of 19 miles. So one day during that year, she stepped into the waters of the Pacific and began to swim. Now this particular day, the weather was so foggy that she could not even see the boats that were going along beside her to protect her from sharks.

And as I said, it was very foggy. So in spite of the fog, Florence swam for 15 hours until she ran out of steam and begged to be taken out of the water. But her mother was in one of those boats, and she cried out to her daughter, you're so close, you can make it.

You just need to press on. And so Florence gave it her best effort and began swimming again. But finally, after struggling a few more miles, she became so physically and emotionally exhausted that she just stopped. She was dead in the water. And so then some of the men in one of the boats pulled her into the boat out of the water, and once she was in the boat, she could actually see the shoreline, which at this point was less than a half a mile away. So she had been in the water and made it 18 and a half miles, and all she had left was one half mile. But she gave up.

At a news conference the next day, she said, all I could see was the fog. I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it. Consider her words, I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it. What would seeing the shore have done for her? It would have given her hope.

And hope would have given her the strength to finish the race, the journey. I believe that the same is true for those of us who follow Christ. If we can just keep our eyes fixed on the shoreline of heaven instead of this earth, this will give us hope. And hope will give us patient endurance, which will enable us to finish this journey, this sometimes very difficult journey known as the Christian life. If you read through the Bible, you'll find all kinds of incredible promises concerning the fact that heaven is our real home and that we are aliens and strangers here on earth. And one day we're going to share in the coming glory of God.

And this should give us hope. And it was hope that encouraged Paul to press on in spite of all that he went through, all the persecutions, all the hardships, all the difficulties that he faced during his journey as a Christian. In Philippians chapter 3 verses 12 through 14, Paul writes, not that I've already obtained all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. I love the fact that he says forgetting what is behind. Do you have some things you need to forget? Maybe some sins in your life that you're not proud of. All you have to do is confess them. The Lord wipes them clean, washes you clean, and then you just forget them. Because God says he remembers them no more.

And then you can press on. So what was it that Paul held on to? Well, he took hold of the same goal for which Jesus had taken hold of him. And the goal for Paul and the goal for Jesus for Paul was for Paul to become more Christ-like. And Paul had great hope that one day, as Scripture promises, he would be just like Christ. This is the same promise that we have.

If you're in Christ, one day you're going to be just like Christ. And this should give us hope. So let me ask you, do you come here tonight with hope? Or do you come here tonight feeling hopeless? Are you going through something so difficult that you can't see up from down, but you feel lost? Are you discouraged by something you may have done? Or do you feel like you haven't turned into the man that you wanted to be?

You feel like you've blown it. Well, if that's the way you feel tonight, I want you to listen to this message. And my prayer for you is that tonight you will leave here with hope. And again, if you come here tonight and you need hope, I want you to listen carefully as we read Romans 8. I want to begin with verses 14 through 17. And I want you to listen carefully to what Paul says. Here's what he writes beginning with verse 14. He says, Those who are led by the Spirit are sons of God.

Did you hear that? For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption as sons, and by him we cry, what? Abba, Father. And then it says the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now, if we are children, then we are what? Heirs, heirs of God, and coheirs with who?

Christ. And then he goes on to say, If indeed we share in his sufferings, in order that we may also share in his glory. Now, I want you to know this, particularly with Romans 8. Romans 8 is addressed to who? Believers or unbelievers?

Believers. And as believers, Paul informs us that we have been adopted in God's family and we are now his true sons. Now, if you sit here tonight and you've never placed your trust in Christ, and you would love to be called a son of God, then you need to first confess your sins, believe the gospel, and place your trust in Jesus, and then you will become a son of God.

Jesus will become like your big brother. Yet to confirm the reality that we are truly sons of God, Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to live within us, and he testifies with our spirit that we belong to him. So if you heard that testimony within you, it's not an audible voice, but you just sense the Holy Spirit's in you, and he confirms this when you read the Bible that you sense him speaking to you. Have you sensed that as you read God's word? That God is actually speaking to you? And listen, because we have the Holy Spirit in him, because we've been adopted as sons, when we pray, we can kneel down and cry out to Abba, Father, and we can cast all our burdens on him.

Do you know why? Because the Bible says he cares for us. Did you know that God cares for you?

Everything that's going on in your life, he cares for you. Now look at verse 17. Right here in verse 17, Paul gives us a great promise, again, that we are now heirs of God along with his son Jesus. In this verse, I want you to notice, you won't know this in your English, but in the Greek word that's spelled ei, and it's pronounced a, it's actually translated in the NIV, and probably in most of your translations, it's the word if, and that's really not a good translation. It really should be translated since or because, and that changes the whole verse.

Listen to how it should read. Because or since we are God's children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs. You see the difference? Because you are a son of God, you're also his heir. And since Christ is heir of all things, we as his co-heirs are also heirs of all things.

And I want you to understand this. We're not just heir of part of what Christ is heir to, like he's dividing it up among us. We are heirs to everything, and he's heir to the whole universe.

I don't know all that this means, but it sounds pretty good to me. And one day, we're going to come to realize exactly what this means, that we are a co-heir with Christ. In verse 32, which we're not going to get to until next week, but it reinforces this truth. Here's what Paul writes in verse 32. He, that is the father, who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all.

I want to say this right here. Again, if you're sitting here and you don't know Christ, I want you to know this. God gave up his son just for you. If you'd been the only man on this planet who would have ever believed, he would have gone to the cross just for you.

That's how much he loves you. So he who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for all of us, would not also along with him graciously give us all things. Why is he going to give us all things? Because of what?

His grace. And one day, perhaps soon, we're going to realize all that this entails. Now here's a warning. Because we are sons of God, it says that we will also share in the sufferings of Christ. It's not a matter of if, but when. And the closer you walk with Jesus in this world, the more you're going to share in his sufferings. And because we will share in his sufferings, we will also share in his glory one day. So do you see how the promise of God unfolds? First we are his sons and heirs, then comes suffering, and one day comes glory. This is God's promise. Once you're his son, you will become glorious one day.

In John 15, 18 through 20, Jesus gives this warning. He says, if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. In other words, the world would call you its friend. John, I think it's 15, he calls us what? What does Jesus call us?

Friends. Would you rather be a friend of the world or a friend of Jesus? But he says if you belong to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. But I've chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you. No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

They will treat you this way because of what? Because of his name. Just his name brings persecution.

I want you to know this. Following Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with the prosperity gospel, which never says anything about suffering. You'll never hear Joel Osteen stand up and talk about suffering.

Every day is a Friday with him. And most Christians who live in very difficult places around the world, such as parts of Africa where they're experiencing famine and persecution, even they're being massacred. And then in communist countries like China and North Korea, where you better not let people know you're a Christian unless you want to be imprisoned or executed. And then in Muslim countries like Iran and Hindu countries like Hindi, the people that live in these places around the world, they have no concept of the prosperity gospel.

In fact, it confuses them. And this is why Al Mola said, he's the president of Southern Seminary, he said, if our message cannot be preached with credibility in Mosul, then it should not be preached where? Right here in America, particularly in Houston.

You all know who's in Houston, don't you? Joel Osteen. He said this as a direct comment to Joel. So what did Jesus say? He said if we follow him, we will face suffering. And why are we going to face suffering?

Because he says the world is going to hate us. We also live in a world that is under the control of Satan. That's 1 John 5.19. It says the whole world is under the control of the evil one. And Satan, who's the evil one, he comes after those, particularly those who belong to Christ and who have fallen to him.

He's our enemy. Moreover, you can look out around the world and you can see that it's dying because of what? The fall. Sin. And because the world is dying, because creation is dying, creation does what?

Groans. Look at verses 18-22. Paul says, for I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits with eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it.

Why? In hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Verse 22 says, for we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Can't you just hear creation groaning when you hear, I've never heard a tornado but it sounds like a freight train apparently, or an earthquake, it makes a loud noise, tornadoes, when you see hospitals full of sick people? Paul begins by informing us that the sufferings we endure in this world will ultimately one day be overshadowed by far by the glory that we're going to share one day in Jesus Christ.

And this is what you give us hope. Years ago, Johnny Evans, who is the executive director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in North Carolina, I believe, he invited Dave Dravecki to come speak at a banquet that I attended right here in Raleigh, I think it was out of the North Raleigh Hilton, about 500 people there. Dave Dravecki, if you don't know who he was or is, he was an all-star pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and he played in the 1984 World Series. And unfortunately, he was left-headed. He pitched with his left hand. He was diagnosed with a tumor at the top of his left arm and eventually had to be amputated.

Actually, it was quartering. They come in here and they take your collarbone, part of your shoulder. He says when he looked himself in the mirror the next day, he felt like half a man. And as I sit there listening to him share his testimony with only one arm, he shared that his three favorite verses in the Bible are found in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verses 16 through 18.

Let me read those to you. Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we have been renewed day by day.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. So right here, we have the key to living the Christian life.

You know what the key is? We have to fix our eyes on what is unseen. We must keep our focus on heavenly things, things above, the Bible says. Keep your mind on things above, not on earthly things. And our focus on heaven, on these things above, will give us what?

Hope. Hebrews 6, 18 through 20, three of my favorite verses in the Bible. The writer of Hebrews, possibly Paul, he says, I want you to listen carefully to this. We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It, that is our hope, enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. So this hope, then, is our anchor. We can cling to this anchor, this anchor of hope, when we go through the storms of life. And it says that we who have fled to take hold of it, we should flee to Jesus, particularly when we're going through difficult circumstances. And this is where I go back, if you're sitting here and you don't know Jesus and you're going through some difficult things, cling to Jesus.

Run to him, and you can leave him tonight, here tonight with hope. Now look at verse 18. Here we see that Paul is personifying creation, and what I mean by that, he speaks of creation as if it's a person standing on his tiptoes, gazing into the future.

What's he looking for? He's looking to see, catch us now, when God is going to lift the veil and show the world who the true sons of God are, who are his true children. Because right now, often, you can't tell the difference because some Christians are jerks and some non-believers are actually very nice. And so, sometimes we can't tell the difference. That's sad, to be honest with you. So right now, throughout the whole world, believers are despised, rejected, and disgraced. And if you walk closely with Jesus, you'll feel this rejection. You'll lose a friend. You won't be invited to something. You'll be excluded. That's just mild persecution.

In places like Iran, you might be executed. But see, one day, did you all know this? One day, God is going to bring this disgrace to an end.

Did you know that? We read about this in Isaiah, in chapter 25, verses 8 and 9, where Isaiah writes, the sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces. He's talking about all believers. He's going to wipe away the tears one day. And then he will remove, he says, he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken. When he says that, all scripture means the Lord has spoken, but he really means it here.

The Lord has spoken. In that day, they will say, talking about believers, surely this is our God. We trust in him. See, we will rejoice one day that we trusted in Christ. Why do we trust in him?

Who gets the credit? God. He's the one who gives us faith. But we trust in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord. We trusted in him. Now let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.

Doesn't this give you hope that one day he's going to remove the disgrace that we face in this world? Not only does creation wait for the sons of God to be revealed to the world, but creation also waits to be liberated from its bondage to decay. In Genesis chapter 3, at the very beginning of the Bible, we see that the moment Adam and Eve rebelled against God, God cursed the earth. It began to produce thorns and thistles. It began to work the soil, and it was torsion. It began to, like I say, to produce thorns and thistles. More of it began to die, and the decay that we see everywhere is evidence that the world is dying. All you have to do is look around. My house is dying.

I found out I've got some rotten wood on, and I've got to paint it. I just can't keep up with it, because the world is in such decay. John MacArthur writes, Such is the destructiveness of sin that one man's disobedience brought corruption to the entire universe. The whole universe. That's why you see falling stars. The universe is decaying.

It's declining. Decay, disease, MacArthur writes, pain, death, natural disaster, pollution, and all other forms of evil will never cease until the one who sent the curse removes it and creates a new heaven and a new what? Earth. Now, if you want to take your Bible and turn with me to Revelation chapter 21. In Revelation chapter 1, you don't need to go there, because I want you in chapter 21. John is found where? On the island of Patmos. I've been there.

It's a real island. The Lord appears to him, and he gives him a series of visions. I think there are seven visions all throughout the book of Revelation. When you come to Revelation 21, Jesus is giving John a vision of what's coming in the future. And John says, then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the first earth had passed away. And then in verse 5 it says, he who was sitting on the throne, who would that be? Jesus said, I am making everything new. And then he said, write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. You can count on what Jesus said.

Now, I want you all to know this. In the English, where we have one word for new, the Greek has two words for new. So when you see the word new in the Bible, you need to have a Greek book, Bible that you can look at and see which Greek word is being used there. Because one Greek word means new in time, one Greek word means new in quality. If it was new in time, here in Revelation 21, that would mean new in time, that God is wanting to destroy this earth and then create a brand new one.

And that's not what this word means, it means new in quality. It means that God is not going to destroy this earth, he's going to restore it. He's going to renew it, just like he's going to renew our bodies one day. And then in Revelation 22 verse 3, John writes, no longer will there be any curse. See, one day in the near future. You look at the world, perhaps this is going to be pretty soon, I hope so. God is going to lift the curse from this earth and he's going to set creation free from decay and death. And in this old dying world, he's going to transform into a glorious new creation that I believe will be more glorious than the original creation. And believers will live forever on this new earth. Can you get excited about that?

I can. Who am I going to live with? Jesus. God says, I will dwell with them, they will be my people, and I will be their God. Paul continues in verses 22 through 25 to reveal that not only does creation grow, but who else grows?

We do. Look what he writes, not only so, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit grown inwardly as we eagerly await for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our noticeably bodies. For in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

So why do we grow? John Stotz, who was the late rector of All Souls Church in London and he wrote 50 books, great theologian, he writes that Christians are in a dilemma, caught in a tension between what God has inaugurated by giving us a spirit and what he will consummate in our final adoption and redemption. We groan with discomfort and longing. The Holy Spirit indwelling us gives us joy, and the coming glory gives us hope, but the interim suspense gives us pain. So we have hope mixed with pain. Again, why do we groan? Because we live in a fallen world in which we experience pain and suffering in our physical bodies as we age and death draws nearer. And so, men, we are engaged in two battles, a physical battle with our bodies in decay, but we're also engaged in a spiritual battle because we have a mighty adversary that the Bible depicts as a roaring lion who's looking for someone to devour, so he comes after who?

You and me. He wants to destroy our witness. Moreover, God has opened our spiritual eyes so that believers can actually see all the evil that's in the world from a world that's in open rebellion against God.

Can you not see that today, particularly in our country? We are defying God. We are mocking God.

And I'm going to be honest with you. If we're not under God's judgment, my name is not Russ Andrews. We are under God's judgment. Should that bring fear?

No. Why? Because God says, in judgment, I will remember mercy. And I pray that God will have mercy on our country. We don't deserve it, but we should all be praying for that. We have a lot of believers in this country, so maybe God will have mercy on us, but if he doesn't, he's disciplined our nation for a reason. He wants us to come to him. In the midst of our groaning, we have hope.

Why? Because, Paul says, we have the firstfruits of the Spirit. Who is the firstfruits of the Spirit?

It's the Holy Spirit. He's in us as a deposit, guaranteeing not only our salvation, but the coming glory that we're going to experience one day in heaven. So what's this glory going to be like? Well, it will be our final adoption as God's sons. We are adopted, and we will be adopted one day when our bodies are transformed to be like Christ. John Stott says that there is in store for us an even richer child-father relationship when we will be fully revealed as his children, that is, as the sons of God. As we've learned in Romans, we've already been spiritually redeemed by the blood of Christ, but now we're waiting, man, for our bodies to be redeemed.

What does that mean? It means the transformation of our bodies. In Philippians 3, verses 20 and 21, Paul writes, But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that we will be like his glorious body.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5, verses 1 through 5. Now, we know that if the earthly tent, that's this temporal body that we live in, is destroyed, when is it going to be destroyed? When do we die? We have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven. He's talking about, he's comparing our newly transformed body in heaven as a building that is related to a tent. Now we live in a tent, one day we will have a body, a dwelling. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose, and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. See, God's purpose, man, is to create a family for himself. We are his sons, and he's looking forward to the day when our bodies will be transformed, and we will live with them in heaven.

Paul goes on to describe our bodies that we'll have in 1 Corinthians 15, where he says they will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual, I think that means supernatural, and immortal. This is just part of the glory that awaits us. So men, we live in a fallen world, we're experiencing pain, but we have what? Hope. And what gives us hope? It's our faith in God's Word. Now faith has been sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. See, our faith is a certain faith.

It's not a hope-so kind of faith. Here in Romans 8, we see that creation groans, and that we groan, but there's one other who groans. Look at verses 26-27. In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness, we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. What I want you to see here is that we have the Holy Spirit in us, praying for us. He actually groans with us.

Why is he groaning? Because he's experiencing the pain we're going through. Not only do we have the Holy Spirit interceding for us, but who else is interceding for us? Jesus. Hebrews 7.25 says, Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lifts the intercede for us.

I want you to think about this. We have the Holy Spirit praying for us from within us, and we have Jesus praying for us in heaven. The Bible says that the prayers of a righteous man are what?

Powerful and effective. Can you imagine the power and the effectiveness, knowing that Jesus is praying for us, and that the Holy Spirit is praying for us? Now that we know that the Holy Spirit lives in us, and that he guarantees our final adoption as sons of God, he also guarantees the coming renewal of creation, and the final transformation of our physical bodies, how should we live?

This is what I want to close with. How should we live knowing all this? First, we should live with our eyes focused on the truth of God's Word. It's God's Word where we come to know the truth about ourselves, and the promises that he has for us. He's going to fulfill all of them. Second, we should focus not on the things of this world which are temporary, but the things of heaven which are going to last how long?

Forever. And finally, we should live with the hope of coming glory, which is exactly how the people in the Old Testament lived. And I'm going to close with this from Hebrews chapter 11. We should live the same way they lived.

Listen to what the rite of Hebrews says. All these people in the Old Testament were still, that is the saints of the Old Testament, were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one.

You hear that? They were longing for a better country. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Doesn't that give you hope? Are you longing for a better country, a heavenly one? Well, I got news for you.

There's one coming, and it may be coming soon. And this should give all of us who are in Christ the hope of glory. Now listen, I'm getting ready to close with a prayer, but if you're sitting here tonight and you don't have that hope and you want to talk to me afterwards, I'm going to be standing right up here.

You come up here and we can talk about how to have hope, okay? Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your word. Thank you, dear God, that we can trust it.

It's true. Your word will never pass away. We can count on it. And Lord, you're the one who guides us through this life, who prays for us, who hears our prayers. And you care for us, and you're the one who gives us hope. And I pray, Lord, that tonight every man here can believe with this hope. It's in Jesus' name that I pray, amen. Well, thank you, men, for coming. I'll see you next Tuesday night. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 03:23:18 / 2024-02-21 03:36:59 / 14

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