This broadcaster has 363 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
October 8, 2018 11:29 am
A young couple eagerly anticipate the birth of the child, but when they go to for the ultrasound there told the heartbreaking news that there's no heartbeats and their joy in their wonder turns to tears and confusion and suffering an 18-year-old young man full of life and follow Jesus Christ begins to have problems with his balance sees his physician and after some tests is told he has an inoperable brain tumor. Young Christian woman woman in her late 30s mice for the first time antibodies a strong Christian young man and they are ecstatically happy. But after only six months of their marriage. The young man dies tragically in an accident. Three examples from my own life of situations I had to deal with, and I'm sure all of us encounter such circumstances in life, tears and illness confusion and suffering? Asking this morning is how do we as followers of Jesus deal with suffering does becoming a Christian now that those who are baptized are that we have received Christ as our Savior. Does it mean that our life is going to be full of success that were going to be healthy and wealthy, and have a tremendous comfortable life here on earth that with the Bible teaches that those who say that's exactly what the Bible teach that you can have your best life now there are those who teach that if your eligibility for suffering in your life at the roots. There is a spiritual problem.
Well, that's false is and that we don't want to drink from the cool aid of that very biblical and shallow teaching, but even we who don't accept it may feel. Perhaps subconsciously or perhaps of the conscious level we may feel that if we are's following Jesus Christ. Suffering should disappear from our lives ought at least there should be less solve it.
And when suffering comes into your life, it isn't.
Isn't it often the case that we are discouraged, we may think that God is unfair.
We ask why did this happen to me. Why did God allow this to come into my family. Why didn't God intervened of God is powerful. If he does miracles. Why hasn't he acted in my life.
Why doesn't he get me out of this unbearable situation. We had one lady describe her suffering. She was baptized. What's been your personal experience of suffering experienced suffering in your life. I think other than the very young on the exceptional person.
I'm sure the vast, vast majority of us here could say yes we know something, to a greater or lesser extent, we know something about suffering and if we haven't experienced it personally when suddenly seeing it in the lives of others. Does the Bible say about this others is issued, subject to Paul. I think of the some very helpful verses that were going to read were continuing in our study of the book of Romans and if you ever Bible you can turn there with me. In Romans chapter 8 and we come this morning and were going to be looking at verses 17 through 27. I won first read verse 17, which I mentioned last week, and some of you afterwards came to me and said Pastor why did you deal with the section on suffering answered in dealing with it now and I ran out of time. Last week, but any reverse 17 public contacts Paul is presenting this great truth that we were following Jesus that were part of the family of God. The God in his grace has adopted us into his eternal family, and we are saying about you that God is good all of the time and that God loves us and we rejoice in that notice I will. Paul says, Romans 817 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, we rejoice with that. But read on, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Paul is telling us something very profound that are present suffering is the path to future glory that suffering is not optional for the Christian, but all of us to a greater or lesser extent going to experience suffering those in the family of God suffer, and those of you who have been following Christ for many years.
No, that being a Christian does not render your immune from pain and trauma and abuse in loneliness and betrayal and prejudice and suffering. Listen to the words of our Lord Jesus in John chapter 16 verse 33.
Our Lord Jesus says I've said these things to you that in me you may have peace. That is the promise of the gospel that in Christ you may have peace with any goes on to say this in the same verse in the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I've overcome the world. And then the apostle Peter, a man who knew about suffering.
In first Peter chapter 4. Listen to what Peter says to Christians who have been persecuted for their faith in the first century and of being dispersed all over the Roman Empire.
He says to them. At first Peter 412. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though some, as though something strange were happening to you. Don't be surprised when suffering comes says, but rejoice, rejoice. Peter yes, rejoice insofar as you share Christ suffering that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed, Peter, and our Lord and Paula really saying the same thing as you are going to suffer in this life, but look forward glory is coming with suffering. Do when it comes to life, it often removes these props of our lives that security that we thought we had with his or her health at her job at our family things that we perhaps have taken for granted and they are gone and that brings us face-to-face with God doesn't is not the case that in your suffering, you're much more apt to collect to God and Julie more and more on the grace of God and learn to trust him more and more BM leather field puts it this way. He says the vine clings to the Oaktree during the fiercest of storms. Although the violence of nature may uproot the oak twinkling tendrils still cling to it if the vine is on the side of the tree opposite the wind. The great bulk as its protection if it is on the exposed side. The tempest only presses it closer to the trunk and he says this in some of the storms of life God intervenes and shelters us is what we all 1000 he says while in others he allows us to be exposed so that we may price more closely to him that is that all of life. Everything is under the sovereign good and loving hand of God, particularly when we don't understand what's going on followers of Jesus to suffer if they thought they the gospel was good use. The gospel is good news.
But you know the Bible is a very very realistic book is a book of realism in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and of course supremely exemplified in the life of our Lord suffering is part of life in the book of Psalms around what we called laments laments was a lament element is something you do when people suffer in the Psalms are laments the psalmist and the people of God are calling him to God when there suffering. These are laments the bagpipes are great for laments so I will bagpipes and funerals. I do really think King David must've played the bagpipes to zero. All these laments someone said that the Irish sent the bagpipes to Scotland as a joke and we didn't get the joke and we kept the my wife is not Scottish says that Scott is gentleman someone who knows how to play the bagpipes and chooses not to.
I don't agree with that but whatever you think of the bagpipes. They provide a brilliant lament for something about that music elemental plaintive cry. We go through times of lament for some of you, you know exactly what I mean. That pain that trauma that confusion that comes on you. Sometimes in an instant, sometimes with one phone call your old life was put upside time of the times. It comes slowly on your times. In fact, Paul is going to use a word, the strange word in the passage were going to be together, just the minute he uses this word growing uses it three times and they're going to stand in the minute and read it.
Notice his use of the words good on gas followers of Jesus, growing but Paul is saying here in verse 17 of Romans eight that we suffer with him, that is with our Savior in order that we may also be glorified with him that suffering. In fact, is the pathway to the glory of God that is suffering is not the final word of the gospel. We do suffer, but we've a glorious home wonderful inheritance. We are heirs and joint heirs with Jesus Christ and we rejoice in that last. We didn't tweak that we belong to Christ, that we are heirs with our Savior. Hebrews tells us that God the father appointed his son. Heirs of all things, and we are fellow heirs with Christ, and we will be glorified pause when he said in verse 30. If we been justified. That is, if wings. If we have been saved by the grace of God we will be glorified going to be a fool, and the final deliverance from sin and evil than this wonderful chapter politicking is the very heights of Christian experience were children of God were adopted into God's family and were heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ for the future. We have not sent and read Romans eight verses 18 through 27.
When you need it with me. Please, for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until no, I'm not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit growing inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope for who hopes for what he sees but if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 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 Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God in man, you may be seated. Paul is saying here that are present suffering is insignificant compared with future glory together and present suffering is insignificant compared with future glory. Verse 18 for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us that Paul knew about suffering, he was beaten he was thrown in prison. He was stoned he was shipwrecked he was falsely accused.
This man knew about suffering the sufferings of real, yes.
He says a very real and very painful, but they are in fact insignificant compared with the future glory that I will enter into Martin Jones is that one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith is that we can be certain about the ultimate even when we are uncertain about an immediate your insinuation today and you don't know I was going to talk like that is true, that may be your health or your work situation just don't know. I was going to turn our that's true uncertain about the image it but for the believer in Christ with absolutely certain about the ultimate were going home to heaven. Paul has said earlier in chapter 5, verse two that we rejoice in the glory of God is difficult for us. Is this something for me to try understand that future glory of God. John in the book of Revelation when he describes as the new heavens and you are he he says that the results on their you don't need the sun because the glory of God and the Lamb of God is the lights and that you Jerusalem wonderful but were not yet barely before they crying, there's suffering before the glory that is suffering but doesn't suffering, make us long for heaven. Horatius Bonner writes we are others wayfaring man wandering in the lonely nights to see dimly upon a distant mountain peak, the reflection of the sun that never arises here, but which shall never set in the new heavens thereafter and this is enough. It comforts and cheers us on our dark and rugged one thing. Suffering does makes it look beyond the suffering of this world to the endless day when we will see the glory of God. Nepal write something remarkable here in verses 19 through 22. He says that God's creation groans and presents objection which it ensures and hope they do notice that when we were reading in verse 19 for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the son of God, that even the subhuman creation of the world of the universe of the cosmos in some way, is eagerly longing for this future glory. Paul uses of an interesting expression. He says in verse 19, the creation waits with eager longing, stretching its neck in 1995, a good denied her son Christopher were living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the G-7 summit took place than when the president Clinton present United States was going to their Yeltsin of Russia John major of Britain and they were all there and I thought I wanted to see all these word leaders and for some reason I was invited to the summit so I had to go and lined up and I good. He said I can't be bothered doing that and so Christopher, who I don't know was panel and that the time he came he and I went down this week came as a huge car during the building and the cloud anticipated the going a certain way and I thought you will never ever going to see the world leaders of too many people and I looked and I saw Cardinal the top and I saw some snipers on the cup of the rooftop solicited Christopher.
You know, it might be some of them come down this road and so let's wait and the chance that they will come up. It Christopher on the windowsill and the commode and sure enough, here comes some the world leaders, including Pres. Nixon. I was a US citizen at the time my son was so I said to him I would introduce it to your president.
But as we waited. What were we doing we were straining our next we were on tiptoe, looking eagerly expecting that's a picture and then when Pres. Clinton came, he was as close as they are and I said to Christopher to cancel your president. I shook hands with them as well that hand shaken the hand of Bill Clinton. Believe it or not benefits but we were eagerly looking for the picture creation as well as on his tiptoes looking forward to that future events of redemption creation.
Today, experiences, futility and frustration because of the fall, sweat and tears thorns and thistles, the creation is unable presently to fulfill its potential. Paul is saying there's a bondage to decay and corruption. The creation was created by God is perfect, but it is falling and we live in a fallen world. We were at the beach Carolina beach earlier this year and is him walking on the beach. I see some people and we say to me to got to see this and they said here and here is a sea turtles nest and there's a woman there who claim to be an expert on it and she says there's about 70 eggs there and I said what are they going to hatch and that she said that I had probably within the next week, usually at night.
She said if you want you can join us in and we could watch and I said well you know I'm interested in little sea turtles, but after 2 o'clock in the morning. Thank you. And then I said to her. I think with our picture one.
I said to her, of all of the sea turtles. What are the chances of getting to adulthood and she said about one in the thousands in Exeter. Why is that she's a brother some of the predator to that of her side, and they were making a pass for them. She said, often when they come either disoriented and the lights. The artificial lights. The going the wrong direction. And then there's predators as foxes and and dogs and seagulls and people and she said the calculated only one I did for thousands of these little baby turtles make it one illustration of billions of things wrong in our world is true. Our world is does display something of the glory of God. But Paul is saying are greater in a more glorious display of the glory of God is coming. Meantime, what does it do verse 22. The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until no as followers of Jesus, we should be concerned with our environment. Good ecology is based on good theology, but don't expect your life and don't expect the world to be perfect.
We know that we think of hurricane Florence. It devastated the Carolinas just a few days ago absolutely horrific the devastation just from one predicate world and we say it shouldn't be like that something is wrong. There's natural disasters. Think of the tsunami in Indonesia that killed countless hundreds, policy, and you know the creation itself ever thought of this is going to have a rebirth there's going to be a future glory there's going to be a future liberation. There is hope for creation. It's going to be redeemed and is going to be transformed and our enemy will be destroyed and we the people of God are going to experience what a new heavens and the new earth.
The notice verse 21, the creation itself will be sent free. As I the Old Testament prophet gives a glimpse of it in Isaiah 11 verse six. Listen, he says in that day. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie lie down with the young goat try that now the calf and the lion and the fatted calf together and the little child shall lead them little child leaving what we call wild animals not in the new creation the car when the bear shall graze the young July going together line shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the whole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the others than than they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the Lord for the arts shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Looking forward to the Isaiah 35 verse one the wilderness and the dryland shall be glad the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus.
Some of us were in Israel a few months ago and were in that terrible wilderness healing.
Nothing could go there and yes, something is going to grow the desert when the bloom with roses shall blossom abundant places, Isaiah, and rejoice with joy and singing the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it.
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God first stand in the ransom of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
This is the establishment of the great messianic kingdom which will go on to the eternal state. This is our future. Meantime, Paul is saying, creation groans, but not only creation groans versus 23 to 25. We grown the people of God, grown and present sufferings which are to be enjoyed and hope versus 23 through 25 not only the creation, size, Paul, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons redemption of our bodies get older you grown more UV said to me recently. Getting old isn't for sissies. It's not you find you're going to see a doctor. More and more tired of all these texts, even when were younger, we know that disease problems can come into her life unexpectedly at any time. This is true of all of us life.
His heart steers this pain or suffering and death. Paul is saying that we groaning but he says you got the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit only to remember that you got the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit what the firstfruits is the fortes that the anticipation of something which is better, slightly young man gives the young lady and engagement ring and she loves to show the engagement ring but wonderful. Although the engagement ring is it's pointing to something greater, something more permanent. As far as pointing to marriage.
So God and his grace supernaturally gives us the Holy Spirit who, as we saw last week witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. And this is a fortes. This is an anticipation of something which is much better for John says, beloved, we are God's children are and what we will be has not yet appeared but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is looking forward to that day is as you world is very narrow, very small. Just you, you think all of your life is banged up on this earth policy ignore the people of God where people of hope that this hope helps us to persevere. No were not saved by hope, but our salvation is characterized by hope all is writing about that hope of the gospel of your trust is not in Christ you have no hope.
This life is all you have.
But for those whose trust is in the Savior. Yes, we grown but we patiently endure suffering with his sure hope this certain hope.
Paul says we eagerly wait and we patiently wait and as we endure this present suffering was another blessing in verses 26 and 27 of present suffering is helped by the intercession of the Holy Spirit is this amazing what pulsates here. Likewise the Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness for we don't know what to pray for as we are, 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 Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God is discomforting isn't suffering and pain in her confusion got the something wonderful. He gives us the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit comes to our help in our weaknesses, and you find that in your weakness in your suffering and your difficult circumstance is sometimes can hardly pray and if you get down on your knees you you really don't know what to pray for pulsates here on this it the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. That is, pictures he comes to her side. He comes to help us carry this burden. It was wonderful when your suffering and you're going through difficulties of for a friend or a colleague or a husband or wife of a child, a friend append to come to her side. We appreciate that so much no way someone who comes in our pain and are suffering even their very presence is a great encouragement to us with is also the case that the pains and suffering. No human being can help us fight.
Sometimes we may feel we are with alone pulses listen in these circumstances, the Holy Spirit comes and helps us in our weakness, even he says here we do not know what to pray for as we ought. I find myself in that circumstance. From time to time you should be praying but is so troubled your mind that perhaps is whirling the pain, the grief is so deep that you can highly articulate up a prayer we were not able to pray as we ought. Reminds me of the great story of King Jehoshaphat in the Old Testament king of Judah. In the second Chronicles 20. He's a good king but his face with a huge enemy from Edom and the coming towards the people of God and Jehoshaphat which of the many things that is no way we can beat them and then he say something wonderful.
Besides, we don't know what to do, but our eyes on God to reveal the idea what I'm going to do here. Ideally, this is the time now, but my eyes on God and if you read second Chronicles 20 you know of God supernaturally intervenes and helps them. We do that we get your eyes not on the circumstances and underpaying people doing this we get your eyes on the Lord. This indwelling Spirit intercedes for us) is in verse 34 that the sun intercedes for us to intercede is to plead on someone's behalf present as an advocate's is like if you go to court and you don't know what to say unto you, highly varied good attorney. He is your advocate. He knows what to say he gets his instructions from your and he's able to present your case much much better than you could yourself because you're all confused with the law on the facts and do so much in turmoil. He would hardly put two words together. If you stood before the judge, but your advocate knows as his post with the Holy Spirit dance. He says here with groanings too deep for words. Know this is not speaking in tongues.
These groanings are too deep for words unspoken but God knows our hearts and God knows this minutes desires the spirit knows the spirit understands and he intercedes for us to God as a boy visiting my grandparents as we did every summer. Bill and the little fishing village in the north of Scotland where my mother was born and we would go there every summer.
She lived in a very simple home. She my granddad is beside the harbor.
Most days that has the number lock the doors and we would be willing in the morning inside usually raining outside and that would be in the house maybe eating breakfast, and all of a sudden, a man appears in the living room. He did knock you just can write in.
He was delivering the papers every day other than the Lord today. I grandparents got the paper delivered it was before social media rights. Although the gossip in the village of the need social media and that this young man. My parents were one of the last to get the newspaper and he had been in many of the houses and had picked up some of the one might say gossip the things that were going on in the village and that he would go from house to house and telling what was going on in the in the village but there's a huge problem. His name was John.
We call them paper John because he deliver the paper he was down syndrome and as he came and spoke we could understand what he was saying he got quite excited but my grandmother knew his mother, my grandmother had known him all of his life and he loved my grandmother and my grandmother loved him and she would listen to John as it were, good morning. Seeing these words switch to us what incomprehensible and she would intercede on his behalf to us. Think pictures of what God in his grace does to you my dear brother Mike, your sister burden that you may have today may be very, very deep, very very painful.
Something perhaps I got unable to share.
We have one lady who find it so difficult to share her story and you may be like unable to articulate it to share its but the spirit comes with groanings too deep for words and he intercedes on your behalf, and he does this, according to the will of God you you you want to do God's will. I know you do your follower of Christ. What you don't know whether this you don't know how this is going to type notes and you in the darkness.
It seems in our suffering. Paul reminds us not only future glory get your eyes on that and however deep the valley that you're in is small compared with the eternal glory of the eternal God, as you shall look on his face, and with all of the redeemed praise the one who loved you and gave himself for you my brother, my sister don't lose heart.
Persevere pray that your eyes on the Lord God is working out his purposes in your life. Just as followers of Jesus. We've incredible blessings, Paul has said ones were under the law of said now there's no condemnation ones were living according to the flesh 90s is your living according to the spirit. Once you serve the devil. Now your children of God.
Serving Christ, but the suffering and despair. This is the great hope of the gospel with an incredible future. We have Paul is telling us that present suffering is the path for future glory life on earth is not perfect. Don't expect it to be perfect, but in these times of suffering. In these times of despair. In these times of deep disappointment with tough hope. We are to be patient would be on this so that eternal glory.
In the meantime, we have the indwelling spirit who takes out confusion and of groaning and present some Tagalog according to his will, and we know as will see next week that the sufferings also make us more and more like our Savior who suffered for us, because I want to tell you that not only did Jesus suffer for us. He died for us. He died for our sins. We heard from those baptized today that they personally from the seven-year-old little Liliana to Rick and Dean White another Nasca beans H but is over 21. All of the they had this in common that their faith was in Jesus Christ as their personal faith was in Jesus Christ. I know you come to Calvary church. You might remember a cover charge may be visiting here for the first time. I don't know all of you here.
I want to ask you. Do you realize that you need salvation irrespective of your heritage. I have a strong Christian heritage that did not save me that you needs as will need to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross. That's why we have the cross of the ceiling that we need to humble yourself in the foot of the cross and cry out to Christ to save us to cleanse us to forgive us that he the son of God died for our sins, was buried on the third day he rose again.
According to the Scripture. And if you collect to him, he will save you. You say well always be wonderful. Yes, like the one we like will be wonderful, but it does mean your escape suffering you have the glorious assurance that you have eternal life, and others.
Nothing. Nothing in this whole universe that can take away your salvation, which is funds in Christ alone is your hope in Christ is your hope in Christ would rather I will answer the stands and sing a great song that our hope is in the Lord and ask your will pray first name was saying you would place your faith in Christ.
Some of you are suffering some of your in deep, deep pain.
I know that I know some of you others I have no idea, but that you will look to Christ trust him with all of your heart. We ask that her father as we come.
We thank you that her Savior suffered no mind suffered like him with think of his deep deep suffering on the cross. But then he entered into your eternal glory, and a pray father that each one of us will be strong in the hope of the gospel. This hope which is for now and forevermore. And for those who don't know Christ will simply cry out to him for salvation.
We ask it in his neck