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March 25, 2022 12:00 am
If the condition of our world could be summarized in a single word, that word would be 'broken.' Beneath the drumming sound of a rushing waterfall and the trill of a nightingale's song is an inaudible cry of desperation. Every part of creation feels it.
Charge and discharge of the country of the church is not the limitation of poverty and disease that Christians can find their calling from God battling both the purpose of the church is not making life safe and prosperous for all the peoples of the earth. Even though the gospel does change a person the gospel can change a family of culture in the nation for the betterment of that nation, while those things may be the byproducts of the gospel that is not the purpose of the that word would be creation is marked by wonder and beauty.
The revelation of God's creative glory, but creation is also bound to decay the creation experiences pain and violence in fear and agony. What should we make of this. Well, there's a coming day when the agony will be over. It won't be because we humans have figured out a solution. It'll be because God will and the groaning of creation. This is wisdom for the heart, and Stephen Devi has a message for you today called the groaning of creation. Well there was ever a word to characterize the human condition on earth the condition of our planets from animal and plant life up through the human species.
It could be that word trouble. We all have this in common. We have experienced, and we are to some measure in some way experiencing and we will experience in the future trouble. We live in a world filled with it. We are consumed with it. We are surrounded by it and we are even enamored with it. It fills our screens and our minds and our publications world magazines year-end edition. Summarize the major news stories of 2003, and the events of the year with many of them. Most of them in fact riveted our attention and the attention of the world. This was the year when trouble surfaced in the already deeply confused arena of moral and medical ethics.
One husband was successful in ordering his wife's feeding tube removed his wife and suffered a heart attack and by mishandling of the medical community. Her brain was damaged. For the most part, toes, although she was able to file she was able to respond attached she could recognize the voices of her loved ones. Her husband want a $2 million malpractice suit on her behalf.
He then moved in with another woman and hired an attorney using some of the money to turn around and argue for his wife's right to die in reality what that meant was she had the right to be starved to death feeding tube was removed and for six days left without food until the governor intervened the US Supreme Court delivered a decision that would devastate our country's moral foundation when they ruled sodomy is a constitutional right for homosexual one justice was so incensed in the ruling that a read aloud his dissent from the bench, which was highly unusual, declaring that this ruling marked quote the end of moral legislation that it really trouble me as much as the church, the High Court revealed how far it has fallen from the Judeo-Christian ethic.
But the church has fallen as well. One mainline Protestant denomination. As you Notre Dame for the first time in history, a practicing homosexual to the role of Bishop voting as well. At the same time, to bless same-sex unions as quote within the bounds of church life and belief. While this battle was taking place within the Protestant church, you know, the Catholic Church was relaying from the exposure of many of its priests who are nothing more than pedophiles moved from parish to parish one step ahead of the victims. Victims who had been betrayed by the worst predator of all creditor comes in the name of God. Additional articles reminded the reader of how the world is been held captive by fear not only of terrorists but of an infection. Name stars right stars claim the lives of nearly 900 people.
The irony of our world though towards stars is that AIDS is killing millions of people.
It is the politically incorrect disease dimension, primarily because it is read primarily through sexual promiscuity.
There are African countries. I know of one or half its population is infected. It will completely die off in 10 years, but it is the untouchable disease because it is related to sexual immorality. I was in that African country and one of the African pastors told me the young people of this country don't care to try to protect themselves.
They said to him, riddled with poverty surrounded by despair. They said what do we have to look forward to.
As we grow to become your age, we might as well enjoy whatever pleasures we have, and then die. There is no real good reason to live.
There's trouble in our world. I haven't even recall for you. Halfway through the articles.
This magazine is a summarize event siding get to the stories of professional athletes and media stars accused of or indicted of drug abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, murder and rape. Mothers who killed their children and children who killed her mother's. The continual glorification of violence and sin. In the drawings. Stories that are now rising in our own country of this hatred toward anything that represents God in his command one MTV special transcript recorded in a special two hour program profile superstars. The kids follow today with the church what they believe about the church what they believe about the sins. The church states our sinful. They asked several of them questions about what we would call sort of the seven worst of sins. They asked Queen Latifah. What she thought about pride she responded. Pride is a sin, I wasn't aware of that. They asked Kirstie Alley about pride and she said I don't think pride is a sin. I think some idiot made that up. They asked a member of Arrowsmith to be thought lust was a sin and he said and I quote lost is what I live for is what I got of the band for another iced tea and woman theologian was asked about anger. He said anger is not a sin.
Anger is necessary. You have to release distention because life brings tension when he was asked about pride he responded.
Pride is mandatory. The program concluded after of course giving out is drivel that there is an anything like an absolute right or wrong, they ended the program with this unbelievably ironic statement and I quote the most evil sin in the world.
Here is the most evil sin of the world is the killjoy attitude of people who thinks then is offensive to God. How twisted is that the worst sin is the sin of feeling bad about doing something bad because God is really offended by sinful things. In other words anybody things God as offended by sin is committing the worst of all stands because of they tell anybody that gonna ruin the party that isn't just the attitude by the way of that crowd is the attitude of the man on the street today that you have a right to believe what you want to believe but keep it to yourselves. You have a right to believe what you think is morally right, but keep it down. Keep it quiet, there's trouble was the believer to do what is the Christian supposed to think about all this. How we respond well I'm here to deliver the message of God, not mine. But God's from the book of Romans, which speaks to these issues. About the time the believer in Rome or Rwanda about the time the believer and Corinth are in Cary would think that you throw your hands up in despair and discouragement over the condition of the world, and the fact that there is so much trouble. The apostle Paul comes and delivers a rather surprising message and it begins as we'll see in a minute and affect by saying I expected this to happen. This is not a surprise. We expect evil, unbelieving men to do what evil, unbelieving men will do. I told you this would happen. He is already described the digression of the society. In chapter 1 society that applauds sin and denies the creator. He said expected very real sense, then the growing Christian becomes more and more aware that he really don't belong here right left here by God's purpose, but not really belonging here. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth.
He told the Philippian believers in chapter 3 verse 20 the growing believer accepts the Bible's promise that in the world you have the guarantee not of health and well thought of trouble.
Tribulation second Timothy 312. The true believer expects that evil in the society that rejects God will go from bad to worse. Second 73, 13.
He recognizes that, according to Christ's own words that the gospel is actually a great divider, not a unifier. It divides families divides the loved ones. Matthew 10 3435 that's the message of the gospel expected this now to say something that is a politically correct as if I haven't already done but I mean to the church, but it needs to be said.
The goal of the church is not conservative politics. Although Christians can be called by God to a political arena where they can exert a holy influence and we rejoice and support them but the goal of the church is not going to be realized with a Republican majority are you bothered yet.
In addition, the mission of the church is not the elimination of poverty and disease, the Christians can find their calling from God and battling both the hope of this church and this church in the country is not heterosexual marriage being constitutionalize that is the hope of marriage in the church. I read one well-known Christian leader saying a few months ago. It was vast constituency that the only hope now for marriage is a constitutional amendment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our hope is not in Congress. We would expect the world to denigrate the marriage of a man and a woman. As society continues to digress and leave the standard of God. And we happen to be in that era. Furthermore, the purpose of the church is not making life safe and prosperous for all the peoples of the earth. Even though the gospel does change a person the gospel can change a family of culture and the nation for the betterment of that nation, while those things may be the byproducts of the gospel that is not the purpose of the gospel.
The goal of the church is the glory of God in any nation with the church in China today meeting in private with the believers in Vietnam suffering for their faith. The goal of the church there and here remains the same. It is that God is glorified in obey the mission of the church has not changed.
It is the making of disciple is the winning of men and women to the gospel of faith in Christ and maturing the Matthew 2819. The hope of the church. What is the hope of the church. It is the coming of Christ. The purpose of the church. In the meantime is to act as the agency of God and declaring the gospel of Christ to the ends of the earth for scripting 16 and the function of the church here and now is to so love the word of God and do so love the people of God that the world will know that we must belong to God. The church today is as confused as the world it has lost its goal, its mission and its hope its purpose and its function. So what we do about we go back to the perspective of God found in his unchangeable word and that clears the falling away that removes the politically correct messages from our culture and unfortunately from our church either way.
If we listen to the wrong message.
It'll become easy for the believer to either become discouraged in the world or distracted by the world and both are deadly to our mission.
Paul addresses the troubles of his Christian friends in Rome and he reorders their thinking. He turns it back right side up.
He twists the message of the world and it's a rather surprising perspective, would you go back to Romans chapter 8 where we left off and let's pick it up in verse 19 he writes for the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God for the creation was subjected to futility you can render that frustration not of its own will, but because of him. God, who subjected it in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves having the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the completion that is about adoption process, the redemption of the body.
Look at verse 26 and in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. I thought originally we deal with this paragraph and were just gonna deal with the first ground you will all three grown. It's interesting that Paul would believe that the way to handle the effects of sin upon nature and upon our world is understood ending a biblical perspective of what it means to grow. What is it mean for the believer to ground what is it mean for nature to grown what is it mean for the Holy Spirit to grow you a circle.
Those three times Edward appeared by the way, the groaning of creation in verse 22 the groaning of the Christian in verse 23.
The latter part in the groaning of the Holy Spirit in verse 26.
What is it mean we have time to look at the first grown here were told.
First of all is to go back to verse 19 about this groaning of creation, that creation is eager about something, and Paul tells us that creation is enslaved to something. Notice verse 19 again for the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. The revealing of the sons of God is an expression. Paul uses again in Colossians chapter 3 talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ with his people are displayed in all their glory is the kingdom of God comes the word, the longing of creation is for the revelation of God and his people in all their splendor. What is he referring to when he says, creation is referring to everything the God created. I believe he is, he can't be referring to holy angels since they are not enslaved to corruption as he says in verse 21 can be them. He can be referring to believers. They will be addressed separately in the next verses can be referring to fallen angels or demons. They do not long for the revelation of the sons of God and read it. They know it's coming. He can't be referring to unbelievers since they have no desire to see the glory of God revealed the only remaining part of creation would be the nonrational creation that would be plants and animals and all inanimate things like rivers and mountains and heavenly bodies. Paul is using then in this text what's called personification he is giving the attributes of personality to those things without personality as it does the same thing talking about trees clapping their hands is a 5512, he talks about the wilderness and desert rejoicing as a 35 one.
The mountains and the hills breaking forth into shouts of joy as a 5512 so Paul says that that part of creation longs for you, literally, was right in the word nature in your text. That nature is literally longing that word means to an end on its tiptoes and it had toes, it would be standing upon the tips of those toes longing for this revelation of God in his glory, you could render. They watch with outstretched head literally training its neck.
Nature longs to see the revelation of God. The revealing of the sons of God revealing that word translates the Greek word apocalypse us or our transliterated world apocalypse apocalypse means unveiling apocalypse means revealing. It is revelation fact, the book of Revelation gets its name from simply the transliteration of the word apocalypse the book of revealing the book of the apocalypse. The book of the uncovering. It is the book that unveils the future of the world creation then is longing for that future unveiling that future revealing God brings his people will talk about the groaning of his people and how that will end Lord willing, creation here is eagerly awaiting this revelation. Paul also tells us that the nature not only is eagerly watching for this and waiting for this but that also creation is enslaved to something that gives us some hints of what he might mean in verse 20 for the creation was subjected to frustration or futility, not of its own will. In other words it in this early start out that way but because of him. God, who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from its slavery to corruption. He says that creation is enslaved to corruption. The trees don't sin was aiming corruption plans don't battle temptation. My dog at home does not struggle with pride. I think corruption here refers to simply the fallen state of nature. Most commentaries inserted here one of those evidences of a law to corruption being that second law of thermodynamics the law of entropy that things move toward disorder the things naturally move in nature toward disharmony in the K go all the way back to Genesis and you are reminded after the fall of mankind that God cursed his creation. He said to Adam, cursed said is the ground and some things are going to happen that I didn't originally intend visit were because of man's fall, things like thorns and thistles will now produce trouble for you since the fall of man DK and disease has been built into the very fabric of nature and apart from the effort of mankind. It will go toward disorder can use rights in this way. Even now the animal world is filled with fear and violence.
Even the loveliest scenes in nature. If you look at certain places, while remaining beautiful. They are also witnesses to bloodily and violent horrors, floods, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, blights, avalanches and earthquakes, all the earth.
These are, in effect, the sounds of nature's groaning came because of the fall. Before the fall of man, no weeds, no poisonous plants, no thorns, no thistles or anything else existed that would cause misery and harm another of those today the crowd for us to live in harmony with nature. But the truth is when people were supposedly living closer to nature.
You go back to the dark ages there was more pain, less civilization, less medicine.
Of course, and less invention and resources then you had people living close to nature with less comfort, more pain, more disease and people died younger. This is not a friendly earth, but a violent and a dangerous one. Just watch the animal plan. Watch the merciless animals tear one another part watch the horrors of nature unleashed on certain parts of our globe at any time.
God has a plan. He gave the curse to nature will lift the curse and Paul personifies nature as saying nature longs to see it happen.
It is groaning with the K and disruption and disease. It is filled with fear God will lift the curse and create a new heaven and new earth. You know that's got me like Isaiah tells us a little bit of it is earth is no longer bound to decay and violence and fear. He says the wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goats. The calf and the young lion together and a little child will lead them the cow and the bear will graze is to reorder the animal kingdom, though graze together. The longer eating one another.
The nursing child will play near the whole of the cobra, and the child will put his hand on the viper's den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.
This is a reference to the coming day. Imagine that creation will return as the word of God's earliest design it will produce free of pestilence and danger.
Animals will dwell with mankind. No more drought, no more nor no more tornado no more violent destruction and disease. So, Paul's message, in effect, is this. He begins with nature, and he says things are bad now, but they are going to get a lot better.
That's why he uses the illustration of childbirth to illustrate the pain and the agony of nature look back at verse 22.
He says for we know that the whole creation or all of nature groans and suffers as it were. Here's my illustration. Paul says the pains of childbirth. In other words, the groaning won't last forever. The pain won't last forever.
The pain will ultimately end in ecstasy. It will all be forgotten. Those men who are married and have children. Have you ever notice that none of us carry around pictures of our wives and labor. Initially, this look at the look on her face while I was right right when a contraction came. Let me show you another picture is no we don't pictures like that. Frankly, I don't really like to see any pictures related to any of that stuff. I would mentor thinking of going on a set of video cameras and they they record the whole thing come over and watch even your wife wants to forget it and the babies born in even in the first few days those pictures are somewhat questionable. I know the pastor and supposed to say what a beautiful baby paid to say those kinds of things will I don't particularly think newborn babies are all all and especially cute. I even my own troubled me. Clearly this will hard time telling a lie. You bring me in your newborn, and probably going to just say, wow, what you fill in the blanks and tell your family the pastor was speechless was J. Vernon McGee is standard wine when seeing a newborn was simply, now that's a baby we should let you in on the secret. I like well better. That's the what I use. There are so many things about the birthing process that are agonizing in an painful and unattractive, and there are some things about it that are precious and unforgettable limerick so in effect, he says that's creation that's nature to marked by both Wunder and beauty and glory, and it reveals the handiwork of God. Romans chapter 1, but it is also bound to decay and pain and violence and fear and agony. Romans chapter so part of our understanding of how to make it through through life is understanding there is cursed nature is headed for the day, for which, along day when the sons of God are revealed with the glory of God.
God himself ends the groaning of creation by renewing and we can imagine the pictures that we could take of that. We can imagine the beauty and splendor is John's Revelation in the book of the Apocalypse described that it is beyond our comprehension only know is that Paul says here the groaning of creation will 1 Day Give Way to the glory and beauty of God's new creation to be enjoyed forever sons and daughters.
We don't know what we do know that God will put in an all of our pain and we will live in the glory of God's new creation.
This is wisdom for the heart are Bible teacher is Stephen dating Stephen is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina, before we end this week I want to remind you of a gift we have during the month of March.
We have a free resource that were making available Stephen as a booklet called the coming tribulation go to wisdom online.org for information. Join us again next time you're on wisdom