Rom 8-Suffering and Glory
| Suffering and Glory! Romans 8:16-25
February 25, 2007 (NLT) 16For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children. 17And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. 19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. 21All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.PRAY Scripture Memory:The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. – Romans 8:16 (NIV) Intro: Suffering is not a topic we generally would choose to discuss. It is usually not a very pleasant topic of conversation. I wonder how many of us would choose to go out of our way to hear a speaker address the issue of suffering and glory if it were not a regular thing in our schedule like this worship service this morning.However, there are some very worthwhile reasons for us to address this issue… besides the fact that God’s Word addresses it…. Many times we can understand things only by contrast. We would never understand mercy if it were not for judgment. Cleanliness has meaning in contrast to dirtiness. So also, glory can be seen all the more intensely in the light of suffering. ReviewWe have spent the last six weeks looking at some different facets of the fact that we have been adopted as God’s very own children. We have looked the privileges that brings and the difference it should make in our lives. Truly it is a glorious hope and marvelous privilege to be children of God and, as such, co-heirs with Jesus Christ of all creation.However, mixed in with these marvelous truths is a less attractive thread, that of suffering. The reality, as we all know, is that suffering and hard times are much more vivid for us here and now that the glories that will one day be ours. The question we are going to address this morning is the relationship between suffering and glory in God’s plan for His children. 1. Why does Paul bring in suffering here, in this context?2. What is glory?3. What does glory have to do with suffering? 1. Why does Paul bring in suffering here, in this context?☞ Because suffering is a reality in this fallen and broken world – as opposed to the health & wealth preachers. It is especially a reality to those who are God’s messengers – Pessimists vs. optimists – realists vs. idealists?Ø The early apostlesØ PaulØ The prophetsØ The reformers ☞ Because this view of suffering stands in contrast to our natural way of thinking.Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! Verse 23 – And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering.Wrong (but natural) responses to suffering:Ø Anger – often directed at God Who do you think you are, God…?!?If you are a loving God, WHY…?!?Similar to the response of children to restrictions imposed by loving parents…Ø Avoidance· Try to find easier path – a way around it…· Balance it with more enjoyable things· Ask God to remove itThe bottom line: the individual’s personal happiness or fulfillment – “Do what makes you happy or fulfilled.” – Ignoring the truth that real growth comes by working THROUGH our hardships rather than by avoiding them.Very similar in marital relationships…Ø ApathyDetachment / Stoicism / stiff upper lip (Bob Hofman to Cara) – Joyless and far removed from Christianity 3rd reason why Paul brings in suffering here, in this context:☞ To remind them (and us) that suffering is only temporalIt is limited to the present life. – like the flower which grows and is cut or to a shadow that ceases to be with a change in the lighting… Moses refused to be treated as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24-25) As there is no proportion between what is finite, however great it may be, and what is infinite, so our sufferings here, even if our lives were prolonged to any period, and although we had no reprieve, would bear no proportion to our future glory either in intensity or duration 4th reason why Paul brings in suffering here, in this context:☞ To remind them (and us) of our Lord’s suffering and of the cost of sinChristians often dwell upon their own sufferings, while they overlook the sufferings of their Lord, to whom they must be conformed. The paradigm of sin and righteousness:Before the fall Adam and Eve were able to sin and able to NOT sin.After the fall they were still able to sin, but no longer to NOT sin.After redemption we are still able to sin, but now, once again we can say, “NO” to sin. We can NOT sin.After glorification we will no longer be able to sin. 2. What is glory?Glory: doxa – secular Greek: ‘opinion’ or ‘reputation’‘Glory’ generally represents Hebrew: kāḇôḏ, with the root idea of ‘heaviness’ and so of ‘weight’ or ‘worthiness’. It is used of men to describe their wealth, | | splendor or reputation (though in the last sense kāḇôḏ is often rendered ‘honour’). The glory of Israel was not her armies but Yahweh (Jer. 2:11). (New Bible Dictionary)Strongs:splendor, brightness i.e. of the moon, sun, stars. magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace. majesty. a thing belonging to God. the kingly majesty which belongs to Him as supreme ruler, the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven. In Exodus 33 Moses asked God to show him His glory. God’s response was to “cause all [His] goodness to pass in front of [him], and [to] proclaim [His] name, Yahweh.”The result of this experience for Moses was that his face actually glowed…“The human race craves the experience of awe & wonder. And there is no reality more breathtaking than Jesus Christ. He is not safe, but He is stunning.” (John Piper)“If glory is the majesty of God, His character seen for all that it truly is, then His glory… revealed in us will occur when we suddenly become exactly what God has intended us to be…. We will share with Christ in the glory of sonship. In that day we will fully reflect God’s image.” (Life Application Commentary) 3. What does glory have to do with suffering? (vv. 18-25)☞ Suffering shows that we truly ARE God’s childrenSuffering is a natural and expected thing for ALL people in this fallen and broken world, even for God’s children… ESPECIALLY for God’s children:Ø PersecutionMatthew 5:11-12 (NLT) 11“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. 12Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.John 15:18-20 (NLT)
18“When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. 19 The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. 20Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you!(If you haven’t encountered Satan today…)Ø PurificationZechariah 13:9 (NIV) – This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”Malachi 3:3 (NIV) – He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness."When through the deep waters I call you to go, The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; For I will be with you, your troubles to bless, And sancitify to you your deepest distress.""When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, My grace, all sufficient shall be your supply; The flame shall not hurt you; I only design Your dross to consume and your gold to refine."Ø Training2 Timothy 2:3 (NLT) – Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.Hebrews 12:7 (NLT) – As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? ☞ Suffering has GREAT potential to empower our witness to Christ.What happens to the church under persecution… ☞ Suffering is God’s ordained path to glory. (v. 17)17And since we are his children, we will share his treasures—for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)
17 For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.Three basic truths about suffering for believers:1. Suffering is necessary.John 15:20 (NLT) – Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you!Philippians 1:29 (NLT) – For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.2. Suffering is not the end. It is a path to the end, which is glory – GOD’s glory, AND our sharing in that glory as His Sons and daughters3. Any suffering which we may endure here and now, is insignificant when compared with the glory that will be given us later. (v. 18)18Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later.Comparing our present suffering to our future glory is like putting lead weights and feathers on a balance scale.Because of:· Their intensity – “Suffering is heavy. It hurts. It can hurt so intensely that we scream with terror or cry out with pain. But, say, Paul, the intensity of our sufferings is not worth comparing with the glory.” (Boice) · Their location – “Suffering, though felt deeply, nevertheless only affects our outward persons, our bodies. It does not affect the real ‘us,’ that ‘real me,’ the inner me, that is going to participate in the glory. In other words, it is as C.S. Lewis said. We are not just going to observe the beauty; we are going to share in it.” (Boice) · Their duration ☞ Suffering has to do with true freedom from death and decay. (vv. 21, 23-24)21All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.23And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. ☞ Suffering reminds us that this is NOT our final home. (vv. 24-25)24Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.This give us two things:1. It gives us an eternal contextThe problem we have with this:“We are limited by our concept of time…. We do not have a long view.” (Boice)2. It gives us strength to endureJohn 15:20 – Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. “Sharing in the glory of Christ will come only after sharing in His sufferings” (Life Application Commentary) A Truth to Remember: For the child of God sufferings are but comparatively insignificant steps on the road to indescribable glory. A Challenge to Consider:Are you committed to facing hard times by faith, rather than by how you feel, or by what you are able to understand? One thing I heard this morning was… |