Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Season Of Pentecost Proper 12 Sunday July 30th 2017 - / Romans 8:28-39 / Present Sufferings and Future Glories in Christ
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday July 30th 2017: Pentecost / Romans 8:28-39 "Present Sufferings and Future Glories in Christ"
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Today’s Epistle reading from Romans comes out of the second half of section from Romans Chapter 8 that I often read to those who are sick, who are hospitalized, or even to people in other kinds of distress. To put it into context for you a good place to start is back in verse 18 of Romans 8 where Saint Paul speaks of your future glory as Christians, here Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” When Paul later writes in our Epistle today, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose,” the purpose of God is to bring us to that future glory, in which everything will be set right, and all things indeed will be good, the time and place where “the first heaven and the first earth [will have] passed away,” That Day when, every tear from your eyes will be wiped away by the hand of God, and death shall be no more, the place were there shall be neither mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things, the troubles and sufferings of this World, the troubles and sufferings of your life, will have passed away just as we hear Jesus promise in the book of Revelation.
On That Day the futility of this would will be over, the earth will no longer grown under this present suffering, and dear Christian, on That Day neither will you. That Day - The Last Day - is The Day in which the eternal Glory of Christ will be revealed to you and to all peoples as He returns in the very same way that the disciples saw Him depart at the Ascension 40 days after His Resurrection from the dead that first Easter. And as Saint Paul says in his letter to the Philippians God’s promised rescue for you, the mighty work of Salvation that He accomplished for you in His Son, will finally and undeniable be revealed to you, and to everyone, in your bodily resurrection on That Day when Christ Jesus will transform your lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
Do you hear that … all things are subject to Jesus, that sounds a lot like the end of the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus says about Himself, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” But Jesus doesn’t stop there, He continues to say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Then Jesus caps it off with this promise, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Getting back to Romans 8, this promise of Jesus’ really shines: God has promised to be with you. Even if Jesus feels far away because of suffering or pain, or the troubles of the world, even if you can’t seem to “feel” Him makes no matter, He has promised to be with you to the end of the age, all through your life. With this promise in your back pocket you can take Saint Paul’s words from Romans 8 right to the bank, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Remember Jesus has dominion over all of these things; He has authority over all of these things. 1) He is with you no matter what you are experiencing, and 2) tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, violence, sicknesses of every kind and even death will not separate you from the love of God.
Listen carefully, in the midst of this present suffering, whatever that might be - even if it is an empty feeling – God loves you. God has loved you from the beginning; He has predestined you to be conformed to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus your Lord. And in that conformity you are justified by God, on account of Jesus’ alien righteousness, that external righteousness that is applied to you in Jesus’ blood, which you have received in your baptism. In that blood, in that baptism, you are now an heir to the kingdom of God. You have been called into this faith; an external word came from God to you. It came to you in this way: You have read it in your Bible; you have heard it through your ears preached to you, read to you spoken to you on the lips of faithful pastors and fellow Christians. You have been told, it has been explained to you: That you are loved by God; that you belong to Him, that God is for you. And if God is for you, then as Saint Paul says, who can be against you.
And this of course the tricky spot: … In the quiet moments when you are alone with your thoughts that is when it seems like there are many things that are against you; maybe it’s your body, maybe it’s your mind, maybe it’s the condition of your soul. Your body is sick, it has cancer, it’s breaking down – it seems to be against you. Your mind is full of worry; you’re paralyzed by fear, plagued by guilt over things said wrong, over things said poorly, you run over and over what you should have done different or what you did do that was so embarrassing that you can hardly lift up your head and walk out the door. Your soul is tempted to sin and in weakness you sin and sin and sin. You know what you ought to do, you know you ought to resist it and yet like King Solomon says in the book of Proverbs when it comes to sin you are “Like a dog that returns to his vomit” foolishly repeating your sins. So much does seem to be set against us and yet the One who is for you, is greater than every last one of these things. So we with Paul can say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” victory over sin, death, the devil, the World and over our own self. Yes if this Jesus is for you who can be against you – or more over what villain, what enemy, what trouble is capable of besting you, beating you, or breaking you forever? Not a one. Christ is with you and nothing can separate you from the love of God in Him.
And now the word of warning for those who are secure, not in Christ but, in their sin, … if you are not in Christ Jesus, then this promise found in Romans 8 is not true for you. Like any gift, these promises, your baptism for instance, can be trashed and garbaged away by the one it was given too. It can be neglected and it can be looked upon with derision. Now Paul in Romans 6 equates Baptism with Jesus, you are baptized into Jesus and you receive Him and all of God’s promise promised through Him to you. By treating this gift poorly you treat the giver of the gift poorly, you Christ poorly; you break the first three commandments.
If your “God” let’s you do whatever you want than your god is you and you have broken the First Commandment, “You shall have no other gods.” If your ‘god’ says ‘I approve of your sin,” and encourages you to revel in it with pride then you have no ‘god’ but yourself. What does Saint Paul ask; he asks “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” And what if we who are perfectly able to do so fail to gather together to hear the very Word of God that brought us Life, and to receive the gifts God has for us in the Sacrament of the Altar, yet you and others swear up and down that they are a Christian, with faith in Christ, Such men women and children are in grave, grave danger of dishonouring the name of the giver of the gift, Jesus the Lord, and by so doing may in fact break the Second Commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God,” and by their actual absence the Third Commandment, “You shall sanctify the holy day. [Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy]” is broken. Yes, in the Book of Hebrews we are all cautioned, “not [to] neglecting [meeting] together, as is the habit of some, but [rather] encouraging one another … all the more as you see The [Last] Day drawing near.” The writer of the Book of Hebrews, like Saint Paul, also warns against the real danger of deliberately sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth.
Do not lose heart, be encouraged, repent, turn over a new leaf, turn to Christ Jesus, Jesus forgives all of these sins: Therefore trust in Christ Jesus, do not lean on your own strength or on your own understanding or you will fall, do good for the benefit of others, every day ask for forgiveness and listen to the voice of Christ Jesus as He says in the Gospel of Luke, “when you have done all that you were commanded, say ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” For “it is ordained by God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, through faith alone.” And Saint Paul today delivers to you the strength of this promise on God’s behalf. Jesus is both with you in all your trouble, in all that you’re suffering, and at one and the same time He sits at the right hand of God interceding for you.
Which bring us back to visiting the sick and the distressed, I remind them that Jesus prays for them in their trouble and that the Holy Spirit does too, earlier in Romans Chapter 8 Saint Paul also says that “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.”
If after hearing everything today, it sounds to you that God is the one doing the work of Salvation and not you then you have heard correctly. Those who are saved are saved by Him and those who are damned are damned by their own accord. Trust Christ, when you are in Him nothing can stand against you, you may lose the battle but Christ has won the war. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Romans 8:18
 Revelation 21:1
 Revelation 21:4
 Philippians 3:21
 Matthew 28:18-20
 Romans 8:35
 Proverbs 26:11
 1 Corinthians 15:57
 Romans 6:1-2
 Hebrews 10:25-26
 Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 28:26, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.” Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
 Augsburg Confession, Article VI New Obedience, Pocket Edition of the Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, Concordia Publishing House 2006, pg 37.
 Romans 8:26