Birth Pains

October 10, 2021

David Sorn

Having the right context to your suffering is everything.

Birth Pains

October 10, 2021

David Sorn

Having the right context to your suffering is everything.

SERMON TRANSCRIPT | Romans 8: 18-25


Morning. My name is David Sorn, and I’m the Lead Pastor here.

Anybody ever read the news and think, “Wow! What a fantastic world we live in!”

It doesn’t take genius to figure out that our world is broken.

Despite all of the advances we have made in science, in health, and in technology, life is still really hard.

Broken families are becoming more common

Drug addiction is skyrocketing

Suicides are up

Racism, sexism, people are divided, and growing angrier every day

No one looks at the world today and feels like breaking into a spontaneous singing of Kum-bay-ya

So what are we to think of all of the brokenness in the world?

How do we interpret all of the suffering?

People want to know the answer to this.

The other day, I was browsing through the top apps in the app store on my phone, and I was blown away by how many of them were meditation or breathing apps

Why is that??

It’s because…life IS hard…people are suffering

But without God’s truth, the best remedies they can think of are to do things like breathing exercises, or attempt to meditate away difficult thoughts.

But one of the things I love about the Bible, is that it dives deep into hard topics

The Bible isn’t just for your feelings, it’s for your mind too.

In its pages you’ll find well thought-out, and deep answers to the hardest questions of life.

And over the next two weeks, we’re going to look hard at the problem of suffering, and specifically how the follower of Jesus should interpret it

And we’re doing so as we are continuing in our God Never Fails series where we are teaching verse-by-verse through Romans Chapter 8

Romans was a letter written by a man named the Apostle Paul to the earliest Christians in Rome.

It was written about 25 years or so after Jesus’ death & resurrection.

Let’s take a look.

Everybody grab a Bible under the chair in front of you

(Page 772)

Or if you like, you can bring your own Bible

Or if you normally read on your phone, feel free to take notes on there as well.

It’s great if you have some central place to take notes so you can remember what you learn about God’s Word

Whether that be a notebook, the margins of your Bible, or you can even use the Renovation Church app for that in our messages tab…you can take notes on each individual message.

Any of those methods are then great for when you have discussion in House Groups as well


I want us to actually start on the final verse we covered from last Sunday and then looked deeper at in House Groups as well

(Romans 8:17) – NIV

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

And we talked last week in House Groups about how followers of Christ will indeed suffer in this life on their path to future glory with Christ

And Paul is now going to continue that theme.

Let’s read the first verse of our passage for today (we’ll be doing 18-25 today)

(Romans 8:18) – NIV

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Okay, so what Paul is going to do here over these 8 verses is give context to our suffering…to the hard things we go through.

In fact, he’s going to give context in 3 ways

Verse 18 was the first one

Giving Context to Suffering

1. All suffering must be seen in light of our future glory

Paul says that our present sufferings (at work, in our family, with our health, in our relationships)…he sys our present sufferings are not even worth comparing to the future glory that is coming.

And what is coming?

We’ll get into that in more detail in the coming verses, but the short of it is, for the Christian (the one who has truly trusted in Christ as their savior),

They will have life-everlasting, and joy unending with God, in a new creation with a redeemed body (which we’ll explain as we go here)

And you need to know that Paul does not talk about suffering insensitively or ignorantly

Paul himself suffered mightily in his life

2 Corinthians 11 tells us that Paul was put in prison several times, five times he was whipped (for his faith), 3 times he was beaten, once stoned, 3 times shipwrecked, he often had to go without food, was betrayed, hated, and on and on.

And it’s this man, a man of suffering, that says, the weight of our suffering is miniscule compared to the weight of the glory that’s coming

And so we focus on what’s coming.

The always brilliant Timothy Keller, years ago, explained it this way:

Imagine two rooms, and each room has one person in it.

And you give them both absolutely identical tasks, menial, boring, but manual labor.

You say, “You’re going to work 80 hours a week in this room. You’re going to have no vacation for 12 months. It’s going to be boring, tedious, perhaps the hardest thing you’ll ever do.”

You put them both in their respective rooms, and they get started.

You say to the first person, “At the end of the 12 months, you will get an annual salary of $15,000.”

But you say to the second person, “At the end of the 12 months, you will get your annual salary of $150 million.”

These two people are going to experience those identical circumstances in radically different ways.

The first person after about three or four weeks is going to say, “Who could take anything like this? This is so hard. It’s driving me crazy. I can’t take it anymore. I quit.”

The other person is over there whistling.

No problem at all.

But think about it: It’s the same circumstances.

So why is it so easy for the second person?

Because all of the tediousness, all of the difficulties and trials are being seen in light of the coming future glory.

And so how people experience and handle their suffering in today’s world is absolutely shaped by what they believe their ultimate future to be

This is a huge reason why people are so dejected and in such despair nowadays

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl once said, “one who was a WHY to live can endure almost any HOW.”

And that’s the problem for many in society today.

They don’t have a “WHY”…a deeper meaning and purpose for life (beyond pursuing their own happiness), and so when their circumstances steal away their happiness, life becomes incredibly difficult to endure.


Okay, Paul’s going to expand out this concept of “future glory” even more now, so let’s keep reading

(Romans 8:19-22) – NIV

19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

Okay, if you haven’t read much of the Bible yet (and that’s okay…many of you are just getting started), this part might be a bit confusing.

Here’s what Paul is saying.

In the opening chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-3, we see that the creation (our world and everything in it) was created as “good”

There was the Garden of Eden where everything was perfect.

Even the animals lived there without devouring one another.

There was no pain, sadness, or want…as they walked with God in that space.

But then, Satan tempts Eve to sin, and she does, along with Adam, and creation begins to crumble

Humanity is then cursed to an imperfect state, and creation is spoiled along with it…

Neither are perfect anymore

The earth is no longer like the Garden of Eden, although there are still beautiful places that speak of God’s glory, but the earth is in a state of decay

And when the Bible talks about “creation decaying…creation being broken…”

…it’s not just speaking of the imperfections and decay that happens in biology or geology, but of the imperfections of our world.

The fact that drought and famine happens, and earthquakes, and tornadoes, and pandemics, cancer, miscarriages.

That’s verse 20: The creation was subjected to frustration.

It’s not in its perfect form anymore…it’s broken.

And so this is the 2nd context to suffering we must consider:

Giving Context to Suffering

1. All suffering must be seen in light of our future glory

2. We suffer, in part, because creation is broken along with us.

And Paul, like a poet, personifies creation and says that it’s waiting to be liberated from its bondage to decay…it’s waiting to be set free…to be restored to what it once was.

And it will be!

At the end of human history on earth, Christians won’t actually live in heaven…but on a renewed earth…when heaven comes down to earth.

This is from John’s vision about the end times from the Book of Revelation:

(Revelation 21:1-4) – NIV

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

This is what the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said that one day on earth, the lion and the lamb will lay down together.

The earth will be renewed, restored to its former state of perfection, as will humanity

And what’s interesting here is the language Paul uses for the current suffering of creation

Look at verse 22 again

He says, “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth”

He gets this straight from the teachings of Jesus by the way

When Jesus was teaching on what the end times on earth would be like he said:

(Mark 13:8) – NIV

8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

Do you see that???

It’s the exact same language Paul uses.

And so Jesus and Paul are both saying that the struggles of creation…the wars, earthquakes, famines…are birth pains

And the point here is that creation’s brokenness, and sickness and suffering is not meaningless.

On the contrary, they are birth pains.

Pains on the way to something beautiful.

God never fails…this has always been part of the story…something great is coming.


Okay, now watch, Paul is going to apply this same metaphor to our own sufferings

(Romans 8:23) – NIV

23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Paul says, we too will feel birth pains.

And again, context is everything in suffering

Think of it this way:

If you’re walking through a hospital hallway on a way to visit a friend, and all of a sudden you hear a woman scream out in pain.

Context matters.

Are you in the ER or are you in the maternity ward?

We must have context for our suffering…where are you? Where are you going?

Giving Context to Suffering

1. All suffering must be seen in light of our future glory

2. We suffer, in part, because creation is broken along with us.

3. Our sufferings are birth pains

Paul says we groan inwardly.

Life is hard…it’s awful at times

So much so that you will groan in pain.

You maybe groan in a job you can’t stand

Or in a marriage that’s falling apart before your eyes

You groan in anxiety about whom we can trust

You groan over a child gone wayward or in chronic pain

The Bible’s not sugarcoating anything.

You’re going to groan in suffering.

But context is everything.

Where are you? Where are you going?

Are you on the path to nothingness?

Will they bury you 6 feet under and there your existence will end?

If so, then groan out evermore for your life is meaningless!

But Paul says, “No, no, that’s not the groan of the Christ-follower!”

He says think about this: “We already have the firstfruits of the Spirit!”

A taste of heaven

Elsewhere, in 2 Corinthians, Paul says that God has:

( 2 Corinthians 1:22) – NIV

set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

And so you have the Holy Spirit in you, speaking to you, reminding you of His love, changing you, moving in you…

As a deposit, as a seal, as the firstfruits and a taste of what is to come!

It’s like, you ever see a trailer for the next season of your favorite show or movie?

And it’s just 90 seconds, just a taste, but you are SO excited for what is to come?!

God gives you just a taste of the absolutely incredible things to come.

That one day…You won’t live in a broken world anymore.

One day…There will be no more wars, no more hate, no more pandemics, or cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or bodies that even get sick.

Paul says, what there will be is the redemption of our bodies

Your bodies, just like creation, will be renewed, restored, renovated, and made new again…so they can last forever.

There will be no more loss, no more suicide, no more drug overdoses, no more relationships breaking up

There will be no more fear, no more loneliness

Paul reminds us again in verse 23 that we will feel the full measure of our adoption…as we see face to face…our abba father who adopted us

There will be no more tears

But there will be you and your Father God, in a beautiful restored creation…and it will be a billion times better than you can even imagine.

Context is everything in suffering.

As Christians, we do not interpret our sufferings as hopeless groans from the ER

But as groans from the maternity ward…

This is our temporary home

A proverbial, and often times difficult 9 months

But we will remember what this is.

And in our groaning, we will remember that the joy of what will come will outweigh the birth pains we will feel along the way.

A new day is coming, and in hope, we set our eyes upon it.


And as Christians one of the ways we set our eyes on hope, especially in the midst of our suffering, is to focus on the one who suffered for us.

The night before Jesus was crucified, he gathered his disciples around for one last supper.

And on that night he gave them a way to always remember the sacrifice he was about to make for them…it’s what we call…communion.

Luke tells us what Jesus said in his book in the Bible.

(Luke 22:19-20) - NIV

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

And so we follow those words, and we take communion in “remembrance of Jesus”

And this is something you want to do if you’re sure you absolutely believe it…that Jesus is indeed the Lord and leader of your life.

If you’re here and you’re still just seeking or learning about God…just wait with this part. That’s okay.

We’re glad you’re here! No worries.

But for those of you who are believers, we want to take communion together today.

Under the chair in front of you, or under your chair if you’re in the front row…you’ll find a small communion chalice

Go ahead and pick it up

Look to the bottom of the chalice and pull off the covering to take the bread out.

Then hold it in your hand for a moment.

And I want you to take a second…and reflect that, in your sufferings, that God suffered for you, was broken for you, so that you could be together forever.


The body of Christ was broken for you…go ahead and eat of the bread

Now before you drink of the cup, I want you to take a moment, and thank Jesus that he let his blood be spilled for you.

He wanted to be with you forever…so much so that He let his own blood be spilled over it


The blood of Christ was shed for you…go ahead and peel back the covering and drink from the cup

If you would, place the wrappers back in the chalice and place it in the holder under the chair in front of you.


It’s this deep truth, that Jesus died for our sins, that gives us hope.

And I pray that you have that hope

Look at the last 2 verses of our section for today

(Romans 8:24-25)

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Paul says, “In this hope, we were saved.”

Those who hope in Jesus Christ are saved…and will spend eternity with Him.

And I wonder, do you have this hope?

Can you, in your suffering, still hope because you know Jesus has saved you.

Our hope as Christians is in exactly that…that Jesus saved us


Well, the central teaching of the Bible is that we all are sinners

Ever since Adam & Eve sinned, humanity has been imperfect, and thus, so are we.

And God is a just God, and for our sins, we deserve justice…

If a jury was to watch a video of our whole lives, they would cry out for justice.

But God in his love for you, sent his son Jesus to take the punishment you deserved

And Jesus did so by dying on the cross.

And anyone who believes in that, and then turns their live over to Him (saying, I surrender, I make you the leader of my life”

By their faith in Him, God will save them

Your hope in Him, your faith in Him, will save you, just like we just read

And you need to be saved, because you’re a part of this broken creation as well.

Think of your heart even.

Your physical heart is even decaying.

It’s not like electric clock that just goes on and on.

Your physical heart is more like a windup clock.

It has been wound up once.

There are a finite number of ticks in it

Even as we speak, it’s running out

Your body is falling apart, like the creation, breaking down.

Your only hope is to be renewed by God

Resurrected at your death, not to eternal punishment, but to a new body, and eternal life

And the only way to receive that, is to cast your lot with Jesus

To throw your life upon Him, and say, “If you would die for me, I’ll live for you”

And if you’ve never made that decision before, you can make it today

In fact, I’m going to invite our worship band back up now, and there going to lead us in a final song of worship

And I want you to think about this decision during the last song.

And if you need to be saved…if you need to have that hope…

I will give you an opportunity to make that decision after the song.

So take a few minutes and talk to God about it

Let me pray

Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN

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