(God Never Fails Series Slide)
Good morning! My name is David Sorn. I’m the Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
Welcome to our Grand Opening of our Renovation Church building!
I’m so happy you’re here.
We are starting a brand-new teaching series today called “God Never Fails”
And each week we’re going to talk about God’s faithfulness…and how He never fails us.
Which is good because I feel like I fail a lot.
I’ve been feeling that a lot this week…in what I say to others, how I act…or sometimes I fail to even get the simple things right
I have this thing, that, whenever I get really busy, my mind gets so preoccupied that I can’t do even simple things right
And these past few weeks, my mind has been totally preoccupied thinking about this day, our Grand Opening…
So much so that when I get in the car, I’ve literally failed to even drive to the right place…on multiple occasions…
This week, I seriously had Siri direct me back to my house
The worst one this week though was I was so lost in thought a couple of days ago while cleaning up at my house.
And there was a pop can on our counter that had a little bit of pop left in it from the day before
And I went to pour it out in our sink, but being so lost in thought, I literally poured it out…all over my counter.
But we’re going to talk for 6 weeks about how God Never Fails
And for those 6 weeks, we’re going to teach through one of the greatest chapters in the Bible…Romans chapter 8
Romans is actually a letter, written by one of the early leaders of the Christian Church…a man named the Apostle Paul.
And so if you would, let’s look at the Bible together
I’d like everyone to grab a Bible
They are under the chairs in front of you
Look for the big number 8 on that page…that’s where we’re starting.
By the way, if you don’t have a Bible at home, please, take this one with you.
That’s our gift to you.
There’s even a little plan taped in there where we show you the easiest places to start reading in the Bible!
You know, we are a Bible-teaching church.
I don’t just give my opinion on a trendy topic and then tac on a Bible verse at the end.
We teach through a passage, or an entire chapter, or often whole books of the Bible at a time…verse by verse.
And we do that, because we want you to know and understand God’s Word that was given to us through the Bible.
WHAT IS CONDEMNATION (v.2)?
All right, let’s look at verse 1 (right under that heading that says “Life Through the Spirit”
(Romans 8:1) – NIV
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
This is great news!
Condemnation, by the way, means to both judge someone as guilty and then also sentence them to be punished.
(No Condemnation Title Slide)
It’s like this, the other day, I was at Best Buy (which, not to be confused with Blockbuster, somehow still exists), and while I was there, I witnessed a robbery from across the store.
It was…some teenagers stealing video games.
They just had to have the new Zelda game or something. ☺
The Best Buy employees tried to yell at them and stop them, but the teenagers bolted out of the store and ended up getting away with it.
But let’s just say there happened to be a police officer right there, and these guys are caught…and eventually brought to trial.
Condemnation is the judge saying, “You are guilty for stealing Zelda and Mario Kart 17,” AND your punishment is 4 days in jail.
That’s condemnation…both guilt and punishment.
And so, what the Apostle Paul is saying in verse 1 is that if you are IN Christ Jesus, there IS no Condemnation.
You won’t be deemed as guilty, nor will you suffer any punishment in eternal life (in other words you’d go to heaven, and not hell)
And maybe that sounds kind of heavy to think about
Listen, I don’t know what your background is…if you’ve been around church
Some of you may not have been in a church for a while.
Some of you may never have been in a church.
But I think the great thing about church is you get to think about the deeper questions of life.
The types of questions that probably don’t come up at your Fantasy Football Draft, or if you’re out eating with friends at a fine dining establishment, say like… Culver’s
But at church, we can think about questions that we all do truly have, like, “How can I know God? And what does happen when I die?”
And I think it’s great that we can do that…even though sometimes it may feel a little hard to talk about…especially if you’re not used to it.
And what God is showing us, through Paul’s inspired writings, is that there IS a way to face no condemnation…to know God and go to heaven
However, many people aren’t familiar with this truth because there are two common misconceptions in our culture about this very topic.
I’ll show you these 2 misconceptions, and as I do, I’ll phrase them as a revision of the Biblical view in Romans 8
Here’s the 1st misconception about “how we have eternal life and face no condemnation”
Two Common Misconceptions
1. There is now no condemnation…for anyone.
In other words, people say, “God is love. And so therefore, no matter what I do…or how I live…God won’t condemn me and I’ll go to heaven. There is no such thing as condemnation.”
Okay, but what does the Bible, God’s Word, actually say?
Because our opinions and feelings (no matter how strongly we feel about them) won’t matter when we die and meet God
When you meet God face to face, we won’t be able to say, “Listen God, your stuff is great and all, but actually, my truth is ….”
So, we already read (if you still have it in front of you), that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…but look at verse 2 now because it’s going to say teach the opposite of this 1st misconception
(Romans 8:2) - NIV
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Even if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, a few of these phrases in this passage might not make a ton of sense, so let’s unpack them
That’s what we do here.
What is the “law of sin and death” that Jesus can set us free from?
Think of it this way: God, has his own law.
His moral code of what’s right and wrong.
And it’s all over the Bible.
He has a law for how we should treat each other and Him
Love your neighbor
Do not abuse anyone
Think like “The 10 commandments”
Do not steal, do not lie, do not commit adultery
And what happens if you break His law?
Well, what happens if you break federal law or state law?
Like, if I’m so excited that they finished 35W after working on it for 47 years, and I decide to drive 95mph in my Honda Odyssey Minivan, and thus break the law, what happens to me?
I’ll be guilty and be punished for it (I broke the law)
Well the Biblical “law of sin and death” is this: Even if I break just one of God’s laws…
Which, you probably can’t make it through the day, let alone the next hour without doing…
Every if we break 1 law, then the consequence, the Bible says, is God’s justice (it’s condemnation)
Earlier in Romans, Paul writes:
(Romans 6:23a) – NIV
For the wages of sin is death
The law of sin and death
If I sin, I deserve condemnation and death (separation from God in eternity)
But you may be going, “David, timeout…this sounds bad. I’m not sure I like it Who invited me to this church?!?.”
Here’s what I would say to you, keep listening, because sometimes in order to get to a beautiful destination, you have to walk along a hard road first.
Usually, the LEAST trustworthy people in life are the people who say, “Ah, Everything’s fine. You don’t need to worry about anything!” ☺
This first misconception (that there is no condemnation) is a direct result of people jumping off ship right here, and therefore not seeing the beautiful, glorious, magnificent picture of God we’re going to get to see!
--And besides… “Is a God who is “just love”…and doesn’t condemn anyone…and just brings everyone to heaven (which is nowhere in the Bible)
…Is that even a God that you could worship and respect?
I mean, imagine someone has really harmed you or your family in some incredibly deep way.
I mean, it’s bad. Really bad.
But let’s say that person is caught, and brought before a judge.
And you’re hoping this is a really good judge.
An honorable one. With integrity, principle, and character.
But let’s say the judge says, “I just love everyone. People can live how they want. I don’t really have a law…or standards. I’m just going to pretend this never happened. You’re free to go. No condemnation”
Wouldn’t you be irate?
You’d say, “That’s the worst judge in the history of judges!”
Where is justice?! I want justice!!
And if that’s true, why do people think a God with no standards and no justice…is somehow a beautiful picture of God?
I think…it’s in part because we want God to treat us differently than the Hitler’s and Osama Bin Laden’s of the world.
We think, “Well, have justice/standards for them,” but you can ignore our wrong doing.
But that sort of thinking is connected to the other common misconception of God and condemnation
WHAT THE LAW IS POWERLESS TO DO (v. 3)
Let’s take a look at these misconceptions again, as a revision of what the Bible actually says in Romans 8:1
Two Common Misconceptions
1. There is now no condemnation…for anyone.
2. There is now no condemnation…for those who are good enough
Many people, when you dig deep down, believe this.
They think, “I will go to heaven as long as…I don’t kill anyone, I’m kind to other people, or, I do more good things than bad things.
My friend, the Bible spends about 800 pages trying to disprove that very thing
We can see this as we keep studying the Bible and move to the first half of verse 3 now
(Romans 8:3a) – NIV - LEAVE UP FOR A MINUTE
3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,
Now, remember, the law, is God’s law, his standard for morality…how people should live.
Paul is saying in verse 3 that obeying God’s law, being moral, while good and helpful…but it’s powerless to actually save you.
It cannot give you eternal life in heaven.
WHY? Because…it’s weakened by the flesh (that’s us) he says.
What does that mean?
Well it means that despite all the nice deeds we think we do, that can’t erase the condemnation we deserve for the bad deeds we do
It goes back to what we were saying about God actually being a good judge.
Even if I’ve sinned once.
Let’s say on the way home today, I see a Packer Fan…
But even if I sin just once, if God is truly just (and I break his law), there has to be justice…and that justice is separation from Him... a perfect and holy God
Here’s another way to think about it:
If someone is before a court of law for a crime (let’s say tax evasion)
They can’t say, “well, your honor, I want you to know that I mowed my neighbor’s lawn 2 months ago, so I think you should ignore the fact that I haven’t paid my taxes since 98”
This is Romans is saying: Our good deeds are powerless to help us when we’ve broken a law
And if God is a just judge, there must be condemnation for our sin.
GOD’S SON AS A SUBSTITUTE (v. 3-4)
But my friends, listen, here’s where the story goes from hard to beautiful
Look at all of verse 3 now
(Romans 8:3) – NIV -- LEAVE UP FOR A MINUTE
3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
What that is saying is this:
Our good deeds are powerless to save us
BUT…. God has the power to save us…by sending His Son Jesus.
And He sent Jesus “in the likeness of sinful flesh” it says
So even though Jesus was the Son of God, he came to earth looking like us
He took on human flesh
And after living the life we couldn’t (a perfect life), it says that Jesus became a “sin offering”
And that means that God offered His son (and Jesus willingly went) to die in your place
To die on the cross…
And when He died on the cross, He was taking the punishment that was meant for you!
That’s the beautiful teaching of the Bible.
Here’s a great way to think about this:
Long ago, there was a man named Shamile who lived in a very difficult country.
He was a leader of a group of people who were trying to overthrow an evil dictator.
As his group traveled around, they kept their families with them.
Because times were tough, their own people kept breaking into their supply tent to steal food.
One night, after it happened again, Shamile was outraged because food was scarce and had to be rationed.
He told all of the families that from then on, anyone caught stealing food would be publicly whipped.
Not long after that, Shamile’s lieutenant informed him that more food had been stolen
Shamile had all the people assembled for a public whipping.
But as the people were just about fully assembled, someone whispered to him, “But sir, it was your own elderly mother who was caught stealing.”
Now what do you do?
As the people sat there with their eyes transfixed on Shamile, he pronounced condemnation…she was guilty…and the punishment for that crime was a public whipping.
They then tied his elderly and shaking mother up to a post.
But then Shamile walked over to his own mother, took off his own shirt, covered her with his body…
And he said to his lieutenant, begin the whipping.
And in this way, justice was still satisfied…and no one questioned what kind of leader Shamile was.
And his love for his mother…was still proven
The penalty was still paid, but it was paid by Shamile himself.
That’s the truth of the Bible and God’s love for you
Some of you have been carrying the weight of condemnation for a long time now.
Over what you did, to your family, to your child, to a friend, a spouse…to God.
And you’ve been feeling like you can’t be good enough for Him.
Well here’s the good news, you’re right!
You’ll never be good enough, but God loves you anyway!
His love NEVER FAILS.
You cannot out sin the forgiveness of God.
Let me show you the truth now:
Two Common Misconceptions
1. There is therefore now no condemnation…for anyone.
2. There is therefore now no condemnation…for those who are good enough
Romans 8:1: There is now no condemnation…for those who are in Christ Jesus.
And what is “to be IN CHRIST JESUS”?
It’s to place your trust in Him.
It’s to say, “Jesus, I believe you died for me…that YOU took my punishment!
“And if you love me that much, I now leave my old life and my sin behind…and I want to make you the leader of my life. I accept you as my savior”
And when you do that, it’s like that picture of Shamile’s mother being covered by her son.
When you place your faith in Jesus, you put yourself “IN CHRIST,” and you are covered from condemnation…because Jesus takes the condemnation for you.
And there is therefore, now NO condemnation for you, because you are in Christ.
You are forgiven of your sins
Because He died for your sins.
God can’t condemn you again, Jesus already took that condemnation for you!
THAT… …THAT…is LOVE.
And THAT is who God really is!
And it so much…so much more beautiful than God apathetically shrugging his shoulders and letting everyone
And it is SUCH better news that God making everyone earn his love
No, the TRUTH IS God has seen EVERYTHING you ever done…and still loves you so much that he’d die in your place.
(Back to NO CONDEMNATION)
And you can be forgiven and truly start a relationship with a God who loves you, by making a decision to believe in that today.
In fact, I want to give you a chance to do that right now…to make a decision to choose to be IN CHRIST (like Romans 8 says)
Let’s just have everyone bow their head and close their eyes.
If you’ve never made this decision before, and you want to be forgiven by Jesus …
You want to tell Him for the first time that you believe that you have sinned (broken his law), but you believe His death paid for it, and you want to follow Him…
He can forgive you.
Or maybe you’ve just been carrying around condemnation like a heavy load on your back.
But you’re hearing today that God knew about it, and He loves you anyway.
So much so that He died in your place.
And YOU want to tell Him today that you believe
That you want to be IN Christ, shielded by Him, and experience what it’s like to have NO CONDEMNATION on you anymore.
If that’s you, I urge you to respond to Jesus today.
And I urge everyone to weigh seriously the truth that if you do not place your faith in Jesus, that the opposite of this passage is also true.
That there IS condemnation.
If we do not place our faith in Jesus, if we’re not IN Christ, Covered and wrapped up by Christ…
Then the condemnation (the just penalty for our sins) will come upon on us.
And when our time is up here, we will not be saved to eternal life with God, but apart from him in Hell
But you can be saved, you can know God, and know his sweet forgiveness today.
And so, If that’s you, as a way to mark this day, and tell Him that you believe, I want you to stand up where you are right now.
Everyone has their eyes closed, so don’t think about that.
If you need to tell Jesus that you believe, and you need His forgiveness…
If you’re ready to surrender to Him…
Stand up right now.
For those of you standing, we want to pray with you.
Repeat this out loud after me…whether you’re a brand-new believer or have been one for quite some time.
Repeat after me
I confess to you, that I have sinned against you.
But God I believe, that you sent your Son Jesus, to take my place
And God I thank you, for forgiving my sins.
And now I commit, to following you, with my life.
As everyone still has their eyes closed, for those of you standing up, you just made the most important decision of your life, and I believe that requires some more information…
So here’s what we’re going to do to get you that…as everyone has their eyes closed, I want you, in just a second, to walk back out to the lobby where it will be quiet.
You won’t walk out there alone.
There are others standing with you, and our follow-up team is going to walk out at the same time with you
And I, and our follow-up team are going to get you some extremely important resources & next steps to get you started on the most important journey of your life.
If you’re part of this church, and your friend or family member is standing up right now, PLEASE come out there with them.
All right, you can all go now.
As they’re walking, I’m going to thank God in prayer.
COME BACK UP AT END OF SERVICE!
CLOSE OF SERVICE
(God Never Fails Series slide)
Thank you so much for coming today
I can’t wait for you to come back next week.
We’re going to be continuing in Romans 8, in our “God Never Fails” series.
Today was just the beginning…
But next week, we’re going to dive even deeper into topics like, “How to set your mind on the right thing, so your mind is running you down on the wrong thing”
In the subsequent weeks, we’re going to even talk about hard topics, like, “how to handle suffering, and the hard times in life”
Keep coming back.
Keep growing in your understanding and walk with God.
And if you know someone who needs to be here with you, bring them next week
All right, we’ll see you next week, at the same service times, 9:00, 10:15, & 11:30, have an amazing day!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.