Hi everyone. I’m Josh Pollard. I’m the adult ministries pastor here at renovation church. Today we’re
going to finish our study on romans 8 where we have been learning about how God never fails.
Have you ever noticed how we hate when things fail to last? The American Insurance industry is a $1.3
Trillion industry built on our hate or even our fear of things failing to last. That for everything from our
cars to our houses to our lives. And it’s really getting out of hand, the other day I bought a toaster for
the café and they tried to sell me product protection insurance. If I need toaster insurance, then I’ve got
bigger problems then a toaster being broken. It’s only a matter of time before they come with some
kind of product protection plan for your burger and fries in case you drop it on the way to your table.
Culvers will make a fortune off it just from Pastor David. Well today we’re going to talk about how one
of the effects of God never failing is that his work to save us never fails to last. We don’t need salvation
Open your bibles to Romans 8. Everyone in here owns a bible now. Either you already did, or you now
own the one under the chair in front of you! Please take it, it’s our gift to you, we give out a bunch every
week. We’ll be on page 772 of the Bibles under the chairs. Also, if you know someone in your life that
needs a bible and you want to give them one, take one of theses and give it to them. Again we’ll be on
page 772 today.
Today’s section starts in verse 31 but before we get to that I have to remind you of what we talked
about last week in verses 28-30. What we saw there was God is working all things together for the good
of those who love him, and that the “Good” that he’s working things toward is not our comfort or fun,
but it’s for them is whatever it takes to make them more and more like his son Jesus. so o you find the
big 8 for chapter 8 and the little 31 for verse 31. It’s in the bottom right. Where Paul asks “What, then,
shall we say in response to these things?” when he says “these things” he referring to everything in
Romans that has come so far up to this point. Most specifically he’s referring to what David just talked
about last week in verses 28-30.
Paul’s answer is that “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Now some might hear this and we’ve used this verse all the time to encourage us in in daily challenges.
It seems to be an echo of Psalm 27 that says “The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour [a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
And that is all true. Nothing is more powerful than God. You have no enemies that are more
powerful than God so take heart, and be brave.
“But on the other hand, this verse often gets misused by people acting pridefully in regards to
their opinions…if God is for me (and my opinion), who could be against me and it become more
of a statement about their own invincibility instead of the value of God’s protection.
So the Bible is not saying that no one will ever disagree with us or give us any grief or that
things won’t go bad ever. I’m sure we could all make a list of who is against us and of all the bad
things that happen to us. In fact, when King David wrote Psalm 27 he was talking about all of the
people that were literally against him and wanted to kill him. In the Old Testament, when Israel
walked away from God he would basically say, “Ok you want to serve other Gods? Fine, go see
if they will protect you.” And God who let the other empire over throw them – but God was the
Judge, not the other empires, they were just God’s tools of judgment upon their sin.. The point is
not that no one will ever be against us but that no one that can defeat our God, so it doesn’t
ultimately matter if they’re against us if we are in God’s will.
Romans 8 is not about just facing challenging situations here on earth. It’s about facing an even
bigger challenge, our sin. So when V. 31 asks, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” It’s
saying if God has chosen us, called us, justified us, and glorified us, himself, why would he send
anyone against us in judgement? – there is nothing left to judge!
Paul goes on. In v. 32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all – how will he not
also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” OR to clarify “God that Father did not spare his own
Son, Jesus, but gave Jesus up for us all – how then will God not also, along with his Son Jesus, graciously
give us all things?” What Paul is doing here is called arguing from the harder to the easier. It’s like
saying, if I went through all the trouble of building this building, wouldn’t’t we also pay the electricity bill
so we could use it? If God has already done the infinitely valuable thing of sending his Son down to be
sacrificed, will he let anything small nullify that? No way!
We’ve got a lot of finance people in here, homeowners and such, so think of it this way, will God not
protect his investment in you? Something that the Bible teaches that I just can’t get over is that on one
hand we are wretched vile sinners, and on the other hand we are the panicle of all creation, created in
the very image of God. This verse shows us that. It shows you how very valuable you are. Good? No.
valuable? Yes, immensely! Any good economics class will teach you that the value of something in a free
market is whatever the person that values it the most is willing to give up for it. Look at this painting.
(Get slide from this website or maybe another) This is a painting called “orange, red, yellow” by an
American artist named Mark Rothko. In 2012 it sold for $86.3 million! If you’re not that impressed
because well, that was back in 2012, in 2021 dollars that would be just a hair shy of $100milllion! Just for
comparison here is another one (put up second picture) called “Pink, Blue, and Yellow” That an artist
named… my daughter… made and I’m only selling it for a cool $25million. She’s still got some room to
grow. If you’re interested just see me out in the lobby later. (put up third picture) Of course, for the
peasants out there, here is one called “Dark Navy/Cream” by an artist called “Target” that you can get
for just $45. Now if you’re a normal person, or what the art world might refer to as an uncultured swine,
like myself, you might be asking why on earth is this one worth only $45, this one worth only $25Million
give-or-take, and this one worth literally $100million? Like if you walked in with $95million and tried to
buy it they’d say, “oh sorry, you might want to check out our clearance rack over there…” Well the
reason that it is worth $100million is that someone was willing to give up $100million dollars for it. Do
you think that the person who gave up $100million dollars for it would get it home and then say “well I
should probably take really good care of this and maybe get it hung professionally but that would cost
like $150, so just forget it, toss it in the garage.” No way! They are going to protect their investment.
The same is true for our salvation. God has already given his son up for you. The value that he placed on
you being saved was the life of the Son of God. Why then would he let anything smaller than that imped
Paul goes on in V. 33-34 “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God
who Justifies. who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that,
who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Look, as humans we constantly want to earn our keep and do our part to earn what we get but
when it comes to your salvation, the only thing you contribute to the equation is your need to be saved.
That $100Million Dollar painting can’t protect itself, it just needs protecting. The only time we are
mentioned in that passage in when says that we were chosen by God, that we were justified by God,
and that we need intercession. It doesn’t’t mention anything about us having a part in this except
needing it and getting it. Everything else is God’s doing. If we are going to trust that we are saved, then
we have to remember who it is that is saving us. It’s not us on our own merit, it’s completely based on
what Jesus has done.
You have done nothing to save you, Jesus has done 4 things to seal our salvation. 2 things completed
and in the past, 2 things current and ongoing:
He already died a human death even though he never sinned. So credit for his human death is
freely available to all us humans who did sin.
He already rose to life. He’s the first fruit of glory, blazing the trail if you will, preparing it for the
rest of us. We can count on the resurrection because it’s already begun.
He is at the right hand of the Father. That’s where a ruler would put his most trusted advisor,
his most loved son. No one outranks Jesus. He’s the only one that has the Father’s ear.
He’s not just sitting there but he’s speaking with the Judge on our behalf – that’s what it mean
to intercede for us.
[(Bold the corresponding phrase as I get to it) Who will bring any charge against those whom
God has chosen? It is God who Justifies. who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus
who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also
interceding for us.]
This promise from God is not based on our ability to follow a law or a rule book. You aren’t’t good
enough to get it and you never could be and so this is an amazing because have you met yourself?
because I’ve met myself. And It’s not good… A promise from God contingent on me is bad news. A
promise from God that is based on what God has already done despite me and then he just calls me into
it – now that’s good news.
The Father will not discount the death of his son, Jesus will not stop actively interceding for you, Satan
himself cannot out argue God and bring up a charge against you that Jesus’ death did not pay for, and of
course no human can cancel our salvation. Our place in God’s family is absolutely secure, assured,
guaranteed, already here – Because of what He did. Not because we followed all the rules.
[Question 2 – If not, the why doesn’t’t it feel like it?]
So the next question might be, “if that’s so, then why doesn’t’t it feel like it? Why does it still feel like
we’re living under judgment?” He says in v. 35-36 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
trouble, or hardship, or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For
your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered”
Isn’t that what we feel sometimes? Ok God, we believe in your love, your unfailing love, We know the
deed is done and no one can take it away. But then why does it feel like we’re separate from you
sometimes? Why does it still feel like we’re living under your judgment still instead of your love? If no
one can separate us from the Love of Christ help us. But he lets these things go on so isn’t it proof that
he doesn’t’t love us, or that something’s gotten in the way of that love? Haven’t all the hardships of life
proven that we are separated from Jesus’s love somehow? Even if he’s up there in heaven doing his
thing, it just has no effect on us down here, it can’t reach us.
But the next verse, Romans 8:37 says to all those thoughts, stop thinking those thoughts. That is
the wrong way to think. That is forgetting the bigger picture, it’s forgetting the first half of Romans 8,
“No! in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.” Please don’t miss
that second word, “IN all these things.” Not apart from, not once they’re over, not despite…. IN. So how
are we “more than conquers” of these terrible parts of life right when we are in the middle of them? I
don’t feel like a conjuror. John Piper explained it like this: to conquer something means to destroy it - to
be more than a conqueror means you make it serve your purposes. You make them a traitor. They come
onto your side and actually fight for you, working for your good. Remember v 27: “God works ALL
THINGs together for the good of those who love him.” Even these terrible things! Not only can they not
separate us or even suggest that we are separated somehow, but they are all worked together for the
Good of those who Love God. We talk a lot about that last week.
I think we hear this concept and it sound very noble and good and encouraging and uplifting.
but I want us to be very realistic about it. This is not a feel good message, we’re not a feel-good church.,
this is a real life message and we’re a real life church.
I don’t know if you’ve heard on the news this week about the 17 missionaries that were
kidnapped down in Haiti. The had just left an orphanage when they They’re asking for a $1mil ransom
for each one. The youngest of which is just a toddler. It’s an absolute tragedy that’s happening and I
think hear Romans 8 and I think when I preach about how nothing can separate us from the love God, I
have to keep stuff like that in mind. If my family and I were getting kidnapped, what would I whisper to
my wife and kids? If I could speak to those families, what would I say? How are they more then conquers
right now? We enjoy relative safety right now as Christians in America right now but we can never
expect the sinful world to continually treat us with hospitality. You never know what is coming. So we
have to think of these things, not just in theory, but in preparation. You aren’t here to learn about
Christianity, you’re here to be trained in Christianity.
So what would I say to my family if we were being taken. There are no perfect words, but I
might want her to think about Jesus. If they didn’t feed us and we get hungry or thirsty, I’d want her to
think of Jesus asking for something to drink when he was on the cross, and only bring given vinegar. I
want her to remember that they carried Jesus off and stuck him every time the stick one of us. I want
her to remember that when they were crucifying him, they stripped his clothes off too. So if that
happens to her, think of Jesus. I want her to know that God lost his child to the hand of sinners as well
and yet he did not let fear and pain that his boy went through, that loneliness on the cross, be the last
word. I’d want her to know that I’d see her again soon no matter what – absolutely assuredly. I tell her
that it’s ok to be afraid, because Jesus was so afraid that he sweat blood. It’s ok to be sad if something
bad happens to one of us, even Jesus wept at Lazarus death even though he know the final outcome. I’d
tell her to pray for those that persecute us, Jesus prayed for the people who killed him the whole time.
Even Paul was a murderer, maybe one of these men will one day lead all of Haiti to glorify Christ. I want
her to be so convinced of God’s love that she trust’s not her own will, but God’s will because that’s what
Jesus did. So if our 17 brothers and sister that are there right now can remember that they are being
treated like Christ right now, then they will see that they are more than conquerors.
Paul went through many hardships in his missionary days and was so sure of this that he ends
the chapter by saying “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can separate us from God’s love when we are in Christ Jesus. No person, no power, no
circumstance. Not only can nothing stop it but everything works to complete it! The question that we
must ask at this point here at the end of Romans 8 is the same questions that we started with today,
“What, then, shall you say in response to these things?” The thing to fear is not this stuff. Not all of the
hardships of life, the thing you should fear is a life without Christ. Some of you are on the cusp of not
knowing for sure. If you are in Christ, if you’ve put your trust in Christ, then listen to Romans 8 and never
question your salvation again and never fear the hardships of life again. Be convinced like Paul. Rest
assured; your destination is set. God’s promise is trustworthy.
But if you are not in Christ, If his Spirit is not living in you, you should fear those hardships in life.
If you are not in Christ, they do you no good. They are just meaningless pain. But maybe God is calling
you today. Maybe part of his plan was that you would come here today and here this message and you
would finally start to hear him calling you – telling you that he is coming into your life, that he can make
you his precious child, not because of anything that you have done, but because of what He has done.
Don’t you turn your back on that assurance today? In fact if you’re a Christian I want to ask you to bow
your head and pray to give everyone a private moment where they can listen to God calling them
without distraction. Pray for the person sitting next to you – because their hardship is coming too. But if
you are just starting to realize that God has been calling to you, just beginning to realize how valuable
you are in his eyes, then we want to walk with you in that. If you want to start that walk right here in
this service I want to you just raise your hand.
Copyright: Josh Pollard
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.
OCTOBER 24, 2021