170730 Romans 8:18

Last Updated on Monday, 31 July 2017 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Romans 8:18

Sermon Theme: There's Just No Comparison

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

Some critics of Christianity tell us that our religion is such a "downer" religion. What they mean by saying this is that it seems all we ever talk about is how bad life is. That all we focus on are the troubles and difficulties of life. Perhaps you and I do need the reminder from time to time to not lose sight of the many, MANY blessings we enjoy from our gracious Savior-God. Of course, the greatest blessings you and I enjoy are our spiritual blessings: the blessings of faith in Jesus as our one and only Savior and the forgiveness of all our sins that he won for us.

But, you and I know that we also enjoy so many physical blessings from our Lord. Family and friends whom we love and care about certainly are one of the greatest, earthly blessings that the Lord gives to us. Other blessings that come to mind are good health and the ability to get around from place to place. As we live out our days in one of the wealthiest nations on our planet, the gracious Lord who promises to give us our daily bread, gives us so much more! We read in Psalm 145, "The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them."

Yet, it is a fact that after sin entered the world, God's once perfect creation was ruined. After mankind fell into sin, the Lord God spoke about some of the suffering that would now be part of life because of sin. He told Eve, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children." And to Adam the Lord said, "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field." Both Adam and Eve heard the Lord God say to them, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

As he wrote to the Christians in Rome, the Apostle Paul knew that they were suffering. They were being persecuted and hunted down for being followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul himself had to suffer a great deal while he carried out his ministry. In his Second Letter to the Corinthians, Paul shares some detail about the suffering he endured as a messenger of God's Word, "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

So, as he writes to you and me this morning, the Apostle Paul knows that life on this earth isn't perfect. But each one of us here this morning will confess that we are just as guilty as Adam and Eve for ruining God's perfect creation. Because of your sin, because of my sin, suffering is part of life on earth. Listen to how Moses writes about the effects of sin on our life. In Psalm 90 we read, "You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning – though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away."

But, even as we suffer through difficult days on this earth, you and I have Good News to hear this morning. From God's Word before us we are told, "that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ willingly suffered in your place and mine. Jesus suffered the very pains of hell. As our Great Substitute, Jesus suffered the full anger and wrath of God over sin. Because of Jesus, you and I enjoy the forgiveness of all of our sins.

Because of Jesus, you and I are able to endure any suffering that comes our way while here on this earth. How? Because we know that Jesus has won for us a far better place; a place at his side forever in the perfect glory of heaven. Because of our Savior, you and I are able to look forward to what John records for us in Revelation chapter 21, "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. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.' He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.'"

During the summer months, many people enjoy getting away on vacation. Maybe they will visit family that they haven't seen for some time. Some will go back to the same place year after year. Others will make the effort to travel to a place they have never visited before. For example, maybe some of you here this morning have taken a summer trip out west to see the Grand Canyon. Once you get there, you quickly realize that there's just no comparison between our state of Wisconsin (as nice as it is) and a place like the Grand Canyon. So it will be on the Great and Last Day when our Savior returns in all his glory! When Jesus comes again, and we take our place at his side in the perfect joys of heaven, a place without any sin or the effects of sin, you and I will realize THERE'S JUST NO COMPARISON! Amen.

 

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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