His Presence Our Present: Love (Romans 8)

MOTIVATE
God loves you. GOD loves you. God LOVES you. God loves YOU. God loves you.

Christmas is a love story.heart_4

A love story between a young couple named Joseph & Mary. Joseph was a righteous man hoping to marry the girl of his childhood dreams. Mary was a sweet spirited girl hoping to marry the guy every other girl wanted to marry. They hoped for a perfect love and wedding without any disturbance. Instead, what they got was drama. Mary, likely a young teen age girl around 13-15 (normal age of betrothal in that society), became pregnant. Today this would perhaps prompt gossip but then it was disgraceful. When Joseph heard the news he was likely a mix between heated, hurt and heartbroken. And yet, when God told Joseph that Mary was pure and pregnant by divine means then rather than putting her away he pursued her further in love. To every outsider this love was scandalous.

The scandal: Joseph & Mary would ruin a righteous reputation. Simple lowly shepherds would be the first to hear the gospel news. Unsaintly King Herod murdered innocent boys from Bethlehem.

God’s love is scandalous. While the conception of Jesus, the Son of God was a miracle, His birth was messy. The beauty of God’s incarnation is holy but to outsiders is seen as humiliating – GOD becoming human, dwelling among sinful men and women to experience the limitations and loathing of those He came to love and save. His birth would have been beautiful but also bloody. Do not think for one minute that because the child was God that delivery was not agonizing and laborious. Pregnancy is fascinatingly painful; fascinating to marvel at the wonder of life but painful that this should logically only happen so many times!

God’s love is scandalous because of you. Humanity has rejected God since the beginning of the world. We doubt and disobey. We ignore and inhibit any mention of God’s name, whether at Christmas or any other time of the year. We create and pay to watch violence for entertainment purposes but for some reason when violence occurs in real life we blame God. We are an unrighteous and unworthy people of God’s love. And yet… that is exactly why Jesus has come.

Jesus came to save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came not for the healthy but the sick (Mark 2:17). Jesus came to those dwelling in darkness to be a great light (Matthew 4:15; John 1:5).

Jesus’ entrance into the world was special but yet scandalous. Jesus laying aside glory to experience degradation; the eternal Son of God who created all things would be born and in need of burping and bathing. God’s love was scandalous, wonderfully scandalous.

This message will explore the presence and power of God’s scandalous love in our life today from Romans 8.

 

EXAMINE Presence of Love Romans 8:27-39presence logo series
This passage speaks to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. This is important to note because God’s love is not irresponsibly reckless. His love is presented to everyone but His love is not present in everyone. This series for the Christmas season has focused on HIS PRESENCE – OUR PRESENT but the reality is that if you are not a true believer in Jesus Christ then you do not have God’s presence. In fact you have another presence that is deceiving you; you are being fooled.

Does the Spirit of God truly dwell in your life? If so, this is what you are experiencing these 2 realities:

The presence of God’s love brings us security (Rom 8:28-36)
The Apostle Paul is coming to a climax in his discussion of God’s grace worked through the life of a believer. Romans 7 (which we will include a bit more specifically next week) talks about a person who struggles with sin {like the little boy a couple weeks ago said to me “I don’t want to sin and hurt God anymore”} and they are looking for hope. Romans 8 gives that hope for the sinner. And so in this climax of God’s grace we see Paul recalling to mind the security of the believer because of the complete saving work of the gospel.

v.28 “And we know…” is representative of the certain & confident faith of a believer.
God is working together all things [including suffering, v.18] for good. What is that good?

v.29 The good that God is working together is being conformed to the image of Jesus.

In other words, in the middle of a life filled with the struggles with sin and suffering from a sinful world, God is at work; He’s on the job bringing about His plan in your life. We may not enjoy God’s process in the short-term but God is promising His future plan will give current perseverance; His eternal salvation will give present strength.

– It is like the mother who will endure the pain of childbirth knowing the future joy she will having holding her child.
– It is like an oyster that gathers grains of sand inside their shells. The oyster finds the sand irritating and intrusive so it coats it with layers of an internal substance to bring itself comfort. The coating of the sand does not remove the trouble but gives it resistance to transform it. Pearls are simply the result of pain. Pain can be quite valuable.
o Charles Spurgeon said, “they who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”
o Samuel Rutherfod said that when he was cast into the cellars of affliction he remembered that the great King always kept his wine there.

Paul goes on to speak of God’s saving work.

Foreknew: God’s omniscience; His knowledge is complete knowing past, present & future events.
Predestined: God’s sovereignty; His elect will to choose as Creator.
Called: God is inviting; He calls people to believe and everyone who believes will be saved
Romans 10:13-15 “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the [SENT] feet of those who preach the good news!’”
Justified: God’s righteous declaration that a sinner has been forgiven and made right, not by mere erasure of wrong but through propitiation – substitutionary sacrifice
Glorified: God’s faithful purpose to bring His people into the fullness of their faith, body & soul made new through the resurrection.

These 5 theological words are each in the past tense to indicate completion. In other words, no one can undo what God does – we are secure in Christ.
– You can’t uncreate creation. You can’t unsave a Christian.

vv. 31-36 List a series of questions that unite believer’s security to identity in Christ. Whatever happens to Christ will occur to the believer. If God is for us who can be against us? If God gave up His Son, how will he not also be gracious toward us? Who can bring any charge or condemnation against us? Who shall separate us from God’s love? The answer to each is no one!

The presence of God’s love brings us significance (Romans 8:37-39)
Paul gives a grand statement – in all these questions we are more than conquerors [huper (above) nikomen (conqueror, victor) – “nike”]. The believer’s self-worth and significance comes because Christ is their identity.

– It is like a weighted punching bag that no matter how many times it gets hit, pushed or shoved it always returns. The reason is because there is a significant weight inside that causes it to stand strong. No matter the external pressure the internal presence of significance keeps it going. So too of the believer has an internal presence – His Presence Our Present – to give us an identity as more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

v.38 “For I am sure…” again shows the certain and confident faith of the believer.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 When it comes to your personal significance, to whom do you listen?
o Is it the world’s humanistic psychology that elevates your self-esteem higher than even God?
o Is it other people who seek to discourage, dishearten and depress you?
o Is it your own voice and conscience that diminishes your identity?

God is telling you to listen to His voice, listen to His words…

 

APPLY/THINK

 If you are a believer, God is totally in love with you. Are you totally in love with God? Does God truly have priority in your life? Our love must not be only in “word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1Jn 3:18).

Isaac Watts wrote
“Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Chris Tomlin wrote:
“Amazing love, how can it be? That You my King would die for me? Amazing love, I know it’s true. It’s my joy to honor You.

 If you are not a believer, God’s love is totally available to you. Christmas is the reminder that He has come for you; “let every heart prepare Him room”

 

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