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Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

July 19, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Romans 8:18–8:27

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Romans 8:18-27
Date: July 19th, 2020; Pentecost 7 ; Series A
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
  • What were these sufferings that St. Paul experienced?
  • Well here is what he shares in his letters about that: he was imprisoned, beaten, flogged, five times he received the forty lashes less one, three times he was beaten with rods, once he was stoned almost to the point of death, he was shipwrecked three times, and he endured many other hardships as well.  
  • St. Paul knew what it was to suffer.
  • It’s a bit difficult for us to relate to what St. Paul went through, isn’t it?
  • We haven’t been persecuted and tortured for our faith.
  • This could change, but right now we live in a country where we don’t have to worry about being imprisoned and beaten for what we believe and confess.   
  • We don’t have to hide and meet in secret to receive God’s gifts, to study His Word, to proclaim His salvation.
  • And beyond our religious freedoms, we also enjoy a lot of abundance living in Canada.  Our standard of living is among the highest in the world.  
  • So, it can be difficult to relate to where St. Paul is coming from here - to the type of suffering he describes. 
  • And maybe this is part of the reason why we see that God isn’t a priority for many people, why there is a lot of apathy when it comes to spiritual matters - life is pretty good without God - or so we think.
  • But, when we reflect a little bit deeper we recognize that things aren’t all rosy – at least not all of the time. 
  • We live in the exact same sinful and fallen world that Paul and the Romans lived in - and we experience suffering too.  
  • Maybe not the same kind that St. Paul went through.
  • But we do suffer.  
  • The world is still groaning in the pains of childbirth, as St. Paul described it.
  • Creation is groaning and we hear it.
  • We hear it as natural disasters destroy, and displace, and devastate.  
  • We hear it in accidents and injuries and in pandemics. 
  • We also hear the terrible sounds caused by our sin.
  • Tension among the nations. Political unrest. The hurtful things we say and do to each other - even to those we love.       
  • Certainly we have so much to be thankful for and there are so many things that we experience in life that bring us great joy! 
  • But we can’t deny that creation and humanity are groaning.  Groaning in the pains of childbirth.
  • That’s an interesting way for St. Paul to put it, isn’t it?  
  • He didn’t call them the groaning and pains of dying.  
  • He called them “labour pains”.  The pain of childbearing.  
  • In the Gospel of St. Mark we read that Jesus said exactly the same thing, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Mark 13:8).  
  • This means that the groaning of this present world, all of the trouble happening around us and personally in our lives - are the birthing pains of the new creation.
  • These are the labour contractions of the new creation that has come in Christ Jesus.
  • The way to the new creation is the way of the cross, and that means suffering. 
  • We shouldn’t be surprised when we face hardships.  We shouldn’t question God’s love or plan for our salvation when we suffer.
  • Instead, we endure with hope and peace.   
  • We endure with God’s promise that all of our sin is washed away in the shed blood of Jesus on the cross - a blood that is poured on you in your Baptism, poured into you in His Supper, and put into your ears with His Word. 
  • Yes, for now, our bodies remain captive to the death and decay of this fallen and sinful world.
  • That’s why we get sick.  That’s why we age.  That’s why cells become cancerous and arteries clog and bones get brittle and arthritic. 
  • For now, our bodies remain captive to sin and death - even though we are free from sin and death in Christ.  
  • For now we hope for what we do not see and we wait for it with patience. In this hope, St. Paul tells us, we are saved.
  • And we are not alone as we patiently wait in hope.
  • The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words, He intercedes for us according to the will of God.
  • The Spirit keeps us strong in our faith in God’s promise that now all that remains is the resurrection of our bodies.   
  • Today we endure the suffering of creation and our sin and we groan - but we know that our future is secure.  
  • We hear, and trust, and cling to St. Paul’s words that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory to be revealed to us.   
  • With a new mother, the pains of labour are not worth comparing with the glory of the birth – of holding her brand new baby.  
  • The joy takes over the suffering.
  • So too, the suffering we experience today will not compare to our promised eternal life.
  • Eternal life with no more natural disasters.  
  • No more stress, anxiety, pain, sorrow, and sadness.  
  • No more death.  
  • The suffering we experience today will not compare to our promised eternal life that is filled with love, joy, health, and life.  
  • The suffering we experience today will not compare to our promised eternal life spent with God and all of our loved ones who have departed in the faith.
  • As we suffer and groan today - this promise from God for tomorrow gives us peace, comfort, and hope.  
  • We who have been made righteous in the blood of Christ will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father for eternity.  He who has ears, let him hear. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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July 26, 2020

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

July 12, 2020

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost