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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

July 26, 2020 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Romans 8:28–8:39

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Romans 8:28-39
Date: July 26th, 2020; Pentecost 8; Series A
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • In our epistle reading St. Paul teaches us something that is very comforting.
  • He said, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” and “…[nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
  • St. Paul teaches us that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.  
  • Not even death.  Especially not death!
  • And everything that you see going on in this world, everything that you personally experience in your life (both joy and sorrow) - all of it - work together for good!
  • This means that somehow earthquakes, flooding, drought, and all of the other natural disasters in the world work together for good.
  • This means that somehow the unrest and wars among the nations work together for good.
  • This means that injuries and illnesses and even pandemics work together for good.
  • This means that accidents, trouble paying the bills, anger, grudges and resentment, our struggles with sin  - even death itself - somehow work together for good.
  • This truth is a mystery and is something that surpasses our understanding.  We can’t figure out exactly how it all works through our reason.
  • So, we take God at His Word when he reveals to us that all things (good and evil) work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
  • Does this mean that God is responsible for, or is the source of, the evil and suffering in the world and in our lives?  
  • No.
  • Ultimately we are responsible for the sin, pain, suffering, and death that is part of living in this fallen world.
  • This began when Adam and Eve disobeyed God because they wanted to become gods - and we continue to cause and add to the problems and suffering with our sin today.
  • God created us to live in perfect harmony with Him and with each other for eternity - but our sin ruined that and we find ourselves in our current situation.
  • We ruined it, but God has restored His creation.  He has saved us.
  • God is not the source of sin, suffering, and death - but He allows it to happen.  
  • And He doesn’t allow it to happen because He gets a kick out of watching us struggle and suffer.
  • No, He allows it for His purpose.
  • And His purpose is your salvation.  
  • His purpose is nothing other than the forgiveness of your sins and your everlasting life.
  • God very personally experienced and suffered the consequences of sin in this world when he took on our flesh.
  • He experienced what it’s like to be tempted as we are.  
  • He knows well what it is like to be thirsty and hungry.  He knows the sadness of being forsaken by friends and family.
  • He has deeply felt the agony of being ridiculed and tortured.  
  • He knows death.  
  • All of these things that our Lord suffered and endured were the result of sin and evil.  
  • Not His sin and evil. Ours.
  • Yet, through all of this evil and suffering that He experienced, He brought about our greatest good. 
  • Jesus took upon himself the punishment that we deserve for our sin.  He sacrificed himself, laid down His life, to save us.  
  • Through his death by crucifixion, our Lord died our eternal death.  He took our place and we have been set free from the temporal and eternal punishment that we deserve.
  • Never has there been a greater sin, a greater injustice, a worse case of evil being carried out - than when Jesus, God in the flesh, was wrongly convicted, tortured, and put to death on a cross.
  • But God worked through that sin, and injustice, and evil for good - for our salvation.
  • We know this is true because of Christ’s resurrection. 
  • Sin and evil and death could not keep him down.  
  • And God promises you that sin and evil and death will not keep you down.
  • All things that you experience in your life are for that purpose - they are all leading to eternal life free from sin and death.
  • The joy of children, grandchildren, and friends.  The joy of moments spent on vacation experiencing amazing things.  The satisfaction of being a student, of doing a job well done, of hobbies – all things work together for good.    
  • Broken bones and other injuries.  The cancer diagnosis.  The depression and anxiety.  The eyes and ears that don’t work like they once did.  The aches and pains.
  • Even your death – all things work together for good.
  • As children, there are times when our parents do things that seem horrible to us.  Things that surpass our understanding.
  • A young child doesn’t understand why their loving parents would take them to the doctor’s office for vaccination needles.  Don’t they know it’s scary and it hurts?
  • Or children don’t understand why their parents don’t allow them to eat all of the cookies they want.  Don’t they know how delicious they are?
  • It seems mean!  It doesn’t make sense!
  • But the parents have the child’s well-being in mind.
  • The bigger picture is that vaccination shots and not eating 50 cookies is what’s best for the child - even though they can’t see how it can be at the time.  
  • All they know is that the needle hurts and they want cookies!
  • Similarly, we are often unable to see or understand why we experience difficulties and suffering in our lives.  It can seem mean and cruel even.
  • But God has promised us that there is a bigger picture to everything we experience and all things will work out according to His will and purpose.
  • Dear friends, we who love God, because he first loved us, have his promise that no matter what we face in this life – it will turn out good.  We will prevail.
  • We who love God, have God’s promise that “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” 
  • We who have been called by God in our Baptism, we who have been enlightened by his Word, we who have been strengthened and nourished by the true body and blood of Jesus Christ - love God.
  • And “[we are] sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 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 19, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

July 12, 2020

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost