Wednesday, March 15, 2000

Mid-week Lent 2

Midweek Lenten Service 2 Evening
March 15, 2000 
Romans 5:1-11 

Confident even in the midst of suffering

INTRODUCTION: In this season of Lent we place our focus on the cross and the sufferings of the Savior.  We realize that in the midst of His earthly life the Savior suffered for our sin and us too.  As we walk with the Savior, we too will encounter various and sundry pains and sorrows. The Bible refers to them as afflictions and sufferings. And, although they may appear outwardly to be physical in nature, there is a spiritual connection attached to them. Lurking behind ever trial, every suffering, every affliction is the Devil tempting us to give up or to give in.  Yet through it all we can say with St. Paul that we are able to overcome and win the victory. We find strength and courage as we suffer with the suffering Savior.

Because of Christ who suffered for us

1.                 We will share in God’s glory vs.1- 2 “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

This little verse sums up our entire Christian faith.  Everything we are as Christians hangs on this little verse.  Just consider what Paul reminds us here:

A.    You and I share in the glory of God because we have been justified by faith. We stand before God perfect and whole because of faith. We trust God. We believe God.  Therefore we are counted as righteous before God because we trust God at His Word.

B.      And what is the result of such faith and trust? We have peace with God.  We know where we stand. We know where we are headed. Our salvation is all wrapped up in the works and merits of Jesus Christ our Savior. We don’t have to worry about working our way up to God. We don’t have to worry about doing more or sinning less. Our peace is not based on anything that we do. It all depends on Him. If Jesus Christ has declares us not guilty of sin. We have a peace that this world simply can not give. A Savior who suffered for us that we might live wins our peace. 

C.    What’s more we also exalt in the hope of the glory of God. There are some in this world who live as if there is no tomorrow. They do so, because that is what they actually believe. They live for the moment or they live for the day because they have become convinced that what they have in this short period of life is all that there is.  They are convinced that there is nothing more so they live as if they until there is nothing left you and I, on the other hand. live with an eternal perspective. We live in the hope of a new tomorrow. We live in the hope that we will see the glory of God. We live as if there is a tomorrow for there really is. Our life is not tied only to what I do today. True, what I do today is very important. But the future is what I really live for.

 As Christians you and I live for an eternal tomorrow. We live in hope of the glory of God. In short, we live with the hope and promise of living with Jesus forever in paradise. That is what shapes our present. That is what gives meaning to all that we do.

O they tell me of a home far beyond the skies,

O they tell me of a home far away;

O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,

O they tell me of an unclouded day.

O the land of cloudless day,

O the land of an unclouded day,

O they tell me of a home where not storm clouds rise,

O they tell me of an unclouded day.

O they tell me of a home where my friends have gone,

O they tell me of that land far away,

Where the tree of life in eternal bloom

Sheds its fragrance through the unclouded day. 

O they tell me of a King in His beauty there,

And they tell me that mine eyes shall behold

Where He sits on the throne that is whiter than snow,

In the city that is made of gold

O they tell me that He smiles on His children there,

And His smile drives their sorrows all away;

And they tell me that no tears ever come again

In that lovely land of unclouded day.

O the land of cloudless day,

O the land of an unclouded day,

O they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise,

O they tell me of an unclouded day.

The Unclouded Day 
By Rev. Josiah Kelly Alwood 
Spring Hill (now Tedro), Ohio 1879

Transition: Because heaven is our home and since we live in the expectation of this eternal hope we endure whatever might come our way - we know that even the sufferings that we might be forced to endure are only temporary. They will not last forever!

2.                 We suffer in hope vs. 3- 4  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;”

We live in a fallen world. Because of a fallen world, because of our fallen nature we must endure present sufferings. Each person must suffer, and some sufferings may appear to be unmanageable. But then, in the midst of our suffering we turn to the only One who can help us, our suffering Savior Jesus and He brings a transformation in us. Listen, again to how Paul describes this change.  Sufferings bring about perseverance, which leads to a proven character, which finally leads to hope. Our hope is nothing more and nothing less then what we expect to happen. We expect Christ to bring us to completion. He will carry us safely to be with Him in glory. This is our hope. ” My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus’ blood and righteous, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.” {TLH #370 stanza 1}

3.                 We are reconciled with God vs. 11 “And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

We stand reconciled to God. Once we were at odds now we are at peace. Once we were enemies, now we are friends. Once we were opposed to one another, now we are one.  This was all made possible through our Lord Jesus. Thanks be to God. We are now in His camp, apart of His family, restored, refreshed, redeemed.

CONCLUSION: You and I can be content…even in the midst of suffering. We belong to a Savior who suffered for us, who helps us endure the sufferings that we share in the life.  We belong to Him and in His hands we are safe and we are secure.  Fare thee well, for all is well in Jesus our suffering Savior!

+ Soli Deo Gloria+

NB: The song Unclouded Day was sung by Willie Nelson on his family album in 1979 and performed for the Farm Aid benefit in the 1980’s.

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