Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pentecost 8 Proper 12

26 July 2020
Romans 8:28-30
You are God’s Handiwork

A prayer for Pentecost 8: O God, the Protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, increase and multiply Your mercy on us that with You as our Ruler and Guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal;[1]

The Psalmist David declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

St. Paul writing in our Epistle in essence states that you, the child of God, also declare the glory of God and show forth His handiwork in your life.

How is this so? Let us consider this wonderful thought, you are God’s Handiwork!

I.        We are the handiwork of God because He made us to be His own. Paul reminds us, “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” Vv.29-30

A.     God determined to make us His own.

1.      He foreknew us. “For those God foreknew He also predestined…” V.29a The Father knew you! God knew you way before you had any knowledge of Him. What’s even more amazing – in love He chose you to be a part of His family. Before this world was ever created. 

Children who are adopted are twice loved. – The parents chose to bring the child into their family. – The child is born in the parents’ hearts. This is how the Father loves you. He determined to make you a part of His gracious family. And this decision came from the very heart of God.

2.      He predestined us. To be conformed to the likeness of His Son.”…that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” V.29 The child becomes an extension of the parents. – The child takes on the same characteristics as the parent. He uses the same manors, and gestures. The child mimics the parent – using the same phrases she uses the same inflections in her mother’s voice. Like father – like son; like mother – like daughter!  In the Father’s family Jesus holds the highest honor in the great family of God. – You have been known and predestined, to become just like Christ – highly favored by your heavenly Father.      

B.     He unilaterally made us to be His own, independent of our trespasses and sins. “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” V.30

1.      He called us. Luther explains it this way. “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel.”

a.       The Gospel is God’s good news of Jesus Christ.

b.      It is the message of the bloody cross and empty tomb.

c.       It is a message, which has transformed our lives to this very hour.

2.      He justified us.

a.       Justification is the chief article of our Christian faith.

b.      God looks at me “Just – if – I –had never sinned!

3.      He will glorify us.

a.       At death you and I will take a walk. - From one end of the kingdom to the other; from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory.

b.      In eternity we will live and dwell with Him and all the saints.

Transition: We are the handiwork of God for what He has done to us in time - when Christ broke into time and space. We are the handiwork of God for what He continues to do in our lives.

II.     We are the handiwork of God because He consistently works in our life for good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” V.28

A.     God works for good in every experience of our life. There is not one thing that passes by without His knowledge and concern. In every circumstance of life. Either for good or for ill -He is concerned. He is interested in you!

1.      God your heavenly Father is never absent from any of our experiences.

a.       Psalm 121: “I will life up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep…The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life: the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Vv.1-4; 7

b.      Matthew 10:30, “And even the very hairs on your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Vv.30-31

2.      God often works for good in our life behind the scenes of our current awareness.  We cannot always see God’s hand at work. Yet He continues to move. Shaping the circumstances of your life.  To bring it into conformity; to bring it into agreement, with His ultimate god for you.
In other words, God is God and you are you and there is a huge difference between the two!

a     We cannot know the mind of God. “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” Romans 11:33-34

b.      God’s ways are not our ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than Your ways and my thoughts than Your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

c.             God has made us to be His own. He works consistently in our lives to accomplish His good purpose. Truly you are the handiwork of God!

The Father’s goal is your justification and glorification (v. 30), which entails being “conformed to the image of his (God’s) Son” so that you might become part of God’s large family (v. 29).

From the beginning, you were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27), but that image was distorted and broken in the Fall (Genesis 3).

The Father knew that we would fall, but instead of abandoning us, began his work of restoring us by sending Christ into our world.   Now you bear the image of Christ. In Christ you are complete. To live before God in everlasting innocence and blessedness.   

Words – 1,055
Passive Sentences –3%
Readability – 82.2%
Reading Level – 4.4
Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

[1] Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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