Monday, October 7, 2013

Grace And God’s Inextinguishable Love by Martin Wiles

Romans 8:31-39
A. Love is often misunderstood and incorrectly defined.
1. Two preteens experiencing their first episode of puppy love will tell each other they love one another when they truly have no good understanding of what love means or entails.
2. Two adults in an illicit sexual relationship will say “I love you” when the relationship is built on nothing more than physical attraction and lust.
3. Marriages are entered into by people who claim to love each other. Twenty years later, one spouse suddenly proclaims she doesn’t love her husband anymore. She has found someone else who fulfills her every desire and loves him.
4. A child decides they no longer want anything to do with a parent because the parent has offended them in some way. As they make their final exit they proclaim they no longer love them and do not want to see them ever again.

B. Paul describes true love in I Corinthians 13, and Jesus demonstrated it through his life, death and resurrection.
1. It is patient, kind, not jealous, boastful, proud or rude.
2. It does not demand its own way nor is it irritable.
3. It keeps no record when it has been wronged and is always willing to forgive.
4. It does not rejoice in injustice but is happy when truth wins out.
5. Love never gives up or loses faith but is always hopeful and enduring.
6. Most of all, true love never fails. It will last forever.

C. The above definitions make us wonder whether we love or have ever experienced true love from any relationship we have been involved in.
1. We receive and give love with parents, children, and spouses.
2. But a bad decision or ill timed remark can damage the relationship.
3. Many have experienced people leaving them who proclaimed-whether by action or word, that they never would.

D. This section of scripture assures us nothing can ever separate us from God’s love-he will not leave us or ever require that we leave him.

I. God’s Gift Assures The Continuing Connection (vv. 31-34)
A. When God is for us, no one can be against us. (v. 31)
1. At face value, this may seem contradictory.
2. We have been opposed by others for various reasons; probably including opposition for our religious stance.
3. Jesus himself said if we follow him we would be persecuted just as he was. (John 16:1-4)
4. He even said we should be or would be happy when persecuted for his name’s sake. (Matthew 5:11-12)
5. And church history is filled with examples of those who have been persecuted and even killed because they followed Christ.
6. Perhaps we need to add the word “succeed” at the end of the question. “If God is for us, who or what can ever be against us that will succeed?”
7. No person or thing can ever succeed against us when God is in our corner.
8. Satan will never be able to gain victory over us. Our tendency to sin will not result in God giving up on us. Nor will difficult times lead to exasperation if we respond the correct way.
9. I recall one instance in high school when a bully accused me of doing something I had not done and then wanted to fight me because of it. I was not interested, but I had a mutual friend who stepped in between us and told him to fight me meant fighting him. I was glad he was in my corner.
10.  When Satan comes against us, God in essence says the same thing. “That’s my child, and the only way you can get to them is through me.” We know that cannot happen for greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4)

B. How do we know God is for us? (v. 32)
1. God did not spare even his own Son but allowed him to die on Calvary for our sins.
2. God did not spare his greatest treasure for us. The example of Abraham and Isaac gives a wonderful Old Testament picture of this teaching. Abraham waited years for the promised child only to have God tell him to sacrifice this treasured son. At the last moment, God provided a ram in his place, but Abraham loved God so much he was willing to give up his most prized possession. (Genesis 22)
3. If God gave the ultimate gift for our salvation, he will also give everything else we need to survive life and grow spiritually so we can realize conformity to Christ’s image.
4. David spoke of God supplying his needs in the well loved twenty third Psalm, and Jesus instructs us not to worry for God will supply everything we need for existence (Matthew 6:25-34).
5. Worry and anxiety are actually sins for the believer and demonstrate a lack of trust in our wonderful heavenly Father.
6. We have all probably experienced situations when it did not immediately appear God was for us. Maybe it was a life changing decision we were faced with but no answer seemed to come or it did not come quickly enough.
7. God’s ways are not ours nor are his thoughts, but he is always interested in every detail of our life and will give us the guidance we need on his time table, not ours.
8. God does not intentionally withhold good things from us but gives us what is best in the time period that it is best.
9. Reflecting on the greatest gift he has already given will help us survive the times when it appears he is unconcerned or withholding the best from us.
10.  Remember God is seeking our sanctification and preparing us for glorification.
11.  God gives us the fruit of the Spirit, eternal life and promises to give us everything we need to exist and do his work.

C. No one can lay a charge against God’s children (v. 33-34)
1. Having considered what Paul has taught-and what the Bible teaches in other places, about our sinful nature and its consequences, it is comforting to know that once forgiven no one can bring a charge against us for our offenses ever again.
2. We are totally forgiven of all sins-past, present and future.
3. Satan will try to accuse us or suggest we are obeying only because God is blessing us-as he did with Job, but the risen Lord will rise to our defense.
4. If you ever feel guilty for mistakes you’ve made or sins you have committed that you know have been forgiven, rest assured it is not God bringing this to your mind but Satan. He lives to defeat and discourage.
5. Having accepted us, God will not in turn reject us for any reason.
6. God will not accuse us nor will he listen to others who try.
7. Certainly Christ will not accuse us for he is the one who gave his very life for our forgiveness.
8. He has restored us to right standing with him, and this theological truth is very encouraging.
9. Any charges Satan may bring will be ruled inadmissible as evidence.
10.  We do not have to live in fear that Satan will succeed in bringing up some prior overlooked matter God will consider against us.

II. Believers Are Secure In Christ (vv. 35-39)
A. Adverse situations don’t mean God no longer loves us. (vv. 35-36)
1. Paul gives a laundry list of examples: trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, cold, in danger, threatened with death.
2. Some of these situations Paul had already faced himself.
3. Some of these things we have experienced, others we might, and there may be other things Paul doesn’t mention.
4. No matter the nature of the adversity, it is not a sign God no longer loves us.
5. The hypothetical situations Paul mentions would soon turn into reality for believers in this church.
6. Suffering also has an ironic effect. It enables us to identify with what Christ faced and it also drives us to him for comfort helping us realize our lives are in his hands, not our own.
7. Paul quotes from Psalm 44:22 to remind believers that we should expect persecution of some sort for our faith.
8. Adverse circumstances are not evidence that God no longer loves us.

B. Believers have victory in the midst of persecution and adversity. (v. 37)
1. Notice where the victory comes from.
2. It is not experienced by our own strength or ingenuity but rather it is through and in Christ.
3. The resurrection proved his victory over sin, and we have the victorious risen Lord residing continually in us by the presence of his Spirit.

C. A further list of things that cannot separate us from Christ.
1. Death, life, angels, demons, fears, worries, the powers of hell, height, depth, or anything in creation.
2. For the believer, death is only a doorway into heaven. Jesus has promised to prepare an eternal existence for us in a wonderful place not affected by the effects of sin or even sin itself.
3. Demons have no more power over us than Satan does. We have the privilege of putting on the armor of God which will protect us from Satan’s wily temptations and give us a sense of security that we are safe in God’s care.
4. Paul was firmly convinced or persuaded what he said and believed was true.
5. Paul’s confidence was based on the promises of God’s Word, his personal experience, and the transformed mind he received when he believed in Christ.
6. Nothing is powerful enough to undo the salvation God has given us in Christ.
7. Once in God’s care, it is impossible to be separated from his love.

A. How comforting to know we are eternally and presently safe in God’s care.
B. How comforting to know nothing can separate us from his love.

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