Waiting in Hope (Romans 8:18-25)

Here’s the sermon notes for “Waiting in Hope” preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville. You can listen to it here.

Rom 8:18-25 “Waiting in Hope”

 INTRO: Story of waiting 9 months for our visa.
-All of us go through seasons or times or waiting.
        -You are probably waiting for something in your life right now (job, relationship, change, relief). Kids: b-day?
Today we are reminded of this: The Christian Life is a WAITING LIFE, and the gospel gives us hope as we wait.
We are waiting for what is come after this life—the resurrection and life on the new earth with God and God’s people. It is glorious future reality, but for now we have to wait for it. But as we wait, the gospel gives us hope that it really is coming.  
RECAP: The theme of the Romans is the GOSPEL.
        Rom 1-4: Gospel Explained (Bad news, Good News)
        Rom 5-8: Gospel Results Unpacked (Better than we thought, clarifications about sin [6] and law [7])
        Romans 8: More unpacking of results: No Condemnation; God brought us freedom from power and penalty of sin; We
        have been transferred to realm of the Spirit; we are children of God!
                    8:17b: Christians will suffer in this life, then experience glorification.
                                8:18-25 unpacks this concept of suffering and then glory: the Christian life is a waiting life!
MP: The Christian Life is a WAITING LIFE, and the gospel gives us hope as we wait.
        –NOTE the word “wait” in 19, 23, 25; Also, observe the contrast of this present time and a far better future experience.

1 Something Far Better is Coming for the Christian (18)
Paul is giving a perspective on life now as a Christian and the future. The reality is this: something far better is coming.
-Christians suffer: the sufferings of this present time
  *COMMON MYTH: If I become a Christian I won’t suffer. FALSE. You will suffer in this life.
        -Suffering for being a Christian
        -Also, suffering in general: health, finances, relationships, being sinned against, pain.
                                Christians get CANCER, CATARACTS, COUGHS, COLD SORES.
                    -None of us will be spared from suffering in this life. We suffer and contribute to others’ suffering.
                                -DON’T BE Surprised by suffering 1 Peter 4:12

-Something FAR BETTER is coming:
the glory that is to be revealed to us.
       
-Speaking of new heavens and new Earth when all will be remade and new. Isaiah 65:17-19
                   
-God is bringing history in this direction: Jesus will return, day of Judgement, New Earth or hell.

-A CLEAR VIEW of what is coming changes how we view today’s sorrows:
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
       
-The absolute greatness of what is coming puts all of our suffering into perspective. It will be worth it!
                    -It was hard work to get a visa, to plan a wedding, but it was ALL WORTH IT!
                                -Seeing what is coming puts the pains and heartaches of this life into perspective.
*IMPLICATION: We can have hope even in the hardest of trials and deepest of pains.
        OBJECTION: You don’t understand the pain I’ve gone through, you are being insensitive.
                    ANSWER: See Paul’s sufferings (2 Cor 11:23-29; 1:8-10; 4:8-10, 16-18);
                                            Even More: See Christ’s sufferings! Cross then the crown.
                                -A Clear Perception in the heart of Christ and future glory gives hope and joy in darkness.
                                                        -Elizabeth Elliot (lost two husbands), no bitterness.
         INVITATION: Come to Jesus in the midst of your pain and hardship. Pray for clear vision of future glory


2 Creation is Waiting (19-22)
In this section Paul focuses on “Creation” waiting—that is, non-humans.
-Creation is waiting (19): For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
       
-“revealing of sons of God” when God’s children will be glorified and seen in all their splendor on new Earth
                    -Comparable to revealing of the bride of wedding day. You know the bride, but have not seen her in splendor.
-Things are not right in creation (20-21):         -“creation is subjected to futility” refers to results of the Fall—sin, death, disorder entered creation, work and child birth.
        -“him who subjected it” is God. Judgment on world through fall of Adam, the head of humanity.
        -“in hope that creation itself will be set free”: even at Fall there was hope of future redemption
         -HOPE EXPLAINED: “set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God
                                -Things will be made right one day.
-Creation is GROANING (22) 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
       
-There is a groaning as creation is under the curse but longs for the new creation.
                    -We see it in nature: things are not the way they are supposed to be—death, disorder, pain.
                                -Snake bites, poisonous spiders, hostility between humanity and Creation and Creation itself
*CHILDREN: Would it be right to play a toddler by a cobra nest? NO. But on new Earth it will be ok.
APP: Creation is waiting and one day will be remade: Isaiah 11:6-9


3. Christians are Waiting (23-25):

Christians also are waiting. We too groan, but we have hope.
-Christians are waiting and groaning (23a) And not only the creation, but we ourselves,
       
-We wait and groan.-Christians have the FIRSTFRUITS of the Spirit (23b): who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
                   
-Firstfruits were first the first part of harvest, you could expect the rest to be like it.
                                -Firstfruits=regeneration, filling of Holy Spirit, fruit of Spirit,
 -Christians GROANING (23c) groan inwardly
       
-Life as a Christians is often hard. We groan and ache for things to be better.
                    -Indwelling sin, sin of others, life in a fallen world; unmet expectations; hopes frustrated; bodies decaying
                                -Ministry and attempts to do good things often frustrated. (FMSC, but get sick. Bible study, but cancels)
*TWO WAYS THAT SEEING THIS HELPS US NOW:
         1. Seeing this protects us from the unbelief of disillusionment
         2. Seeing this helps us keep going in ministry when things are hard

-We’re Waiting for Completion of our Adoption (23d):
as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
 *CHILDREN:
ALREADY/NOT Yet: Already adopted, but waiting for the completion.
        -ADULTS: “inaugurated eschatology”
                    -COMPLETION IS THIS:redemption of our bodies”=resurrected bodies, free from sin and death.
                                -The future for Christians is a PHYSICAL one: physical bodies on this earth.
APPLICATION: Don’t lose heart when your body or mind fall apart. A MUCH better one is coming.

-We Hope as We Wait (24-25)
       
-Part of our salvation is hope for the future: 24 For in this hope we were saved.
                   
-Note: Commentators speak of here is BOTH past and future.
                                -The Christian life is a WAITING life
       
-Nature of Hope is it is not seen: Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
       
-We wait with patience: 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
                   
-Because of the gospel, we have hope for the future and we wait for it with patience.
                                -Note: Combination of “eager waiting” and “with patience”
APPLICATION:
        -Don’t set your heart on the dreams of this life (goals, dreams, wishes, ministries).
        -Don’t let the hardships of this life crush you: we are waiting for something FAR BETTER.

SOBER CLARIFICATION: The future will NOT be better for everyone. For some, it will be far worse. Hell is a terrible future and is the future for all who are not reconciled to God through Jesus. Revelation 20:11-15

FOR THE BELIEVER: This is a WAITING life, and what is coming is FAR better (1 Cor 2:9).

CONCLUSION: The Christian life is a waiting life, and we wait with hope because of the gospel which has secured our salvation and future destination.

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