Grace, mercy, and peace be to each of you from our expectant Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
Let’s pray as we open ourselves up once again to the teaching of God’s authoritative Word …
PRAYER: 0 Lord, speak in this place, in our minds, in our hearts, by the words of my mouth, and in the thoughts we form. Speak, 0 Lord, we, your servants, are listening. Amen.
I am Pastor Dave, and I am excited to be with you today. I will begin with a huge thank you for your prayers and concerns this past week for my health.
I can tell you that I feel fine today, but I have several tests coming up next week. I will certainly keep you informed of any results. Again, thank you.
Whether you are here physically or virtually, we are thankful you decided to tune in and worship with us, as we continue our sermon series on the book of Romans.
Last week we began in Romans chapter 1 and talked about one of the main problems with sin … and that is that sin separates us from God. And once separated, Satan, the devil, takes full advantage of the opportunity to disrupt our lives, and fill us with doubt and unbelief.
The frightening reality of this fact is that we are all sinners. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
All of us have experienced the pain of sin, the pain of separation, the pain of a broken relationship with God.
And this is why the gospel message is such UNBELIEVABLY good news for all who would listen and believe.
Hear, again the good news in the words of Jesus in John 3:16…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Notice that God loved the WHOLE world.
Not MOST of the world.
Not just the people on the North American continent.
Not just all the nice people, or the rich people… but God loves EVERYONE.
And Christ did for us what we could NOT DO for ourselves … He RESCUED us from sin and death.
Our text for today is the first lesson we read this morning from Romans 5:1-8.
Now, in this amazing passage of scripture, Paul lays out a lot of different truths related to how Jesus saves us from our sin.
But there are THREE things I want to highlight today related to the amazing RESCUE that took place through Jesus.
First is His … Timing
When Jesus Christ came down from heaven to save us, His timing was perfect.
For Paul says He came down right in the middle of chaos on earth.
The Romans were in control of the Jews, and the Jews were anxiously awaiting the arrival of a conquering messiah to save them.
However, when Jesus arrived on the scene, He looked different than they thought He would look. He acted differently than they thought He would act.
Why do you suppose that is? Why did Jesus look, and act so differently than they thought He would?
Because he was coming to save His people from a greater issue than Roman oppression and occupation … Jesus came to save them from sin and death.
Paul says in Romans that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We were chasing after temporary highs in this world, and we wanted nothing to do with God.
Some of us may have thought we were following Him closely, but we definitely were not.
I am going to take a few moments and ask you to think about where were you when you first realized how important Jesus is in your life?
What sin was pervasive in your life when God showed up and finally got your attention? The point being that, just like Paul when he was on the road to torture and kill Christians, God shows up in the midst of our sin and offers us salvation.
God loves us enough to save us. He loves us enough to bring us salvation.
Now, I DON’T know about you, but when I look in the mirror, I often see my own sin, my own brokenness, and I think to myself, “Why on earth would God love me?”
But that’s one of the most crucial factors in God’s display of love … He loves us even though we are broken and sinful.
Paul makes a note here that it would be hard enough for us to die for someone who is upright, righteous, thinks like us, acts like us, or is one of our friends.
But a sinner? Or, one who hurts us? Who wants anything to do with that? That is a different story altogether. But, here’s the thing … it is OUR story. And it is Christ’s story of redemption.
We have to conclude that Jesus’ timing in entering our lives is just right based on God’s will for our lives.
The second thing I want to highlight today related to the amazing rescue that took place through Jesus is the principle of …
Transformation Through Trials
The incredible thing about Christ’s rescue is that the transformation took place through trials and suffering.
Remember Paul’s words in our text…
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
This is a powerful sequence that Paul lays out for us when it comes to our trials. You see, in this life, the Bible makes it very clear that we will experience numerous trials.
But God uses every one of them to strengthen our faith in Him. Every trial is an opportunity to praise His name, and to boast in the glory that is Christ come to rescue sinners.
Listen to what Pastor James writes to his church from our second lesson this morning…
“Consider it pure joy … whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
There seems to be something about the hard times we face that allow us to experience a great amount of joy. Hard times strengthens our faith in God.
I believe this is because in those seasons of trials and trouble, we must be fully reliant on God for our every need and every breath.
I believe God desires to take something in your life that is currently a trial and use it for transformation.
True growth will take place in your life, often in those seasons, when you are required to be most focused on Christ. And though the end goal is hope, it does not happen overnight.
Paul says trials produce endurance, and endurance develops strong character, and character helps us be more confident in our hope of salvation through Jesus Christ.
This leads to the final thing I believe Paul notes for us this morning…
God Gives What the World Cannot
Paul mentions one thing in particular at the very beginning of this passage in Romans 5 that is often missed, but extremely important … and that is PEACE.
The Bible says we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ did for us. After all, He stood in our place on the cross. He took upon Himself the penalty of our own sins.
Let that sink in for a moment. Jesus says this in John 20…
“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
The resurrected Jesus says these words. “Peace be with you.” Jesus provided peace through His sacrifice, so we no longer have to worry that we aren’t doing enough to earn God’s love. His love CAN’T BE earned. His love is GIVEN.
This is why we can have peace … peace in the place of performance, striving, ambition, selfishness, and gain.
Do you have peace in your heart right now?
Or, are you still thinking that you need to earn God’s love … even JUST a little bit?
Or, do you want something more?
Today, you can take a stronger stand, or solidify your stand with Jesus Christ. He decided you were worth dying for long before you and I could choose Him for ourselves.
He has offered abounding grace and mercy, but it can only be accessed through faith. Ephesians 2 says this…
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…”
By grace (God’s gift of undeserved love), through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior … that’s the gift of God … salvation for ALL who believe in Christ.
What is it that may be holding us back or hindering our faith today? What sin is entangling each of us?
I say THROW it all off, and run hard after Christ, who rescued us from sin and death.
Here is more encouragement from the author of Hebrews…
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race … fixing our eyes on Jesus … for the joy set before Him He endured the cross … consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Don’t grow weary, don’t lose heart, don’t give up.
Let’s run together … all the while fixing our eyes on Jesus. Amen