A Glorious Sample!
Posted by justifiedandsinner
A Glorious Sampling!
† In Jesus Name †
May the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life not only assure you of the grace and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ that is yours now… but also that is eternal and yet to be fully revealed!
To be fair, I should start this sermon with a warning. So here it is.
You are warned, that carefully listening to this sermon may make you very, very, very hungry.
Back in the day when our only television was a 12 inch B/W, there was a commercial that was so well done, that even in black and white, the ½ inch thick perfectly cooked, juicy hamburger was so well pictured, that it could make your mouth water…
There was a poor starving salivating child waiting for it, as a Heinz catsup bottle was hovering over it, taking 20 seconds for the first drop of catsup to lead the thick, rich, delicious catsup stream that would make complete the burger.
If you are old enough to remember those days, how many of you didn’t wait for the catsup, but got out a butter knife to encourage the catsup’s flow?
Anticipation, is making me wait! Making me wait for this delicious, juicy, perfectly barbecued hamburger, which will be ice cold by the time the catsup leaves the bottle!
I never waited for the catsup – just tossed some onions on it, and started eating!
Some of us have trouble waiting patiently, whether it is for food, or to see God’s will revealed in our lives, and to see our lives become perfect.
Yet, it is a glorious thing when we see it, and knowing us, God has given us a little foretaste of what is to come. That is what Paul is talking about, in the passage from Romans 8 that we heard a few moments ago….
It is just hard to wait, he is right, we long for the days when we are released from sin and suffering, and our adoption as God’s kids is fully realized.
The Struggle with Waiting!
We have a problem with waiting, probably because the other terms for waiting are not pleasant. We have to have patience, or to use an older phrase – we have to be “long-suffering”.
Patience means we don’t get what we want, when we want it.
We don’t like that opening verse of the reading,
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later!
It is a struggle to wait, such a struggle is its own kid of suffering. We get frustrated, whether it is waiting for catsup to pour out of a bottle, to get a seat at a restaurant, or to wait in line at a grocery store.
We struggle with those little things, and often we pour out our frustration in those situations, because we can’t figure out how to give address other struggles, other heavier, more personal and painful suffering.
Suffering we endure as our bodies cannot do what they used to do. When we wake up with aches and pains, instead of energy and strength. The suffering that happens because of age, or disease, or even common things like allergies.
Like the suffering that comes when we struggle to make ends meet, or as we wait for test results, or when our expectations don’t become reality.
There are even deeper sufferings, the pains we feel as we watch people we love suffer, as marriages suffer, as grief weighs on people, as financial struggles crush them, as addictions rob life from them. Even more so as we look at those we love, who could know God’s peace, and instead continue to struggle to play God, and fail.
Those times where the suffering is so great, we can’t even find the peace or the words to pray, where our very heart is crushed by the suffering. This isn’t even starting to talk about the suffering of martyrdom, the suffering that can accompany sharing God’s love for people.
We aren’t alone in the suffering, Paul tells us the whole creation – the earth and stars suffer as well, waiting for that which we hope for…. The transformation that all creation groans for, as it awaits Christ’s return.
How can we wait patiently, expectantly for that, if we struggle to wait for some tomato paste and vinegar to make it’s way from a bottle onto the aromatic, juicy, perfectly barbecued hamburger?
What are we waiting for?
I joke about the burger, but we need to see that for which we hope. Hope, not like in hoping that I win the lottery, but more hope as in we fully expect Christ’s return.
Paul uses some incredible words to describe that for which we hope.
“we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering!”
We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us!
Those are a lot better to wait for than that catsup – right?
Imagine – no more body, no more effect of sin on our lives, or the lives of those we love and care for, just the presence of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; who welcomes us home into a life beyond experience, beyond our imagination.
There are days I long for that! There are days I cannot wait…..
Especially when I hear the news of more churches being burnt to the ground, of Christians being threatened with death,
I long to know the glory we will share in, and be done with the suffering of this life…
Then again, I had trouble waiting for catsup! How do you expect me to wait for eternity to be revealed? How can we wait for it, when waiting means struggling, sacrifice, and suffering?
How Can We wait?
I warned you at the beginning of this sermon that it might make you hungry, but I wasn’t talking about the hamburger with the Heinz catsup on it.
What I hope you are hungry for, nearly starving for, is that day when we realize how true it is, that the sufferings of our lives is nothing compared to the glory awaiting for us.
I pray you are hungry for the revelation of God’s glory, of our eternity spent with Him, or as Paul explains it to the church in Colossae,
1 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory! Colossians 3:1-4 (TEV)
Set your hearts on it! Put your hope in God! Expect Him to fulfill all His promises – and know what those promises are!
God provides for us as we wait as well! Paul describes two ways in which the Holy Spirit work.
The first is as we pray, as we groan and endure, when we are so week, that we don’t even know how to pray. The promise is that the Spirit is with us, praying with us, groaning with us, pleading for us, as verse 27 states, in harmony with God’s will.
We don’t suffer alone! Our prayers are heard! God is listening, for the Spirit who dwells in our hearts communicates clearly and the Father hears.
The other, even more significant is that the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life! I love how the NLT translates it…
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory
The presence of the Holy Spirit, the gift of God given to us when we were born again in baptism. The presence of the Lord and Giver of Life, the Comforter, the Advocate, the One who gives gifts to the church to serve the word the good news of Christ. The One who assures us our prayers are heard by God the Father and answered, the Healer of our souls.
Who is a foretaste, the Holy Spirit who is present in our lives – a glimpse of what to expect when the suffering we now know is replaced by the glory of that day.
May we revel in the presence of the Holy Spirit, may we drink deeply of the love revealed to us, and may it help us realize the peace of God, as we anticipate the glory that is yet to come!
About justifiedandsinnerI am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.
Posted on July 20, 2014, in Sermons and tagged End Times, Eschatology, eternity, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Life Everlasting, prayer, Praying in the Spirit, walking with God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.