St. Luke's Church Faribault
7-14-19
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        The Book of John
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  • Come Thou Fount
  • The Solid Rock
  • There Is A Redeemer
  • pray
    Romans 4:18–25 NIV
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
    Does anyone like shopping for a used car? It can be stressful. You are looking at the car and wondering, is this going to last. Is something going to break, and if it does, how much is it going to be fix. If it is a battery, or a starter or tires, it is no big deal right? But what if it is something bigger? You check it over, but you can’t see everything, and at some point you are just talking a risk. You do your best to minimize the risk, but sometimes you just have to hope nothing goes wrong.
    Think about this for a minute, what if you are an auto mechanic for a living? What if you own a shop, and you have all the tools and the knowledge to fix anything on a car. What if you had wholesale access to the parts. Buying a used car would be completely different operation. The worry and anxiety would be gone, because you could just fix whatever was was wrong. You would have some certainty and assurance about what you were doing, you would not be so focused on the little things.
    In some ways we treat our Christian life like owning a car. We do the regular maintenance by coming to church once in a while. We use it to get a tune-up on our daily lives. We make sure everything is running correctly. At least the things we can see like tires, battery, and oil. Do I have any obvious sins showing, that someone might notice? We are careful to keep all that up to date. Then, we hope nothing serious goes wrong.
    Unfortunately, something serious always goes wrong. Sooner or later it will. We have a life event,. It happens either to us or to a loved one. Could be health related, or it could be a financial matter, perhaps it has to do with an important relationship in our lives. In any event we end up in some sort pain, either physical, or mental or emotional. Worry may play a big part.
    Under these circumstances, the trip to church is no longer just for maintenance. Tt is for a great need. You desperately need Jesus to repair what is wrong in your life.. Your trip through those doors is for relief from the trauma you are suffering. You are searching fo and in need for hope. Hope that things are going to be ok.
    We may even look up Hope, in the back of our Bible, to find what the Bible says about it. We may be drawn to the very passage we are studying today, Romans 4.18
    Romans 4:18 NIV
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
    The wrong impression
    We may know that it is important to combine our hope, with prayer, And we combine it with prayer. We hope and pray. We in good faith, are trusting the Lord. We may say Abraham was 100 and he wanted a baby-he had faith. I can pray and God just like he did with Abraham, can fix my problem.
    We pray and we hope that the check comes in the mail. We hope and pray for a restoration of the body, or mind, or the broken relationship.
    Now please listen carefully to what I am saying--It is not wring to want those things--- it is not wrong to pray for those thing---In fact we are supposed to pray for those things. But what happens is that we are very focused on hoping that God fixes the problem. Sometimes we think that the only possible answer must be God sending the check, or the illness going away,
    But what happens if the check does not come in the mail, or the restoration does not happen. What happens then? How do we process that? Some people may think less of God, either doubting his willingness or his ability to fix the problem. Other times, people focus on themselves being the reason the problem isn’t resolved. They may see that they are not keeping God’s law, and so feel that they are not good enough to deserve to God’s help. Others feel they have not worked hard enough at prayer or have enough faith.
    When what we hoped for is not made manifest, when the check does not come in the mail, or the when the health crisis is not resolved, the problem is certainly not with God. The problem is that we are viewing God as this mechanic, who is supposed to repair our life pain and problems, and all we have to pay is with currency of hope and prayers, and maybe God can fix it or maybe he won’t.
    The problem is that we are not seeing the big picture of this passage. We think the big picture is meant for us to have solution to our problem. I need Money, Abraham needed children. God came through for Him, God can come through for me, cross my fingers, run to the mailbox, look for the check, not today, hope for tomorrow.
    That is not what is going on here.
    Not read on screen only
    Romans 4:18 NIV
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
    As you recall here in Chapter 4 of Romans, Paul has been laboring this point of justification by faith. He has spent the entire chapter showing us that Abraham was not justified by works, circumcision or the law, but justified by faith. He exhausted that discussion. He has us convinced, or if nothing else, he at least wore us down. Perhpas I have been wearing you down as well. But don’t feel bad, I’m worn down as well.
    After all that he natural question that anyone would ask, including myself is this:, “Okay Paul you convinced me of justification by faith, so what? this might be of interest to pastor’s and theologians, and academics and the like, but what does that have to do withMonday morning? What does that have to do with my bills, my relationships, my health problems? What does that have to do with anything.
    Read only already on screen.
    Romans 4:18 NIV
    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
    Although Abraham is held up as a guy with all this faith, the reality of Abraham’s situation was not good. Things looked really bad for him. There was no way, that Abraham could become the Father of many nations. God had made a promise to him, that his offspring would be like the stars of the sky, or like the sand of the seashore, yet in reality, he had no kids. Logically, there wasn’t any possibility that God was going to fulfill this promise. That was Abraham’s reality. It was against all hope of the world.
    Have you ever gotten your hopes up, only to have them dashed? I hate that. Sometimes, I will play mind games with myself just so I don;t have to go through that. I will work out the worse case scenario in my mind, and prepare myself mentally, then if things do work out I’ll be pleasantly surprised. That is how much I dislike being getting my hopes up and being disappointed.
    This promise for Abraham was promised 30 years ago, imagine that. Maybe, when Abraham was 70 it seemed far-fetched then, but perhaps he was thinking there is still a chance. But 30 years later, how could he hang on to that promise? It must have really looked impossible. As far as reality was concerned, there was no hope, yet....
    Abraham, against all normal hope-the hope of the world---- IN HOPE believed.
    There is phrase, whistling in the dark. It means to ignore the present circumstances in front of you, for a kind of foolish optimism. Was Abraham just whistling in the dark? To be honest, I wish he was. It is much easier scenario for me to work out. Just ignore the circumstances Greg, push on. God is big, Just believe right? Run to the mailbox, look for the check. I think is why the prosperity gospel is so popular. But instead listen to what the next verse says.
    Romans 4:19 NIV
    19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
    Without weakening in his faith-He faced the fact. The facts were right in front of him, he didn’t deny them. He faced the fact that this was not going to happen in the way in which the world would think---he faced that reality that was right in front of him. He faced the reality that he was as good as dead-and that Sarah his wife was not having anymore babies, he faced the fact.
    Face the facts and do not waiver
    We face the facts. David faced the facts. In the first reading from 2 Samuel 12, David was suffering from trauma. His son was sick, and was going to die. David was a contributing cause to trauma. David had a an affair with Bathsheba, she became pregnant, and David had her husband killed. His son a product of that sin. David did not deny that had sinned-He said I have sinned against the Lord 2 Sam 12.13
    In David’s case hi sin caused the trauma and he faced the fact of sin. Our sin may have caused the trauma, but not always. Then David fasted and prayed. He even knew that God was going to take the life of his son, yet he still fasted and prayed. He faced the facts. He did not ignore them, he was prepared, and he continued to ask God. When he was later asked about why he fasted and prayed David said who knows God may relent and spare his son. David trusted in God, fasted, prayed and faced the facts.
    Back to Romans.
    Romans 4:20 NIV
    20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
    Yet, even after facing the facts---He did not waver, His faith did not weaken. He did not stop believing in God. Remember the presence of a problem does not change who God is. It does not have any effect on the promise God made.
    So, not only did Abraham’s faith not waiver, but it strengthened. How can that be? How is it that facing the facts, that God’s promise is not not going to be fulfilled. How is that going to strengthen his faith?
    Faith is strengthened when we are weak.
    It is because His faith is not in the problem. His faith is in the one who made the promise. His faith was in God, not in his own ability to fulfill the promise. Abraham was as good as dead. He could not do it, it is only when you come to a point that you are at the end of yourself, that you see that you cannot do it, on your own that you have no choice but to place your faith in Christ. Abraham’s faith was strengthened, because Abraham was at weakest.
    It is like John the Baptist said in
    John 3:30 NIV
    30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
    or what Paul said in
    2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
    9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
    Right? It is when you are weak. It is when life is pressing on and you are full of pain that you are running through the doors, and you need to rely on Christ alone, then your faith is strengthened.
    Back on screen not read.
    Romans 4:20 NIV
    20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
    Abraham faced the facts, he saw that there was no way he and Sarah could do this on their own, so his faith was strengthened, and then he gave glory to God.
    Give Glory to God
    Abraham does not see himself as integral to the promise of God being fulfilled. He sees God as the one who is going to get the glory. The trap we can get into is that we give the glory to our problems. Yes, my trauma, my pain is awful, but in that problem, in that trauma in that pain, God is still glorified.
    If you were here last Sunday, you may remember I was preaching from the Pulpit. You may think I was over there, cause I felt like it. But that is not it. I was preaching from the pulpit, I was loud, pounding the pulpit, really trying to make a point, what was the point? The point was to impress upon you how big God is. Remember he is the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
    The problem is sometimes we make our problems really big. We go over there and we loudly proclaim our problems. We only glorify God when the outcome of our problems are the way we wanted, and we diminish God, when the problem isn’t solved. We go over there and shout and proclaim, that I am in a financial crisis, I am in a health crisis, I have a broken heart over a loss. We so desperately want restoration from God, that unless or until God resccues us from the trauma we do not glorify him.
    Abraham glorified God, in the middle of the situation where the promise was not made manifest. He glorified God prior to the promise being fulfilled. And, our friend David from the reading this morning, Glorified God even when God did not give his son’s life back. David prayed and fasted that God would spare his son, and then when his son died, it says in 2 Sam 12.
    2 Samuel 12:19–20 NIV
    19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
    He went and worshipped-he gave glory to God, even though God did not spare his son.
    Because the problem is not that God is not able to do all things.
    Romans 4:21 NIV
    21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
    Abraham was fully persuaded God had power to do what he promised, David knew God could do as hew promised, so the problem is not with God’s power, but the problem must be that he must be willing to submit to God’s timing.
    God has the power to do what he promised,God has not done what he promised, only God knows when it will be best to fulfill the promise, I don’t know when but as I wait I will give him the glory, He will be glorified in this.
    Paul will later show this in
    Romans 8:18 NIV
    18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
    or
    2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV
    17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
    We then see that the is that the troubles that we are experiencing, are not the end. That the troubles are not the most important thing in the world.
    Romans 4:21–22 NIV
    21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
    God had the power to do what He promised, Abraham could not do it on his own, he trusted completely in God for the outcome, and it was credited to him as righteousness. That is the most important thing, it is not the sight of what will happen to Abraham or not, or when it will happen to Abraham.
    They-without God could not bring about the promise of God. It had to be ALL of God, not of them. And Paul is making that connection to our sinfulness, not to our problems because what is most important, what is the most wonderful thing is NOT the check coming in the mail, It is not the broken relationships being restored, or even our health being restored, the most important thing is our faith in the God who can fix those now loves us and has put us in a relationship with Him, and will take care of us, and has made us an heir.
    Instead of viewing God as the mechanic to fix our problems, we know see that we are in family, we are an heir to owning the whole shop and the troubles we face are small in comparison to the glory that will be one be revealed, as the promise of eternal life is made manifest.
    Lest we think this only applies to Abraham and not to us,
    Romans 4:23–24 NIV
    23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
    Abraham did not go through all that, and the words were not written down just for him. God’s plan is not limited to one person in their world, instead God’s plan is meant for many. The words are recorded for you and I as well. They were not just for that moment in time, but for the days when the trauma reaches into our lives. When the pain is in our heart and in our body or in our mind because in the middle of that ,as much as we want relief from our situation, what God is saying is that they most important thing is that your faith is credited as righteousness, and you know that you have that because you believe that God raised Jesus from the Dead.
    Romans 4:25 NIV
    25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
    He took our sins and carried then away so that we could declared just in God’s sight and that is all the hope we need.
    That whole David story started with these words in 2 Sam 12
    2 Samuel 12:13 NIV
    13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
    The Lord Jesus has carried our sins away and that is a glorious thing, the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead so that you may live.
    If you are coming to church for a tune-up, or insurance against something rally going bad, or if you trying to muster up intense prayers and hop that God will to be pull you from the difficulty and tragedy of life, you are missing it.
    God has made you righteous, by your faith in the Lord Jesus. This is all you need, this is the prize, this is the good news. Sure, we want those other things we want to free of this world , but we already have the solution, we already have the promise that we be free of these, God will deliver us, in time, in his time meanwhile be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Our God is the God who raises the dead to life and calls into being things that were not.
      • Romans 4:18–25ESV

      • Romans 4:18ESV

      • Romans 4:18ESV

      • Romans 4:19ESV

      • Romans 4:20ESV

      • John 3:30ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 12:9ESV

      • Romans 4:20ESV

      • 2 Samuel 12:19–20ESV

      • Romans 4:21ESV

      • Romans 8:18ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 4:17ESV

      • Romans 4:21–22ESV

      • Romans 4:23–24ESV

      • Romans 4:25ESV

      • 2 Samuel 12:13ESV

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