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Old Problems, New Perspective

Romans 8:18-26



Becoming a Christian is an end to our sin problem, but not the end of problems in this world.  It's actually the front end of some new ones.  Being a Christian doesn't insulate you from problems, but it helps you face them in an all new, victorious way. 


v. 18a      'sufferings'

Add to that the word 'groan' in vv. 22 [nature], 23 [us], 26 [Spirit?]


There will be groanings while we wait for our redemption.

Psalm 6:6
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.

2 Corinthians 5:2
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:


The shortest verse of the Bible may be the sweetest as Jesus wept!


v. 18b      the sufferings don't compare to the glory to come.


This is putting a new face on old problems.  We can do this!


1.     Face problems expectantly.

v. 19-22   Paul is using an illustration of the entire physical universe.  Saved men and women will be redeemed, but so will be this entire sin cursed world.  It will be traded in for a new model that won't suffer the effects of sin.


God's creation is seen here in 3 stages:

        a.     The created stage.

In it's original state - as it rolled off the fingertips of God in Gen. 1!  It was 'very good.'  We can only imagine the splendor, the sights, the sounds of that paradise.  But when man sinned the curse fell on him and on all of creation.  'Cursed is the ground for THY sake.'


        b.     The corrupted stage.

Paul uses the words suffering, decay, bondage, vanity, pain.

v. 20        'vanity' = failure/decay.  The result is a downward spiral and the 2nd law of thermodynamics...things moving from order to disorder.  [opposite of evolution!  Weeds never turn in to a garden, but a garden will turn to weeds.  Things lose energy, not gain it.  Nothing new is being created.  All that was created is devolving into nothing]


Today, we do not see the world the way God intended it.  We see death, destruction, and decay.  Flood and famine.  Quakes, flames, storms, blizzards! 

Adam fell, and the next time he picked a rose, he was pricked by the thorns.  He walked to his garden and for the first time it had weeds and insects.  The lion he had named and caressed now wanted to eat him.  The most beautiful snake lost its limbs and became what we know today.


v. 22        You can almost hear this groaning as you listen.  The wind thru the trees is in a minor key


        c.     The consummated stage.

v. 19        The whole creation is on tiptoe, straining to see what God has coming from ahead.  All of creation is waiting in expectancy for some future glorious event.  What is nature groaning and travailing for?

v. 19        'manifestation'

v. 21        'glorious liberty'


From groaning to glory!


The desert shall blossom as a rose.  The lamb and lion shall lie down together.  The little child will play w/ a snake, and momma will approve!


Like the travail of birth, the pain ends when the new life is delivered!


What does this have to do w/ our problems? 

        It's all an illustration!  We have temporary sufferings, but it's not in vain, and it's not permanent!  So don't focus on today's groaning, but tomorrow's glory.


I don't know why the pathway to glory is paved w/ suffering, but it is!


No wonder life makes no sense to the lost.  They suffer, and there's no point to it, and no reward generated by it.  It's like giving birth, w/ no baby handed to you afterward.


1.     Face problems expectantly.


2.     Face problems confidently.

v. 23-25           'Hope'.  We were hopeless, but no longer.

Ephesians 2:12
12 That at that time ye were without Christ...having no hope, and without God in the world:

Hope, in the Bible, is not wishful thinking.  It is faith, and confidence in the promises of God, knowing better than the circumstances suggest!


I don't hope Jesus is coming back for me, I know He is, and that gives me hope!


v. 23        'redemption of the body'

Today we have a Spirit that is dominated by our body.  So that body must be redeemed, and then and only then will we have a new body, that will be dominated by the Spirit!

        We groan because we have been given the firstfruits of that, and it has given us a taste of that, and it makes us hungry for more!

v. 25b      We must wait for that w/ patience.


Oh to have our new body!  No matter how I hurt, there's hope and confidence that there's a healing coming.  If I'm persecuted, I have the hope, the confidence that they can only touch this body, not my soul!


ill.--you couldn't discourage the Apostle Paul.  He put a new face on old problems.  "Paul, we're gonna take away your possessions."  He would reply, "That's ok, because you can't take away my Jesus.  I've learned how to be full and empty, how to abound and suffer loss."  "OK, we're gonna beat you!"  "Would you really?  I'd be thankful, because that's gonna add to my rewards in heaven.  Oh, to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name!"  "OK, we're gonna kill you!"  "Great, I've been torn...having a desire to remain but also to depart.  To die is gain!  Go ahead and knock me off if you would!"

        This is hope!


1.     Face problems expectantly.

2.     Face problems confidently.


3.     Face problems prayerfully.

vv. 26-27        

The Spirit does 2 things for us when we pray:

1.     Intercede.

Some of our needs are beyond our own comprehension.  Some we feel so deeply, they are beyond words.  This has nothing to do w/ unknown tongues.  They aren't even audible.


We have 2 intercessors.  We have Jesus in the courts of heaven, ever living to make intercession for us.  We also have the Spirit in the theatre of our hearts.

Moses prayed something like this for his people when he said, "blot me..." 

Jesus said a few words in Gethsemane, but many more words thru the bloody sweat. 


Ever prayed like that?  Inexpressible sighings!


1.     Intercede.

2.     Interpret.

v. 27b      'According to the will of God.'  We pray our best, but we don't pray as we ought.  We pray for a new job, but God may want us to have perseverance in our present job.  We think we know what is best, but truly He knows better!


ill.--handlegrips vs. new bike


We pray as we think we should, but according to God's will, and He interprets it as we should have prayed it if we knew better.


ill.--a woman giving birth literally walks thru the jaws of death to deliver that new life, and then they hand him to her!  It puts a new face on her old problems.


"One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrows will erase, so bravely run the race, 'til we see Christ!"



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