Sermon: Living Confidently in Christ – Where is God in our broken world?
Reading: Romans 8:18-30
Sermon Date: 15th April 2018
1. Can you share any story you’ve heard or lived were you have seen God’s love come into a situation of suffering?
Introduction to the series
We are starting a new series on Living Confidently in Christ. We will be looking at some of the hardships in life and how we can remain confident in Christ through them. We want to be honest about our worries, doubts and sufferings, because we all go through them and God has called us to walk together in the good and bad situations. It is completely normal and expected to have doubts and to suffer during different times in our lives. We believe that God is with us in the middle of the storms and our hope is in Christ, his death and resurrection, but also in His promise to be with us.
2. Can you remember something from last Sunday’s sermon that struck you?
3. In what ways can you see that our world is broken?
4. What kind of suffering in the world really affects you? (hunger, poverty, abuse, injustice) What is it that frustrates you about this?
In the letter to the Romans, Paul is explaining how salvation by faith works. He talks about God’s grace and how through Jesus we can have eternal life and forgiveness of sins. In chapter 8:1-4 he says: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
5. In what ways do you suffer today? What makes you suffer?
Please read Romans 8:18-30
6. In what ways do you see others around you suffering?
7. In verses 20-21 we find that Paul says “by the will of the one who subjected it”? Who is he talking about? In what ways is the creation subjected to frustration? (* hint)
8. In verse 19 Paul says “for the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”. What is he talking about? What is “creation” waiting for us to do? (* hint)
9. Verse 22 “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”. How can we respond to the sufferings we see around us and in the world? What can we do about it?
10. Verse 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. This is a very hard verse to understand when we are suffering. We don’t believe that God brings bad things into our life, but in our suffering he can bring something good to us and others. Are you usually able to see God working in difficult times?
How can we personally, and as a Church, respond to the suffering we see around us? How can we help each other when we are suffering? Please pray for the brokenness you see around you. Pray specifically for those things that move you personally. If you don’t know how to pray, you might want to be silent because God knows our heart. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”
7 – We find in Genesis that Adam (humanity) was given the responsibility to manage the Earth. In Genesis 3:17 it says “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat from it,”‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.” It is because of human mistakes and bad management of the Earth and its resources that “creation” is in pain and suffering. It was God’s will to delegate this responsibility to humankind, but it was the human management that has “frustrated” creation.
8- We find God’s universe “Creation” described in a poetic way. These objects have no feelings or desires, they can’t actually “wait”. But this is an image of the whole of the universe, everything that has been created, isn’t as it should be because of human mistakes. So it is “waiting” for God’s people to act in its favour. In favour of those in need, in favour of justice, in favour of the animals, the plants and the Earth. But there is also an element of waiting for Jesus’ second coming, when He will reign over all of creation and things will be made new.
Nico Ohlsson, 12/04/2018