Auto Generated Transcript
I’m going to invite you to Romans. Chapter eight is where we are today. Romans Chapter eight. We’re going to be studying together. And as we get ready to jump into this text, I’m going to lead us in a word of prayer, and then we’re going to dive into what God has for us. Starting in verse 12, let’s let’s pray together. We thank you for. A morning to gather, to connect to you God, to be humbled before your presence and want to know you more. Asking your word to speak to our hearts, to transform our lives that we may live for your glory. God. We just pray that you bless our time. And that we would be an encouragement to each other as we seek your face and we just pray this all in Christ’s name. Amen. Romans. Chapter eight is a beautiful passage of Scripture. I think I have been building this chapter up for weeks and the importance of where it fits in the book of Romans. As Paul has laid out for us, the struggle of our human nature, how it’s alienated us against God because of our sin. God is holy. We can’t have relationship with him without forgiveness and reconciliation. We come to that great challenge at the end of Chapter seven, where Paul says, Oh, wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of sin and death. It’s this place of of utter despair.
And reality is pride has the ability to keep us from God’s presence, our personal pride. We struggle with our relationship with God because of pride and pride distanced us from God’s presence. But it’s in humility that we here, it’s when we’re at our lowest that God tends to be at his loudest. In fact, C.S. Lewis described it like this. He said, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. In fact, when you study scripture, you often find that many people that follow it after the Lord, the the moments where they really heard from God was at moments of some some of the greatest struggle that they endured, some of the sweetest souls you meet in life that have this seem to have this genuine joy in their relationship with God. On the back end of that had some great adversity which brought them to that place to really come to know God and walk with him. One character that really stands out for me is Peter the Apostle Peter. When he walked with Jesus, some of the greatest lessons that Peter learned happened at the lowest moments of his life, or especially in his journey with the Lord. I think Peter was this successful fisherman, is what he did by trade. And there were nights you find in Scripture a couple of times where Peter would fish all night and found nothing.
And in Luke chapter five, one of those nights and being unsuccessful, Jesus tells him after all that labor just cast your net on the other side and He ends up pulling in and just one cast enough to break the nets and the amount of fish that he received. In that moment of that humility, he heard from the Lord when when the crowds that followed Jesus abandon him in John Chapter six. At the end of the chapter, everyone left and and Peter filling that moment of really abandonment by the people. He looks around and and he and he contemplates should he walk away from the Lord, and then he gives this statement, Lord, you have the words of eternal life. Where are we to go? But it was it was this moment of deep consideration in his soul when he sees all others walking away from God, that he he finds this opportunity to further connect with Christ. Or when he stepped out of the boat, remember, he sees Jesus walking on water and he steps out of the boat. In the moment he takes his eyes off the Lord, He starts to sink. But it’s Jesus who’s rescuing rescues him. And as he as he goes to the under the water. And it’s a reminder again of here he is and taken his eyes off God in his pride and and in his humility. The Lord restores him.
Or the greatest moment, I think, of of Peter’s life where he really turned his back on on the Lord is when Jesus was crucified. And he makes eye contact with the Lord in that moment as as he denies Christ when he’s about to be crucified and he runs away weeping. And what does the Bible tell us at the end of the Gospel of John and John? Chapter 121 that Jesus, after his resurrection, he shows up on the shore where Peter’s fishing. And he meets Peter there in his neat. And in his humility, he hears from the Lord. And we ourselves were a lot like that. When you get to Romans chapter seven, you really see Paul struggling with who he is in his flesh and in his nature and the things that he desires to do, the good he desires to do. He doesn’t. He doesn’t do, but instead he does bad things. And he refers to himself as this wretched man, and he wants to be rescued. And he finds this place of desperation. When you get to chapter eight, then he starts to introduce for us the Apostle Paul introduced to us the power of God’s spirit. And how God’s spirit can help us move through the struggles of life. In fact, we titled today Three Truths to Combat Life’s Trials, and he starts off in verse 12. He says it like this. He says, So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live for all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. So in these verses, He sets the framework for how the Spirit of God works in our life. And I want us to know when I talk about the Spirit of God, some people get weird about the Spirit, like it’s this mystical, I don’t know thing that you really can’t describe. And it and you just go by this feeling of what God wants. And I think the Spirit of God can certainly convict us in certain areas of life. But let me just tell you, when you want to make sure the spirit of God is really leading you, if you want to know what the spirit of God is like as you as you want to take steps forward, the best thing to do is read the word of God. God has communicated who He is in his nature, and that will be how his spirit leads. And so if you start to your faith, I think it’s good to be built on on a conviction in the Lord. But but not just leave that with a feeling. But to find the truth of God as you follow the conviction of the Spirit of God so that you can make sure that your heart is aligned with what God’s Word says, because the Spirit of God won’t lead you contrary to that.
And as he’s laying this out for us, he’s laying for us this foundation for really what the Christian life is all about. Paul is singing this passage, Look, if I live according to the flesh, I will die. And we say this as a church. I’ve reminded us of this the last few weeks. The point of the Christian life is not about a list of rules. It’s not about making bad men good. Good men better. It’s not even about you. It’s rather about dying to you and living for him. It’s about surrendering your heart to to his purposes in in your life that the spirit of God may may lead you. And it’s a beautiful thing for us because it gives us all an opportunity to find freedom. It’s why I can say to you this morning, look, I don’t care about your your sexual orientation. I don’t care about your economic position in life or your titles or your successes or your failures. What you need to know more than anything is Jesus loves you, Jesus, Jesus live for you and Jesus died for you, that you can find life in Him. That’s where all of us begin this journey with the Lord. We come to him empty and we embrace in Him what He gives to us.
Jesus gave his life for us. But here’s the pressing question. Do you want to give your life for him? God’s primary interest in your heart is not modifying your behavior. God’s primary interest in your life is to receive your heart. He wants you because he knows if he gets your heart, he will change your life. And that’s what Paul is saying here. This is this is not by me living in the flesh. I am not going to be successful by my flesh. It’s not about I failed. So therefore, I’m going to try harder. It’s about I need Jesus all together. And the only way to discover this is to lay my life fully down for him. In fact, in verse 14, this this word led by the Spirit, it literally carries the idea of reorienting all of your life to this. My life is defined this way. And so we’re going to see this morning three truths to combat Life’s trials through these this passage of scripture that helps us understand how we live. In light of this, do you want to give your life for him? Well, there is a battle Paul outlined for us in Roman Seven’s How do we do this successfully in a world that would war against what God desires for your life. Point number one in your notes is this is to remember I belong to the Lord.
I belong to the Lord. This is your identity in Him. This is new life re orientation in Christ. I belong to the Lord. Verse 15. It’s important He starts off this way because there is something contrary to that that we might listen to rather than our identity in Christ. He starts off this way for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. It’s paramount in the life of a Christian that you you truly understand the identity for which you receive in Jesus, because this becomes the platform for everything that you do in following after him. If you choose to walk in fear rather than faith, I can say it like this. Anyone that takes a step in fear. Generally speaking, if your next step is a step out of fear, you’re going to make a foolish mistake. God does not call us to a spirit of fear. But of power, love and a sound mind. It is not a step of fear. It is a step of faith. In the reason we can make that step is because of who we are in him. Which is why, in the following part of this verse, then Paul gives us two words to help us begin to understand the identity for which we have in Christ that we can move forward with confidence. And confidence literally means with faith. With faith. And so he says this. But you have received the spirit of adoption, a son’s.
Whom we cry. Abba Father. More than anything as people. I think what our hearts desire is, is is to belong. We want to belong. We want to be secure excepted, have purpose. That’s what these words mean. Abba and adopted. You belong. If you are in Christ. You belong. God has adopted you into his family. Now, this is an important word because I know sometimes people mistakenly assume that everyone is a child of God. Everyone automatically belongs to God. But but let me let me just ask this. Why would he have to use the word adopted? If everyone belongs, if you’re just born and you just automatically belong, there is no need for any adoption. The word adoption is identifying for us that there was a place in your life which you were not accepted by Christ. Or maybe that’s you this morning and you don’t even know if you belong to Christ. But the heart’s desire of of of Jesus is that He pursued you with everything that He had, that you may find new life in him and belong to him. And therefore you have the word adopted. Once in the family. You are there. You belong. The heart of God is an adoptive heart. In fact, when you read the Old Testament in Israel’s history, it wasn’t until about the time of the Kings that you start to see the prophets emerge, which are the last really 17 books of of the Old Testament.
The prophets start appearing. It’s because Israel kept disobeying and disobeying. And, you know, one of the primary judgments the prophets stated over and over. It was it was lived out there. A relationship with God was made known. Or their lack of relationship with God was made known by the injustice that they demonstrated against the widow and the orphan. God’s heart is that people belong. God’s heart is an adoptive heart. That we would look at what we have in life and share in that, that people could be embraced by the love of God as as his people live out the truth of God being accepted by him so that others could could see emulated in us the love of Jesus as we go into this world. God’s heart is an adoptive heart, which is why Jesus said, Well, John says, and John, chapter one, verse 12 as many as received him to them. He gave the right to become the children of God. Not everyone is a child of God. To those who receive Abba Father. Receive what Christ has done for us. It’s this invitation into God’s family where we cry. Abba Father, I don’t know. Sometimes in Christian lingo, we get. We get used to that word in our Father in Heaven. That’s how Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew’s chapter six, verse nine, praying this way.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done right. That’s the Lord’s Prayer. At least we call it the Lord’s Prayer. But but that phrase was scandalous for Christians to even state to to to think that God could be referred into such intimate terms. For most people, their theology of God is is distant. It’s theistic, as if God sort of created the world. He wounded up and he stepped back and he was indifferent to the things that took place, but not our God. He is personal. He pursues. He loves us where we are. He brings us into the fold and he gives us opportunity for freedom and reconciliation and life in him. I belong. And Paul uses this opening phrase for us to understand the identity for which we receive in the Lord to the point that we can we can cry not just father, but this word really translates as Daddy. And then he goes on. For 16, the spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Jesus is authority and inviting us in means we get to rule and reign with him. Now I want to be careful in saying because we’re heirs with Christ doesn’t mean you’re equal to Christ. In fact, Hebrews chapter one, verse two tells us that Jesus is heir of all things Revelation chapter seven, verse nine, and and really on nine and ten especially.
But it tells us that all people, tribes, tongues, languages, praise and worship the the lamb on the throne forever and ever. There is an authority which he carries that we will never be equivalent to because he is God. But because of his success and his victory over sin, Satan and death, because we’ve been adopted into that family, we get the opportunity to rule and reign with him. He is our king. We as his servants. It’s because we. We belong. Verse. 17. Then he goes on further and says, Provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I love this because Paul’s. Paul’s honest. He’s honest with with the idea of just because, you know, Jesus doesn’t mean this earthly life will be easy. In fact, there there is a struggle that comes with following Jesus and and one of the greatest blessings. You have to show the genuineness of your relationship with God. Is your willingness to struggle for it. Your willingness to struggle in it. I put Jesus above all others to the point. That I will sacrifice for the sake of that relationship. I will let go of the things, the pleasures of this world. For the hope that I have in Christ. There is a crown to come. But we often say before the crown there is a cross to bear.
I mean, Jesus told his followers that take up your cross and follow me. One of the greatest ways to look at your life and say is my relationship with Jesus genuine? Is it real? It’s to look back at your life and say, Has there been any point in my relationship with God where I sacrificed in order to pursue him? Has it cost me? Because it cost him everything. Is your love genuine for Christ? Is there any way in your life you can look at whether there was some inconvenience for which you walk with Jesus? And one of the greatest ways that you can you can do that with with utter joy is to understand the true identity that you have in him. You belong. You are adopted. He is your father. Point number two. And is this. He also walks with me. He understands my needs. We’re going to look at a bigger chunk in this section, verse 18 2 to 27. But I want you to see as we go through this, he talks about groening’s the the groening’s of creation, the groening’s in ourself and the Groening in the spirit. But what’s important is he walks with me and he understands my needs. God, God does not leave us empty. In fact, I would say this sometimes we ask the question, why do bad things happen? If God is good, why do bad things happen? And and no one really knows the mind of the Lord.
I don’t think there’s one set answer for all the bad things that happen in life. But but I can say this about some of the struggles we experience. Most of us would not seek God. If it weren’t for the trouble that we have encountered. We typically don’t listen to God in our pleasure. That’s what C.S. Lewis says. Our ears become more attentive to him when things get hard. We hear when we’re humbled. He’s loudest at our lowest. And in Romans chapter eight and the following verses, I think he considers this for us. He says, for I consider that all the sufferings of this present time are not worthy, comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. So there is a greater hope. Don’t lose, don’t lose sight of the hope in the midst of the struggle. There’s there’s more to come for us, for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the Son of God, for the creation was subjected subjected to fertility not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope. That the creation itself will be set free from the bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Let me just say this verse 20. He’s saying, when Adam and Eve sinned. God allowed the natural consequences of sin to be made known. God permitted that to take place.
And hope. But the struggle within this world would remind us. Of the joy of what we could have in him. Theologians have used this for years to. To help us understand the idea of a God and. And where morality comes from and why we long for that. And how that points to the existence of a God and why we should believe in one. And it carries this idea. I think I’ve used this illustration with us a few weeks ago. See us. Lewis has remarked on it before. He is one of the reasons he said he came to be a person of faith in Christ. He said, You know, he’s the illustration of a fish. If you remember, a fish is never going to describe itself as as wet because it’s made for that environment, just like you will. You’ll never describe yourself. If someone says describe you, you’ll never describe yourself as dry, Right? It’s just it’s the natural state of which you were intended to be. Right. Fish are made to be wet, you’re made to be dry. But there’s something within our being that recognizes that, that there is a struggle in life, and it just doesn’t sit right with us. And C.S. Lewis reaches this conclusion. He says, Perhaps you have such a struggle for this world because your life was made for another world. Your soul knows that things are broken. Creation groans and recognition that things are broken.
And the hope ultimately for us is is looking forward to what we have in Christ. And Paul does this one thing in verse 22 for our reasoning to understand it. He says this for we know that the whole creation has been groaning together and the pains of childbirth until now. I would like to tell Paul if he existed today, that he would get cancelled, cultured with that verse. Right? Like what is where does a man get off of mansplaining childbirth? How does he even know what what that’s like? Right? Like, I don’t even connect with that. And if I had time today, ladies, I could let you just share with us what that’s like through the first, second, third trimester to the point of childbirth. Right? We as as a husband who has seen his wife go through that, I have visually seen it, though I cannot fully relate to this. But but here’s here’s a question I would just pose with this. Paul is saying that childbirth is painful. If childbirth is so painful, why do we have so many people on this planet? Why are there so many people walking around if childbirth is so painful? And the answer is. Because the result. New life is beautiful. And wonderful and precious. And the same is true for us this morning and following after Jesus. Why are we fighting this battle? Why are we even talking about struggling in this way? Because what Jesus came to offer us as new life in him.
And we have the privilege of sharing that with the world that others may discover this new life in Christ. And he tells us in this passage, then creation is is groaning. And then he and he goes on and he shares in verse 23 that this that we are groaning. He says, not only the creation, but we ourselves who are the who have the first fruits of the spirit grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for the adoption of sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we have we were saved and now, now hope that a scene is not hope for who hopes for what he is he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Now, what is he talking about here? Let me let me just say this. When you read in the New Testament, this word adoption is used in multiple passages. Sometimes it’s used as if past tense. You’re adopted. Other times it’s also used in future tense, waiting for the day of your adoption. Here In this passage, though, you’re adopted by God if you’re in Christ. It’s also anticipating the day that your adoption will be fully made known when you’re face to face with the Lord in relationship. Now, why is he saying this? He’s acknowledging like in creation, we’re still groaning because we’re anticipating that day when everything is reconciled fully and we’re there with God and we’re in his presence because we’re created for that.
We’re made to know God and enjoy God and live before him for all of eternity. That’s that’s the reason he made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That’s the reason he created you. You were made for relationship, starting with God. But Paul is also acknowledging something here about that journey. That we are the first fruits of the spirit. One of the interesting things in the New Testament that that one of the reasons Israel rejected God is they had this anticipation of what the Messiah would bring. They had this idea of geopolitical rulership that then when the Messiah would come, he would come for his people and he would dominate the world and he would rule over the world and all people would be blessed through that because he is sovereign, He is good. He would be king. But when Jesus died. They didn’t completely understand how he was bringing his kingdom. There’s a term in Christian theology they refer to as the already. Not yet. Which means when Jesus came, he brought his kingdom. Jesus declared, The Kingdom of God is at hand. But He also taught us to pray. In Matthew chapter six, Your kingdom come, Your will be done. Meaning, even though he brought his kingdom, the fullness of his kingdom wasn’t made known yet.
And so the way that we see is Paul is explaining here how how did Jesus bring his kingdom? Well, he tells us by the first fruits of the spirit, the way that Jesus inaugurated his kingdom was by bringing his spirit to enjoy all his people, to live for his kingdom purpose in this world. And here’s the reason he did it. If Jesus came and he brought his kingdom to its fullest at his first coming, Jesus would have wiped us off the earth. Because what we needed. Was forgiveness and reconciliation. We didn’t want to be under the wrath of this scheme. We needed to be under His Grace. So that when he returns. We’re ready. The first fruits of a spirit comes to dwell within his people that we could live for his glory and representing his kingdom. And in that we eagerly wait for the fullness of that adoption. To see God face to face. And to know him. And in that journey, our spirit, it can grown as we go through this. He But he walks with us and he understands us. This is why it goes on in verse 26 and 27. Then he says this Likewise, when I read this passage, let me let me tell you before I read this. And of all the passages in Scripture. I think it’s these few verses that have brought me more comfort than any other.
He walks with us. He cares for us. It’s one of the beautiful things about the Lord. And if you ask the question, why does what do bad things happen? One one We know that God uses the difficult things really to drive us to him. But. But we can argue that God doesn’t care. Because what we see in Jesus is a God that pursues us. He He gives his life for us. He gave everything that we know. He is a God that cares. He became intimate with our suffering to the point that even the spirit intercedes with us. Look at this. Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. If we do not know what to pray for, as we ought. But the spirit himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts knows what is in the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God. The spirit. Groans. Here. We get to that place in life. Where you’re. You’re tired. And you’re not just physically tired. Your soul was tired. I mean, maybe you lost a job. I mean, if you lost a friendship, maybe you lost a marriage. Maybe lost a child. And your soul groans. And there aren’t even words. And what this passage is saying is, in that moment before the Lord, while you struggle to even express before God, the Spirit knows.
It knows and he intercedes for you. I mean, how how many times in your life can you just think of. Or when was the last time in your life? I could say that you just you can remember just sitting before the presence of God and letting the spirit of God intercede for you because you were just empty. All you could say before the Lord is Lord. I just. I’m just. I feel broken. I don’t even know what the next step is. Got on there was my soul hurts. And he’s saying in this moment, in the midst of the struggle, there is a God who cares who walks with you that does not abandon you because you. You belong. You belong. In fact, I would say one of the encouraging things of this passage is, is that the gift to you is different than anyone else going through struggles in life like this. The Spirit of God is with you, not not just to help you in this struggle, but to also help you overcome that struggle. Right. To step forward in this. To find God’s strength. To to move through. Point number three, then, is to say. And nothing will be wasted. Nothing will be wasted. Verse 28. He says. And we know. And for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. I want to be careful in saying nothing will be wasted.
And just adding that caveat for those that love God. So let me ask you the question. Do you love? God? Do you know him? Because he sees the struggle of this world and the things that you’re going through. And he has the ability to redeem it all. When you lay down your life for Jesus and there is a cost, none of that cost will be wasted. How do I know God has the ability to do that? Well, one, we always point to the cross of Christ. If God could take the darkest day in human history and and make the cross the anthem of Christianity. You can do the same thing for your life, too. God can redeem the struggles. And that’s what this passage is saying. It’s saying, look, it’s his sovereignty. God can work all things together for good because of his sovereign hand. It’s it’s the start of comfort for his people that he is in control of it all. He is good. He is for you, He is with you. He is sovereign. And he will determine that all of it works together for good, that those that love God who are called according to his purpose and he’s already demonstrated his capability because of his victory over the cross. So this is a word of encouragement for his people. And the struggle of life. Keep leaning in, keep leaning in, trusting in the power of his spirit to work in your life as you don’t try to perform harder, don’t, don’t do good and do more.
Give your life fully over to him. Jesus. Lead me. And how do we know that he is the sovereign, the sovereign hand he carries for us? Well, it goes on a little further and explains to us these these words in Christianity that they there’s a lot of debate over these words. Can I just tell you, as I get ready to read these words, a couple of things. You’re so teleology, which is your salvation. It’s an important theology to learn about. Right. It is important in this room this morning, if you know whether or not you’re in Jesus. It is important in this room if you’ve been to to know if you’ve been born again, you’ve been saved, if you’ve given your heart to Christ because of what he’s done for you. The particulars of that, the particulars of that, we should also refine in in our Christian walk. In order to grow in the understanding of that, but not to the degree that we fight and become dis unified. It is important to use each other as brothers and sisters in Christ to sharpen what we believe in Jesus and encourage one another along. And these this text is one of those passages that becomes a place of refinement, he says, for those whom he for knew. He also predestined to be conformed to the image of a son? In order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and those whom he predestined.
He also called and those whom he called. He also justified in those whom he justified, he also glorified. So you see those these words for knowledge and predestination and called and justified and and glorify. And the question is, what do they mean? Well, let me just say this. When it comes the idea of foreknowledge, here’s the comfort for you. That God’s hand is so sovereign for us that he doesn’t look at the need that we have in life. God didn’t look at our lost state and say, Oh man, what am I going to do? I’m in a panic, right? He’s not stressing out about that. God. God knew from the beginning what it would take for us to find salvation in Him rescuing him. And God had already determined what that would be, that his people would be redeemed in him. God knew the plan from beginning to end. This is not a surprise to God. Your situation is not a surprise to God. The state of humanity is not a surprise to God. It doesn’t catch him off guard. But his heart has always been about giving his life that you may find freedom in him. He for knew and he predestined. This idea of predestination is one for us that gives us hope. Meaning your destiny is secure.
This is a word of eternal security that in Jesus you’re adopted, you’re belong. Your eternity is secure in Him. That destiny is already been determined by Christ. That you were called. And this is a special calling, meaning it’s not about your ability to go before God, but rather God’s calling you before him. And to illustrate this, we could say in the days of kings, you couldn’t just randomly go before a king because you wanted to. If you tried that, you would get killed. The Book of Esther centers on that thought. You have to be invited. God’s heart is to invite you in. Those whom he called. If you tried to go to the White House today and jump a fence and cross the lawn. You’re not going to make it right. You’ve got to be summoned. You’ve got to be called. And that’s the beauty of God. His willingness to even give us a place to be invited in. You were called, you were justified. Meaning? You were made righteous before him. Your sin forgiven. Wide clean, justified, and not only justified when when the Lord sees you, He sees the goodness of Jesus. You’re already past tense, glorified. That’s how much the sovereign hand of God’s promises rest on you. So what does this give me the opportunity to do? And the thoughts of these words are are what carry me through, through the battle of life. As Paul says, Oh, wretched man that I am, who will set me free, Who will set me free.
And the answer is not you. Not your strength, not your power. But his spirit. His spirit. God is the one. Who perfects you in him. Your identity in him. The promises that he gives and he walks with you through it. It’s messy. But through it he receives the glory and he will work all things together with good. So I’m going to close with this, this, this last illustration. This is a messy illustration to help us recognize that in the battles that we face in life, we have messes too, and we can be faithful to the Lord in it despite the the struggle. Martin Niemöller. Was a minister in Nazi Germany. He was a part of the Confessing Church in Germany, which is if you know about Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Karl Barth, this was the church that rose up against Hitler when Hitler tried to put his foot in the church and dictate what happened in worship services. He wanted to have control of the church. Martin Niemöller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth They all stood up against it and said, No, we’re not allowing you to have that. In fact, Martin Niemöller was one of the leaders of of the Confessing Church, and he rallied 6000 pastors together to put their foot down against Adolf Hitler and demand that he get his hand out of the church.
Adolf Hitler couldn’t stand it. He arrested Martin and threw him in a concentration camp in 1938, and he stayed in that concentration camp till was liberated in 1945. He took a bold stand and it cost him. You know what’s interesting about Martin? One of the things that makes him complicated. Maybe one of the wild parts of a story. Martin also supported the Nazi Party. In fact, a lot of people in Germany did. 1924, he voted for the Nazi Party, 1933. He again voted for the Nazi Party. He liked the strong and powerful leadership that would unite Germany. And at the end of the war, he later repented of his decisions. And he said this. He I later realized that my Christian faith had been taken captive by ardent nationalism. He confused. His countries kingdom. For God’s. And it led him down a path that he he regretted. He stood up against Hitler when Hitler wanted to put his foot in the church. But truthfully, that’s the only thing he stood up against Hitler for. He didn’t do enough and he regretted it. He didn’t use his voice. And he. He regretted it. You know, when I hear that story supporting Nazi Germany really only taken a stand when Hitler wanted to put his hand in the church, I realize I could cast stones on him. But at the same time, there’s a part of me that recognizes I can do the same thing.
What I mean is in our in our Christian journey, we have the tendency sometimes to give a little bit to Jesus until it gets uncomfortable. And then we take a step back and we look at the thing that we did for Jesus, and we talk about how great that was. And Martin could have done that. I mean, I could have just shared with you the story where where MARTIN He led the confessional church and rallied all these pastors. They stood up against Hitler. And that’s all I could’ve told you, Right? And we thought, that’s a great guy. But to find out when he was oppressing people in his country that he stood silent. How great is that, really? You think about your own life when following Jesus may have been a little inconvenient for you? And what did you do? Martin later went on and he said this. He said, First they came for the socialists. And I did not speak out. Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. And then they came for me. And there was no one left to speak for me. He said. Christianity is. It’s not an ethic. Nor is it a system of dogmatic. But it’s a living thing.
One cannot deal with God in solitude or in remoteness only, but in the struggles of life. This Christian journey is not about wait until things get perfect to follow God. It’s not about let me get my life in order first and then then I’ll turn to Jesus. It’s about recognizing that that’s exactly where God wants to meet you. Is in that mess. Because that’s where he transforms us. That’s what we need in this Christian life is is not people that have it all perfect shown us how to follow Jesus, but people in the midst of adversity showing us that God is faithful and that He is present and that His spirit groans with us through that struggle. But by the power of his spirit, we can live victoriously. Why? Because there is a greater hope. Because in Christ, I. I belong. He’s with me. Comforts me. And I know because of his sovereign hand, nothing. Nothing. His wasted. Rather than follow in faith. Where do you give in to fear. Where are you letting other people dictate what your relationship with God should look like? Versus where are you truly laying it all down for the Lord? To make a difference in this world. And to walk with him. That only happens. It only happens by being secure in your identity and Christ, knowing who you are and your belonging. Trusting that He is sovereign, that nothing in in him is wasted. And enjoying that journey as he walks with you in the midst of that struggle.