Los Alamos Church of Christ
Let the Word Dwell
#16 Romans 8:19
The New Creation
This morning we are back into eschatology. Tell your neighbor that eschatology is the study of the last things. It is the study of what happens at the Parousia… the coming… when Jesus returns. Throughout this year, as we continue with the 51 Verse Challenge, we are going to do 5 eschatological sermons. We have already done one…
#10 1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
In sermon #10, I outlined the chronology of eschatology…
--First, when Christians die they sleep in the Lord. We don’t go to heaven. We don’t watch over our loved ones from above. We don’t become angels. We Rest In Peace with the Lord.
--From that perspective, the next thing we would know, after death; we are raised to meet Jesus in the air. Throughout the New Testament the promise is the return of Jesus. Jesus promised his followers he would return to this earth.
--Then, we will be changed to be imperishable… our bodies will change.
--Then, we escort Jesus back to the new earth to live with him, here, forever. Just like the conquering generals of old who were met outside the city to form a parade of honor back into the city, we will escort Jesus back to the remodeled earth.
This last event, this remodeling of earth, is our verse for this week.
#16 Romans 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
Notice the Driver’s License, which you get when you are… 16. Our verse is number 16 on the Tree List.
In the letter to the Romans Paul has been building the grace of God for seven chapters.
#13 Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
--We are Justified… the gavel bangs.
--We are reconciled… We are family.
--We are redeemed from the slavery of sin.
--We have salvation from Death… because…
#14 Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
--We leave sin in the tomb of baptism to walk in a new life.
--A life of sanctification. We are being made better all the time by the power of the one who raised Jesus.
Tony got to the high point verse last week.
#15 Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
There is no guilt. We do not live in shame. We live without fear. We live in the full confidence as sons of God. We live victorious lives in the Spirit! Justification, reconciliation, redemption, salvation, sanctification, no condemnation, no fear all happen now for those who are in Christ Jesus. That should blow your brain away. But that’s not all…
Paul then moves from the now to the then. Paul moves towards our eschatology…
ESV Romans 8:16-17 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, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Wow, in addition to justification, sanctification and no condemnation in this life I will be glorified with Christ in the next life. That is what I want. I want to be glorified with Jesus. I want to be a fellow heir with Christ. I want to be raised from the dead to meet Jesus in the air. I want to parade back to the earth with him. But we will have to suffer with him. “What? Read that again, about suffer with him in order that…” I’m not too big on the suffering with him part. He died on a cross. So, Paul adds…
ESV Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
If we put all the suffering of this present time on one side of the scales and then we put all the glory to be revealed in us on the other side of the scales… it wouldn’t even be close. All the tough times; all the tough decisions; all the hurt; all the pain; all the ridicule; all the abuse… all that stacked up on one side of the scales… then the glory of being raised from the dead, the glory of meeting Jesus in the air; the glory of becoming imperishable; the glory of being changed; the glory of the parade back to earth; the glory of living on the remodeled earth… outweighs all the suffering of a lifetime. This is what I want to convince you of this morning. My goal in this sermon is to convince you that the glory outweighs the suffering.
So, with this run up to our memory verse let’s read Romans 8:19 in its context.
ESV Romans 8:19-23 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible. Let’s break them down.
First, the creation is personified. This is a literary device where an inanimate object is given human emotions. The creation, the earth, the stars the sun and moon, all of creation is being thought of as a person. If earth were a person, it is waiting. The earth is longing. The earth longs to be set free. The earth is like a mother giving birth to a child. The earth is in labor. The earth is counting the contractions until the new birth. Paul uses this literary device to bring emotion to all the creation. Let’s back up and see why the earth was subjected to futility.
In the Garden of Eden, when humans sinned, something changed. Something changed with their relationship with God, but something also changed with the world. Listen in on that conversation…
ESV Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam God said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
In that moment, in that moment of sin, something changed with creation. The earth went from being undying to decaying. It went from glory to futility. In that moment the earth was cursed, not because it did anything wrong, but because of our sin. All these eons since then, the earth has been in the bondage of decay. But when Jesus broke those bonds, in the resurrection, the earth began to hope again. The creation began to be eager for the revealing. The world around us knew that soon it would join the children of God in freedom. Decay would die. The earth would be set to right. Creation would be restored to its former glory.
When Jesus returns, we will be changed; we will be glorified, we will return to the earth escorting Jesus; and the earth will be re-newed. Creation will be like it was in the beginning. This earth being destroyed doesn’t make much sense. The earth would not be longing to be destroyed. Creation longs to be free.
Here is where I want to convince you that the glory… then, outweighs the suffering… now.
I want to speculate on what this remodeled earth means. This next move in my sermon is dreaming. It is assumptions. There is only an 18% chance that the rest of this sermon is 100% accurate. But I think we need to make this as real as possible. Remember all eschatology is a signpost pointing into the mist. It is hard to say what exactly the remodeled earth will be like, but I think it will be encouraging to think about it. Let’s speculate…
Let’s speculate that God will accomplish what he set out to accomplish from the beginning. God wanted a creation where he can have relationship with us. God wanted to walk in the cool of the evening with us. God wanted a place to dwell with his people. Let’s assume the Garden of Eden is what God is going to do in the remodeling of creation. Think back to the Garden.
ESV Genesis 2:7-9,15 Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Let’s speculate a similar re-newed earth to this one. Let’s speculate about an earth that is this garden.
--It is beautiful… imagine a wonderful garden.
--It is peaceful. There is harmony. There is relationship with the Father.
--In it we have a physical form. We have the breath of life. We have food to eat.
--We will be called to work in the garden and keep it.
--We live forever. There is no death or decay.
So, far we haven’t speculated too far from the picture of Genesis 2. Let’s go a bit further. Here is a list of things there won’t be on the new earth.
There will be no…
--Hospitals, MRIs, medicine, malaria. I am very thankful for health care. More today than two weeks ago. But there won’t be any need for such then.
--Watches, clocks or any time keeping devices. We have eternity to live. I can’t imagine ever needing to be on time.
--Cell phones, text messaging, Skype or email. I think cell phones are just to save time. Without time just go find the person you want to talk to, there is no hurry.
--Transportation. This may be a bit iffy. There will be no need to use transportation to get from one point to another in a hurry. There will be no hurry. Now, on the other hand driving a 57 Chevy for the joy of it is something else.
--Security cameras, locks, keys or safety deposit boxes.
--Banks, Insurance, money
--Church. The church will be delivered to God.
--Occupations – Preachers, Doctors, Police officers, the military. What about Scientists? No retirement.
--Anything that that saves time, keeps us safe, or is health related will not be on the remodeled earth.
Things which will be…
--Relationships. Even not being a big relationship guy, I am excited about spending lots of time developing relationships with any number of people. For those of you who are talkers…
--Art. I believe the love of creation of beauty is to be like God. All kinds of art… painting, photography, quilting, pottery, weaving…
--Building. Homes. Woodworking. Craftsmanship… is to create.
--Music. Music is at the core of humans being like God. Surely music playing and listening will be big.
--Eating. Restaurants, not for profit but joy could be there.
--Competition. Sports, games, where does that love come from, if not from God?
--Adventure. Exploring a new earth with all the places you could go.
--Worship. Wow, can you imagine worship being led by the angels with Jesus there?
I mentioned before my post-bucket list. Just imagine the things that could be on your post-bucket list.
The glory of the Then certainly outweighs the suffering of the Now.
When you recite your memory verse this week, allow these words to fill you with eager longing for your revealing as the sons of God!
#16 - Romans 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
April 26, 2015
Los Alamos Church of Christ