Romans 8:17

 

Preschoolers sang – Sweet, innocent faith of a child. Jesus loves me.

During the Triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem child sang too.

Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16  “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”

 

Hosanna is a Greek word based on two Hebrew words that mean, save and pray – the original meaning is “Save us we pray” but even when Jesus entered Jerusalem and the Temple area the meaning was changing to an exclamation of praise.

 

Hosanna, Praise the Son of David. He is worthy of praise because He came to save us.

Our life, the way we live, should shout Hosanna.

Is your life giving God praise? Are you a living billboard for Jesus?

 

As we celebrate Palm Sunday today we shout Hosanna in joy but there is a sad, painful side to Palm Sunday.

Jesus entered Jerusalem as a conquering King but for Him to bring victory He had to suffer. As Isaiah (53) prophesied 700 years earlier, Jesus was the suffering servant.

 

Isaiah 53:3  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. … 5  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

 

Jesus knew what it meant to be entering Jerusalem on that day. The people were excited but the weight of our sin was beginning to crush Jesus.   Before all the excitement of Palm Sunday Jesus let the disciples know what was about to happen (He had already told them twice before, Matthew 16:21 and 17:22, but He reminded them one more time just a few days before He was crucified).

 

Matthew 20:17 Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, 18  “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19  and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

 

What would have stuck in your mind about what He said?

That someone was going to betray Him

He would be condemned, mocked and crucified

He would rise in three days

 

What would your reaction have been to Jesus’ prediction?  Your reaction would depend on what words of Jesus you focused on.

If you heard “betrayed” you may get angry and try to prevent the person who was going to betray Him.

If you heard “crucified” you may get sad and wonder why God would allow that to happen.

If you heard “raised” you may be excited to see God’s power at work.

 

Just like the dual pictures – once you see one picture it is hard to focus on the other.

Do you see the Duck or the Rabbit?

Do you see the Young woman or the Old Woman?

Do you see the word Good or Evil?

 

We hear Palm Sunday and we think – Hosanna! We hear Good Friday and we think – Good.

We hear Resurrection and we think – Jesus.

Palm Sunday is the realization of suffering.

What is good about Good Friday? A day of suffering for Jesus.

 

We can focus on the negative or the positive; the sorrow or the joy.

We can focus on Jesus’ suffering or our joy.

We want and expect joy in life – we want things to go smooth but that is just not reality.

Suffering is a part of life. Suffering is also a part of our life in Christ.

 

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

We all want to go to Heaven and share in Jesus’ glory but this passage tells us we have to share in His suffering before we can share in His glory.

 

What we have focused on the last couple of weeks from Romans 8 is that God is for us, nothing can separate us from His love. Suffering is not a sign that God hates us, suffering is a sign that we are co-heirs with Jesus.

 

That is not how we think – we think more like the Palmist

Psalm 73:3  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4  They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5  They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

 

Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?  The wicked don’t prosper.

 

The Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

Don’t lose heart in the struggle because you are being renewed for glory.

 

God is on your side even in the midst of suffering and pain.

 

God is love and He loves you no matter which way the wind of life blows.

 

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

We will have trouble in this life but we are overcomers with Jesus. In the midst of the pain Jesus will give us rest, He will lighten our burden.

 

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

We can make it through anything

Vicki sent me some advice last week.

Always keep your wife’s picture as mobile screen-saver.

When you face a problem, see the picture and say: If I can handle her I can handle anything!

(repeat – Vicki sent this to me)

 

We can handle any situation because God is on our side.

It is our privilege to suffer for the name of Christ.

 

Philippians 1:29  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

 

The Apostles rejoiced when they suffered. The Apostles were arrested for preaching about Jesus.  They had to answer to the Jewish religious leaders.

 

Acts 5:40  … They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

 

Rejoice in your suffering. There are many reasons why God allows us to suffer.

  1. The testing of our faith produces mature-well rounded godly character qualities. (James 1:2,3)
  2. Suffering is a privilege of identifying with Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:29)
  3. Suffering is proof that we are true children of God. (Heb. 12:8)
  4. Suffering helps identify and eradicate impurities in the life of a believer. (Heb. 12:9, 10)
  5. Suffering helps us become more fruitful (Qualitatively and quantitatively) and wise. (Heb. 12:11)
  6. Suffering is the proven path to Godliness. (2 Tim. 3:12)
  7. Suffering helps us grow in Godliness. (I Tim. 4:7, 8)
  8. Suffering helps us to know more of the Lord’s attributes. (Phil. 3:10)
  9. Suffering has a way of sharpening us to make us more effective in our ministries. (Eccl. 10:10)
  10. Suffering allows us to teach others through our example how God can work all things together for good. (Rom. 8:28, 29)
  11. Our sufferings produce for us an everlasting weight of glory. (2 Cor. 4: 17)
  12. Suffering proves we are co-heirs with Christ. (Rom 8:17)

 

Remember that in your suffering God is on your side; His love is constant.

 

Listen to Jeremiah understanding of God’s love in the midst of suffering, grief and discipline.

 

Lamentations 3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

 

Do you understand the context of these verses?

It is in the book of weeping by the weeping prophet, Jeremiah.

How could Jeremiah make such comments after all the suffering that Israel had endured at the hands of the wicked Babylonians?

 

The city of Jerusalem is devastated and in rubbles. The temple has been dismantled and its sacred contents plundered. Those surviving, after the prolonged adversity and hunger experienced during the siege, have been slaughtered in massive numbers.  And the remaining ones after this, made up of the prominent and choice people of the land, have been chained and taken away into Babylonian captivity.

Tradition has Jeremiah withdrawn in a cave, pondering and writing about all of these awful things that had taken place.  Right in the middle of this dismal book of despair; in the pit of darkness, like rays of sunlight suddenly flashing through the dark clouds; came Jeremiah’s words of devotion.

 

Lamentations 3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

 

That is the attitude we need in the midst of suffering; remembering God’s great love, His compassion and goodness for us.

 

In the suffering, we need the right perspective.

 

Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

As co-heirs with Christ we will suffer UNTIL we come into glory. God is going to get us to the other side safely.

“God promises a safe landing not a calm passage.”

Glenna reminded me of this saying when we were talking this week. Glenna has the right attitude and perspective as she and Joe walk through the difficulties of his leukemia.  God is with them.

 

I’d rather be in the storm with Jesus than anywhere without Him.

 

Matthew 7:24  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

 

The rain is coming, the streams are going to rise and the wind is going to blow.

The question is will your house stand or fall?

What is the foundation of your life?

Are you building your life on the rock of Jesus or the sand of the world?