SUNDAY MORNING WORSHIP SERVICE, 1 November 2020
Sermon Text: Romans 8:31-39
Watch Sermon Video: Click the link below
I. God is for us (v. 31)
II. Christ died for us (v. 32)
III. God justified us (v. 33)
IV. Christ intercedes for us (v. 34)
V. Christ loves us (vs. 35-39)
I’d like to thank God for opening Rom. chs. 4-8 in a sermon series since Aug. Today is the last message in this series and it’s a message of great encouragement for us all who trust in Jesus Christ. It is about the freedom we have in the Lord; it is about God’s great deliverance wrought out for all His beloved children.
I believe you remember the messages we’ve heard in the previous three Lord’s Days which were on the three aspects of the freedom we have in Jesus. We’re free, firstly, from judgment – therefore, there’s now no condemnation for us (Rom. 8:1-4); secondly, we’re free from sin’s demand – therefore, we have no obligation to sin whatsoever (vs. 5-17); thirdly, we’re free from discouragement – therefore, nothing frustrates us (vs. 18-30). Added to these tremendous and awesome characteristics of our freedom, one more aspect is explained in the text passage we’ve just read today, that is, ‘we’re free from all fear’ – therefore, an overwhelming victory is ours through Jesus (vs. 31-39).
Yes, our freedom in Jesus Christ is so wonderful and great that Paul could not simply say a word or two, but explain it in four different aspects in this 39-verse-long chapter. If he didn’t do it, Romans would’ve been like an unfinished letter or a painting with no colours on. Or it would’ve been like a worship service without singing hymns or without preaching of sermon or without prayers. Our freedom abolished judgment, annuls sin’s demand, repeals frustration, and cancels all fear. This freedom comes from and through Jesus our Lord.
Before we take the first point of today’s message, let me ask you what ‘fear’ is. How would you describe fear? I believe you have a lot to say about it. There are many types of fear – fear that is temporary or lasting, individual or public, psychological or real and life-threatening. There are all sorts of fear and we encounter fear almost always and at everywhere. But the sum of all fear is death, the last and ultimate fear because death is the judgment for sin. Jesus gave us a clear picture of death as the judgment in Mt. 13:49-50, “The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It’s indeed a fearful judgment. But all Christians saved through faith in Jesus are free from death – in other words, free from all fear. And this is the message we have today. So, let’s find out how this freedom is given to us.
I. GOD IS FOR US [SO, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?] (v. 31)
In what terms are we told that we’re free from all fear? V. 31 begins, saying, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Being inspired by the Spirit of God, the apostle says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” This is the first and foremost base of our freedom from all fear – ‘God is for us.’
He does not say it as a hypothetical question with ‘if.’ Rather, he emphasises the fact that God is for us. You’ll remember what Paul has taught so far from ch. 1 of this Epistle to the believers in Rome. He said in Rom. 1:16 and 17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it [that is, the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’.” Or in the first verse of Rom. Ch. 8, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul emphasises here once again that ‘God is for us.’ And he says, ‘If then, who do you fear?’ ‘Isn’t God the God of the universe? Isn’t He the sovereign and almighty God? Therefore, if He is for us, who can stand against us?’
As you know, yesterday morning we had our state Assembly. And there were lots of ‘Ayes’ and not a single ‘no’ with the motions laid on the table before the House (that is, the body of ministers and elders representing individual congregations). One thing I always find is that if a motion is brought before the House, that motion gets strong support of the House. But whenever a motion laid before the House is not in line with the nature and characteristics of Christ’s church, then immediately that motion gets ‘Nos’ and is defeated.
What about our God and His motion – I mean, His plan and will for us? He is the God who has no evil in His heart but full of good and love. He is the sovereign God. If He presents a motion to the world He created and rules, who can say ‘No’? He is the One who runs it. He is the One, the Father, “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). He said, “the righteous shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17), also, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). God also declared that “to all who did receive Him [Jesus], who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (Jn. 1:12), “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and NO ONE will snatch them out of My hand” (Jn. 10:27-28). Paul’s point is, ‘Can anyone say NO to this motion of God?’ Absolutely, NO ONE! God is for us, then who can be against us? It’s the simplest statement, but the greatest and supreme statement of our freedom in God.
II. GOD GAVE US CHRIST TO DIE FOR US [SO, WOULD HE NOT CARE FOR US?] (v. 32)
In addition, v. 32 adds another tremendous reason, that is, ‘God gave us Jesus to die for us – then, would He withhold anything from us?’ Once again, it’s a simple but powerful statement proving our freedom from all fear. God gave us His Son. If He gave His Son to us, why would He hesitate or withhold anything and not give it to us?
Here, when we say ‘gave His Son,’ it means to be killed and slaughtered. It’s not like giving a son to a bunch of kids to play in an afternoon. This giving costed the life of the only begotten Son of God. And God gave this Son to us to be killed, then, what else would He withhold and not give us? If He bought us with the life of His only Son, would He then discard us or abandon us? No, not at all! He will care for us with all His power and might and wisdom and blessings.
I believe you remember Jesus’ parable of a merchant who found a pearl of great value. He went and sold all that he had and bought it. Jesus told us this parable to teach us what it was to find God’s salvation and possess it. In fact, this also describes the love of God toward those He found and purchased with the life of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He’ll cherish us and love and care for us now and for eternity. If then, would He not care for us? Absolutely He will!
Abraham’s nickname is ‘the father of all believers.’ This Abraham had a son and he was born when Abraham was one hundred years old. Imagine his love for that son. No doubt, he would have given his own life away for his son, Isaac. We can’t read it from the Bible, but through the wisdom God has given us, we can surely know how Abraham would raise Isaac. Then, one day, God commanded him to bring his son to a mountain top and sacrifice him to God. What we read from the Scriptures is the obedience of Abraham without questioning. Heb. 11 tells us that Abraham “considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead” (v. 19) which means, in other words, he believed and knew that the God who had given him a son at his hundredth year would give him anything according to His good will. This is faith that understands who God is. In this faith, he knew God is the One who spares nothing for His beloved ones – like you and me and all in Him through Christ Jesus. He will never withhold anything; He gave even His only begotten Son to us and die for us!
He bought us and made us His sons and daughters; He loves us as He loves Jesus. Then, in what way would He protect us and sustain us? We belong to Him through Christ. Then, who can be against us? How awesome and perfect freedom we have in Him, our Father!
III. GOD JUSTIFIED US [SO, WHO WILL BRING CHARGE AGAINST US?] (v. 33)
In v. 33, the apostle presents another basis for our freedom from all fear – that is, ‘God declared us righteous in His eyes, then, who will appeal against His ruling?’ This is an interesting point. The point the apostle raises here is about ‘who is THE judge?’ The question is, to whom the power and authority belong? By this, he suggests this answer, ‘Is it not God who is the ultimate and only Judge?’ Of course, God alone is the Judge of all things; He is the One who makes decisions and a final verdict for all things. He created the world in the beginning; He sustains the entire creation. He is the Judge. And no one can challenge His ruling or appeal against His judgment. And He has declared that we’re righteous in Jesus. So, could anyone charge against us? No, no one can.
We Australians like to add the word, ‘aye,’ to many sentences, aye? People say it to simply emphasise what is said. In fact, not only Australians do this, but almost all people in the world like to do the same – people like to repeat words to emphasise what they mean. Often it is done in the form of a question as in v. 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect?” He’s saying, ‘Dare not challenge to the Judge; dare not forget that He is the sovereign Creator with all wisdom.’ The Judge’s verdict has been given, no one can ever challenge that, and you and I are absolutely free from all fear.
Moreover, God’s declaration of our justification is made through the blood of His Son, Jesus. Then, this question, ‘Who can bring a charge against His ruling?’, becomes a serious warning against any adversary.
IV. CHRIST INTERCEDES FOR US [SO, WHO WILL CONDEMN US?] (v. 34)
If we understand the bases of our freedom from all fear Paul has made so far, the rest of this chapter is easy to understand. V. 34 says, “who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” In addition to the Father’s declaration of our justification, the Lord Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Father intercedes for us! It’s a double assurance of our freedom – that is, the Father declares and no one is able to challenge against it, and the Son pleads for us, seeking the favour of the Father for us! Paul is right to ask a question, “who is to condemn?” No one!
V. CHRIST LOVES US [SO, WHO WILL SEPARATE US FROM HIM?] (vs. 35-39)
One more important basis for our freedom from all fear is given in vs. 35-39 – that is, ‘Christ loves us – so, who will or who can separate us from Him?’ These verses prove that our Lord Jesus loves us, thus, intercedes for us.
Talking about His love for us, before everything else, I want you to remember the words He said on the cross, especially the saying recorded in Lk. 23:34, that is, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Those for whom He prayed to His Father were the murderers of God’s Son, the Lord of the world. Jesus did not make a prayer of a universalist – I mean, a person who believes that God would eventually save all human beings disregarding their repentance and faith in Jesus. No, that’s not what Jesus prayed on the cross; He prayed for those whom the Father had given the Son, thus, would come to Him in repentance and faith. ‘Forgive each of them, Father,’ He prayed, pleading that ‘they do not know what they do.’ What a perfect love for His own Jesus declared on that day! He gave His life to them.
So asks the apostle, ‘Who can separate us from this love of Christ?’ No one, and no one, and no one. The answer is eternally the same – NO ONE!
I want you to imagine that you’re passing through a deep and dangerous jungle. If you walk alone, you wouldn’t be able to proceed a hundred metre. You’d probably die either by a heart attack caused by fear or by an actual attack of a wild beast.
But what if you were surrounded by multitudes of experienced and well-equipped rangers? You would still fear, but your fear would be much different from what you might’ve had when you went alone. That’s because you’re surrounded by a wall of good protectors. You’ll be able to reach your destination safely.
But what if you were sitting in a military-grade armoured vehicle driven by well-trained, experienced solders and passed through that jungle? You’d be completely free from all fear, wouldn’t you? Steal walls of the armoured vehicle will protect you from all fear and the soldiers will take good care of you on the way. Indeed, you are in good hands!
This is exactly what the apostle teaches in these last verses of Rom. 8. ‘God is for us,’ then, who can be against you and me? None! ‘God gave us Jesus to die for us, then, would He not care for us? Absolutely He would! ‘God had justified us,’ then, none can bring charge against us. ‘Christ intercedes for us for He loves us,’ then, none can condemn us, nor will separate us from Him!
Take the picture, my fellow children of God, my fellow members of Christ’s body. You and I are carried in an armoured vehicle surrounded by multitudes of trained and experienced solders; you and I are carried by the very hands of God, surrounded by His angels! We’re free from all fear as nothing can separate us from Jesus Christ, our Saviour who dearly loves us! This is why Paul began this Epistle to the Romans, confessing in Rom. 1:16 that “[the gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
I pray that, by believing in Jesus, you may walk with your Lord and Saviour, having no fear because you’re His and He is yours now and forever! ***