God is On Your Side. Are You on His?

2023 Summer in Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:21
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Salvation Prepared Us

For our adoption as the children of God
An already/not yet reality
That even the creation waits for its conclusion
So live as the children of God in the hope of God’s final redemption

Our Weak Areas Become Obvious

when we are
Trying to Live as Children of God
We struggle with what to do, and we need help. We struggle with how to act, and we need help, we get distracted, we get discouraged, we run up against challenges in all kinds of ways.
What are we going to do to make this work?
The Bible is clear:
Lean Into the Help God Provides.

Lean Into the Spirit

because God has given the Spirit as our help while we are trying to live in the hope of our salvation.
Paul jumps in here where we should have started when we find out how tough it is to step out of our usual “doing it my way” and find out it just isn’t coming out like if we were really doing it God’s way.
Finding out where you are failing? How will make some progress?
Lean into the Spirit and pray.
Here’s how Paul puts it:
Romans 8:26 ESV
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
First is the statement that the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
Weakness? Most of us are living on our strengths—or at least our perceptions of our strengths. So we end up doing our own thing, and it seems to be going alright. But if we will be honest, we will admit that only really works when we are doing things for our own purposes, blind to our mis-behaviors and willing to just flounder around. And then we compare what we do to what God wants us to do.
And suddenly we are like Paul in Rom 7:1818 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
What’s the answer?
It’s really the answer we need to practice for everything: Pray for God’s guidance. But here’s the clue: if we think we even know how to pray for God’s will, we will end up putting ourselves into the equation.
Actually, most all of us has done it. We pick up the prayer line and tell God what we want, and because we talked to God about it, we go on and do what we wanted to do all along, and because we told God about it, we claim its all good. Wrong.
Paul reminds us of something we should have noticed but tend to put aside.
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought…:
And so even our prayers are messed up, not just our behaviors.
The really good news in all this is that God himself gives us the answer through his absolutely amazing grace. It’s right there too:
“the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”
We can’t even pray right, on our own, when it comes to how to address our weaknesses. That’s the context in this verse I have usually missed. I’ve always read this a reminder that when I know I don’t know what to say, it’s OK, because the Spirit intercedes to complete my prayers. That is true, but it is first true in terms of how I pray to God for what he wants me to be.
That’s what it means when it says “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” In our weakness, we are still self-centered, not God-centered. We don’t even know what it means to lean into God so we can get from Him what he really wants us to have. So we pray selfishly, awkwardly, for the answer we want instead of the result that God wants.
It’s a good thing that God knows us so well. Because He’s got us covered with what we need next:

The Spirit Can Keep Us In God’s Will

Romans 8:27 ESV
27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Our Task is to Love God

So we can be in line to receive from God the good ends he intends for us.
Romans 8:28 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This verse isn’t about a Godly panacea that will make everything that happens to us alright no matter what. That is taking the middle of the sentence and cutting off both ends. Romans 8:28 doesn’t say “All things work together for good” as if that is the whole purpose.
Be aware of the qualifiers here:
We must love God
We must expect that whatever we have to face, from whatever cause, God can make good out of it, according to his master plan.
We must live as if we responded to God not for our salvation but so that we can be in his will.
We need to have God’s purpose for our lives as our goal.

God Has a Plan for Each of Us

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 For those whom he foreknew ...
God knows us from before we were ever a seed in our mother’s womb. He foreknew us.

God Has a Destiny for Us

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 ... he also predestined ...
God has a purpose for us

God Wants Us to Become Christlike

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 ... to be conformed to the image of his Son,...

God Wants Us Born Into His Household

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

God Knows How to Make it Work

Romans 8:30 ESV
30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Predestined: We have a destiny
Called: we have a loving Father
Justified: through Christ, just as if I’d never sinned.
Glorified: made worthy of heaven, sharing the glory of the Trinity as co-heirs with Christ
Romans 8:16–17 (ESV)
16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 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.

God Is On Your Side

Romans 8:31 ESV
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
God is on our side.

God Will Do What It Takes For US

He Pulls Out All the Stops for Us
Romans 8:32 ESV
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
God is on our side.

God Is Our Defending Judge

God has already cleared us
Romans 8:33 ESV
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
God is on our side.

God’s Son Is Our Atonement

He has not just “barely” saved us
Romans 8:34 (ESV)
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised
God is on our side.

God’s Son is Interceding On Our Behalf

That is now and forever!
Romans 8:34 (ESV)
34 ...Christ Jesus...—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
God is on our side.

Nothing That Happens Can Break Love

For God who is on our side saved us by His love.
Romans 8:35 ESV
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
What has the the power to separate us from Christ’s love?
Not trouble, not stress, not abuse, not hunger, not exposure, not peril, not even war.
God is on our side.

When the Unimaginable Happens

If we are marched off to a massacre and fall into a mass grave,
Romans 8:36 ESV
36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
God is on our side.

When the World Thinks It Has Won

We are More Than Conquerors
Romans 8:37 ESV
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
God is on our side.

God is Surely On Our Side

Romans 8:38–39 ESV
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heart stopped or heart beating,
Heavenly beings or this world’s rulers,
What’s facing us or what might come,
Enemy spirits,
In the stratosphere or in the deep sea,
Anything that God has made,


God Is On Your Side.

Are you on God’s Side?

All these promises become null and void
If you have turned your back on God.
If you have lost your dependent love for God.
If you take for granted the Grace of God.
God is On Your Side.
He doesn’t want you to fail.
2 Peter 1:3 ESV
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

Be On the Lord’s Side

2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
2 Peter 1:9–10 ESV
9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
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