The Three Groans for Glory Romans 8:17-27

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1 The Three Groans for Glory Romans 8:17-27 Have you ever desired something so much that you could actually feel it physically like a longing or a groaning? When we lived in Riverside, one of my favorite things to do was to go to the Honda dealer and sit on the dirt bikes. I would sit on them wishing, longing, and groaning for the day that I could own one! My older brother had an Enduro that he rode and the day he took me on a ride it was all over. I was hooked. I had tasted what it was like to be on a motorcycle and not until I had one of my own would that desire be fulfilled. I remember the first time I rode a dirt bike my brother had gotten a little Yamaha. He had a paper route and talked my dad into letting him get one and he would make the payments on it. That day I learned something from my little brother, so I got a paper route and dad got me a dirt bike, a YZ80. Up until that day all I could do was long for, groan for a motorcycle, but that groaning eventually turned into reality and when it did, it was a great day! In chapter 8, we will be looking at the three groans for glory: the groan of creation, the groan of the Church, and the groan of the Spirit. All groaning, longing for the day when everything will become new and the old will truly pass away for good. Vs. 17 Being a child of God means that we have the privilege of relating to the Father as Jesus does. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Do you remember in Luke 18:18, when the rich young ruler asked what he must do to inherit eternal life? He was off, you don t inherit eternal life, you re born into it. 1

2 You can t earn it. We are gifted eternal life, we are gifted a right standing, and we are gifted the inheritance of heaven by a spiritual birth. It s not a matter of doing, it s a matter of being being in the right family! Paul reminds us that being in the family not only has its benefits, but it will also have its challenges. If we suffer with Him, we will also one day be glorified with Him. As God s children, we are not immune to suffering. In fact, our sharing in suffering is a condition of our future glorification. It s all part of the same package of sonship. When we walk in a new identity, one that is led and governed by the Spirit, we will be seen as antagonistic to those who are walking in the flesh. There will be some people letting you know what they think about your new life. Just remember, when you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that barks the loudest is the one that was hit. One of the important factors to enduring suffering as a believer is the hope of heaven! Vs. 18 The suffering that we endure is not worthy to be compared to the glory that we will inherit. You can t even put them on the same scale together our suffering is not on the same scale of heaven. Paul is not talking about something he hasn t experienced; he suffered more than most of us will ever suffer. Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in 2

3 perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (NKJV) Paul was also given a thorn in the flesh by Satan, but it was allowed by the Lord to keep him in the right place for God to use him. And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) Paul had experienced for Christ what I imagine we will never experience. Yet, he could say the present sufferings that we endure on earth are not even worthy to be compared to what we will experience in glory. Paul would even say to the church of Corinth: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NKJV) In other words, not only do they not compare in weight, but they are building up an eternal, weighty reward in heaven. No matter what we have gone through, or what we are going through presently, or will go through in the future, it still won t even get near weighing up to the amount of what we experience in heaven. Paul even explains to the church of Corinth that what we will experience in heaven has no earthly words to describe it. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows how he was caught 3

4 up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (NKJV) What was seen and heard words don t describe it. Without a heavenly hope, Paul considered the Christian life foolish and tragic. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NKJV) Does eternity scare you or does it inspire you? If you re in Christ, it should inspire; knowing that one day we will put an end to the flesh, to sin, to unrighteous living that we are surrounded by. Knowing that we will no longer see our Savior in part, as we are now, but we will see Him fully. And that there is a reward waiting for us. That should motivate, that should inspire! That s what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write. It s what got him through the tough times that he endured; knowing that eternity was around the corner. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12 (NKJV) Notice Paul reminds us that the glory was to be revealed in us. Not only was it to be revealed to us, but it was going to be revealed in us. In other words, God has put this glory into the heart of the believer right now. When we get to heaven, the glory will simply be revealed. Until that day, we long for it, we groan. There are three groans that we read about here in chapter 8. The Three Groans for Glory: 1. The groan of creation (vs ) 2. The groan of the Church (vs ) 3. The groan of the Spirit (vs ) 4

5 Vs The Groan of Creation Paul tells us that all of creation groans for the day when everything is new, when the old has passed and the new has come. Notice the words earnest expectation and eagerly awaits it carries the idea of straining your neck forward, like running across the finish line and you re stretching your neck forward. That s what all creation is doing as it anticipates the final day. Groaning can be compared to birth pains, like a woman in labor waiting for the birth of her child. Notice what s going to be birthed, according to verse 19, it s awaiting the revealing of the sons of God. That s what will be birthed: the sons of God; the true children of God. Who are they? John tells us But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name John 1:12 (NKJV) All creation is waiting, longing, and groaning for this day like a child waiting to be birthed the day that the bondage of corruption will be exchanged for the liberty of incorruption. Notice in verses 20 and 21, Paul reminds us that the Creator Himself subjected creation to futility; He did so with the hope that it brings us to Christ. That word futility is also the word vanity, and can be translated emptiness. In other words, all creation has been subjected to emptiness. There is a hole in our hearts, an emptiness in our hearts that can only be filled with the Creator. Again, go back to Romans chapter 1 creation is speaking of God s invisible attributes. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse Romans 1:20 (NKJV) 5

6 Solomon spoke of how the longing of heaven is in our hearts. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NKJV) So remember that when you re sharing your faith with those who have not given their life to Christ, there is a longing deep within, a groan deep inside that God put there to move man to Christ, an innate longing for heaven. It has been put there by God Himself, a vacuum if you would, a hole that only He can fill. Vs The Groan of the Church We, who have been given a taste of the glory to come, eagerly await the fulfillment of what is to come. We tasted the firstfruits and look forward to more. Have you ever tasted something that was so over the top you had to have another bite or even a few more bites? Like this Thanksgiving maybe you took a small plate to start with, only to go back for seconds. Like that pumpkin pie you had! You asked for a half size and could not help yourself; after it wet your appetite, you had to go back for the other half. That s what we taste here in the life of the Spirit. That s what takes place when we worship and once in a while, you re just overwhelmed with His presence. It s just to wet our appetite for what s coming. We are looking forward to that new body, that glorified body noted in verse 23, when our present adoption and inheritance is in full capacity. And notice verse 25 we wait with perseverance. 6

7 Because we trust God that He will fulfill His word, we can persevere knowing that one day the promise of glory will be a reality. Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3 (NKJV) Notice Who helps us in this area of perseverance and patience Vs The Groan of the Spirit It s the Spirit of God that helps us in our weakness. 19 times in chapter 8, the word Spirit is brought up. The theme of chapter 8 is the power of the Spirit, the work of the Spirit, and the life under the influence of the Spirit. Again, we are reminded of the power to wait the power to persevere is not a human or fleshly power, that won t be sufficient, it must come from the Holy Spirit who lives in us. Not a natural power but a supernatural power. Paul brings up, in verses 26 and 27, an emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit in the area of prayer. When we are weak and don t exactly know how to pray or what to pray, the Spirit is there to make intercession for us. Groanings which cannot be uttered or groanings that we struggle to articulate, which is what the gift of tongues is For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 1 Corinthians 14:2, (NKJV) Praying in tongues is simply a communication beyond our ability to express. 7

8 They are deep groanings within us, which we struggle to put to our English language. There are times when I am praying that I just struggle to find the words, and I don t want to stop praying, so I pray in the Spirit. This, of course, is the purpose of the gift of tongues to enable us to communicate with God in a manner that is not limited to our own knowledge or ability to articulate our heart before God. The purpose of tongues is not to prove that we are filled with the Spirit or especially spiritual. David Guzik The person who has been given the gift of tongues is not any more spiritual than the person without tongues. The person with the gift should never look at the person without as less or not as filled with the Spirit. The evidence that you re filled with the Spirit is that you are led by the Spirit, that you re a bold witness of Jesus Christ, and that you re overflowing with love. The person with the gift of tongues is just communicating with the Lord the groans that cannot be put to the English language. Until the day we reach heaven, the Spirit is there to groan with us, to intercede for us, to help us in our weakness, to empower us when we re suffering, and to lead us into the will of God. So we have two intercessors: one in heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is always making intercession on our behalf, but we also have one in us, the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness. A glory awaits us that exceeds our wildest imaginations so amazing that words can t describe, but until that day, we groan. We re not alone all creation groans, the Church corporate groans, and the Holy Spirit living in us groans. And one day, our groans will be replaced with joy joy unspeakable! But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV) His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord. Matthew 25:21 (NKJV) 8

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