February 17-19, 2018
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Romans 8:31-39
“WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!”
1. God is for us.
2. Who can be against us?
Romans 8:31-39 (NIV 1984) “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Just in case you don’t watch the news and have not heard the theme song or seen the torch or five rings on a flag it is Olympics time across the world. The winter Olympics that is. With a competition that is held only once every four years the stakes are high as athletes from across the world who have dedicated their existence to their sport all come together with the same goal: Olympic gold, to be the champion. Many will dream. Few will be. The chances of any of us here becoming Olympic champions ranges from slim to none but God’s word tells us we are champions none the less. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” More than conquerors, literally super victors is what that means. We are the champions. Let’s find out why.
The words of God before us serve as a kind of a crescendo, a culmination of the great things the Holy Spirit had Paul write down in the first 8 chapters of Romans. How man’s efforts could never make things right with God, how God had always then dealt with people on the basis of faith, trusting the promises of God to make things right through His Son Jesus, how all these things had been planned before the creation of the world so that we would know God works on the basis of grace. And then pondering all these great truths Paul points us back to them saying, “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” And then better than Perry Mason, in a lawyer like fashion with rapid fire questions that have obvious answers he makes it clear why we are the champions. God is for us.
If you ever need proof in your life how valuable you are to God, if you need reassurance that He really loves you, yes even you, if your back is up against a wall and you are wondering if it will work out in any way at all, then take a Lenten journey with Jesus. Paul puts it this way. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” For you, God did not spare His own Son. For you. The first lesson today from Genesis showed us a man who did not spare his own Son when it came to showing his love and commitment to God. With Abraham and Isaac you can’t help but see a picture of God’s love for us, not sparing His own Son. In the Gospel lesson we heard the Spirit led Jesus out to be tempted making things worse with forty days without food. No, God did not spare his own Son and this is proof that God is for us. Follow Jesus during Holy Week and see the opposition, the cruel treatment and t mocking. No God did not spare His own Son. To understand the enormity of that one only needs to think of the lengths that parents go to spare their children heartache and disappointment and then ponder anew that while Jesus was tempted by the Devil God did nothing. He let it happen and when His Son was mocked and tortured God did nothing. When His Son was suffering the pangs of Hell the necessary price to pay for our sins God let it happen, He did not spare His own son but gave Him up for us all. There is the proof God is for us and since God is for us we are the champions. We win.
That’s good news because there will be times we don’t feel like it, time when our opponents will look like they are winning, times when it looks like we are down for the count physically, spiritually, emotionally. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Who can be against us? Satan will try. He will go against us. His name means accuser, finger pointer. He reminds us of our sin. He charges us. “You are a champion all right, a champion at sinning. Why should God help you when you win gold medals in gossiping, bronze in back biting and silvers in selfishness.” But God is for us. Jesus is for us. He died to pay for sin. He was raised to life to prove his payment was accepted. He is at the right hand of God sticking up for us. Satan our enemy bites the dust. He can’t stand against us.
Others will try to be against us. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: “For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Into the lives of champions trials come. Did you see that at one of the first events in this year’s Olympics? The Norwegians are calling it the miracle on snow. At the very beginning of a 30K cross country ski event first time Olympian Simen Krueger crashed. Other skiers fell on top of him. One of his poles broke. By the time he recovered he was in last place out of 68 skiers…and yet came back to win to be the champion and it was not even close.
In our lives as believers we will have trials. The “as it is written” is a quotation of the Psalms reminding the Roman Christians and us that it has always been that way. Troubles and hardships happen in the lives of all believers. Paul had them. Shipwrecks. Unjust jailing. Concerns for sick co workers. You and I have them. Some of you have had to deal with cancer. Some of you have gone through the fears and worries of job loss. Some of you have dealt with the death of a child. Some with the ongoing heartache of family strife. And yet who can be against us? We are the champions. Eventually like with Simen Krueger those trials and hardships and heartaches are in the rearview mirror. With God for us we were brought through each and every one of them even though Satan threw his best at us He can’t stand against us.
We are forced to accept the conclusion we want anyway. We are the champions. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” With God for us death can’t keep us from heaven. Nothing life has either. Angels won’t try, demons will and will fail. Nothing going on right now, nothing that will happen in our future nothing in the skies above, nothing in the depths of the oceans below, nothing else can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. Every opponent bites the dust and we are left standing, in Christ we are the Champions.
In Christ. Good for us to remember. Olympic athletes can spend four years between Olympics training. They will compete and hope to win. In our case Jesus spent thirty three years for us, perfectly obeying to give us the status as righteous before God. Jesus went the grueling way of the cross and we are the champions. Very shortly the Olympics will go away. No more theme music, the torch will go out. Athletes will try to parley their medals into endorsements. Their championship glory will fade. Ours is yet to come when we reign with Christ in heaven. What shall we say in response to all this? How about, “Thank You Jesus.” And then let’s live lives that show it. Amen.