Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Sunday, June 19, 2016
“GLORY BEYOND COMPARE”
TEXT: Romans 8:18-27
Pastor Chad E. Hoover


To you who are loved by God and called saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

About 13 or 14 year ago, the vicar at here at Luther Memorial Chapel posted Romans 8:18 on the bulletin board in his office: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us"


This is not in any way a warning to Vicar Jennings on the kind of year he can expect. Vicarage was hard. I barely got paid. My wife and I were parents to one year old with another on the way. That was a difficult pregnancy for Andrea, she ended up spending a lot of time on bed rest and in the hospital. It was a difficult year. We all go through experiences like that though.


But when does it get better? Because God does promise us glory! When do we leave all the pain and suffering and hardship behind? When did my family and I experience that glory God promised to reveal to us. Was it when we moved back to Fort Wayne to complete my Seminary training? No. There were still hardships. Was it when I received my first call to serve Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City, Michi- gan? No, there were many trials there. Was it when our third child was born? Our fourth? No. Was it my second call to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kalkaska, Michigan? No Was it my current call to Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne? No

 

There have blessings all along the way. There have been glimpses on God’s glory, but the sufferings of living life in a sinful world have never gone away, nor will they ever until the Lord returns or until we go to be with Him. At that time, the glory of God will be revealed to us in all its fullness and the sufferings will be all but forgotten.

Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Sunday, June 19, 2016
“GLORY BEYOND COMPARE”
TEXT: Romans 8:18-27
Pastor Chad E. Hoover


To you who are loved by God and called saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

About 13 or 14 year ago, the vicar at here at Luther Memorial Chapel posted Romans 8:18 on the bulletin board in his office: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us"


This is not in any way a warning to Vicar Jennings on the kind of year he can expect. Vicarage was hard. I barely got paid. My wife and I were parents to one year old with another on the way. That was a difficult pregnancy for Andrea, she ended up spending a lot of time on bed rest and in the hospital. It was a difficult year. We all go through experiences like that though.


But when does it get better? Because God does promise us glory! When do we leave all the pain and suffering and hardship behind? When did my family and I experience that glory God promised to reveal to us. Was it when we moved back to Fort Wayne to complete my Seminary training? No. There were still hardships. Was it when I received my first call to serve Trinity Lutheran Church in Traverse City, Michi- gan? No, there were many trials there. Was it when our third child was born? Our fourth? No. Was it my second call to St. Paul Lutheran Church in Kalkaska, Michigan? No Was it my current call to Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne? No

There have blessings all along the way. There have been glimpses on God’s glory, but the sufferings of living life in a sinful world have never gone away, nor will they ever until the Lord returns or until we go to be with Him. At that time, the glory of God will be revealed to us in all its fullness and the sufferings will be all but forgotten.


Even though Paul speaks of suffering in the Christian life here in Romans 8, and elsewhere in his epistles, and suffering is spoken of all throughout the Scriptures, there are still some who think that “true Christians” won’t suffer in this life or that suffering is actually a sign that we're doing something wrong or that God is punishing us.


Paul tells us very clearly that we should expect suffering in this life. While I can't say that I like the suffering, I do like it that he calls it like it is and doesn't pretend that this life is easy. Life in this sinful world is frustrating, but God acknowledges this. He knows that we experience suffering and it's for this very purpose that He has sent Christ to rescue us and to bring us into everlasting glory.


Paul says that even nature itself is frustrated! “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it.”


When sin came into the world, it not only affected human beings; it also affected God's creation. There’s no question that we would prefer a life without sin’s effects, so wouldn't it stand to reason that even God's creation wants a life without sin’s effects?


And just as we hope for a better life yet to come, so too God's creations yearns for this restoration, for the hope “that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”


Think about that. Going through the pains of childbirth. I've been through it four times. Well, not me actually. People would always congratulate me whenever one of my kids was born and I would be like, “Oh thank you. I just let my wife do all the work, that was my secret.”


Childbirth is amazing. Painful and exhausting, but amazing. What is it that gets a woman through childbirth? It's the gift and the blessing at the end – the birth of a son or a daughter. She goes through this painful ordeal (not only the child birth, but also nine months of pregnancy) because she knows something better is yet to come. In the same way, God’s creation endures sin and frustration because it knows that it is going to be released from sin’s bondage in the end. The true glory of God's creation is not now. The full glory of God's creation is yet to come.


That can be a hard truth to swallow. That’s hard to accept because we would like to think that we can solve any and all problems that come our way. We would like to think that we can have it all now – we can experience glory now and that we can put an end to all suffering in this life.


-We can find a cure for all disease.
-We can get gas prices to go down and the economy to go up.
-We can stop domestic violence.
-We can put an end to famine and world hunger.
-We can achieve peace among all nations.
-We can make poverty a thing of the past.
-Give us a problem (any problem) and we can fix it.

The problem is we can't fix these things. This world is broken by sin. And our sin affects creation as much as it affects us. Sin frustrates creation! This world is never going to be perfect. Our lives here will never be perfect – they will be marked by suffering, and that can be very discouraging for us.


But there is hope – a sure and certain hope – for the life that is yet to come. When sufferings and difficulties and persecutions come our way, and they will, we can profess, as Paul does here in Romans 8, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”


Can you see the danger of seeking after glory now? Can you see how that kind of thinking could lead someone to despair? At times, people are inclined to think that once they're a Christian, they will not longer struggle with sin. They will no longer suffer. There life should consist only of blessings and glory. They believe that they'll be rewarded now for their good choices and behavior.


But what happens when you continue to struggle with the sinful nature? What happens when you experience a very difficult time in your life that challenges your faith? Then your whole salvation and your relationship to Christ stands in question, doesn't it.


If you're not supposed to be suffering then there must a reason when you do. Either God doesn't want you to be happy or He's punishing you for your lack of commitment. If we look for evidence within their own sinful flesh, our own sinful lives, living in a sinful and fallen world trying to prove to ourselves and to the world that we have truly been saved, we're going to fall into despair and further frustration. When the focus of being a Christian is so heavily placed on experiencing God's glory now, then there is a real danger that the hope we have in everlasting glory and salvation gets lost and the faith is abandoned.


Wouldn't it be nice if that assurance of salvation were completely outside of ourselves and fully dependent upon Christ and what He has done and continues to do for us? Oh wait . . . it is.


This is what Christ has done for us through baptism. Through this water and word, we received from Christ a promise that His salvation is ours completely. It's His prom- ise to us, despite the circumstances of our life, that the full benefits of salvation and glory are ours . . . just not yet.


We have salvation even now, in Christ. But the promise of future glory is yet to come. As God’s children, we eagerly await “our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” This is a promise we've been given now, but it's not yet fully realized.


This is the life to come, a life when our adoption into God’s family is made visible and our bodies will be freed from sin’s temptations and effects once and for all. If that’s what we’ve been promised, we have every reason to rejoice in the hope of salvation. Christians look forward to something that is worth waiting for.


Glory for you is not now, it is yet to come. And this glory is beyond compare. We can't even imagine what it will be like to live – to truly live – a life free from sin and death, disapointment and frustration. We can't even imagine what it will be like to live a life that is perfectly content in the blessings of Christ and free from turmoil and trouble, pain and suffering. And when we get there, it'll be so great we won't even remember that we ever lived life without it. We think we live life now, wait until we enter into glory with Christ - because that's truly living, the way that God intended for His creation to live.


In the meantime, we'll face many disappointments in this life, but they’re only temporary. Unexpected turns and unfulfilled hopes will come down the road of life, but they’re only temporary. Manifestations of our sinful nature will knock us down at times, but by the grace of God we are lifted up time and time again. This too is temporary, this struggle with sin.


At your baptism, God gave you eternal life, a gift that will carry you into eternity at his side. At this altar, God feeds you with a foretaste of that feast to come and strengthens your faith and renews your hope in the everlasting life He promises to you. Jesus Christ defeated your sin and rose from the grave as a guarantee and a promise for each of you, God’s own children, that you will be delivered from this life and will be taken into glory with Him. In the name of Jesus. Amen.


May the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord unto life everlasting. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a