Romans 8: 18 - 30
We have hope and guidance! Even in the mist of dire circumstances as with Paul in 2 Cor 11: 23-29 we can have hope beyond hope. We can have God Himself direct our path. Because this life is a small wrinkle in time, a mere rehearsal to what is to come in the vastness of eternity. We are made for Heaven and our life here is a classroom experience to learn and grow closer to God and those around us, to be our best for His glory. What we have or do not have, what we gain or what we give up is in no comparison to what is to come for us in eternity. Our hope is not here in this world it is still to come! So our true life is what we have not experienced yet, what is still to come. Thus, we should not get frustrated or lose faith. God has hope so we can still persevere in and through all things. God has given us His Spirit to be our comforter and guide. In doing so we can have greater trust and perseverance through good times and bad, as long as our eyes are upon the Lord!
· We are to see the world by what its potential is, not just by the suffering we experience and see. This is where we apply our salvation. Since we are His heirs we should accept the responsibility and the inheritance (Matt. 19:28; Acts 3:21; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rev. 21:1).
· Ernest expectation refers to the Jewish belief that all righteousness will be rewarded and the world would be transformed (Isa. 66:17-18).
· The world may live in sin and desire its evil, but there is a longing for order and a better existence; hence the "felt" need to receive order, and the Holy Spirit's role to reveal Christ that can fill that need.
· The evil is revealed by the law, and creation seeks redemption wherever it can find it. Hence all the false religions, cults and searching for meaning away from Christ.
· Subjected to futility refers to the belief that the world is in decline from a previous golden age. For the Greeks far in the past such as Atlantis, to the Jews the Kingdom of David and Solomon. For the Christian the synergistic effects of sin.
· Corruption means everything will decompose; only God is unchanging.
· Groans reflects the attitude of the Exodus where the Israelites complained and drove God to Anger (Ex. 2:23). No one likes hardship, and when we are in it is seems it is all we see, God wants us to look beyond it and to Him, for He is our Hope and our dream!
· The grand plan of God is that the fallen state of the universe is not permanent (Heb. 6:18-20). We will not be in perfect harmony until we receive our "New Bodies". We are not to be frustrated and pessimistic, because God was not that way with us. We must not remain in our ignorance and infirmity, by receiving mercy yet, never giving it. When we lose hope we lose desire to serve Him, and receive His blessings.
· First fruits of the Spirit refer to the beginning of the Spirit's work in us and how His fullness will be in us (Lev. 23:10; Rom. 3:4). One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to reveal the deeper things of God. He wants not only to live through us, but work through us. The deeper things will never contradict what is plainly stated in scripture; rather it is a deeper change within us so we are able to understand it more and are able to apply it. He gives us the tasks and the strength, will we just accept it (John 14:16-26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 1 Cor. 12:4-13; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:6; 5:16-23)? He searches our heart (1 Kings 8:39; 1 Chron. 28:9). He will carry us through all that we could ever face, from sufferings and sorrow to joy and jubilation (Luke 11:2-4).
· Groaning is like that of a mother giving birth. It is a prayer language that we cannot understand between God the Spirit and God the Father. Some Bible teachers make reference to this verse to make an argument for group speaking in tongues as a form of prayer. However there is no indication in Scripture this is true. If it were it would contradict 1 Cor. 14!
We must continue to fight against our pride and selfishness that gets in the way (Eph. 6:13-18). That is, we are to wrestle before God against our nature and never wrestle against God (Gen. 32:24-25), unless you desire to be crippled!
God's purpose and plan is to make us His children (1 John). He is the good parent who guides His children and protects them, at the same time does not over protect them so they lose out on life's opportunities to please Him, to the ultimate good.
1. When someone says the word "HOPE' what comes to your mind?
2. Do you have a problem receiving suggestions from others regarding your decisions?
3. How do you feel that God has a specific purpose and plan for you life? Does it make you scared thinking you will miss out on all of the fun? Or does it reassure you and give you comfort?
4. During times of hardship what do you tend to do with your relationship with Christ?
5. During times of hardship what do you do with your relationships with those around you?
6. What is it that Scripture calls us to do in those times of hardship?
7. How can verse 18 give you comfort? How can you have more confidence in the hope Christ has for you?
8. "We are made for Heaven and our life here is a classroom experience to learn and grow closer to God and those around us, to be our best for His glory." How do you feel about this statement?
9. What is it that you need to do so you can have greater trust and perseverance?
10. How can your church as a community of believers demonstrate a greater trust and perseverance to each other?
11. If they did, what difference would it make?
12. Have you ever considered that God has given us His Spirit to be our comforter and guide?
13. How can you accept the responsibility and the inheritance of being His joint heirs?
14. Have you ever noticed that there is a longing for civil order and a better existence by the World? (Hence why as humans we build communities, cities, governing structures…)?
15. Because there is a "felt" need to receive order by society, why then do we have lawlessness in society?
16. What cause Christians to be frustrated and pessimistic?
17. What can you do for Christians who feel that way since God was not that way with us?
18. What reasoning would a Christian use to receive mercy yet, never give it?
19. What is it that you need to do to have hope beyond hope? What would your life look like by changing your perceptions from what you see in front of you to seeing Christ in front of you! How will you do this?
20. We should not get frustrated or lose faith, so what do you need to do to listen for God Himself to direct your path?
"The Holy Spirit longs to reveal to you the deeper things of God. He longs love through you. He longs to work through you. Through the blessed Holy Spirit you may have: strength for every duty, wisdom for every problem, comfort in every sorrow, joy in His overflowing service." T.J. Bach
©1998, 2001, 2004, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org