Romans 8: 18 - 30
Paul's tells us that the Holy Spirit is supporting our prayers, and thus rendering them acceptable to God! And then the great verse of comfort, "All things work together for the good of those who love God, as called according to his purpose," which tells us our great hope and a glimpse on how God works by predestination. That we are secured by who and what Christ did on our behalf. His life, death, resurrection, and now His intercession on our behalf. Then the chapter closes with a statement that cannot be match in power and scope, how much He loves us, that, "Nothing shall separate them from the love of God through Christ."
· All things work together for good. The great NT passage for hope! This statement is from Greek stoic philosophers who were optimistic at times stating that all things for out for the best. Paul uses this as an illustration to stress God's Hope for us and how we can hope in Him! This statement also stress the sovereignty of God!
· This is where predestination comes from, (Gen. 4:1; Psalm 90; Amos 3:2; Mal. 1:2; Matt 1:25; 1 Cor. 1:9;) that God's plan is sovereign and eternal. We have a personal plan and agenda to follow, and a purpose that is God's. All Bible believing Christian groups believe in predestination, you would have to throw out ½ the Bible to reject it. The argument in theology is not that it exist or does not but by what means God uses to determine salvation, by His foreknowledge or His purpose. Romans says it is by purpose, human reason says by God seeing ahead. For more information see our doctrine channel and see predestination.
· This is the "P" in TULIP, the "Perseverance of the Saints". The destiny of all believers is in a personal intimate relationship which flows from His divine foreknowledge and purpose, for His glory. (Some theology is not always "either/ or"; such as it is either free will or God's sovereignty period, no in-between. This is human thinking with extreme limitations in place. God does not work in our reasoning and thinking ability, but He does reveal Himself so we can understand what we need to know. Sometimes it is "both/and"; in that since the Bible teaches both free will and the sovereignty of God, it must be both. Yet we tend to focus on one over the other; Calvin, by the way, did teach both!)
· God turns our faith into reality (Matt. 6:33; John 14:9). The goal of faith is not the work we do, but to allow Him to do His will in us! There is no such thing as chance, this is God's providence. We may not understand, all we can do is hang tight and trust Him.
· Beware not to try to run ahead with your desires or distractions ahead, or behind, of God's timing.
· We are made for prayer, and not just for our needs. Prayer is not a tool to get our way and will. Prayer is to bring us closer to Christ.
· Never waste time with God seeking what you cannot have. Just as the role of the Holy Spirit is to intercede for us, we are called to do the same with each other (Mark 11:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; Heb. 7:25). So, do we?
· The Holy Spirit will "turbo boost" our prayers. He will fill in the areas that we do not understand and fill in the information we do not have. This is no excuse to be lazy in our prayers! We always need to know as much as we can and pray as specifically as we can!
· God will continually place people in our lives that we do not like. Our desire is to put them down or avoid them. Unless we are truly worshiping God we will miss crucial learning and growth opportunities, if we persist He may allow us to fall apart! When we are callous to one another it is a slap in the face of God! Let us keep His temple undefiled!
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to be our advocate before the Father. To make everything that happens all work to the glory and purpose of God, no matter what we face in pain, suffering, and hardships, because the big picture is we are meant for eternity and not for this world. Here we are temporarily looking to the hope we have now and to come. Christ will see us through, if we trust and obey to be on His way. When we understand this in a deep way we are able to trust in our Lord though all things. We can grow though our perseverance becoming stronger and more mature in the faith! Just think how your life would be transformed just by changing your perceptions from what you see in front of you to seeing Christ in front of you!
1. How have you experienced hope?
2. What reason does Scripture give to point out that we must not remain in our ignorance and infirmity by refusing mercy?
3. When we lose hope we lose our desire to serve Him, and receive His blessings. Do you think this is true? Have you seen this demonstrated by your life or others?
4. One of the Holy Spirit's roles is to reveal the deeper things of God. So what are the deeper things of God?
5. How would a non-Christian you know react to the fact God wants not only to live through them, but work through them?
6. How would you explain to them the above principle as hope and opportunity, and not losing out on fun?
7. What are the tasks God has give you? Has He also given you the strength too? Did you have trouble accepting it?
8. Does the fact that God will carry you through all that you could ever face, from sufferings and sorrow to joy and jubilation give you hope and perseverance? If not, what is in the way?
9. God's plan is sovereign and eternal. Thus we have a personal plan and agenda to follow, and a purpose that is God's. How much time have you spent on seeking God's will for your life?
10. What does perseverance mean to you?
11. What is it you need to do to have Perseverance?
12. How can God turn your faith into reality to allow Him to do His will in us?
13. What does providence mean to you?
14. We may not understand providence, so how can you hang tight and trust Him?
15. What happens when we try to run with our desires or distractions ahead, or behind, of God's timing?
16. Why do some Christian's think that prayer is a tool to get our way and will?
17. What is prayer's true purpose?
18. The Holy Spirit is to intercede for us; we are called to do the same with each other. So how do we do this?
19. God will continually place people in our lives that we do not like. Our desire is to put them down or avoid them. Unless we are truly worshiping God we will miss crucial learning and growth opportunities, if we persist He may allow us to fall apart! So how can you benefit from "problem people? How can you model Christ better to them at the same time have boundaries?
20. When we are callous to one another it is a slap in the face of God. So what will you do with this information?
"Almighty God, who art a very present help in time of trouble; Let not the heart of Thy people fail when fear cometh, but do Thou sustain and comfort them until these calamities be over past: and since Thou knowest the cause and reason why this grievous disaster hath fallen upon men, so do Thou heal the hurt and wounded, console the bereaved and afflicted, protect the innocent and helpless, and deliver any who are still in peril, for Thy great mercy's sake. Amen." May God have mercy upon us all, and cause us all to reflect upon our standing before Him. (Presbyterian Book of Worship 1906)
©1998, 2001, 2004, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org