Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bethany Bullet - August 24, 2011

Romans 8:26-27- Grown as we Groan

You are walking through a hallway and come to a door. At the end of the hallway you turn the knob and you find yourself in front of an audience, you are on stage, and everyone is looking at you.

Is this a nightmare, or a challenge?

It has been said that one of the most nerve-wracking things to do is to speak in public. It is the rare individual that will willingly stand up in front of a large group to communicate. Gratefully it does not bother me, but I too have the occasional nightmare of standing in front of a congregation with nothing to say. I know that’s nearly impossible, because I always have something to say, but even to a person who doesn’t mind speaking to a group, it can still make me nervous.

If speaking to an audience gives you the chills, how about speaking to an audience of one? How are your personal communication skills?

Does the topic matter? Does it change if the subject matter is politics? What about faith?

Does it change if that audience is God?

Is this a nightmare or a challenge? Intriguing or debilitating?

Let’s face it; talking to the Creator of the cosmos, the Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient God should scare the living daylights out of you. But in His Word, we are called to do it.

Jesus’ disciples wanted to know how to do this as well, so He told them, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father” (Matthew 6:6)

Sounds easy enough, right? Now, what do you say?

Jesus then gave them the words we know as the Lord’s Prayer. A great start, but if you are like me, at times you are at a loss of what comes next. “Now I lay me down to sleep??…Come Lord Jesus, be our guest???…”

Fortunately the Apostle Paul has our back. Our text today from Romans gives us some more help, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)

Our text begins, “In the same way…” and to understand the context we need to ask, “The same way as what?”

We have to go back to verse 22. Paul writes, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth...” Skipping ahead a bit, “…we ourselves…groan inwardly.”

We groan all the time don’t we? We groan when the alarm clock goes off on Sunday morning. We groan when we see the brake lights on the commute to work. We groan when people let us down. We groan when things don’t go our way. We groan, and complain, and lament.

Groaning is something humans have been doing since the fall. There have been groans in the delivery room and the boardroom. Groans have been heard from sandy shore to the trading floor.

We groan at the test scores and the box scores. We groan about the things of the past and what the future might hold. All of creation groans. But God hears the groans of His people.

Peter writes in his letter, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

What do you groan about? (Ask for answers)

You are in good company. God has heard the groans of his people for years.

As God’s servant Moses was walking in the desert working for his father-in-law, hiding from his family in Egypt, the Lord comes to him and asks him to go to Pharaoh and speak.

Almost at once we hear the groans of Moses, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The Lord never appeared to you’? O Lord I am not very good with words…I get tongue tied and my words get tangled…Lord, please send someone else.” (Exodus 4:1)

It was not long before the people the Lord sent Moses to, were the ones groaning as well. “Moses, did you bring us out into this desert to die? It was better back in Egypt where we had three squares and a place to sleep.”

But God heard the groans of the people. You know the story…the story of redemption in the desert.

It was groans of another kind, begun in a garden, and then amplified on the cross that were also heard by the Lord.

As Jesus, groaned under the weight of our sins, as His groans served to bring creation back, we see a picture of a God who hears the groans of His people. It was creation that groaned in the sound of an earthquake three days later that announced an end to all groaning, and the beginning of new life for all who believe in Him.

In the groans of Jesus, we see the defeat of sin, death, and groaning forever.

So, back to our bedroom prayers…in this life we are still subject to sin, our weakness is evident. All too often we are at a loss for words.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Paul realizes that we are not capable to pray for what we need. We have been crippled by sin, but in our weakness, the Spirit, sent from the Lord groans our requests to God. When life is overwhelming, when you don’t know what to say, the Spirit groans for you above anything words could ever express.

We have a God who hears the groans of His people.

I know it can be hard. It was just last week, Jill and I were having a discussion with our oldest girl about some of her issues with following the guidelines and in the conversation she told us, “I am so upset!” I asked for some clarification and she said, “I am so mad at Adam and Eve, they messed it up for all of us. They made it so hard to obey.”

I couldn’t agree more! But even in our weakness, the Spirit helps, groans, and intercedes for us!

In our groans we are grown. We grow in faith. We grow in our trust of God’s will for us. We grow as we share our faith, as we go to Him in prayer, as we hear his word, as we come to his table.

In our groans, we are grown.

Do you have a fear of public speaking? Do you struggle at sharing the faith that you have? Go into your room, close the doors, and groan away…and in so doing you are being grown into the person God wants you to be. And he has invited us to groan.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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