Sermon- “More Than Conquerors,” Pentecost 8, Romans 8:28-39, Pastor Joe Asher, Kaiserslautern Ev. Lutheran Church, LCMS, Germany- *IN NOMINE JESU*
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
God’s Everlasting Love
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Over the last several Sundays, I hope you’ve noticed that the sermon focus from this pulpit has been Paul’s letter to the Romans. And we are going to the same epistle today. What I hope you’re recognizing is that the great apostle is developing the theme that the Christian life is best seen as a battle against the devil, this fallen world, and our own flesh… or sinful nature. And all through Romans, Paul is encouraging us to stand firm in our faith when the enemy’s attacks come.
Now today, here in chapter 8, we are not only reminded that in Christ we will “win” in the end, but in today’s reading the apostle strongly declares that in Christ we win now. Paul writes in verse 37-
…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him (Jesus) who loved us.
And here is the point: The enemy, composed of the devil, the world, and our own flesh… the enemy lacks the power to steal heaven and eternal life from Christian believers. Christ’s death and resurrection is able to save completely (Hebrews 7:25) all who look to Jesus in faith. The Savior’s blood shed on the cross, washes sinners clean, and so no one can bring any charge against God’s people.
Paul covers this in today’s text when he writes, verses 33-34-
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
And if our Savior is our Advocate before the Father, speaking for us for the forgiveness of sins and
salvation, then our victory in the battle against the devil, the world, and our own flesh is decisively won.
Romans chapter 8 contains many of the precious verses that give all Christians hope and joy and comfort. One of my favorites is Romans 8:1-
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
And the passage that gets us through difficult times is in today’s reading, verse 28 (first line)-
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Paul is here boldly declaring that regardless of our circumstances, God is in control. Nothing we face worries God in the least, for all things work together for good according to His purpose for His people. While this truth is difficult to prove in this world, when we see the tragic deaths of Christians, or when life seems to “kick us around,” still by faith we know what has always been true, that God uses the challenges we face to further the Gospel and deepen our dependence on Him.
For Paul received this message from the Lord in 2nd Corinthians 12:9-
9“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
In today’s reading, the apostle has a substantial list of things which could destabilize our lives. These include from verse 35- “tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness (meaning, extreme poverty), danger, and sword (or war).” And then in verse 36, Paul admits that Christians under God’s will may face all these things. But the conclusion is that in the middle of all this trouble, nothing can separate the believer from God’s love in Christ. And further, in this world we are still “more than conquerors” through Jesus Who loved us.
I believe we need to think of “trouble” this way. The disciple is not above his Master. So if Jesus endured persecution, ridicule, danger, and eventually crucifixion and death, we have to conclude this can happen to us also. But Paul now rejoices in announcing that even IN the attacks of the enemy, we are still “more than conquerors.”
And this is true because Jesus provided everything required for us to be put right with God. He died on the cross so that God’s righteous punishment would fall on Him, rather than on us. Jesus endured the ultimate separation from His Father because He became “sin for us” (2nd Corinthians 5:21), and our Lord, in love, took our place so believers could never be separated from God.
Now in Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of our heavenly Father. Paul lists in verses 38-39- “Not…
- Death or life
- Angels or rulers
- Things present or things to come
- Height or depth
- Anything else in all creation
So, we are secure in God’s love through the merit of Jesus our Savior. And this means that we can approach with confidence whatever the devil or world may throw at us. For by faith in Jesus, God’s
love will never be withdrawn from us. We have the Almighty Triune God Who fights for us, Who saves us by a cross, and Who gives us His Spirit to keep us strong in the faith.
And since God is for us (meditate on that for a while!), the outcome for every Christian must be victory.
Now, there is one final thing in Romans 8 which needs our attention. Please turn to verse 29, and Paul writes-
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Zero in on the word “firstborn.” This image of receiving a new birth from God is what Jesus talked about with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. To be “born again” or more literally “born from above” is the Lord’s goal or design for every sinner on earth… because in this way, we receive
- A new life from God
- A restored life
- A life no longer enslaved by sin and facing hell and eternal death
God sends His Holy Spirit to give sinners a new birth through faith in Christ. Our being “born again” is God’s work in us as He draws hearts to Himself so that we recognize our need for God, repent of sin, and trust in Jesus for salvation.
But in Romans 8, Paul is telling us that our heavenly Father does not stop His work in our lives with “just salvation.” God also wants us, verse 29-
…to be conformed to the image of His Son.
Again, because God loves us, He never leaves us in the sin and despair of our former miserable lives. Instead, the Lord makes all things new in Jesus Christ. We are “born again…” or “born from above.” We are the “firstborn among many brothers” and “conformed to the image of God’s Son.” For Jesus came not only to save us, but also so that we can have a full and meaningful life in Him. (John 10:10)
And through Christ’s life and work, we are “more than conquerors” in Him.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
+Sola Deo Gloria+
KELC Prayers of the Congregation- Pentecost 8- July 26th, 2020 (Jennie’s birthday- and she is in the USA!)
Dear Heavenly Father– All true believers in Your Son desire the Christ- Life. We pray that You would send us Your Holy Spirit so that in Your power we can live as conquerors in this fallen world. Lead us continually to Your Word, and Help us always to trust your promises, especially the promise contained in the Gospel where you declare that by faith in Jesus, You are always “for us.”
Lord in Your mercy………………………………….. Hear our prayer.
Dearest Savior, as the summer continues on, build relationships within families so that a deeper love may be established for all. And for our singles, give meaningful Christian friendships which support our life in You. In the power of the Holy Spirit, give us servant hearts which extend love to our neighbor.
Lord in Your mercy………………………………….. Hear our prayer.
Eternal Holy Spirit, guide our lives by Your holy Word, so that we may know Your will and do what You command.
Lord in Your mercy…………………………………… Hear our prayer.
Finally, Lord, in our families and among our friends and co-workers there are many who are in need of Your care. For those who are sick, hospitalized, away on duty assignments, traveling, unemployed, lonely, and for all other needs, we name our loved ones in our hearts before you now…
Lord in Your mercy/ hear our prayer…
Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.