Romans 8:16-29-†† Seeing the Big Picture


Intro One of the most frequent questions that people like to ask is why do Christians suffer ?

A) Usually the thinking goes something like this if God is for us - shouldnít everything be working out for good in my life


B) Isnít that what the Bible says ?


C) Paul answers that Question very beautifully in the passage before us

1) And what Paul says in a nut shell is we need to see the big picture


READ V. 16- 30


Now the apostle John wrote in 1 JN 3: 22Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.


A) This is the great hope of the believer - one day we are going see to Jesus ! and We will be like Him / when we get to glory


B) Now we saw in our study on Wed . that is the ultimate end of what it means to be Heirs of God and Joint heirs w/ Christ

1) Paul says we are going to be glorified together w/ Christ - Oh what a

†††††† day that will be ! Most of us here canít wait -


D) But we also notice in this passage that Paul links 2 themes together that we would probably not put together / sufferings & glory



E) But the thing I want us to see today is why these two themes definitely belong together / vital to our Christian growth - all part of big plan

1st In suffering we enter into a special union w/ Christ

A) Paul says in verse 17 that we suffer w/ Him


B) In Phil. 1:29 Paul said that our suffering for Christ was a Privilege 29For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,


C) The early part of the book of Acts records that the first Christians actually rejoiced in their sufferings

1) They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the sake of the Lord .


D) In suffering we enter into a special union w/ the Lord - we are able to better understand what He went through for us .

1) Also reminded of how He understands what we are going through



Remember what Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus when Saul was going to persecute the Church

A) Jesus met Saul & said Saul Saul why are you persecuting me


B) There Jesus was signifying that because He is in us & we are in Him the things that we go through He goes through w/ us

1) Our suffering is w/ Him & through suffering we enter into a special union w/ the Lord


C) This is very important to note because / suffering alone is not the thing that accomplishes anything in our life,

1) but it is only insuffering with Christ that does it.


D)There can be a lot of suffering that goes on in your life and mine that is

††††††† not with him,



Consider these three kinds of suffering;

A) First of all, there is that suffering which comes to us as a result of our own foolishness &our own sin.


B) We share this, of course, with all other human beings -- the pain, the heartache and grief, the tears and misery that wecause ourselves

1) because of our stubbornness, and our selfishness, and our rebellion,


C) Now Thatkind of suffering, obviously,is not suffering with him; Christ has no part in that.



Then there is that suffering which comes from circumstances over which we have no control ĖIt iswhat wecall accidents

A) Unforeseencircumstances that come crashing into our lives/ sometimes they are theresults of other's action.


B) This can be suffering with Christ or not, depending upon our attitude toward it.

1) If we take it in rebelliousness, and refuse to accept it, and fight against it, or find ourselves becoming bitter and resentful,


C)then this is simply suffering that comes without accomplishing anything

†††††† for us. It only makes us hard, and bitter, and difficult to live with.


D) But if we see those things as that which God has allowed in our lives for the very purpose of making us like Him

1) For the purpose of molding us & Shaping us into the image of His son

Then it becomes suffering w/ Christ / something he can use





3rd kind is that suffering which comes from involving ourselves deliberately and willing in the problems and heartaches of others Ė

A) Shared suffering -- when we deliberately get ourselves involved in

††† somebody else's need and suffer along with them.


B) This is obviously and clearly suffering with Christ; that was what he did when he was here. Bore our pain & heartache


C) So we see that suffering is a normal part of life - and is a normal part of††

†††† the Christian walk . ( If love you will suffer )



2nd thing to note is Paul says in v. 18 that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

A) Now, that statement would sound like a bunch ofhot air if it didn't come from a man like Paul. Here is a man whosuffered immensely


AA) No one in this room has gone through even a fraction of the suffering that Paul endured. he was stoned with rocks, he was chained,

1) He was shipwrecked and left afloat on the sea; He was beaten with

†††† rods many times;†† beaten with 39 stripes five times,


B) He was often putin prison; He was beset with physical infirmity that bothered him all of his life;

1) In light of all that Paul says it doesnít compare to the glory that awaits us


C) Now, we tend to make careful note of our suffering. We make detailed reports of what we go through in our sufferings.

1) We like to sing the blues - Nobody knows the trouble I have seen Nobody knows my sorrow -That is us !


D) But here the apostle says, "Don't even mention them! They are not worthy to be mentioned in comparison with the glory that is to††† follow."

I am not trying to make light of the suffering that we go through

A) Our sufferings hurt us, I am not trying to diminish the terrible physical and

emotional pain that suffering can bring.


B)It can be awful, almost unendurable. Its intensity can increase to such a

degree that we actually scream with terror and pain.

1) We think we can no longer endure.


C) But the apostle is saying that the intensity of the suffering we experience is not even a drop in the bucket compared w/ the intensity of glory that is coming.


D) The suffering might look bad the situation you are in might seem - horrible but remember -it doesnít compare w/the glory that awaits

1) In other words see the big picture & understand the trials our to prepare us for glory .


E) In 2 Cor. 4:17 Paul put it this way ††For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,




3rd thing to note is that suffering is the process through which you & I are prepared for glory

A) Notice how Paul phrases what he says in the end of v. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


B) This glory is not only incomparable in its intensity, but it is also incomparable in its locality.


C) Note that It is not going to be revealed to us, but in us. The word, literally, means "into us".



D) In other words this coming into glory is not something that Just happens in our lives ( we are not spectators - watching a play - but participants)


E) We are to be on the stage. We are involved in it./It is a glory††

††††† that is "revealed into us," and we are part of it


F) Weíve been Left here for two reasons one is to be used/ &the other is to grow - growth comes through the trials through the suffering

††††††††† 1) But it All depends on how you go through it !



See there are Three Things You Can Do in the midst of suffering !

A) In the face of suffering, you can either:†† Break out,†† Break down, or

†††† Break through --


B) If you break out, you rebel you break out of the boundaries; you run away

††††† from the problem /†† you grow bitter andhateful and hard.


C) Or, you can break down; there is much of that happening today Ė people becoming neurotic, being filled withself-pity,

1) running away from life, withdrawing from society.


D) Or, by the grace of God, the Christian can break through & accept the suffering†† with joy, realizing that God is using it to prepare you ..glory

1) We realize there is a work being done in us - this is Godís training school / training ground in preparing us for eternity


E) James declared in Ch. 1: 2†† count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.


E) This is the BIG PICTURE that always needs to be before our eyes / the trials & the testings / the suffering is producing - working something

But we also need to remember - the trial the suffering / what ever situation we might go through it doesnít compare to eternity

A) With the glory that is to be revealed


In the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, a Japanese gymnast, Shun Fujimoto, was competing in the team competition. Somehow, during the floor exercises, he broke his right knee. It was obvious to all reasonable observers that he would be forced to withdraw (from competition). But Fujimoto was a fierce competitor .

On the following day, Fujimoto competed in his strongest event, the rings. His routine was excellent, but the critical point lay ahead - the dismount.


Without hesitation, Fujimoto ended with a twisting, triple somersault. There was a moment of intense quiet as he landed with tremendous impact on his wounded knee. Then came thundering applause as he stood his ground.


Later, reporters asked about that moment and he replied, "The pain shot through me like a knife. It brought tears to my eyes. But now I have a gold medal and the pain is gone."


When we get to Heaven we are going to see Jesus & receive a glorious crown - and the pain is going to be gone !



The next thing we want to see is that Paul gives us 3 illustrations that bear witness to our hearts - that the present sufferings are not to be compared w/ the glory that is to follow


A) Paul mentions 3 things that are constantly taking place that remind us of our need to see the big Picture -


B) Paul says that creation is groaning / our bodies are groaning & the Spirit in us groans - anticipating the day that we will come into glory .

††††††††† 1) V.19 -see next page

19For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.


Now herein V.19 We are told that nature is waiting for something !

A) The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.


B) The word in the original language which is translated "eager expectation" is an interesting word.

1) It is a word that pictures a man standing and waiting for something to

††† happen, craning his head forward.


C) Phillips translates this way "The whole creation is standing on tiptoe, eagerly awaiting forthe revelation of the sons of God."

1) The word means to look on with a visible sense of anticipation that something is about to happen."


D) The manifestation of the sons of God will take place at the 2nd coming when Christ returns w/ His Church

1) Paul says creation canít wait the world is eagerly awaiting this remarkable event


E) And has been waiting has & longingsince the beginning of time.



Paul goes on to explain why he makes such a statement in vs 20 -22

20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.


A) Paul is saying that creation not only is waiting for something, but that it is doing so because it is linked with man.

1) See Creation was affected when man fell in the garden !

B) Not only did our whole human race fall into the bondage of sin and death, as the earlier chapters of Romans explain,

1) but the entire physical universe fell, as well.


C) It was man's sin that put thorns on roses. It was man's sin that made the animals hate and fear each other & brought predators & carnivores into being.

1) With the fall of man came the spreading fear, hostility, and hatred in the animal world, and the whole of nature testifies to this fact.


D) It is, as Paul describes it here, subjected tofrustration.


E) The phrase in v.21"the bondage to corruption is a very accurate description of what scientists call the second law of thermodynamics.


F) This is the law that states that everything is going from order to disorder - Everything is decaying; everything, with no exception, is running down.

1) Yet creation groans in anticipation of that day when it will be restored



The Psalmist declared in Psa. 96: 11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;12Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.13For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.


Isa 55: 12"For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.


A) Oh what a day that is going to be trees singing & clapping - rocks crying out the king has arrived


B) And Paul describes the groanings as being like a woman in labor getting ready to give birth . / Creation groans / & we groan v. 23

23Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.


A) The thing we groan for is the culmination of our adoption as sons - that day when we are going to get our new bodies


B) 2 Cor. 4:16 Paul tells us that our outward man is perishing - which is something we are reminded of every day

1) Getting older - mind says I can still do that - body says - No you canít


C) Brain says move & my feet say no !

1) The print seems to become smaller, Stairways grow steeper and hills grow higher,


D) Before I got my glasses I used to sit in here / people on stage seemed to look blurry / thought it was a lighting problem

1) Problem was my eyes / My Eyes are bad only see about 10 ft . w/out

††† my glasses


Dd) So if you see me somewhere & I donít have my glasses on

†††††† Not being rude if donít wave - or say Hi - just canít see who it is

1) Driving - at night my wife was always telling me to watch out for this & that - my eyes bad


E) Friend - wife busy intersection - honey you look that way - any cars - no cars - just a guy on a motor cycle


G) The outward man is perishing the body is groaning - but Paul also said there in 2 Cor.5: 1For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,3if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

4For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

5Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.


Paul says there in v. 24,25 this is our Hope - 24For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?†† 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.


A) The Biblical def. Of Hope = an absolute expectation of coming good

††††††††† Something you can bank on - count on !


B) Paul says we have been saved w/ this hope - glory - heaven - new bodies / see Jesus


C) Remember a time when I was doing College ministry - retreat where Dr. Guy Duffield - preached - 85 yrs old

1) Walked w/ God - talked about God & talked about heaven - powerful because his Hope was great - being up there in age


D) He was closer than the rest of us - to experiencing that reality - and he was ready .



That is one of the saddest commentaries on young people today - Generation X has been marked by a hopelessness .

A) The motto of the Generation before them was seize the moment - live for today


B) This present Generation sees the moment & seems to think there is nothing to seize - nothing tolook forward to .

1) But what is really needed is to see beyond the moment to what lies ahead - seeing that helps us see the moment in proper perspective

C) Reminded of Caleb there in the O.T. - one of the 12 spies - He and Joshua believed - rest didnít people listened to majority

1) Caleb had to wander in the wilderness for 40 yrs


D) When they finally made it to the promised land Caleb was 85 helooked at the land from Mt. Hebron, and at the giants, and said to Joshua,


"Joshua, give me this mountain for I am as strong yet as I was in the day when Moses sent me into the land"


A) He saw that land 40 years before when Moses sent him in as a spy. He saw

††††† the mountain, and he wanted it.

1) I find it interesting that Hebron means "fellowship" & that is the place Caleb wanted & claimed as his own,


B) And, for 40 years, as they wondered in the desert, Caleb, by faith, lived in Hebron -- in the place of fellowship.


C) In appropriating faith, he was there already, and, at last, there came the day when he actually entered into it and possessed it Ė

1) even though hewas 85 years of age.


D) And All through that account we are told the secret of Calebís strength, and hope, and faith.

1) But It is summed up in these words: "He wholly followed the Lord his God" {cf, Num 32:12}.



Now listen there is great application in this for You and Me:

A) Caleb endured the suffering he endured the wilderness wanderings because he had his eye on the future & he wholly followed the Lord


Aa) That is what is needed today People who see the big picture & who wholly follow the Lord / going gets tough - get closer to Him.

B) Creation groans / we groan -But notice what Paul says next / he brings us back to the H.S. remember mentioned 20 times in ch.8


C) Paul says Creation groans / we groan & the H.S. groans why? Because He is praying for us - READ VERSES

26Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.


AA) Jesus told Peter Satan is after you & wants to sift you like wheat - but I have prayed for you - Paul says H.S. is praying for us

1) Even in those times you donít know how to pray


A) These verses are powerful in Assurance for those who suffer - because all have had those times when donít know what to say or How to pray


B) But I love what Paul says here the H.S. knows perfectly - and he prays for us accordingly & he prays according to the will of God.


C) Now we are told in the book of Heb.That Jesus is our High Priest who lives in Heaven always making intercession for us there

1) And Paul says here that the H.S. is in our Hearts - praying for us as well !


D) What a source of blessing & encouragement / as well as a reminder for us to see the big Picture - God is doing a work in preparing us for glory

1) God the Son & God the Spirit are praying for us to that end



So In Closing we need to realize that if we are going to make it break through we need to see the big picture -

A) We are Heirs of God & Joint Heirs w/ Christ

B) The suffering we are going through w/ Christ can producea work in us of preparation depending upon how we go through it

1) Break out / break down / or break through


C) Creation & our bodies are a constant reminder to us that we have a hope / an absolute expectation of coming good

1) One day - See Jesus / new bodies - God has given us the H.S. as our guarantee


D) And the Spirit - lives in my heart interceding on my behalf to that end



Conclusion: V.28 ††And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


A) V.28 Makes so much sense when I see it in this context - God has a purpose for our lives - preparing us for eternity


B) And He is moving & working things into our lives that are to that end !


C) And Paul states that purpose clearly in v. 29 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.