Calvary Road Baptist Church

“MORE THAN CONQUERORS”

Romans 8.37

 

We had a wonderful fourth annual Vacation Bible School wrap up last night. We had more volunteers than we have ever before had, scattered across every age group and providing much-needed help along the way. Even folks who didn’t sign up for a particular task showed up with rolled-up sleeves to perform jobs that needed to be done and to encourage everyone else by their presence and good cheer. Thank you. Those of you who showed up and helped out please stand so we can congratulate you.

The Devil even showed up for our VBS, and we were glad to have him here. We have served God long enough to recognize the Adversary’s presence and to understand that when he shows up it is because God’s people are doing something worthwhile enough for him to feel the need to oppose us. That’s good, Amen? The Devil made his presence known in two ways this week: First, he made his presence known in the form of a couple of sour dispositions and several distracting activities that worked to attempt to stifle our joy and hinder our progress. But guess what? He failed. Praise God; he failed in that the distractions went away, and the sour dispositions were ignored. Our people just kept on trucking and the jobs got done with good cheer. The second evidence of the Devil’s activity was a broken water line sometime late Tuesday night that flooded our two-story education building for about ten hours, with water spilling over the balcony, dripping from light fixtures, soaking insulation in the walls, and seeping from the color coating on the exterior walls. A professional disaster team was here all day Wednesday, setting up their blowers and dehumidifiers, rewiring the circuit breakers to handle their equipment, and checking the moisture in the walls. They finally exited about ten minutes before VBS started Wednesday night, and we were able to proceed close to normally by relocating one of our classes.

How much damage has been done to the building remains to be seen. The fans and dehumidifiers are still running. And the full extent of the damage and what needs to be done to guard against mold remains to be seen. This will have a definite impact on our Christian school, which is scheduled to begin classes two weeks from tomorrow, so please remember us in prayer and show up to help us on work day next Saturday. We need your help.

As I look back on Wednesday and learning of our catastrophe I recall that I was filled with excitement when first notified. Not that I am not just as prone to complaining as the next guy because I certainly am. But Wednesday was different somehow. I was struck with a sense of wonder and anticipation. I realized God had a good reason for allowing this. I wondered what the results would be. I wondered how God’s people would react to this. It struck me as proof that we were serving God to see this kind of opposition. I was thrilled while at the same time contemplating how to address the problem we now faced. Then I knew exactly what I had to preach this morning, the theme verse of our Vacation Bible School, Romans 8.37:

 

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

 

Each night at VBS there was food, crafts, games, a missionary lesson, and a Bible story for the kids. Our goal was to introduce the youngsters in attendance to the Bible, and pertinent truths appropriate to their lives, provide for them an enjoyable atmosphere that would put our Church ministry in a good light in their minds, and communicate to them and their parents that we earnestly desire to minister to them. I attempted to tie the week together last night with a devotional message on the various topics of the week; abide, trust, pray, stand, and obey, casting each of them in light of knowing Christ.

This morning’s message is designed to bring more clarity and a sharper focus on this matter of being more than conquerors through Him that loved us. By God’s grace, I will attempt to do this by surveying the entirety of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

There are four main points I would like you to consider with me to establish that Paul was right, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us:

 

First, THE PLAN OF GOD

 

Paul brings the overarching plan of God for His people to the center stage of his reader’s attention in Romans 8.28-30:

 

28    And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29    For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

 

This passage does not suggest that unpleasant things will not be experienced by God’s people, or that we will not know disappointment and discouragement and pain and sorrow. However, Paul does insist that despite our personal feelings associated with our various experiences the things that happen to us will work together for our good, showing us to be conquerors. On what basis can Paul make that claim? The activities of God outlined in verses 29 and 30. In eternity past God did foreknow, and God did predestinate those He foreknew to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. In our lifetimes He called and justified those He had predestinated. And in our future He will glorify those He has justified. Where do you fit into God’s plan of the ages? These five things God does apply to you if at any time in your life you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. Faith in Christ results in being justified, Romans 5.1, and if you are justified then the other four things (foreknown, predestinated, called, and glorified) also apply to you. If you never trust Jesus Christ, you play no part in God’s plan for the ages as it is revealed here.

However, you will notice that Paul does not make mention of God’s plan until he arrives at the halfway point in his letter. This might seem unusual to those unfamiliar with the letter to the Romans. Paul begins his letter to the Romans by presenting to his readers an incredibly detailed explanation of how someone comes to figure in God’s overarching plan of the ages. He begins by showing each individual’s need to be justified in the sight of God. This he accomplishes in Romans 1.18-3.20, that portion of Paul’s letter we are currently examining on Sunday nights. He then moves on to an explanation of justification that deals with sin, with faith, with the examples of Abraham and David, and with how God fulfills His commitment to the justified person who has trusted Christ to take him all the way to glory. The point to keep in mind is that if you have passed from spiritual death to spiritual life through faith in Jesus Christ you are subject to and will be eternally blessed by this great plan of God for His children.

 

Next, THE PERSECUTION OF GOD’S PEOPLE

 

Given that the believer in Jesus Christ participates in God’s plan for His people, notice with me one of many portions of Scripture that show the folly of so many name-it-and-claim-it prosperity theology preachers like T. D. Jakes, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Copeland, Jimmy Swaggart, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, Frederick K. Price, and Joel Osteen. Those religious charlatans insist that God wants nothing unpleasant to happen to you, that God’s plan for you always includes material prosperity and physical health and well-being, all the while they wear glasses or contact lenses and secretly avail themselves of the best medical care money can buy.

But what does God’s Word say?

 

Second Timothy 4.20:  “Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.”

 

Of course, this means the Apostle Paul did not heal Trophimus of his physical ailment, something the fake faith healers have great difficulty explaining.

 

First Timothy 5.23:  “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.”

 

This means that godly young Timothy experienced ongoing physical ailments, contrary to the beliefs of modern day shyster faith healers.

 

Second Timothy 3.12:  “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

 

Here we move from the realm of physical health to the realm of spiritual opposition in the form of persecution, not an uncommon experience for God’s people at any time in history, for sure. Do I need to point out that when a believer is being harassed and persecuted it affects his ability to earn a living and diminishes his overall financial well-being? So much for the material prosperity proponents.

Which brings us to Paul’s remarks leading up to today’s text. Addressing a wide-ranging number of issues that could hypothetically prevent God from glorifying His blood-bought and blood-washed children, notice what the apostle writes in Romans 8.33-36:

 

33    Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34    Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36    As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

 

In verse 33 the question is asked and answered. In light of Jesus Christ dying on Calvary’s cross for our sins, who could successfully accuse God’s children of wrongdoing after all our sins have already been forgiven, leaving us justified in the sight of God? In verse 34 the question is asked and answered. Who can condemn us when Jesus Christ, Who died for us, Who rose for our justification, and Who sits at the Father’s right hand on high, makes intercession for us? In verse 35 the question is asked and answered. Who can inflict on us a painful, difficult, challenging, tormenting, persecuting experience that can separate us from the love of Christ? That is the third rhetorical question for which the only legitimate answers are “No one!” Then the Apostle Paul cites an Old Testament passage, Psalm 44.22, to show his readers that even experiences that may result in our deaths do not in any way suggest that God’s plan for our lives is not faithfully fulfilled for His purpose and His glory. It has always been that God’s work in the lives of His people includes even on occasion our martyrdom. Was Isaiah slain? He was still a conqueror. Was Stephen stoned to death? He was still a conqueror. Were the apostles martyred? All but John, yet they were still conquerors. Was Paul martyred? Yes, but he was still a conqueror. Are Christians being martyred for Christ’s sake even in our day? Yes. They are conquerors. Even more, Paul insists that through Jesus Christ our Savior we are more than conquerors.

 

Third, THE PERSUASION OF THE SPIRIT-INSPIRED APOSTLE PAUL

 

Our text, of course, is Romans 8.37:

 

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

 

Now we understand why he begins the verse with the word nay. He insists that the suffering and the deaths of Christian martyrs means nothing with respect to us being conquerors. Christians do not evaluate the extent of our victory in Christ using the evidence we see laid out before us in everyday life, even when it comes to the martyrdom of fellow believers. Our victory is in the victory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who not only suffered death, but also conquered death by rising from the dead on the third day and ascending to the Father’s right hand, where He intercedes for us on high.[1]

However, beyond our text we find the Apostle Paul’s inspired persuasion concerning us being more than conquerors. I direct your attention to Romans 8.38-39:

 

38    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

That Paul is persuaded is based on two considerations that fall outside the realm of faith, which has to do with embracing a conviction based upon God’s declaration. Paul’s persuasion has to do with his own experience with persecution and personal suffering, as well as his heavenly vision experience: As for Paul’s experiences with persecution and personal suffering, let me read to you a single passage, Second Corinthians 1.3-11:

 

3      Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4      Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

5      For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

6      And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

7      And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.

8      For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

9      But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

10    Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us;

11    Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

 

Few people are aware that Paul’s suffering was so severe that he despaired even of life. Even through such pain and hardships, he was not separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thus, he was persuaded by his terrible experiences.

Then there was Paul’s visions and revelations when he was caught up into heaven, Second Corinthians 12.1-10:

 

1      It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

2      I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

3      And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

4      How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

5      Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

6      For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

7      And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

8      For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9      And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10    Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

 

I suggest that Paul was persuaded by what he saw in heaven, in addition to what he experienced here on earth, that nothing could separate the child of God from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Does that make us more than conquerors? You bet it does.

 

Finally, THE PERSISTENCE OF GOD’S PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT

 

In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul deals with matters related to the Jewish people and God’s promises to them in chapters 9, 10, and 11. I will not deal with those three chapters at this time since it does not pertain to the matter presently at hand.

Looking ahead to Romans chapters 12 through 15, we see the Apostle’s instructions to God’s people in light of our status as more than conquerors through Christ, despite the fact that we suffer in this life on our way to glory. That we are more than conquerors means that by God’s grace we can exhibit right behavior in consideration of God (Romans 12.1-2), in consideration of the body of Christ (Romans 12.3-8), with regard to Christian love (Romans 12.9-21), with respect to people in positions of authority (Romans 13.1-7), with respect to people in general (Romans 13.8-10), in anticipation of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13.11-14), and in our dealings with those who are both weak and strong in the faith (Romans 14.1-15.13). In short, being conquerors through Him that loved us, being conquerors through Jesus Christ our Lord, should and does affect and influence every aspect of our Christian lives. Thus, could Paul write from Roman confinement in Philippians 4.13,

 

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

 

The moment a sinner comes to faith in Christ he is seen to be included in God’s plan for the ages that is revealed in Romans 8.28-30, with a mansion prepared for him in heaven and victory guaranteed by Christ’s victory over sin, death, Hell, and the grave. It has to do, you see, with our identity in Jesus Christ. His victory is our victory. His conquest is our conquest. His glorification guarantees our glorification. And the only way we can be defeated is if Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the living God, the One Who conquered sin, death, Hell, and the grave is Himself defeated.

These things said, it must be pointed out that only the child of God is a conqueror because only the child of God has trusted Christ, knows the forgiveness of sins that only Christ’s know, and has received the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord. All who are without Christ, all who have not trusted Christ, all who are as yet unbelievers are dead in trespasses and sins, Ephesians 2.1.

And is this not the deep realization of your heart and soul? Do you not already know that you are no conqueror, despite the posturing and pretending? Is your life not terribly empty and without meaning and substance apart from Christ? This is because God created you for fellowship with Him and apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ you are incomplete and adrift, without real purpose and meaning.

Therefore, I urge you, my friend, to consider the claims of Jesus Christ as the only Satisfaction for your soul, the only Forgiver of your sins, the only Maker of real meaning for your life, the only Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, the only Giver of eternal life. Consider Jesus Christ and come to Him today.

__________

[1] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 13.1; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; 6.9; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org