20, “the creation was made subject to vanity,”—not by its
own choice—“…subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason
of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” It
tells us this in Genesis, when God pronounces the curse there
because of Adam’s sin, “The Lord God said unto the serpent,
‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle,
above every beast of the field, upon thy belly shalt thou
go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy live, and
I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy
seed and her seed, and it shall bruise thy head thou shalt
bruise his heel.’ Unto
the woman he said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and
thy conception in sorrow thy shalt bring forth children.
Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule
over thee.’ And to
Adam he said, ‘Because you hast hearkened unto the voice of
thy wife and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee
saying Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for
thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days
of thy life. Thorns
and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, thou shalt eat
the herb of the field and in the sweat of thy face shalt thou
eat bread till thou return unto the ground, for out of it
wast thou taken, for dust thou art and unto dust shall return…”
but all of that is subjected in hope, because it said “of
the seed”—singular—“of the woman.”
And it’s the only place here in the Bible “you’re going
to bruise his heel and he’s going to crush his head.”
There’s a prophecy of the Messiah, in the curse itself.
The creation being subject to all of that, yet in hope. And the very creation itself, connected to us,
waiting for the day. Isaiah
says this, and it’s beautiful, “And the wolf also shall dwell
with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the
calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little
child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed, their young
ones shall lie down together, the lion shall eat straw like
the ox. And the suckling child shall play in the hole
of the poisonous snake…”—my wife would be excited about that—“and
the weaned child shall put his hand in the cockatrice den,
thy shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for
the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the
waters cover the sea.” Man,
we are waiting to be set free, I’ll tell you that. And creation’s waiting for the same thing, the
lion and the lamb laying down together, the bear and the cow
feeding together, their young ones playing together, the lion
eating straw like an ox. Trillions
of dollars of military spending beat into plowshares and pruning
hooks, and man learning war against man no more.
Isn’t that interesting?
[For an in-depth look at this future glorious time
period when the earth and we are redeemed, log onto http://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/kog.htm.] “The
creation itself subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason
of him who has subjected the same in hope.
Because the creation itself also shall be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of
the children of God. For
we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in
pain together until now.”
The whole creation is groaning and travailing,
imagine ladies being in ceaseless labor.
That’s what it’s talking about, being in transition
for thousands of years---aaah, ‘breathe’, ‘you breathe!’
I’ve been there a few times.
And you know it’s so interesting because everybody
wants to worship ‘Mother Earth’—well she needs more make-up
than we got going right now, she’s in a mess—and worship this
and worship that. And
I understand that. I think if I wasn’t saved I’d be chasing flying
saucers, I’d be out their somewhere, I know where I was headed. I’d be headed down to the ‘god’s are us’ to
pick out something for myself.
And that’s what they do, they worship, that’s the first
chapter of Romans, worship the creation more than the creator—denying
the conviction that’s in their own hearts.
Interesting, I have an article that someone gave me
from The Wall Street Journal, October 15th, and
this is not by a Christian, Dr. John A. Clark, Professor Emeritus
of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan.
He talks about ‘smart machines and foolish people’…”they
seemed to have overlooked a central message from the new developments
in molecular biology. Rather than supporting the random event hypothesis
of evolutionary science, the revolutionary new insights provided
by the fact of information stored in the DNA chain raises
the pregnant question of where and how that information got
there. As each person
or species, it makes them unique, and the information inside
its DNA unique. The
assignments of randomness as it’s cause appear to be foolish. Further, if one looks to the insights provided
by the recent developments in cosmology, it become clearer
that a design and plan exists for both human life and the
cosmos. These ideas are powerful and compelling, and
seem to require a reconsideration of the arguments from the
random selection put forth in the 19th Century.”
Dahh! [laughter] How about that? How about that?! That’s why we call it the creation all through
this study. It’s not
the random chance mess. It’s
the creation. And it says it’s subject to corruption, which
means decay. [see also
It says, verse
21, “The creation itself also shall be delivered from the
bondage of corruption”—entropy, the second law of thermodynamics,
which all scientists agree about, defies evolution.
And the creation is breaking down.
The aeromachesis, the slow-burning fire of disintegration
that’s everywhere. And
yet the evolutionists are telling us that slowly but surely
things are evolving and improving.
I haven’t seen that anywhere.
They don’t have any record of it, but that takes way
more faith than believing in creation. [Most micro-biologists who are into the study
of DNA believe God or a Supreme Being of some kind created
everything, even though they may not be actual believers in
the sense of being Christians.] They say, Professor Gans of Princeton University
said, “To support the present universe, billions of light
years wide, it only takes about 200 bits of information, because
it’s mostly gases.” [yes, but the laws of astro-physics, which
includes nuclear science, how a star “burns”, is huge as well.]
Simple. “To support a basic bacteria would take millions
of bits of information.” And
yet somehow they say we’re evolving, we’re going from the
less complex to the more complex.
The second law of thermodynamics is saying we’re going
from the more complex to the less complex, we’re breaking
down. And the information
needed to manage a human being, your frame, your body, your
throw-away container, is billions of at least, if not trillions
of bits of information. They say if you would take the DNA out of every
cell of your body it would fit into an ice-cube, fearfully
and wonderfully made. And
yet if you took all of those strands of DNA and put them end
to end, they would go from the earth to the sun and back 300
times. [that’s 93 million miles times 300 or 27,900 Million
miles!] Now that’s a lot of information in a throw-away
container. We ain’t
seen nothin’ yet. We
ain’t seen nothin’ yet. All of that is for another purpose, it’s subject
to vanity, it hasn’t seen it’s true purpose yet. Imagine when all of that is charged up by the
Spirit, freed from the law of sin and death, what will happen. “Because
the creation” verse 21, “itself also shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the
children of God. For we know”—and I hope you do know—“that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth
in pain together until now.”
The whole creation is groaning, is under some
restriction where it is not glorifying God, it’s not living
up to its original purpose and it is not in connection with
us the way it should be. “And
not only they,” verse 23, “but ourselves also, we which have
the firstfruits of the Spirit”—the down payment, Ephesians
1 indicates, the engagement ring—“even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting”—the idea is, eagerly—“for
the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body.” So you and I, it says, groaning, waiting.
If you wonder what that is sometimes, you know.
I, I look at my own family.
Let’s start here, you know. My eyes, they didn’t need these a few years
ago [his glasses]. You
guys all look like fuzz [without his glasses on].
Not police. The
eyes, the ears, the teeth,
trying to get this bag of bones out of bed in the morning. It groans. Yours
does too [unless you’re a teenager]. But more than that. I look at my staff. [laughter] I
look at the ones who have prodigals, and my heart breaks,
and groans. How do
you pray for all of this stuff, Lord, we are surrounded with
stuff. I look at the
ones who have hepatitis or sickness, or the ones who have
lost children, that do so well until it comes up, and then
all of a sudden there’s a tear there so quickly.
Look at the folks here that struggle in their marriages
[if you are struggling in your marriage, log onto http://www.HOWMARRIAGEWORKS.COM],
or looking at a little child with cancer or leukemia. And it’s in your face. And I groan.
I look at the news and tears run down my face. We ourselves are groaning, saying ‘Lord, set
us free from this.’ This
isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
“Why Lord, if you’re sovereign, you’re all powerful,
why Lord, do I find my heart groaning like the Psalmist said
in Psalm 73, ‘Why do the wicked prosper and the righteous
suffer?’ Lord?” And
we groan. Because he’s
given us Light, because we see things now that we never saw
before. [Solomon said that with much knowledge comes
much sorrow, and we have greater knowledge, spiritual knowledge
of the evil that’s going on in the world.
The unsaved, uncalled, unconverted go about their lives
in ignorance, mostly, living up to the saying “Ignorance is
bliss.”] Because that
Spirit of adoption has moved in and opened up truth to us.
He has given us Light, he’s given us perception—we’re
not able to bear all of that.
I hear Christians sometimes say to me, “You know, I’m
not as thankful as I should be.”
Well for you to be as thankful as you should be, you’d
have to look right into the face of the One you need to be
thankful to, and if you did that [in your present body], you’d
disintegrate [be vaporized, cf. Zechariah 14:12]. If you tried to be as thankful as you should
be right now, you would just get crushed.
I hope you’re being as thankful as you can be. Or people saying, “I need to read more, I need
to pray more.” Well
I said that the first week I was saved.
And I’ve been saved longer than I’ve been unsaved .
And every day I find myself saying ‘I need to read
more, I need to pray more.’
And I read more and pray more, and I read more and
pray more than I ever have.
Because, you know what I’m really saying? “I’m
groaning.” “Lord, I
want to be home.” “I want to see my wife there Lord, and I want
to see her rewarded for all of her labor, I want to see her
body free from the difficulties that there are.
Lord I want to see my four kids there, Lord, where
I don’t have to worry about the world [this evil age], drugs
and kidnapping and pornography and all of the things that
are thrown in their face every day, and don’t have to worry
about the ones who have health problems, Lord, see that all
gone.” Ah, take a deep breath. ‘Lord I want to see
my Mom and Dad, they’re going to go before me, I know, but
what a wonderful thing. Lord,
I want to see my Grandfather, who’s there.
I want to see so many from here we’ve sent ahead.’
That’s what I’m saying when I say I need to pray more,
I need to read more. I
do, but that is a means to an end, and in all of that, I’m
saying ‘Lord, I want to be home. I’m groaning, Father. The Spirit, the down-pay, the engagement ring,
the earnest, the that part that you’ve put in us of Yourself
has ruined me for this world.’
And I hope that you are not playing games.
And you know what, if you are, I know that you’re miserable
[addressing the audience again].
Your friends might think you’re cool, but I know you’re
worried about being “hot”. [laughter] If
you’re treading on the grace of God, it ain’t worth it, is
it?—because when you go home and lay down your head alone,
and you’re friends are all gone and nobody’s there but you,
you know there’s something inside of you that’s saying, ‘Lord,
please forgive me, I am sinning, don’t let me die in my sin.
Lord, you know the groaning the same way the rest of
us do.’ Let me tell
you something. I don’t
want to give up my liberty in Christ, I don’t want any chains
on me anymore. I want to be able to lift up my head every day
in my groaning, and say “Come today!”
I don’t want to say ‘Would you wait till next week,
I got something to straighten out.’
I want to live with my head lifted up.
He says, “We
ourselves (verse 23) groan within ourselves, waiting for the
adoption, that is, the redemption of our body.”
Verse 24, “For we are saved by hope…”—and it more
properly is “saved
in hope”—now don’t get excited, ‘wait a minute, I thought
we were saved by faith.’ We
are, our soul is saved by faith.
Our body is saved in the day of redemption.
The soul is saved. You die today, your body goes into the ground,
your soul and your spirit go to be with the Lord. [And some believe that soul-spirit is unconscious
until re-united with our new bodies in the resurrection to
immortality, and some believe it is conscious until that great
event. The actual truth is in the grey area of biblical
interpretation, and thus not all that important, we’ll find
out when it happens. Some
passages indicate one way, others indicate the other way.
That is the Bible’s way of showing this is a secondary
doctrine.] By faith, that’s taken place, done, finished.
But we’re also saved in hope. Now it isn’t like people you say to someone
‘Are you saved?’ and they answer ‘I hope so.’
No, no, that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s the blessed hope of the church, it’s a
certainty, it’s fixed, it’s established.
It’s an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that
fadeth not away, that’s fixed in heaven—for us!
And that is all preceded by “I thank the God and Father
of my Lord Jesus Christ, who has begotten us again unto a
living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead.” The hope that we have is not a “maybe” hope
or an uncertain hope, it is a finished hope, it is our hope, the thing we long
for, and groan for. And
it is a purifying hope, it does us good now, it strengthens
us, while we look. It’s good for us today, and it’s the very thing
our hearts are set on. Hope,
yes the physical frame, the redemption of the body, we’re
groaning for that, we’ve saved in hope.
“But hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he
yet hope for?” (verse 24b)
“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with
patience wait for it.” (verse 25)
Hoping for that thing, waiting for it.
“I know, eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither
has it entered into the mind of man, the things that God has
prepared for those who love him—but by his Spirit he has made
those things known to us.”
Now, isn’t that a great thing?
I am longing for that moment.
I read Revelation chapter 21 and 22, I love those chapters.
That city, that place, with the throne of God and the
Lamb in the middle of it, it says, “We shall see his face.”
It says, “he’s going to reach out and wipe the tears
away from our eyes.” And the Scripture says, ‘In the twinkling of an eye and the blast
of a trumpet we’re going blast off, off the face of the earth
and go into his presence—and be there forever, and walk on
those streets. And you know, you ain’t seen that. You’re friends that are unsaved think you’re
out of your mind. ‘They’re
going to that cult up at that old meter factory. They’re all waitin’ for some trumpet, he’s going
to blast off. Has he
told you that yet? Ask
him, bait him a little bit, ask him, ‘Tell me about the blastin’
off’ and hear what he tells you. He’s left some Bible and instructions for me,
he told me when he’s gone, I can have it.’
humoring you a little, and those of you who are laughing understand. That’s part of the suffering I talked about
earlier. Our hope is
not uncertain, it’s fixed.
The third groaner here, verse
26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for
we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit
itself [Greek: himself] maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered.” Verse 27,
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind
of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints
according to the will of God.” What it says ‘in regards to all of this,
we face this infirmity, bearing all of this, trying to figure
all of this out, trying to weigh out the present sufferings,
not compared with the glory that shall be revealed, trying
live in that place, trying to live motivated by the Spirit,
you know, keeping our body under [subjection], living in that
condition—it says, “likewise
the Spirit also helpeth”—and that’s in the present perfect
tense—continually is helping our infirmities—that means our infirmities
are continual also, and it speaks of our weaknesses. And it speaks particularly in regards to prayer
here. And if we’re
honest, you know, prayer is a very interesting exercise, isn’t
it? It doesn’t appeal to the flesh at all. So much of the time, we’re apathetic about prayer.
Sometimes because we put it into that container—you
have to fold your hands, close your eyes—that was for kids
at the table so they stay out of trouble—Jesus looked to heaven. I love to pray with my eyes open. More than that, it’s a wonder to me that God
considers the condition of my heart-prayer all day long, and
that when I go through that thing of groaning—‘Lord, what
do I do, all these people in the church, all this is going
on in the world, look at Columbine, look at the wars, look
at Checknya [or look at the Sudan]’—all of that groaning—there’s
a Helper there who’s come alongside in all of that, to interpret
to the Father the proper way so that it’s meaningful, so that
it means something, so that I survive the weight of it.
That’s remarkable, because it tells us that Jesus,
Hebrews 7:25, is at the right hand of the Father, where he
ever lives and makes intercession. We have an advocate with the Father, 1st
John 2:1. So it’s telling
us that right now at the throne of God, Jesus Christ is at
the right hand of the Father, ever making intercession for
us, praying for us. It
says that the Spirit is inside of us helping us pray there
with groaning—this is a great system.
And if it’s this good now, imagine what it’s going
to be when we’re finally set at liberty—because that Spirit
within us is groaning for the day that God no longer has to
interpret his intervention.
That Holy Spirit is longing for the day when we look
face to face with God Almighty, when there’s no more evil,
selfish thoughts from, there’s no more of what grieves him
in our lives everyday. When
there’s no more of what he bears in and of our humanity, our
infirmity, on a daily basis the Holy Spirit bears all of that—every
thought that we think that we shouldn’t think that no one
else knows he bears it. Every bit of anger, selfishness, rage when we’re,
when our mind is somewhere we shouldn’t, futile things and
empty things and stupid things, he bears it all.
It’s interesting, it says he helps our infirmities,
that word “helpeth” there in verse 26 is only used one other
time in the New Testament, and it’s here. It says, “It came to pass, as they went, that
he entered into a certain village and a certain woman named
Martha received him into her house.
She had a sister called Mary [Hebrew: Miriam]
which also sat at Jesus feet and heard his word, and Martha
was cumbered about with much serving, and came to him and
said, ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me
to serve alone. Bid
her therefore that she help me.’”
The only other place in the New Testament where that
word is. The Holy Spirit “helpeth” our infirmities.
How? Well, it means two things. First of all, he doesn’t bear it all alone.
It literally means he comes alongside of what we bear,
puts his shoulder under, and helps us bear it. He doesn’t bear it all, doesn’t take it off
of us. He comes in
with us. Jesus called him the parecletos, the one who
would come alongside to help.
Not only that, how does he help?
‘Hey, Lord, don’t you care?
Tell my sister Mary to get in the kitchen and help
me!’ In the every ordinary
daily trials of life the Holy Spirit is always there, interceding
for us, caring for us. When
our hearts are overwhelmed.
There’s so many things to pray for, there’s so many
things going on, something so painful in our family we don’t
have the words. You
know, personally, I enjoy, you know if you’re like me, I get
alone with the Lord, I have earth-changing things to share
with him. He needs to be informed about these things.
I mean, I’m overwhelmed with them, once I get there
and tell him I know he’s gonna go ‘Whow! I didn’t realize that’ and start taking care
of some of this stuff. [laughter] And I get there with earth-changing stuff on
my heart, and you start there, and ‘Lord this, and Lord that…’
and then finally, you know, that wears out in about five minutes. And then you’re saying ‘Oh yeah, Lord, that
doesn’t need to change in me.
You’re right, Lord.
I need to be more like Jesus.
OK, Lord, I am a lousy husband.
Alright Lord, I’m the world that needs to change.’
And then pretty soon, there ain’t even words.
But when I experience his presence, something floods
forth from in the deepest part of me, tears begin to flow
down my face when I experience the presence of the Living
God my mind is blown, my puny little brain is not set up to
handle that experience. So
I just blubber. And I love it, and I know at that moment, ‘Lord,
these are groanings, they’re much too deep to be uttered,
they’re way down inside, you hear them, you interpret them,
you answer them, Lord you carry me through this.
I love you. I thank you.
I long to see your face.
I long to hear your voice.
I long to sing your praises with saints and angels.
I long to throw my crowns at your feet.’
The Holy Spirit is groaning for the same thing, it
says here. In fact, it’s interesting, it uses a different
word for groaning, “the Spirit itself [himself] maketh intercession
for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”, the only other place that
form of “groanings” is used in the New Testament is in Acts
chapter 7, verse 34. It
says, Stephen is telling about the children of Israel in Egypt,
“I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt,
I have heard their groaning,
and am come down to deliver them.”
It says that’s the same kind of groaning that the Holy
Spirit does in us, just like the children of Israel were in
bondage and groaning before God, the Holy Spirit is groaning
within us for the bondage of infirmities that we’re in, there’s
also a groaning there on his part, longing for the day that
we’re set free, praying for us [for] those things that we’re
not yet able to utter—“and he that searches the hearts”—and
here’s the beautiful part about it, that’s speaking of God—“he
that searches the hearts”, very important, because God searches
our hearts, that’s a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? People say, ‘God knows my heart.’ Hey, that’s a two-edged sword. “But
he that searches the hearts knoweth what is mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh”—the Spirit—“maketh intercession for the
saints according to the will of God.”
(verse 27) When our hearts are broken, God Almighty,
the one who searches the heart, hears the Spirit groaning
within us, praying for us the things that we cannot pray,
and those things are according to the will of God.
Here we are, Abba, Dad.
We get alone, and we say Father, there’s something
that comes from our heart when we do that. But the question is there, ‘Why, why the suffering?
You’re sovereign, you’re all powerful, you say you
love us more than we love our earthly children. If that’s true, why is this going on?’ Wait, if you measure it out, the present sufferings
are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be
revealed, because the present creation is, has been made subject
to vanity, and it’s longing and waiting for the same thing
you are, for the manifestation of the sons of God—with its
head stretched out in expectation—waiting for that day.
The creation itself has not yet come to its full potential.
And we also, within ourselves groan, waiting for the
redemption of the body [our bodies], and not only that, there’s
one more Groaner, the Holy Spirit is groaning within us for
the same thing you’re groaning for.
And taking those things that are too deep to be spoken
in human language, and interpreting in them in such a way
that they are according to the will of God, and placing them,
instead of our imperfect prayers all the time, there is part
of us that comes before our Father because of the redemption
we have in Christ and through the power of the Spirit, that
is presented before him perfectly and according to his will.
I like that…” [sermon
transcript of Romans 8:18-27, given by Joe Focht, Pastor,
Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia,
© Calvary Chapel of Phila. 1996]