This will be the first of a weekly series, that I feel impressed to share called “Sunday Sermons”. It will be intentionally Biblical and decidedly spiritual in nature, meant to feed your Spirit.
I trust you will find nourishment and encouragement by it and will check in each Sunday.
Sunday Sermon 4/19/20
The Apostle Paul, the guy who once tried to kill Christians, imprison them, torture them and stop their preaching of “The Way”, has had an about face, and is now just as fervent in his defense of “The Way” and in his efforts to spread its message.
He is speaking here, at the height of the Roman Empire to believers, mostly Gentiles (like me, not Jewish), who live in Rome and are trying to make their way through persecution, misunderstanding, strong secular influences and crazy heresies. (weird and false teachings).
It is in this context that he says:
“I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.” v. 18, 22 The Message paraphrase
Birth pangs? What?
He was saying, the signs they were seeing were actually birth signs. Signs of birthing, signs of new life forming and getting ready to burst forth. Just like a pregnant Mom, facing labor pains before the birth of that precious new life.
He was encouraging them, that hey, what you’re going through now, the pain, uncomfortableness, the stretching, etc. is nothing compared to what is coming! I promise you. It will be worth it. Hang in there. Then he says –
“But it’s not only around us; it’s within is. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs.” v. 22-23 The Message
Not only is something getting ready to burst forth in their present hard times, but something within them was being formed and it was about to burst forth too.
He identified it as a spiritual life being formed in them. The Spirit of God was actually forming new life in them. Awakening them, arousing them, stretching them, preparing them as individuals to bring forth this new life. What they were feeling was the preparatory birth pangs of what the Spirit had been developing in them and was nearly ready to deliver.
“Waiting does not diminish us… We are enlarged in the waiting. We don’t see what’s enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” v. 24-25 The Message
Here they were in the midst of hard times and pain themselves, carrying something inside of them, planted by the Spirit, that was growing and enlarging within them. As their wait increased, so did their growth and in kind, so did their expectancy of what would be birthed.
They were seeing within them, something of a spiritual dimension growing, increasing, enlarging and becoming bigger and bigger. As they saw it inside of them, their own excitement of what they were becoming grew! Their expectancy too was growing.
” The moment we get tired of waiting, God’s Spirit is right there alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us.” v. 26-27 The Message
Just like that weary Mom, after nine looong months of carrying that bundle of life grows weary in the wait – so too do the believers. But God’s promise here is that His Spirit, will be right there, helping them along as the birthing coach, even praying for them and helping them to pray!
Today, I see a tremendous similarity between those Roman believers and me and you. I hear Paul’s message to them, being perfectly suited for us. Don’t you?
Here are the take aways.
There’s no doubt the times we are living in are painful and there is suffering. It’s not good, but it will bring about good. They are birth pangs, signs that something new is about to burst forth in our world, across the globe.
And not just in the world/society – BUT IN YOU. The Spirit of God is growing inside of you, enlarging inside of you. Stretching you, preparing in you new Spiritual life, strength, vibrance, depth, and reality. The Spirit of God is growing inside of you and is about to burst forth from you.
It matters little where you’ve come from spiritually, whether this is old news or new news to you. What matters is that you are carrying a Spiritual seed that is growing inside of you.
Let it grow. Enlarge you, arouse you. Feel it kick inside you. Recognize the labor pangs.
And let your expectancy arise, for soon, the life of the Spirit will burst forth from you.
Birth pangs mean the time is near.