And last week we talked a little bit about overcoming our fear with faith. And I think we learned a new verse. I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind. Well I am convinced that God wants us to understand more of His scriptures, and as we understand these scriptures, we will be encouraged and uplifted and renewed by the facts that His promises are true and real, and that we cannot fail holding on to the promises and the word of Jesus Christ.
And so this morning I want to share with you another promise, another pledge. It begins with Romans 8; in fact I’m going to read part of Romans 8 for you today. I’m going to start with verse 31, it says “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor the powers, 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.” Powerful words.
You know I went to school at Fuller Seminary. Charles Fuller was a radio evangelist and a very successful man and he used his radio show to help fund and develop and build Fuller Seminary and today its one of the finest seminaries in the nation, with a couple thousand students nationwide. And I went there and I took my hermeneutics, which is a biblical interpretation class from his son Dan Fuller. And what Dan Fuller did is he had this concept and this way of interpreting scripture, which boiled down to finding out the key word in any phrase, passage, chapter and book of the Bible.
And so what we did is we actually did that with the entire gospel of Mark, where we came down and we said this is the central word of Mark. And then that word relates to this word, so we’d draw lines from those. And those words relate to this word, so we put lines over those, and eventually what he called arcing, arced the entire gospel of Mark in his class. So we came to the realization how it all came from that very central core word. It’s called arcing. I haven’t heard of it anywhere else, I don’t think it’s caught on in any form of theological interpretation or biblical studies, however that was his thing and that’s what the class was and that’s what I was required to do. The question is why am I telling you about it? The reason I’m telling you about it is if you were to apply that process to the passage I just read, where would we come down to, what would be the key word? You know what it is? Conquerors. That’s the key word. And do you know what the phrase is? The phrase is we are more than conquerors. That that whole passage circles and is founded around this one simple phrase, we are more than conquerors. That’s powerful, isn’t it?
And it makes me think of some of my pep rallies in high school. That was just a couple years ago, you know. And some of you may remember some of your pep rallies in high school. In high school, we would have a pep rally and what would happen is the coach would get everybody all excited. And the way to get them all excited he’d say we are and then we’d say the mighty saints, because that was the name of, that was our ascot that we were, which isn’t bad for me you know. I can deal with that. We are the mighty saints.
Well today, I want to have a little pep rally in church. Its kind of fun. This is how we’re going to remember what we’re all about. But the pep rally is, we are.. do you remember the rest of the phrase? More than conquerors! And so here’s what I want you to do. I’m going to say we are, and you’re going to say more than conquerors. Don’t do a fist that doesn’t have the right connotations. Okay? Use a finger, point to heaven. Okay, because that’s going to be important for interpreting the scripture. Are you ready? We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) This is very good, I like this. Now in pep rally’s what they like to do is they like to get people real excited, so they have competitions. All right?
So we’re going to have a competition this morning. Are you ready? This side of the church, the balcony’s stay seated, but this side of the downstairs stand up, you ready? We’re going to see who’s got the most volume this morning. Okay? We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) Okay let’s see. Think you guys can beat them? Let’s stand up, okay? Ready? We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) How are they doing, choir? They got them beat? Okay, balcony’s let’s stand up. Let’s see how we’re doing here? You ready? Okay, we are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) Now wait a minute, you guys cheated. You helped the balconies. Yeah, just the balcony’s now, you ready? We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) That’s pretty good, isn’t it? Okay, one more time. Ready? We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) We are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) Now I bet you thought I left you guys out. Stand up choir. In harmony. More, more, more, more. We are! (CHOIR – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) Yeah, give yourselves applause. We all win. We all win. You may be seated.
Now, you have now memorized a bible verse in the bible so if anyone asks you what’s one of your favorite verses, you can sound it right off. We are more than conquerors. Let me explain what we’re conquerors of. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ who loved us. In all these things. That’s the important part. What are all these things that we have conquered, that we are conquerors of? Well let’s go back to what I read earlier. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” What’s interesting is Paul writes with a bunch of rhetorical questions, you know? A rhetorical question is a question that has an obvious implied answer. You ask a question; you’re not really asking for the answer, you’re making a statement. Because the implied answer is so strong that it isn’t a question at all, it is a statement. And the statement is obvious. And the question he asks is, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And the implied answer is obvious. It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is no one. If God is for us, nobody can be against us. It’s obvious. But as soon as I ask the question, take this question out of the scriptures, take it out of the context and I ask you who can be against you, all of a sudden you can make a pretty long list, can’t you? And in fact, if you’re listening on the I-Pod right now, or if you’re listening on a DVD, or if you’re listening with some kind of a recording device, where you can pause this, I want you to pause it right now and actually make a list of everybody who you believe can have something against you. And today in our society, that’s numerous. People facing cancer and eviction notices. We start listing the reality of things that are against us, and we realize that there’s a long list of fears that we have. But we learned something about our fears last week, didn’t we. That God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. And with power and love and a sound mind, we are (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) And we have to realize that no matter what we face in life, that we are (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) If God is for us, who can be against us? No one.
And so I think it becomes critical for us to literally make a list so when you go home today, literally make a list of everyone that you’re concerned about, who can be against you. Make the list. Fold it up, put it in an envelope, write today’s date on it, but for the year, advance ten years from now. Because I promise you that ten years from now, every single concern on that piece of paper will have vanished. That’ll happen to every single one who goes through this exercise. It’ll happen because the truth is we are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) If God is for us, who can be against us? No one.
Rhetorical question number two: How will He not also graciously give us all things? Wow. What a fabulous answer. The rhetorical response is of course He’ll give us everything we need. It’s a rhetorical question. How will He not also graciously give us all things? What we have to remember in this is that God doesn’t give us our greed, He gives us our need. Did you hear that? The lilies of the field, they don’t worry. For God clothes them. The birds of the air don’t worry, because God feeds them. And as we go through life, we don’t have to worry because we are! (AUDIENCE – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!) And we must realize that as a result of being more than conquerors, God will give us everything we need. Everything. Without question.
Yesterday my wife went to the beach, it was a beautiful day, a perfect day to go to the beach. And I wasn’t able to go with her because I had to prepare for today. And so she went down there alone and she’ll do that occasionally, and she went down to the beach and it was a gorgeous day and she laid her towel out on the sand and all of sudden she saw these mothers with their little babies. Little infants. Two, three, four years old. And then she saw a grandmother over someplace else with other little babies, two, three years old, little babies. And then she saw some couples sitting together, chatting and talking, and she was sitting there all by herself, and she started getting really lonely. She started thinking of remembering when our kids were little like that and she would take them to the beach and she could play with them and care for them, but now they’re all grown up and they’re big and they’re gone and they don’t care to hang out with this old wrinkly people anymore, you know. And then she saw the grandmothers, we don’t have any grandbabies but there’s the other grandparents playing with their grandbabies and we don’t have any grandbabies to play with so she’s sitting there all by herself and all lonely and there’s the other couples with their husbands and she was lonely and as she’s laying there, she hears somebody go watch out! Watch out! Before she knew what was happening, a wave came and splashed all over her legs and about halfway up her back and her towel is all wet and a little frustrated, I suppose, but God is good. He supplies all our needs.
And as a result of that wave, she had to move her towel up much closer to everybody else, and as a result of moving her towel up close to the other people, pretty soon this little baby’s about a year and a half old came walking over and stood on her towel, right above her head. And he just looked at her and she was thrilled. She looks at him, she starts talking to him and she wasn’t talking with him too long and pretty soon the grandmother came along and so she started talking with the grandmother, before she knew it, she’s invited to the party. And God met her need. And if that wasn’t enough, she saw two handsome young men walking down the beach. And when she told me that, I got a little concerned. And she said you wouldn’t believe it; all of a sudden I realized there was my son, Anthony. That was my son. And so like a wave God came in and pushed her up where the people were and He gave her what she needed when she needed it.
If God is for us, who can be against us? No one. How will He not also graciously give us all things? He’ll give us everything we need. And it’s followed with the final question, with who then can separate us from the love of Christ? And the answer again is absolutely no one. In fact, Paul goes and answers this one. Its one of the most beautiful medleys of words we have in the Bible; neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, just in case we might have thought maybe there might be something somewhere, there might be some evil forces or something that could pry us apart from the love of Jesus Christ. St. Paul made it absolutely, perfectly; abundantly clear that absolutely nothing could ever separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
We are! (AUDIENCE & RAS – MORE THAN CONQUERORS!)