Confirmation Sermon for Dustin Kapke (Romans 8 verses 38&39)
Text: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The little child was with their mother in Walmart. While they were shopping, the child got distracted by a toy that they saw. They didn’t realize that mom had gone down the next aisle. The child looked up to tell their mother about the toy that they were looking at. Mom wasn’t there. The child looked up and down the aisle, but didn’t see mom. Fear began to well up in the child. Where was mom? Where had she gone? The child begins to call out, “Mom, where are you?” When she didn’t show up right away, the child became more frightened. They call out louder, “Mom, where are you?” What a sense of relief when mom came around the corner. The child felt safe again. The feeling of separation can be overwhelming. Today, we will look at the confidence that the apostle Paul had as he went through his life. It is that same confidence that you, Dustin, can take with you as you go through your life. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GOD’S LOVE. 1. Many Things Will Try. 2. God’s Love Will Always Be With You.
Romans chapter 8 is full of comforting and encouraging words for the Christian. For example, we have of Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul looks through the sufferings of this life and says you can’t even begin to compare them with the joys of heaven. Then, there are the well-know words of Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Paul has the confidence that whatever may come his way, whether it is good or evil, God will always use those events for our benefit. In Romans 8:31, we read, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Of course, the answer to that question is “No one.” This entire chapter overflows with the confidence that we can have as Christians.
Then, we come to the closing verses of this chapter, which you have chosen for your confirmation verse. These words are also full of the confidence that you can have as you make your confirmation vow this morning. As Paul highlights the love that God has for us, he has quite a list of things that will try to separate you from that love. When they happen, you might be tempted to wonder where God’s love is. Let’s take a few moments and look at some of the list that Paul gives.
We begin with “neither death nor life.” Death is separation. It is the separation of the soul from the body. Death also means separation from loved ones. Death can be a frightening thing, because you have never experienced it before. We also know that, upon our death, we will stand before God’s throne. There are all of the sins that we have ever committed, which we know should rightly condemn us for all eternity. Then, there is life. Life is difficult. There are the physical pains that we have to endure. There are emotional pains that are inflicted on us. Things don’t always go the way that we want them to. At the beginning of this year, who would ever have guessed that our world would be gripped by COVID-19? We never heard of it, but now it is a part of our everyday conversations. The devil will try to use the difficulties of life and make you question God’s love for you. ‘I thought you were God’s child. Would a loving God make you go through all of these things? Shouldn’t he make your life easier than everyone else’s?’ The devil will try to use the thought of death and the problems of this life to try to separate you from God’s love.
The next phrase is “neither angels nor demons.” Angels and demons are spiritual beings that are stronger than we are. When Paul mentions angels, he is speaking hypothetically, because God’s angels are always good and will never try to pull us away from God. However, even if they were minded to try and separate us from God’s love, they could not do so. Demons are the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion against God. The whole demonic army would like nothing better than to have us fall away from God. They will put temptations in our paths, in the hopes that we will fall from God’s grace and spend our eternity with them. Yet, not even these powerful spiritual beings will be able to separate us from God’s love.
Then, we turn to “neither the present nor the future.” We have already talked about the present and how its difficulties tug at us. The present is difficult, and then there’s the future. Dustin, I know that I join with your family and friends and wish that we could tell you that you’re the rest of your life is going to be easy. We can’t. No one knows what the future holds. For that reason, when we think about the future, it can fill us with some fear. However, you have this promise that neither the present nor the future will be able to separate you from God’s love.
Paul concludes his list with the words, “nor anything else in all creation.” This is Paul’s catchall phrase to cover everything that he had not mentioned in these verses. Paul tells us that there are no loopholes. There is not a single thing that can happen in our lives that will be able to separate us from God’s love. Many things will try, but they will all fail.
We have mentioned the love of God a number of times so far. What do we mean by the love of God? We get a complete understanding when we add the words, “the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It is in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus our Lord that we can see the love that we are talking about. This love is an amazing love. It is a love that chose us before the creation of the world to be his children. God wanted you and all humanity to be with him forever in heaven. Since Adam and Eve fell into sin, it would have not been possible. Because we are born in sin and because we sin every single day of our lives, we rightly did deserve to be eternally separated from God’s love in the pains of hell.
However, God didn’t want that. So, in his love, he sent his Son into the world to rescue us. Jesus left his throne of glory and came to this earth as a human being to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are tempted, yet, he never fell for Satan’s traps. He lived a perfect life for us. Then, in the ultimate show of love, God the Father punished his own Son for our sins on the cross. He poured out his entire cup of wrath on his Son, as he endured the punishment of hell for us. This was the only way that we could get right with God and, in his love for us; he was willing to do it. We see the love of God as Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning. This is the assurance that all of our sins have been forgiven. Rather than an eternity of separation from him, we have an eternity of joy and peace in God’s presence in heaven to look forward to.
Dustin, God showed his love to you on the day that you were baptized. God claimed you to be his child on that day. In his love for you, God has taught you the truths of his Word over these past years. In a few moments, you will make a vow that you will remain faithful to him all the days of your life. You do this because God has showed his love to you. You have the assurance that nothing can separate you from the love.
Yet, how can you really be sure of that? You can be sure that nothing will separate you from God’s love, because he has promised that nothing will. You have the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus promises that he will be with you every step of the way. We just finished singing the hymn, “On Eagle’s Wings.” That hymn is full of the confidence that we have that God will always be with us. Part of the inspiration for the song is Psalm 91. That psalm closes with this promise that God makes. “’Because he loves me,” says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’” (Psalm 91:14-15) Because of these and many other promises that God makes to you in his Word, you can have this confidence that nothing will ever separate you from God’s love.
How many of you have heard of Charles Blondin? He is the first person to tightrope walk over Niagara Falls. People would come and watch him do stunts on the tightrope. One time, he asked the crowd if they thought that he could make the crossing with someone on his back. Quite a number of hands were raised, indicating that they thought that he could do it. Then, Charles Blondin asked for a volunteer to be that person. Not a single hand was raised. They may have had the confidence that he could do it. They just weren’t willing to be that person! So, in reality, they didn’t have any confidence at all. Dustin, you can have the confidence that God will be with you every day of your life. At times, it might seem like he’s asking you to trust him as he carries you on a tightrope over a yawning chasm. However, you can trust him. You can have the confidence that he will always be with you. You can say with the same trust that the apostle Paul had, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen.
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