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Feb 09, 2020

The Object & Act

The Object & Act

Passage: Romans 8:26

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Elevator Pitch: The Good News in One Chapter, Romans 8

Everyone suffers. What is uniquely available to those for whom Christ is their hope? How are we to even think of our sufferings without deducing that God is either a tyrant or incompetent?

Order of Worship

PRE SERVICE: Romans 8:28
CALL TO WORSHIP: Ephesians 1:3-4,7,11,13-14
PRAYER: The Lord’s Prayer
OLD TESTAMENT READING: Isaiah 44:1-3,6,8,21-23
CENTRAL TEXT: Romans 8:26-30
RESPONSE: “The Angel that Troubles the waters,” an adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s short play
BENEDICTION: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

02.09.2020 Sermon Notes

Readings & Scripture

PRE SERVICE: Romans 8:28
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

CALL TO WORSHIP: Ephesians 1:3-4,7,11,13-14
LEADER: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
PEOPLE: 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

LEADER: 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
PEOPLE: 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

PRAYER: The Lord’s Prayer
PEOPLE: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

For Thine is the Kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT READING: Isaiah 44:1-3,6,8,21-23
1“But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! 2 Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
6 Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?
21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant, I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.
23 Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it;

CENTRAL TEXT: Romans 8:26-30
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

BENEDICTION: 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
LEADER: 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

PEOPLE: In Christ Alone

POST SERVICE: Romans 8:27
27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Related Scripture

Exodus 3:7
Psalm 88:15
Psalm 115:1-3
Psalm 121
Proverbs 17:3
Ecclesiastes 8:12
Luke 16:15
John 14:14-16
1 Corinthians 6:11
2 Corinthians
Ephesians 1:4- 5; 6:17-18
1 Thessalonians 2:4
James 5:10-13
Hebrews 13:12
1 Peter 4:13; 5:9-10
1 John 5:14
Revelation 2:10

Related Media



  1. Whenever you may have experienced suffering, what are well-meaning but otherwise unhelpful words people have said to you? How did you respond? What was unhelpful about them? Why were they unhelpful?
  2. When you have suffered, have you tried to pray at all in those experiences? Do you feel inspired to pray or deflated? What have your prayers been? What conflicting or anxious thoughts may have accompanied your prayers--or perhaps stymied them?
  3. Read verse 28 (at least) three times. Try to put it in your own words. Is your first impulse to find fault with it or take refuge in it--why? In what ways do you think people (or you) might misinterpret his meaning? How does remembering that Paul was well acquainted with suffering (e.g. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11) perhaps give him enough credibility to hear him out? How do we hear the truth of what he’s saying without either turning it into a cold platitude or dismissing him altogether?
  4. How would you summarize what Paul is talking about in the last two verses of the passage? Why do you think he turns to that topic on the heels of mentioning God’s sovereign hand over things?
  5. We’ve heard him use the word “glorified” before. Do you remember what it means to be glorified in the biblical sense? If we understand that experience to mean something still in the future, why do you think Paul speaks of it here in the past tense?


  • Perhaps the question, with regard to suffering and what it will mean in your life, comes down to this: What will be the object of your faith, and what will your act of faith look like? Nietzsche placed great faith both in existence and in himself. For forty-four years and thirteen books this worked well enough (though the loneliness of his soul is obvious). Then, as legend goes, one morning he saw a horse being beaten and all his Übermensch armor disintegrated into madness. He became the thing he’d warned against: pitying, and thus pitiful. Christian Wiman
    I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. - Woody Allen
  • Why hangs this gloomy damp upon my mind
    why heaves my bosom with the struggling sigh - Alexander Hamilton, "the melancholy hour", 1772
  • It is always hard to see the purpose in wilderness wanderings until after they are over. - Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress
  • I hoped faith would be an epidural for pain. Turns out to be a midwife. . . . - Brené Brown
  • There may be some worldviews whose aim is to make sure we don't suffer. But Christianity is not one of those worldviews. Christianity calls us to crucify ourselves, and nobody who's engaged in the process of crucifying himself is somebody without pain. . . . Nothing takes away the heartbreak. Nothing takes away the suffering. There are some sufferings that are a lot worse than others, and they are worthy - for each of us - of deep sorrow, they are worthy of a kind of silent strickenness in the face of them. - Eleonore Stump
  • I cannot fit it all together by saying, “He did it,” but neither can I do so by saying, “There was nothing he could do about it.” I cannot fit it together at all. . . . I have read the theodicies produced to justify the ways of God to man. I find them unconvincing. To the most agonized question I have ever asked I do not know the answer. I do not know why God would watch him fall. I do not know why God would watch me wounded. I cannot even guess. My wound is an unanswered question. The wounds of all humanity are an unanswered question. - Nicolas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son
  • There are no good words for
    our collective destination. Apart
    from tragic, untimely, too soon.
    The wound at the heart of the world.
    Another angel added; a road well walked.

    Words won’t do now, not for this.

    The living bear all the grief of those who
    were and are and will one day die.
    Our plans, kingdoms, minds fall flat
    before the period at the end of each line.

    We don’t hold the pen, our days will end.
    Where then is mercy? Whither hope?

    In the beginning was the Word
    and the Word wept
    for the world, for you, for untimely,
    and too soon. The Word weeps still
    with sea-born tears that wash over
    again, again with each new sentence end.

    The mercy is presence not relief.
    Hope is a face, two hands, scarred feet
    A quiet stand at the doorway and entry in
    to a place where to end is only to begin.
    - Conor Gwin
  • Heaven will work backwards and turn even…agony into a glory. - C.S. Lewis
  • Abide with me, fast falls the eventide
    The darkness deepens Lord, with me abide
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me. - “Abide with me”
  • Memorial
    The year of grace 1654,
    Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr,
    and others in the martyrology.
    Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.
    From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,


    GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
    not of the philosophers and of the learned.
    Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
    GOD of Jesus Christ.
    My God and your God.
    Your GOD will be my God.
    Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
    He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
    Grandeur of the human soul.
    Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
    Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
    I have departed from him:
    They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
    My God, will you leave me?
    Let me not be separated from him forever.
    This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God,
    and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
    Jesus Christ.
    Jesus Christ.
    I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
    Let me never be separated from him.
    He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
    Renunciation, total and sweet.
    Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
    Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
    May I not forget your words. Amen. - note sewn into the coat of Blaise Pascal