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James Merritt - Too Big to Fail

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    James Merritt - Too Big to Fail

And so, as we're heading toward the climatic part of this movie that we've been watching, I want you to see with me today a God that is too big to fail, even if everyone else fails. A God who is too big to fail, even if everything else fails, so we're going to answer the question that Paul gives us today, and that is just how big is God? Well, let me just tell you this: our God is so big that his faithfulness will never fail you. God's faithfulness will never fail you. Now, this section begins with a question that leads into a series of other questions. We're going to pick up in Romans 8:31. Here's the question Paul asked: "What then shall we say in responses to these things"?

Now, the question is so what are these things that Paul is talking about? Well, what he's talking about is what we've been talking about for the last several weeks. Every human being on Earth is a sinner, we were all born in sin. We were all born with a rebellious heart against God, and all sin is under the wrath of God. But God, because of his love for us, sends his son Jesus Christ to die for us. He brings him back from the dead so that he might bring us into a permanent relationship with him, even though we did not deserve it. And you say, "Well, why did he do that"? It's all because of this one word we keep coming back to. It's the word grace.

So Paul's question in effect is now what should we say about that, in light of everything God has done to bring us into his family, to bring us into his heart, to bring us into his presence, what should we say about that? And what he's going to do is, he's going to show us just all that this proves about this God of grace. So he goes on to ask this question, great question by the way, listen to this: "If God is for us, who could be against us"? Oh, just let that sink in. "If God is for us, who could possibly be against us"?

By the way, grammatically in the Greek language, that's really not a very good translation. Grammatically, the question is assumed. It's kind of a rhetorical question. The word 'if' really should be translated since, or because. Since God is for us, because God is for us, who could be against us? This is not a hypothesis, it's not a theory. It is a fact, God is for us. God is for me, God is for you. As a matter of fact, turn to your neighbor right now. I want you to do this. Turn to your neighbor right now, and I want you to point. I know it's rude to point, but this time, I want you to point. Point to them and say this: "God is for you". Alright? Do it again. God is for you.

Now let that sink in. Just let that sink in. If God is for you, that doesn't just mean game on, that means game over. That word for literally means in our behalf. In other words, what Paul is saying is God is working for us. Now, I bet you've never heard a pastor say this but I want you to think about this. In a real sense, God's on our side. God proved he was on our side when he sent Jesus. God proved he was on our side when he offered his grace. God proves he's on our side when he offers us his forgiveness. God is on our side. Now, I know it's a trite saying but it's true. If it's just you and God, you're in the majority. You've heard it said many times; God plus one is a majority.

Now again, this is actually a rhetorical question where you get the same answer no matter how you ask the question. For example, let's say you said, "Okay, well if God is for me, who in reality can be against me"? What is the answer? Nobody. If God is for us, what can be against us? What's the answer? Nothing. If God is for us, when can something be against us? The answer is never. If God is for us, where can anything be against us? And the answer is, nowhere. Now, if you're a believer like I am, if you're a follower of Christ, you may be sitting there, thinking right now sorry, but I know a lot of things are against me. The world's against me, sin is against me, temptation's against me, Satan is against me, culture is against me, society is against me, and what Paul is simply wanting you to understand is this: that all may be true, and it probably is true.

In fact, I'll say it is true, but what Paul is saying is when God is for you, it doesn't matter who's against you. It doesn't matter how many are against you. However, that could raise this question: well, how do I know that this God is for me? Paul says, "Okay, here's the proof". Listen to this, Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare his own son," obviously talking about Jesus, "But gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things"? Now, what is Paul is obviously doing, he's arguing from the greater to the lesser. What is the greatest need? We've already established this in the first seven chapters of Romans. What is the greatest need every sinner on Earth has? We need a savior, and we need salvation. Those are our two greatest needs. We need a savior, and we need salvation. Well, guess what? God provided both when he gave his own son, Jesus to die for every sinner, and to offer every sinner salvation.

So here's the point Paul is making, okay, so if God has already met the greatest need we will ever have, then here's the question: will he not meet any other need that you have? God's court will never condemn you. God's faithfulness will never fail you, God's court will never condemn you. See, there's another benefit that we receive when we receive the grace of God through faith in the son of God that you probably haven't thought about, and here's the point. The one thing that nobody is immune to, if you've got a healthy conscience, that you may not have a healthy conscience, but if you've got a healthy conscience, there's one thing that afflicts every one of us and that's guilt, because we do sin. We do wrong, we don't always hit the bullseye in the way we live. We continually find ourselves dragged back into God's court room to face charges. Well, then Paul says this in Romans 8:33: "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen, it is God who justifies".

Now, that phrase bring any charge is one word in the Greek language. It's actually a legal term, and it literally means to call in, and it refers to an official summons to appear in a court of law, to face an accusation that's been brought against you. Well, here's the question. So when Paul says, "Who will bring a charge against us"? Who's he talking about? Who are these witnesses that are lined up against us? Well, there's several of them. For example, our sins. Our sins are a witness, they sometimes accuse us. And then we've all had the experience, sometimes other people will line up against us. They will accuse us of doing wrong, but the biggest accuser of all is Satan.

As a matter of fact, his full-time job is being a prosecuting attorney against us every single time that we do wrong. The apostle John said this about him in the Book of Revelation, he said: "For the accuser," that is Satan, "For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, God's family, who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down". John said, and I hate to break this news to you, but John said, "You know what? Nobody ever sins in secret". Now, you may think you do. You think you can wait 'til dark comes, you may think you can wait 'til the sun goes down, you may think you can walk into the building, you may think you can turn off the lights, you may think you can shut off all of the cameras, and all the tape recorders, and you may think you can do wrong and nobody's watching, but there's always at least one watching, and maybe two. Every time we do wrong, number one, God is always watching, and number two, Satan is usually watching.

Now here's what happens: when believers do wrong, what does Satan do? He drags them into God's court room and he makes his charge. Now, here's the bad news. The truth of the matter is that when Satan brings these accusations to God about our sins, he's usually not exactly lying. Many times, he's really telling the truth. As a matter of fact, he has us dead to rights. It's not heresay, it is not circumstantial evidence. Usually, we've been caught red-handed because we do fail, and we do sin. So here we are in God's court room, and here's the Devil, and here's Satan. Alright, here's our conscience or whatever it may be, and we are brought before God's court room even though we know the Lord, and love the Lord, and we've been saved, but yet, we've failed, we've blew it again. So we're in this court room, and we've got these charges against us, and we know deep down we've been caught red-handed. What's our defense? And then Paul says this: "It is God who justifies".

Now, if you were here, you may remember what the word justified means. We talked about this earlier. The word justified is another legal term, and it literally means you are declared not guilty. Now, there's only one person in a court of law that can declare you not guilty, right? And we all know who that is, who is it? Right, it's the judge. Only the judge can declare you not guilty. Well, who is the judge in this case? Alright, listen to this: "If you are under the grace of God, and you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God, then the judge is your heavenly Father".

Now get this thought in your mind, hold onto this thought. You're in God's court room, he's the judge, the accusation's been brought, you've been caught red-handed. You know, you know, you've done whatever is being brought against you, but you also know that the judge is your heavenly Father. Well, it actually gets better. It actually gets better, because Paul says this now in Romans 8:34: "Well, who then is the one who condemns"? That is, who is the one that's therefore going to say, "Yep you did it. You're guilty, you got to pay the crime, you got to do the time". Who is the one who condemns? And then Paul amazingly says this: "No one". Well, how could it be no one? Because Christ Jesus who died, more than that, was raised to life, now watch this, this is so wonderful, "Is at the right-hand of God, and is also interceding for us".

Now watch this, this is so great. That word condemned is another legal term, and it doesn't just refer to the indictment, that's the accusation. It doesn't just refer to the charge, it actually refers to the verdict. Now, if there's any doubt as to what the verdict is going to be, all you've got to do is look at your defense attorney. Well, who's the defense attorney? Well, who is interceding for us? It's Jesus. He is our defense attorney. You say, "Wait a minute, you mean the Jesus that died for me"? Yup. "You mean the Jesus was raised from the dead for me"? Yep. He's taking our case. He is defending us.

Now, if you're not getting the picture yet, let me kind of paint it for you. So you're in the court room, you're in God's court room, and you're the defendant. And you look across the table at the prosecuting attorney, and I mean, your heart sinks because it's the Devil himself, and you know man, my goose is cooked, I am doomed. Stick a fork in me, I'm done because he calls witness after witness. He has pictures, he has photographs, he has tape recordings, he has signed confessions. He's got exhibits from A to Z, and so, you know you're guilty. And Satan presents his case and he sits down, and you go man, I don't have a prayer. And then it gets worse, because to your amazement, Jesus, your defense attorney, doesn't call any rebuttal witnesses. He doesn't even call you to the stand to defend yourself.

Now you know you really are doomed. So closing arguments are given, and the Devil gets up and he makes this eloquent, impassioned, airtight case against you. He points out that everything that he said is true, and he says to the court, "This person, you are guilty beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt". And then you can't wait for Jesus to get up and say something, but to your amazement, he gets up, but he doesn't say a word. And you think oh great, I got the wrong guy. And then without a word, he just holds up two nail-pierced hands, and he shows it to the judge, and the gavel comes down, and the verdict is rendered, and you can hear it all over eternity. Not guilty. The defendant is totally righteous in my eyes, case dismissed. Now listen, if you are a follower of Jesus, don't miss this. All of our sins have been forgiven, all of them. We have been totally, completely, finally, eternally justified by the supreme judge of the supreme court of the universe.

As a matter of fact, before any charges ever brought against you, the verdict is already in. Do you know why? Get the picture, the judge is your father, the defense attorney is the judge's son, and your savior, and oh, by the way, he has a perfect record. He has never lost a case before this judge, because you see, at the cross, your case was settled out of court. You say, "Man, sounds like the case is fixed". It is. It's fixed. The verdict is already in before a charge is even brought. It is God who justifies. So if this is only true, don't get too excited yet. This is only true if you are under the grace of God. This is only true if you've placed your faith in the son of God. This is only true if you have been to the cross, you have confessed your sins, you have received Christ into your life, only then is it true.

If you're still under the law of God, if you're still trying to get to God by being good, doing your best, going to church, doing this, doing that, you are going to be found guilty, and you will be condemned because you didn't keep the law perfectly. You are a sinner, and you are guilty. But, what Paul is saying is it doesn't have to be that way, because of... what's that word again? Grace. Now, there's one last great benefit to God's grace. God's faithfulness will never fail you. God's court will never condemn you. How big is our God? God's love will never leave you.

Now, watch this. The grand conclusion of this fantastic passage comes in the form of a question, ending with this dogmatic assertion about the God who is full of grace So Paul gives us another question, here's the question: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword"? Now think about it. There's insecurity everywhere. I mean, think about what we're facing right now in our own country. We're facing financial deficits, we're facing racial tension. Around the world, we're facing worldwide terrorism, rogue nations developing nuclear weapons. We've got cultural upheaval, we've got social tensions across the globe, and yet Paul comes along and says, "Look, in the midst of all of it, at the height of all of it, one thing is absolutely guaranteed. God's loving arms will be wrapped around us, and will never let us go".

The light of his love will never go dark. The fire of his love will never go out. The ocean of his love will never dry up. Listen, this God, this God of grace, and this God of love, and this God of mercy, this God loves us so much that not only does he walk with us through thick or thin in every trouble we face, he says, "Look, I want to go ahead and guarantee you something. Absolute, complete, ultimate victory in whatever you face".

So listen to Romans 8:37, this is so wonderful. Note in all these things, that is anything you're going to face in your life. I don't care what it is. Divorce, cancer, criticism, hypocrisy, lost jobs, lost money, doesn't matter. He said: "In all these things, we are not just conquerors, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us". No? Unfortunately, followers of Jesus are not guaranteed immunity to temptation or tribulation, or tragedy or trouble, but here's what we are promised: a loving God will give us victory over every single one of them, and then Paul just can't help himself. He comes back to the love of God, and I think he does this because he wants to show us not only how well he knows us, but how well God knows us because he see...see, when we think about well, we'll never be separated from the love of God, God will always love us.

But yet, then we kind of struggle with the durability of love, and let me tell you why. We look at other people, right? Well, we see other people quit loving other people everyday for just any reason. I cannot tell you how many times I've had a married couple come into my office to see me for counseling. I've heard it time after time after time. Well, what is your problem? I just don't love him anymore. I just don't love her anymore. Well, I never really loved him, I never really loved her. Friends fall out everyday, friends quit loving each other. Parents and children turn their love into hate, and what we know deep down is that most human love is limited. Most human love is conditional. Most people say I love you, but here's what they mean: I love you if blank is true, and I'll quit loving you when blank is no longer true.

So we look at others and we wonder, is there really a kind of love that will never leave you? And then we look at ourselves, and let's be honest. We have trouble believing that a God who is so perfect could love us, who are so imperfect. We think to ourselves, how could a lovable God love unlovable me? Because deep down, here's what every one of us knows to be true, and it is true. We're not worthy of his love, we don't deserve his love. And so, Paul just addresses that head on, Romans 8:38. "For I am convinced," now watch, he just starts thinking of everything he can throw up on the wall. "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". Put simply, Paul says, "Look, God's love is unlimited and God's love is unconditional. It doesn't matter what you do, God will still love you". It doesn't matter. You can desert God like the disciples did, he'll still love you. You can deny God like Peter did, he'll still love you. You can doubt God like we all do sometimes, he will still love you. So think about those words again. He says, "Nothing and no one can ever separate you from the love of God".

You may be separated from your spouse, you may be separated from your parents, you may be separated from your kids, or if you're like me, you might be separated from your hair, but you will never, ever be separated from the love of God. And I love what Paul says in Romans 8:39 to kind to sum it all up. It's almost like I've thought about everything I could think of that people might say might separate them from the love of God, and so, he says, "So let me just kind of put it to you this way". Now listen to it again, "Nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God, that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord". It's almost as if Paul is saying, "Save your breath, quit wasting your time. Nothing inside of you and nothing outside of you can ever separate you from the love of God".

Let me tell you something, let me tell you some words you will never, ever hear God say to you. Never. You won't even hear these words if you died denying him, if you died refusing to give your life to Jesus Christ. You will never hear God say these words: I don't love you anymore. The bottom-line of everything that Paul has been saying is this: this God of grace will never fail you, this God of grace will never forsake you, and this God of grace will never forget you. Let me ask you a question, do you really know how much God loves you? I mean, really? Do you really have an idea of how much this God of grace really loves you? I tell you how you can at least get a glimpse of it. Look at the cross of Jesus Christ, because let me tell you what really happened at the cross. The cross is where God said, "I'd rather die than to live without you". "I would rather die than to live without you".

So here's what I'd like to ask you to do. I want to encourage you to do something right now, okay? I want all of you to do this, okay? Just kind of put everything down, and here's what I want you to do. I want you to think about a word. It may be two words or three, but I want you to think about a word or two that would perfectly describe a struggle that you're facing right now in your life. It may be a worry, it may be a problem, it may be a situation, it may be a relationship, it may be an affliction, it may be an addiction, it may be a headache, it may be a heartache. Okay? Whatever it is, think about that word.

Now what I want you to do right now is either in your Bible or on that passage where you are in your iPhone or your iPad, or write down, or whatever, I want you to write that word down beside that passage of scripture that we just read. I want you to write that word down, and I want you to remember this: when you believe that the whole world is against you, God is for you. God's faithfulness will never fail you. When sin and Satan are accusing you and putting you on a guilt trip, God's court will never condemn you. And when you think nobody at all cares about you, God's love will never leave you. Why? Because the God of love, and the God of mercy, and the God of grace, and the God of forgiveness is just too big to fail.
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