SERMON SERIES: “What Then Are We to Say?”
SERMON TITLE: “Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love”
SERMON TEXT: Romans 8:31-39
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: February 16, 2020, at First UMC
When I was in elementary school, I really liked that ritual of giving out Valentine’s cards to every student in my class. There was something so affirming about giving and receiving those positive messages to and from everyone—not just your best friend or your five best friends—but to and from everyone in the whole class. Don’t you kind of wish we adults still did that sort of thing? On occasions, we do still get a similar outpouring of affection. Christmas cards are sort of like that, or when we’re celebrating a really big birthday. One time, I broke my wrist quite badly, and I received a pile of get well cards that was about five inches deep. There’s something so profound about feeling loved like that.
Today, I want you to feel that kind of affirmation from God. Since the beginning of February, we’ve been reading and re-reading this same passage of scripture from Romans chapter eight. Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome. It was the middle of the first century, some 20-30 years after Jesus had been crucified and resurrected. Largely due to the missionary travels of Paul and other early believers, the Christian faith was spreading around the Mediterranean region. But all wasn’t going easily. Paul himself was frequently imprisoned for preaching the gospel, and tradition has it that Paul was eventually martyred for the cause of Christ.
So, when Paul wrote of hardship, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword, he knew of what he spoke. And, yet, somehow, Paul was able to rise above anger, sadness, and bitterness. When faced with troubles of every kind—instead of sinking into apathy, cynicism, or despair—Paul responded with the positive affirmations, “God is for us!” and “Jesus intercedes for us!” When Paul asked, “What then are we to say about these things?” he answered his own question with a response that should be printed on every Valentine’s card: “Nothing can separate us from God’s love!”