Whose Report Do You Believe

WHOSE REPORT DO YOU BELIEVE?

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

I)     INTRODUCTION – THE TEXT FOR MY MESSAGE IS FOUND IN ROMANS 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)

II)    HOW MANY OF US REALLY, REALLY BELIEVE THIS VERSE OF SCRIPTURE?   IT IS CLEAR THAT THE APOSTLE PAUL BELIEVED THIS UNEQUIVOCALLY.  HE DID NOT LEAVE ANY ROOM FOR DOUBT, BUT THE QUESTION FOR US IS: “DO WE REALLY BELIEVE THIS PROMISE OF GOD AND IF YOU DO WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF BELIEVING THIS VERSE?

III)   WHAT DOES THIS VERSE SAY AND WHAT DOES IT NOT SAY.

A)   THIS VERSE HAS QUALIFYING STATEMENTS.  LET’S TAKE IT A STEP AT A TIME:

B)   THE QUALIFYING STATEMENTS DETERMINE AND LIMIT THE APPLICATION OF THIS VERSE.  FIRST IT IS LIMITED TO THOSE PERSONS WHO TRULY LOVE GOD, TO THOSE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.

C)   THIS WOULD NOT INCLUDE THOSE PERSONS WHO JUST SAY THEY LOVE GOD, BUT THOSE PEOPLE WHO TRULY LOVE GOD – THOSE PEOPLE WHO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS AND HIS COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT GRIEVOUS.

D)   JESUS SAID: IF YOU LOVE ME YOU WILL KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.  HE ALSO SAID IF YOU LOVE HIM THEN YOU LOVE THE FATHER (GOD).  IF YOU DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE AND LOVE HIM THAN YOU DO NOT LOVE THE FATHER, BECAUSE HE HAS REVEALED THE FATHER TO US THROUGH HIM.

E)   IF DO YOU LOVE GOD THEN GOD HAS CALLED YOU AND SET YOU ASIDE FOR HIS PURPOSE, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT EVEN COME TO GOD EXCEPT THE HOLY SPIRIT DRAW YOU AND HE DRAWS YOU FOR HIS PURPOSES.

F)    THE OVERRIDING PURPOSE OF GOD IN CALLING YOU IS TO SEPARATE YOU UNTO HIMSELF AND TO CONFORM YOU TO THE IMAGE OF JESUS CHRIST, HIS SON, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST HONOR HE COULD POSSIBLY BESTOW UPON US.  (VERSE 29 & 30)

IV)  THE NEXT QUESTION IS:  WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS VERSE?

A)   AT FIRST BLUSH WE MAY THINK THAT IT MEANS THAT NOTHING BAD OR NEGATIVE COULD POSSIBLE HAPPEN TO US.  (IF WE ARE ONE OF THOSE THAT LOVE GOD AND ARE CALLED TO HIS PURPOSE.)  IF WE ARE EXEMPT FROM DISEASE, IF OUR BODIES HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED PAIN, IF WE ALWAYS HAVE MONEY IN OUR POCKETS AND MONEY IN THE BANK, IF WE LIVE IN A MODERN, SPACIOUS HOME AND ENJOY THE LATEST LUXURIES, IF WE HAVE THE BEST CLOTHING AND CAN TAKE LONG VACATIONS AT THE SEASHORE THEN WE CONSIDER THAT GOOD… NOT NECESSARILY SO….  I WOULD REMIND YOU OF THE STORY OF BIBLE CHARACTERS, WHO ARE A PART OF THAT GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:

1)     JOSEPH.   HE WAS A DREAMER LIKE SOME OF US, BUT HE WAS SOLD AS A SLAVE INTO EGYPT.  HE WENT TO PRISON FOR DOING WHAT IS RIGHT, WHEN HE WOULD NOT GIVE IN THE SEXUAL DESIRES OF POTIPHAR’S WIFE.  GOD USED HIM TO SAVE HIS FAMILY AND EGYPT FROM A COMING FAMINE.

2)    JOB LOST EVERYTHING, INCLUDING HIS CHILDREN AND POSSESSIONS.

3)    PAUL’S SUFFERED: WHIPPING (3 TIMES), STONED AND LEFT FOR DEAD, SHIPWRECK, PUT IN PRISON AND FINALLY BEHEADED FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL.  Rom 8:36: Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

4)    JESUS ACCEPTED THE WILL OF GOD AND EMBRACED THE CROSS: Heb 12:2: who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NIV 

B)   WHAT IT DOES MEAN IS THAT IF WE LOVE GOD AND ARE WALKING IN THIS LOVE, NOTHING HAPPENS TO US BY ACCIDENT.  GOD USES EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING THAT “HAPPENS” TO US TO BRING ABOUT HIS PURPOSE AND OUR ULTIMATE GOOD.   GOD HAS A LONG TERM PLAN FOR OUR SUCCESS – THAT WE WILL BECOME LIKE HIS SON AND THAT WE WILL LIVE WITH HIM FOR ALL ETERNITY.

C)   THIS MEANS THAT IF WE LOVE GOD WE SHOULD NOT ONLY ACCEPT, BUT EMBRACE EVERYTHING THAT GOD ALLOWS TO HAPPEN TO US. 

D)   THIS MEANS THAT WE SHOULD NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING THAT GOD HAS PERMITTED TO HAPPEN TO US BUT IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS!

E)   EVERYTHING THING THAT SEEMS ADVERSE OR DIFFICULT IS FOR OUR BEST FOR IT IS GOD’S PURPOSE AND GOD IS GOOD!

F)    FOR THE CHILD OF GOD ACCIDENTS ARE NOT ACCIDENTAL AND ADVERSITY IS NOT ADVERSE.

G)   THIS VERSE SAYS NOTHING TO THE PERSON WHO IS PRETENDER OR IS IN OPEN REBELLION AGAINST GOD OR THE PERSON OR THE PERSON WHO IS NOT IN SYMPATHY WITH GOD’S PURPOSES.   IT DOES NOT SPEAK TO THEIR SITUATION.

V)   CONCLUSIONJ. OSWALD SANDERS IN HIS BOOK ENTITLED “SPIRITUAL MATURITY” SAYS THAT THE CRUX OF THE PROBLEM INVOLVES OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD “GOOD”.  THE “GOOD” PROMISED BY GOD IN HIS FAR SIGHTED LOVE DOES NOT ALWAYS SEEM GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE TO US.  IN FACT HIS PROVIDENCES OFTEN APPEAR DISASTROUS WHEN VIEWED FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE NATURAL MAN.’  LET’S PAUSE A MOMENT AND CONSIDER THE TESTIMONY OF THESE GREAT MEN OF GOD.

A)   JOSEPH’S TESTIMONY TO HIS BROTHERS WAS “WHAT YOU MEANT FOR EVIL, GOD MEANT FOR GOOD.”

B)   JOB’S TESTIMONY OF WHEN HIS WIFE WANTED HIM TO CURSE GOD AND DIE WAS “THE LORD GIVETH, THE LORD TAKETH AWAY, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.”

C)   PAUL AND SILAS WERE FOUND SINGING AT MIDNIGHT AFTER BEING IMPRISONED FOR PREACHING THE GOSPEL.  GOD USED THIS OCCASION TO SAVE THE JAILER AND HIS FAMILY.

1)    Rom 8:18: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2)    Rom 8:37-39: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.

3)    Act 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 BUT none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

D)   WE WANT THIS COME TO THIS PLACE, LIKE PAUL,  WHERE NOTHING MOVES US.  NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS WE WILL NOT DOUBT HIM.  WE WILL SERVE HIM UP TO OUR LAST BREATH, AND THEN WE WILL GO TO LIVE WITH HIM FOR ETERNITY WITHOUT END. 

 

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