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God's Purpose - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
October 23, 2023 12:00 am

God's Purpose - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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October 23, 2023 12:00 am

We all go through storms in life and we may not know why or what purpose they serve.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, October 23rd. In life, periodic hurricanes may churn the calm waters of our lives. However, when believers weather these storms, we discover that they become the best seasons for making us useful in God's kingdom. All of us go through storms in our life and sometimes we don't understand exactly why we do and where they're coming from and what it's all about. Then I thought through the Scriptures of God's servants back in the Old Testament, the New Testament, how many storms that they went through in life and what was it that built into them, the character that was there. It was the storms, not ease, comfort and pleasure. So what I want to talk about in this message is this, and that is the storms of life, God's purpose.

What are the purposes for God allowing these storms in our life? And I want you to turn to one verse that most all of us know by heart. But I want us to look at it because sometimes we think everybody knows these verses and they don't. And sometimes we have quoted them so often, we sort of forget what they really say that we can set off the top of our head. But Romans 8, verse 28, we all know it by heart. But I want you to notice what Paul says in this passage. There's one word that is the key above all the rest.

And sometimes we think it's a phrase, but I think it is one word primarily. He says, 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. Now, usually what we are primarily interested in is when he says all things.

And so that's the thing that gives us the problem. But the key word in this whole passage here is this. When he said God causes, that assures me that God is a part of, that he is involved in, that he is behind, he is engineering the circumstances of our life. So when he says God causes all things to happen according to his purpose and his plan, sometimes we look at the all things and we think, how could all of these things be? But the all things really hinge on the fact that is God who is causing them.

So I want us to think in terms of this whole idea of the storms we go through in life and what's their purpose. God is a God of purpose. If you'll start in Genesis, the first chapter, you'll find God doesn't respond to things by happenstance.

And God is not a responder. God is an initiator. And so when we look at God, God is a God of purpose. And he says that he is engineering all of our circumstances according to his good pleasure and to his good will and for our good and for his glory.

And so when I look at this passage and I think, well, God, how could this be? And sometimes one of the reasons we question some of the things that God could be in is because we look at the source of them. And the source of all the storms in life that we experience are either storms that we create ourselves or storms that God initiates in our life or storms that Satan initiates. And whether they come through certain people not or directly from Satan doesn't make any difference. If it's a storm of doubt that just can brew in our heart, it may come strictly from the devil or it may be some storm that comes through others that Satan initiates.

But the issue is the source. Now, I want to say this once, twice, and a number of times. The most important thing I want us to look at here is not the source of the storm, not the nature of it, not the intensity of it, not the length of it, but rather what is the proper response. Now, in order for me to respond properly, one of the most helpful things is this. If I understand the purpose, if I understand what God is up to in this time, if I understand the purpose, then I'm going to be able to more than likely respond more properly.

So what I want us to dwell upon is this. What is the purpose? What are the purposes that God has in mind for allowing or sending these storms into our life? Now, we said it could be something God initiates, it could be something we are responsible for, or it could be something that Satan does directly or through someone else. But the real issue is what is God's purpose? I'm going to give you five words. The first word is this, because this is one of God's primary purposes for sending or allowing the storm.

Now, remember what He said. God causes all things to work together for good. So it doesn't make any difference what the nature of the storm is. God's intention is that it turn out for our good. First word is cleansing. One of God's primary purposes for allowing or sending the storms into our life is for the purpose of cleansing us. And you've heard me say before, before my mother passed away and some months before that she was suffering, and even before that I was done praying one day and the Lord just sent this phrase through my mind, the purifying work of pain.

Now, I thought that was a sermon idea. What I didn't realize is that it was the work to me from God, the purifying work of pain, that pain will purify your life. Now, I want you to turn to the 119th Psalm because there isn't anyone in the Old Testament that best describes, analyzes, and seemingly understands God's purposes in these storms like David.

The 119th Psalm is the very longest one, you'll recall. And there are two verses here I want us to notice because David understood the purifying work of pain. He understood God's purposes for allowing the storms in his life.

And you'll recall that his whole life was one storm after the other, even unto his death. If you'll notice the 67th verse of this 119th Psalm, David says, Before I was afflicted, he says, I went astray, but now I keep thy word, thou art good and doest good, teach me thy statutes. Look if you will in the 71st verse, he says, It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn thy statutes.

The law of thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. He says in verse 75, I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness thou has afflicted me. Now, David understood that when God allowed storms into his life, what did it do?

There was a purifying process that went on. Now, why is that true? Because it is in our difficulties and our hardships that God surfaces attitudes, he surfaces habits, he surfaces sins, he surfaces things in a life that we were not even conscious of sometimes things that we were. And so he oftentimes uses these storms to get our attention.

Now, I want you to remember this, there's several things I'm going to say over again because I want you to remember this. And that is when God sends or allows a storm, he never sends them to sink us but to sanctify us. Not to sink us but to sanctify us.

God at no time in no way under no condition ever determines to destroy his children in difficulty and hardship but rather to develop us. And so it is always for sanctification and never to sink us. Now, to sanctify means to set us apart.

There is a cleansing process that goes on in sanctification whereby we are set apart by God for the purposes of God and fitted and suited for what God has called us or equipped us to do. So if you can remember, he doesn't send the storm to sink us but what? To sanctify us.

And that is, it is for our good. He says God causes all things, even the storms in our life. He says he causes these things to come about in our life. He engineers them for our good. Whatever cleanses us, whatever sanctifies us, that is God's purpose and something good that is going on.

So what does he do? He uses these storms when we get off track to bring us back, to pull us back into himself. Always for the right purpose, the good purpose. And sometimes he's chasing us back onto the pathway of holiness and righteousness and obedience. God is always in the process of using anything and everything he can to bring us into the sanctified condition. That does not mean that we'll reach some stage of sanctification whereby we'll say, now I have been sanctified and I am sinless.

No. Sanctification is a period but sanctification is also in a continuous line. It is something that happens when you and I are saved.

He sets us apart for himself. The sanctifying process goes on all of our life because God is in the process of equipping us, molding us and making us. And so one of his primary purposes for ascending these things into our life is cleansing. What's the first one?

Cleansing. The second one I want you to jot down is companionship. If you and I could ask him, Lord, what do you want from me most of all? What he would say to us is, what I want most out of your life is I want an intimate relationship with you. I want you to understand how much I love you. I want you to experience my love. I want you to love me in return. As I am transparent and open and revealing myself to you, I want you to be honest and transparent and revealing of yourself to me. I want you to give yourself to me because giving yourself to me is the wisest thing you could possibly do. I want to bless you with my very best.

I want to show you what I'm really like. I want to reveal myself to you as God. And what I want us to have is an intimate relationship where you and I not only God and son are children, father and son and daughter, but we are friends. God is not only our father, but he is also our friend.

I want that intimate relationship with you. And what is it that drives us to God is hardship and difficult in trial. When are the times that you and I learned the most about God? When do we experience his love?

When do we joy in his forgiveness? Is it not in our failures and our frustrations and our anxieties? Is it not we feel like God, we have blown it for good?

We've blown it for sure. We've suffered this loss in our life. It may be financial relationship or whatever it may be. All these things that we experience, what is it that draws us to him? What is it drives us to him? It is suffering and pain and hardship, the storms of life.

I don't know if how Jesus could have pictured this in a way that would be more descriptive and unforgettable than this. He said, for example, in the fifteenth chapter of John with his disciples, he said, I am abiding in you and you are abiding in me. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself excepted about in the vine, no more can you accept you abide in me. He says, I'm abiding in you and you and me. Here's what he's saying. He says, as the branch has been grafted into the vine and becomes a part of it, the sap that runs in the vine runs in the branch.

Now the two have become one, the vine and the branch. This is the way he sees us. And that is in an intimate relationship, a relationship that is more than just reading my Bible and praying and going to church and witnessing and giving my money, more than seeing God up in heaven sitting upon his throne and all of his majesty and might and power. And here I am down here walking in the Christian life doing the best I can.

It isn't that at all. It is God bringing himself into a relationship. He's the one who takes the initiative that he wants us into this ever growing intimate relationship with him. What does he use to bring that to pass? He uses storms, difficulty, hardship and trouble, because what does it do? It causes us to flee to him and to hide in him.

Again, David had the most awesome understanding of this. Go back, if you will, to Psalm 57. In the 57th Psalm, a wonderful Psalm of assurance and there's so many things here that are worthy of our reading, but I just want you to notice a couple of things in these first few verses. Here he is talking about his difficulty and you recall he went through one storm after the other and he did not write all these Psalms out in the wilderness or out in the fields keeping his sheep.

Some of them were hiding in caves from Saul and sometimes he was the king and hardship and trial and storms in his life. In verse 1 of Psalm 57, he says, Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge in thee, and in the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge until destruction until the storm until calamity passes by. I will cry to God most high. I will cry to God most high to God who accomplishes all things for me. He will send from heaven and save me.

He reproaches him who tramples upon me. God will send forth his loving kindness and his truth. And he says in verse 7, My heart is steadfast, O God. My heart is steadfast.

Now what does he say? He says that God is his refuge. And you remember the verse he says God is a refuge in a very, listen to this, a very present help in time of trouble. And I'm so glad he put present because that means any time there's trouble, any time there's a storm, he's present.

He is a very present help in time of trouble. David knew what it meant to flee to God. And it was in that fleeing to him in times of storm that he understood what God would do for him.

Notice what he said. He says, I will hide under the shadow of his wings. Turn to the 63rd Psalm, Psalm 63, and again a couple of verses. Here's what he says in verse 6.

And I love this phrase. When I remember thee on my bed, I meditate on thee in the night watches. You see, he spent a lot of his time in the evening, in those early hours in the morning in the dark, speaking to God, listening to him, thinking about him, talking to him, listening to what he says. When I remember thee on my bed, I meditate on thee in the night watches. For thou has been my help.

And in the shadow of thy wings, I sing for joy. My soul clings to thee. Thy right hand upholds me.

Look at that. He said my soul clings to thee. Thy right hand upholds me. There was an intimacy. There was a oneness.

There was a sense of confidence. There was this awesome sense of oneness when he says my soul clings to thee. Have you ever felt like you'd like to hug God?

Have you ever wished that the Lord Jesus Christ for just for a moment in your life was the physical, human, divine being that he is and you could just walk up and put your arms around him and hold him real tight and just hear his heart beat against yours? Well, we can't hug him physically, but one thing we can experience, we can experience him hugging us spiritually. And the Lord Jesus, though he is seated at the Father's right hand and in the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us, he can place his loving arms around us. We can experience this awesome sense of oneness. We can experience this deep abiding intimacy with him. And he is so willing to love us in such a way that we're aware of that. What is he after in our life?

Companionship with us. Listen, he doesn't need anything that you and I have. He doesn't need us to do anything for him. What he wants from you and me, there's not anybody else in the world that's a substitute for us. He can get someone else to do everything you and I do.

He can't get anybody to love him in our place. He can't get anybody to be a substitute for us to have an intimate relationship with him because that's why he created us. And when I look at these verses from David and realize what he's saying here, he says, my soul, my soul clings to thee. Thy right hand upholds me.

What is he saying? He's saying that he is absolutely sufficient. Now, what is it that teaches us that? What teaches us that he's sufficient?

What is it that drives us into that intimate relationship and fellowship with him? And you see, God is a jealous God. He is a jealous God. Now, when we read the scriptures and we say, well, God is a jealous God, that sounds like God is sinning. No, here's the kind of jealousy he has. When he says he's a jealous God, here's what he means. Anything that competes in our life with our love and devotion to him, he's jealous of that. He doesn't want anything in our life competing with our love and devotion and loyalty and faithfulness to him.

Nothing. Now, that doesn't mean that we're not to love other people. It does not mean that you're not going to not experience pleasures and joy and happiness and fun in life. It doesn't mean any of that.

But it means that everything else must take its secondary place. There is nothing in life that can be allowed to compete with our love and loyalty and devotion to Jesus. Storms are God's tools. Storms are God's training periods in our life.

It's his training periods. It is his tools in our life to do what? In order to equip us. It isn't enough for God just to comfort us and to strengthen us, but God also wants to use us. He wants to do something through us and so it's not enough that God would just allow these storms in our life in order to do something and build character in our life. But it is you and I learn to hurt, learn to suffer, learn to experience pain. Listen, not always trying to escape it and run from it, but God, you said you are causing all things to work together for good. So God, you must be causing my storm to work for good in my life and so I want to thank you for that.

Lord, what are you teaching me in this? And Father, how can I now be a comfort to someone else? Let me ask you, when you're going through difficulty and hardship, do you want someone to say, well, I'm just going to pray for you. Listen, I'll pray for you. Just don't worry about it. I'm just going to be praying for you.

Thank you very much. You don't want that. Somebody pats you on the shoulder and says, I know how you feel.

No, they don't. You and I know when someone says to us, I know how you're hurting. You can't hide it. Listen, when you say it out of your own previous hurts, you don't have to convince anybody.

They know that. Why does God allow storms in our life? He allows these storms in our life because you and I, listen to this, are the living, walking expressions of Jesus on this earth. Thank you for listening to God's purpose. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-23 02:25:21 / 2023-10-23 02:33:18 / 8

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