... God will bring an incredible sense to all that we see. Welcome to Love Worth Finding, featuring the powerful truth of the Gospel found in the teachings of Adrian Rogers. The Bible says there is no good person, not one. Every good thing we have is due to the grace of God, in spite of our sins. Romans chapter 8 explains why good things happen to sinners like us.
If you have your Bible, turn there now, beginning in verse 28, as Adrian Rogers begins part one of this message, Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People? What is life all about? I mean, folks, we're here for such a short time, and then we die.
Yes, we die. And at best, life is a puzzle. There are things that we don't understand. There are circumstances that we cannot control. And then there are joys, unspeakable and full of glory. Life is full of mystery, misery and magnificence.
But it doesn't seem to make sense. Well, friend, if you get into the eighth chapter of Romans, you're going to find out that God will bring an incredible sense to all that we see, and we're going to learn something of the magnificent grace of God in it all and through it all. A man not long ago wrote a book. The title of the book is, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? That's a very wonderful title, but I don't like it really.
I'll tell you why. Folks, first of all, there are no good people. The Bible says there's none good, no, not one. I don't know whether you believe that or not, but that's Scripture. I mean, in and of ourselves, there are no good people. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
There's none good, no, not one. So let's just take that question and turn it over and ask not why do bad things happen to good people, but friend, why do good things happen to bad people? That is the grace of God. I mean, everything good that has come to us is the grace of God in spite of our sins.
Why? Why do good things happen to bad people, to sinners such as we? Well, we're going to find a divine plan, an incredible promise, and there are four things today I pray the Holy Ghost will write upon your heart, indelibly will etch upon your consciousness. Four wonderful truths, things that are true about you if you have come to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
Write four things about yourself. Write, first of all, I am graced. I am graced. I'm taking the word grace and making a verb out of it. I am graced by His purpose. Begin in verse 28 and look with me, if you will. And we know, we know that all things, not some things, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, now watch it, according to His purpose. Disraeli said that youth is a blunder.
Manhood is a struggle. Old age is a regret. That's the voice of a cynic. But what is the voice of the apostle Paul? He is saying that God has a purpose. Now, what is His purpose? Why did God create the universes? Why did God plan planet earth?
Why did God create Adam and Eve and all their progeny? Why did the Lord Jesus step out of heaven and come to this earth? Why did He suffer, bleed, and die upon a cross? Why, as we said, did He walk out of that grave? Why has He ascended back to the high hills of glory?
Why has He forgiven your sin? Why are we here? What is the eternal purpose of God?
Do you want to see? Well, we're graced with His purpose, and we're going to find out what it is. It's to make us like Jesus. That's it. You say, is that it?
That is it. Look at it again in verse 28, the called according to His purpose, for, that connects verse 29 with verse 28, for whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son. What is God's eternal purpose? It's to make a generation of people like Jesus, to be conformed to the image of His Son.
That is why. Well, why does God want us to be conformed to the image of His Son? Well, when God created Adam and Eve in the first place in the Garden of Eden, He created them in His image. That is so they could know Him and worship Him and fellowship with Him. And why has, since that image has been marred, why did Jesus Christ come to the cross?
To restore that image. And He does it, first of all, by regeneration when we're saved and we're made partakers of the Holy Ghost. And then He does it by sanctification as we're being made more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ. And then one day, hallelujah, thank God, when Jesus comes in glorification, we will be made just like the Lord Jesus. Now, do you want to find out how you're doing in your Christian life? Would you like to check up? Question, are you becoming more like Jesus? That's it. Are you becoming more like Jesus?
Not like Adrian. The question is, are you having God's purpose being fulfilled in you? Are you becoming more like the Lord Jesus? Now, God is not primarily concerned about making you healthy or wealthy or popular. God's plan is that you be more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, if these other blessings of health and wealth come, thank God, give God thanks. Well, you say, Pastor, what if God's purpose in me is not going to be fulfilled? Friend, it will be fulfilled.
Bank on it. You have been graced with God's purpose and who has begun a good work in you will perform it. Look in verse 29. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Now, did you know that it's already settled you're going to be like Jesus? It is predestined that you're going to be like the Lord Jesus. It is determined.
It has been determined in the council halls of eternity. God has said, predestination is already predetermined. He is predestined to be like Jesus. Now, let me just pause right here and say parenthetically, God never predestines anybody to hell.
Never. Predestination does not deal with the lost. It deals with the saved. Whom he did foreknow. Then did he also predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. Now, when God sees me receiving Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, he predestines me to be like the Lord Jesus Christ.
Those that he foreknows, he predestines, and predestined means it's already done in the heart and mind of God. You say, well, Adrian, does that mean you don't have any choices? I make choices every day, some good, some bad, some neutral. I was just on an airplane coming back from Salt Lake City, and on that airplane I made a lot of decisions. I could read this magazine or work on that sermon or make up my mind whether I wanted cranberry juice or Diet Coke, whether or not I wanted to eat the sandwich they offered, which I did not. And all of these other things, I'm making all of these decisions. They're my decisions.
But wait a minute. When that airplane took off from point A and it landed over here at point B, there was a predestined place where that airplane was going to land. Now, I made all these other little decisions, but while I'm making all these other little decisions, there's one great big decision being made.
I'm going from there to here. Now, granted, I know that every illustration has its weaknesses. That plane could have gone down before it got here, could have blown up, could have been hijacked and all of that.
Don't make the illustration work harder than I want it to work. What I'm trying to say is just simply this. In the heart and mind of those airlines, in the mind of those airline people and that pilot and all of that, while I'm on board making a lot of little decisions, there's one great big overarching decision already been made. And that's the way your life is. You might make a lot of decisions.
Folks, today you can scratch your ear and not scratch your ear. But I'm telling you what. God is going to make you like Jesus. It is predestined. You have been graced with God's purpose. And He says we know that this is happening.
That's what He says here. Look at it in this passage of Scripture in verse 28. And we know that all things work together for good.
This is something that is obvious. You say, well, Pastor, I really don't understand predestination. Well, that makes two of us. It makes all of us because you don't understand it. Vance Havner said, I don't understand electricity, but I'm not going to sit around in the dark until I do. Friend, you don't have to understand the Bible. You better start believing the Bible. It's not a book first and foremost to be explained. It's a book first and foremost to be believed. And so, listen, folks, what's it all about?
Why do good things happen to bad people? Number one, we have been graced with His purpose. We're going to be like the Lord Jesus no matter what else happens.
Number two, write this down. First one, I am graced with His purpose. Secondly, I am guided by God's providence. I am guided by God's providence. Now, how does God fulfill His purpose? By His providence.
Look in verse 28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Now, notice it says, and we know that all things work together for good. For is a preposition. And this particular preposition in the Greek language means that we're moving toward a goal.
It implies movement toward an object. And God has a goal in mind. Now, we talk about providence. What is providence? Providence means to see ahead of time and to make provision. That is, God sees the event before it ever gets here, and that's what we call providence. God just simply sees ahead of time, and He moves everything toward the goal that He has in mind.
All things are working together for good toward that good because of God's providence. Years ago, I read about Henry Ford, who built the first Ford automobiles, and his classic automobile in that day was the Model T Ford that came even before the Model A Ford. And according to the article that I read, old Mr. Ford was so shrewd that when he ordered the transmissions for his Model T Fords, he said to those who bid, I want you to box these transmissions in certain size boxes. I want the screw holes to be in certain places.
I want the wood to be of this and such character and quality. And they said, well, the old guy is eccentric. It really doesn't matter how you box a transmission, but we want the bid, so we'll box the transmissions this way because he didn't make the transmissions. Somebody else made the transmissions. So when they got there to the Ford factory, they unboxed the transmissions for the Model T Ford. But do you know what he did with the boxes?
They were cut perfectly for the floorboards of a Model T Ford. With screw holes and everything in place and all he had to do was take the boxes, he got the other folks to make the floorboards for him, and they were free. Well, old man Ford was just looking ahead and making provision. That's what God does. God makes provision.
We call that providence. Now, we may not understand, just like those people who are boxing up those transmissions did not understand, and a lot of times appearances may be deceiving. We do not live by appearances. We live by promises. Appearances are deceiving. We don't live by explanations.
We live by promises. Even when God does not rule, God overrules. Now, there's a lot of evil in the world. Don't get the idea that God causes all things. That's not what this verse says. But a young man, the teenager, perpetrated a horrible crime, brutally murdered his mother, then went to the high school, and there with a rifle shot and killed, I believe, two students, and wounded seven others.
As I read about that in the newspaper, I was particularly struck with what this young man said there in the courtroom. He said, quote, everything that happens has a reason. It's God's will. Now, friend, I want to tell you, God did not will that boy killing his mama.
God did not will that boy carrying that rifle to high school. Don't get in your mind the idea that everything that happens is God's will. Rape is not God's will. Murder is not God's will. Racial hatred is not God's will. Perversion is not God's will. Adultery is not God's will. It is not God's will. Man has a will, and man has an evil heart. But you see, even when man does evil, where God does not rule, God overrules. And God is still in charge of all of this. Now, sometimes there's sin that God just overrules.
Some of those people in those families that are suffering because of what that young man did. If they know the Lord, God's providence is still going to overrule, and God is going to take care of those precious families. And then sometimes you'll know that God will engineer by his providence circumstances that look evil to us, but they're not evil. God just has that wonderful plan. Somewhere years ago I read about a farmer who had a great big brush pile out there of brush and debris that he was going to burn, and when he came out there, he saw that a little bird had built a nest in that brush pile. Well, he knew he was going to burn it. That was a bad place for that little bird to build a nest. So the farmer destroyed the nest. When he came back days later, he found out that the bird was rebuilding the nest in that brush pile. The farmer went out there and destroyed the nest again. I think he did it three times, and finally the little bird gave up. But I can just imagine that little bird going home and saying to his mate, I just don't know what's happening. I don't know why all these things are against us.
I don't know why every time that we try to build a nest, it gets destroyed. Well, there was an unseen hand that was doing something that the bird may have thought was bad, but was really good. I read also of a boy who had a twisted foot, and the boy had to walk on the side of his foot, and he was handicapped. His father, who was a loving man, took that boy to the best orthopedic surgeons and specialists, but they said, no, we can't do anything.
All of his life he will walk on the side of his foot. Well, that father would not give up. He began to study. He took his self-prescribed course in orthopedics and medicine and began to study about bones and ligaments and sinews, and he decided he was going to straighten his boy's foot even if the doctors would not, and he worked and built a box. And in that box he put some screws that went into that box that could be tightened from the outside and padded those screws on the inside and put that box on that boy's foot and began to tighten those screws until the boy cried out in pain. And he said, son, I love you.
Just trust me. That night the boy went to sleep with that wooden box on. The next day he got up and the father tightened the screws a little more, and the boy would cry out in pain and the father would comfort him, and the boy had to go around with that big box on his foot. But there came a time when the father said, son, I'm going to take the box off of your foot now, and he took the box off and the foot was straight. And that father had through love and tenderness and yet causing the boy some pain had straightened that foot and the boy put his arms around that father and said, father, I love you. Thank you. It hurt. It was painful, but thank you.
Thank you for what you did. That father had a purpose in what he did. Can you imagine some school kids who are ridiculing a boy whose father is a surgeon and they say to that boy, your father is a mean man. Why do you say my father's a mean man? Your father puts people to sleep where they can't even help themselves, and then he puts them on a table and cuts them open. Then he takes things out of them and throws them away. And then he sews them up, and when they wake up, they cry.
They're in pain. Your father's a mean man. You know, some people accuse our Heavenly Father. Did you know that? They accuse our Heavenly Father because they don't have any more sense than those students who might be accusing the son of that surgeon.
No. Sometimes there's evil, and where God does not rule, he overrules, and sometimes the things that God does, they don't seem to be good to us, but they are good. Young Joseph, 17 years, he was suffering. His brothers had sold him into slavery. You remember the caravan of Ishmaelites came and bought young Joseph.
He's carried into Egypt, and there he's lied upon by Potiphar's wife, and he languishes in prison, but he finally becomes the prime minister of Egypt. And here's a great verse for you. Genesis chapter 50 and verse 20.
Joseph is talking later to his brothers. But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good to bring to pass, and it is this day to save much people alive. It was God that brought that caravan of slave traders. It was God that caused the famine in Israel.
It was God who overruled the lie of Potiphar's wife. Listen to me very carefully. Don't read Romans 8.28 to say that all things are good. All things are not good.
There's some terrible things in this world. The point is not that things are good. The point is that God is good, that it is God that is good. As a matter of fact, put in your margin Ephesians 1, verse 11. It says, Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. And so here's the first thing I want you to write down.
Put this down. Look, I am graced with his purpose. I'm going to be like Jesus. Number two, I am guided by his providence. God is working all things together.
That word working is the Greek word that we get our English word synergy from. There is a synergy of divine energy where God is working all things together for good. And Robert Ketchum said, God is too good to be unkind and too wise to make a mistake. Now here's the third thing I want you to write down.
We're trying to answer the question, why do good things happen to bad people? Well, number one, I'm graced by his purpose. He's going to make me like Jesus. Number two, I am guided by his providence. He is working all things together for my good and his glory. Number three, write down, I am guarded by his power. I am guarded by his power.
Look in verse 31. What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Now there are a lot of people who would like to be against you. Don't get the idea that this world will honor you if you serve the Lord Jesus. This world will break your neck if it can.
But just remember this. If God be for you, if God be for you, and that word for literally has the idea there of God being in your place. He died for you.
He died as your substitute. It doesn't only mean that if God is on your side. It literally means if God is in your place. If God be for you, if God is your substitute in the Lord Jesus Christ, if he is in your place, who can be against you?
Think about it. Whoever comes against you is really coming against the one who stands for you. Coming up tomorrow, we'll hear part two of this important lesson. If you have questions about who Jesus is or what he means to you, how to begin a relationship with God through Christ, go to our Discover Jesus page at lwf.org slash radio. There you'll find resources and materials that will answer questions you may have about your faith. Now if you'd like to order a copy of today's message in its entirety, call us at 1-877-LOVEGOD and mention the title, Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People? This message is also part of the insightful series, Foundations for Our Faith, Volume Two. For the complete collection, all 27 powerful messages, call that number 1-877-LOVEGOD or go online to order at lwf.org slash radio.
Or you can write us at Love Worth Finding, Box 38600, Memphis, Tennessee 38183. Thanks so much for studying in God's Word with us today. Be sure to sign up for our daily heartbeat emails and you'll get daily devotions and message links sent straight to your inbox.
You can find that at lwf.org slash radio. And tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People right here on Love Worth Finding. A monthly donor to Love Worth Finding sent us this note I want to share with you. I wish more young pastors modeled their preaching style after Adrian Rogers. Our churches and our country would be better off if they did.
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