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September 8, 2021 12:01 am
God has promised to work all things together for the good of His people (Rom. 8:28). Does this mean everything that happens to us is good--even evil and suffering? Today, R.C. Sproul continues his series on the providence of God.
Get R.C. Sproul's Teaching Series 'Providence: God In Control' as a Digital Download and a copy of R.C. Sproul's book 'The Invisible Hand' for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/1849/providence-invisible-hand
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Today God Renewing Your Mind. If in fact everything that happens to us is working for our ultimate good. Would it not follow that ultimately everything that happens to us is good. If God is working in it and threw it for our good. Then we have to say. Ultimately, it was good that it happened. All of this when we come to Romans 828 can have an intellectual understanding of the promise, but we were walking through the darkness of grief was suffering is far more difficult to Weston please this week aware portions of Dr. RC scroll series Providence God in control. The title of today's message together for good. One of the things that I like to do with my seminary students where I teach is to ask them trick questions. One of my favorite trick questions since this one who was the greatest prophet in the Old Testament.
L&I asked that question.
My students will usually give answers like Isaiah or Jeremiah receipt your Daniel or whoever happens to be their favorite Old Testament prophet and I say no no no no, the greatest prophet in the Old Testament was John the Baptist, and as soon as I say that they get all upset and I say that's not fair.
That's a trick question. He's not in the Old Testament we read about him in the New Testament. I suggest we read about him in the book called the New Testament.
But the period in which he appears in redemptive history is still the age of the old covenant, Jesus says that the law and the prophets rule until John. That is up to and including John will that's one of my trick questions. The other one is the one I'm more interested in for our consideration today. The question is this. See if you can answer it.
The question is what negative prohibition does Jesus give more frequently than any other negative prohibition in the New Testament you think hard about that for a minute, what negative prohibition this Jesus give to his people in the New Testament. More often than any other, or remember I said it's kind of a trick question. The answer is fear not. Jesus says it so often that we don't even read it or hear it as if it were a negative prohibition doing. He says it so often. It almost takes the place of a greeting because when thesis appears before people instead of saying hello or shalom.
He says don't be afraid. Fear not, there are reasons for that. Certainly one of the reasons is that Jesus himself when he manifested the majesty of God, the awesome holy transcendence power that he displayed frightened people and he would have to assuage these fears he would have to speak to calm them down. But there's another reason I'm sure why our Lord had to say this so many times I think it's because he understood something very basic about us that we are given to fear our that there are many times in many occasions in our lives where we are frightened and obviously one of the most frightening things about our lives is the unknown future.
We don't know what tomorrow will bring.
We don't know if tragedy will befall us at the next turn. We don't know if will be stricken was obtained for even terminal disease, and these things frighten us now how would you feel if Jesus himself spoke to you today and said to you. Don't be afraid. From this moment on word. Nothing bad will ever happen to you again over that do for your fierce wouldn't that put a little extra skip in our walking and a little extra lilt in her voice. As we faced tomorrow and as we face the future will today. What I want us to consider is that in a very profound and real sense Jesus has made that commitment already to us is an indirect promise, and it's one that we don't always quite grasped in its full implications and yet were familiar enough with us that frequently when polls are taken about what people's favorite verses are in the New Testament. This particular verse that contains the promise that comes to us in directly from Christ.
That promise is found in Paul's letter to the Romans. In the eighth chapter Romans 828 says this for we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.
They say wait a minute. RC the text doesn't say that only good things happen to God's people.
It doesn't say that God will never allow anything bad to happen to you, while I have to agree. Quite simply, that's true.
Those words are not found in the text. I'm inferring something here from the text that I want us to examine the text simply says that God is at work in such a way that all things that is everything that we encounter everything that happens to us everything that we meet everything that befalls us. God is working together for good. Again, that doesn't mean that everything that happens to us is when considered in itself a good thing. But God is saying here that in his providence. He is making everything that does happen to us work for our good. So now we have to put our thinking Little Bit and I Ask You This If in Fact Everything That Happens to Us Is Working for Our Ultimate Good. Would It Not Follow Resist Was Slightly That Ultimately Everything That Happens to Us Is Good. If God Is Working in It and Threw It for Our Good.
Then We Have To Say. Ultimately, It Was Good That It Happened but You Notice the Word You Hear the Word That I'm Saying This Kind of the Qualifier Word.
It's the Fine Print That I'm Speaking and That's the Word Ultimately When We Speak in the Language of Philosophy or Theology, We Often Make a Distinction between the Ultimate and the Proximate and That Distinction Which Can Be a Technical Thing Is Really a Distinction between the Remote That Which Is Far Away Out Of Our Immediate Vision Out Of Our Immediate Grasp between the Remote and the near That Which Is near at Hand. That Which We Do See That Which We Do Embrace That Is Happening in the Here and Now. The Earlier in Our Study of Providence. You Will Recall That We Made an Important Distinction about Causes and We Made a Distinction between Primary Causality and Secondary Causality. Again, That's a Little Bit of an Abstract Thing and I Realize That but What the Theologian Is Getting at When He Distinguishes between Primary and Secondary Causality Is This. You Remember the Story of Joseph, Where, When He Was Reunited with His Brothers. His Brothers Were Terrified That Joseph Would in Act Vengeance against and Their and Their Fear. You Know Their Apologizing and All That and Joseph Says Don't Worry, You Don't Have To Be Afraid You Meant It for Evil but God Meant It for Good.
What Joseph Is Saying Is, There Were Two Agents Involved in My Affliction to Causal Powers Working It's Because of You in This World. Joseph Is Saying to His Brothers That I Was Sold into Slavery, and That I Was Thrown in the Prison and That I Endured so Many Years of Pain and Affliction. You Were the Cause of That yet the Same Time in That Human Causal Chain. Joseph Recognized That beyond the Actions of His Brothers above the Actions of His Brothers Stood over Arching Providence of God, and He Say You May Have Caused These Things Approximately.
You May Have Been the near at Hand Because You Were the Secondary Cause, but Joseph Is Saying to His Brothers, but I Understand That Even You Do Not Have the Power to Sin against Me, Unless It Is Somehow within the Realm of God's Overarching Providential Government of My Life and so Ultimately God's Intentions Were Being Worked out, and His Intentions Were Absolutely Righteous and Good and Holy and He Is Even Able to Bring Good Out Of Your Evil. That's the Fundamental Lesson That We Have Been Struggling to Understand As We Examine This Biblical Concept of Providence and There Is No Statement in All of Scripture That Crystallizes This More Exactly, or More Clearly Than Paul's Summary in Romans 828 All Things Work Together for Good for Those Who Love the Lord and for Those Who Are Called According to His Purpose. Now I Brought with Me Today. The New American Standard Translation of the New Testament and It Gives Us a Slightly Different Twist in the Words That It Chooses to Use in Order to Translate Romans 828. Let's Listen to That, the Way They Translated Is This and We Know That God Causes All Things to Work Together for Good to Those Who Love God and Do You Hear That the God Who Is the Primary Cause of Everything That Happens Has the Power in His Providence to Make Every Single Thing That Happens to Us Work for Our Good. If I Really Believe That You Understand Are Different Levels of Our Confidence of Belief in the Things of God.
I Always like to Say That There Is a Big Difference between Believing in God and Believing God. I Am Confident That God Exists. I Put My Faith in God but My Face Is like the Faith of Peter and Others Who Said, Lord, I Believe, Help the Line on the Life Because We Tend to Vacillate, We Tend to Struggle in the Moment of Crisis When We Are Called upon to Trust the Promise of God, Who in the World Looks Forward to Pain.
Save the Masochist Who Looks Forward to the Death of Family Members, or to Friends Who Looks Forward to Wars and All the Rest of the Evils That Befall Our Existence in This World and When They Happen. It Is Exceedingly Difficult to Hold Firm in the Confidence and in Your Face and in Your Belief That God Is at Work Here for Good.
That's the Real Test of the Christian Life Is to What Degree We Are Able to Trust God for Tomorrow, and yet It Is Precisely at the Point of Our Trusting and Believing the Promise of God That These Things Are Working Together for Our Good. That Is the Anecdote to Fear When I Was Just a Little Boy, My Mother Would Pray by My Bedside at Night and She Would Pray Children's Prayers and Little Prayers That Were Easy for Me to Understand and I Had to Memorize the One That I Didn't Particularly like. I Found a Scary. Now I Lay Me down to Sleep. Remember That When I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep, so Far, so Could If I Should Die before I Wake I Pray the Lord My Soul to Take an Overnight on the Bed a Little Bit Uncertain Whether I Was Going to Wake up in the Morning Because I Had the Deal with That Idea at Nighttime.
I Found It Frightening but the Other One That She Taught Was the 23rd Psalm and the Lord Is My Shepherd. It's an Upbeat Song. It's a Psalm of Trust in the Care of Divine Providence That My Life Is in the Hand of the Shepherd, but the Part of That Prayer That Always Got My Most Intense Interest Were the Words You Though I Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I Will Fear No Evil. You've Prayed That You've Read That You've Heard That, but It's One of the Hardest Truths of God to Believe in the Sense of Getting That Faith beyond Our Brains and into Our Bloodstream.
EA, Though I Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I Will Fear No Evil.
I Am Not at the Place in My Life Where I Can Say That with Certainty. There Are Things That Work in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There Are Things in Those Shadows That Frightened Me and I Suspect They Frighten You, and We Learn to Be Afraid of the Dark When We Were Little Children to Get the Psalmist Says Even If I Walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death I Will Not Be Afraid of Any Evil.
Why, for Thou Art with Me. I Once Heard an Old Minister Say God Has Never Promised His People That They Would Be Exempt from Walking through the Valley of the Shadow Death. He Never Says You Will Never Have To Go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, What God Has Promised Is That When We Do Go into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, That He Will Go with Us. What Does It Do to Your Courage. If You Really Knew That He Was There Again, If Christ in Physical Terms in His Incarnate Form Would Walk into Our Rooms Today and Say to Us, Save Them ARC This Afternoon. I Want You to Go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and I'm Going to Walk out There with You What My Response Would Be. I Would Say Lord If You're Going with Me. Let's Go Well. I Had to Be Afraid. If You Are Here. My Fears He Doesn't Really Mean It, but Maybe Soon As I Step Foot in That Valley to Leave Is so Hard to Put Our Trust in the Promise of God's Presence. When We Cannot See It. It's like the Little Children during the Korean War, Who Were in Fear of Starving Because Food Was so Scarce in the Orphan Children Were Gathered in Some of the Camps and and the Children Couldn't Sleep at Night and They Weren't Getting Enough Rest Because of Their Fear and Their Principal Fear Was They Wouldn't Be Able to Survive Another Day Because There'd Be No Food. So, One Nurse Came up with an Idea That When She Took the Children into Bed at Night. She Gave Them a Piece of Bread to Hold in Their Hand and They Dozed off to Sleep and Great Calmness of Spirit without a Problem Because Their Security Was Not a Blanket. It Was a Piece of Bread Because They Had Tangible Concrete Evidence That Their Future Care Was Being Provided for. This Was an Example of Human Providence. God Is Saying. Even If You Don't See Me. Even If You Can't See Me. Even If You Can't Touch Me. I Will Be There Even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and so When Paul Tells Us That All Things Work Together for Good, He Is Saying That Not Because He Is Just Given to Optimism, or Because the Apostle Is Whistling in the Dark, but He Is Teaching Us a Premise He Is Teaching Us Something That Is a Law of God That God Has Promised and Committed Himself to That by His Providence. He Guarantees His Presence in the Midst of Suffering and Not Only That Is Absolute Promise That No Matter How Things Happen to Us or What Things Happen to Us in This World, God Will Redeem Because the God of Providence Is a Redeeming God Is Dr. RC Sproul Said Today.
No One Looks Forward to Famine or War Were Suffering More.
Losing a Loved One Is Right and Good to Grieve in Those Circumstances, but in Our Grief We Can Rest in the Knowledge That in His Providence.
God Is Working All Things for Our Ultimate Good and His Glory. We Heard a Message from Dr. Scroll Series Providence God in Control Today Here on Renewing Your Mind. I'm Glad You Could Be with Us Today. The Series Is Helpful in Every Stage of Life with Her Were Experiencing Joy or Grief. We Need to Be Reminded That Everything Is a Purpose and That All Events Occur According to God's Eternal Plan. That Knowledge Brings Both Comfort and Humility Would like to Provide a Digital Download of the Full Series.
Do You There's a Total of 15 Messages from Dr. Scroll and When You Contact Us Today with a Donation of Any Amount Will Also Include the Hardbound 25th Anniversary Edition of RC's Book the Invisible Hand and a Dr. Scroll Writes This He Says the Providence of God Is Our Fortress.
Our Shield and Are Very Great Reward. It Is What Provides Courage and Perseverance for His Saints. So Request These Resources Today When You Call Us at 800-435-4343 or When You Go Online to Renewing Your Mind.org When Dr. Scroll Founded Leader Ministries. In 1971. He Wanted to Help Growing Christians Understand Their Faith More Deeply and so He Taught on a Range of Topics Including Biblical Studies, Church History, Theology and Worldview Studies. My First Exposure to Darcy's Teaching Was More Than 30 Years Ago on a Sunday School Class Which Use Some of This Teaching Series.
So If You Are a Sunday School Teacher or Small Group Leader. Let Me Encourage You to Consider Requesting This Series I Get Her Phone Number Is 800-435-4343. The Title of the Series Is Providence God in Control in the Book Is the Invisible Hand. You Can Also Make Your Request and Give Your Gift of Any Amount Online.
When You Go to Renewing Your Mind.org Tomorrow. Dr. Strobel Address the Problem of Evil in the World and We Hope You'll Join Us for the Thursday Edition of Renewing Your Mind