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September 9, 2021 12:01 am
Even when things don't go as we have planned, we exhibit our trust in God by refusing to complain. Today, R.C. Sproul explains that the doctrine of divine providence should make us humble, grateful, and content.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. We have expectations of God and when he doesn't meet our expectations. We are offended and we start looking for someone who will meet our expectations.
And that's because we don't pay attention to what God promises is easy to follow. That temptation visited when things don't go our way, but we are about to discover that even when were confused about God's purposes. He never is used under RC scroll from his series Providence God in control, call that in our last lesson we looked at the popular passage in Romans 828 where the apostle was tremendous optimism tells us that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and who are called according to his purpose.
And if you recall in that discussion. I raise the point about everything that happens to us being ultimately good elders in danger lurking there.
It could be that we end up making a fundamental mistake. Back something that the Bible strictly prohibits, and that is that we do what Satan does.
We call good evil and evil good. That's the monstrous fly that the serpent uses to beguile to attempt to accuse and to seduce God's people away from the truth. This is what we have a tendency to do when our fallen nature. When we do something that is clearly in violation of the law of God, what is our human tendency to try to find some way to justify what we have done some form of rationalization, so that by the time we explain our conduct.
It comes not being a virtue rather than a vice because we call evil good, and yet at the same time we are accustomed to twisting goodness and evil to such a degree that we will actually call the goodness of God.
There's an occasion in the New Testament when John the Baptist, the great prophet whom God used to announce the advent of Christ, the one who stood by the Jordan River and saying the Agnus Day behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world John the Baptist.
One of the most heroic people in the New Testament who gave his very life for the sake of his testimony to Christ. When John was thrown into prison, he went through an experience of doubt and of struggle and he sent his disciples to Jesus with a question that I find somewhat troubling the disciples of John come to Jesus and they said, Jesus.
John has a question here's the question, are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another John was walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and he was fearing evil, and he was beginning to vacillate in his own face about the identity of the one whom he had been ordained from birth to declared to be the incarnate presence of God and he's having a crisis is are you really the one that I have believed you to be.
Should we look for someone else. 11. How many times have you felt like that, because of you done it times of action, not just consider the possibility of searching for another savior were looking for another Redeemer.
How many of you actually done that said, Christ is not what I'm looking for. This year I went to see if there someone else will have to Jesus deal with that inquiry, he said to the disciples of John. He said you go back and you tell John what he has not been able to see from his prison cell. But what you are saying every day you are watching my ministry. You go back and you tell them that the blind are receiving their site that the deaf are hearing that the lame are walking that the dead are rising and that the poor are having the gospel preached to them you go tell John that no why do you suppose Jesus answered John's inquiry in that manner.
I can only guess at it, but I think I know why he did. I think that what Jesus is saying in response to John's question is this John while you're alone and while you're being assaulted with doubts, why don't you pick up your Bible and read it again because remember what I had to to deal with in the wilderness with Satan and I had a confrontation there, and Satan wanted me to do all kinds of things that would move me out of my vocation and I told him that I could not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. Know the word that came from the mouth of God. John that you need to read again is Isaiah chapter 61 worthy identity and the person and the work of the Messiah is spelled out in detail and you remember that text the spirit of the Lord is upon, for he is anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, to set at liberty those that are held captive to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and so in other words, John. Go back and read the job description for the one who is to come because I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to do and what the Bible said I would do what was the problem.
Suddenly John's expectations of Jesus were not being met.
And when his expectations were not being met doubt about Christ came into his mind.
The curious thing happens in that story after the disciples of John leave the presence of Jesus.
Jesus turns to them and begins to give testimony not about Jesus but about John the Baptist, a certain what the two people go out in the wilderness to see a reed shaken by the wind. One or Jesus said that because of people overheard this conversation. Perhaps their confidence in John the Baptist was not being lost as it was long with this man. We get had confidence in John the Baptist. He was bold he was courageous he was our leader and now he's asking questions like are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another Jesus. And hey, what you gonna wilderness to see somebody dressed in soft clothes.
Those that are dressed in soft clothes live in Royal palaces. This John who is languishing in prison because of his testimony to me. There is been of all the men born of women, none is greater than this one. He is not a reed shaken in the wind I think is on to give another beatitude we tend to think that all of the Beatitudes that Jesus ever uttered were found in the sermon on the Mount wears a Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are those who do this. Blessed are those who do that, the peacemakers, the pure in heart, and so on as if he exhausted his supply of Beatitudes in that one sermon no now he gives us special beatitude for John when he said, and blessed are those who are not offended by me. Blessed are those who are not offended by me again. I have to read between the lines I have to do some guesswork here, but when Jesus uses the language that he used on that occasion. I think what was in his mind was a common idea that we find in Scripture.
The concept of the rock of offense, the stone of stumbling and Jesus is saying, hey, there are people who stumble all over me. There are people who find me offensive. Later on, the Bible says that that one who is regarded by many as a rock of offense, a stumbling stone that one has God declared to be what the chief cornerstone of the kingdom of God.
The chief cornerstone of the house of God, the chief cornerstone of the family and yet others saw him as a stumbling block and were offended by when we deal in the seminary with questions of ethics and moral theology.
We have to deal with a very practical question very frequently and that is a question about human relationships human relationships that end in dispute and conflict and disintegrate the people get offended you offend somebody and you are offended by somebody. This is part of the fabric of our daily lives is in it and the Bible warns us not to be offensive in our behavior, particularly towards the week and towards the little ones will undo him through whom the offense comes Jesus says that we are called to be inoffensive in our behavior, but the distinction that we make in ethics. Is this and listen carefully.
The distinction between an offense given and an offense taken to the fabric of our language. A slick, don't take any offense about God. I don't watch her to be offended. My intent is not to offend you. I don't want to do anything wrong to you if I really do something that is wrong to you. You're very right to be offended because I have committed an offense.
This is an offense given, but sometimes when you don't do anything wrong to people there funded what can you do about it. This is the case of the offense taken. There was no offense given. Yet someone still took offense and what you said or what you do know the perfect example of this problem focuses on the life of Jesus. If Jesus ever gave an offense unjustly. That would've been a sin and it would've been no longer sin less and less and less he can't save anybody can even save himself, his sinlessness is an absolute requirement and prerequisite for his qualifying to be our Redeemer. But can we say that no one had ever met Jesus or anyone ever met Christ encountered him was offended all kinds of people took offense at Jesus. The Pharisees were offended by Jesus. The scribes were offended by Jesus, and even in this discussion.
The Jesus is having with the people after he dismisses the disciples of John the Baptist. He said you people can't be placed like the children in the marketplace play the little game we played the flute and even dance. We played the dirge and you did more.
I said hello. He related the John and how he related to me when John came out of the wilderness, dressed in this bizarre costume costume reminiscent of Old Testament Elijah the guys living on wild locusts and honey looks like a caveman or something coming out of the desert and he's giving you this message repent for the kingdom of God is at hand and insists that you take a bath because you say your unclaimed, your king is about ready to show up and you're not ready. And so what did you say about him. He said he had a demon and so he saying to the scribes and Pharisees, you would not submit to God's command, screw John the Baptist to baptism, but the common people saw the righteousness of God in John the Baptist and they went to the river Jordan and asked to be baptized for cleansing that they may not be filthy when the bridegroom came to see John what he came out of the wilderness was doing what was right and most of the people sought John's actions as being good but others like the Pharisees and the scribes sought John's behavior is evil, and they called him a demon. They were calling. Good evil they were taking offense at righteousness. Jesus said, John came as an ascetic person of intense self.denial living in the wilderness, living off locusts and wild honey. And then what happened. I came in I didn't fast and now you're saying of me. He is a wind member and a glutton, and he's eating with tax collectors and with evil people and he's like it, but you are like the children who when the flutist lady will dance and when they're just plain you want mourn when John came, it was time for the dirge. The land was in morning the people were still in anguish, waiting for their redemption.
The wedding had taken place yet. The groom hadn't showed up and she said to teach his disciples. Later on he said look, when the bridegroom comes in the wedding is taking place that is not the time for fasting. That's the time for joy.
That's the time for celebration. The flute is being play on the flute place.
It's time the payments don't mourn when the flute place. You don't dance at the funeral when the dirge is going now.
The bottom line in this episode the very thing that John struggled with and that we struggle with as well is disappointment in our expectations. If I expect something from you and I don't get it. I am disappointed.
I may be even offended and if you are offended and if you are hurt you are offense may be utterly gratuitous. You have no right to be offended because your expectation was not correct in the first place. Not, I promise you that I'm going to do something by such and such a time and I don't do it, then you're disappointed because I didn't meet your expectations. Now you have every right to take offense.
This is what John the Baptist was struggling with while he was in his cell, he was saying. When is Jesus going to make his move.
I expected but long before now. This one who I'm announced this king would manifest his kingship would try the Romans are perhaps Jesus wasn't even meeting John's expectation. John's taking offense. Should I look for another. That's what we do with the providence of God. We have expectations of God and when he doesn't meet our expectations. We were offended and we start looking for someone who will meet our expectations. And that's because we don't pay attention to what God promises. He said I will do every single thing that I have ever promised that I would do when, in my judgment, it is the appropriate time to do it and if you expect me to do it when you want me to direct you're going to be disappointed and you're going to be taking offense and you're going to be calling. Good evil of the love of God doesn't know how to do evil and we must be very careful at this point the faith in the providence of God really is faith that he is working all things together for good for those who love men who are called according to his purpose. Even when things don't go as we planned.
We show our trust in God. When we keep ourselves from complaining. Indeed, our focus needs to be on rejoicing in all circumstances referred another important message from Dr. RC Sproul series providence God in control and you're listening to Renewing Your Mind. Thank you for being with us today. Timely web in the all week. RC's help to see that everything in creation is under the providing care of God. Not only does God supply all things.
He arranges them according to his plan and for his glory. When we understand that we find great peace. We like to help you learn more about God's providence and when you contact us today with a donation of any amount will provide you this 15 part series is a digital download Bush to receive the hardbound edition of RC's classic book the invisible hand, there are couple of ways you can reach us. What is by phone at 800-435-4343 or you can make a request and give your gift online at Renewing Your Mind.Ward knows leader marks its 50th year of ministry we give thanks for God's blessings over the years and that we are also encouraged by the opportunities, presenting themselves by God's providence around the world to serve the church like never before. Your gifts of this ministry make it all possible.
So we thank you and when you give a gift of any amount today. We will send you these resources on the providence of God, request them when you call us at 800-435-4343 or web address again is Renewing Your Mind.Ward in our corn day a thought for today. We are reminded of this lesson that Jacob forgot the providence of God. He came to the conclusion that everything was against him. But aren't we like that, aren't you like that, haven't you, and many times in your life believed that nothing was working.
For your benefit that everything was against you.
I certainly come to those moments in my life. And when those moments come, then we need to hear.
We need to read in bold letters.
This account in the life of Jacob we see Jacob reading the circumstances around his own life completely wrong. If you are Christian then you know that God is for you, not against you, and that nothing can possibly separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ. That was the heroic message of the saints of the New Testament who were convinced that in the midst of their suffering in the midst of persecutions in the midst of the hatred that they were receiving from a world that was hostile to them that in that they saw the love of God sustaining them and we need to see it to. If we were to stand in the day of trouble. Dr. Sproat was going to wrap up the series tomorrow and I hope you make plans to join us.
We are hurting today make reference to Romans 828 for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. In light of that passage. Any bad thing that ever takes place in your life.
Ultimately is a good thing. But there's another side to this story. There's another face if you do not love God in every good thing that is ever happened is often a bad. Please make plans to join us for the lesson titled to those who love God