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August 17, 2020 10:00 pm
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Well the morning. How's everybody let's open a Bible today. Hope you brought one to ask chapter 16 in order to be continuing in our study the life of the great man. The apostle Paul now you know when I became a follower of Christ. 32 years ago. I really believe that now that I come to Christ all my problems were to be overwhelmed since then. My dad had three heart attacks and died, my mom and my 26-year-old sister-in-law both died of breast cancer. I wasn't allowed to finish my PhD dissertation. Because I wouldn't compromise on biblical inerrancy. My professor threw me out of the program. I have three teenage boys who tell them have had six accidents totally one car and severely hurting a bunch all the cars and the I have a 10-year-old severely disabled little girl.
As I stand here before you looking at today. I have a broken rib. I have a leak in my roof. I have a beloved mother-in-law who has cancer. I have a master bedroom shower that's been broken for more on that I have blogs on my azalea. Now the point of all of this is not learned in 32 years of walking with Christ that Christians have problems just like anybody else does, but the difference is that as followers of Jesus Christ. God wants us to look at our problems to react to our problems and respond to our problems differently than people in the world system around us and that's what we want to talk about today we want to talk about what I like to call having a godly view of our circumstances were going to see the apostle Paul illustrates this in his life uses life as a classroom to try to talk about how you and I have a godly, new circumstances in our life now little background before we dig in. Remember, the apostle Paul is on his second missionary journey is crossed over from Asia minor and he's crossed to grease the northern part of Greece where he is spent almost a month in the northern Greek town of Philippi here in Philippi.
He's been arrested.
He's been beaten with rods to all the flesh was ripped off his back down to the bone, then he's been thrown in jail in Philippi.
His hands were put above his head. His feet were spread wide in stocks, causing his leg muscles to cramp up without there being any way of relieving that and then in spite of all of this as the evening wears on. He knows that the next morning he's going to face a trial where he very well might receive a worse penalty need is already God.
That's what we've been let's pick up the story. Verse 25.
Acts 16. The Bible says about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. Now most people. If you have we been in that situation we have been in that jail. The way the apostle Paul was our reaction would have been a little bit more like our friend Igor member Igor.
Igor would assert all that well maybe my back hurts. My legs were probably over my head that everything it slows me to what I want the possible no sir, he was singing he was praising God and he wasn't doing a quiet leader because the rest of the verse goes on to say, and all the other prisoners were listening to them. This is like a Billy Graham Crusade going on in the middle of his jail and you save a lot. How do we explain Paul's reaction.
Paul's behavior in light of the circumstances, I mean he has got some nasty circumstances, is backhauled toward off his legs are all cramped up using this old cruddy jail with his arms above his head, came to the wall and yet he's calm and he's got joy and he's got these cities got confident how you explain them friends, the answer is that the apostle Paul had a godly view of his circumstances, and we wanted to find out what exactly does it mean to have a godly view of our circumstances well got godly deal circumstances. Very simply, is an outlook on life is a way of looking at our circumstances that is based on believing to biblical truths. Truth number one with the apostle Paul believed is that as a follower of Jesus Christ.
God was in absolute control of every circumstance that came in the Paul's life. Paul wrote first Thessalonians 517 give thanks in all things. You meet even when you're in jail with your back bleeding in your hands shackled in your legs all cramped up.
Give thanks in all things. Why, because this your situation, whatever it might be this is God's will for you in Messiah Jesus easy set there and I jail Paul said, you know what it is no accident on ministerial it is no coincidence. I'm in his jail is not a matter of fate that I ended up in this jail with my back all torn up like IM God is an absolute control of my circumstances. I am right smack dab in the middle of the will of God for my life because even the smallest detail of my life is under the utter absolute and total control of Almighty God.
The second truth to Paul believe is that as a follower of Christ. He had a promise from God that God was going to convert every situation that entered his life into good into a blessing. He was the one who wrote that promise down and reminded us of it. Romans 828 and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and as he sat there and I jail. The apostle Paul said that you know what, I got a promise from God. That is bad as things look right now they're not going to stay this way. Somehow God's going to take these bad looking things and turn them into a blessing for me and he remembered how God had done this, a lot of other people in the Bible.
For example, he remember the story of Esther member Esther's mom died, her dad died. She was forced to move to the capital of the Persian Empire city called Susa and live with an uncle that she didn't even know uncle Mordecai, now that one real good-looking situation, but God stepped into that tragic situation and flipped it around for her blessing. She ended up becoming the queen of Persia and using that position to save her Jewish people from being slaughtered Paul as he sat in the jail knew the story of Moses and the Israelites down at the Red Sea, Moses found himself with the red Cedar was back and the charging chariots of Pharaoh in front of him and yet God stepped in and turned out very own enviable situation into the greatest delivery in all of human history. Paul knew the story of Ruth as he sat there and I jail Ruth was married to one of the two sons of Naomi. Naomi was a widow and she had two sons. Her name in Hebrew were mail your own and kill your own, which means literally in Hebrew, sickly and weekly now to know what you name your boys sickly and weekly, but she did and the Bible tells us that sickly and weekly both.and Ruth became a widow and she and her widowed mother.
Laura moved back to Bethlehem and they were so poor that the only way they could ease go out in the field and pick up the ears of corn that the harvesters accidentally dropped and get into bad situation, God intervened in one day while she was out in the fields picking up corn Ruth Smith Bowen's not Boaz was rich and Boaz was handsome and Boaz was godly and best of all, Boaz was available as he was and they got married and before Ruth knew what happened to her.
She had security.
She had family she had riches. She had provision and she also became the great-grandmother, a fellow named David who went on to become the greatest king of Israel, and the progenitor of the Lord Jesus finally sitting in the jail one more example. He knew the story of Joseph been in jail himself. Remember the story Joseph sold into slavery by his brothers at age 17, went down to Egypt sold a Potter for an Egyptian military officer and everything was going great to Potiphar's wife got what we used to call in the South a hankering for Joseph while she tried to convince you to have an affair.
He wouldn't do it. So she accused him of trying to rape her. What I went through, but her husband believed her throw him in jail and he spent third teen years in jail as an innocent man between 17 and 30 he never got out of jail and get into that very unpalatable situation God stepped because one day Pharaoh had a dream. Nobody could interpret. And they took it to Joseph and he interpreted it and print before you can say you'll printer he was out of jail and on his way into Pharaoh's court to be the prime minister of all of Egypt. And so sitting in his jail. Paul says I got a promise from God.
The same promise he made to Joseph to Esther to Ruth to Moses and he kept his promise to them is going to keep his promise to me so sitting there in jail. He said hey if I'm right smack dab in the middle of God's will because there are no accident.
And if I have a promise from God that he's going to turn this whole situation around by his supernatural power. If I've got those two things going that I got something to sing about. Not something to fret about. I don't need to be sure I can be trigger here in jail and that's what he was. In other words, the explanation for Paul's behavior was that he had a godly view of circumstances that summarize what is a godly view of circumstances, then it means number one seeing God in absolute control of every circumstance that comes into our lives as followers of Christ.
It means seeing God is bigger than even the worst circumstances that come into our life that there is no circumstance that God can't rip into a blessing. And third, and finally it means actively relying on God to keep his promise that he made us in Romans 828 relying on God to personally intervene in our everyday affairs to overrule even our worst circumstances and turn them into a blessing for us just like he did Joseph Ruth Moses Esther and is working to see in the weeks to come just like he's going to do for the apostle Paul.
Now that's the end of our passage, but it leads us to ask a very important question. Women asked this question a long time. I'm worried maybe you forgot my question. Let's see we can remember together deep breath here we go.
123 you didn't forget.
That makes me feel good. You know what is the so what you say on the so what here is it Paul had a godly, new circumstances, be will know no friends. So what here is that a godly new circumstances is not just for the apostle Paul. God wants every single one of us to practice a godly view of circumstances in our lives. And when we do it will enable us just like you did. Paul to face any situation, God sends our way. The good the bad and ugly done matter and the faith that situation would call with Pease and with confidence because we know what God has promised us and were relying on is that one is great. I appreciate what you're saying up there your preaching good and everything, but how do I get one of these godly views of circumstances in my life. Well, the answer is you and I get it the exact same way. The apostle Paul got it out of the apostle Paul get a godly, new circumstances, real simple, he believed what God told him in the Bible.
That's all he did he believed what God told him in the Bible he believed God's promise of Romans 828 so thoroughly so deeply so utterly and so completely, not just in his head, but in his whole being that it radically transformed the way he responded to every circumstance came in his life he believed God the present we are going to practice a godly, new circumstances, we need to believe God to select for God's promise of Romans 828 apart a little bit number the verse we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love it, that's our verse.
Let's take it apart make sure we really understand what God is telling us here for things I want to point out to you about this first Romans 828 the promise. There is an unequivocal, an unquestionable promise. Notice the verse starts off by declaring we know Paul doesn't say we hope, we guess all we wish Paul says we know something with as much competence as we know our own. The second thing I want you to see here that the promise of Romans 828 is made to a limited group of people. This promise is made to those who love God, to those who are followers of Jesus Christ to those who are children of God by faith in Christ.
This promise is not made every American is not made, every churchgoer if you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
The good news is this promise is your personal possession.
This promise is your unique piece of property that God made this promise to you, not to the whole world and you can claim it as yours. If you're here today and you've never trusted Christ is real and personal Savior, may I point out to the one of the wonderful things that you get when you give your life to Christ is you get all kinds of promises like this one that suddenly become your personal property suddenly become your unique possession because now you are child of God. What a great thing to have this as ours who belongs to me and printed your follower of Christ. This promise belongs to you at your third like to remind us in Romans 828 promises that God will convert all of our circumstances into good that he will intervene in the everyday affairs of our life supernaturally.
He will take an interest in the everyday affairs of our life and no matter how awful our circumstances may be, no matter how impossible it may look. God promises that he will because look what it says God causes all things to work together for good. Actively get involved and causes this to happen by his own supernatural power and forth and finally I think is the best part of all the Bible says God causes all things. This promise applies to every single circumstance in life God causes all things to work together for good.
Now what this means is that God just doesn't call some things are most things are all but the bad things. This is a promise that there is absolutely no circumstance that could ever come into your life or my life that is beyond the reach of God flopping power God's overruling power, this world cannot send a circumstance bad enough that God can flip it is what this verse is telling us now friends remember this verse is not telling us. God is not telling us here that all things are good. God didn't say that bankruptcy, sickness, car accidents, the death of a loved one, family problems, leaks in the roof. Children with disabilities. These are not good things will God is promising here is that God will take all things, the good the bad and the in between.
He will work them together blend them together skillfully combined them with one another so that by the time God is finished his overruling power will turn the end result into a blessing and in good that when I think about this for me today when I think about. I think a lot about baking a cake to do a little emerald live here for you, because if you ever thought about this thing now little bit about what it's like to bake a cake think a little bit what it's like, okay, the ingredients that go into a cake because ingredients that go into this thing are really not very nice ingredients all by themselves. For example, we have all day's that you know my drinking days before was a follower of Christ. People used to say to me. Hey, if you wake up and you hung over. Take one of these drink one of these, and you'll feel better. I said no I rather feel better not drinking. One of these things, and this goes in there if somebody walked up to you on the street and said I will give you one thousand dollars if you will drink raw egg is there really anybody here. Raise your hand.
Who would honestly do this.
Anybody what you will hear it's hard once hard-boiled is a good All right now what else goes into into a cake on we got Wesson oil now who in the world in their right mind would drink a couple Wesson oil unless your cholesterol was in the negatives and you will try to get enough who would drink this stuff. Well that goes in there to buy what else we got 12 flower I unbleached flour.
Here we take a couple of that cooling the world would eat this stuff. Look at this stuff.
I mean, this stuff is terrible.
What now. I mean it is bad not what else goes in there is think about her. Who in their right mind would eat a straight stick of butter I would would you hope not. And we put all the stuff in there and we mix it all up and we mix it all up. It still yucky so we put in all then we go to but you know what you pull it out of the oven halfway done it still yucky. Nobody is going to eat it (you put all of these ingredients together and you cooking for just the right amount of time and look what you guess who this is not how like this. Now here's the point.
Point is, if we look to dictate from the point of view of all the individual ingredients we say this thing can't turn out to be anything but awful.
And yet you give it to the right chef who knows how to do it. You give it to the wrong ship it can be awful, but to give it to the right chef and they can take all these ingredients as unpalatable as they are and turn it into a beautiful thing when I'm here to tell you is that the promise of Romans 828 is not a promise about the individual events the individual circumstances that come in your life there ingredients and you'll sometimes we get raw eggs and sometimes we get unbleached flour and sometimes we got Wesson oil that comes into our life.
The promise of Romans 828 is that we have a heavenly chef, a divine, supernatural, all-powerful God, who is a chef takes all of these things is on an appetizing as they may be individually mixes them together matches them together turns them together. Teach them together. And when he's done man.
The thing that comes out at the end is a beautiful thing. That's a promise. The danger here is that you and I begin to evaluate God's truthfulness. God's faithfulness to his promise when it takes only half-baked to sue you many times we jump in and we look at things and we go God is not keeping his promise to me.
But you know what if Esther had looked at her situations right after her mom and dad, God. Moses had looked at his situation right there with the chariots coming in the Red Sea on open behind him improve the look of her situation. All right after her husband died.
She's out there picking up corn off the ground.
Eat in the field and if Joseph would look to the situation. Any one of those 13 years in jail. Every one of those people would've indicted God and said God you live to me, you did not keep your word to me.
Romans 828 did not come true for me. My life did not turn out as a blessing, probably minute friends. The cake was only half-baked member what we said.
I half-baked cake is still yucky but when God finished the cake for every one of these people did God not keep his word to them. Yes he did and I know many of us here going through tough times. I know many of us here have really tough circumstances that were facing some of us here been passed over neglected in our jobs. Some of us here have children with problems that were powerless to fix some of us here have trouble in our marriages.
Some of us here are single and lonely and we can understand why God hasn't led us to Mr. right or Ms. right. Some of us here that our spouse walked out on us and leave us with children to raise all by ourselves. Some of us here have aging parents that were trying to care for some of us here have loved ones were ill and infirmed we don't understand why God would let this happen to them. Some of us have teachers or professors are giving us a hard way to go in school, or a neighbor was driving us crazy. Some of us here want a child so badly and we that we can't seem to have one. Some of us you have cancer or some other disease, and you know we going through things like this friends it's really easy. Spiritually, to indict God. It's really easy to get angry at God and say, God, you live to me, God, you haven't Romans 828 God there is no way under the sun that any of this could possibly turn out for good and we accuse God friends. I'm here to tell you that you getting upset over half-baked cake you got it all wrong.
The case only have done. Give God time to finish the day and when he finished the cake for Esther when he finished up for Ruth when he finished it for Moses when he finished it for Joseph. It was beautiful and print when he finishes for you. It will be beautiful to you can't judge God's faithfulness when he takes only half done to God to send this I told you earlier. I have a 10-year-old little girl. The severely disabled, you know, in the early years when she came along and things were so awful. I went through this process of struggling the same way. In my relationship with God I accuse God I indicted God.
I said God, there is no way under God's green earth, any of this could ever turn out for good. I cannot see one possible thing that could ever come out of the pain in the Hardy and the suffering that we are going through is a family. How would you ever turn this into good. Well I'm here to tell you.
10 years later, I was wrong.
I was wrong. You know, in the 10 years of model girls been around God's used her to make me into a better man a better husband a better father a better pastor and a better leader than I ever would've been without her. She's actually doing quite well now, but beyond that friends God use my little girl to create a ministry here we call access to ministry were we reach out to over 400 families with children with disabilities.
Half of them aren't even followers of Christ. Yet route to get them, but they're not yet and you know we never would have access ministry McLean Bible Church of God had sent Jill in my life because I wouldn't even understood what people dealing with disabilities are going through.
I would had no interest whatsoever in starting a ministry to them. But hey, because I was in it. I understood and you know we have churches who come from all around the country to see what were doing here and access ministry so they can take it back and copy it in their own churches and start ministries to children with disabilities in their own communities on the 5 acres just west of here were planning to build an overnight respite center at an afterschool therapy Center for children with disabilities because did you know 80% of marriages will have a special needs child comes into that marriage.
80% of those marriages end in divorce.
That's not my figure.
That's the national epilepsy foundation figure we want to keep those families together. We want to keep those marriages together and the biggest thing moms and dads need to stay together raising children like this is a Joss need a break.
They just need a break. So really give him a 36 hour overnight break every single week to try to keep families together and our goal is to see centers like this all around the Beltway, and then in cities all around America.
We want to galvanize churches to start these things everywhere through the United States. Jim Dobson is called three times.
Want to know if we come on Focus on the Family, and talk about what were doing with the center and I told him three times. Jim not yet will get 50,000 phone calls. The next day and we won't have anything to show anybody, let us build it first when we build it will come along because that's our goal is to make a nationwide impact on churches reaching out to this community of people, none of this would happen without you and you know I got a call from the White House last week somebody nominated me. I don't even know to be on the president's commission for mental retardation and they had a meeting last week and this lady called to tell me the present United States. It chose me to be one of 21 people from across the United States to serve on this commission, have the opportunity to sit with the present United States and advised him about how to care, advise him about how to care better in government programming for people in America who have disabilities. Let me tell you why they chose me. The lady said there were two reasons. Number one we wanted you because you represent a church that's doing the count of faith-based initiatives that we are trying to get churches to do all across America. You're the perfect example, and the second reason we wanted you the president wanted to is because he wanted somebody who lived not to somebody been to school and learned about it but he wanted somebody would actually lived in the trenches with mental retardation and disability that friends without chill you really think the present United States would've invited me to be on this thing to be had you really think I had anything to contribute, of course not. This is only 10 years of Joel's life would God's going to do with the rest of her life, but you don't do anything else he's done nothing 10 year let me tell you what happened several years into this. I finally turned around one day and said okay enough is enough when I could be Eeyore anymore were going to force ourselves within a demand from ourselves. A godly deal with circumstances to stop indicting God to stop accusing God in this family we go to stop questioning God in this family we learn to rise above that and we are going to have a godly deal with circumstances we are going to assume were in this because were right in the center of the will of God and were going to assume that somehow, some way that we can see that we don't understand God is going to bring good out of this and where to walk by faith, which is going to believe that and I said to Brenda, you better believe it, believe it or teach our children to believe me tell you friends. Not only did God do exactly what he said but it also made our experience a lot better than we demanded a godly view circumstances from ourselves. Now I'm here to tell you that if you got some tough things going on in your life. God hasn't lied to you and you save a lot. I look at my circumstances and I can see 1 Single Way, God could turn them into good well so what God didn't ask you to be able to see you don't have the perspective to see you don't have the wisdom to see you don't know what God knows you have no idea what God's planning to do. You and are in no position to judge God at this point, but I have baked cake besides God says were not to walk by sight were to walk by faith. Faith means we believe what God tells us even if we can't figure it out friends and I'll tell you if you will demand from yourself a godly view. Circumstances not only will God keep his promise. But you have a lot easier time and a lot more fun in the process can be at your some of us here have tough things. I know that having a disabled and girls tough thing to friends. We can rise above that if we really believe God and have a godly view. Circumstances may God help you do that for Lord you know that world human Josh when tough stuff hits our life. The first natural, the normal reaction is to just come apart at the seams. Panic to get angry. To accuse you. We've all done it but Lord my prayer is that you would use the apostle Paul as a classroom for us. His attitude and we would understand that what you're looking for from us is a godly view of circumstances you want us to believe what you tell us so utterly and so deeply that we can rise above those human reactions we can be call and confidence in peaceful as we know something we know this is no accident and we know you're going to convert it into good and we know that so deeply to walk by faith and believe it before we ever see more. That's where you want us to be as a way of creating a platform to people around us were we can share Christ with them to change our lives change the way we react to our circumstances because we were here for those of us struggling through some tough things God give us a whole different way of approaching those tough things. Give us a godly view of our circumstances help us walk by faith we pray these things in Jesus name God's people said amen