Okay, so you know last week we finished a three-part series coming out of Genesis 22, entitled, How to Have a Massive Spiritual Life.
Because we said that in Genesis 22, Abraham demonstrated for us all three of the principles involved in how to have a massive walk with God. And just to remind you, they were, number one, absolute surrender to God. Number two, full obedience to God. And number three, utter trust in the promises of God. And if you missed any of those messages, I want to urge you to please go online and download them or podcast them or buy a CD and catch up with those three messages.
I can't tell you any more important three principles about walking with God than those three. And so this week, we were going to move on to Genesis chapter 23. But as I was praying at the beginning of the week about what we should do, I really sensed the Lord saying, Lon, not yet.
Not yet. I want you to do one more message on the promises of God, which you were talking about last week, and focus this one on one of the promises you mentioned but didn't really go into last week. And so that's what we're going to do today. Today we're going to talk about the second greatest promise in the Bible. Now you say, well, Lon, if you say it's the second greatest promise, I mean, what's the first greatest promise in the Bible?
Well, I'll tell you what I think it is. The first greatest promise in the Bible, I believe, is John 647, where Jesus said, truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me has eternal life. Jesus says that person's eternal destiny is settled.
They are spending eternity in heaven with me. Folks, if you're here and you don't know for certain that you're spending eternity in heaven with Jesus, then this verse definitely becomes your most important verse, because this tells you how you can be sure of that. And it's not by depending on our good works, or our trying to keep the Ten Commandments, or our trying to be a nice person, or being baptized, or being bar mitzvahed, none of that. It has to do with whatever the verse said. What did the verse say? The verse said, he who believes in me has eternal life.
And so I want to encourage you, if you're here, and you've never trusted just in what Jesus did for you on the cross, plus nothing, I want to encourage you to junk all that other stuff, all those other remedies, they're not going to work, and put your complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation. This then becomes your verse, and your most important verse in the Bible, your most important promise. Now, having said that, what is the second most important or greatest promise in the Bible? Well, it's my opinion that it's Romans chapter 8 verse 28, so let me read it to you. It says, and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. And what we want to do today is we want to dissect this verse. We want to take it apart.
It has five key components. We want to look at each of these five parts of this verse individually, make sure we understand what they're saying, and then put them back together. And when we do, the verse will be even more marvelous than it is when we read it the first time. So are you ready? Here we go. All right, part one.
Remember, there are five. Here we go. Part one, let's talk about the owners of this promise. Who is this promise made to? Well, the Bible says it's made to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. And then the next verse defines who these people are, whom God foreknew, he also predestined, and whom he predestined, he also what?
There we go. And whom he called, he justified. Now, the called people in this verse, therefore are justified people. So who does God justify?
Well, let's go back to Romans chapter five, verse one, and we'll find out the Bible says, having been next word, justify. There's our word by faith. We have peace with God through Buddha, through Confucius, through Mohammed, through Joseph Smith, through recycling.
No, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Friends, God justifies people who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the called, because they're the justified, are also people who have put their faith in Jesus Christ. These are the people that God makes this promise to, and may I add, they are the only people to whom God makes this promise. They are the owners of this promise.
Not all Americans. God doesn't make this promise to every American. He doesn't make this promise to every human being, and he doesn't make this promise to everybody who sits in a church on Sunday. He makes this promise to people who have been justified by God because of their personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If that's you, then friend, this is your promise. It is part of your birthright as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is yours. Amen? That's good news. Now, second of all, what's the extent of this promise? Well, the Bible says God causes what? All things.
Yes, that's right. The extent of this promise is not some things, or a lot of things, or most things. It's all things. There is absolutely nothing in the universe, no matter how big, no matter how small, that lies outside the scope of God's promise in Romans 8, 28.
Got that? All right, number three, what is the promise itself? Well, the Bible says God causes all things to work together for good to the owners of this promise. Now, let me just remind us, God is not saying here in the Bible that all things are good.
They're not. Bankruptcy, that's not good. Getting cancer, that's not good. Sickness, that's not good. Car accidents, that's not good.
Family problems, the death of a loved one, children with disabilities, infertility, these are not good. God's not trying to convince you they're good. That's not what the promise is about. God is saying that He will take all things, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and that He will blend them together.
He will work them in concert with one another such that the end result will be good and beneficial and a blessing for us. Now, it's a lot like baking a cake. You know, when you start to bake a cake, there's some ingredients that go in, none of which are all that attractive all by themselves. First of all, there's bleached flour. Most people I know don't stick a spoon in it and eat bleached flour. And then, of course, there's vanilla.
You know, I knew folks when I was using drugs that drank vanilla to try to get drunk, but you got to be really desperate to drink vanilla to do that. Then there's a stick of butter. Who's going to sit down, nobody in their right mind, and eat a stick of butter? There's baking powder. I've never even tasted it. Why would I? There are raw eggs. Want salmonella? Help yourself.
You'll get it. And finally, there's pure cooking oil. Nobody would drink that unless they were trying to get their cholesterol up.
Who drinks that stuff? Now, all of those are the ingredients that go into a cake and by themselves, honestly, not a single one of them is very attractive, but you take them and you mix them together just right and you put them under just the right amount of heat for just the right amount of time. Now, wait a minute. When they're half-baked, they still don't taste all that good. I'm not talking about half-baked. I'm saying you let it bake for just the right amount of time and voila. Oh, man. I'm getting hungry just looking at that, huh?
Yeah. And this is exactly what God is promising. God is not promising that all the ingredients that go into your cake are attractive.
They're not going to be. What God is promising is His ability to take all of these ingredients and mix them together just right so that the end result is beautiful. Remember, Romans 8-28 is not a promise about perfect beginnings. It's a promise about perfect endings and God is promising us that He will override all the circumstances, even the most terrible events in our life and He will convert them into a blessing by the time He's done. Got the promise?
Everybody? Okay, here we go. Number four, who is the maker of this promise? Well, what does the verse say? The verse says God causes. Hey, Romans 8-28 does not come true because of blind luck or because of the power of positive thinking or because of our ability humanly and our cleverness to manipulate circumstances.
It comes true because of the intervention of the sovereign God of the universe into the affairs of our life. Praise the Lord. And listen, a promise is only as good as its maker and what makes Romans 8-28 such a massive promise is that it is made by the massive sovereign God of the universe. That's why it's such a great promise. Finally, number five, how about the certainty of this promise? How does the verse begin?
It begins and we know. There are two words in the Greek language that are translated K-N-O-W in English. The first one is the word ginosko, which means to know something by experience. You know, you stick your hand on a red hot burner on the stove and so you know for the rest of your life it's hot, right? That was experiential.
You learned it. That's not the word that's used here. The word that's used here is the other Greek word oida, which means to know something as certain fact.
It doesn't have to be experience. It is simply known to be true and utterly sure. And that's the word that's used here. God wants us to know for certain that this promise is good. He wants us to be absatively, pozzolutely, no bow to doubt it, sure that we can take this verse to the bank.
As sure about it as we are our own name because God promised it. And friends, He promised it for all things. Doesn't matter what circumstances are. Doesn't matter how impossible they look. God said what's impossible with man is possible with God.
Don't worry about how they look. God can do anything. He is going to keep this promise to you and to me. So, can we summarize? What's the verse? And God causes, there's the maker of our promise, all things, there's the extent of our promise, to work together for good. There's the promise, right? To those who are the called.
And who's that? That's us as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the owners of this promise. And friends, we need to claim it and believe it because it's ours.
It belongs to you. And you can take it before the throne of God and remind God in a humble way, but in a bold way, Lord, this is my promise. You made this promise to me as a follower of Christ and you said you would keep it and I'm here, Lord, sort of to remind you.
Not that you need to be reminded, but I'm sort of here to remind you this is my promise and thank you for it. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in the passage because we're going to stop now and we're going to ask our most important question. So all you guys at Tysons, Prince William, and at Bethesda, and on the internet, and in Edge, and here at Loudon, are you ready? Are you ready? All right, here we go, nice and loud.
One, two, three. Ah, that's lovely, beautiful. You know what, folks, I got to thinking this week, as believers in Jesus Christ, we may not know everything, but because of Romans 8, 28, we know one thing for sure. And that is that when the dust settles in this world and it's all over, God will have taken every situation in our life and worked it out for our good.
We know that. And hasn't God done that for people before? Hey, I think of Joseph. Didn't God do this for Joseph? Remember his brother sold him into slavery, and then Potiphar's lion wife got him thrown into jail, and then he was betrayed by Pharaoh's butler, and he was in jail for 13 years from the age of 17 until the age of 30, and it looked hopeless for that poor guy that he was ever getting out of jail, but wait a minute, the cake was only half baked.
Not done yet, because remember, Pharaoh had those dreams, and they called him out of jail, and he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, and before you knew it, he's the prime minister of the whole stinking country. You remember that? And his brothers came down to see him, and they were scared to death. He was going to kill him for having sold him into slavery, and I love what Joseph said. Joseph said in Genesis 50 verse 20, he said, You meant evil against me. I know you did. I know you hated me, but God overruled your evil. God meant it for, God turned it into good. Hey, when God was finished, hadn't God kept his promise for Joseph?
You betcha. Hey, how about the apostle Paul? Did God keep his promise to him? You remember in Acts chapter 21, he was thrown in jail in Israel, and then they shipped him off to Rome to stand before the emperor. He was shipwrecked. He was bitten by this nasty old snake.
Oh, man, that would have been the worst part of the whole thing for me, being bitten by some snake. All right, anyway, then he was taken to Rome. He was put back in prison. He spent another year in prison in Rome. I mean, you know, it looked like God had just completely forgotten about the apostle Paul, but the cake was only what?
Half-baked, that's right. Listen to what Paul says, Philippians 1 12. He said, But I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me, all the jail, all the shipwreck, all the snake bites, has actually served to advance the gospel.
And he says in the next verse, why? He says, Because before it was over, I got to share Christ with the entire palace guard, the entire Praetorian Guard, as well as Emperor Nero himself. The Praetorian Guard was the most elite section of the Roman army.
They were the emperor's personal bodyguard. And here's the cool thing, any prisoner that was scheduled to appear before the emperor had to be guarded by the Praetorian Guard. Okay, so here's Paul in jail. And can you imagine, you get Paul duty today. For an eight-hour shift, you're chained to the apostle Paul. Can you imagine being an unbelieving Roman soldier and being chained to the apostle Paul for eight hours? You think you hear the gospel? How many times you think you hear the gospel?
And then you come around again in a week, a month, two months, and you're chained to him again. And he goes, Hello, how we doing? You come to Christ yet?
No? Well, listen, and away we go again. Man, a whole bunch of these guys came to Christ, and not just them, but listen to what he says at the end. He said, All the believers at the end of the book of Philippians here in Rome greet you, especially those of whose? Caesar's household. This guy, Paul, got to go in before Nero and his entire household and preach the gospel, and many of Caesar's own household came to Christ. There is no way that would have ever happened if Paul had not been put through the jail, the shipwreck, the imprisonment.
Did God do for Paul what he said he was going to do? Yeah? All right. And I think of Joni Eareckson Tada. Finally, many of you might know her story, right?
Not far from here in Southern Maryland. She was 16 years old, was diving into a river, was more shallow than she thought. She broke her neck. The doctor said, You're going to be in a wheelchair the rest of your life as a paraplegic, a quadriplegic, and man, that looked terrible. I mean, what a tragedy, but the cake was only half baked.
Yeah. And as God went on to use this woman, she has had the most amazing ministry. She has ministered to millions and millions of people around the world and has galvanized churches all over the world, including ours, to have a ministry to people with disabilities.
God has used her life in the most amazing way, in a way He could never have used her life if she had not been in a wheelchair. Did God keep His promise to her? Did He? You ask Joni.
She'll tell you He did. So, let's conclude. When it comes to this promise, and God promises it, 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. When it comes to that promise, my friends, God wants you and me to know that it is indelible, that it is unchangeable, that we can take it to the bank. And I got to tell you, I walked in here this morning with a really heavy heart. I've got some problems going on in my family with one of my children that is, I mean, it's one of the saddest things I've ever been through. I mean, you know, I heard a man say once, you're only as happy as your saddest child.
And there's a lot of truth in that. And I mean, it's brought me to tears. I've gotten on my knees and said, Lord Jesus, I don't even know how to pray for this. I'm just going to groan like it says in Romans 8. You let the Holy Spirit pray for me, Lord. I don't even know what to do. I don't even know how to begin to put Humpty Dumpty back together again on this situation.
And I don't. And so I walked in here with a heavy heart this morning. And maybe many of you walked in here with a heavy heart for different reasons, perhaps.
Maybe you're having real trouble at work and somebody is picking on you at work or the boss is making life miserable for you or you're completely overloaded at work. Or maybe it's your children. Maybe you've got young children and they're driving you crazy and you don't know how you're even going to keep going one more day with all of the energy they're putting out. Or maybe you have older children and one or two of them is away from the Lord and it's breaking your heart to see your child away from the Lord. Maybe you've lost a loved one in death and they've left a gaping hole that nothing has been able to fill except the Lord himself.
But it's still a hole. Maybe you've been overwhelmed caring for an aging parent or maybe you just got a cancer diagnosis or maybe somebody you love just got a cancer diagnosis. Or maybe, you know, you're in financial difficulties and for the life of you, you don't know how in the world you're going to solve it. Or maybe you're in a romantic relationship and you all have broken up and, I mean, you are just heartbroken about it.
Or maybe your husband's walked out on you or your wife has walked out on you and left you with children and just absolutely shattered you. Look, folks, we all got trouble. Huh? We all got trouble.
Maybe somebody at school is picking on you. I don't know. I'm reminded of the old spiritual that says nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows but Jesus. Hey, but I want to tell you something. That's good news because Jesus does know the trouble you've seen.
See, that's the point. He knows. He sees it all. And with all the trouble that you and I have seen and with all the trouble that you and I are going through right now, he's got a promise for us.
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and we should know it because he promised him. What a great promise. And it doesn't matter, folks, how bad the outlook is and it doesn't matter how impossible it seems that he could do that. And it doesn't matter how bleak the outlook.
Who cares? We're dealing with God here. The things that are impossible with man are possible with God. And so let me urge you, don't evaluate the cake half-baked. This thing that I'm facing in my family, the cake's half-baked. I can't evaluate whether God's been faithful to me with a half-baked cake and neither can you. And maybe we get to heaven before some cakes are fully baked, but I promise you, you'll stand on the shores of heaven and you'll shake your head in the affirmative and you will say, yes, God, I didn't see how you could ever do it, but you kept your promise.
Yes, God, you did. I promise you that'll happen. But don't judge a cake half-baked. You wait and let God finish. Just keep trusting him.
Just keep believing he's going to be true to his promise, folks. And you say, well, Lon, that's great, but, you know, while the cake's half-baked, I mean, how do you wait? I mean, with a real cake, you can smell it and it smells great and you're like, oh, boy, you know, it's not quite done yet, but man, when it is, wow, this is going to be really good. But how do I encourage myself when the promise of God is half-baked?
Well, the same way. God has given us a verse in the Bible that is the aroma that we can smell while we're waiting for the cake to finish. And it's in Titus chapter one, verse two, and it says, God cannot lie.
That's our aroma. God cannot lie. I got a half-baked cake, but God cannot lie. I got a half-baked cake, but God cannot lie. And you just keep smelling that.
Man, that is the sweet aroma in the middle while the cake's finishing. God cannot lie. And I believe that. Therefore, the cake may not be done yet, but it will. And when it's done, God will have told me the truth. Folks, God's just not a promise maker. God is a promise keeper. Let's trust Him to be that in our lives. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we don't know how you're going to solve our problems.
In many cases, we can't figure out one way in the world that what we're facing is going to turn out for good. Ah, but Lord, you know what? We don't have to. That's not our job.
That's your job. All we have to do is trust you. Help us do that, Lord, please.
Help me and everybody here just to be like a child and trust you and know that you cannot lie. Lord Jesus, give us hope, even in the midst of some really tough circumstances. Hope that doesn't come from this world.
No, no. But hope that comes from the word of the living, risen Christ. And that's real hope. So may that be where our hope comes from this day. Thanks for speaking to us from your word, Lord. Change our hearts because we were here today. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And God's people said, Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-19 23:17:26 / 2023-03-19 23:27:22 / 10