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Hope: The Greatest Chapter in the Bible, Part 5

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
June 1, 2020 9:00 am

Hope: The Greatest Chapter in the Bible, Part 5

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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June 1, 2020 9:00 am

In your darkest hour, have you ever been able to sing, “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father ... Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside ...”? Seems impossible, doesn’t it? In this message, Pastor J.D. turns to Romans 8 to show us the myths we believe about suffering as Christians and how we can hope in our suffering, knowing that God is going to finish his good work in us.

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Today life with JD Greer Gautama say that we want to live by faith. But the moment we can't see or understand what God is doing.

We throw up our hands. We think are you even there why when you do this we say we want to live by faith.

But we also want to be able to understand why every bad thing happens in our life. I did. That's why that happened. It was producing this in me, but that's all that's not what about faith that's walkabouts.

I then you know the song ends with strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside seems impossible, doesn't it. Today on Senate life pastor JD Greer shows us the myths we believe about suffering.

As Christians, and how we can help in our suffering, knowing that God is going to finish his good work in us. Let's join Pastor JD as we continue this week in the greatest chapter of the whole Bible Bible this weekend. I want to talk about one of the most famous verses in that chapter.

Arguably one of the most famous verses in the whole Bible. That is Romans 828 and we know that all things work together for good to them who love God were called according to his purpose. Some of you have a T-shirt with some phrase from that verse bedazzled on that T-shirt or you got a coffee mug with some part of that or you got it crocheted on a pillow somewhere in your house and you better hang it up on your wall. We love the quote that verse to each other when bad things happen.

Hey, don't worry.

Don't worry it's all going to be fine because you know all things working together for good for once you love God but here's the thing. If you are honest like my job here at the church is partially the make you honest about things that you don't want to verbalize a church that is verbalizing for you. If you are his, sometimes that verse feels hollow and subversive of those frustrating to hear because sure well sometimes you can see good things a goddess bringing out of your bad things. Sometimes you can't see any good thing that could possibly come out of this bad thing to see if you can relate to this red Hambrick who is our director of counseling here at the summit church tells a story about a girl that he calls Natasha he says while the names of a few of the details of this particular story or fictional piece of the story corresponds to dozens of similar stories that he has heard in his counseling office.

Over the years and give you a warning. This is this kinda heavy but but when she got what you have depression on this Natasha. Natasha and her husband have longed for a child and they finally conceived after five years of trying, they learned that their child was a girl and so they decided to name her after Natasha's mother died when Natasha was just an infant throughout the pregnancy. They they read every book on what to expect. They prepared a dream nursery with your complete with with with us this baby girl's initials on the wall embroidered on the on the on the blankets and painted on the wall. Everything was set tragically. Their daughter was born stillborn, suffocated by the umbilical cord.

The only memory visual memory that they have of her is of her blue lifeless body in the sense of guilt that they had somehow they had failed to help her when she needed not knowing how to deal with the pain, which many times couples in a situation like this don't their marriage deteriorated. They started to take it out on each other and they started the last shot at each other and the volatility tore them apart. Natasha's husband Anna pursuant to find some kind of escape.

He begins to have an affair at work, he finds life. He says in conversations with a coworker and commences himself that he really is in love with this other woman. When Natasha finds a couple of questionable emails on his on his computer. He lashes out at her and he blames her he leaves and promptly files for divorce within a year he is remarried and has a child little girl Natasha's dream life is being lived out now by another woman, because Natasha was not really a fighter sheet she lost big in the divorce settlement she has to get a second job as a waitress just to make ends meet. She's driving home late one night from that second job she she falls asleep at the wheel, and she has a rack she totals her car which she cannot afford men the process. She also crushes two vertebrae in her lower back that require surgery more money. She does not have for the rest of her life. She's going to experience a limited mobility, chronic pain she's going to be labeled disabled people at her church and her small group try to comfort her with verses like Romans 81 remedy one. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. And while she can give mental and theological ascent of that verse will she cannot her head and change your feelings.

She feels abandoned by God. She feels rejected. She feels like she's cursed, but she says even that verse is more bearable to me than Romans 828 that we know that all things work together for good of those who love God when friends try to comfort her with that verse.

She knows they just don't understand. Sometimes even gets angry when their coordinate what possible good. What possible good could God be bringing out of this what silver lining is there in this dark cloud.

How can any of this work out for good. There's a question. Have you ever dealt with somebody and that kind of situation or maybe gone through this yourself maybe right in the middle of it this morning. Your suffering is the number one reason why people stop believing in Christianity why people stop having faith in God are following Jesus also that recently on there's a show on Netflix. If you see comedians and cars getting coffee. Jerry Seinfeld hosted and the one of the episodes for the season is over. He to base the creator of the office who is a very famous atheist and what he says Jerry asked him about that in the end the show and and and rejoices yet. People often ask me if I pray he said II stop praying because why would I ask God to help me find my keys. If you stood by did nothing during the Holocaust is people to look at it.

It doesn't seem purposeless suffering. I don't see any possible good coming out of these kinds of things tribes can believe that there's a God who is there, maybe you're not quite there, but maybe inwardly you struggle to feel close to God's ways you just cannot understand, so I want to talk to you about what Romans 828 actually means now want to give you a handful of mystery in particular that Christians believe about suffering that Romans chapter 8 addresses were to look not just Romans 828 but the context of Romans 828 which is verses 18 to 30. Myth number one that Christians believe about suffering one. If we live well we can avoid suffering. Many Christians believe that they live other supposed to live. They can avoid or at least minimize suffering, but I want you to notice that Paul in this passage assumes that suffering is part of the believer's life. Verse 18. He says this present time has suffering. Verse 23 we grown under their sufferings.

Verse 21, all of creation, of which we are apart is subject to futility. It is in bondage to corruption. There is nothing in this passage that assumes that if you are God's child, you can avoid these realities. In fact, it says quite the opposite. Jesus in fact told his disciples in this world you are going to have tribulation and if anything it could be worse for you than than those who are God's children, because you also have Satan that is gunning for you. There's nothing that indicates that if you live like you're supposed to live that you will avoid tribulation by the way.

A related assumption to this one that many in our culture believe is that life by itself it just inevitably turns out positive that the universe is somehow wired to turn out for good.

It structured so that every dark cloud will eventually have a silver lining. I called the Little orphan Annie philosophy the sun will come out tomorrow. I know that tomorrow is going to be better than today.

In today's troubles are just very temporary but want you to notice that this passage actually indicates the opposite creation.

Paul says is in bondage to futility. You can escape it. This is where it's all headed futility and corruption.

In fact it's only Paul says to God's special intervention on behalf of believers that anything turns out for good.

By the way, your your CSV translation. At least that's what I'm preaching from how she doesn't serve us well here in the way they translated this verse because eight with the way they right it is all things work together for the good of those who love God, and it makes it sound as if may be maybe somehow just, you know, creation is wired so that it just naturally turns out great somehow. Naturally, things are going to work out for good. So don't worry be happy to know Matata whatever. You know it's going to be fine, but the actual the way it's written in Greek indicates that God is the one who is making this happen. God is the one who was working all things out together for good.

The universe creation going the opposite direction. It's only through a special act of grace for believers that God redeems bad circumstances for good, but only a good illustration. You might think about the summer. If you're at the beach on a beach trip when you walk into the sand that saying you feel between your toes.

They tell us that every grain of that sand.

At one point was part of some mountain some rock formation that great mountain eventually dissolved into into grains of sand. That's where everything is headed. It's all in bondage to corruption, and it's all even the greatest things are going to ultimately dissolve that Smith number one is that if we live right. We can avoid suffering. Myth number two is that suffering always points to some sin that we need to confess.

The idea here is that of suffering God's always try to get your attention in order to correct some error in you to expose some sin that you need to confess, let me be really clear. Okay, sometimes that's true. Affliction is one of God's choice tools to wake us up so the author of Psalm 119 says before I was afflicted I went astray, God put Joan on the belly of the well in order to get his attention. Sometimes he does that, metaphorically speaking to us. Sometimes we say God puts his flight in our back finally will be.

Look in the right direction. Maybe that's happening to you this morning but the point is, that's not always the case, the suffering.

Paul talks about here. Romans eight there is no indication that it is in response to anything wrong.

Bold and say what is happening because this over here is happening. In fact, in the book of the Bible that deals mostly suffering the book of Job, God makes clear that Job was not suffering because of the sin that God says Job was the most righteous man alive on earth at the time. And of course we know that Jesus was the most righteous person ever to live and he suffered more than any of us. Not all suffering is trying to correct something in you and by the way, if it is because you have a heavenly father, I feel pretty safe in saying he'll let you know what you try to correct pretty quickly inelegant father does make a father EE if if I discipline my children. I let them know very quickly what is connected to what I did when they were kids that in his walk in the room and spank them that is why you figured out. I just generally displeased with you and usually figure out what this is for no if I was going to discipline them in some way they know exactly this is happening because of this I can pretty confidently tell you that if the heavenly father since suffering into your life to to get your attention to wake you up. You will very quickly know what it is and if you don't know what it is that's a really good chance that that suffering is not like Jonah's wake-up call. It's more like Job's mysterious suffering suffering being talked about here in Romans eight lesson of the router.

November 3.

We will always be able to see the big one will always be able to find the silver linings behind our dark clouds. This is where everybody uses Romans 828 the wrong way is a well you know the Bible says all things work together for good. So where's the silver lining behind this dark cloud work.

What's a good and of course listen. Sometimes you can see it right the car accident wakes up an alcoholic to the severity of his addiction a painful break up you go through actually frees you from a bad or lesser relationship to the open you up to the right one that we know here at the summa church is very personal to us because our church was planted in 1962 by a guy who actually was headed to the mission field, but found that his son had a heart defect so we had to move here to Durham so that he could have a sign at Duke Hospital for the about the space of a year and during the course of that year he planted Olmstead Heights Baptist Church within the summa church so it's easy for you and I to be like see see it look like it was unfortunate, but God was using that for good. Sometimes we discover how a painful or confusing chapter of our lives prepares us for some challenge later on member Pastor Brian Moritz. Pete told illustration about this that will resecure over 40 years old. You relate to. They told that your karate kid going to great movies in the 1980s movies were at their apex. Okay they karate Kincaid. Daniel tissue you know her younger 20 Daniel is this kid if you can beat up so just Mr. Miyagi's Ms. Maggie can determine karate missing. I guess it will quickly because Daniel has just entered a karate tournament but three weeks from now you know any karate so Mr. Miyagi has three weeks to teach him to be a black belt.

It's a little unrealistic in its premise. But you know whatever height so he shows up to get you going to karate lessons. But instead of learning karate moves that he's given household chores to do wax on wax off does after a day and a good eye the next day you got paint the fence and then you gotta sand the floor and hit one point Avedis loses his mind he starts yelling. Mr. Miyagi like you're wasting my time and what were doing under Tiger being your handyman that famously Mr. Miyagi says okay you know shortly wax on wax off and and and and and now Daniel's learning is great blocking skills and alleys learn all this great stuff in. He realizes that all the stuff that seem like it was was crazy and chaotic was actually being used to to form in Daniel that the things he would need to win a karate tournament and Brian Moritz correctly explains that many of us have points in our lives. We see that right. You see how some chapter, you went through some pain some boredom and that with God was using that to put in you a skill that you would need for something he had for you later on.

You had your Mr. Miyagi moment you like. I get it now. God didn't guided me so I could do this, but here's the thing, you can always see that right because you about it because you can see that you feel about you so I don't see.

Where's my wax on wax off moment where's my will and how is this producing in me, that kind of character. When this chapter Paul indicates that what's this much of the good that God brings out of our sufferings is to be manifested only in eternity but look at verse 18. He points to a glory that is see this going to be revealed. Not even is been revealed but going to be revealed. It's in eternity it's not experience now or least all of it.

Verse 25.

Paul says we have to wait for that glory. We eagerly wait for it with patience. Verse 24, even clear, we are saved in hope, but hope that is seen that's on actually hope you see it's not hope in sight. A lot of us say that we want to live by faith.

But the moment we can't see or understand what God is doing. We throw up our hands and we say God are you even there God you curse me God, why, when you do this we say that we want to live by faith. But we also want to be able to understand why every bad thing happens in our life want to be able to say I get it now I did. That's why that happened.

It was producing this in me, but that's all that's not what about faith that's Walkabout site faith means trusting God even when you cannot see him.

Faith means Paul says, waiting patiently until the end to experience resolution walking by faith means not declaring a verdict over your life until you experience the glory of eternity and realizing that sometimes you're not gonna see the end, it is better just to keep your mouth shut and not and not declare the verdict, but I can't help but think one of my favorite little stories about the go to this, the bird who get a late start flying south for the winter because he gets a late start. It turns colder than when. Usual so his is where his wings freeze. They form ice and freeze what he's up on the fly south and so you can find. He has a crash landing in existence terrible noncommittal fly south for the winter and I didn't want to die right here. Lombok comes a cow Macau will credit the top of him and drop manure on his head anything Went from bad to worse.

Not only am I gonna die here in a dive smell my manure pipes. The manure is warm and the manure ball is his wings and he realizes that he's good to be able to fly again. So we start to flap his wings and jerked her jerk. Is he so happy but I get the attention of a cat nearby. The cat comes along and needs him in this story teaches us three things about how God works in your life okay number one number one.

Not everybody who draws manure on you is your enemy number two. Not everybody who digs you out as your friend number three sometimes when you're in manure it's helpful just to keep your little trooper shut and wait until the end of the story. Sometimes it's helpful when you're in the midst of these situations and you'll know what God is doing to just keep your mouth shut.

Wait patiently for the end of the story for resolution for God to resolve it in eternity. Breathing of it this way your notice on the best movies the best TV shows.

The best books they usually create tensions that don't resolve until much later. Internet is this. In fact, sometimes I've praised 80s movies me dog on 80 shows member the shows wristwatch 1980s the series they have one problem. Least we realize now is that every shortly a team get a house or whatever they all all resolved every episode you have a problem. It was all that episode it was not like these long arcs now that shows the kind that you binge watch have some problem that gets introduced, and it takes like eight seasons in order to be able to resolve that problem right immunoassay and it makes a much better show because is that tension it's it's like there's there's a lot of resolution come to get away for what Paul will be saying is that our lives are to be like that some of us have wanted this quick resolution in every chapter imposes you not to get that some of these things are resolved only in eternity. There is a long arc of what God is doing and that is he is writing into us is beauty.

So those are three myths that Christians tend to believe about suffering that we will resent. Let's turn that around. Now was okay with those of the myths. What hope does God actually give me in suffering.

What is Romans eight really promising to me before things okay verse one verse 28 God promises A.

He's promising that he is using all things all things ultimately to make you more like Jesus. People always overlook the last part of verse 28, which might be the most warmhearted nurse. We know that all things were together for good for those you love God, who are called according to his purpose. What is the purpose.

What is God's purpose in you.

Well, verse 29. Jesuit is for those he foreknew he also predestined that means purpose to be conformed to the image of his son, God's purpose that he is working for in all things in your life is to make you more like Jesus, the good, the good that he is working all things toward is not so much about giving you better circumstances as it is making you a better you.

Are you who is more like Jesus. Invariably, at every moment God is working toward that in that painful chapter in your marriage.

That setback at work that chronic illness, all of it was for this purpose, and there will come a time there will come a time.

If you submit to God in faith. When you see that all the painful chapters all the heartaches all the tears disabilities all the disadvantages all the disappointments, even though seasons of boredom and loneliness. All of them were used by God for one purpose and it is to mold you more into the image of Jesus. What that means is that when you're in the midst of some kind of pain or boredom. Instead of asking God to get you out of the trouble should also be asking God to what you should get out of the trouble there's nothing wrong with asking God to get you out of the trouble that's natural, but you should also be saying God for the reason that I go through this is to make them more like Jesus not only my interested in getting out of this trouble.

I want to know what you want me to get out of this trouble make sense somewhere at some time in some way in eternity you're going to have a Mr. Biagi moment when you realize that the wax on wax off Sandy floor paint the fence moments before teaching you to be more like Jesus. But there's another story.

I've told her the years.

To illustrate this, it I told you like a tapestry to go on tour Biltmore house that is beautiful tapestries and on the one side it looks just perfect.

Like every string is in the right place that makes this elaborate work of art, but I told you.

The tour got flips it over for you. You see that on the back is this chaotic, jumbled mess. It looks like all the strings are just one random places have told you that that's what our lives for like is this random chaotic mouse one day. Got to flip it over and you can see that that was all being woven for the face of Jesus Christ.

Image and you and you like, I think so.

There is something happening in your life.

It just feels like it's starting up a one day one day what what what what Paul is saying is Christ using all these things to form Christ in you, everything happening in your life. Things you can see the things you can't see can make you more like Jesus you're listening to Senate life with pastor Jeannie Greer. It's not too late to get our new Bible study through romance. You can still request that second volume of the box that pastor Katie we learned in the first few chapters or Romans about the righteousness of God and revealed through the gospel and then about God saving righteousness through faith in Christ.

So in this section of Romans will be shifting to how having faith in God's righteousness to unfailing have you know hope is an important concept. The book of Romans, because hope becomes the power to do a lot of other things that Paul tells us all to be part of Christian life example persevering and suffering that comes from from hope we didn't come from just sort of buckling down saying I'm to make it in. Suffering comes from having something that you know God is doing something he is put in front of you that that enables you to suffer.

Well, so I'm hope is a concept that the more you get into it. Not only will you understand book of Romans better it will unlock most of the treasures of the Christian life as of this new resource. The second part of our Bible study for the book of Romans are offering now. One of the key concepts can be hope.

And I think you'll find it very richly rewarding and a great blessing to you so you get that second volume now available@jdgreer.com and you like wait a minute, second volume, I don't have the first volume.

You can also get the first volume. JD Greer.com. Take yourself deeper into one of the most rewarding books of the Bible, the book of Romans. The book on which the Protestant Reformation and that the great missions awakenings and the missions movement found itself get your survey think stating this is such a special Bible study perfect for the individual Bible study or small groups to study together and we'd like to get your copy of this study working for chapters 4 to 8 Romans today and it comes with things to donate ministry Senate life on the radio online listeners like, 586835.

We can donate online. Jeannie Greer and Molly that it makes life by JD Greer


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