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March 30, 2022 12:00 am
Perhaps no verse in Scripture is taken out of context more than Romans 8:28. In that verse, Paul says that "all things work together for good to them that love God," and people take that to mean a lot of things it doesn't mean. So in this message Stephen reminds us of the real meaning and power behind this promise from God.
All suggesting you say doesn't control and we discover knees we water our noses in our lungs scared and beaten by the waves and by the wind. We think we can make it but Paul would say, with the hymn writer God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform the plans his footsteps on the sea, and rides upon the storm not he gets rid of the star he manages. He is sovereign over your Bible to Romans 828 you read this and 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. You know that verse right.
Perhaps you've read it several times. Perhaps people have used it to try to encourage you when you were facing difficulty today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey is going to begin a two-part series on this verse. He's going to help you understand what it means and what it does not mean today we start with a message called Romans 828 what it is not stay with us. We arrived. Perhaps the most familiar verse in the book of Romans. Perhaps many of you in the entire New Testament Romans 828 is a verse, we tend to stick our hip pocket and pull out whatever we need a sense of God's purpose for us a sense of meaning or maybe even answer from God.
Paul very clearly states this wonderful truth, he says, and 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 incredible verse. This verse is a way of coloring the perspective of our entire lives. Unfortunately, however, many use this verse to color outside the lines of what God originally intended to communicate. We hear of some difficulty in the life of the believer and we quickly quote well all things work together for good. Don't forget that we hear stories of bad things with good endings and we say there you have it.
Romans 828 and not just like God said there I can remember the funeral home standing near a grieving widow listening as people walk by hearing. One woman patted his little on the shoulder then said, remember Romans 828 we use this verse a lot going we visited in hospital rooms. We visited emergency rooms. We use it in funeral homes.
We use it when clouds sweep over our lives. I fear we use it in ways because we misunderstand, I have been slowly reading through the biography of George Whitfield.
It's two volumes well over a thousand pages, a man of God used by God to bring about the great awakening both in England and America during the mid-1700s.
One event recorded by another individual in his journal and inserted into this biography is worth reading. You would feel this member learned of a widow with a large family is landlord recently had taken all her furniture away because she couldn't make rent. Whitfield heard about it and immediately went and gave her five guineas I don't guineas are they selling furry animals.
Anybody gave her 50 gave her five guineas that made her rent and got her furniture back. The friend was traveling with him hinted that the sum was more than he can reasonably afford to which he replied, when God brings a case of need be. For us it is that we may relieve it.
The two travelers proceeded on their journey there on horseback and before long, a robber accosted them, demanding their money, which they gave after the robber left Whitfield turn the tables on his friend and reminded him that much better was for the poor widow to have his money than the thief who would take his friends. They had not long resume their travel before the robber returned and demanded Whitfield's coat. The request was granted only after Whitfield asked for the robber's tattered old coat in exchange. It was very cold. The robber agreed and after trading coats, he fled away horseback. After some time he saw the robber galloping towards them again as fast as he could and now fearing for their lives believing they were threatened.
They also spurred on their horses and fortunately arrived at some cottages before the robber reached them. The thief was stopped and no doubt intensely mortified for when Whitfield took off the man's tattered coat, he found in one of the pockets five guineas and nearly 100 more now that's my kind of story that's Romans 828 without a doubt, it is but what if Whitfield had not asked for the man's coat. What if that had been the story. What if Whitfield had not only lost his coat and his money but is forced to what we have fun reading that in his journal say that's Romans 828 for sure. What if the robber had taken the life of Whitfield's friend or hurt Whitfield himself. What about those times as I have read where Whitfield preached while people hurled rocks through the church windows the times he feared for his life and arrived eventually rescued though beaten nearly to death. What about the times when he dealt with the severe debt of his orphanage. He carried the burden of his orphan house his entire life. Never getting out from under. That's Romans 828 or is it what about the Asian believer that I read about active in her church serving Christ while she attended graduate school planning for the mission field, working a part-time job at a jewelry store to pay her school and living those into young thugs came in the store, stole some jewelry and then shot and killed her. Do you tell her family.
Just remember Romans 828. What about terminal illness. What about divorce doesn't work for bankruptcy what you tell a woman who is persistently propositioned by her boss who also happens to be a leader in her chair. What you say to an elderly couple been defrauded out of their life saving can you use this verse for the victim of sexual abuse or rape. I have had all of them sit before me, do I give them. Romans 828 is God working all things together for good. When we do not see the good with God work when Isaac carried the wood up that hillside on his back was God at work during David's years of running after being anointed king was God at work through those times of unfaithfulness. In Hosea's wife's life with God at work in the prison sentence Joseph, would you have encountered him in the dungeon and said don't forget was he at work when John the Baptist unexplainable way to our human logic was beheaded something so trite as a man filled with lust with any of them have understood. Romans 828 the way contemporary Christianity wants to understand today. I do not believe so. Listen, though a correct interpretation of any verse of Scripture means it is correct for any condition with any Christian in any culture at any time in any circumstance. So it's best that we reevaluate the way we use this verse if it doesn't work when the sun is out and when the clouds roll over our lives that we probably missed its true meaning, which would lead me to say then that this verse is probably not only the most quoted, but it is one of the most misused versus in all of the New Testament. And here's the danger if we understand what God is saying, and we miss use it and misapply it. It can distort our perspective and it can lead us down paths that open us up to the enemy of our soul who seeks daily so believer that he can discredit, devour, destroy, and more Christians are discredited and destroyed in their intimate walk with Christ, not by external activity, but by an internal attitude and perhaps Romans 828 and menus above all other to pave the path to dissolution.
So before we proceed with what this verse means I want to tell you what it doesn't mean you before things number one Romans 828 is not a precise explanation for suffering. Paul does not provide some quick answer for the grieving. This verse is not Band-Aid that you can casually unfeeling we stick on somebody's pain per doesn't even pretend to solve the riddles of life.
It doesn't further even attempt to answer the questions that begin with the word of why why does it bother you to read verses like these is the glory of God to conceal a matter Proverbs 25 to truly you are a God who hides himself as a 4515. The secret things belong to the Lord our God. Deuteronomy 2929 as you do not know the path of the wind or how the body is formed in the mother's womb so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things is that one we memorized is that one we would share it in the word of God. God also spoke further to his prophet Isaiah as he announced for my thoughts are not your wife, thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55 versus 8 to 9.
In other words, we want the answers to all the riddles of life. But on closer inspection of the word of God. We discover we lack the capacity to grasp fully the infinite ways and thoughts and measures of God's management and his movement as he controls the events of life wonder Paul wrote further in Romans God's judgments are unsearchable in his ways are beyond finding out no one he wrote to the Corinthian believers for his known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him towards the mark of a growing believer may not be found in someone having all the answers, and maybe found in someone who less and less demands from God.
The answer we all need to practice saying things, even though we might've believed it would be a mark of immaturity or lack of scholarship we ought to know how to say something like I don't know why. Once you practice that with me.
It's a rare sentence saying I don't know why some of you that the first time you said it in your life is not my favorite expression I guarantee you as my wife. I want the answer how to tell you what I think God's doing. How to tell you how I think I figured it out side that's my job in the profession and other supposed to know that kinda stuff you call me up. Can you imagine calling me up telling me your story. I say I don't have a clue I'm stumped what God is doing in your life while probably for another pastor. The older we get in the Lord we find ourselves saying I do not know why but I do know what when Job demanded an explanation from God, God responded. You remember that with an answer, but with a review of his attributes. Let me remind you a set of who are you into your the trouble is, we would most often rather have an explanation.
Romans 828 is not an explanation for suffering and it is secondly not a prohibition against sorrow. This is the verse that supposed to act as some divine handkerchief to wipe away tears I've ever heard a Christian say to another believing I don't try remember Romans 828. The model of many. I believe our fear of the church is deep. Christians never try though that's the case then Jesus Christ failed miserably outside of Lazarus's tomb where he approached even knowing what he would do.
He still openly wept to the point of the Jewish people gathered around said in John 11 want how much he allow Lazarus. There is no biblical prohibition in this text for grieving.
Have you ever share some challenging the person handed back to you like a Dr. hand you a prescription. Romans 828 you take this in the morning with a glass of water and this will take care of everything church and become sort of a masquerade doesn't believers afraid to show the field, especially if they feel sorrow or frustration or confusion or doubt or loss. I fear this verse may be leading the way as we misunderstand it and we miss apply it. It is not a precise explanation for suffering is not a prohibition against sorrow. Thirdly, this verse is not a pretext for avoiding the challenges of life. You don't hide behind this verse. Believer is misguided, who might tell another just settle down. Just relax, not so much to deal our passion for the Lord is going to do anyway. Don't get so worked up about your mission in life God your work everything out. Ladies and gentlemen, this verse is not an excuse from forgetting out of the great commission. This is not a hall pass from the study of disciplining yourselves in the word of God, and those other disciplines of spiritual living. Paul does not give the believer justification for apathy, complacency to simply say what you know. Romans 820. The Thessalonians had that problem.
Remember they were saying Jesus is coming, so we just sit here and wait for the rapture. Why get all worked up. In fact, why work. You remember in Paul not-so-subtle. He responded by reminding them if you don't work you don't what he and they went to work. They were sitting on their hands.
Paul was already said in effect that we actively engaged in the work of Christ, we face the challenges of life head on and at the same time on our knees. We have been called to bear the cross we have been called to run the race call the fight fight is no verse out of that give you another. This verse is not a permanent ticket to comfortable living. Paul is already reminded the reader of Romans of this truth that we actively engage and hope with anticipation. Somebody might say well I'm asking God for as well in my life and always really not making it very clear to me so I'll just assume everything to work out I do anything and I can be assured in the process of not doing anything that God's going to smooth everything out that life is guaranteed to be comfortable. He said it right there. Everything will work out together for good, and I love everything to be good. That is what he said but what we do what we wait let me give you a few things about your parents. Ephesians 61. If you're single develop a romantic relationship with a believer only prescription 615.
If your married husband's actively love and lead your wives, wives actively love and respect her husband's Ephesians 5 2225 work hard in your occupation, it is your calling from God for Thessalonians 4 give to the Lord's church is because drinking data. Nine. Pray regularly and persistently for Thessalonians 517 develop an attitude of joy and gratitude for special needs 516 exercise your spiritual gifts for the sake of the body. First Peter four verse 10 consistently worship with gathered believers. Hebrews 1025 develop and act out biblical convictions. Colossians 3 verse to study the word of God.
Second Timothy two. Memorize the word of God.
Psalm one 1911 and meditate on the word of God. Psalm 12.
Start with that occupy yourselves with that. Don't worry so much about tomorrow.
Get involved today following and obeying and serving and worshiping God to the problem is not what we don't know God's will and cannot do.
The problem is what we do know of God's will and do not Romans 828 is not an excuse to just kinda let it all slide there's another problem with the misuse of this verse and I want to stick it into this fourth point there many to believe the God is obligated himself to providing this pain-free trouble-free living by mentally inserting this little word now into this text. So there contemporary Christian version would read and we know that God causes all things to work together for good, now or in the very near future.
Or certainly well I'm living and cognizant all the answers will come for from God said it right here so they think you cannot support that view with the reality of Scripture. In fact, the reality of believers who followed after Christ. In acts chapter 27. You can either turn or just listen. The apostle Paul is giving us an event out of his own personal journal. He says here in Luke is writing in his own journal about Paul's life. He says this but before very long as Paul is on his way around the rushed down from the land.
A violent wind. Paul is on board with others in here comes a northeaster literally and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along and running under the shelter of a very small island named Claudette we were scarcely able to get the ships boat under control, and after they had hoisted it up they use supporting cables and undergirding the ship and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of service they let down the sea anchor and so let themselves be driven along was right in the middle of this and right in the middle of God's will. The next day as we were being violently storm tossed. They begin to jettison the cargo and on the third day, they threw the ships tackle overboard with their own hand and since neither son nor stars appeared for many days and no small storm was assailing us from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned so everybody on board, including Paul and Luke assumed this was the when they had gone a long time without food and posted up in the midst, and said then you want to follow my advice, you shouldn't have set sail from Crete incurring this damage and loss. However, I urge you to keep up your courage, for there shall be no loss of life among you, but only the ship well. He's just claiming Romans 828 right know for this very night. An angel of God, to whom I belong came and stood before me say, do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar and behold God has granted you all those were sailing with you, therefore, keep up your encouragement for I believe God that will turn out exactly as I've been told by box. We must run aground on a certain island. In other words, we have to be shipwrecked.
These things all in here don't seem to go together.
I believe God, but we first must run aground. If God could take the trouble and time to send an angel. By the way, why does he does have the angel take Paul and just deposit them on land when that be wonderful. But I love the irony of Paul's speech. Keep up your courage to verse 22 and were gonna lose the ship.
I believe God and were all going for swim Dino and Paula suggesting here. He saved God's in control and when you skip her knees were in the water noses in our lungs and we scared would be beaten by the waves and by the wind. When you think we can make it.
Paula suggesting here that God has ordained that he would survive, but that God has also ordained that his boat would see those two things don't quite go together in our contemporary thinking Paul would say, with the hymn writer God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. He plans his footsteps on the sea, and rides upon the storm not he gets rid of the star. He arrives he manages he is sovereign over the storm. I have stood on a rocky hillside of an island called Malta just above the cove where Paul supposedly swam to shore when he was shipwrecked on other who would sign up for this kind of Christianity. Surely God would give his friends. Good weather, good health and prosperity. Good reports from the doctors good reports from the brokers smooth sailing on the ocean. Charlie in the bud so believers do not see deep down that's what we really expect from God is in it and it shows in our response to God.
As soon as her boats begin to take on water.
If you don't mind me saying it we really expect God to treat us better than that. And we have Romans 828 to try and prove. I remember a few years ago, traveling to South France on a short-term missions trip to one of the service centers part of missions to military I traveled with my parents with my wife Marsha my parents over's oversee the military ministry others from her church went along with this we spent the week in the basement of that center scraping it down all plaster off so they could turn it into an extra room to be used by the sailors in the French Navy on her way home after that week of work and ministry. My wife and I came up to the ticket counter with all the others in Paris. I believe it was to get our connecting flights over to the states to long flight. As many of you probably taken after some delay there at the counter. They asked my wife and I to be seated, and they let everybody else on. Evidently there been some sort of mixup they had separated. Marsha and I on the flight home by accident after talking about it. They pulled some other guy and wear a suit. They talked it over with him and they informed us that we were going to be moved up to first class because they made a mistake in separating us so we'll fly first class all the way. We tell you is a world of difference between first class and coach which up to that point had been my only experience.
Now I know why they can pull that curtain they don't want you to know how bad you have it back in the cattle car we had even started taxi and they were offering the stuff everything everything get mad they were offering us something to drink free champagne.
I think they understood what we wanted sweet tea at a time like that. The meal linen, silverware the whole thing a dessert menu complementary this in complementary that leather chairs that reply we felt bad. I got over my wife, on the other hand, honey, you know, we just didn't seem right for us to be appeared we ought to go back there and at least ask your mom and dad if they would like to come in exchange seats with no honey. Romans 828 this is okay okay I got back you know came back in a few minutes. They didn't they didn't want to.
They were asleep when I asked them, and I can get used to this first class travel.
Surely God has designed for his friend to live like this to travel like this experience that this would be proof of his landing purpose right Paul, how do you know God's pleased with you and and starving control he would respond.
I'm having to swim for my life. But God's promise to make sure is God. Romans 828 does not offer precise explanations.
It does not prohibit the believer from sorrow, nor does it allow the believer to avoid the disciplines and challenges of life, nor does Paul intend to provide some kind of gear class tickets throughout like this is not what Romans 828 and then what is it is a glimpse into the attribute of God's sovereignty and I'm so glad you took the time to be with us today here on wisdom for the hearts you been listening to Stephen Davey Stephen entitled today's lesson. Romans 828 what it is not when we come back tomorrow. Stephen will begin the second part of this series.
That lesson will be called Romans 828 what it is. Please be sure and come back tomorrow to hear that important message. In the meantime, we'd enjoy hearing from you. It's always a delight to get to meet our listening audience. Find out who you are and learn a little bit about you and we'd love to hear from you if you like to correspond by email. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org that's email@example.com if you prefer corresponding through the mail. Our mailing address is wisdom international PO Box 37297, Raleigh, NC 27627 however you prefer communicating. I hope we hear from it would be a great joy to our hearts.
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Be sure and tell us what station you listen to and share your story of how this broadcast has been used by God to equip and encourage I'm Scott Wiley for Stephen Davey and all of us here at wisdom international. Thanks for listening. Join us tomorrow here on wisdom for the hearts