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What It IS!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 31, 2022 12:00 am

What It IS!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 31, 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.

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To those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Now does this mean if I don't consistently love God, He's not going to fulfill His purpose in my life? Does this mean if I'm ever slack in my affection, if I don't follow Him faithfully, if I don't get sidetracked, if I do, He'll not fulfill His purpose in my life? Is that what it means? Unfortunately, that is not what it means.

You love Him more today perhaps than yesterday. Maybe that will grow slack and you will need to reform and repent tomorrow. But God will move forward in His purposes. It's possible that no verse in the Bible has been taken out of context more often than Romans 8.28. In that verse, Paul tells us that all things work together for good to those who love God. People take that verse to mean a lot of things that it doesn't mean and that God never intended for it to mean. On our last broadcast, Stephen Davey began looking at that passage with a message he called Romans 8.28, what it is not. Today, he completely turns that around and the message you're about to hear is entitled Romans 8.28, what it is. This is wisdom for the heart.

And here's Stephen Davey with today's Bible lesson. In her book entitled Mystery on the Desert, Maria Reich described a series of strange hills and valleys that created lines on the earth's surface made by the Indians of Peru centuries ago. They didn't know what these hills were.

They didn't know what they meant. In fact, for centuries, they believed that this strange pattern, these patterns of lines must have been the remnants of some ancient irrigation system. They would travel along for hundreds of yards and then abruptly stop, sometimes turn to the left sharply or sometimes round to the right and didn't make a lot of sense, sometimes just come to a dead end. Some believe that these lines made by earth, sod, were ancient boundary markers for some sort of mystical religion, some sort of mystical religious practice.

The mystery was solved in 1939 by a university professor named Dr. Paul Kosak of Long Island University. He discovered the true meaning by simply observing the hills from high in the air as he flew over them in an airplane. And he discovered that these random, seemingly random hills and valleys forming lines at times that were straight for hundreds of yards then curving left and right were actually forming enormous drawings of birds and other animals.

Imagine creating art that you can't fully appreciate on earth. You need to have a higher sense in order to see the grand artwork and gain a higher perspective in order to capture exactly what these lines of earth meant. I can't help but think that's a great illustration of Romans 8 and verse 28 as Paul is in effect telling us that the beauty of our lives, the way the lines work out, the way they seem to come together while on earth at times it seems we just hit a dead end or maybe we have to turn abruptly to the left or to the right and sometimes it's smooth and sometimes fast and difficult. Romans 828 demands of us a higher perspective, a higher vantage point in order to understand the truth that is before us. And so as Paul writes to the Roman believers who are like us and those believers in any day struggle with the realities of life and the turns and the twists of life, he is encouraging us as we gain this higher perspective on God's purpose.

In Romans chapter 8 verse 28, the apostle Paul writes 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, read further verse 29, for whom he foreknew, he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his son. And we're going to stop there and we won't even really get much into verse 29. Now in our last discussion, I spent the entire time basically exposing what this verse did not say.

Let me very quickly rehearse those four points. Number one, Romans 828 is not a precise explanation for suffering. There are other passages of scripture that explain the fallenness of mankind and how God allows mankind the freedom to make decisions and those decisions may be good and kind, they may be evil and cruel. His freedom allows the open door for the freedom to do immoral and evil and violent things. Any of us I'm sure have watched the story unfold in Florida where that 11-year-old little girl was abducted and ultimately killed.

Every mommy and daddy's nightmare came true for that mom and dad. Romans 828 is not a verse to quote should you gain their hearing. It is not an explanation for their suffering. It doesn't explain the evil of mankind. It doesn't promise some sort of special protection if they had only followed after God. It does promise as we'll see in our study today, God will take the evil of men and turn even that into the glory and good of his children and his own name. But what deeply concerns me and I want to address it and just briefly relate it to you again is the fact that believers tend to take this verse and turn it into a rabbit's foot. They hang it around their necks and they say, okay, now I've got this special incantation. I can wear this superstitiously around my heart. The trouble is when it doesn't seem to work, those believers walk away in disillusionment and despair and may even walk away from their intimate walk with God.

It didn't work. Furthermore, this verse is not a prohibition we've discussed against sorrow and grief. You are not an embarrassment to God when you cry.

You are not frightening him when you ask questions. When you are troubled, when you are filled with that sense of pain and those moments of suffering, God is capable of hearing it all. And this verse doesn't act as some sort of Kleenex to wipe it all away. Third, we learned that Paul does not intend this text to become a pretext whereby the believer can just simply avoid the difficulties and the challenges of life.

Well, God's going to work everything out and it's all going to work out for good. So why worry? Why sweat? Why confront? Why risk? Why step out in faith? Why sacrifice? Why evangelize?

Why worry about the world? God's going to work it all out. That isn't what this verse is saying. Finally, Romans 8 28 is not some sort of permanent ticket to comfortable living. These are four things this verse is not saying.

But do you know what these four things are in effect? They are an attempt by mankind to make sense of the twisting hills and the valleys from Earth's perspective. What we need is an elevation of perspective. We need to see Earth from heaven's vantage point.

And that's where this verse comes in so wonderfully. What Paul will do is elevate our perspective. In fact, he will give us, as it were, an aerial view of the sovereign purpose of God for his children. And we will discover our security, not in the events of life, not in the circumstances of life, whether they are good or bad, comfortable or sorrowful.

We will not discover our fulfillment in them necessarily. We will discover our fulfillment and our security in the promise that God is sovereignly managing and moving everything to his divine end. And I want to show you six things in this verse that say just that. The first thing I want to show you is the certainty of God's purpose. The certainty of God's purpose. Would you go back to verse 28?

And we know. Earlier in verse 26, Paul had written, for we do not know something. For we do not know how to pray as we ought to. We mistake the events of life. We misunderstand the hand of God.

We miss his purpose. We don't know how to how to pray like we ought to pray, but we pray. We don't know that. But he says here we now do know something. While we don't know how to pray, we do know the purpose of God.

Would you notice that Paul doesn't begin this verse by writing and we think and we we hope. Oh, beloved living in Rome. Oh, how I wish. No, that's not what he said. He said.

And we know. He didn't say this is what we feel. There's a vast difference between what we feel and what may be true. I may be feeling that God is not doing anything when God is doing everything.

We might not feel that God is in control, but he is sovereign on his throne, managing the affairs of life. We might not feel that God is with us. We may feel he has abandoned us, but he has not abandoned us. The truth is, as one author said, we live in a fallen world. We are a fallen people. And even our feelers are fallen to great truth. How we feel is often related to our fallenness. He didn't say for this we feel, but he said and we know.

I'm also glad he didn't say as he began this text. And this is my personal opinion. I respect Paul, don't you? If he said this is my opinion, I still would probably listen. But I can tell you this.

When the clouds of life move in and block out the light of the sun, when the pressures come upon you and the tribulations overwhelm you, I and you also do not need anybody's opinion. Even Paul's. He said and we know. Now I want to pause a little longer here just to tell you there are a couple of different words in the Greek language translated to know our English vocabulary is so limited.

We use one verb that can mean a myriad of different things where the Greek language would have a verb that specifically relates to exactly what you're trying to say. When Paul said we know, he could mean a number of different things. There's a verb to know that is simply means we know by means of personal experience. We know by what we've seen. We know by what we've observed.

We know by what we are experiencing. Paul used that when he spoke to the Philippians and he said, listen, what I want to do is I want to know Christ. I want to I want to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. Was Paul an unbeliever? Was he saying I want to know Jesus? He was a believer. What he's saying is I want to know by virtue of personal, intimate experience that truth.

We only knew Greek. By the way, it's the same word expressed when a wife might say to her husband, I don't know if you really love me. And what does the man do? The man says, Well, wait a sec. What do you mean you don't know? Seven years ago, five years ago, 13 years ago, 40 years ago, I said I would love you for life. And she says, No, what I'm saying is I don't know. Now they don't need a marriage seminar. They just need to know a little Greek. OK, what she's saying is I want to ginosko you love me.

I want some assurance. I want to see that vacuum cleaner moving across the living room floor. I want to see the trash being taken out. I don't know why I thought of those two things, but they just came to me. So wives, what it would help is for you to learn a little Greek and for your husband to learn a little Greek. What you're really meaning is I want some reassurance by seeing something.

So I want to know, honey, if you ginosko me, I need a little ginosko. There's a word that's translated no, that is the word oida. This is knowledge gained not by personal experience, but gained by propositional truth. It's just simply stated. And it is true.

You do not experience two plus two equals four. You just know it. You've learned it. It's true.

You don't have to feel anything about it. You just have to write it down on your test, right? When you take a test, if you're students, you're you're being tested on your oida. They don't care how you feel about that historical event, that mathematical formula.

They want to know if you've been listening to what the teacher has been saying about math and history and science and whatever. That's what Paul is using here. He doesn't use the word ginosko that relates to personal experience.

He uses the word oida. We know we know God is sovereign in his management over the affairs of life, not because we feel it, not because we have any reassurance of it, but because the teacher said so. And we believe it for we know.

And it's true because God cannot lie. Second, I want you to notice the controller of God's purpose for we know that my translation includes the words God causes for we know that God causes. In other words, we not only believe, but we believe that God is behind what we believe, right? God is the cause and controller of his divine purposes. And because he is behind it all, because he is moving it forward, we can have great reassurance in that. Listen, if the purposes of God depended upon our cleverness to figure it out, our wisdom, our diligence, our strength to make it happen, our wisdom to see how it ought to happen, our desire or anything, if it all depended on us, his purposes would look a lot like our list of New Year's resolutions. Oh, but his list, his purposes, his design behind them is the one who will cause it to happen. For we know that God causes the purposes relate to his power and his strength. Third, Paul refers to the comprehensiveness of God's purpose for we know that God causes all things. I did a little translation work on that phrase as well. Looked it up in the text and discovered something really amazing.

Get your pencils out. Do you know what the word all means in the Greek language? Write it into the margin of your Bibles. All in the Greek language means all. Isn't that great? All means all. And that's all, all means. You can render this God causes everything to ultimately fulfill his purpose.

It's a great word. All things. Paul is not saying that God prevents his children from experiencing things that harm them. He is rather one author said, attesting to the fact that the Lord takes all that he allows to happen to his children, even the worst things and turns those into pieces that fit within his purposes. So here's the truth, ladies and gentlemen, when God seems to be doing nothing, God is doing everything. We just can't see it. We are temporarily handicapped by Earth's perspective. We hit the dead end in that hill or we turn to the left or were swooped around to the right and we would never think it could be divine art.

No way. But all means all. Would you notice, fourthly, the continuity of God's purpose? Paul writes, for we know that God causes all things to work together.

Sunergeo is a wonderful word transliterated. It gives us our English word synergism. Webster defined synergism as the combined action of two or more things which have a greater effect than the sum of their individual effects. One thing alone isn't as powerful as two things combined. We see illustrations of this and the human anatomy, nature and architecture, everything around us. We see synergism at work.

It's a powerful word. Any one thing in your life may not seem to work anything out. But Paul isn't saying look at the individual pieces. Sunergeo, he is saying look at how they may fit together so that later perhaps you'll realize one thing brought about another thing which consequently affected a different thing which ultimately resulted in the final thing working out. Whether we realize it or see it or understand it or not, this is what Paul is saying and the teacher through him is telling us the truth. I read a testimony of a pastor who was away from his pulpit for a few weeks because of a tragedy and his family, his son, committed suicide.

A believer, a believing family and if anything doesn't seem to fit that may be one of those things that you just can't fit. He returned to the pulpit and with great emotion he read his text which happened to be Romans 8.28. And then the article said he looked at his congregation and said and I quote, I cannot make my son's death fit into this passage.

It is impossible for me to see how anything good can come out of this. Yet I realize I only see in part. I only know in part. He said it made me think of the shipyard. Almost every part of our great ships are made of steel. If you were to take any single part of that vessel be it a steel plate from the hull or steel from its rudder and throw it into the ocean it would what? It would sink. Steel does not float. But when the ship builder is finished, when the last plate has been riveted in place that massive steel ship floats. He then concluded by saying taken by itself my son suicide is senseless.

Throw it into the sea and it will sink. But when the divine ship builder has finally finished even this will build together God's unsinkable purpose. Wow. That is faith in the continuity of God's purpose and maybe for you that is demanding the greatest withdrawal of faith in the purposes of God today. You will by faith believe what the teacher says. All things work together by means of his causation for your good and his purpose. And that leads me to the context of God's purpose. Fifthly, all things work together for what? For good?

Now here is where people get tripped up. Paul does not say all things are good. He says all things work together for good. Do you mean Stephen that evil and sin and false accusation and injustice and failure and broken relationships and cruelty and betrayal and pain and suffering and hatred and jealousy and abandonment? You mean even those? I have selected those things and listed them here because every one of those things were part of the last few hours in the life of Jesus Christ.

And guess what? It worked together for your good and for his glory. Are any of those things in your life right now? Evil sin false accusation injustice failure broken relationships cruelty betrayal pain suffering hatred jealousy abandonment. Would you believe that God would be merging and managing even those for your good? That he would be presently weaving them together for good?

Why? What is the good? Go to verse twenty nine where we're ultimately told the final culmination of his purpose. And that would be that we would be conformed to Jesus Christ. And if Jesus Christ had those things in his life would we not in reflecting his life on our own perhaps encounter similar things. Paul says in effect that God will intertwine and merge.

He will fuse and blend and mingle and combine everything for your ultimate good which is reflecting the character of Jesus Christ. You know what? I'm going to step out on a limb here.

I could be wrong. But you know what I think one of the most often repeated phrases is going to be at least in the early stages of our eternal glorified state in heaven. You know what I think it's going to be. Well what do you know. What do you know.

As God I believe reveals his the intricacies of his artwork in our lives. We'll say oh well what do you know. That appointment. That accident. That failure. That broken relationship. That neighbor.

The teacher. That lesson. What do you know. They are hills and valleys of divine art.

And I never would have guessed it. Now I want to warn you as we come to the end of this text that there is a condition to experiencing this kind of assurance of God's purpose. He writes it there for 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. Now does this mean if I don't consistently love God he's not going to fulfill his purpose in my life. Does this mean if I'm ever slack in my affection if I don't follow him faithfully if I don't get sidetracked if I do he'll not fulfill his purpose in my life. Is that is that what it means. Fortunately that is not what it means. The titles those who love God and those called according to his purposes are simply two of many titles used in the New Testament for those who are children of God. You love him more today perhaps than yesterday.

Maybe that will grow slack and you will need to reform and repent tomorrow. But God will move forward in his purposes. He has his way marked for you and his sovereign purposes will be fulfilled and that is such great assurance.

One author said it this way these two titles are somewhat redundant but they're written from different perspectives. Those who love God would be written from our perspective. Those called according to his purpose would be written from God's perspective. In other words the condition to being the recipient of God's divine purpose is simply becoming a child of God. How do you become a child of God. But as many as received him the son Jesus Christ the log us the word from God to them he gave the right to be called what children of God not joining the church not giving money not being a good person all those are wonderful things not even being baptized it is accepting by faith Jesus Christ and his cross work on your behalf and those who come to him find salvation there is salvation by the way and nobody else. Acts Chapter 4 verse 12. There is a growing resurgence right now among theological circles of what is an aberration of universalism and if I told you the evangelical leaders that are dabbling in it you wouldn't believe me it'll come out later believing that if anybody is just content with believing what they believe if they're sincere they're going to get to heaven. That is the old heresy called universalism. There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved in the name Peter had introduced earlier in that text.

It is Jesus Christ and Tim alone. You know what I think the tragedy the unbelieving world I think the tragedy the unbelieving world could be summarized by this they are people who will never see how God worked it all out. They'll never see it. Even though we struggle right now with the fact that we can't fully see it they will never see it.

And we have the promise that we will. Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers after defining salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone in Ephesians 2 8 and 9 verse 10 he says Oh by the way you are his workmanship. You are his poema. Transliterated you are his poem. You are the artwork of God. He is even now constructing another stanza that goes into that masterpiece called your life. You may not see it now.

It may not seem so much like art to you. But you will see it when the hills and valleys are explained in that final providential glorification when we will see and I believe we will be taught how God worked it all out. In the meantime we follow him and surrender to him and we take great security in his providence on our behalf and we trust him. That's the promise. That's Romans chapter 8 verse 28.

With that we conclude a brief two part series entitled the misuse and meaning of Romans 8 28. If you missed yesterday's broadcast and want to hear the first part of this series we've posted it to our website. The series is also available as a set of CDs if that would encourage you to own a copy for yourself. You can contact us for information about that. Our phone number is 866 48 Bible that's 866 48 Bible and we'd be delighted to talk with you. Are you on social media. We are and we'd love to interact with you that way. Wisdom International has a Facebook page that you can follow to receive updates about our ministry. We're also on Twitter and Instagram and we'd enjoy interacting with you that way. Social media is also a great way for you to share our Bible teaching with your friends. If there's a message that blesses and encourages you it might bless and encourage some of the people in your circle of friends. We hope that you'll share these lessons with others and help spread the truth of God's word. Before we end our time for today I want to remind you about our app. The Wisdom International app will work with your smartphone your tablet or a smart TV. It's free to install and use and it's a great companion for your personal Bible study. Thanks for listening for Stephen Davey and all of us here at Wisdom International. Join us next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-13 22:26:54 / 2023-05-13 22:36:58 / 10

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