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Depositing Your Life in the Bank of Heaven

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 24, 2023 12:00 am

Depositing Your Life in the Bank of Heaven

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 24, 2023 12:00 am

There’s great joy when something is made just for you—a tailor-made suit, a build-your-own sundae, or a custom home. The designed outcome is perfect for you. Did you know that your suffering and trials in this life are also custom-made just for you by God? They are designed to deepen your faith and teach you to fully entrust your life to our Creator God.

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Imagine the comfort of his words as he writes, Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars.

The one who leads forth their hosts by number, he calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power, not one of them is missing. As if to say the creator of trillions upon trillions of stars never loses track of even one of them, he will not lose track of one of us. Jesus never loses sight of you. Jesus is continually and constantly aware of every aspect of your life.

Now, most Christians know that to be true. Where we sometimes struggle is in believing it when things are going bad. When you're facing a time of suffering and trial, do you ever wonder, where's God?

How could God let this happen? Today on Wisdom for the Heart, you're going to learn that even your trials were custom made by God for you and that God has a purpose in those trials. Here's Stephen with today's lesson called Depositing Your Life in the Bank of Heaven.

R.C. Sproul who went home to be with the Lord recently wrote often on the subject of God's providence. I pulled one of his smaller books off my shelf a few weeks ago and reread it sort of as a silent tribute to this author and professor who loved to write and speak and defend the sovereignty of God. In this particular publication, though, it was humorous how he told a story that he had first heard from a pastor friend of his. And it goes like this. There was a mountain climber who slipped on a ledge and was about to plummet thousands of feet to his death. But as he started to fall, he grabbed the branch of a tiny scraggly little tree that was growing out of a crack in the face of that sheer rocky cliff.

And as he clung to the branch, the roots of that scraggly little tree began to pull loose and the climber knew he was facing certain death. And at that moment, he cried out to the heavens, Is there anyone up there who can help me? Is there anyone? And suddenly, to his total surprise, you're a booming voice from the sky respond. Yes, I'm here.

Let go of the branch and trust me. A man looked down into the abyss and looked back up toward heaven and said, Is there anybody else up there who can help me? Strolling on it say that this is the mentality that typifies the mentality of our evangelical generation today. We don't mind hearing from God as long as he delivers a message or a plan or a command that we find comfortable. But if it involves trust or hardship or possible suffering, we often wonder if we heard the message right or maybe let's go back again.

And is there anybody else up there with a better message? The apostle Peter has been dealing with the reality of the Christian life and he's faced head on the subject of trusting God, even if it means difficulty and hardship. He began a subject by informing us that we needed to prepare for the end of all things.

That is, the coming of Christ for the church and the end of human history as we know it. Peter's also been encouraging us to rethink the subject of suffering. In fact, if you take your copy of the New Testament and turn to 1 Peter chapter 4, we're going to pick up his final comments before he changes the topic in chapter 5.

And what I want to do is point out four or five observations in rather rapid fashion. Some of this will be a refresher course if you've been with us over these weeks. Some of it will be new emphases that come from the inspired quill of the apostle Peter. And the first observation is this, suffering is tailor-made to strengthen your faith, not weaken your faith. Now notice verse 19, just the first few words. Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God, you got to hold it right there.

Did we hear that correctly? Those who suffer according to the will of God. I thought the suffering belonged to those who were not in the will of God. I thought suffering could be alleviated if your faith was stronger or your walk with Christ was steadier. You mean you can suffer and that happens to be the will of God.

I'm tempted to wonder, is there anybody else up there? Here's the perspective Peter's already delivered to us, suffering is a tutor. That is, it is a sign by the Spirit of God that rests upon you and enables you to develop you and not destroy you. Now Peter adds the secret behind it all, you are suffering according to the will of God. Which means trials are tailor-made and the tailor happens to be God.

He makes his measurements and he suits us up with suffering according to his tailor-made design. Let me make a second observation, spiritual maturity is deepened through fiery trials. Peter wrote a few verses earlier on the subject and he told us, don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you which comes upon you for your testing. 1 Peter 4 verse 12 and the idea there of testing was not to flunk you out of the class. That was the idea going back to the ancient goldsmith who would add fuel to the fire and make it all the hotter in order to remove the impurities until he could see his reflection in that liquid gold. Again the analogy is intended to encourage the believer in Peter's A&Iers, the pressure is increasing, the culture is becoming more hostile.

In fact in a few years widespread state-sponsored persecution is going to come after the church. Peter is informing them and us that God is the one controlling the heat. He is the goldsmith. It's his hand on the thermostat as he changes us and deepens us and conforms us so that we reflect the image a little bit more of Jesus Christ. Think about it this way, one author provoked my thinking in my study, no one earns a diploma or a degree without taking tests. The curriculum of Christ's likeness is much the same. But the interesting thing about God's schoolroom is that we grade our own tests. He doesn't test us so he can learn how much we're changing. He tests us so that we can learn how much we're changing.

So what are the test results? And how different are they from your unbelieving neighbor who goes through hard times as well, who loses his money in the stock market, who loses a child, who loses his job, who loses his health. I mean how different are we to the response to the evil and suffering in our world than that unbeliever next door? Look at their response to evil and calamity and suffering in the world.

What do they do? They curse God, they blame God, they pin it on God so to speak. Eliminating any thought of their own culpability. Their faith isn't deepened, they curse them and reject them. In fact they use it to rule out the legitimacy of Christianity because of it. Billy Graham, the internationally known evangelist who I'm sure you know passed away recently.

And I have, as you, have so admired this man's personal humility and integrity absent in so many public figures. But he was once asked by a skeptic and I loved his answer and I want to share with you. And the question by the skeptic was, hey if Christianity is valid why is there so much evil in the world? To which he responded with homespun wisdom, probably a smile on his face, well with so much soap available in the world why are there so many dirty people? Remember that one.

I'm looking forward to using it. By the way in this letter Peter never tells the believer how they can avoid suffering or pain or even evil. The difference between our response and the world around us is that we happen to have a relationship as Christians with Christ. In fact we think of it this way, we happen to belong to a redeemer who suffered for a purpose. And we're glad he did.

Why? Because he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah writes in chapter 53 and verse 5, talk about suffering because of evil and at the same time being in the middle of the will of God the Father. Because of it the Spirit of God has applied his suffering and his bloodshed and his death and the suffering of the wrath of the Father upon him to our hearts and to our lives and to our records so that we are saved. We rejoice that he suffered for a purpose. I love this next expression in the text, Peter actually gives us a key principle to this entire process of growing through suffering. Notice what he writes next in verse 19, Therefore those also who have suffered according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful creator. Here's the key, entrust your souls, the word for souls simply refers to everything about you.

Everything about your past, everything about your present, everything about your future, the deepest disappointments perhaps known only to you, your greatest joys, your doubts, your fears, your highs, your lows, your questions. What I especially love about this expression in the original language is that Peter isn't writing about a one-time event, a one-time action. The present tense indicates this is a continual daily action on our part.

In fact, you could rather woodenly translate this, be constantly entrusting your souls to a faithful creator, which means that every day is a rededication of your life to Jesus Christ. Let me make three quick observations. This deposit isn't periodical, it's continual, it's day by day. I know I was here yesterday. I know I was here late last night. I know I was here just an hour ago, but I'm back. I'm back and I want to entrust again to your safekeeping for your purposes in my life, my life into your hands. You see, Lord, I tend to give it to you and then why don't I take it back?

I entrust it to you and let me have it back. So here I am, here's all of me, all over again. He isn't talking about salvation, by the way, he's writing to Christians. That once for all salvation transaction has taken place.

He's not talking about redemption, he's talking about progression. This deposit that happens daily as we rededicate our lives to the Lord is not secondly accidental, it's intentional. This is an intentional exercise of trust and faith no matter what the storm conditions are like around you, even when those winds of discouragement and those sea billows roll over you, as the hymn writer said.

Even when the roots of that little tree you're hanging on to seem to be pulling away from the cliff and there is nothing that you can see beneath you but an abyss, you let go and trust. Let me also point out this deposit isn't partial, it's total. The best way to deposit your life into the hands of God, by the way, is to make an ongoing nothing held back deposit.

Don't leave any loose change lying around. I recently read that the FDIC will ensure under one account up to $250,000, no guarantee yet. I've never had to test that guarantee, I don't know about you, but it's there. Millions upon millions of believers can trust their infinite God who has no limit to what he will guarantee. We deposit into his hands our lives and he will hold every believer securely. He'll never go bankrupt of compassion or power or grace, he'll never say to you, look, you can't give me any more of you, the rest of your life you're on your own, I'm all filled up. So make and remake and remake again the deposit of your life into the safekeeping of your Lord and Savior.

Do better to whom you can entrust your life. Notice Peter's complete sentence. Therefore, those also who suffer according to the law of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful creator. Don't miss the fact that Peter doesn't commend us for being faithful. He reminds us that God is faithful. Peter doesn't say, look, this guarantee that the providence of God will surround your life as a believer, it's only going to work if you're faithful and if you never slip up or you never let him down, it'll be good. No, he doesn't say that at all.

This is going to work because he is faithful and he never slips up and he will never let you down. I'm not giving Christians the right to be unfaithful to God, don't misread me, but don't misread this encouragement in this text either. The emphasis is on his faithfulness to us. You can go through the scriptures and find the truth of his providence. Ask Joseph in prison if the sinful unfaithfulness of his brothers toward him meant that somehow Joseph's life had slipped beyond the grasp of God. Ask David if his sin meant he would never write again spirit songs of trust and hope defining for us repentance. Ask Job on the ash heap if his accusations of God and his demand that God show up and give an explanation for his suffering, if that meant the guarantees of Job, you're on your own, ask Job's wife, who gave Job or Osman the counsel to abandon God.

No, God's going to abandon her. Ask Peter if his denials of Christ meant that Jesus would deny him any future ministry fruit. Oh wait, by the way, we're studying a letter written by an aged apostle named Peter whose ministry is still bearing fruit in your life and mine.

Why? Because God is faithful to those who belong to him. And would you notice how Peter identifies God? He identifies him here as a faithful creator. This is the only place in the entire New Testament where God is called, capital C, Creator. Now throughout the New Testament, repeated in the apostles preaching passage after passage, in fact it's the very core of the gospel and biblical theology repeatedly, refers to God's created universe, God's creative activity, even confirming God's six-day creation. In fact, Paul even names Jesus Christ as the agent, as the word that spoke it all into existence. Romans 1.15. But only here in this text is God the Father referred to as Creator.

And what a perfect place to drop it in. As if to remind the church if God is powerful enough to create and control the universe, he is powerful enough to not only create but control every event that comes into the orbit of your life. Peter wants us to find solace and encouragement in the truth of our creator God.

So did the prophet Isaiah centuries early. Imagine the comfort of his words as he writes, Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars. One who leads forth their hosts by number, he calls them all by name because of the greatness of his might and the strength of his power, not one of them is missing. As if to say the creator of trillions upon trillions of stars never loses track of even one of them, he will not lose track of one of us. None of them is missing.

Not one of you is missing either. Jesus Christ told his audience in his sermon on the mountainside to look at the birds, study them in the seasons, look at the field flowers in their beautiful array and all of the colors then consider that this detailed, creative, brilliant, complex creation has a creator who happens to be your God who crafted every detail into your life as well, Matthew 6. Peter wants us to consider the creation of God and God as creator especially when you are suffering. Since its opening I have read in 1874 the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England has been the place where many incredible discoveries have taken place in the world of physics. In that laboratory scientists first discovered the electron and the neutron, the lab laid the foundations for the discovery of quantum mechanics back in the 1920s.

This was the laboratory that laid the groundwork which led to the determination of the double helix structure of DNA in the mid 1950s. What I found fascinating though is that at the entrance to the old Cavendish lab engraved above that great oak door are the words from Psalm 11 which read, Great are the works of the Lord, they are studied by all who delight in them. Revelation of the believer, Psalm 111 verse 2. Now the words were originally carved in Latin because in 1874 everybody knew it. A hundred years later, just under a hundred years later when the new lab opened in 1973 one of the believing professors requested that they carve that again over the doorway that led into the entrance of the lab, only this time in English.

And to everyone's surprise and to the believing faculty's delight that's exactly what happened. Great are the works of the Lord and they are studied by all who delight in them. And that Psalm goes on to tell us how by studying them we come to trust Him. Peter's writing to suffering believers and I think in a very practical sense he's hinting that God is the creator of all there is. So I suggest, I think he's saying that we take our eyes off our own suffering and look around and ultimately praise Him for His order and for His design and for His providence and His sovereignty.

Perhaps the best thing you can do then to practically apply this when you're suffering or discouraged is study the creative handiwork of God. Visit the zoo, look at the animals and you'll feel better about your own life. Take a walk around the lake, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, eat at Cracker Barrel. Wait, that has nothing to do with nature but I had to slip that in, that's spiritual. Plant some flowers, post a bird feeder and if you can get near a window and then study the bird.

Look at the detail of how He created them. If you're able, get outdoors as much as you can. Come over to my house and pull weeds. We'll both feel better. Peter begins the section of writing, The end of all things is near, that is Jesus Christ is on His way. So how do you prep?

How are you going to go through life as you wait for His coming, especially when it gets rough and wild and stormy? Here it is, plain and simple, though not easy. In an article, if I can give you one more recent example of deepening trust and perspective, I read an article by an author who wrote of her experience traveling to Cleveland by airplane. Catherine Marshall was her name. As she settled into her seat, she noticed a strange phenomenon. On one side of the airplane she rode, she could see a sunset that bathed the entire sky with glorious color. Brilliant colors. But out the other window nearest her, on the other side of the plane, the one next to her seat, all she could see was the sky that was dark, billowing clouds moving in.

Absolutely no sight or sign of that beautiful, glorious, colorful sunset. And as the engines of that plane roared to life and they took off, the thought occurred to her that this plane ride was a lot like her life. She would choose which window to look out of.

But no matter which window she looked out of, her plane was still going to Cleveland. Beloved, the world and human history are going to reach its destination on time. The church is going to reach her fulfillment and destination on time. Your life and mine as the children of God, but also as the bride of Christ are going to reach our destination on time. And in the meantime, every day, make a trip by faith to the bank of God's grace and providence and deposit your life into the hands of your faithful creator. And then Peter writes, keep on doing what is right.

As you wait for your plane to land, not in Cleveland, but in heaven. That was Stephen Davey in a lesson called Depositing Your Life in the Bank of Heaven. With this lesson, Stephen concludes a series entitled Survival Kit. We have this series available as a set of CDs if you'd like to add it to your collection of Bible resources. If you're looking for it on our website, survival is spelled differently.

Stephen intentionally spelled survival with an E. It's S-E-R-V-I-V-A-L in order to remind us that serving Jesus is how we best prepare to meet him face to face. Visit wisdomonline.org or call us today if you want this CD set. Our number is 866-48-BIBLE. I encourage you to install the Wisdom International app to your phone. Once you do, you can take this Bible teaching ministry wherever you go. In the menu along the bottom is a tab that says Bible. If you don't want to read the Bible, you can actually hit a play button and listen to the Bible being read to you. Install the Wisdom International app on your phone today. Then join us back here next time for more wisdom for the heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 07:09:50 / 2023-01-25 07:18:45 / 9

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