Peninsula Community Church
He Cares For You
May 27, 2018
Romans 8:26-30 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Two of the great truths we hold onto as believers is that God keeps us and that God loves us with His whole heart. We see this promise throughout Scripture. When I was in Bible College we had a professor that always told us that if there is a principle that is repeated multiple times in Scripture, that principle must be important. The principal of His keeping power is seen throughout Scripture. We know that He is our protector, and He is in the business of keeping us. We can trust Him, and we can hold onto what He promises.
While that is true, we also struggle with the issue that bad things happen and they happen to both good and bad people. That is why this passage is critical to our understanding of God and the problems we face. For our time here today, I would like to hone in on Romans 8:28 specifically. This passage is often quoted, but it is also often misused and misquoted. We know that everything works out for the good, but that does not mean that everything that happens to us will always be good. Sometimes this passage is quoted as if no bad thing will ever happen to a believer, but when it is interpreted that way it gives us a false hope and a false sense of security. We can also be confused when we believe that only good things happen to good people and bad things only happen to bad people. The fact is it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Everyone experiences problems. The difference is in understanding why these things happen.
Notice two things here. First, God works everything out for the good to those who love God and secondly, everything works out for the good to those who are called according to His purposes. The bottom line is that God uses everything in our life to bring about His will and all that is good. The way we get to His will does not always seem like fun or that it is good at the time, but God will take every circumstance in our life and use it for His glory. So the thing we must understand is that the working out for His glory is all about Him and not about us. It is always His glory and not ours that is paramount.
To understand this, we must answer a vital question. How, or better yet, why do bad things happen to us? Why do we face struggles and problems in life? I can tell you that the basis of every problem in the world is that we live in a fallen world and the presence of sin is evident all around us. This is a result of mankind’s fall in the Garden of Eden. The bottom line is the world is cursed because of Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God’s one command. Quite often I am asked why difficult things happen to us, if we are good people. In my answer I never want to over simplify the answer, but it is because of sin that bad things happen. For example, the recent episodes of shootings around our country is not a gun control issue. It is not a democratic or a republican issue. It is in fact, a sin issue that motivated these individuals to do the unthinkable.
In view of sin being a formidable force in the world, let me give you fours reasons why bad things happen. I am sure you have heard these before, but let me rehearse them with you. First, suffering and difficulties come because of own choices. Too often our problems are a direct result of the choices we make. In the last year, I have found that my body does not respond well to spicy foods, even though I really love spicy foods. When I eat now, I have to a make a decision. Will I choose milder foods or will I choose spicy food. My choice will determine my outcome. Not every time but most of the time now if I eat super spicy food my stomach begins to remind me why I should not have eaten that food. I cannot blame the food. I cannot blame the chef. I cannot blame anyone or anything else because I chose poorly and must therefore pay for that decision.
How often do we find that issues in our life are a result of our bad decisions? Remember Jonah in the Old Testament. He was called to go to Nineveh and instead of going to Nineveh he headed to Joppa. That was a bad choice because it was outside the parameters of God’s will and was in direct opposition to God’s will. In order to bring about His will, God used a storm to help navigate Jonah in the right direction. The seasoned sailors on board the ship he had boarded, had not seen any thing like this before and they were at a loss as to what to do. Upon the assistance of Jonah, they threw him overboard, where God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah. After three days, the fish threw Jonah up on the shore and Jonah ran to Nineveh where he preached the hope of God. Jonah’s failure began with a bad decision. You see a decision to ignore God’s calling and His will is never a good idea. Our decisions and choices have consequences.
Secondly, we are impacted by the decisions of others. How often have we seen the results of someone driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol and then crash into an innocent person? The one who was drunk leaves scars on those who never asked for or chose this outcome. You may have been doing everything correctly, but because of sinful decisions of some others, our lives have been negatively impacted. In Scripture we find that Achan stole gold and silver from Jericho after being specifically commanded not to take any spoils by God. When Israel confronted the city of AI, the whole army was defeated. It was a direct outcome of the decision of Achan to take what was not his. This seems unfair but it is a reality of life. We are impacted by bad choices others make. For years, I suffered because of the decision of my parents to divorce and the choice of a step father to drink excessively which led to his abusiveness.
Thirdly, we also know the enemy uses well-timed opportunities to discourage us and put us in a place where we are negatively impacted by the results. I see this at work in the story of David and Bathsheba. David, chose not to be in the field with his army. He made a bad decision. Secondly, he made a decision to walk on the roof top of his building. The enemy took advantage of this choice and provided a well-timed opportunity for Bathsheba to be bathing on the adjacent rooftop at the same time that he was there. Because of David’s bad decision and continued bad decisions, the enemy set David up for a great fall. It should be noted that David could have corrected his decision at any time, but he continued to make bad decisions. This was the king of Israel who was a friend of God and had everything he needed and yet he did not choose wisely, and the enemy used these well-timed opportunities to destroy David’s life.
Finally, the fourth thing we know is that God allows things to happen so that His glory is seen and His will is accomplished. We see this in Joseph’s life when he was continually hampered by the work of evil in his life. He was rejected and sold into slavery. He was falsely accused. He experienced broken promises. But, as we heard last week, no matter what happened God was with Him. In the end, we see that God’s plan was accomplished and fulfilled. Why was this? From the beginning God had made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many people and he needed to use Joseph to keep this promise alive.
Listen to the final part of the story in Genesis 50:19-21. But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Notice the reason that God did this. It was so that people would be kept alive. God knew where he needed Joseph and He knew that He needed a plan to get Joseph into the position He needed to be, so He could be used to save the rest of his family. God can allow problems to come that bring about His glory and His will. They are used to redirect us and to refocus our attention on Him.
In the final analysis we see that the issue is this. Not everything will be good in our life. But God will use everything in our life for His good. God takes the worst in our life to remind us of the best in His life. They are three reasons God uses pain. James MacDonald references these in his book, “10 Choices.” God uses everything in our life to humble us, restore us, and refine us.
Let me give you one example. In Deuteronomy 8:2-3 we find these words. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
I am not sure where you are today. I am not sure what some of you are walking through but I know this. If we allow God to use everything in our life, He will work it all out for His good.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom