HOW DO ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD?
Ro 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the
called according to [his] purpose.”
Intro: many people misquote this verse. They don't read it in entirety. For a person to say about a misfortune, “oh, well, all things work together for good,” would be a falsehood. All things don’t work together for good for every person. If you take just a piece of a verse to use for wise saying, you have a pretext that is taken out of context.
Bad things do happen to good and godly people. To some of them, God is showing his hand to correct. Some of these things are there to help us develop as mature Christians. But why they happen we cannot fully answer because we are not God. There are a few verses of scriptures that shed some light of this subject. John 13:7 “Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” 1st Cor 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
This is a precept-promise passage. When God gives a promise, He always includes a precept. A precept is an instruction that must be done in order to have the promise. The precept always makes the promise more precious. The difference between this promise and many of the other promises of God is this, it has the precept second instead of first. The precept is “them that love God.” The promise to them is, “all things work together for good,” to them. We must actually love God for the promise “all things work for good” to be in FACT OURS!
Three thoughts to help encourage us to grow when it seems that bad things happen to good and godly people and how they can work for good. These thoughts are to help us make sense of things which happen to us, which do not make sense.
I. THE PROMISE. "And we know that all things work together for good."
Consider the first three words. "And we know.” The “we” is only referring to Christians. Lost people cannot know the joy of most of the promises of God until they are saved. This verse allows no hope for them that their tragedies can be turned into triumphs. There is one promise they can count on in Joh 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” And Heb 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
The word “know” refers to the fact Paul knew and is bringing to our minds his knowledge which was gained by his own experiences and by divine inspiration and revelation. Paul had this knowledge because he had been there and done that. His experiences proves his point. He gives a similar promise to the Philippian believers that we need today also. Phil 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” He will NOT leave us hanging out to dry!
The key word in our text is "ALL”. All means all and that is all that all means. It means, all without distinction and all without exception, that is my interpretation of the word as used here.
This passage introduces another source of comfort in the days of problems and afflictions. This source is drawn from the fact that all things are under the direction of an infinitely wise Being, who has purposed the full and final salvation of each Christian, and who has so appointed all things which occur to them, that those things will contribute to their development and effectiveness as believers. Let me go further in this thought so we can get a fuller impact of the word “all”. The “all things” may be numerous and long continued, yet they are among the means God uses strengthen us, and that are appointed for our welfare, our good and for His glory.
A. All troubles work for our good. What seems to be trouble is working together for good. We are not meant to understand all that is going on, but we are in the hands of our Great Shepherd and our all-wise God who knows all of the why’s.
B. All trials work for our good. James 1:3-5 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Sometimes the Lord allows trials to come into our lives just so we can see what we are made of. What would cause some to crack and break is fuel for another.
C. All temptations work for our good. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” The Greek for “temptation” means: a putting to proof, by adversity, trials, or testings.
An evil temptation tries to get us to sin, but a trial is meant to bring us closer to God. 1 Pe 1:7 “That the trial (Gr. The proof) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” What a reward it will bring one day because of our faithfulness to endure temptations and trials without sinning.
We become more effective as a Christian after the trials and temptations have been successfully endured to God’s glory. Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
None of us have been through the trials and temptations of Job. Yet when he got though this most difficult place in his life, God gave him twice what he had before his troubles began.
D. All triumphs in our lives work for our good. I am glad that the life of a Christian is not all trials, tribulations, troubles and temptations. If that were so, we could never explain why the Christian life is the very best for anyone. The triumph over sin is for our good. That means that we know that the Lord is helping us with this particular area in our lives.
The triumph over situations is for our good. We see the goodness of God in the day-by-day walk with Him. Not only is He is the Rose of Sharon; He is also the Lilly of the Valley. I can praise Him on the mountaintop of triumph and in the valley of trouble.
There is a temporal good, and a spiritual good, and an eternal one. We can see some of the temporal good. That is the temporary good. It will not last. The spiritual good will be a help with our growth as Christians. But the eternal good is the one that gives God the greatest glory. This is the one that we ought to strive to obtain.
II. THE PRECEPT. "to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” It is in two parts.
A. “to them that love God.” This is not referring to one who has never been saved. If one has never been saved, he doesn’t love God. He can say it with the lips but it is empty words and total vanity.
Nor can it refer to one who has not surrendered his life to the will of God. We really don’t love God if we refuse to surrender our life to His will for our life.
What it does mean is that we show that we love God with more than mere words. How can we show that we love God?
1. By keeping His commandments. John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This is not necessarily referring to the Ten Commandments. There are other commands for Christians. One hundred and twenty-seven commands are given to the Christian as per one count. That’s enough to preach on for nearly a whole year.
Let me give you just one. Heb 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Are we keeping that one?
Some times we take for granted this command. We may feel that we get all we need in one service a week, month or year. Most of us here today are not built that way. We love coming to church. Of course, some people try to think it is a fact that we have nothing else to do. We could be busy with other things, couldn’t we? But we love the church as a means to show that we love Him and we keep his commandment not to forsake it. We are to love the church our entire Christian life and when we don’t it is a time in which we are not right with God. Some times we take church for granted like some married folk do their spouse. It will always be there when they get ready to go. Some only want the church to be married or to be buried.
2. We show that we love God if we love the brethren. 1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. ......” Tangible love.
John 13:24-25 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
People don’t love Christian brethren as they used to do. One of the benefits of a smaller church is that it is easier to love all the brethren. Not to love the brethren is one of the signs of the last days. Paul told Timothy that in the last days there would those without natural affection. It is natural to love Christian brethren. “Love as brethren.”
3. We show that we love God if we are busy about the Father's business. 2 Cor 5:14 “For the love of Christ constraineth us;..” Let’s think about our Sunday School. Do our teachers give it 100%? Do you members of PR value what the SS is supposed to do and do you support it by attendance?
The SS may not growing because too few of our members consider it very important. Our teachers must approach it with enthusiasm if they expect those in the class to become enthusiastic about being there. Our class members must become regular in attendance if they are to expect the teachers to put out the efforts needed to help the SS lessons to be powerful to bless us. Let’s get the blinders from our eyes, lift them up and see the fields white unto harvest. Then give the SS our best effort. If we are not excited about SS, we won’t convince any others to be either.
Beware of the barrenness of a busy life. Don’t get so busy with the affairs of life that we neglect time to be with Him. He desires that time more than we do.
B. "to them who are called according to his purpose" Let me give a few thoughts on this part of the precept. 1. His calling is sometimes general in nature. There is that the call to follow Him. There is always that call to obey Him. You can never obey too much. We must be ready to heed the call to worship Him.
2. His calling is sometimes special and specific in nature. Eph 4:11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”
For some, it may be a call to preach. For some, it may be a call to be a missionary to a particular place. For some it may be a call teach or to pastor.
III. THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS PRECEPT- PROMISE.
Vs. 29,30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
I will not deal with the doctrine of predestination now. It is long and complex, few even try to understand it. Some do understand it, but are not happy with it once it is clear. But the key phrase in these two verses is the phrase "to be conformed to the image of His Son." It is important to deal with the end result of predestination. It is this: God wants to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. This means that we are just clay in the hands of the Master builder to be shaped in the image of Jesus Christ. Some areas in which He is conforming us.
He uses things to conform our attitudes to be like the Lord Jesus' attitude. He uses things to conform our affections to be like His. Paul achieved this. 2 Co 12:15 “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;...” Ac 20:24 “...neither count I my life dear unto myself...” That is unselfish service. Is this only expected of preachers? No, it is to you too, Ro 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.”
Jesus loved people so much that He died for them. But many times we are not so loving to others. His affections were on things above and not on the things of the earth. So He uses things to conform our affections to match His.
That is just a few ways He uses things to conform us. It ought to be the desire of every Christian to be like Jesus. Well, it is time that we all desire those things that are working for our good which will make us more like Jesus.
Conclusion: We are not afflicted, nor do we have trials, either by chance or for our harm, but they come by God’s providence for our profit and greater good. He chose us from the beginning, also he has predestined us to be made like to the image of his Son: and therefore he will bring us in his time, to glory by the cross, being called and justified.
Every father wishes to instill in his children his own likenesses that are worthy of being seen. None of us chose to be born into this physical world. Our parents decided that! Once born it was our parent(s) job to see to it that we developed a proper relationship of love and respect for them. It sometimes required discipline to correct our behavior. Obedience, helpfulness, service and sharing, all of which makes them proud. Can you see my point?
We will have things come into our lives that don’t seem the best but our Wise Heavenly Father knows what we need to experience in order to be changed so we can be more like Jesus.
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