WHEN YOU NEED THE HUMAN TOUCH

WHEN YOU NEED THE HUMAN TOUCH by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

When you need the human touchWe are in our series on the life of Christ from all four gospels called – “WHAT IF GOD LIVED NEXT DOOR?” This morning I’m preaching a message titled – “WHEN YOU NEED THE HUMAN TOUCH.” Nicole often tells me the story of her little brother who was scared to go to sleep. Their dad told him that God was with him and angels were guarding him and he had nothing to be afraid of. He replied, “I know but I want someone I can touch.”

Luke 1   26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!…31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS…36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren…39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

Overall Background: The passage we just read is very familiar, especially during Christmas season – The angel Gabriel comes to Mary with the news of Jesus and she is shocked but he comforts her and she happily submits. All that is true but when we step back and look at this account in its overall context, we find a greater truth just beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered. The account of Mary’s encounter with Gabriel is couched between the accounts of Zachariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist. Luke 1:5-25 tells us how the angel Gabriel came to Zachariah and Elizabeth, a couple who was righteous and blameless before God. Then, Luke 1:26-38 is about how the angel Gabriel came to Mary and gave her the news that she will be with child whose name shall be Jesus. We just read it. Then, Luke 1:39-80 is about how Mary went and stayed with Zachariah and Elizabeth for three months until John was born. Meaning: Zachariah and Elizabeth were very important in Mary’s life and the birth of Jesus. For e.g. Like a sandwich that has meat between two pieces of bread, we have eaten the meat but left the bread. Oh, we got the meat – Jesus – but we missed the sandwich.

This morning, the point of the message is – God’s Providence, God’s Promises, and God’s Presence are vital for us to go through life but so are God’s People. God wants us to connect with godly people who will bring wisdom and encouragement in our life.

Application: Do you feel like you are doing your Bible Study and having your prayer time and even going to church but there’s still something missing? Are you connecting with godly people? Do you have spiritual connection with other believers? Some people say, “Oh I go to church.” Unless you have the right connector, you are going in vain. Jesus is the connector. Without Him our churches are nothing but a club or a hangout.

This morning we will see how along with God’s Providence, Promises, and Presence, we also need His People:

1. GOD’S PROVIDENCE

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

Background: In the 1800s many scholars denied the existence of Nazareth because there is no mention of it in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, or Rabbinic writings. This all changed when archaeology revealed there was indeed a small town named Nazareth in Galilee. (Now there’s a reason why I’m dealing with this now and it will make sense a little later.) Nazareth was a very small village, probably just a caution light. As they say, if you blink, you would miss it. It had a population of 150-200. It was located in the hills of Lower Galilee and it was not a stop on any major route. When the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, they did not even bother to mess with it. Who lived in this small town? Archaeologists found some inscriptions claiming that it was a settlement for Jewish priests in the third and fourth centuries BC. Hence, Mary was probably from a priestly, Aaronic lineage. And, how about the name Nazareth? It comes from the Hebrew word “Netzer” which means “a shoot.” It’s a reference to Isaiah 11:1 “There shall come forth a shoot from the stem of Jesse…” referring to the Messiah. Maybe, this small group of priests believed that the Messiah would come through them. Maybe, some of them had been connected to the lineage of David. How did other people think of them? Do you remember when Philip invited Nathaniel to come and meet Jesus? John 1 45 …“We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” This was Nazareth. But, God in His providence saw Nazareth and He sent His archangel Gabriel to Mary.

Application: This morning – you might be in a Nazareth. You feel small, insignificant, forgotten, and isolated. But not in the eyes of God – He sees you. He knows your every problem. He is aware of your every need. His providential care is upon you. God knows and He cares for you. He hasn’t abandoned you. Trust His providential hand.

2. GOD’S PROMISES

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

Background: These people considered themselves to be the shoot of David. They thought they were the ones through whom the Messiah would come. But when it actually began to happen, fear came upon her.

Isn’t that how it is for us? We want God to use us, bless us but when He actually starts, we get scared. On second thoughts, “God – I don’t want to be used. Use someone else.”

The angel Gabriel starts reminding her of the promises of God – 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Isn’t it wonderful how the promises of God give us the courage to face life?!! Just when you think all hope is gone, the promises of God shine through like the bright sun on a dark cloudy day. For e.g. Adoniram Judson was a missionary to Burma. They hung him upside down for sharing Jesus. As human waste rolling down his back, someone asked – “So how does the future look?” He said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.”

Application: What promises are you claiming in your life this morning? The scripture is filled with them. Unless you know Jesus as your Savior, these promises are nothing but words on a page. Get to know Him and then claim His promises for your life.

3. GOD’S PRESENCE

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” By the way, there’s a big difference between Mary’s doubt and Zachariah’s doubt. Remember, Zachariah said, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Mary was just a young girl and Zachariah was a priest before God. It’s one thing for a newborn Christian to say – “I don’t know how God can help me,” but it’s quite another for a church going, Bible toting, mature Christian to doubt God.

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Background: Gabriel promised her that the Holy Spirit Presence would take care of her.

Do you know that as a Christian you are never alone? Jesus said in John 14 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Application: Do you have the Holy Spirit in your life? The only way to have Him is through Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, then pray and ask His help in your life.

4. GOD’S PEOPLE

Mary in Nazareth36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” This is probably the most neglected verse in the Christmas narrative. Why did he do that? Was he just making small talk? No. In this small village of 150-200 people, it wouldn’t take long for people to figure out what’s happening and start talking. Can you imagine what they would do to Mary? Gabriel was telling her to leave and go to the godly couple Zachariah and Elizabeth. What happened when the angel left? 39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah…” This region was to the South of Jerusalem about 80-100 miles from Nazareth. It would have taken Mary about 3-4 days to get here. But she had to go.

Listen to what happens when she gets to Zachariah and Elizabeth’s home –

41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.Nazareth to the Hills of Judea

  • Godly people have the Holy Spirit controlling their lives. They are not led by their emotions, evil motives, and secret agendas.

42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

  • Godly people have a sense of spiritual discernment. This was no chitchat about the weather in Nazareth and how long it took.

43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

  • Godly people are constantly aware of God’s greater plan around them.

44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.

  • Godly people are not ashamed to share what God is showing them.

Mary with Elizabeth45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

  • Godly people ignite and fan our faith in the promises of God. By the way, this is the first Beatitude in the Gospel.

Luke 1:56   And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Mary stayed until John was born and then she headed home. She had a difficult road ahead of her but now she was prepared.

Application: Do you have such godly people in your life? I go to church will not cut it. It is knowing Jesus that joins us together. Do you know Him as your Savior?

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? -3

WHO IS IN YOUR FAMILY TREE? – 3 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

whose in your family treeFor the past two Sundays we met 2 “unusual characters” in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, women who had a questionable past. This morning, we meet the third woman who was at the rock bottom in every way but she too found grace in the sight of God and was grafted into the family tree of Jesus. The message – God has always been a God of grace, not just towards His chosen people but also to all people.

Matthew 1:1-6 1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2   Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.

Overall Background: Four women, four questionable lives but one family tree, that of Jesus Christ. Why did Matthew do that? Why did he insert the names of women who had an embarrassing and questionable past? He wanted us to know that God is a God of grace. He is a God who loves to forgive and reconcile and restore and bless all who are willing to come to Him. He is the God of all peoples. He doesn’t play favorites but He loves to show His favor to any who want it!

So far we met Tamar – a Canaanite widow who tricked her father-in-law into sleeping with her. She had twins and one of them became the ancestor of Jesus. Then we met Rahab – a Canaanite prostitute who helped God’s people and after Jericho was destroyed, she also became part of the lineage of Jesus. In fact, she became the princess of Judah. Now we meet the third woman – Ruth, a woman who was at rock bottom and nadir of life in every way but she also found grace in the eyes of God.

Application: This morning, you may feel that you are at that rock bottom place in your life. I’m here to tell you that God is with you. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t abandoned you. In fact, He wants to bless you. Look to Him in complete faith and give it all to Him. He will not fail you. If you don’t know Jesus, then you are not just at a rock bottom place but you are headed to a bottomless pit. You need to be saved today.

3 things we will understand about Ruth:

 1. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM GENEALOGICALLY

Ruth 1:1a   Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.

Background: The time of the judges was a very difficult time in the life of the people of Israel. There was no king, there was no leader and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. So you can imagine the lawlessness, crime, and moral chaos all over the land. On top of that – there was a famine in the land.

Ruth 1:1b And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. Here we meet a family living 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem in the city of Bethlehem. Ironically, Bethlehem is literally “the place of food/bread” but it had no food. So the man (Elimelech) took his wife (Naomi) and their two sons and went 50 miles Southeast into Moabite country. This was no ordinary decision – moving to Moab was probably the last desperate resort of an Israelite.

Who were the Moabites? We meet them in Genesis 19. You remember how God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Because ofRuth Moab and Judah Abraham’s intervention, Lot and his wife and two daughters were allowed to escape Sodom. Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters fled into the mountains where they had no prospect of finding any husbands. So they came up with a wicked scheme to get Lot drunk and have an incestuous relationship with him. The older one had a child and his name was Moab. This was the genesis of the Moabites. How tragic and embarassing!

For e.g. Many years ago I was talking to this young man who had been through prison and had a long record. He had couple of kids that he hadn’t seen in years. Then, he was looking for a job but he couldn’t get one because of his record. So one day I sat with him and very piously I began to tell him all things that he needed to straighten out in his life. Little did I expect what I was about to hear – He began by telling me that he wasn’t sure who his dad was. I said to him – “There are a lot of people who don’t know who their dad was but they made it anyways.” Then he said to me – “I’ve heard through family that it was my own grandfather who raped my mom. You know how that makes me feel. Why did God allow that?”

Folks – We live in a messed up world. Things like this are the product of sin in this world. God allowed it because of the free will of human beings.

So you can imagine how the Moabites felt about themselves. But, there’s more – the Moabites hated the people of Israel. Probably because Uncle Abraham’s descendants knew the real story of Lot’s descendants. When the people of Israel were in the wilderness, the Moabites refused to help them and actively tried to harass them. Several times they had invaded Israel. So what did God say about this? Deuteronomy 23:3, 6      3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever…6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

Ruth 1:4 Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.

Ruth’s family tree began with incest. Ruth’s ancestors hated the people of God. Ruth and her people were forbidden to come into the assembly of God.

Application: You cannot choose your past. Some of you born into situations that was out of your control. You can either waste your time looking back or you can like Paul say – Philippians 3:13 “…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” You can only choose the present and the future.

2. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM CIRCUMSTANTIALLY 

5 Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died…”

Background: Not sure why this happened – maybe some sickness – both the sons died and Ruth and Orpah were widowed. It was quite common in the ancient world where women survived men. There used to a large number of widows in many period in ancient times. Being a widow was a very tough situation. Unless you had a good family or a lot of money, it was over for you.

Since there was nothing left for Naomi in Moab and she had heard that things were better in Judah, she decided to head back. So in verse 8 Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” And after many tears, Orpah went back but not Ruth. Listen to her famous words, sometimes read during weddings: Ruth 1:16 “…Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Wow! What would cause a Moabite widow to say this to her mother-in-law who could not do anything for her?

People often say to me – “Times are tough. We don’t know what we’re going to do.” People have always lived in tough times. It’s called life. Job 14:1 “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” How you handle tough times makes the difference. Some people just run at the sight of trouble. They miss God’s purpose for their life. Other people just grit their teeth and bear trouble. They too miss God’s purpose for their life. Then there are those people who submit to God and His will in trouble. They are the ones who thrive because God works all things together for good.

For some reason, Ruth understood that principle, even though she was probably lost. By the way, that was her Pre-Cross, Old Testament Sinner’s Prayer. Can you find a better sinner’s prayer than this – For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” We need to make that the Sinner’s Prayer but say it to Jesus not Naomi.

Application: How are you handling your circumstances? Are you running off like Orpah or are you submitting to God like Ruth?

3. RUTH – ROCK BOTTOM PROVIDENTIALLY

Background: Naomi and Ruth finally make it to Bethlehem. Naomi was probably thinking – “We left Bethlehem and moved to Moab. No wonder God punished me by taking my husband and my two sons. Now I have a Moabite daughter-in-law who won’t take no for an answer. I don’t know how these people will treat us.” She’s fearing the worst but listen to what happens – Ruth 1:19 “And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’”

God had already prepared the hearts of the people.

Ruth 2:1 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.

God had already prepared a wealthy man in Elimelech’s family who could be a source of help.

Ruth 2:8   Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”

God had already prepared the heart of Boaz to be kind to Ruth.

Per Naomi’s advice, she approached Boaz and offers herself as a bride, not knowing what would happen. Ruth 3:10 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.

Again, God had already prepared the heart of Boaz who received her advance gladly.

Ruth 4:9-10 9 And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. 10 Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife…

Once again by the providential hand of God, a widowed Moabite woman became the wife of the wealthiest man in town. What a picture of the grace of God!

Application: You can either spend your whole life crying over why you’ve had problems in your life or you can, like Ruth, leave behind your past and trust God with your future. He will take you from your rock bottom and raise you to sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Do you know Him?

 

LIVING A LIFE WITHOUT REGRETS

LIVING A LIFE WITHOUT REGRETS by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

Living_A_Life_Without_RegretsMany people are caught up in the “what if” syndrome. What if I had chosen a different career? What if I had married a different person? What if I had lived at a different place and time? They are constantly wondering what their life would look like if they had taken a different path. They are living in constant self-condemnation and apathy. They see only defeat and hopelessness on the horizon. All of us have been there at some point or there right now.

Rom. 8:28-39  28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Background: The chapter we just read – Romans 8 – is a Jewel of a chapter. Martin Luther (the German Reformer) said, “If the Bible is a ring, then Romans 8 is the Jewel. In this chapter, we find the verse that, next to John 3:16, is the most quoted verse from the Bible, Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It is a powerful verse! R.A. Torrey (the man who helped D.L. Moody tremendously) called it “A soft pillow for a tired heart.” It has brought peace, assurance, and comfort to many a traveller on the road of life. It has helped many come out of a life of regret to a life of rejoicing.

This morning we will drop anchor at this verse but look at it in its proper context.

When you look at this verse carefully, you see 3 kinds of people. The first are people who do not love God and are not called according to His purpose. These are lost people who have false assurance or no assurance that all things will work out. The second are people who do love God and are called according to His purpose and they do know that all things work together for good. Then, there is the third group of people. These are people who do love God and are called according to His purpose but they do not have the assurance that all things work together for their good. They are living the “what if” life.

This morning – only you know which category you belong to. As we walk through each of the group, let the Holy Spirit bring you to right understanding of yourself so you can make the right decision. Let’s look at them one at a time.

I. LOST PEOPLE WITH FALSE ASSURANCE OR NO ASSURANCE

Listen to that verse again – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. This verse is not a blanket promise for every human being. Many people quote that verse but they only quote the first half. They say something like – “I know it’ll all work out.” “Tough times don’t last forever.” “I don’t know why I was so worried because things have worked out and it’s so much better.” All those statements have nothing to do with Romans 8:28.

A lost person falsely thinks that just because a problem has ended, it’s all worked out. You will hear things like – “I had back problems two years ago but it’s all better now.” “I lost my job last month but I found a new one and I tell you it’s a whole lot better now.” “I had a flat tire but luckily I was near a garage and they had a sale going on and I got new tires for real cheap.” Romans 8:28 is not about these tough times of life. Everybody has problems and sooner or later they end. Every problem has a life cycle – whether you are saved or lost. Some lost people are even thankful that they went through some problem in life or made some mistakes. “Man – I’m glad I went through that because I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for that.” All that has nothing to do with Romans 8:28.

Listen again to that verse – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.Meaning: It’s not just about one or two things but all things—the whole gamut of life, from start to finish. It means every single good or bad, happy or sad incident of life. There is a beautiful tapestry that is being made! Every thread has a purpose. Furthermore, it’s not just about “I’m a better person.” “I’m stronger now.” “I’m wiser now.” It’s about God’s purpose.

A lost person who does not love God cannot live His purpose. You cannot have the first half without the second half. The first half is contingent on the second half. Without the second half, the first half is invalid. You could say – “All things don’t work together for good if you don’t love God. There is no eternal purpose in your life.” In fact, life is just a cruel joke. As Shakespeare wrote so brilliantly in Macbeth:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing.

You are born. You struggle. You cry. You laugh. You die. There is no purpose or meaning. If you belong to this group, you need to be saved.

II. SAVED PEOPLE WHO KNOW THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD

Listen again to that verse – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Background: There is a definite confidence in that statement. This not we think or maybe or hope so. God is the guarantee behind this promise.

F.B. Meyer said, “If any promise of God should fail, the heavens would clothe themselves in sackcloth; the sun, the moon, and the stars would reel from their courses; the universe would rock, and a hollow wind would moan through a ruined creation the awful fact that God can lie.”

How can we know this so confidently? You have to understand Romans 8:28 in its proper context. The subject of Romans 8 is the Holy Spirit. This chapter mentions the Holy Spirit more than any other chapter in the whole Bible – 19 times. It’s the Holy Spirit of God who helps us understand this promise. Without Him you will be a circumstantial Christian – driven by circumstances of life.

He helps us to see that:

–       Good times work together for our good. That is not hard to do. Blessings come in your life; God is working.

–       Sad times work together for our good. That is hard to do. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were dragged away to Babylon. Torn away from family but God was working. It worked together for good. A loved one is taken away, sickness has plagued your life, James says in 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

–       Sinful times work together for our good. Sin is horrible. Even Christians when they sin, there are temporal consequences. Gal. 6:7-8 7 “…for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Having said that God will even turn your disobedience to bring something good in your life.  Luke 22:31-32  31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

–       Satanic times work together for our good. I see two examples immediately. One in the Old Testament and the other in New. Job (OT) was afflicted because Satan was trying to make a point. God worked all things together for good. Paul (NT) had a thorn in the flesh – a messenger of Satan. Paul prayed repeatedly and here’s the answer that he received – II Corinthians 12:9-10  9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For a Christian – everything happens because God has allowed it to happen for the good. The good is “His purpose.” His purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son – Jesus Christ. You cannot understand this without the help of the Holy Spirit. Rom. 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Application: The question is not do you believe that all things work together for good. The question is you resting and trusting in the Holy Spirit to remind you that all things work together for good.

III. SAVED PEOPLE WHO DOUBT THAT ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD.

Listen again to that verse – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Background: You can love God and be called according to His purpose and yet live in doubt. There are Christians who are living a life of constant regret. What if I had done better? What if I had chosen a better path? My life is a mistake. I call them the Jacob syndrome Christians. Remember Jacob? – His dad favored Esau and his mom favored him. That was a mistake. You shouldn’t play favorites with your children. Then he tricked his brother by putting on sheepskin and stealing his blessing. His brother wanted to kill him. Then he had to run for his life. “What you sow is what you reap.” Then Laban tricked him. He asked for Rachel and he got Leah. Now he had to work 7 more years. Now he had 2 wives. Then there was quarrel between the sisters because Rachel could not have children. Then his children would not behave. Then he got news that his favorite Joseph had been killed but I believe that he knew better. Then there was famine in the land. Then he sent his sons to Egypt to get food and the ruler locked up Simeon and then he wanted Benjamin. Listen to his response in Genesis 42:36 “And Jacob their father said to them, “’You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me.’”

Many Christians live that verse everyday – “All these things are against me.”

Paul answers back from across the sands of time – “And we know all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” What Jacob didn’t see is that God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and go to Egypt to prepare the way for Jacob to come one day and take the land of Goshen – the place where a family became a people and a people became a nation through whom Jesus came.

Without the Holy Spirit all you will see is Sodium and Chloride. Both are deadly poison but put together they become sodium chloride – table salt that we put in our food everyday and it seasons it.

Application: The Holy Spirit is the one who does that in your life. Is He in charge of your life? Are you saved? 

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