A World of Trouble
Job 5:7 warns us that mankind throughout the world is born into a life of trouble. In Galatians 6:5 Paul instructs every man to bear his own burdens. Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:27 reminds us that it’s normal and good for a young man to bear his own burdens in his youth. Psalm 55:22 teaches us that when those burdens are too heavy for us to bear, cast them on the Lord and lean on His sustaining power. That is, stop worrying and fretting and allow Him to help you bear your burdens.
As we attempt to serve the Lord, In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus invites us to yoke up with Him and let Him help us pull our loads and discover rest for our souls. This is the #1 rule for avoiding burn-out in the ministry.
I’m thankful I learned this as a child and that when my wife and I were married, though we lived below the poverty level for several years, we never once looked to government nor to relatives to help us in those early lean years, nor did we ever hint to our churches that we were struggling financially. In fact, my wife and I, looking back, have agreed that those early years taught us lessons about how to make our money stretch and those early lessons have enabled us to save and invest money for our retirement years.
In the first years of my ministry I learned to look to God alone as the source of supply for all our needs. God in Philippians 4:6-7 promised He would provide for all our needs, Though the churches I pastored paid us a salary, I was careful not to look to the church as the supply of my needs. If I had done that, I might have trimmed my messages so as not to offend my source of supply.
God’s people who are looking to their Heavenly Father to provide for all their needs, never need to beg others for help, Psalm 37:25 teaches that for Christians to beg is an embarrassment and a shame to the cause of Christ.
Though we are each responsible for our own burdens; Galatians 6:2 instructs us as Christians to be aware of the burdens of others and help them as we can.
Resting in Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 is a favorite verse of mine, as well as to countless others who seek the peace, strength, comfort, assurance, direction and courage it gives to us in our times of decision and in times of trouble. For others, it seems to mock them and they find no comfort whatsoever. What’s the difference?
Not addressed to everyone
The promise of this verse is not addressed to everyone. It is only for those who are trusting in Christ and love the Lord and are seeking to live in accordance with His will. By faith I put myself in that category many years ago as a child by trusting Jesus as my Saviour and surrendering to Him as my Lord. I trust you also have turned to Christ.
For those Christians who are living lives surrendered to Him, everything God allows to come into our lives is according to His sovereign purpose and plan. For us, there are no accidents from God’s viewpoint. It’s all part of His will and purpose for us.
To those living in rebellion to God, life is filled with bad decisions, confusion, disaster, misery and sorrow with no hope in sight. The promise of Romans 8:28 does not apply to them.
Let’s look at that verse, Romans8:28, and emphasize each of the key words one at a time.
I. All things work together for GOOD.
What is good? Pleasure, good health, money, nice clothes, a new car, a great business opportunity or job, and the satisfaction that all our felt needs and desires are met; most call that success. Is that the good the Apostle Paul is speaking of ? No it is not.
Rather, Romans 8:29 identifies what is good. Good is anything God allows in our life to bring us into conformity with the image or person of Christ.
Therefore, anything that makes me more like Jesus is good for me. That can include sickness, pain, financial reverse, loss of a loved one, an insult, a misunderstanding, being overlooked, any humbling experience and any pressing need that turns my attention to God. That is Good. According to James 1:1-3 we are to count these negative experiences in our life as spiritual assets.
II. All things are WORKING together for good.
You say that you wish God would DO something. God DOES do something. He is always working silently and unseen in the shadows.
His universe stays on schedule.
Your heart continues to beat. You keep breathing without even thinking about it. All your organs continue to function normally.
World conditions continue to unfold right on God’s sovereign schedule. Political leaders rise and fall according to God’s plan, as announced in Psalm 75:6-7 “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one and sets us another.”
Even the wrath of man which sometimes brings persecution to God’s people, is explained in Psalm 76:10 “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” Isn’t that comforting? God only allows enough persecution of His people to bring glory to Himself. The remainder of persecution is restrained. God never wastes anything; not even the wrath of His enemies on His children.
Watch God at work in the life of Joseph in the final chapters of Genesis. See his doting father show favoritism to Joseph, thereby bringing out the jealousy and rage of his brothers. Observe these brothers selling Joseph into slavery inEgypt.
Take note of how Potiphar’s evil wife tries to seduce Joseph. Watch how Joseph refuses to fall into sin and thus stirs up the fury of his seductress. As a result, Joseph is sent to prison. There he chances to meet Pharaoh’s butler and baker. There they have puzzling, disturbing dreams and Joseph is given God’s wisdom to interpret their dreams correctly.
As a result, he gets a reputation as a successful interpreter of dreams. Finally Pharaoh has a disturbing dream and Joseph is called in to interpret it. As a result of his wisdom, Joseph is freed from prison and is advanced in power and authority to a position of authority right under the Pharaoh of Egypt.
In retrospect, would you agree with me that every detail in the life of Joseph was working for his good and for God’s glory? Of course! The answer is obvious.
Read the exciting book of Daniel and learn of how God worked in the life of Daniel and his three Hebrew friends, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego, to bring great glory to God inBabylonand throughout the rest of world history.
Read the book of Esther. Not once is the name of God mentioned; and yet in every detail, while Haman was stealthily planning to exterminate the Jews; we see God silently working in the shadows, out-maneuvering Haman, to protect His chosen people,Israel, from extinction. Haman was eventually hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai, the Jew whom he hated and had planned to execute.
I can joyfully say with Job in Job 23:8-10 “Behold, I look forward and He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him, On the left hand where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him. He Hideth Himself on the right hand that I cannot see Him; BUT He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” (from the refiner’s furnace)
I can testify to the truth of Romans 8:28. All things do indeed work together for good to them who love the Lord and are called for His purpose. Thus, when we worry and fret, we deny the truth of Romans 8:28 and we are acting as though God has lost control and is a liar.
III. ALL things are working together for good.
That means that ALL things, whether seemingly good or bad,
That means that when friends bring you words of encouragement and love or when people are mean and cut you down with cutting, cruel words, those experiences are working together for your good.
That means when you have a salary raise and your investments are prospering, or when you have a salary reduction and your investments are in the basement, God is in control and working out His good plan for you.
That means when the political process is falling apart and you feel like fleeing to a desert island, God is still in control and working out what is best for you and me. As the well known Gospel song goes, “He’s got the whole world in His hands!”
God has not forgotten you. He loves you and is interested in every step you take and controlling even the smallest details of your life. He is overseeing and orchestrating every decision you make. Yes, YOU make the choices and decisions; but if you are surrendered to God’s will, God’s Spirit is leading you in those decisions.
If you, from the depths of your heart, long for His will for your life; you can trust Him that the decisions you make are His decisions for you.
IV. All things work TOGETHER for good.
Just as a musician brings musical notes together to produce beautiful melody and harmony, the essence of beautiful music, so God is working to produce beautiful music in your life.
Just as a pharmacist combines elements into a prescription to improve your health, so God combines seemingly bad things to produce spiritual health for us.
Just as a cook combines ingredients, which alone would be repulsive, into a delicious, nutritious loaf of bread; so God combines bitter and sour and tasteless experiences and then allow us to bake in the uncomfortable heat of life’s oven. God combines our bitter and sweet experiences and then allows us to be placed in sometimes seemingly unbearable, but measured heat to produce good in our lives.
We’re not saying that all the events of life are good; but when we trust God in the difficult experiences of life, He produces good in us and makes us a blessing to others.
Now in old age I have the luxury of looking back on my seventy-eight years and I can honestly say that every event of my life, starting with the death of my father when I was four and being moved into a home and school for missionaries’ children in South Carolina at age 11 while my mother and step-father were ministering in foreign countries, was good and profitable for me. It has all been good and beneficial for me as it was working together to make me the man, the husband, the father and the preacher I am today. Through these difficult experiences God has used me to bless others and enabled me to live a joyful, fulfilled life.
If Romans8:28is true, what should be my reaction to everything God allows or brings into my life? Surely my response should not be that of:
Epicureans- “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
Cynics “I dare God to do His worst to me.” nor
Stoics “Set myself and accept what comes without flinching. Keep a stiff upper lip.”
Rather I must learn to Praise God in every situation, knowing that He is in full control. I Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:4, Psalm 34:1
How can we be sure of this? Read Romans 8:28-31
Because of what God has already done for us, we can fully trust Him for our futures. We don’t know what lies ahead for us but we know WHO holds our future.
To all those who love the Lord and seek to faithfully serve Him, Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28-30 to come to Him and He will give us rest. He invites us to take His yoke upon us and He, who is stronger than we are, will help us bear the heavy load and direct us in the way we should go.
I have personally learned that when He helps us pull the load, it isn’t so heavy after all and He in His wisdom knows the direction we should take. Only to the stubborn and self-willed will the yoke rub the neck raw and make the work miserable.
Will you join me in trusting and serving Jesus? I promise that to the yielded neck and to the wiling heart, the way will be easy and you will be blessed beyond measure. The one who trusts in the promise of Romans 8:28 will find perfect rest of body, mind and heart.
As we continue our study of sanctification in Romans 8, we are confronted with two options: that of being controlled by our selfish fleshly nature, or being controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Remember, our body, as Christians, is the temple of the Holy Spirit. At the same time, we still dwell in a sin-cursed, self-centered body desiring to have our own way.
Though a true Christian may be carnal, self-centered and selfish at times; his basic orientation and his most innermost concerns and desires are with the things of God and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
As born again children of God, we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. The first part of that inheritance, the gift of the Holy Spirit, has already been given to us and we await our bodies’ future glory in Heaven.
In the meantime, dwelling in these carnal, physical bodies we sometimes experience failure, suffering and sorrow and we will eventually experience death. Nevertheless, we look by faith to our future glory in Heaven.
GENERAL REASONS FOR SUFFERING
Let’s look at the reasons for our suffering in this life.
As children of Adam, though we may have our faith in Christ and be saved and bound for Heaven; our physical bodies still bear the curse of sin with Adam, as taught in Romans 5:12 and must die. 8:22-23.
Evil doers who break God’s laws suffer the consequence. I Peter 4:15
What does the Bible say about suffering saints?
We suffer in this present time, according to Romans 8:18
We suffer for a relatively short season, when contrasted with eternity.
I Peter 1:6
Those who live godly lives can expect suffering from Satan and his godless world system Read II Timothy 3:12, Luke 14:25-27 and Hebrews 11:25
GOD’S PURPOSE FOR OUR SUFFERINGS AS CHRISTIANS
We are never more identified with Christ than in His sufferings John 15:18-21. The main reason God permits Christian to suffer is to sanctify us.
I Peter 1:6-8, and 5:10-11
THE WEIGHT OF SUFFERING
How heavy is our suffering?
It’s a matter of reckoning or counting our suffering as light by faith. Romans 8:18
In the light of future glory, our present suffering it’s not so heavy after all.
II Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul refers to it as a “light affliction”
In the light of eternity our suffering is “but for a moment”
HOW SHALL WE ACCEPT SUFFERING AS CHRISTIANS?
First, see it in its proper perspective. Romans 8:18
Rejoice in the privilege of suffering for Christ. Matthew 5:10-12, Acts 5:41and I Peter 1:6
Be patient. I Peter 2:20-23 Wait for God’s timing. Romans 8:19-25
Suffering builds patience. Romans 5:3,
Don’t be afraid. I Peter 3:14-17
Don’t think it strange. I Peter 4:12
Suffering drives us to prayer. Romans 8:26-27
CONSIDER PRAYER, OUR GREATEST NEED
We never experience the need for prayer more keenly than in times of suffering and need.
Prayer is the key to victory. Ephesians 6:18, II Corinthians10:3-5
Prayer is the key to evangelism & missions. Matthew 9:34-38
Prayer is the key to the supply of every need. Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer is the key to local and national revival and blessing.
LACK OF PRAYER OUR GREATEST WEAKNESS
We don’t know what is good for us, Like a small child begging for a knife or matches, sometimes a young person begs God for the wrong marriage partner or for something we desire which would eventually harm us. Don’t trust your heart and your feelings. Proverbs 28:26
Rather, trust the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6
We are short-sighted. Two Biblical examples of that are Esau begging for his favorite stew and being willing to trade off the blessings God had for him for the stew. Genesis 25:29-34 and a mother’s selfish desire for her sons. Matthew 20:20
We often pray for fleshly requests. James 4:3. The prodigal son’s request of his father “Give me!” was a prayer of immaturity. After God got finished working in him, his prayer was changed to “Make me”, a prayer evidencing growing maturity.
We often have cold hearts and wandering thoughts. Matthew 15:8 The devil fights us on our knees harder than at any other time. He wants to keep us from fellowship with God and with unconcern for others.
We often become impatient with God, demanding quick answers that please us. Like Martha in John 11:21 when her brother Lazarus died, we chide God for not doing things our way.
Like that prayer group who prayed for Peter’s deliverance from prison, we have little faith and we tend to be shocked when God answers. The story of Acts 12:5, 13-16 would be funny if it were not so pathetically a picture of our own lack of faith.
GOD GIVES US TWO PRAYER PARTNERS
Jesus intercedes for us in Heaven. Hebrews 7:22-26.
The Holy Spirit living within us helps us pray. Romans 8:26
How does He help us?
He prays with us; not by Himself.
He prays according to the will of God for we don’t always know God’s will.
He prays with an intensity we often lack.
He groans. I have often prayed just groaning to God when words fail.
He searches our hearts and knows our desires and genuine needs.
How terrifying to the sinner!
How comforting to the saints!
You testify to being a child of God.
Are your rejoicing in the hope of glory?
Are you presently suffering for Jesus because of your testimony for Him?
Proverbs 5,6, & 7 are three chapters that parents need to read and discuss with their pre-teens and teens at the appropriate time, which will be different with each child. The following are some facts of life to be read and discussed with them.
SEX IS ONE OF GOD’S GOOD GIFTS TO US Proverbs 5:15-19
God created us sexual beings, male and female with all of our differences, including physical and emotional. God created Adam first, but when Adam sensed he was not complete, as far as his physical and emotional needs were concerned, then God put Adam to sleep and from a rib in his side, He formed the first woman, Eve, and brought her to Adam and he recognized her as part of himself and that he was not complete without her. This great mystery is beautifully and simply told in Genesis 1:24-31 and then repeated in more detail in 2:18-25 and is appropriate to read and explain to even your young children as they come to the age where they recognize sexual differences and begin asking questions.
God, not Satan, is the creator of sex and He is the author of marriage with all of its amazing, mysterious intricacies. Remember, Satan created nothing. All he does is to try to destroy everything God has created. All that God creates is good. Therefore marriage and sexual relationships are good and to be enjoyed and climaxed as often as both desire it, according to the Bible.
Read I Corinthians 7:1-5, The Song of Solomon, and these chapters before us in Proverbs 5,6 and 7. Marriage is a sacred, life-long covenant in the sight of God between one man and one woman. It should be solemnized in a marriage ceremony with witnesses, as illustrated in the marriage of Boaz and Ruth in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. For a study of what the Bible teaches about marriage, I encourage you to go to category MARRIAGE on this web site.
Although marriage and sex are good, Satan is the author of evil. Everything that is good, Satan seeks to pervert and destroy. Satan has been quite effective in destroying God’s creation. Satan, the liar and the author of lies, has even hated the truth of creation and has invented the lies of evolution in an attempt to deny the very existence of God.
Because marriage is a life-long covenant, Satan seeks to destroy it. God hates divorce, as you can see in Malachi 2:11-16. You can read more about divorce and what the Bible says about it by going to DIVORCE on this web site.
Remember, sex is a normal, pure, holy part of marriage, as Hebrews 13:4 teaches; but in that same verse God warns that He will judge and punish sexual relationships outside of marriage.
FORCED SEX, EVEN IN MARRIAGE, IS RAPE
Sexual relationship should never be forced against the will of the mate. It should be mutually desired. Otherwise it is rape. A husband should court his wife throughout each day, every day by the way he shows his thoughtfulness, love and respect; not just when they are getting ready to go to bed.
Our sexual relationship as husband and wife is the best illustration God could use to describe our worship of Christ and our intimate personal relationship with Him, as taught in Ephesians 5:22-33
Married couples, as well as singles, are to remain pure. There is never to be sexual relationships nor sexual activity outside the holy bonds of matrimony.
Although singles are just as sexual as married couples, God gives singles the gift and the ability to remain sexually pure and devoted to Christ. Read I Corinthians 7 for information concerning this.
At the same time, God states a general fact about men in Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for a man to be alone. Men, in His time, He will bring His perfect choice of a wife into your life. In my series on VIRTUOUS WOMEN I share our story with you of how God led me to my wife.
THE SINFUL MISUSE OF SEX
Sexual activity outside of marriage is a powerful temptation both to singles and to married men and women. Proverbs 5,6 and 7 and I Corinthians 7 warn about this powerful temptation.
Men are sexually aroused by gazing on a woman’s body. II Samuel 11 tells the story of how David was tempted and sinned with Bathsheba, another man’s wife who was bathing on the roof top porch within sight of King David’s palace. Was she innocent or was she trying to attract David’s attention? We don’t know. We do know, however, that it was an unwise place to take a bath.
WOMEN, BE CAREFUL
Nothing is more beautiful to a man than a woman’s body. Men can look and enjoy their beauty, as we would beautiful flowers. But there is a fine line between looking and lusting. Read Matthew 5:27-28 on this. Every man knows where that line is.
Because of this temptation, Christian women should dress for the public in such a way as not to draw undue attention to her breasts nor her thighs. The Bible describes it as the “attire of a harlot” in Proverbs 7:10. Low cut blouses and dresses and tight clothing that reveal every curve and leaves nothing to the imagination is wrong and is unkind to your Christian brothers and insanity to rapists who may be observing you.
Skirts with high slits or short short pants that reveal the thighs are a temptation to men. Daughters, if it’s questionable, ask dad to check it. He knows from a man’s perspective and hopefully loves you enough to be honest with you.
The woman who purposely attempts to attract men to her sexually is also guilty in that sin of lust. Not only is she guilty, but she is stupid in that she attract male scum to her. Any woman can attract men to her by advertising her body by the way she dresses. Is that really the kind of men you want?
HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL
Every normal woman wants to be beautiful and desirable. Girls, the thing that makes you attractive to a single Christian man is your godly character,
your pleasant personality and the way to take care of yourself physically. Your love for God and your cleanliness and femininity ought to be obvious to others. You ought to enjoy being a girl. You ought to enjoy dressing and combing and wearing your hair like a girl- Not a boy. Deuteronomy 22:5 and I Peter 3:3-4
READING SEXUAL PASSAGES OF THE BIBLE TO YOUR CHILDREN
Parents, I encourage you to read Proverbs 5,6 and 7, as well as the rest of the Bible to your children. Be prepared to discuss and answer questions of your children and teens, as appropriate to their development. You ought to be the one who gives sex education in steps to your children at the level of their maturity.
These chapters I’ve dealt with in this message are warnings to us of the deadly, far-reaching consequences of sexual sin.
Don’t disqualify yourself from God’s best for you. I Corinthians 9:26-27
Run from temptation. I Corinthians6:18as Joseph did in Genesis 38:7-12
Determine never – not even once get involved with pornography in literature, videos or on the internet. Ephesians 5:3-8
Will God forgive you if you have already gone too far? Yes. Psalm 51 But this sin leaves permanent scars on you and could limit the future joy and intimacy you could experience with your husband or wife.
As for David, the man after God’s own heart, his adultery left permanent scars on himself and his family for years to come. I can imagine Solomon blaming his father for the direction he went with his multiplied wives and concubines.
May God bless and protect you in this very personal and important area of your life!
This study of the first 14 verses of Proverbs 4 is addressed primarily to parents and to all teachers of children. We are all imperfect parents, and teachers. Our lives are flawed by sin and its curse. David and Solomon were not perfect examples, nor are we. The earlier we seek God, the wiser and better parents we can be. Solomon had great wisdom, but his life and influence could have been better if he had not started out early by marrying a heathen Egyptian woman, we learn in I Kings 3:1-12. This took place before he asked God for wisdom. Perhaps if he had asked for wisdom earlier, he would not have made this and other foolish evil decisions about women.
WE TEACH BY STARTING EARLY WITH OUR CHILDREN.
Isaiah 28:9-10 teaches that when children are weaned they are ready to start being taught the things of God. Just a little at a time, “Here a little. There at little.” Our children were in church sitting with their mother from infancy. As toddlers they were beginning to absorb truth from God’s Word and beginning to ask questions. All three came to an understanding of salvation as little children and gladly received Christ as Saviour and Friend.
All three have continued to grow and as parents themselves, they are teaching their children the truths of God’s Word.
Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, taught Timothy from a child. II Timothy 1:5 and 3:14-17 As a pastor, Timothy became a close friend of the Apostle Paul and passed on Biblical truth to others.
WE TEACH BY REPETITION.
Children forget. Proverbs 1:8, 2:1, 3:1, 21
WE PERSONALIZE CHRISTIANITY BY MODELING WHAT WE TEACH.
According to Proverbs23:26 we should seek to win the hearts of our children early in life. If all we accomplish as parents is to force our children to obey us or they will be punished, we haven’t made much headway with them.
If, on the other hand, we win their hearts and they desire to follow our example, then we have accomplished what force can never accomplish. Parents, pastors, and teachers, who model Christ to their children, can count on God for success in raising them. I realize that there are exceptions to that statement which I cannot answer. I just thank God for giving us three children who love the Lord with all their hearts and are walking with Him and raising godly children. God has blessed us in spite of mistakes we made in raising them.
Older Christian young people have the responsibility and opportunity to model Christ to their younger brothers and sisters and to the younger children in the church. Those who, by their example, lead younger children astray, will have to answer to God for this evil.
Remember this, pastors and teachers. Our example is far more important than the lessons we attempt to teach in the classroom and from the pulpit.
Good doctrine humbles us. God knows how much we need to be broken of the pride which we inherited from our father, the devil.
Good doctrine magnifies Christ and fosters fellowship with Him. It produces godliness. I Timothy 6:3
False doctrine issues from proud, empty heads and cold hearts and breeds sin according to II Timothy 3:1-7.
Doctrine must connect with the mind, but if it doesn’t reach the heart, hands and feet, it has been in vain. Romans 6:4, 8:1, Ephesians 4:1, 5:2,8,15, I Thessalonians 4:1 and I John 2:6
Let us model Christ for those in our charge. Proverbs 23:26. May others read the Bible as we do. May they pray as we do, love Christ and His Church as we do, give as we give. refrain from gossip and slander as we do.
May we treat our mate as we desire others to treat their mates.
May we drive cars as we desire our children to drive.
May our grown children show love to their spouse as we do to ours.
May ours be a heart Christianity; not legalism. Proverbs 4:4
Remember, Christ is our wisdom. To be wise I must know Christ. He must be my all in all. Colossians 2:2-3 I Corinthians 1:30-31
TEACH PRIORITIES BY MODELING THEM
We teach what is most important in life by the time and attention we give it in our lives.
Nothing is more important in life than wisdom. That’s why I encourage every young person to secure a Christian college education in a college which can be trusted to be faithful to the Bible and to godliness.
One can gain knowledge and work skills from a secular college. However, if one has the work skills, but lacks wisdom to know how to live, what good are the skills?
I thank God for leading me and the young lady who became my wife to Christian colleges where we both learned wisdom for living. I didn’t realize until I got there that if I learned how to live, I could make a living,
We thank God for helping us through the first fifty-six years of marriage. We trust God to strengthen us for whatever lies ahead.
Christ is our ONLY purpose in life. Philippians1:21 Without Christ as our purpose we have no purpose. Matthew 16:24-26
Solomon in Ecclesiastes shows all else is vanity.
THE VALUE OF WISDOM What does it do for us?
It brings us abundant life John 10:10,
It preserves us. Proverbs 4:6
God promotes us. Proverbs 4:8
Wisdom is an ornament of grace. Proverbs 4:5-9
It makes us gracious which comes from being touched by God’s grace.
It beautifies our character.
It delivers us in times of trouble. Proverbs 2:10-16
Wisdom is our crown of glory. Proverbs 3:21-26, 4:8-9
WHEN YOUR CHILDREN ARE GROWN AND READY TO LEAVE HOME, BE ABLE TO SAY.
I have taught you the life of true freedom. You can run with this and be successful. May you be able to share these parting words when your children leave home. Proverbs 4:11-27,
We’ve come a long way in our study of Romans from our position as lost, helpless sinners in Romans chapter 1, or, in the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:12, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, to our position as children of God and joint heirs with Christ in Romans 8:16-17.
In between these opposite poles we’ve been justified through faith in Christ, as taught in Romans 3:21- 5:21 and we are being sanctified, as taught in Romans 6-8.
THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A CHRISTIAN’S LIFE
In Romans 8:1-2 we rejoice in the freedom from condemnation which we have through Christ. This freedom in Christ saves us from a life of legalism, fear and bondage and of struggling to live to please God as we surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life under His control and by His power.
Whereas the Holy Spirit is mentioned but once in Romans 1-7, when we come to chapter 8 He is mentioned about twenty times. The Spirit of God is the divine agent in our sanctification who empowers Christians to live the Christian life. It is the God-centered life and a God-powered life, and no one but yielded Christians can live it.
The Holy Spirit supernaturally changes our self-centered nature.
“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (a new creation), II Corinthians5:17 The Holy Spirit moves into our lives as Christians and changes us fundamentally from the inside out. It’s not just some superficial change nor some type of religious cloak we wear on Sunday and take it off to live a sensual, selfish, sinful life during the rest of the week.
Each of us either lives our daily life according to the flesh or according to the control of the Holy Spirit. According to Romans 8:5-8 and Philippians 2:5-16 we choose either a fleshly mind-set or spiritual mind-set.
The carnal mind does not lead to death. It is spiritually dead already. Romans 7:5, 8:6, Ephesians 2:1.
The Spirit-controlled mind is life and peace. Romans 8:6.
Do you battle with sin?
A mere professing “Christian” has no battle with the flesh nor with sin. Sin is a part of him. He is comfortable, satisfied and at home with sin, thoroughly enjoying it.
Dear reader, if this describes you, don’t deceive yourself. You are not a Christian; regardless of any profession or an emotional experience of the past. You are still spiritual dead in your sins.
The Christian life is a struggle with sin. Paul, one of the godliest men who ever lived, describes his struggle vividly in Romans 7:14-25 and Galatians 5:15-16. If this struggle is foreign to you; it’s because you are still a natural unconverted man or woman totally at home in this anti-God, Satanic world system.
Thank God, that as Christians, the moment we die or are caught up to Heaven in the glorious return of Christ, as described in John 14:1-3, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I Corinthians 15:51-58, Titus 2:11-15, Hebrew 9:27-28, our life-time struggle with sin will be over and our salvation will be completed with our glorification. I John 3:1-3.
Consider our sonship with God.
THE REALITY OF OUR SONSHIP
Not all church goers are children of God. Religious liberals have always taught “the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man”. There is no divine brotherhood of the human race and God is not the Father of those who reject Christ. There is no common brotherhood between those who receive the Bible as the inspired, infallible Word of God and those who receive it only as a flawed religious book. Jesus referred to the religious Pharisees in John 8:44 as being “of their father, the Devil.”
Jesus announced to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, in John 3 that to have eternal life “he must be born again” and that those who reject Christ as Saviour do not have eternal life, but “the wrath of God abides on them”
THE ASSURANCE OF OUR SONSHIP
Those who put their trust in Christ are not merely individual Christians with no relationship with one another. Rather we are sons and daughters of God and thus brothers and sisters in Christ within the Family of God. The following Scriptures speak of the assurance we have as members of God’s Family. Romans 8:9-17, Galatians 4:1-7, Ephesians 1:1-14,
THE PRIVILEGES OF OUR SONSHIP
Again, looking at the passage we just read in Romans 8:9-17; we who were slaves to Satan are now adopted into the Family of God. We enjoy an intimacy with God through prayer and fellowship and we are given an inheritance as heirs of God. Unlike in human relationships, we do not need to wait for someone to die to enjoy our inheritance. Jesus already died for our sins and has risen from the dead. We can enjoy much of our inheritance now even in the present age. Read about this relationship with God through Christ and of our privileges as members of the family of God. I Peter 1:3-8, I Corinthians 3:21-24,
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF SONSHIP
As members of the Family of God, we are expected to walk (that is, live) as dear children of God. Ephesians 5:1-8, As members of the Family we are expected to obey God I Peter 1:13-1 and love God and His family, both local and scattered across the face of the earth. I John 3:7-24
Let us live as children of God for our Heavenly Father’s glory.
Dr. Les Thompson and his family have been dear lifetime friends of our family. He and his family have ministered to Latin American pastors through LOGOI over the past sixty years. Recently he left this world to meet His Saviour and Friend in Heaven. Ed, his youngest son, and Director of LOGOI, describes the final moments of his life.
It is with great joy to announce Dr. Les Thompson is alive and well—more alive today, in fact, than he has ever been. On August 30th, 2011 at 3:30 in the afternoon, everything was ready and Jesus came and got him just as He promised in John chapter 14. Dad is right where he has longed to be for so long; he is with his Lord and Savior. For us, the tears flow easily as our hearts are full of wonderful memories of a loving father, husband, grandfather, and friend. But make no mistake, we are thrilled for Dad; he is finally home!
The last word Dad spoke was the word, “forever.” He seemed to be fading and Mom was tenderly reciting Psalm 23 with him, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.” Dad wasn’t able to speak, but he mouthed the words. The last phrase of this wonderful Psalm of David says, “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” As Mom said those words, Dad took a deep breath, opened his eyes, and in his strong, normal voice, said aloud, “Forever!” It was the last word he would speak in this world.