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Romans 8:28-30 (v28)

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In our text this morning we are going to be encouraged by God by reminding us of those things “We know”. In this case we are to “know” that God works all things together for the good of believers whom He has called according to His purpose.
We’re actually turned to the way the purpose of God is worked out in believers.
They may be discouraged with all the groaning of the last passage.
But we need to bear in mind that through it all God is working out a great purpose.
No matter what the circumstances that purpose will not be overthrown, and it culminates in final glory.
From vv 28-39 Paul is going to give us many reasons to rejoice while we wait for the present order (which consists of many weaknesses, groanings, and sufferings).
So while we’re waiting for this present order to be done away with,
which happens at the return of Christ,
we can rejoice in v28 that All things are actually working together for our good.
The CHARACTER of the Control. (v28) “work together for good”
The CONDITIONS for the Control. (v28) “of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
In the final analysis, we shall see that nothing has worked for the good of the wicked.
Without exception, everything is working together for the benefit of God’s people.
This is true even of our sins, though we must not conclude that we can therefore sin wilfully, as chapters 6 and 7 have made plain.
All who love God are included in this promise this morning.
They love Him because He called them, and He called them because He purposed to do so.
His purposes are working out in every circumstance and event, so that everything serves the welfare of His children.
This is an immense consolation to believers as they endure suffering in this world while waiting to go to heaven.
So the main doctrine set before you in v28 is:
That all things that happen to God’s children in this life are directed by God’s sovereignty, to your eternal happiness.
One of the greatest comforts in adversity is to realize that the the various experiences of life
Butler, J. G. (2009). Analytical Bible Expositor: Romans (pp. 90–91). Clinton, IA: LBC Publications.
are not by chance
but are controlled by the hand of a loving Father for our good, our benefit and blessing.
Let’s look first to
The COMPREHENSION of the Control. (v28) “We know that all things” We are supposed to know that God is working in all of our circumstances (good or bad; mountain top or the valley).
This “all things” ties back v26-27.
Who’s working here in v28? If God is the subject of that action: “work” here,
with whom or what does He work together?
Well, Christ is making intercession in heaven and He
works with the Spirit here on earth
who makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God!
So in bringing in the context of v26 we understand that God and the Spirit are working together!
What comfort!
That the “all things” that God works together with the Spirit to promote the good of believers includes their suffering (8:18) and weakness (8:26),
Not just our sufferings and weaknesses either but include all the circumstances of our lives.
In 8:35–39 the apostle insists that nothing that believers encounter will be able to separate them from the love of God. (read it)
Kruse, C. G. (2012). Paul’s Letter to the Romans. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (p. 354). Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.
The CHARACTER of the Control. (v28) “work together for good”
“all things work together for the good” reproaches, beatings, plundering of your goods, imprisonment, banishment, death, all those kinds of things.
All the sufferings of the Christian are like spreading manure onto a grass field, which seems to stain it for a while and doesn’t smell great, but afterwards it springs up with a fresh greenness.
Please turn to . Paul and Silas are going to jail!
Beatings with rods are very painful to the body but provides an occasion to experience greater joy in the soul.
Like Paul and Silas. 22 "The crowd joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates stripped off their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23 "After they had severely flogged them, they threw them in jail, ordering the jailer to guard them carefully. 24 "Receiving such an order, he put them into the inner prison and secured their feet in the stocks. 25 "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.26 "Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose.
Wow! “I’m in the midnight hour,” you say. “It’s so dark. I’m trapped, locked in, with no way out. I don’t know what to do.”
O beloved church of Jesus, quit griping and start singing.
Then, like Paul and Silas, you will see things happen to you, around you, and through you.
Think of the death of our blessed Lord Jesus for a moment.
He accepted and received and allowed Himself to be inflicted by others, something dreadful and humiliating.
But in order that He might be believed to me the Life, and so that death may have all of his teeth kicked in and be reduced to utterly nothing to fear.
Something surprising and startline happened.
So the death that they thought to inflict as a disgrace has actually now become a monument of victory against death itself!
God worked that out for our good!
“good” here is to be understood in the sense “final good” or “true good”.
Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 741). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
“good” here is to be understood in the sense “final good” or “true good”.
All things are sovereignly and divinely ordered and directed so that they work together for the saved, who are those who love God.
The angels sent out as ministering spirits to serve those who are going to inherit salvation.
Satan and his hosts are all are used by God for our good.
The nations and their rulers.
Rain and thunder, streams, mountains, and clouds and even the stars in their courses.
It’s all totally controlled by God! This is the Character of the Control.
The CONDITIONS for the Control. (v28) “of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”
Only in the case of those who love God is it true that all things work together for good.
In the original—the words “We know that all things work together for the good” stand at the very beginning of the sentence.
The meaning is this: they, and they alone, have a right to be comforted by this fact.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers. stand at the very beginning of the sentence. The meaning is this: they, and they alone, have a right to be comforted by this fact.
I want to open up some lines of thought from our text this morning.
So those who are groaning, suffering, and those who are weak have a very comforting truth of God revealed in those conditions that cause pain.
What’s revealed is God is in the situation with you.
God is up to something, and God is up to something good.
Since God IS the God of the gospel of grace AS WELL AS
the King over all creation, then it follows that He has kingdom purposes in suffering, and these purposes are good.
10 "Young lions lack food and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.” ()
Here’s the problem for most of us. When God works all things together for good, may not include an immediate end to your suffering.
Rather the good is that suffering will be used by God to conform us into the image of Jesus.
And as a result of being made to be like Christ, glory is brought to our Heavenly Father!
We settle for too little when we pray for people with physical issues going on and we pray for their pain to stop.
God is in it. God is up to something. God is up to something good!
God desires to give us much more that immediate alleviation of our pain.
He’s going to give us things that will last all eternity.
Let’s see a few things that God gives to us in suffering.
He’s going to give to us new obedience to His Word.
67 "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” () 71 "It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes.” ()
“It was good for me”! Suffering is the rod of God’s loving discipline to bless His children with growing obedience to His Word.
Flip over to and we’re going to read a chain of blessings.
3 "And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 "endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 "This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ()
The blessings come through afflictions and afflictions are producing something- endurance.
Endurance is going to prove your character right? Having stood the test and then back to hope!
We glory in afflictions because they serve ultimately to strengthen that hope in which we glory.
So God’s giving us endurance, character, and hope.
Run over to the book of "For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. 11 "No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ()
Beeke, J. R., Barrett, M. P. V., & Bilkes, G. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (p. 1622). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
10 "For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. 11 "No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ()
Think of this as you discipline your children. God disciplines for our benefit.
And what’s the benefit? To share in His holiness. He desires that His children share in His holiness.
Which then leads us to righteousness and peace (v11).
Discipline is not joyous to endure; yet, if we seek to learn and profit from it, it will yield fruit for Christ’s sake.
Obedience to His Word, endurance, character, and hope. Holiness which leads to righteousness and peace are all Christ-like and eternal possessions all brought about by suffering.
So in our text, God working all things for our good, the next verse tells us what the good is:
29 "For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son...” ()
Beeke, J. R., Barrett, M. P. V., & Bilkes, G. M. (Eds.). (2014). The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible (p. 1802). Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books.
So think with me about “all things”.
Now you know what God is up to in sufferings right?
He’s at work! To conform us to the image of His Son, through sufferings, is the greatest way that God can show us His love!
And can I say this to you as you travel through sufferings? That’s it’s wise to keep one eye on your adversaries: The world, the flesh, and the devil.
The WORLD is constantly communicating that this is the only home that we have and that we deserve freedom from pain while we are here.
The FLESH finds pleasure in being free from God and resists submitting to His will.
And the DEVIL constantly takes our circumstances and suggests that they constitute evidence that God isn’t really good, that God is holding out on us, that God doesn’t love us.
With these adversaries it becomes obvious that there’s a war going on and
God is working through sufferings for my good but my adversaries are using those sufferings to get me to not see the goodness of God in all things!
Therefore we pray!
God will damage our adversaries in glorious ways.
One way He does so is to use the sufferings to
EXPOSE OUR HEARTS.
Suffering is a pressure that can squeeze us, revealing either faith or pockets of unbelief and sin that were previously hidden.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 14.
So think with me about “all things”.
So think with me about “all things”.
1 "The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord;” ()
Trials test our faith ().
Where the battle rages, there is where the loyalty of the soldier is going to be proved!
God uses sufferings for us as He did for the children to Israel. Listen: 2 "Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey these forty years in the wilderness, so that he might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” ()
God uses sufferings to reveal and to purify those whom He loves.
Flip over to . To frame our sufferings like the book of Job, suffering places us at a spiritual crossroads.
When all the pleasurable decorations of life are removed, will we still worship God?
During the good times the answer seems easy: “Of course I will trust God!”
But suffering exposes the unbelief and self-worship of our hearts.
It can reveal that our faith is more accurately “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
With this in mind, God’s gracious purpose becomes more obvious.
God uses suffering so we know when we are worshiping God for our sake or for His.
So look at .
8 "We don’t want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our affliction that took place in Asia. We were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life itself.” ()
So suffering forces us to answer the question: “On whom will I rely?” What’s Paul’s response?
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? Wat Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 15.
9 "Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.” ()
Paul was more passionate about conformity to Christ by faith than he was about the immediate alleviation of his own suffering.
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 280). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Therefore, one purpose of suffering is to produce repentance, faith, and obedience.
These responses to suffering have eternal longevity.
They please God and bring the blessing of peace.
Also, this purpose reveals more glory-weights that unbalance the scale against suffering.
The glory-weight of forgiveness of sins is heavier than the weight of our affliction, and
the glory-weight of gaining wisdom and sharing in God’s holiness becomes a beautiful gift that further tips the scale.
SUFFERING EXPOSES ETERNITY. While suffering can turn the lights on and expose our hearts, it can also lend clarity by exposing even larger kingdom realities.
It helps us see eternity. It provokes hope.
It is as if our suffering urges us closer to eternity so we can see our present affliction from that perspective.
Here’s the verses sister Shannon quoted at Care Group.
Turn to "Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17 "For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18 "So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
The weight of eternal glory far outweighs our temporary pain.
The encouragement to hope in suffering is a strong theme throughout all Scripture.
It is obvious that if the Apostle Paul had a secret, this is it. The hope of eternity was deeper than his pain:
2 "We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 "And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,” ()
Our struggle is that we’ve become a generation of people locked into the here and now.
Preoccupation with temporal concerns, such as
monthly bills, as well as
temporal blessings, such as
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 15.
peace and freedom,
makes it increasingly unnatural for Christians to be able to look past them.
Yet this is where suffering can do its best work.
Suffering reminds us that the world does not keep its promises.
It reminds us that there is nothing in this world that is not tainted by sin and the curse.
As such, hope can become, by God’s grace, more instinctive and settled.
Hope is the grand finale of suffering.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 15.
Suffering makes what we hope for less shadowy.
So it is not surprising that some of the best known Bible passages on suffering end on that note (, , ).
For example, talks about the cumulative purposes of suffering.
For those who have been trained by it, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.
Then the Apostle immediately proceeds to discuss the present guarantee of the substance of our hope.
He indicates that hope is sealed because we have witnessed the cross of Christ and the resurrection of Christ from the dead.
8 "But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” () 10 "For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.” ()
We have witnessed His love for us. Therefore, our hope is assured.
There’s no hope without a conviction of God’s love.
How does hope come to a person in pain? You can start by reading biblical passages about hope.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 16.
Marvel at how the Apostles Paul () and James () even rejoice in their suffering when they hope.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 15.
Reflect on how this distance cannot be bridged except through prayer, meditating on the consummation, and practicing the discipline of hope.
Remind each other, as fellow sufferers and strugglers, that hope will not come in one week
but with persistent encouragement and practice, hope will become more and more of a reality.
When you read the Psalms, it may seem like hope comes instantly.
In many of the Psalms there appears to be a mere gentle reminder to hope in the Lord and suddenly the Psalmist bursts into praise.
The Psalms, however, provide condensed summaries of an educational process.
Also, they are written by people who were skilled in hope.
Indeed, hope is a skill.
It is not an experience that simply comes over us.
It is a discipline that demands stamina and the constant encouragement of the Scripture and God’s people if it is to flourish ().
4 "For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures.” ()
This is the heart of God’s purposes in suffering:
exposing our hearts,
beholding and trusting the risen Lord,
anticipating His return, and thus
learning obedience.
Yet there is one other purpose which can really excite some people.
In Job’s situation one purpose of suffering was to silence Satan.
Satan, the enemy and a prominent cause of suffering and evil, still lives to accuse us and persuade us to disobey the Most High God.
The privilege of God’s people is to do violence to Satan by trusting and obeying God even in suffering.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 16.
Welch, E. T. (1994). Exalting Pain? Ignoring Pain? What Do We Do with Suffering? The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Number 3, Spring 1994, 12, 15.
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Vol. 12–13, p. 280). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
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