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(Romans 8:28-29) When Suffering is Good!

Romans  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:57
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Suffering is the issue of life that causes us to miss understand God the most. So many people fail to understand how God works in their lives when they suffer. The hardest counseling issue is often helping people see God’s goodness when they suffer. This passage encourages us by telling us how God is working in our good and bad times for our good.

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INTRODUCTION:
When we were newly married,
many times my wife and I would go downtown to the Aloha towers in Honolulu.
There are several nice restaurants and shops to visit down there…
- One of my favorite shops was a painter who painted historical paintings of the discovery and settling of the Hawaiian Islands.
One of my favorite shops was a painter who painted historical paintings of the discovery and settling of the Hawaiin Islands.
- There was one restaurant that served really good pizza on a surf board, stacked with two Dole pineapple cans.
- We also made a tradition that every time we would stop by and we would go to one particular shop.
We also made a tradition that every time we would stop by and we would go to one particular shop.
It was a shop full of all kinds of magnets with different sayings.
One of the magnets we picked up said this – we plan and God laughs.
One of the magnets we picked up said this – we plan and God laughs.
That magnet may not be the most theologically sound saying we have in our house,
After all … if you understand the grace and goodness of God … God is not mocking us.
But it did communicate sometimes how we felt.
But it did communicate sometimes how we felt.
>>>Most of our marriage we have planned … only to see our plans frustrated.
>>> And so it has become a joke … We plan and God laughs.
Most of our marriage we have planned … only to see our plans suddenly change.
Have you ever felt like that?
Have you ever struggled with why God
allows us to suffer?
or people to hurt us?
Or feel like your work is pointless.
Our Scripture this morning - is a verse many of us know very well.
And it is a text that has enormous importance in our lives.
But it is a text that has enormous importance in our lives.
(PAUSE)
The greatest difficulty of this text is not knowing what it says, but allowing it to change how we think.
very few of us live with it’s truth
Letting Scripture renew our minds … and change how we think.
Romans 8:28–29 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
PROP: All things have a Good Purpose in our lives because they all help us be transformed into Christlikeness.
According to Scripture,

PROP: God works all things in our lives for our Good.

TRANS: And we will examine 3 questions that will help us understand how this text teaches us that God works all things in our lives for our Good.

**********************PRAY*********************
As we begin with our text,
let me emphasize that we should have a trust and confidence that - God works all things in are lives for our Good.
Life teaches us that a 100% of Christians face suffering.
All of us face trials, and struggles, and ultimately death.
100% there are no exceptions.
And experience has taught me that all of us struggle with why God would allow that suffering.
Some of us struggle with it more then others,
but given the right amount pain … we all cry out with that question.
But Paul reminds us of a truth every Christian should know.
A truth that we should be confident of.
Our text starts out with saying -
(ESV)
1) Who can be confident that all things are the very best things for us?
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
So what he is sharing with us is a truth,
that everyone of us should be confident of.
The first question I want us to ask from this text is -

1) Who can be confident that - God works all things in our lives for our Good?

So often … a hurting Christian
Who does this apply to?
Who does Paul promise this too?
Does this apply to everybody - even the lost?
One one hand … this is a question of salvation.
In my experience … I h
Life teaches us that a 100% of Christians face suffering.
All of us face trials, and struggles, and ultimately death.
100% there are no exceptions.
And experience has taught me that nearly all of us struggle with why God would allow that suffering.
Some of us struggle with it more then others,
but given the right amount pain … we all cry out with that question.
But Paul reminds us of a truth every Christian should know.
A truth that we should be confident of.
If we were to consider the struggle the average Christian has in suffering… we might think there is no way to be confident.
(ESV)
After - all - Christian and
(ESV)
1) Who can be confident that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?
(ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Our text clarifies two qualifications for those who can claim this promise.
a) We must love God.
b) We must be the called believers of Christ.
One one hand … this is a question of salvation.
But again … who can have this confidence?
(ESV)
1) Who can be confident that all things are the very best things for us?
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Only those who love God can claim this promise.
By definition, the lost are not the lovers of God, but the enemies of God.
Romans 5:10 ESV
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
Yet, on the other hand - this a statement of confidence.
Who are the called?
All those who have heard and believed in Jesus Christ.
So often we question in suffering … if God really cares?
we question in suffering if God really loves me?
if God really loves me?
if God really cares?
if he even hears my prayers?
But if you believe that
Jesus was born,
to die on the cross,
and pay for the wages of our sins
And you trust in his work, and not yours.
… then we can be confident that God does care for us.
So,
Who can be confident that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?
Everyone of us who believe in Christ, can claim this promise.
But,

2) What does this promise mean that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?

On the face this text might seem like merely good luck.
You get some good luck and you get some bad luck … but it all works out in the end.
If you are hurting … you just need to wait until your luck changes.
But I would suggest this verse teaches something better then good luck.
Or we might miss understand this verse as mere optimism.
I know that life has some hard times … but you just got to believe it will get better.
But I would suggest this text doesn’t teach us to blindly believe it will all work out.
It teaches something better then just blind optimism.
Or optism.
CAVEAT:
And let me be honest … advice like this is hurtful and insulting.
Try telling someone who is crippling in pain over the loss of a child … that
>>> oh just, wait till your luck turns.
>>> oh you just got to believe it will all work out.
There is no logic in that,
and certainly no comfort.
>>>> It is hurtful and insulting to those who truly hurt.
Because a person who is actively hurting .... knows how foolish that idea is.
I remember hurting … and
But our text promises us something more then just luck and blind optimism.
It promises us that we have a God who is working all things for our Good.
(ESV)
2) What does this promise mean that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?
What does this promise mean that - All things in are lives work for our Good?
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Let’s begin with the phrase,
“All things”.
What is “all things” in this passage?
Certainly the context here is about suffering.
talks about suffering.
talks about our weakness.
and is about tribulations, persecutions, famine, and war.
But Paul doesn’t say,
>>>> all suffering, or all pain, or all weakness.
He says,
“all things”.
Why does Paul use a plural adjective here that means “everything”?
It could be because he wants to include all suffering. But
I think he used the broadest word he could use because he intends to include more then just suffering.
And I think the reason is because he intends to include more then just suffering.
NOTE: It could be because he wants to include all suffering. But he could have simply add “all” as an adjective of a noun, rather then a stand alone adjective. Standing alone is the broadest sense he could use grammatically and thus likely refers to both prosperity and suffering.
Paul wants us to understand that he is talking about both - Prosperity and pain
Prosperity and pain
Prosperity and pain are being used by God.
In simple terms - The Good and the bad times in our lives.
Generically - God uses the Good and the bad times in our lives.
It includes all of our experiences.
Every moment.
But now let’s look at the verb.
The Root word of “work” has the idea of labor.
This communicates the idea of laboring at a task.
Further - This form of the word has the idea of laboring together.
God is laboring together with “all things”.
In other words >>> nothing happens in our world by accident.
What does that mean?
What does that mean?
Each of us live in a unique set of circumstances.
You could argue that God placed us in a set of unique circumstances.
You could argue that God placed us in a set of unique circumstances.
My lot in life is not the same as your lot in life.
My lot in life is not the same as your lot in life.
And further, my unique set of circumstances includes great times.
Times and seasons of joy.
Periods Of great happiness.
It's exciting to graduate from high school.
It's exciting to get married.
It is exciting to have a new baby.
It is exciting to have grandchildren.
It's exciting to retire.
It's fun to have that vacation trip that you remember for the rest your life.
It's encouraging finally get to begin the build your savings and retirement.
It's encouraging finally to begin the build your savings and retirement.
We all have seasons and times that we would call good.
But our Lots also includes - times in life when those good times are interrupted by bad times.
For many times in life those good times are interrupted by bad times.
Setbacks
hardships
sickness and death
Times where we are hurting so bad, we don't know how to keep going.
Times where we in so much pain that I daresay >>>> we even questioned the goodness of God.
What this text teaches is that none of these good times or bad times are by accident.
But also understand that none of these good times or bad times of by accident.
They all are all allowed by God.
They all are allowed by God.
They are not the result of good luck or blind optimism that pans out.
They are all the work of God.
However, this text doesn't simply teach the God permits it.
But God is using it in our lives … for a purpose.
God works alongside the good times and bad times.
God works alongside the good times and bad times.
That he is laboring in love for each one of us as we face the good and the bad times of life.
That he is laboring in love for each one of us.
What is God laboring in our lives?
“all things work together for good”
And may I say, the good he is working as our good.
God is laboring in our circumstances to render both the
good in our lives
and the evil in our lives
...as good for us.
...as good for us.
They all are all allowed by God.
What this text teaches is that none of these good times or bad times are by accident.
They are all allowed by God.
They are not the result of good luck or blind optimism that doesn’t pan out.
They are not the result of good luck or blind optimism that pans out.
They are all the result of God working in our lives
They are all the work of God.
ILLUSTRATION:
I think of the story of Joseph, who faced a tragic set of circumstances.
According to the Book of Genesis -
He was sold in the slavery by his brothers.
He was falsely accused and imprisoned for rape.
To say the least his life in no way look like what it should look… And he had some really hard times.
Consider the
loneliness,
the hurt,
and the desperation
,,,, he must have felt when his brother sold them in the slavery,
and then finally he was thrown into an Egyptian prison.
But at the end of life, he made an incredible statement to his brothers.
Genesis 50:20 ESV
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Genesis
ILLUSTRATION:
Gardening for example is a labor of love.
We go out to our gardens and we stir up the ground and we plant the seed.
But Then We faithfully labor at
watering the garden
pulling the weeds.
God is like a gardner.
adding fertilizers and nutrients.
You labor at it.
God is like a gardner.
This form of the word has the idea of laboring together.
God is laboring together with all things.
In other words >>> nothing happens in our world by accident.
In many ways - this is like Gardening.
Gardening for example is a labor of love.
We go out to our gardens and we stir up the ground and we plant the seed.
But Then We faithfully labor at
watering the garden
pulling the weeds.
adding fertilizers and nutrients.
It is not that we are taking the bad times away,
but that we are laboring to help the garden grow through those circumstances.
Even the Apostle P
I can’t think of a clearer example of this, then the story of Joseph.
You recall, Joseph >>> was a son of Jacob ((( the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.)))
- But his brothers sold him into slavery.
- And then once he had risen as a chief slave in Potiphar’s house - a wealthy Egyptian
And then once he had risen as a chief slave in Potiphar’s house,
he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife.
And so then he found himself sitting in Egyptian prison with no hope of escape.
And rock bottom of his life > he found himself sitting in Egyptian prison with no hope of escape.
Talk about a reason to bitter and angry against God.
But through a set of dreams, God raised him up as 2nd only to Pharoah.
And allowed him to wisely prepare for a famine.
One day he finally meets his brothers … and they are afraid he is going to kill them.
>>> They sold him into slavery.
But he gives a testimony of how God used others evil for his good.
When Abraham died
Genesis 50:19–21 ESV
19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
God is always working for our Good.
c) Why are these the very best things for us?
Even when we face Evil >>> God is laboring it out for our Good.
Even the Evil we face God is working it out for our Good.
((((((((((((That ought to comfort us … that as we hurt we know God is actively working in our lives to turn suffering into Good. )))))))))
But as I say that
– the good that God is working in our lives is not mere prosperity.
I do believe that God is good and kind to us.
And many times he does bless us materially.
But I would suggest that if our life never finds
a single moment of peace,
or the absence of pain,
or even a moment of prosperity
… God is still in this life laboring in all things for our good
To say that this verse merely promises that God will meet your physical needs is to misunderstand the point Paul is making.
Paul is not telling us God will merely meet our physical needs … though he will ultimately when glory comes. ()
So let me ask a third question –

3) In what way does - God work all things in are lives for our Good?

We often remember this verse because it teaches us this basic idea – that God works all things for our good.
>>>> But depending on our value system – good can mean a lot of different things.
But depending on our value system – good can mean a lot of different things.
But depending on our value system – good can mean a lot of different things.
For some good might mean prosperity.
For others good might be an experience -
Ever hear the cliche - we might be poor, but we got Love baby.
For others
So often,
if we can’t see materially blessings and success >>> we think God isn’t being good to us.
If God allows us to suffer … then we think there must something wrong.
Because we don’t believe suffering can be good for us.
Fortunately,
Paul tells us what he means by good in this passage.
Paul tells us what he means by good.
What good is God working all things out in our life?
In what way is God working all things out for our good?
I've already mentioned that Paul is not saying that were to be wealthy or even successful.
As they look at our text and what Paul tells us he needs by the good that God is working in our lives.
But what we don’t understand -
Is God has a different goal in mind then health and prosperity.
It is not that God wants us to be miserable … but in perfect wisdom he knows what is truly good for us.
Look at as we understand the goal of God’s goodness.
(ESV)
3) In what way does - God work all things in are lives for our Good?
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
28 .... for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Verse 28 ends with the qualification,
“for those who are called according to his purpose”.
The word “purpose” there can be misleading in English language.
The most literal translation would be – “according to his calling”.
The most literal translation be – “according to his calling”.
This means -
God is working good according to our call in Jesus Christ.
The Good that God is working is our calling in Jesus Christ.
The Goal of God’s work is to complete and fulfill our calling in Jesus Christ.
We must understand that God is not merely wanting us to be happy or prosperous.
What is the calling of Jesus Christ?
And the answer is Yes,
but we need to understand this in the context of us being called into the faith of Jesus Christ.
The Good God is working is our calling in Jesus Christ.
We can probably get to this idea by just exploring what it means >>>> to follow the calling of Jesus Christ.
But Paul doesn't make us guess.
Verse 29 clearly communicates the goal of our calling and God’s work in our lives -
It is for us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
Paul is not telling us that we will never face suffering.
Paul is not telling us that this is all got to work out in the end.
After all - What does he say in ?
Romans 8:18 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
He does tell us that in .
Romans 8:22–23 ESV
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:18 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
But that's not what he saying here.
But that's not what he saying here.
In he is telling us that
>>>> God is working in all of our circumstances to make us more like Jesus Christ.
The image of Jesus Christ is the image of moral and spiritual perfection.
Jesus is the perfect example of following God.
Jesus is the perfect example of following God.
1 Peter 2:21–23 ESV
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter2:21-23
So what is teaching us?
That if you're a believer in Jesus Christ,
When you face good times God is laboring in your life to make you more like Christ.
When you face difficult times God is laboring in your life to make you more like Christ.
When you face difficult times God is he laboring in your life to make you more like Christ.
And of everything he is doing in this life,
he's not trying to make you prosperous.
In everything in this life, God works to make your like Christ - what really eternally matters.
ILLUSTRATION:
Think of God like a Gardner here.
What is the goal of a Gardner?
To help a plant bear fruit.
And so they will faithfully provide water, fertilizer, and sunshine.
But they will also pull the weeds, till the ground, and prune the plant.
Is the Gardner kind because they provide the water, fertilizer, and sunshine? And of course yes.
Is the Gardner kind because they pull the weeds, till the ground, and prune? And of course yes.
God is like that.
Sometimes the best thing for us is not the sunshine and happy days.
God needs to get into our lives and pulls some weeds, till the ground around us, and prune us.
God is not unkind for doing so … he just Gardner helping us be more like Christ.
And
There'll be a day when we will see riches, the manifold blessings of God. ()
But in this life we can expect God to work in our lives in such a way – that we are always becoming more and more like Christ.
But in this life we can expect God to work in our lives in such a way – that we are always becoming more and more like Christ.
This is one of the reasons I think the basic tenets of Christianity is that we are always growing spiritually.
That is because it is part of our calling in Jesus Christ.
CONCLUSION:
When began this morning,
I told you this is a passage that we were familiar with,
but had an enormous implications in our faith.
I told you that the hardest part about this passage is not understanding what it says… but of letting it change your thinking.
Let me help you understand,
why this is important.
Let me help you understand why this is important.
If I think God wants me to be X and fill in the blank.
If I think God wants me to be
prosperous,
wealthy,
painless,
successful,
blessed,
successful,
...Then I will struggle with understanding God's goodness in this life.
I will never be satisfied in my faith because I always think God is holding back on me.
I will always want the things of this world more because I think that's what really matters.
I will always want the things of this world more because I think that's what really matters.
On the other hand,
If I think God is working intends all things for my Good.
That God is using all things in my life to help grow to be like Christ.
That God is like a Gardner helping me grow.
Then I realize suffering has a purpose.
Suddenly,
I can see God working in my life where before I couldn't.
It helps me realize that prosperity in this life is not the promise of God,
God working for our Good is the promise of God.
See how all of a sudden,
my mind and my thinking changes.
How all of a sudden suffering is not the worst thing in this world … because God uses it for Good.
Ladies and gentlemen,
this is a great text to encourage you when you face suffering.
But it also requires us to love God, and our calling in Jesus Christ, more than the things of this world.
But only if I am really believe that my calling in Jesus Christ matters more than the things of this world.
I think when we really understand Paul's point
I think when we really understand Paul's point
and how to apply this text>>>>
- we begin to realize how far away we have drifted from what the gospel is truly about.
I realize for some of you,
this might be a letdown the one of your favorite versus.
The may I emphasize, this is a great text for those who are hurting.
And at the same time may I emphasize,
this is a great text for those who are hurting.
It promises us that God is actively working in our lives.
It helps us remember that God is using suffering to help us be like Christ.
and it reminds us that one day we will experience glory… A glory that is incomparable to anything in this world.
After - all -
Glory is the ultimate conformity to Christ.
Ultimate sanctification.
And includes the redemption of our bodies.
As says,
Romans 8:23 ESV
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
From this text,
PROP: God works all things in are lives for our Good.
TRANS: And we examined 3 questions that will help us understand how this text teaches us that God works all things for our Good.
The Questions:
1) Who can be confident that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?
a) We must love God.
b) We must be the called believers of Christ.
2) What does this promise mean that - God works all things in are lives for our Good?
God is laboring in our circumstances to render both the good in our lives and the evil in our lives ...as good for us.
3) In what way does - God work all things in are lives for our Good?
In everything, God works to make you like Christ - what truly matters.
Gardening for example is a labor of love.
We go out to our gardens and we stir up the ground and we plant the seed.
But Then We faithfully labor at
watering the garden
pulling the weeds.
adding fertilizers and nutrients.
You labor at it.
This form of the word has the idea of laboring together.
God is laboring together with all things.
In other words >>> nothing happens in our world by accident.
And right now is the time to renew your mind.
It is almost impossible to help someone understand this when there already hurting.
But you take someone who lives this out now… And throw them in the any circumstance
and they will praising God for what he is doing their life.
I challenge us to remember -
All things have a Good Purpose in our lives because they all help us be transformed into Christlikeness.
God is always working in our life for Good,
All things have a Good Purpose in our lives because they all help us be transformed into Christlikeness.
and we are comforted when remember how it relates to Christ.
All things have a Good Purpose in our lives because they all help us be transformed into Christlikeness.
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