Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We begin our last study of the year 2015 by looking at the first 3 words, and we know. The underlying idea behind these 3 words is that this is a truth that should be foundational in the life of every believer. We need to know this. It should be posted on our refrigerator. Put into our lunch box. It needs to be tucked away in our heart when things get hard…. life gets messy…. circumstances and emotions get out of control.
Even a casual glance at this verse tells us that all things don’t work together for good for everybody. The promise that God will turn all things for good is not true in everybody’s case.There are two things that need to be true for this promise to apply to you.
- One is that you love God.
- Two is you are called according to His purpose.
Those who love God; Any god? No, those who love the True and Living God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and are the called according to His purpose.
This love of God is what distinguishes true Christians from all other men and all other religions, for we alone are followers of The God Who became Man to take away our sins. We are worshippers of The God Who was crucified, buried, but has risen from the dead. Only born again believers refer to Jesus as My Lord and My God.
So, in order to love God, you must first be born of The Spirit of God.
Rom 8.9 If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
So what does it mean to love God? It means that when we are born again, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit becomes the object of our supreme delight, desire and joy.
Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Loving The Lord is treasuring The Lord Jesus Himself more than anyone and anything. This means that Jesus is our first love.
Matthew 10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
Luke 14:26 If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
When we love The Lord we will most certainly appreciate and be thankful for the loved ones, friends and blessings that He brings into our lives. However, Jesus Christ will never become heaven’s currency for idolatry. God does not redeem us to share the throne of your heart with anyone or anything else.
Loving God is desiring Jesus Christ Himself more than His gifts. Loving God is treasuring Jesus Christ Himself more than His gifts. Love for God is delighting in Jesus Christ Himself beyond His gifts. Love for God is being satisfied in Jesus Christ Himself beyond His gifts. Love for God is cherishing Jesus Christ Himself beyond His gifts. Love for God is savoring Jesus Christ Himself beyond his gifts. Love for God is valuing God and prizing God and revering God and admiring God beyond His gifts.
We love our Lord Jesus supremely for Who He is; He is our Creator, our Shepherd, our Counselor, our Shield, our Redeemer, our strength and our song. When our love for The Lord Jesus is supreme, it is going to be demonstrated in a life that progressively lines up with the teaching of God’s Word.
1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
This proof of loving Christ more than anyone and anything including ourselves is taken to the highest level with this command of Jesus given to you and me.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
So a love for The Lord is going to be demonstrated in a love for one another. In other words, we are going to have a loving relationship with all and any others who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In love we will serve one another, forgive one another, pray for one another, help one another, pray with one another, comfort one another, encourage one another etc.
The Spirit of God flows most powerfully in an atmosphere of love. What quenches the love of God? Bitterness, resentment, a hard heart that refuses to forgive. Beloved, to hold on to bitterness, resentment or a hard heart is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.
1 John 4.20,21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also
Not only loving The Lord, but also being called according to His purpose is a vital part of knowing that all things work together for good.
I think it is important for us to underscore from our text in Romans that God does indeed have both a plan and a purpose for this universe and all things that He has created in it.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom (that is The Lord Jesus Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things (there is the same phrase all things that we read in our text this morning) after the counsel of His own will:
Philippians 2.12,13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Just because I may not know what is going on in my life this morning, doesn’t mean that God is just as mixed up as I am!
Peace is the calm assurance that what God is doing is best.
So, for those that love The Lord, and are the called according to His purpose, what are some of the all things that work together for good?
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
So by “peeking ahead” into the context of the chapter, we can readily see that Romans 8:28 does not just mean all good things work together for good, it means all things – including all the bad things.
In fact, the whole context before and after Romans 8:28 is couched around suffering and groaning. But that’s why is Romans 8.28 here guys!…it is here to encourage you and give you hope. That is why we read:
1Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Note again, in everything, not for everything.
From a purely human perspective, when you and I going through difficult or perplexing things like in Romans 8.35, 36, we are prone to challenge the wisdom of God like in the days of Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal (Heb. fair and just). Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
Lit. Am I The One who is unfair, or is it you? Am I The One that doesn’t see the eternal picture or is it you?
The ways of The Lord towards those who love Him are perfect. There is no flaw in His sovereignty. There is no flaw in His wisdom.
Life is life, both the good and the unpleasant parts, but above and beneath all of these things, our God is still on His throne. Jesus is by our side and will never leave us nor forsake us. He was right in the fiery furnace with the 3 Hebrew children…He wasn’t standing on the outside cheering them on!!
In other words, when we know that it is God’s hand (not fate, not chance, not karma) that is invisibly but most decidedly working all things together for good, that allows me as a follower of Jesus Christ to face the personal afflictions, trials, persecutions and calamities to which I am exposed with the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit because I know that somehow, God is going to work all of these things together for good inasmuch as they fit into God’s eternal plan and purposes.
The Lord Jesus told the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12.9 My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in your weaknesses.
Let me repeat here, especially for the benefit of those here this morning with deep hurts and wounds, The Holy Spirit is not saying all things you may be presently experiencing are good. He is saying God turns all things for good, as it was in the case with Joseph:
Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
This is an Old Testament version of Romans 8:28. All things work together for good for God’s people. God did not just watch evil events unfold with no design and no purpose, and then bring good out of them. No, just as Joseph’s brothers meant it (purposed it, designed it) for evil, so also God meant it (purposed it, designed it) for good.
For all of my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Romans 8.28 is not only a source of great comfort. It is also a call to action. It is a battle cry. Since all things work together for my good, then I cannot be ultimately defeated as I purpose to walk in obedience to the revealed will or the call of God upon my life.
You can be sure that the devil will attempt to capitalize on your hardship or disappointments or personal failures and seek to wear you down. The devil wants you to feel sorry for yourself. The devil wants you to throw in the towel of life. The devil wants you to think what is the use of praying, reading The Word, coming to fellowship. Do not listen to his lies about God or what He is doing in your life.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
1 Timothy 6.12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Romans 8.31If God be for us, who can be against us?
In closing, I would only like to say that every message for believers is also a message for unbelievers. For believers, Romans 8.28 aims to remind you of the unshakeable rock of providence that is the root of your faith this morning. The mighty hand of God is holding you up beloved!
For unbelievers, Romans 8.28 is one of the many verses in the Bible that aims to win your heart to place faith in The Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s eternal purpose was His gracious design of saving a lost world by the death of his Son. Christ Jesus came into the world to die for sinners. (you qualify believe me, and so do I).
Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sin and rose again the 3rd day. Jesus Himself gave this public invitation to a multitude,
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
How do I come to Christ? Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. God calls and draws sinners like me to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by bringing them into contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Then, by the power of The Holy Spirit, He awakens their dead hearts, and causes them to clearly see their desperate condition and hear the glorious gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ as being irresistibly true and beautiful.
Today is the day of salvation.
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.