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We live in a sin cursed world with wickedness on the increase. Many are affected by the evil that we see around us, but one thing is for certain, God is not to be blamed.
Roman 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.”
A. Torrey knew the meaning of this verse, and he called it “a soft pillow for a tired heart.”
Many of us have rested in Romans 8:28 when faced with an unknown trial. “We know” is used about five times in Romans, and it refers to common knowledge of the Christian – that which God reveals to us. Charles Spurgeon used to say, “I do not need anyone to tell me how honey tastes; I know.” And we know God is good and is for those that love Him and trust Him.
Here are some things to consider:
1. God is not evil, nor the cause of evil.
1 John 1:5 “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
2. God is not responsible for the bad decisions people make.
James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:”
3. God is aware of the evil that takes place.
Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
4. Nothing takes God by surprise. God is ALL KNOWING, but man must still be responsible for his actions and decisions.
John 6:64 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”
5. It is God’s choice whether He desires to intervene in certain circumstances of people’s lives.
Proverbs 21:1 “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”
Philippians 2:27 “For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”
6. God, at times, disciplines His children in love when they stray.
Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD love the correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”
a. When Jonah rebelled, the Lord prepared for him a great fish.
b. David was judged (lost his son) because of his sin.
7. People suffer from the bad decisions they make.
Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
8. People suffer from the bad decisions of others.
Proverbs 29:2 “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”
9. God is fully aware of our circumstances, and God can use the evil that is done to us for good.
Genesis 50:19-20 “And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 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.”
Job 1:12 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.”
10. God knows what is best for us. The Lord may not always answer prayer according to what we would ask and hope for. Paul understood that God uses the trials in our life to help us stay humble and finish the course of God’s will.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient forthee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, thatthe power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
In the middle of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle cannot help but to thank God for the greatest gift ever given to man. Paul calls it the “unspeakable gift”.
When you stop to meditate about everything that surrounds this gift, you cannot help but be in awe and in amazement of the salvation that God has given us through Christ; it truly leaves the believer speechless. Not enough words in the world can describe the beauty and the glory of God and His Character. God is absolutely awesome!
The extra wonder of the gift is that The God of all Grace is the Lord and King of our life.
I heard a man of God named Shadrach Meshach Lockridge who was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church share a sermon on “That’s my King”. I will share some it with you today.
That’s My King, by Lockridge
…The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews. He’s the King of Israel. He’s the King of Righteousness. He’s the King of the Ages. He’s the King of Heaven. He’s the King of Glory. He’s the King of kings, and He’s the Lord of Lords. That’s my King.
I wonder, do you know Him?
My King is a sovereign King. No means of measure can define His limitless love. He’s enduringly strong. He’s entirely sincere. He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful.
Do you know Him?
He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world. He’s God’s Son. He’s the sinner’s Saviour. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He is the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest personality in philosophy. He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology. He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Saviour.
I wonder if you know Him today?
He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He strengthens and sustains. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick. He cleansed the lepers. He forgives sinners. He discharges debtors. He delivers the captive. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young. He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. And He beautifies the meek.
I wonder if you know Him?
He’s the key to knowledge. He’s the wellspring of wisdom. He’s the doorway of deliverance. He’s the pathway of peace. He’s the roadway of righteousness. He’s the highway of holiness. He’s the gateway of glory.
Do you know Him? Well…
His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His Word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. And His yoke is easy. And His burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you. Yes…
He’s indescribable! He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible. He’s irresistible. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hand. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him.
Yeah! That’s my King, that’s my King.
How can a Christian Spiritually Grow into Christ-likeness
To continue to desire the Word of God
To passionately pursue the Knowledge of the Lord
To seek to have an eternal Focus
To endeavor to live the Mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
It is an amazing thing to have the mind of Christ. As Christians, our minds are renewed by God through His Word and by His Spirit.
It is one thing to know the mind of Christ, but it is another thing to Live it.
It is one thing to know the Will of God, but it is another to fulfil it.
It is one thing to hear the Words of Christ, but it is another thing to observe them.
Do you know we can be entertained by the truth of God’s Word by being heavily convicted, but doing nothing about it? As growing Christians we must endeavor to have the mind of Christ and live it.
Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
As we have the mind of Christ revealed to us by The Word of God and by His Spirit, we must live it out.
By the Way, there are so many blessings that come from submitting to what we know we ought to do as Christ-Followers.
Note: When we live the mind Christ:
What kind of life did He live before us that we might follow?
TURN TO: Philippians 2:1-8
Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”
Paul is now going show before the eyes of the Philippians the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:6-7 “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:VS 7But made himself of no reputation…”
Jesus Christ – God, is the perfect example of someone who was selfless. He had others on His mind. The next verse before us describes what it means when Jesus “…made Himself of no Reputation…”
Philippians 2:7 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”
2. SERVING MIND - “…and took upon him the form of a servant.”
4. SUBMISSIVE MIND
Philippians 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death. He obeyed even though it cost Him His life.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This verse (John 3:16) is a famous Bible verse amongst the believers and non-believers. It is a rich verse that proves God’s love through one of the greatest promises ever given to man – the promise of “everlasting life”.
DL Moody once said, “God never made a promise that was too good to be true.”
God planned, prepared, and promised eternal life with Him in Heaven before the world even began.
Titus 1:2 “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
Unfortunately, in the beginning of creation the devil effectively deceived people into rebelling against God and living life without Him, causing them to miss out on God’s greatest promise.
To rebel against God and live without the Creator is sinful and has brought about an eternal death, which has been passed on to all of humanity.
Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Notice what Jesus said prior to John 3:16…John 3:14 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:”
In John 3 Jesus is speaking to a Pharisee named Nicodemus, and Jesus points him back to the time when the children of Israel fell into sin as Moses was leading them to the Promised and Land (which is a picture of eternal life). Jesus was reminding Nicodemus of God’s Great Salvation that he offered them.
John 3:16 reminds us about a few things regarding Salvation:
1. The Source of Salvation
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world…”
2. The Sacrifice of Salvation
John 3:16 “…that he gave his only begotten Son…”
3. The Scope of Salvation
John 3:16 “…that whosoever believeth in him..."
4. The Seriousness of Salvation
John 3:16 “…should not perish..."
5. The Security of Salvation
John 3:16 “…but have everlasting life.”
Jesus said in John 10:10 “...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
What a blessing it is that our annual calendar has a time to remind us how precious our mums are. There is a generation coming that will not acknowledge their mothers at all. God’s Word mentions in Proverbs 30:11, “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.”
Like everyone else, mothers are not perfect, but they are special… Mothers fulfil God’s desire in bringing us into the world, now that is special. We must remember and be thankful for the sacrifice and pain our mums endured to raise us up from the start.
What a blessing to have a mother, but what a double blessing to have a godly one.
Emerson once said, “Men are what their mothers make them.” Abraham Lincoln stated, “No one is poor who had a godly mother.” Evangelist Billy Sunday declared, “I don’t think there are enough devils in Hell to search and take a young person from the arms of a godly mother.”
The right kind of a mother can make a big difference in a home, in a church, and in our nation! Notice what the Psalmist states in Psalm 16:6, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
Thank God for Mothers who are firm in their faith, their convictions, their prayers, and their love for their children and for the Lord. Mothers ought to be thanked every waking moment. Notice what Proverbs 31:28a says, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed.”
If you are one of those people who have the special privilege of being called “Mum”, I hope you will understand the impression and influence you can have in your family, church and this nation. There is an old Spanish proverb that reads: “An ounce of mother is worth more than a pound of clergy.” May God give us mothers that will keep fighting the fight of faith and not give up or give in by the grace of God.
We need mothers who will pray for their children; give a good, clear, godly and unquestionable pattern to follow; and encourage them on to honour God in all they do. We need mothers that will inspire their children to shine and do great things for God’s glory!
Charles Wesley said “I learned more about God from my mother than from all the theologians in England”
Charles Spurgeon said “I cannot tell how much I owe to the prayers of my good mother.”
2 Timothy 1:5 “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”
A little boy forgot his lines in a Sunday school presentation. His mother was in the front row to prompt him. She gestured and formed the words silently with her lips, but it did not help. Her son’s memory was blank. Finally, she leaned forward and whispered the cue, “I am the light of the world.” the child beamed and with great feeling and a loud clear voice said, “My mother is the light of the world.”
Mothers, we will not notice everything that you do for us, and sometimes we will forget to thank you, but “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).
As you continue to love and fear God, you will receive your true reward—a reward for every prayer, every sleepless night, every tear, every encouraging word, and every expression of love that you demonstrate by the Grace of God.
We love you Mum, and we thank God for you!
Negative thinking: Nobody cares
Positive thinking: Everybody cares
Biblical thinking: God cares
1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Negative thinking: I am nothing
Positive thinking I am something
Biblical thinking: I am made by God
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works…”
Negative thinking: I am not sufficient
Positive thinking: I am sufficient
Biblical thinking: God is my Sufficiency
2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;”
Negative thinking: I cannot change
Positive thinking: I can change
Biblical thinking: In Christ I can change
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Negative thinking: I am a looser
Positive thinking: I am a winner
Biblical thinking: I have victory in Christ
1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Negative thinking: I can’t wait
Positive thinking: I will wait
Biblical thinking: I’ll wait on the Lord
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
Negative thinking: God won’t forgive me
Positive thinking: God will forgive me
Biblical thinking: God can forgive me
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Negative thinking: I will fail
Positive thinking: I will succeed
Biblical thinking: I must obey
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Negative thinking: I am fearful
Positive thinking: I fear nothing
Biblical thinking: God is with me
Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Negative thinking: I can’t do it
Positive thinking: You can do it
Biblical thinking: I can do it through Christ alone.
So far we have seen that God’s grace is His unconditional love that is demonstrated by His sacrifice. God makes His grace ready and available for all who will receive Him. For God to give a chance to get right with Him is grace. Today we will look at how amazing His grace is:
G = God’s Gift
R = Ready/Available
A = Amazing
God’s grace is amazing because we are undeserving of it. After all, God did not seek after us because we were desirable. He sought after us because of His grace that desired to save sinners.
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
God didn't have to do what He has done. He didn’t have to sacrifice His only begotten son. He didn’t have to make Himself of no reputation to become a servant.
The psalmist knew the grace of God was so amazing when he said…
Psalm 8:4 “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Think about this for a moment… God gives us the opportunity to experience life. He desires a relationship with us. After we have rebelled against His ways, God graciously makes a way for us to be saved from our sin and become right with Him. Then when we receive His gracious gift, He calls us to be part of His ministry. This is so amazing because we did nothing to deserve this.
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
Notice what Paul states:
1 Timothy 1:12-15 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; vs 13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Vs 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Vs 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Another thing that is amazing about God’s grace is how He desires to work in our lives to make us like Him. It is God’s desire to do a work that we can never do within our own strength, and that work can only be done by His amazing grace!
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
Notice what John Newton (the author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”) states:
“I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am..”
A few weeks ago we saw that God’s grace is unconditionally demonstrated by His love toward us. He has demonstrated that love by giving us gracious gifts that are so amazing and undeserved. Today, we will look at how God’s grace is available and ready to be received.
G = God’s Gift
A = Available
The fact that God has made His grace available is grace. God is not obligated to give us His rich grace and mercy, but He does so because He is a good God. However, many fail to receive the grace of God either for Salvation or for Sanctification because of relying on their own efforts, works, and goodness.
Notice what Paul mentions to the Church in Galatia.
Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? Vs 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Vs 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Receiving God’s grace will help us “Grow in Grace” How do we receive God’s grace?
1. By Faith – Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 5:4-6
Receiving God’s grace is believing and resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is believing that God is gracious and that we do not deserve His grace, but we understand that He loves us, and so therefore we receive His grace with thanksgiving.
Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Vs 3 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Vs 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
2. By Humility – Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6
Martin Luther once said “A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.”
Have you ever asked God to humble you? God will do a better job in humbling us than we can, because when we think that we are humble enough for His grace we have then been lifted up in pride.
“God alone knows how to humble us without humiliating us, and how to lift us up without flattering us” — unknown
3. By the Knowledge of God – 2 Peter 1:2
The grace of God is multiplied to us as we grow to know more and more about Jesus; more of His love divine. God’s love is unfailing, undying, and is the very thing that should keep us by His side.
a. An unfailing and undying love – Jeremiah 31:3a
b. Love draws me closer to God – Jeremiah 31:3b.
Romans 2:4 “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”