Summary: In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, for Jesus has overcome the world.
Don’t take Christ out of your crisis.
TEXT: John 16:33
In Max Lucado’s book ‘When Christ Comes’ he tells this story. When he was a boy, Max Lucado was a member of the Odessa Boys Choir, and one year the local junior college had asked them to play the roles of the munchkins in their presentation of the Wizard of Oz. So the choir began rehearsing. There was only two little problems. First, the boys choir didn’t rehearse with the rest of the cast, and second, Max Lucado had never before seen the Wizard of Oz. He says that the movie was always showed on Sunday nights, and he and his family were always in church. And since he and the choir didn’t rehearse with the rest of the cast Mr. Lucado thought that the munchkins were the stars of the show. He thought that when he handed Dorothy the flower that was the end of the production. Well needless to say that when it came time for the actual show he was more than a little surprised. He goes on to say in his book that when the wicked witch appeared on stage he didn’t have to act scared, he was terrified.
Of course that would have never happened if he had known the plot, and how the story ends. And sometimes we can get the same way in real life. We can sometimes be overwhelmed by the things that this world throws at us. Sick kids, over due bills, deadlines and schedules, not enough rain for the crops, too much rain, cattle prices going down, the stock market going crazy, terrorists running loose, I could go on and on. And then on top of all that there’s the devil. He’s out there tempting us and trying to get at us any way he can. And just like Max Lucado we can sometimes get overly anxious, or even become frightened. And that’s when we need to remember how the story ends.
See, one of the great things about God is that He hasn’t kept the end of the story a secret. He isn’t like one of those Hollywood screenwriters who keep the whole thing secret until it’s time to show the movie. No He wants us to see the big picture. He wants us to know that He wins, and so do we, if you’re in Christ. So we need to remember don’t take Christ out of your crisis. There are many passages in the Bible that tell us this. Not in those exact words but the meaning is the same, and I don’t have time to go over them all today, but I do want to touch on a few of them.
Turn with me to Luke 22:31-32 (read). There are three things we need to realize here. First of all, Satan had to ask. That tells us that God is in control. He is sovereign, all mighty, all-powerful, and He is still on the throne. And there is nothing that happens without Him knowing about it and allowing it. Now let me explain this really quickly. God has a perfect will and a permissive will. God’s perfect will was for man to never have sinned, and for the fellowship between man and God to remain intact. God’s perfect will is for all men to be saved. However God’s permissive will is where God doesn’t necessarily approve of something and yet He allows it to happen any way. Those of us who are parents can relate to this. My perfect will for my daughters would be for them to be happy, successful, and content in life, but my permissive will is when I allow them to make their own decisions even when I know that the consequences of their decisions could be hurtful. Now I could very well stop them from going through with the decision they have made, and force them to do my will, but that isn’t love. I allow them to make their own choices and hope that they will grow and mature and gain some wisdom.
My point is that God is in control, and Satan has to ask permission before he does anything. And what Satan intends for evil, God can work for our good.
The second thing we need to realize is that Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith. Notice what He said to Peter, (read vs. 32 Emphasize the word ‘when’). When you have returned, not if you return. I once witnessed to a person who told me that they couldn’t be saved because they had sold their soul to the devil. And I told that person that his soul wasn’t his to sell. He looked at me kind of funny so I went on to explain to him that as a Christian we have been bought with a price. The blood of Jesus has redeemed our souls from hell. I then told him that if he wasn’t a Christian then his soul already belonged to the devil. There’s no middle ground. As Christians we have been redeemed, bought back. We are not our own, Jesus bought us away from our old master. And then Jesus placed his seal of ownership on us, called the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 tells us that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. And when you become a Christian Jesus become the author and finisher of your faith.