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Summary: God’s ultimate intention for all believers is to conform us to the image of Jesus. Part of the process includes going through times when you can’t feel His presence. Walking Through the Wilderness series deals with temptations you face during these trying

“Wilderness – Pt. 1”

“Fear Not” by Pastor Nick S. Panico

(Rom 8:28-29 NKJV) "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. {29} For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."

I. The apostle begins with this statement of fact.

A. Notice “we know”

1. He doesn’t say “ I hope so”

2. He doesn’t say “in some cases”

3. There is no doubting or questioning in his mind

4. We know…

5. The implication is that this knowledge is not just some revelation which Paul has just received…

6. He says “we know” because it’s something he has observed and experienced.

7. He has seen hard and difficult times

8. He has experienced personal tragedies, and failures

9. He has been misunderstood, falsely accused, and horribly treated by the very ones he was trying to reach with God’s love

10. He has been arrested, beaten, flogged, stoned and left for dead

11. He’s been attacked by mobs and run out of town…

12. And in spite of all of the difficulties he has faced, he is convinced of this certain fact… all things work together for good to those who love God

13. all things… means everything

14. No matter what it is, how dark the day has become…

15. Regardless of what you are experiencing… Because you love God, and God loves you,

16. Because you are called and chosen by God for His particular purpose…

17. God is going to use what ever the situation you are in for your good and His glory

B. Notice four words in Rom. 8:29

C. Foreknew = “ to know before hand”

(Jer 1:5 NIV) ""Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.""

1. Before God formed you in your mothers womb… He knew all about you

D. He not only knew all about you He predestined you…

1. Predestined = to determine before hand

2. Our pre-determined destiny – God’s ultimate intention for all of our lives = to be conformed to the image of His Son

3. Before time began, for all those who would love God, it was predetermined that they would be conformed to the image of Jesus

E. Conformed – fashioned like unto

1. to bring to the same form with some other person or thing

2. To render like

3. From the Greek word “summorphos”

4. The noun “morphe” refers to the outward expression of an inward essence or nature

5. In the process of sanctification, the saint is transformed in his inner heart life to resemble the Lord Jesus, which inner change results in a change of outward expression that reflects the beauty of the Lord Jesus – Weust word studies

F. Image – from the Greek word – “eikon”

1. stature, profile, representation, resemblance, image

2. Just like the president’s head on a coin is eikon

3. the reflection of the sun in the water is eikon

4. the statue in stone is eikon

5. the child is the eikon of his parents

6. The image of the Lord Jesus in the saint is not accidental but derived, as the likeness of a child is derived from its parents.

7. Through the new birth we become children of Jesus Christ and inherit His image

8. This image is indistinct in the new convert, but becomes progressively clearer and distinct as the believer grows in Christian maturity

G. The process the Lord uses to conform us into the image of Jesus is the “all things” Paul talks about in Romans 8:28

H. I am beginning a new series today on one part of this process which I call “the wilderness experience”

(Exo 13:17-18 NKJV) "Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt." {18} So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt."

I. There are seasons in all of our lives when we are led by God through a wilderness

1. The wilderness is a time of leanness

2. It’s a difficult road

3. Your usual support and provision is removed from you

4. It’s a time of testing, filled with trials and temptations

5. It’s a time when you can’t easily see the hand of the Lord in and around your circumstances

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