Summary: God is BIGGER than any problem we face in life!
• Mark Smith in an article in Readers Digest said the following: Like many high school seniors, my son was filling out college-scholarship applications. One form asked for extracurricular activities. He answered: “wrestling.” The next question requested positions held. He entered: “pinned, mostly.” --Mark Smith, Readers Digest Jun00 (http://www.irsweb.com/)
• How many of you have felt liked you are continually being “pinned” to the mat and are just waiting to get counted out.
• Maybe you have been hit with so much adversity you feel like the little girl who was riding along on her bike when she bumped her head on the low hanging branch of a tree. She ran into the house hollering, "Mom! Mom, Joey hurt me!" Mom looked up from what she was doing and said, "Sissy, Joey didn’t hurt you. Joey’s not even here. He went to the grocery store with your daddy." The little girl got this startled look on her face. Then in a bewildered sort of voice she said, "That means stuff like this can happen on its own at anytime. Whoa, bummer!"
• We have been looking at the issue of discouragement. One of the great things we can enjoy in Christ is freedom from discouragement. Over the last couple of messages we have seen reasons why we can have freedom from discouragement. One reason is that we know that better things are coming, there is more to this life. Secondly we can be free from discouragement because of the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
• Today we will look at a third reason given to is by Paul in this chapter as to why we can enjoy freedom from discouragement, the reason being is that our God is bigger than our problems. His plans are bigger than our problems.
• Turn in your bibles with me to Romans 8:28-30 and we will see that God is bigger than whatever we are facing.
I. GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU IS BIGGER THAN YOUR PROBLEM (28)
1. When we are suffering through difficult times, we can know that God will cause the bad situation to work together for good.
• We are told that we KNOW that God causes all things to work together for good.
• The word “know” means to learn by instruction. How do we know our math facts? By instruction. We know that God causes all things to work together for good because we are taught through God’s word this is true. The only way we know this fact is through the teaching of the Bible.
• If it were not for the revelation of the Word we would tend to think that too many things that happen in life work for evil instead of God.
• How many times have you seen what seemed like a hopeless situation turn into something good? I have seen some of the most difficult situations in life turn into something good for people.
• In my own life there have been many things that happened that at the time did not seem good, but later I could see they were the best thing that happened to me or they led to something really good.
• Joseph M. Stowell tells a story about his childhood. “Growing up in Hackensack, N.J., just across the George Washington Bridge from New York City, provided a variety of experiences for me. One was going to school with some of the rough kids from the neighboring town of South Hackensack. I recall one afternoon, playfully sparring with one of the southside guys and having his punch actually land on my face. The blow jarred one of my front teeth loose. Thankfully, the dentist was able to anchor the tooth again, and I didn’t lose it. In fact, I was better off--the tooth had always been crooked, so the dentist straightened it as he worked. Sometimes the blows of life have a way of taking something crooked and making it straight.” (http://www.irsweb.com/)
• We are told that God causes ALL THINGS to work together for good. In the context of the book thus far, all things includes all the trials and tribulations we deal with in life. It deals with the persecutions we face as a result of our faith.
• We have some examples in the scriptures of this principle.
• How many of you think it would be terrible to be sold into slavery by your own brothers? Then how many of you think it would be bad to be thrown into prison for something you were completely innocent of after things seemed to be going well for you?
• This all happened to a man named Joseph in the bible. Later on in his life, Joseph’s brothers thought Joseph was going to get them back when Joseph said the following in Genesis 50:20, “Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it. This was to keep many people alive, as he is doing now.”