Summary: This sermon examines the promise of God’s presence in our trials.
GOD’S GRACE IN THE FIRE & FLOOD
Intro: ILL- A man was blessed with 2 healthy sons, one an eternal optimist, one a pessimist. The boys were so completely different that psychologists wanted to test them.
They placed the pessimist into a room full of toys; the optimist in a room full of horse manure.
They looked in on the pessimist & they found the toys untouched, not played w/at all... "I just know if I touch one I’ll break it," the pessimist said.
They looked in on the optimist & found him digging into the manure with his hands, a huge smile on his face.
"Why?" they asked. "With all this manure, I know there must be a pony in here somewhere," the optimist said.
Faith in God’s promises makes great optimists.
ILL- In Burma, the missionary Adoniram Judson, was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, “Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?” with a sneer on his face.
His instant reply was, “The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God.”
William Carey once said, "The future is as bright as the promises of God."
ILL- During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife, “We have twenty-five cents—and all the promises of God!"
I. The Certainty of Problems. WHEN you go though the waters…
A. It’s a discouraging fact…if you’re a child of God…expect trials & troubles.
Gal. 4:29, But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
2 Tim. 3:12, Yea, & all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
The enemy has attacked all of God’s followers. From the blood of Abel down to today-- the pathway of the Church has suffered much for the cause of Christ. Stephen died beneath a shower of stones; James was killed with a sword; the Roman lion devoured the followers of Christ; Herod smeared the Christians with pitch and set them in his gardens that they might be literally, as they were spiritually, the lights of the world. Some of them were tortured, others sawn asunder, some stoned, and others burnt to death; though of them the world was not worthy.
The pathway of the Church has been one of fire and flame. Jesus declared, In this world you shall have tribulation... If you are a soldier in the army of Christ, you cannot win the victory w/o a conflict; & if you are ordained to wear a crown above, you-are certainly equally ordained to bear a cross below.
Grace does not carry us to the skies- “On flowery beds of ease.” No; we must fight if we would reign; we must suffer for Christ if we would be glorified with Him.
B. Our trials will be of various kinds. Fire…water… You will go through the waters; you will endure trials which will chill you to the very bone…sweep you off your feet…take away your foot-hold, & carry you along, with its rapids & currents.
When one trouble has gone, another will come, & it will probably be different from the last one.
Instead of being in the water, you will be in the fire; not chilled, but heated, like molten metal in a furnace. It is a different trial altogether from any that you had experienced before. Ever been there before…? Going through trials that you never thought you would face…
Make up your mind that you have to go through those trials, and ask the Lord to give you grace & courage that you may be able to endure unto the end. He has had one Son w/o sin, but He has never had one child without suffering.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world. --C.S. Lewis
II. The Security of God’s Promise.
He gives ten essential truths to back up His promises:
1. Vs.1 - "I have redeemed thee!" Christ has redeemed you by the price of His blood & the power of His Grace.
2. Vs.1 -"I have called thee by thy name!" He has adopted you into His family & knows who you are! He takes a personal interest in our lives.
3. Vs.1 -"Thou art mine!" You belong to God as His personal possession, His new creation. That means you are under His protection & provision.
4. Vs 2- "I will be with thee!" Wherever God by His providence puts you, He will take care of you.
5. Vs.3- "I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel!" The Almighty God, the Holy One, who is always faithful and true, is as much your property as you are His property, because He has given Himself to you.