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Summary: This sermon examines the promise of God’s presence in our trials.

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GOD’S GRACE IN THE FIRE & FLOOD

Isaiah 43:1-3

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.


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