Summary: Three reasons we can be sure we are securely included in God’s plan.
Is there any place that’s really safe anymore? We used to think our homes were safe, but we’ve become more and more aware of just how dangerous some people’s homes are. Domestic violence keeps getting worse. Just last week a San Bernardino man was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his wife in the face. Last November a woman was convicted of starving her seven year old daughter to death. (from www.LAtimes.com).
We used to think our workplaces were safe, but workplace violence has shattered that illusion. We were reminded of that back in December when a 42 year old software tester named Michael McDermott walked into the internet consulting firm he worked at and killed seven of his co-workers. In the last few years we’ve seen similar events in Atlanta, Honolulu, and even here in Southern California (From www.latimes.com).
We used to think our schools were safe, but a flurry of school based violence has changed all that. Now schools are fearful of any hint of threat against other students. Schools are becoming places for metal detectors, with our own high school here in Upland having a full-time police officer assigned to the campus.
We used to think our churches were safe, but then in September of 1999 Larry Ashbrook changed all that. As the high school students of Wedgwood Baptist church worshipped God, Larry Ashbrook walked in and killed seven people, four of them teenagers. At first they thought the gunman was part of a skit, but when he started firing they realized it was real.
Even places sworn to be safe places can be dangerous. I read in the LA Times recently about a group home in San Bernardino for teenagers awaiting foster care. Some of the teenagers living in this particular group home have come out claiming that counselors at the home have sexually abused them. These group homes are supposed to be safehouses for teenagers, yet even this home has become a dangerous place (From www.latimes.com).
Is there any place that’s truly safe? We like to build an illusion of safety and security around us, but the reality is that our world can be a very scary, dangerous place. Those of us with children are sickened that we have to spoil our children’s innocence by talking to them about the danger that lurks just outside our doors.
I’m glad there’s one place we can turn that’s truly safe. I’m talking about a relationship with God, a life of following Jesus Christ as his disciple. Today we’re going to talk about God’s safehouse. A safehouse is a place that’s truly safe, a place where a person who’s afraid and threatened can relax and let down their gard. When an abused spouse flees domestic abuse, they place her in a safehouse, a place where her abuser can’t reach her. A safehouse is heavily guarded by authorities, so the people inside can be safe. Today as we talk about God’s safehouse, we’re going to find a fact, and then three reasons we can know for sure that we’re safe with God.
We’ve been in a series through the New Testament book of Romans called Good News For Our Times. In chapters 1 to 4 of Romans we looked at the Good News About God’s Integrity, as we saw how Jesus Christ’s death on the cross provides God with a way to maintain his integrity and forgive sinners. For the last ten weeks we’ve been in chapters 5 to 9 of Romans, looking at the Good News About God’s Love. We’ve seen that God’s love enables us to live the life we were intended to live. And today we finish Romans 8 by looking at God’s safehouse. Next week we’ll start looking at chapters 9 to 11 of Romans, as we look at the Good News About God’s Faithfulness.
1. A Fact (Romans 8:28)
We’re going to start by talking about a fact. Romans 8:28 is a very familiar verse to many followers of Jesus Christ. This verse has brought great comfort to Christians for generations as they’ve struggled with the fact that life is often painful and filled with heartbreak.
This verse is not simply telling us, "Don’t worry, be happy." It’s not the Bobby Mcpherin verse of the New Testament. This verse is also not telling us, "Everything will turn out okay in this life." This verse is also not telling us that bad things that come into our lives are really good things in disguise.
The point of this verse is that God is able to take everything that comes into our lives--the good and the bad, the exciting and the dull, the pleasurable and the painful, the joyful and the tragic--and God is able to use these things to work for our ultimate good. "All things" is encompassing, including anything that comes into our lives (Moo 529). The Greek word "work" here is the same word we get our English word "synergy" from, and it means that God works these things together for our ultimate good.