Summary: Bad words may be the first to come to mind when times are hard. But our text has some encouraging good words, particularly right now. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
Good Words for Bad Days
Bad words may be the first to come to mind when times are hard and things come crashing down on you. But our text has some encouragingly good words God wants to remind us of, particularly right now.
Have you ever noticed that some Christians seem to have more problems than others? If it weren’t for bad luck they’d have no luck at all! But then there are some and everything seems to just fall their way.
There may be no observable reason for why problems come on this cursed world. Maybe you can search your heart and find no willful sin in your life. You know you aren’t perfect, but you are sincerely trying. And you find yourself asking, “Why me, Lord?”
It’s not wrong to ask this, because for every trial there is a purpose. One of the saddest things I ever see is ‘purposeless’ suffering.
Ill.—they say that when the Civil War ended and Lee surrendered that the southern boys wept at hearing the news...for they felt that all their suffering and losses were for nothing.
But what you are going thru has not caught God off guard. It’s no surprise to Him. Paul writes this letter because since his first letter the troubles and persecutions have greatly increased for these young believers.
Even Christ on the cross asked God why was He forsaken when His Father turned His back on Him because of our sins laid upon Him.
To make matters worse, someone wrote a letter to them, forging Paul’s name, stating that it’s the end of the world...their tribulation is because the tribulation has begun!
Paul encourages them, just contrast his greeting in the first letter and the second:
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
What brings about this growth?
v. 7 Trouble helps us to grow. God has a purpose.
1. Your Faith is Growing!
Faith can grow, but it must be exercised. It must be stretched.
Ill.—if someone asked you on your wedding day if you trust the person you are marrying you would say yes, because they are promising to be faithful, giving me their word, and pledging themselves to me. But if you were asked years later if you trust them, you wouldn’t answer the same way. You wouldn’t say, ‘because they said I could trust them I do’. You would say, ‘because they have proven themselves.’ They have passed the test. They have stood the test.
Our faith can grow and increase...but only as we are tested.
“Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him, How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.”
2. Your Love is Growing!
v. 3 ‘love aboundeth’
It’s a picture of a river overflowing its banks. At salvation God puts His love into our hearts. But what causes that love to overflow into the lives of others? Answer: Suffering, trials, heartaches, and tribulation.
Some react wrong and grow bitter when things go wrong, instead of growing better. But God has a good even for bad days.
Ill.—Dr. Lee Roberson, before he was anyone of notoriety at all, was preaching in a tent crusade. It was 1946. He was sitting with his hosts for tea when he got word that his 2 year old baby daughter Joy had suddenly fallen ill and died. She had been fine that morning. He said he felt as if the sun fell out of the sky, and the world was coming to an end. He drove home 200 miles to Chattanooga, TN, where a couple days later they had a service for Joy. He decided to trust God thru it all, and went back to finish the tent crusade. There he made a decision to do something in her honor, and try to do something for other children. He bid on some land...$3,000. It was worth twenty times that even in those days, but no one bid against him. That summer he started Camp Joy, and it remains today one of most successful youth camps in America, where countless decisions have been made for Christ. He returned to his church and made a comment about someday wanting to start a Bible College. It was an off hand remark, but men in the church rose to their feet in support, voting, giving funds, and that night in that very service, w/ no students, teachers, curriculum or money, Tennessee Temple University began. Thru the years it has pumped out tens of thousands of some of God’s best servants all around the world.