Summary: It’s only those who love God that can look over life’s journey and see God’s guiding and directing hand in and through it all. It’s distinctively a “Christian” experience.
Opening Statement: A discouraged young lady came to D.L. Moody one day and said, “Mr. Moody, I want you to take my name off of the church roll. I’m tired, discouraged and don’t deserve to be on the roll.” Mr. Moody reached into his pocket, pulled out a slip of paper and wrote these words: “I do not love the Lord Jesus Christ.” He handed the piece of paper to this discouraged young lady and said, “If you can sign that piece of paper, assenting to that statement, then I’ll take your name off of the church roll.” Tears filled her eyes and she replied, “I can’t sign that paper. I do love Him.”
Transition: Even though you may be discouraged with the pace or level of your spiritual progress and growth into Christlikeness, I suspect that if I gave you a piece of paper like D. L. Moody gave to his discouraged, young parishioner, then I’ll bet that you also could not sign it, because you really do love Him. And if this is true, then I have a great Scripture passage to share with you today.
Explanation: You see as we live out the Christian life, we have moments when we are so close to the problems of life that we fail to see what God is doing in the overall scheme of things. The Bible promises that He is using everything that happens to make you more like Jesus, even the discouraging things.
Text: Romans 8:28, 29
Key Word:ENCOURAGING DYNAMICS that are at work to make you more like Jesus through the power of the Spirit.
(NASV) Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
(The Message) That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in Him.
[See Previous Sermons on these Verses]
These verses speak of God’s Sovereignty – “all things to work” (v.28a) not just isolated incidents!
These verses speak of God’s Providence – “together” (v.28b) He takes the details of life and uses them to move us toward the Savior.
These verses speak of God’s Faithfulness – “good” (v.28c, 29) God is faithful to complete the job of making you like Christ, despite what happens in life.
These verses speak of Man’s Responsibility – “those who love God (v.28) God will make you more like Jesus if you will simply love Him.
Explanation: It’s only those who love God that can look over life’s journey and see God’s guiding and directing hand in and through it all. It’s distinctively a “Christian” experience. The non-Christian who looks back on life’s journey is often resentful or regretful. It’s important to love God if you want to eventually understand His ways in due time.
Illustration: Even though you may be discouraged with the pace or level of your spiritual progress and growth into Christlikeness, I suspect that if I gave you a piece of paper like D. L. Moody gave to his discouraged, young parishioner, then I’ll bet that you also could not sign it, because you really do love Him.
This entire sermon is really about understanding how God makes us like Jesus. Do you really want to be like Jesus? God created you to be like Jesus. These four dynamics are at work to ensure that this happens: God’s Sovereignty, God’s Providence, God’s Faithfulness, Man’s Responsibility. God’s goal for you is not comfort, but character; it’s not happiness, but holiness; it’s not convenience, but Christlikeness.
Quotation: I offer to you a piece called One Solitary Life.
Here is a man
Who was born of Jewish parents,
The child of a peasant woman…
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never owned a home.
He never had a family.
He never went to college.
He never put foot in a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born.
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself…
While still a young man,
The tide of popular opinion turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him…