Summary: A sermon to confirm the hand of providence at work in the life of the believer.
"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Introduction: I hope you will excuse me for borrowing a title from an old Clint Eastwood movie but it just seemed to fit the theme of this text pretty good. In referring to the good, the bad and the ugly I'm alluding to all the things that happen in life, particularly the bad things and the ugly things. Every person in this room this morning has had some good, some bad and some ugly things happen to you. One old time preacher said that there are "wounded" people in every pew and that is true from my experience. Also, in all the years that I've been pastoring the one question that keeps coming up over and over again is the question of why bad or ugly things happen. Questions like why does a loving God allow good people to experience bad things? Why does He allow His own children to suffer? What is the purpose, if there is one, in these experiences? Paul knew something about bad things and ugly things and he knew something about suffering. Listen to what he says in the letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
We have a record of what happened to him throughout his ministry in his letter to the church at Corinth.
2 Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
Now I don't pretend to know all the answers but I want to suggest some things for you to consider. First:
I. THE PROMISE
Paul was confident in the promises of God for several reasons and we can be too!
a. The Sovereign's virtues
When God makes a promise He can back it up and the more you know about the character of God the more you will understand this. For example:
God is omniscient, which means that He sees and knows everything, past, present and future.
God is omnipotent, which means that He can do anything that He chooses to do.
God is immutable, which means that He cannot change nor is He capable of change.
God is infallible, which means that He cannot make a mistake and that He cannot fail.
Now I could go on but you can plainly see that He is able to work out all things by providential arrangement to accomplish His purposes in our lives. The Divine superintendent/governor of the universe is able!
b. The Sovereign's veracity
God has never broken a promise, no not one single time. His word is reliable and dependable.
Joshua 23:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Psalms 117:2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
c. The Sovereign's values
God is zealous of His word and He is at work and even when we cannot see He can. He knows the end from the beginning. The greatest thing He values is the eternal soul of a man and He is always "seeking to save that which is lost."
In Guidepost Magazine a few years ago there was a story about a young couple in Ft. Worth, TX going home after church one evening. The driver of a truck did not see them, & he pulled over & hit their car, throwing them from the wreckage. The young wife died instantly, & her husband lived only a little while longer.