Summary: This sermon from The Exchanged Life perspective attempts to assist the believer in coming to a point of trust in Christ as Savior, Lord and Life through suffering thus ultimately being set free from Self.
All of us encounter trouble from time to time in our lives. Sometimes the trials and tribulations come as a test. Sometimes they come for the glory of God. And sometimes they come as a way of bringing us to the end of our Self, of depending on our abilities and of depending on our own resources and our self-sufficiency to totally depending upon and trusting in Jesus Christ.
Today I want to share with you The Truth About Trouble. I want to communicate what can come out of trouble. It’s not always the trials, temptations and tribulations that come, but rather our response to them that really matters. So I suggest to you first of all that:
I. Trouble is a Means Whereby God is Revealed
As believers we’re to immediately look upward when bad things happen to us. We need to acknowledge to God that we’re trusting in Jesus Christ who is inside of us, first and foremost to handle our present trouble. We need to ask the question, “Lord what are you saying to me through this circumstance?” If we will seek His face and be still before Him, we will know His presence in our trouble.
Psalm 107:24-29 says, “They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves; They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away . . . “ Have you been there? I have, but listen to the healing ministry of trouble. “THEN they cry unto the Lord in their trouble and He brought them out of their distress.” Oh, the peace that comes when His presence enters the trouble. It’s all worth it when God opens our eyes and we see Him right there in the midst of it all. That’s where “the peace that passes all understanding” blooms in the darkness of our suffering and those around us are astounded.
Sonny Holland tells the story of visiting in prison and meeting a young man who was there because of a life of rebellion and drugs along with all that comes with it. The man began telling his story and Sonny said, “I’m so sorry.” The young man said, “no preacher, I’m glad I was caught and I’m glad they sent me here. It was here that I met Jesus and God changed my life.” Trouble is a Means whereby God is Revealed. Secondly:
II. Trouble is a Ministry whereby Growth is Reached
Jesus said in our focal text, “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Faith in Jesus Christ who lives inside of us is the victory over the world, as 1 John 5:4-5 indicates. And in 1 John 3:18 the Scripture says that Jesus came for the purpose of destroying the work of the evil one. So John says over one chapter at I John 4:4 as a child of God, you have overcome the evil spirit “because the one who is inside you is greater than he who is in the world.” But did you know that the greatest hindrance to the expression of Christ’s life in and through a believer is the flesh, the patterns of programmed flesh that we’ve developed outside of Christ. All it takes is stress plus time to will reveal your functional source of life, what you’re really trusting in to deal with life. However, the Word says in Galatians 5:24 that “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” And the victory over the flesh is as Galatians 5:16 says, “walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh” which is to depend on Self to get your God-given needs met instead of maturing to depend on Christ to meet your every need.
Christ has conquered the world, the flesh and the devil. And He did it all by standing on the Word of God through every temptation we will ever face. And the truth for us is we grow and mature in our Christian walk when we go through any trouble and put our complete trust and faith in Jesus to carry us through and handle the difficulty. As one unknown writer wrote: “When nothing whereon to lean remains; When our strength is crumbled to dust, When nothing is sure but that God still reigns – that is just the time to trust. Tis’ better to walk by faith than sight in this path of yours and mine; In the pitch black night when there’s no outward light is the time for faith to shine.” We are to shine forth as lights in a dark world among a crooked and perverse generation. As we do Trouble will be a Ministry whereby Growth is Reached. Finally: