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Summary: The worst harm that can come to us, comes when we don't expect it. Believers should never be blindsided by trials. We are going to look at why trials should be expected, that they will not destroy believers, and the secret to conquering trials.

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TRIALS EXPECTED & CONQUERED

Isa. 43:1-3

INTRODUCTION

A. HUMOR: “SOMETIMES WE REPEAT MISTAKES”

1. Two men went to Alaska elk hunting. When the small plane came to pick them up, they wanted to load the two Elks into it.

2. The pilot said, "They’re too heavy! If we put them in the plane, we probably couldn't take off!" The hunters chided the pilot, "We had 2 elks bigger than this last year, and we took off just fine!"

3. The pilot finally gave in and let them load them. But the takeoff didn't go well and the plane finally crashed into the far side of the lake.

4. As they were climbing out of the water, one hunter said to another, "Isn't this about the same place we crashed last year?"

B. TEXT

1 But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.

C. THESIS

1. The Church of Jesus has gone through fire and water. No weapon formed against her shall prosper!

2. The worst harm that can come to us, comes when we don't expect it. The blow you don't see coming, can really devastate you.

3. Believers should never be blindsided by trials. We are going to look at why trials should be expected, that they will not destroy believers, and the secret to conquering trials.

4. Tonight's message is entitled, "Trials Expected and Conquered."

I. TRIALS ARE TO BE EXPECTED BY BELIEVERS

A. SOME CHRISTIANS THINK “NO TROUBLES”

1. In some Christian circles -- such as the prosperity gospel -- there is some false advertising going on.

2. They teach that if you live for God, bad things won't happen to you. This contradicts the common teaching of Scripture that, " We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” Acts 14:22.

3. Part of the reason for this is that people don't like to hear negatives. TV preachers discovered that if they preach any kind of negative, their revenues go down the next week!

4. Christians think that because they’re a. Redeemed, b. Called by name, c. Belong to God, that God will keep all bad things from happening to us and we will have a life of blessing only.

B. NO, TRIALS ARE TO BE EXPECTED

1. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ…” 1 Pet. 4:12-13.

2. If the Master had to suffer, why shouldn’t we? If we want to wear a crown above, we must bear the cross below.

3. In Isaiah, God said "When" you pass through the waters, not "if."

4. Peter refers to trials of various kinds. Sometimes it's described as fire, then as the specific flame.

5. Some are severe: Waters can become Rivers – deep, unfordable, out of banks, at depths that would overwhelm a person -- were it not for a secret source of strength.

6. Trials are inevitable. We can’t go around them, over them, under them -- we must go through them.

C. THE ADVERSITY PRINCIPLE

1. Biologists recognize a principle at work among plants and animals. This natural wonder is called "the adversity principle."

2. As strange as it seems, habitual well-being is not advantageous to a species. An existence without challenge takes its toll on virtually every living thing.

3. This may explain the astonishing results of a recent survey where 87% of the people surveyed said "a painful event (death, illness, break up, divorce, etc.) caused them to find a more positive meaning in life."

4. Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" John 16:33. Ironically, adversity can be therapeutic. (In Other Words, #17).

II. TRIALS WON’T DESTROY BELIEVERS

A. CAN’T SEPARATE US FROM GOD

1. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

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