Summary: When trying times come, and they always do, God has a message for us.
TRIUMPH THROUGH TESTING TIMES
(All my sermons use illustrations found at www.sermoncentral.com and ALL scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
After a long series of sermons on giving God room to work, it almost seems fitting, to look at scripture and find a place where God tells us, that tough times will come, BUT we need not worry, He is with us.
We all know that God stood by JOB, we see from the book of JOB that after JOB was tested and passed, he was rewarded for his great faithfulness. But he is not the only example in scripture.
In his book, When God Whispers Your Name, Max Lucado tells the story of John Egglen, who had never preached a sermon in his life before the Sunday morning when it snowed and the pastor wasn’t able to make it to the church. In fact, he was the only deacon to show up. He was not a preacher, but he was faithful and that meant on that particular Sunday morning he preached. God rewarded his faithfulness, and at the end of his hesitant sermon, one young man invited God into his heart. No one there could appreciate the significance of what had taken place that morning. The young man who accepted Christ that snowy Sunday morning was non other than Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the man who has often been called, the "prince of preachers." God blessed his preaching and when he was still less than 30 years old he became the pastor of London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle. His sermons were so powerful that although the building could hold 5000 people, the crowds who came to hear him were so thick that they would line up outside trying to hear his sermons. That amazing life of faith all started on a cold Sunday morning with the faithfulness of a deacon who had never preached a sermon before that day. Faithfulness means being committed to what God lets us have the chance to do, whether it looks like a big assignment, or a small one. Giving the sermon to a handful of people on a Sunday morning when almost no one shows up doesn’t seem all that significant, but it demanded faithfulness & God blessed John Egglin’s faithfulness.
This morning won’t you turn with me to LUKE 22:31-32. Here I want you to see
that although testing times will come, Jesus is in our corner and He is predicting we will succeed.
Luke 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
I. SATAN WILL TEST US!
Here we see a passage that is very similar to that of an Old Testament story found in the book of Job. We could see that Peter is considered a faithful servant of God’s. He has followed Jesus in His ministry and he has been, and will be, faithful to God. Job, was considered a righteous man in God’s sight, BUT. Satan explains that away with: Job 1:9-12 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Now, we see Jesus warning Peter that the same thing is about to happen to him, Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to test Peter, and that Peter will falter. Remember, God uses Satan to TEST us. I mean even in this scripture passage, Satan says, Hey God, if YOU strike down everything the man has surely he will curse you to your face, BUT, God replies, “OK, I will allow everything he has to be in YOUR hands Satan, but don’t lay a finger on him.”
God uses Satan to test our faith, and he is about to allow that testing to happen to Peter. Jesus knows that Peter will falter, later on in this chapter he tells Peter as much, he tells him that he will deny Jesus three times before the rooster crows. But then Jesus, says something that you and I must take to heart, he says: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.
II. JESUS HAS PRAYED
Now that changes things for me, knowing that Jesus is my advocate before the Father is something special, it changes everything and makes the tests of life so much more bearable.