Summary: Discovering how God can turn our tragedies into His triumphs.
We all have heard the story of H.G. Spafford who was a bussiness man who lost his home. He decided to take his family on vacation to England. He sent his family ahead of him. The ship wrecked, his four daughters drowned and his wife was on the other side of the world overwhelmed with grief. Yet he was able to write one of our favorite hymns, “It is well with my soul.” You might know the story of Joseph Scriven. He was a brilliant young man engaged to a beautiful young lady. The night before their wedding, she was pulled from a pond where she had drowned. In the midst of his tradgedy he wrote “What a friend we have in Jesus.” How does God do it? How do we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose? Let’s discover how God turns tragedy into triumph! Read and Pray.
1. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
How does God turn tragedy into triumph?
I. God made them sojourners. (1) God made them pilgrims, temporary residents, sojourners. Do you think that they realized that they were pilgrims? Every minute of everyday! Every time they opened their eyes they knew that they weren’t home. How does this help? Have you ever been away from home for any length of time? You’re never quit comfortable. You’re never quit satisfied until you get home. That is what God wants for our lives. This inables us to trust, rely on Him here. There is also comfort in the fact that this isn’t home. This isn’t permanent. What is happening now is only for a time.
II. God made them soujourners that were sown abroad. (1) Not only were they pilgrims, but pilgrims of the dispersion. They were sown abroad. It’s a word picture of how you sow grass. You don’t sow grass in a single row, one seed at a time. You throw as many seeds out in as many directions as you can. They were being sown, as grass seed, abroad by the Father. How did they feel? I am sure they felt: fear, uncertainty, insercurity, guilt, shame, searching for a safe place, next meal, way to earn a living. Basically all the feelings that any attacked human who is being hunted down would feel. I bet they didn’t realize they were in God’s will. Just like you and me after we lose our jobs, or get cancer, or just go down an unexpected road in life.
III. God made them soujourners that were sanctified. (2) Sanctified simply means to be set apart.
a. To be sanctified you must be chosen. Chosen is what elect means. Let’s remember that Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me, but I chose you.” Jn. 15:16. How did He choose us, by what criteria? According to his foreknowledge. People have a problem with God knowing the future in its entirity. Look at Daniel 9. Let’s face it folks, God knows. That should provide comfort in and of itself. There is something to being chosen. Jesus has chosen us and appointed us to bear His fruit.
b. To be sanctified you must be obedient. Before we can come to God we must be attracted to Him, pulled to Him, convicted by Him. This should stress the utter necessity of responding to God’s spirit when we sence Him working in our hearts. All of us here have sensed His conviction and delayed our reponce. What happened? His convictions left. He came to us, convicted us, pulled us to make a decision, but we pushed it aside and said, “Later”. When His conviction left, our desire to change also left, and so we stayed the same. The point is strong. We must respond, and obey God immediately when His spirit is working on our hearts. The purpose of sanctification is to cause us to be obedient. The number one thing a father wants is obedient children. It’s no different for our heavenly Father. (2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Pet. 1:16)
They probably didn’t realize that they were obedient. They probably felt like they were just surviving. And yet God was using them to acoomplish His most important goal; reaching the lost. Often times when we are experiencing tragedy, God is using this time in our lives to draw us closer to Him, and use us in unexpected ways to spread His gospel.
IV. God made them soujourners that were sprinkled. (2) Sprinkled means to be covered or justified. They didn’t justify their actions, they were justified by the blood of Christ. We have broken the law of God. We have neglected God, ignored God, cursed God, rebelled aginst God, and ultimately rejected God. We have chosen to live like we want, to do our own thing, and we have refused to live like God has said. Therefore we stand before the law of God guilty. There is no escape. A penalty must be paid in full. This is the message of the glorious gospel. Jesus paid it all. He stepped forth and offered His perfect life as a sacrifice for you and me! Therefore the debt reads “Paid in Full.”