Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We must remember that when bad things happen, God is in control. He loves us and wants us to be saved. He allows events for his good purpose.

An old church building needed remodeling, so during his sermon the minister made an impassioned plea and looked directly at the richest man in town. At the end of the sermon, the rich man stood up and said, “Pastor, I will contribute $1,000.00”

Just then plaster fell from the ceiling and struck the rich man on the shoulder. He stood up and said, “I will increase my donation to $5,000.00.” Before he could sit down, another chunk of plaster fell on him, and he stood up and said, “I will double my last donation.”

He sat down and a larger chunk of plaster hit him on the head. He jumped up and shouted, “Pastor, I will give $20,000.00”

This prompted a deacon to shout, “Hit him again, Lord! Hit him again!”

Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen to his people? Well, God uses all of our circumstances to work for our good when we have faith. In other words, when we are Christ-like, God can take the negative circumstances of our lives and use them for our good, especially if using them for good fulfills his will for our lives. It’s like an oyster taking a grain of sand-something that irritates the oyster-and turning it into something of great value-a pearl.

Take Joseph, for example. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and ended up in jail in Egypt, but God used all of these experiences to prepare Joseph for his ultimate role of saving his family and the people of Egypt from famine. While still in prison, Joseph correctly interpreted dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants-his cupbearer and chief baker. As the dreams had predicted, the baker was executed and the cupbearer was restored to service.

Two years later, Pharaoh had two dreams that disturbed him, but no one could tell him what they meant. The cupbearer remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who told him that God was warning that a famine was coming and that preparations had to be made. Joseph was released from prison and put in charge of the preparations.

When the famine came, it was widespread and affected Joseph’s family. The same brothers who sold Joseph into slavery came to Egypt to find food. Joseph still loved them and forgave them. He arranged for all of the family to move to Egypt. Pharaoh promised them the best of the land.

Joseph trusted God through many years of hardship, and God worked all of those painful circumstances for the good of Joseph, his family and God’s chosen people in the generations to come. His chosen people grew from a few to millions.

Satan is often called “the accuser,” but any charges Satan makes against us will never stand up because the Jesus who sanctifies us is also the Jesus who judges us. We are protected by Christ’s death and resurrection. Anyone who would take away our salvation would have to be stronger than God, and since no one is stronger than God, we can never lose our salvation. God speaks of love as Christ’s love for his people. Christ’s love protects us from the trials of life. No one and nothing can separate us from God.

A believer can never be condemned by God because of Christ’s death and resurrection, Christ’s exalted position and his continual intercession for us. We are part of the body of Christ, and he loves us so much that nothing can separate us from him. God’s love is not human or normal. God loves us because of who we are-his children.

Paul affirms the incredible power of the love of Christ in Romans 8:26-39. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we can’t find the words to pray. When believers are hurting so much that they can’t mention their desires, the Holy Spirit intercedes with groans that words can’t express. Paul urges us to recognize the depths of our despair, but we must remember that we are not alone. God is always with us, even when we feel alienated, separated and alone.

When we are saved, God doesn’t stop with justification. He gave up his son, so he will freely give us everything we need for sanctification and glorification. When we are redeemed, we receive a new heart and we begin the lifelong process of transformation. Then we have to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures so that God can use his word to transform our minds.

God will take our negative experiences and use then to shape us and use us for his purposes. That doesn’t mean that God is pleased with all of our negative circumstances. He gets mad when people drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He is sad when we are persecuted for our faith. God loves us enough to be with us and walk with us when we face the storms of life.

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