All Things For Good
Prayers Uttered On Purpose
In all that we have discovered so far respecting the new birth, the dramatically changed affection that we have within, the struggle
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought
How often it is that we come to our knees before the Lord and the words that come from our mouth are either done by rote or habit, or completely without consideration?
We desire the mind of the Lord as we pray because we know that he will do all things in accord with his will. But we are limited, at least according to this text.
for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
I don’t truly know how this works in a practical level, it is not something that we seem conscious of, nor is it anything we can discern within, but this is given by revelation to Paul of that which is occurring daily in our lives.
His claim is simple, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought
No matter how fervent our prayers, there remain limitations to which the Spirit of the lord renders great assistance.
It is due to our natural infirmities, according to the text, that we are somewhat limited.
But what incredible encouragement to know that there is intercession made on our behalf by the Spirit who knowns both the will of the father and searches our hearts.
The Spirit that bridges the gap between us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Mothers seem to employ this almost every day as they intercede between the child and his or her father.
Such a wonderfully close relationship she has with both, she knows the will of the father, understands the heart of the child and WORKS ON THE SHORTCOMINGS OF BOTH, so mum intercedes.
As wonderful a job that mothers do in this area, it certainly is a picture of the intersession made by the Spirit of God between the children of God and the Father.
Naturally mums do not do this perfectly, but the Spirit of the Lord does. Why?
27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
It is the Lord that knows the heart of all people, he has searched it, he knows its desires and its wants, and he also knows what is the mind of the Spirit.
Only the recognition of the triune nature of the Godhead is this possibly able to be understood.
Only God knows the heart of man and the Spirit who makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
In what does he intercede?
In our prayers.
How does this work?
with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Beloved we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 John 2:1)
It is Christ also who makes intersession for us, and now here we have understanding that the Spirit also makes intersession for us on our behalf because of our own infirmities.
As I said, I don’t know how all of the works, but what I do know is that we need as much help as we can get.
- We are saved from the world, but live in the world,
- we are saved from the penalty of sin, but now struggle with sin,
- we are redeemed in our spirit to the father, but we know not what we should pray for as we ought
James confirmed this when he said; Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3).
This is just one indicator of our need for an intercessor in prayer.
Just as mum imperfectly intercedes of behalf of the child and the father, the Spirit knowing the true heart of the spirit with man, maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
This, a PURPOSEFUL action by the Spirit of God for the benefit of the saints of God.
All Things Work On Purpose
28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
No doubt some people doubt this text, especially when they go through trials.
I am going to break down this single verse in to the next three points;
All Things Work On Purpose
Good Things Distributed On Purpose
Gods Purpose Our Desire
Even though some doubt the verse, some have been sustained it through many a trial and many a turmoil, but even then, in the midst of those trials, we often can’t see how it can be true.
- The teenager who sees the separation of his parents can’t think for a moment how this could work together for his good.
- Trials of Health: There are some who are suffering through extreme trials of health, whose family are dependent on them for their provision each day who can’t think how it is possible that this can work together for their good.
- Loss of Job: There is the single mum who has lost her job,
- DEATH: the wife who has lost her husband,
- Natural Disaster: The City or nation who has been afflicted by natures torment.
Many in suffering would wonder how it is possible for any of this to work together for good!
Joni Erikson Tada:
A very energetic teenager, dove into shallow water at the age of 17 years and became a quadriplegic.
She was a nominal Christian at the time, and also wondered at the purpose of he life in such a state. God has used her wonderfully since to encourage people with disabilities all over the world.
No doubt she has been a source of inspiration to many who wonder why we suffer and to what end is it.
But in this text you will find an answer specific and vital for you personally. The passage does not deal in generalities; it deals with individuals.
The passage does not teach that evil does not have evil effects, but it does teach All thingswork together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
It teaches that no matter the trial, no matter the pain, no matter the suffering and grief, God’s love for his children is displayed in his sovereign power to transform all things to work together for good.
Whether that benefit is received here and now, for our temporary relief and joy, or whether it is stored as treasure in heaven for our eternal glory.
God has given verse 28 as an encouragement to patience and hope and joy.
But we don’t always understand how it works.
Ravi Zacharias tells of a Middle East folk tale that might illustrate for us;
There was a man who discovered that one of his horses ran away, his neighbor hearing of it came and sorrowed with him saying “bad luck that your horse is run away” the man said, “what do I know of these things?”. A few days later the horse came back and brought 20 other wild horses with him, the neighbor came back and said “wow it wasn’t bad luck but good luck, your horse brought 20 more horses” the man said “What do I know about these things?”. A few weeks later the man’s son was taming one of these wild horses and it kicked him and broke his leg. The neighbor returned to the man and said “how sad is it that your son’s leg is broken, bad luck that these wild horses came”, the man responded and said “what do I know about bad luck and good luck?”. The next week a gang of thugs came by looking for young men to recruit into their gang and they looked at the lame son and said “don’t pick him his leg is broke”. The neighbor again returned and said “wow it wasn’t bad luck but good luck that your sons leg is broken”!!!
You see we spend so much time wallowing in the mire of despondency rather than waiting, trusting and seeing how God can make “all things work together for good”.
But what we discover in the passage before us is SO MUCH MORE
Turn to Genesis 50:18
This passage we are going to look at tells us the end of a story that began with twelve brothers. Joseph the second youngest brother had dreams where God showed him that he will rule over his family sometime in the future.
The oldest brothers where jealous of him, these 10 wanted to kill him but instead cast him into a pit and sold him as a slave to Egypt.
They then lied to their father Jacob giving him the impression that he was torn in pieces by a wild animal. Joseph was 17 years old at that time.
22 years would pass before he saw his brethren again, but this time as the governor of the known world, the Egyptian Empire.
Here they remained with Joseph, and Israel remained in Egypt for 430 years.
17 years after he had received his brethren, his father diesand we pick up the story with his brethren’s fear that now Joseph will take vengeance on them for the Evil they did to him so long ago, their father they believe, no longer being a restraint to Joseph.
And they asked for forgiveness for their trespass (v17);
18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
The Lord not only knows the end from the beginning, but he has the power and ability to have all his purposes come to pass.
Other Biblical Examples:
NOAH. Not saved from the flood, but Preserved through the flood and saved from an evil generation.
DANIELS FRIENDS. Not saved from the fire, but preserved through the fire. The flames set them free.
JOB (INSTRUCTION TO READ FIRST TWO CHAPTERS)
Job never got to know the reason for his sufferings in life, but Job believed that the one who he loved and trusted was in control.
Our one problem is that we still like to think we are in control, where he wants us to trust in him and rest.
Job “Though he slay me yet will I trust him”.
When “Job moments” come, know God is in control;
It is near impossible to endure going through trials for no purpose, but that is the state of all who reject God! That is the state of the world today.
Entertainments, Drugs, alcohol, revelling’s, even suicide seems to be the desired method of escape from a world which no longer makes any sense.
Having rejected God, and confused by the multitude of counsellors, the world has lost both its purpose and its salvation
Beloved, When the WHY question of suffering has no answer or purpose, how is it dealt with?
Temporal / Eternal
The prosperity Gospel that is preached among so many churches today are so Earthly chained they are not eternally concerned.
2 Cor 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
James tells us to “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations” (Ja 1:2)
In Revelation 3 our Lord shows us that Gold is tried through fire. He spoke about the Chastening of the Lord and that it is only those he loves that he chastens (v19 )
Even King David, the sweet Psalmist of Israel said;
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Ps 30:5)
Brethren, only the Lord can bring the dead to life, heal the sick, exalt the humble, debase the proud, bring strength out of weakness and have “all things work together for Good”
The point is, ALL THINGS WORK ON PURPOSE.
To those who love God, it is always a GOOD PURPOSE.
Good Things Distributed On Purpose
And we know that All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
So we see that this benevolence (this blessing, this good) is imparted not specifically to today but to tomorrow, and not particularly for here but also for hereafter, we may CERTAINLY see the benefit in this life, but if we see it in eternity, its benefit will last for eternity!!!
Yet we see also that this Benevolence is imparted by purposespecificallyto “them that love God” and particularlyto “them who are the called”.
The passage we are looking into this morning is not applicable to all people.
We know that God “makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt 5:45)
Yet to some people no good can come from evil; but to them that Love God “all things work together for Good”.
It is for them who have experienced that wonderful grace of God to the saving of their souls.
These have crossed the divide and moved their souls from rebellion to reconciliation.
No longer are they enemies of God, but Children. And “all things work together for good”
Global Elections 2019
This year elections are held in;
Nigeria, South Africa, Guinea, Tunisia, Mozambic, Botswana, Namibia, The Philippians, North Korean Parliament, The Maldives, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Estonia, Malta (March), Holland, the Ukraine, Finnland, Spain, The UK, Lithuania, Ireland, Belgium, Greece, Latvia, Germany, Portugal, Poland, Croatia, Israel, North America, South America and we even had one in Australia.
Some may have good leaders that may lead the country well, most will not.
2 Peter 2:13-14 tells us to;
13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
Romans 13:1-4 gives us a similar command and explains;
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
What the Lord says here is a reflection on the passage we have under consideration.
Even those who govern us can work a work that will work together for Good to them that Love God, whether for here or eternity.
THE ENEMIES OF GOD
But this is not the case for all!
Many people will suffer evil and will have no comfort that their sufferings will ever work a good purpose. Government is the entity used by God for just that intent.
There are those who do not Love God, this passage does not apply to them, for the benefit of the text is distributed on purpose.
No unconverted man or woman can Love God, in fact the Bible teaches they hate him.
These are lovers of pleasure not lovers of God, these cannot take comfort by this text, at least not until they rest in him, converted by him and trust him for their souls!
These trust in the good of this life and this world’s promises,
They trust that the deceptions with which they have been deceived with, will somehow prove true;
- That riches gratify and bring contentment;
- That lust can actually be fulfilled;
- That the eyes can be satisfied and that fiery pride can indeed say “enough”.
They think they are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, not realizing that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”
and yet here is Christ, on the outside knocking, knocking, and calling
“if any man here my voice and open the door, I will come into him and sup with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20)
No, the passage that we are looking at is not applicable to them. To those who are such nothing they do can turn to good, even the temporal good that they experience will eventually turn to evil.
The Bible teaches that after their “hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up untothemselveswrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom 2:5-6)
James, while telling usto rejoice in our trials 5:1-3 warns them saying “ 5Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.”
turn to Isaiah 47:12-13
Even in their trials they don’t seek after God, they look to their signs, their astrological prognostications each month, they will go to fortune tellers when they struggle, read tea cups, consult tarot cards. Lest you think this is a modern idea,
Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries,
Wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; If so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. 13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels.
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators,
Stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.(Isa 47:12-13)
That astrology is featured in today’s daily newspapers, tells you clearly that people have not changed in at least the last three thousand years.
And we see the Lord mourn in Scripture as he pronounced;
“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, That take counsel, but not of me;
And that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, That they may add sin to sin: (Isa 30:1)
You see they follow after other gods to deliver them, but like King Ahaz this idolatry itself becomes the ruin of them (See 2 Chron 28:23)
And in the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the LORD: this is that king Ahaz. 23 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus, which smote him: and he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.
What we see is that all things work together for evil to them that hate God.
But this has never been his desire, it is still not his desire and it never will be.
The Lord has done all he can, he has sent them word; but they will not hear, he has given his Son for a ransom for their souls; but they would have none of him.
The passage we have under consideration is are Distributed On Purpose, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
BUT This CAN APPLY to anyone of you that sit here today.
“All things CANwork together for good” to you from today onwards.
You CAN indeed be, from this very moment, WHO this text applies to;
You CAN be “The called” as THIS CALL is being heard by you today.
- Jesus said “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37)
- God promises that ‘all who seek him diligently will find him when they seek for him with all their heart’
- If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, “and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom 10:9)
And all the promises of God will pertain also to YOU.
Why wait? Why delay? Does your pride really hold value to you to the losing of your soul? Will pride be your companion in hell for all eternity?
With so much blessing to receive, how is it your stubborn heart is held so dear to you?
Hear the call, believe the Gospel, be saved from yourself and be “Called according to his purpose”
Gods Purpose, Our Desire
And we know that All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We can admit that there is something incredible about the power and sovereignty of God to deal with a particular people in one way, while allowing the other to end in their natural course.
Difficult to comprehend how he does it, but we can admit that the passage teaches just such a thing.
IT is this that I want you to trust;
for the balance of this verse now begins to touch on TWO specifics of Gods sovereign grace and PURPOSED CALLING.
- That he calls (To them who are the called)
- That he determines outcomes (According to his purpose)
There is not a person here, born again into that wonderful love of God, that had not first been called.
Even those not yet known of God in this room, whose hearts are pricked by the convicting work of God, those of you who are even now Sitting under the Gospel, God is calling.
Those who are “the called” are those same who now “love God” and who’s good is purposed according to Gods will.
All the world IS given the opportunity for “all things towork together for good” but they must be those who Love God, them who are the called according to his purpose.
God uses the Gospel to call ALL to himself, but not all will heed the call, not all will come. It is important to recognize that the call goes out into “all the world”.
God can never be charged with inequality, there are none he desires to see perish but that all would come to repentance!
When Jesus commanded the disciples, he made sure they understood the extent of the call of the Gospel.
“15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
In Luke 24:47 he said “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”
The last two verses in Mathew he gave command clearly saying “19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen”
This is where we get the summary purpose statement of the Church, to “Preach the Gospel and to make disciples of men”
Turn to Acts 2:37
Now Peter had just finished his sermon which began in verse 14, preaching to them of what has occurred and the coming of Gods Spirit on that day. He explained Christ, who he is and why he came and why he rose from the dead.
Peter used the old Testament Scripture to confirm all that was occurring at that time as Gods Spirit was being poured out and as the Call of God was going out.
To that point we pick up the passage where many have come under that calling conviction in their hearts and desire to know what to do!
This may reflect some you who are hearing this sermon.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
God called, some answered. Though the number of three thousand souls seems much, it is important to know that the call went out far and wide, not all heed the call.
2/ That he determines the outcomes;
According to his purpose