A Look at How God Works Out His Purpose in the Believer
Craig Ledbetter, Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland – www.biblebc.com
I. Introduction (Rom 8:31)
A. The apostle Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, takes the time in Romans 8 to carefully lay out one of the greatest truths for the Christian
1. A very often forgotten truth
2. That God is for us!
B. Often we think God is against us
1. Yes, God is against sin – just like we would be against a crime being committed – try to stop it
2. Yes, God is against sinners – just like we would be against a criminal on the loose
C. But He is only against sins and sinners in order to remove sin, and change sinners
D. Truly, learning the purpose of the life of the Christian can be an awakening to the great truth that God is for us – on our side – that no one can change and ruin what God is doing in our lives!
E. If there is one thing you can be sure of, even though the devil is against us, God is for us!
F. This truth is so vital to believe and stand upon, or else all of God’s purposes for your life will see like torture and impossible to achieve
G. But that is not true if what we are about to study is true
H. I’m here to try to persuade you just how true it really is!
II. Message – God is For Us
A. The Promise (8:28)
1. Directed at Christians – we know some things
a. We KNOW where we are going when we die – no doubt (1Jn 5:13)
b. We KNOW God is true and His word is perfect
c. And we KNOW ALL things work together for good – wow!
2. All Things Work Together for Good!
a. All things are under the direction of an infinitely wise Being, who has committed Himself to fulfilling the purposes of the life of the believer
b. Doesn’t say all things ARE good – just that they work together FOR good
c. What things work together for good?
1) All troubles work for good. What seems to be trouble is working things for good. We are not meant to understand all that is going on but we, like Job are in the hands of the almighty, all wise God who knows and is working them out for good (Gen 50:20).
2) All trials work for good.
a) James 1:3-5 "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
b) Sometimes the Lord allows trials to come into our lives just so we can see what we are made of. What would cause some to crack and break is fuel for another.
3) All temptations work for good. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
4) All triumphs in our lives work for good. I am glad that the life of a Christian is not all trials, tribulations, troubles and temptations- but also triumphs/victories and good successes!
d. Aren’t you glad we have such a promise? No greater promise to the Christian!
1) There is NOTHING bad in your life if you have the Lord Jesus leading the way
2) There will be loads of weeping in heaven by those who never attempted to trust such a wonderful God in the bad times
3) They never saw with the eye of faith what such a great heavenly Father can see
3. This promise is Enjoyed only by those that:
a. Love God
1) You will allow God to do what He thinks best when you love Him
2) The love of God is the FIRST commandment of all
3) Without it, the promises of God are empty!
4) QUESTION: Do you really love God enough to trust Him?
b. Answer the call to fulfil God’s purpose for their lives
1) “The called” are people Jesus came to save and change:
a) Sinners (Mk 2:17)
b) Spiritually empty
2) God’s purpose is
a) To take empty vessels and fill them
b) To take broken lives and refashion them
c) To take disasters and turn them on their head for His glory and our benefit
B. The Purpose (8:28b,29)
1. Why would God make such a promise? Such an impossible promise?
2. What purpose does He have in view?
a. To conform us – to reshape us to His form and fashion
b. To conform us to the image/likeness of God’s Son, Jesus Christ
1) HIS endurance
2) HIS love
3) HIS patience
4) HIS joy
5) HIS peace
6) HIS resolve
7) HIS gentleness
8) HIS strength
9) HIS way of living
c. That’s His purpose – not OUR purpose
1) Our purpose would be to escape hell
2) Our purpose would be to get to heaven
3) Our purpose would be to live a better life
d. But God had a grander purpose that included all of that - To make us the best we can be – to make us like He designed us to be
3. And He takes us (what does He see in us) and as we yield, and He changes us into the perfect pattern that Christ Jesus represents
4. So, what is the purpose of so grand a universe, and so complex a thing as life? An eternity full of people who out of love, and by choice want to be with the God who made them, and loves them enough to redeem them!
5. Satan sure seeks to constantly ruin such a thing, but God aims to have a heaven full of children just like Jesus
6. What a task! What a goal!
C. The Plan (8:30)
1. Now how does God accomplish His purpose for us – what is His plan? Five amazing steps:
a. God Foreknew
b. God then Predestined
c. God then Called
d. God then Justified
e. God then Glorified
2. Let’s take a look at each step of the way – simply:
a. Foreknew – knew ahead of time who would be saved
1) God was not “in the dark” but fully aware of what would happen before God ever started anything!
2) That foreknowledge allowed Him to choose the best way to accomplish His goal
3) Not trial and error
4) Knew full well that this way he is working is the best way
b. Predestined – fixed the destination of every believer - secure
c. Called – elected, chose; He said, “That’s the one I want”
1) Didn’t go around picking and choosing among us
2) Waited for us to pick Him, and then said, “I’ll take that one to myself!”
d. Justified – made us righteous – forgave us all sins on Christ’s account
e. Glorified – makes us like Christ – and one day we will be perfect (Philp 1:6)
D. The Perfection (8:31)
1. Now, how good was God’s plan?
2. All that effort above in verse 30 shows just how far God will go for us
3. And that God simply is FOR us – not against us
4. There is no greater “state” to be in than to be a recipient of God’s “for-ness”, or His doing things all for MY benefit!
5. Therefore, NOBODY can be against us
a. He is our Shield under attack – protection – no one can get through
b. He is our Army standing ready – he will defeat every foe
c. He is our Weaponry in our hand – God will defeat and ultimately destroy our enemy
d. He is our Light – God will enable us to see in the darkness
e. He is our Strength – God will enable us when our flesh fails
6. Nothing and nobody can really ruin a Christian’s life or destiny – only damage it, or shorten it – but never ruin it – hallelujah!
E. The Price (8:32)
1. All of that perfection comes at a price though
2. The price was high and intense – not symbolic or figurative
3. The price was the awful death of the perfect Son of God
4. God did not spare His own Son when He saw what our redemption would cost
a. Did not withhold His only begotten Son from such cruel treatment
b. Did not protect His own Son from God’s great wrath against sin
c. To deliver is to officially send – it was not accidental
d. It was all accepted by God the Father as the only way
5. If God spared not His perfect Son Jesus, but gave Him freely “FOR US” obviously He will give us everything we will ever need – FREELY. God thinks we are THAT SPECIAL!
6. So, how could it all be so free to you and me? Because the full price of all we need is paid in full!
7. That’s why I serve Him
a. Not because I am trying to earn His love or His attention even
b. But because He has earned MINE!
F. The Person (8:33-34) – this is the best part! Notice the Persons of the Godhead in the work of our redemption:
1. God the Father
a. God’s in charge – anybody have a problem with a Christian, they will have to take it up with God
b. God justifies – makes us righteous
2. God the Son – Jesus Christ
a. It was Christ that died
1) Not Mary
2) Not blessed John the Baptist
3) Not your dearly saintly old grand-mother
4) But Jesus Christ, and Him alone!
b. It was the same Christ who rose again
c. And it is the same Christ who is alive today at the right hand of the Father making intercession FOR us
3. Don’t you see?
a. You and I are the recipients of so great a promise, and purpose, and a plan that is perfect, but at such a price we can never comprehend it
b. And it all happens because of the Person of the Godhead working it all out for good
4. Thank God for the Persons of the Godhead who paid such an awful price
a. The Person of the Father
b. And of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ
G. The Power (8:35-37)
1. To bind us eternally to Christ – no possibility of separation
2. God’s power here Overwhelms (none of these things show God is against us) – only that He conquers all:
a. Tribulation – the worst kind of troubles in your life – for Christians
b. Distress – suffering, pain, sorrow, misery
c. Persecution – physical attacks because of following Jesus
d. Famine – lack of the necessaries of life, which has sometimes been the lot of the dear children of God
e. Nakedness – lack of clothing – not proof God is not on your side
f. Peril – constant dangers
g. Sword – or even being hunted down
h. ALL of these were the lot of believers in the past, but meant nothing in reference to the Love of God, nor His plans for them
3. Even though all of life we may live like sheep headed for the slaughter – not just the shearing, the power of God still remains the same
4. In spite of all that is thrown against us, we have been made more than conquerors – more than the victor, but the one who wins in the end
5. In other words, we not only win in the end, we already have won!
H. The Persuasion (8:38,39)
1. Now comes the practicality
2. Evidently the apostle Paul was quite persuaded about these truths
3. Evidently, Paul tried real hard to persuade Agrippa of these truths
4. Now, how about YOU? Are YOU persuaded?
a. That death is not the end
b. That life is not all there is
c. That angels are not the answer
d. That principalities are to be feared (demons)
e. That earthly powers are weak compared to our Lord
f. That things present mean nothing in eternity
g. That all things to come are going to work together for good
h. That height above you should no longer be scary
i. That depths beneath you should no longer bring fear
j. That no other creature or being can come between you and the love Christ has FOR you, and between the plan He has for your life
5. That’s why Romans 8 was written – to fully persuade us of such great truths!
A. The Promise (8:28) All Things Work Together for Good
B. The Purpose (8:28b,29) To conform us to the image of God’s Son
C. The Plan (8:30) – He Foreknew, then Predestined, then Called, then Justified, then Glorified the believer in Jesus Christ!
D. The Perfection (8:31) – Nothing can win against us!
E. The Price (8:32) The price was the awful death of the perfect Son of God
F. The Person – the Persons of the Godhead worked-out our redemption:
G. The Power (8:35-37) - To bind us eternally to Christ
H. The Persuasion (8:38,39) – if you are not fully persuaded by now, you need to get alone for a week and ponder these things again and again until the truth sinks down deep that we have a great life to live FOR the One who works everything in our lives out for Good!
1. Starts with the new birth
2. Then, day by day, a yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit as he changes you and moulds you and fashions you into someone just like Jesus Christ
3. The challenge always is to LET HIM!