Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Proper 12 - Romans 8:28

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733


A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

July 27, 2006
Proper 12
Romans 8:28
“Everything will work to the Father’s Good will”

In our prayers the Spirit intercedes for us and God our heavenly Father then works for our good in everything. As the whole creation groans awaiting redemption, the individual Christian also groans inwardly in prayer. Since we do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. In spite of this travail, God works for our good in everything because He predestined, called, justified, and glorified His own. Thus, let us pray to the Lord…

O God, your ears are open always to the prayers of your servants. Open our hearts and minds to You, that we may live in harmony with Your will and receive the gifts of Your Spirit.

Verse 28 of our text is one of the golden texts of the Bible, often quoted and unfortunately, sometimes - misunderstood. St. Paul would remind us “God works for good in all things for those who love Him. It is not that everything works for good automatically. Rather, it is God who uses everything; every circumstance, every trial, every blessing, every tragedy –everything - for your good; both now and ultimately into the future.

This Word is a verse of hope to those who endure hardship, suffering, and tragedy. It is a word of promise that the Savior is shaping and forming your life. We can not always see the hand of God at work. We sometimes can not understand it. Thus, faith is necessary for we can not always see the purposes that He has for us at times. If we know that our Lord has promised that He will bring some good out of our misfortunes, then we can take it cheerfully.

Introduction: Everything’s going to work out fine, because —

God works for good” — a good God works for our good. Our God is good. This is His essence. He only works for our good. The Psalmist reminds us; “Oh give thanks unto the Lord for He is good – His mercy endures forever.” [1] The mercy of God flows from His goodness.

Your heavenly Father desires your welfare at all times. There has never been a moment in your life where God has not been concerned for you. Remember His promise to you. “His mercy endures forever.” You need not worry about any concern – your welfare is His chief concern.

Your heavenly Father is the one who knows your condition and who cares what happens to you. He knows your needs. He knows and understands your condition. He cares for what is happening to you.

Temptation however would suggest something much different. The tempter would suggest that God simply doesn’t mind, that He is unconcerned, that He is unimpressed, that He could care less. This is how the Devil works. He sows the seeds of doubt so we question the Father’s goodness. That is why we must pray. For when we stop talking to God then the devil speaks. Luther in his explanation to the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayers would remind us, “God would by these words tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.[2]

Transition: God works for your good. He does this in all things.

In everything.” These words speak of the overruling providence of God. In every situation, in every circumstance, God your heavenly Father is working for your good - in all things.

A. Again, the Lord your God knows and understands your current situation. Says the Psalmist, O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. [3] Notice how well the Father knows your circumstances as we read in verses 15-16: My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Even before your parents knew you were to enter the family your Lord had His hand upon you. Talk about divine destiny! Each day of your life has already been written for you before it is written out.
Have you ever attended a Bellmont High School wrestling meet? Have you ever looked at what takes place off to the side, away from all of the action? There is a lone wrestler – he seems almost in a trance. Quite often his eyes are closed.

Some might think he’s learning trying yoga some new dance move or, possibly he’s having some sort of fit. But no, there’s a plausible explanation to it all. He’s scripting his match. He anticipating what move he will use once he’s in the ring. He’s imagining how his match will play out. He’s picturing in his mind what he will do in the neutral, top and bottom positions. Will his match go as he dreams in his head? No; not always. He could find himself flat on his back within seconds. All the moves he though he might use might not work. Each match must be played out.
So it goes with these words of the Psalmist. He says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” We should never abuse these words, saying to ourselves, “Well, the Lord’s already planed my life so it doesn’t matter what I do…it’s already been determined. Nor should we think to ourselves, “It doesn’t matter what I do – God will figure it out once we get there. We should never see the Father’s hand of providence as one of fatalism, nor should we look at it as an excuse to sin thinking that God will somehow change things around at the eleventh hour. Such thoughts and actions attempt to force the will of God into our ways of thinking. In a real sense this turns us into playing “God”

These words especially as they speak of the Father ordering our days and directing our path are words spoken for our hope and comfort. What they say to us is this eternal truth – your present circumstance is not the Lord’s final word. The Lord’s has mapped out your entire life’s journey – He will not leave you. He will not forsake you. We only know of our present situation and what’s happened in the past. The Lord sees your life in its entirety. He sees the big picture. He has the perspective of eternity. We only know of yesterday and today.

B. He is the only one who is able to turn our failures, sorrows, and disappointments into our good. As we are directed to pray we take our needs concerns burdens joys and sorrows to the Father’s throne room of grace and we are thankful as the Father answers each petition according to His perfect will for your life.

C. The Lord’s guiding in your life guarantees your salvation and your entrance into glory. These words are read at many Christian funerals. They have comforted many troubled hearts. They have soothed and given encouragement to so many who are troubled. In short, these words are for you. In a similar way, Christ’s body and blood in Communion is given ‘for you’.

With those who love him.” This is not the experience of all people

A. Those who do not love God, resist His love, and go their own way. These agents are constantly tempting us to join them. We must not go there. Their end is destruction.

B. The slogan says; “You’re in good hands…with All State” as long as you pay your premium, so long as you don’t have your rates increased. So long as you follow their instructions. There are limits as to what man can do. For those who love God and are directed by Him our future is secure. The Father spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all. St. Paul’s words are sure. No charge can be brought against the Christian because the Father has already pronounced a verdict! Not guilty! How so? No one can condemn God’s elect. Christ has died for you. He is alive at the right hand of the Father. He is interceding for you.

Conclusion: There’s nothing else to be said except for what St. Paul has said so clearly; “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

[2] Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Luther’s Small Catechism © 1940 Concordia Publishing House
[3] Psalm 139:1-4

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