Notes from Sunday 24 November 2013..
Speaker: Pastor Austen Ukachi
Key Passage: Romans 8: 28-39
Your philosophies in life affect the way you react to the issues of life. The way you react to the issues of life determine whether or not you will praise God. If you are pessimistic, you will praise God halfheartedly, if you do at all. If you are optimistic, the quality of praise and thanksgiving you offer will be great.
Next Sunday December 1 2013, which is our Thanksgiving celebration service, we must come prepared to give God great praise and dance.
WE MUST BE PREPARED TO OFFER TO God exuberant and hilarious thanksgiving in this season. However, for this to happen we must understand and embrace Paul’s convictions or perspective about life. Unless we do so, we may never appreciate why we have to be grateful to God in this season of thanksgiving. Our convictions affect our attitudes to life, and we need to have the right attitude to praise God in the right way. In Romans 8:28-39, we find Paul’s persuasions and convictions about life;
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 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? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 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. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 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.”
First, he believed that, “All things work together for good to those who love God” and to those “who are called according to his purpose.” That is to say, Paul believed that whatever unpleasant situation he found himself in would eventually turn out for his own good. Armed with this conviction, Paul was able to go through any challenges in life and remained grateful to God.
Thanksgiving comes from a heart that seeks to bring glory to God no matter what the situation of life is. God knows about everything that happens to us and we must be willing to thank Him for the good, as well as the bad, situations of life. Who would have believed that the unpleasant situation the three Hebrew children faced would have brought glory to God, or that Daniel’s unjust incarceration in the lion’s den would have made the king of Babylon praise God? (Daniel 3:28-30; 6:24-28). Not even Daniel, and the three Hebrew children, contemplated that their situation would bring glory to God. But, it turned out so. Child of God, know that your present situation, no matter how adverse, would work out to your own good, and will ultimately bring glory to God. So, no matter what your condition may be in this end of the year, thank Him in anticipation of the victory you will have.
Think about that unanswered prayer
Think about that sad, painful experience
Think of the experience that brought you shame and discomfort
Think about the situation of loss
Think of that situation of seeming defeat
Think of your mistakes, failure, disappointments, and rejection
They all will work out for your own good.
Job in his moments of trial exhibited the kind of attitude of thanksgiving I am talking about: Job 1:20-22 says;
“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
Job 2:10; “But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
“Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.14 And he called the name of the first Jemimah, the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-Happuch.15 In all the land were found no women so beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.
16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations.”
Adversity is a part of human existence. Indeed, God may allow adverse circumstances, which he can choose to use to promote an individual.
Paul’s second conviction is found in Romans 8:35. He firmly believed that the cord of God’s love for us is absolutely indissoluble, and that it overshadows any sufferings we may be going through now. Our sufferings are only temporary and would fade with time. He asks, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril or sword?” To this question and sources of trials he responds by saying, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We are not just conquerors, but “more than conquerors” through Christ. This, in my view is another basis why we must be thankful to God. God’s love for us is indissoluble, and by his grace we are overpowering and victorious in challenges, no matter how grave the challenges may be.
Lastly, in Romans 8:38 Paul further says, “I am persuaded.” This is a very strong word. It shows the optimism of Paul. Even in the face of difficulties, Paul was very optimistic and persuaded. Those who are persuaded of their convictions in Christ, of God’s love for them, of their ultimate destiny in Christ are always optimistic about life. They are joyful in tribulation, because they know that they will overcome eventually. Hebrews 12: 28 says;
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Challenges will pass, but the Love of God is eternal. Do not measure God’s love by negative events. Psalms 30:5 says;
“For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.”
Let us therefore go into thanksgiving, with every sense of optimism, and with a determination to be hilarious and exuberant in our praise to God.
Everything is Turning Around for Your Good!!!