The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz. Click here: Security in Our Troubles, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Security in Our Troubles, for the video version. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.
Ephesians 1:11 / Romans 8:28, Security in Our Troubles:
- Last week our focus was on our hope in the Lord. We took the time to consider His promise of hope for the discouraged and the peace we can have holding to this assurance. But since then, so much has happened in our country which causes us to almost lose a reality of hope.
- If you have any friends or family in the KZN, you’d have an idea of how severe the situation really is. Folks can’t get any food, fuel, and other necessities. However, at the same time, we are in the middle of a month long threat level 4 national lockdown, we’re experiencing our coldest weather for the year, and Covid cases have been on the rise.
- We don’t know the final outcome. But what we can know, and should be sure of, is that God is in the trouble. He’s not just allowing the trouble, He is in the trouble. Isaiah 14:24 says, “The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, ‘Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand.”
- Isaiah 46:10, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”
- Therefore, even in troubles, the Lord’s will is fulfilled. So when we question our circumstances, we shouldn’t ask, “Why does God allow these things to happen?” The question is, “Why doesn’t God allow them to happen more often?”
- Lamentations 3:37-39 says, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?” So we have no right to complain about what happens around us or to us.
- Now God doesn’t necessarily answer our ‘why does this happen’ question, but there are some things He wants us to know. And the main thing is this; “He works all things according to His will,” Ephesians 1:11. In addition, you need to know that, “He works all things together for good to those that love God and are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28.
- What God wants you to know that He is in charge of absolutely everything, He is in control, and what He purposes is exactly what comes to pass. And thirdly, God wants you to know that its al for His glory. So let’s get to it:
1. God Uses The Trouble to Reveal Our Faith:
- Text – Ephesians 1:11
- Explanation – This is not to say that God creates evil, rather that God controls evil to His own ends and purposes which are all righteous and glorious. God uses trouble to test the strength of our faith. But understand this, He doesn’t test our faith to learn from it, but so that we can learn from it.
- Illustration – We can learn from Habakkuk as an illustration. Habakkuk sees trouble coming, so he says, “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.”
- God answers him, “Look at the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” God says you wouldn’t believe if you were told, but trust Me.” That’s the lesson.
- Then in chapter 3:16 we read “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.” Habakkuk is terrified because the prophecy’s telling him that invaders are coming with power.
- Application – Yet, he remains hopeful. Look at it from verse 17, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”
- God doesn’t need to explain our troubles or their purpose. What He does in that trouble is test our faith in Him. 2 Chronicles 32:31 says about Hezekiah, “God left him to test him, that He might know what was in his heart.” God knows what’s in the heart, the test is for us so that we can do an honest evaluation of our faith.
- Conclusion – So how’s your faith? 1 Peter 1:6 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
- Bridge – Peter is saying rejoice in your trouble because that is going to prove the legitimacy of your faith. So God works all things according to the purpose of His will which also reveals the truth of our faith. Now flowing from this, we have
2. God Uses The Trouble for Our Good:
- Text – Romans 8:28a
- Explanation – God has a second purpose, to humble us. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul is suffering, dealing with a serious thorn in the flesh – most likely a person. So in verse 7, he says, “to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”
- Illustration – Many might argue and say Paul was the most godly, yet he was given this thorn to expose his pride in knowing many revelations. And he recognizes that God is humbling him through this trial. The Lord is allowing this to happen to humble him because he needed to recognize that spiritual power is perfected in weakness.
- Application – Friends, the Lord puts us through trials to test the strength of our faith, and to humble us to the point where we would say with Paul, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- Conclusion – Paul is content with these troubles because they drive him to the reality of his weakness, which then relates to the fact that he has to depend on God.
- This is for our good! God opposes the proud, no matter who they may think they are. Yet, God gives grace to the humble. Now I get it, it sounds unreal to say that what’s happening in our country right now is part of God’s will, part of His will to reveal our faith, and to expose our pride and humble us – but He is.
- Bridge – The Lord brings these things into our lives to test the strength of our faith. And in the testing, our pride is exposed, and we are humbled. There is where we must recognise His strength working through us.
3. God Uses The Trouble for His Glory:
- Text – Romans 8:28b
- Explanation – God’s purpose is for all things to glorify Him. The issue is, we have become so set on the things of the earth that we’re not paying any attention to obeying God, serving God, glorifying God…
- Colossians 3 tells us that we must turn from immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed. Yet, we should be marked by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other. Putting on love for one another. Dwelling on the Word. And giving thanks through Jesus to God the Father.
- Illustration – Listen, we don’t know what the next trouble holds, but we do know this; that it’s for our good, it’s according to the will of God, for His glory. We cannot lose heart, as we’re in it for His glory.
- In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Paul says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
- Application – our earthly troubles reveal the things we cling to, it exposes our idols. It exposes the very thing that takes us away from God’s glory. Yet God draws us to His glory. Again, it sounds daunting, but God designs trouble to reveal what we really love.
- And if you really love God, then in the midst of all this discouraged troubles, you can rejoice because God is in the trouble. Friends, God does what brings Him glory – so if you love Him, you rejoice in that reality.
- Conclusion – God will truly receive glory from these current troubles. And we are a part of something God is doing. Be comforted, it is within His will, it is for our good, and it is ultimately for His glory.
- So you can know who you are in God, and who He truly is, and what our future in Him holds. Therefore, we shouldn’t see these troubles as a threat, but as an opportunity to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ.
- Bridge – And when this passes, and if you have been a faithful to Him, you will see how it worked for your good according to His will and you’ll be part of everything that glorifies God.
- Let’s keep our heads up, let us cling to our faith, and let us be fervent in prayer for one another. These troubles are temporary, but His glory is eternal. Rejoice in Him, He has already conquered! Soli Deo Gloria. He is the security in our troubles.