05/06/12 Things Happen!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 Under: Sermon
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 (NKJV)

1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

Intro: For many people in the world today, tension, conflict, weariness, and suffering have become commonplace. Nevertheless, some offer the vain hope that life’s troubles can be done away with, that we can somehow get to the point where things will always be great. They suggest that faith in Christ will deliver us into a state of serenity and ease and bring prosperity, health, and constant pleasure. However and this is a big however, that was neither the experience nor the teaching of early Christians such as Paul, James, or Peter, and certainly not of their Lord Jesus. Paul described the life of a servant of God in terms of tribulation, distress, tumult, and sleeplessness. But he also linked these stress producers with rich treasures that money cannot buy: purity, kindness, sincere love, honor, good report, joy, and the possession of all things.

So as long as we live as God’s people on this earth, we can expect a connection between trouble and hope. That connection is never pleasant, but our troubles can bring about lasting benefit:

Application: God is in control!

1. Things Happen for our Benefit! Vs 1-2

“Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” Is salvation real in your life? Have you lost anything and has Christ gain?

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25 (NKJV)

Things do happen, but in reality we do not want to hear that. We don’t want to have someone tell us these things happen. We don’t want bad things to happen, why me I want my life to be perfect!

2. Things Happen for our Discipline! Vs 4

“But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:8-11 (NKJV)

The writer to the Hebrews encouraged us that our troubles are often a sign that we are legitimate children of God, and He lovingly disciplines us to train us in righteousness.

These things that happen! Happen to give us the honor to strive towards perfection to be Holy! “that we may be partakers of His holiness.”

3. Things Happen for our Maturity! Vs. 6

James encouraged us to rejoice in our various trials, because as they test our faith, they produce patience, which ultimately makes us mature in Christ.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

“by sincere love” Simple fact, growing up isn’t easy and everyone must whether we like it or not! Things happen!

4. Things Happen for His Glory! Vs. 10

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

Peter knew by personal experience the kind of pressure that can cause one’s allegiance to Christ to waiver. He warned us that “fiery trials” are nothing strange, but that they actually allow us to experience something of Christ’s suffering so that we can ultimately experience something of His glory, too.

Conclusion:

Things happen for our benefit, for our discipline, for our maturity and yes even for his glory! God is in control.

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