Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Midweek April 22, 2019

hi Bob Warner here today we will be looking at how God would have us filled with something we all experience with lost with hardship I could easily spend several hours teaching through this one point so I encourage you to just let this time we have together whet your appetite for further study on this topic and these and other scriptures God brought me to faith in the early 70s and during that time there was a booklet being circulated entitled the four spiritual laws in the book that it said among other things God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life as I matured in my faith I came to be somewhat uneasy about that statement while true God does love us and and has a wonderful plan for our lives my idea of a wonderful plan did not match up well with what I saw in the lives of the early Saints just to look at a few starting with Paul alright in 2nd Corinthians 11 are they servants of Christ I’m more so and now he describes his life in far more labors in far more imprisonments beaten times without number off in danger of death five times I received from the Jews 39 lashes three times I was beaten with rods once I was stoned three times I was shipwrecked a night in a day I have spent in the deep I’ve been on frequent journeys in dangers from rivers dangerous from robbers dangers from my countrymen dangers from the Gentile dangers in the city dangers of the wilderness dangers on the scene dangers amongst false brother I have been in labor and hardship too many sleepless nights in hunger and thirst often without food in cold and exposure we look at Steven after preaching at Pentecost in acts 7 but being full of the Holy Spirit he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God and he said behold I see the heavens opened up in the Son of man standing at the right hand of God but they cried out with a loud voice and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse when they had driven them out of the city they began stoning him and the witnesses laid aside the roads at the feet of a young man named Saul they went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said Lord Jesus receive my spirit then falling on his knees cried out with a loud voice Lord do not hold this sin against them and having said this he fell asleep he died the Apostle Peter crucified the Apostle John exile how do we make sense of it what was wonderful about their life waves that quote ended badly were they being punished or chastised by God we are warned in Scripture that God punishes disobedience and allow his hardship and loss in our life to turn us back to him and when there is hardship and distress in our life it is always wise to ask ourselves if is this the result of our disobedience and rebellion against God that is not the case here look back to the passages that we just looked at Paul says are they surely surprised i morse them Stephen was full of the holy spirit Peter and John were preeminent apostle and lived life’s obedient to God dedicated to the furtherance of his kingdom they were faithful servants of God not unfaithful rebellious get their lives further we are told in Scripture as believers to expect hardship and trouble in our lives Paul writing to Timothy and second Timothy 3:12 indeed all who desire to live godly in christ will be persecuted james writing in games 1 2 before considering all joy my brother when you encounter various body hardship difficult knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance habit is gold so that you may be perfect James is letting us know the trials and hardships will come and that we can and should find joy in your coming how can that be how do we tell a mother who may just bury her child to be joyous how do we tell a struggling father who has just lost his God to be good or a returning soldier who left left his legs back on the battlefield here’s where I asked you and I need you stop and to listen closely and to mark the joy that we experience it’s found not in the lost but in looking through and beyond the loss it looks to something of greater value that comes out let us look again they go James writes he says knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have it’s perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete and later in the chapter he says this blessed is a man who perseveres under trial for once we is once he has passed the test he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him James writes of two things of great value that can and should result from soft suffering loss sanctification and the assurance of our salvation in hardship and loss we learn to trust and to endure and in that trust we grow in faith in Christ’s likeness in addition our endurance and perseverance validates our faith and gives us assurance that we are his but joy only come so far as we value these things if we do not long for our sanctification or becoming like Christ we cannot we will not find joy in trials if we do not care about enjoying an assurance of our salvation there is no joy Paul finds a similar joy in his tribe trial departure when he writes in second Corinthians chapter one blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ the father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God he continues for just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance aren’t you so also our comfort is abundant hardship and loss bring us to a greater dependence upon God it draws us to his comforting arms and deepens our relationship with him repeat it prefers us to be channels of his comfort to those that he loves and we love but if we don’t place great value our closeness with God we’re being used of God to bring comfort to others in sorrow there is no joy to be found let me give one final example one among many we could look at this one is a bit different but it provides a wealth understand it is the example of God’s beloved son Jesus being nailed to a cross to die a criminal death the author of Hebrews says simply for the joy set before him he endured the cross there was nothing wonderful about Jesus experience of stakes being driven through his hands and driven through his feet it was nothing wonderful about that moment of separation from his father when the sin of the world fell upon upon Jesus causing him to cry out my God my God why have you forsaken me and there was nothing wonderful about the grief that God the Father endured as he watched his beloved son endure back agony of pain and rejection and separation but everyone affected by the cross and fine jewelry there if they look through the pain in one God the Father finds joy in the fulfillment of his eternal plan to redeem his people Jesus finds joy in his obedience to his father and making that redemption possible we find joy in our reconciliation with the God who loves us and has always desired fellowship and intimacy with us so also we can find joy in the midst of loss the wonderful life that God offers as little to do with our outward circumstance and everything to do with our Redemption and transformation into the likeness of Christ father teach us to look beyond our immediate circumstances beyond the pain that is going to come into our life beyond the hardship that is going to come into our life and see you as the author of those things and not then curse you but to understand that in your planning in your provision these are things that are designed to make us like your son and to draw us closer to you help us father value those things that you love and value help us to see things rightly to specie things through your eyes and thank you Father for all the work that you do and redemptive work of each son the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our life

 

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