When Bad things happen Part 1… Romans 8:28 by Pastor Don Moore
Bible study was so interesting tonight. One of our members moved down to Florida, but still keeps in touch. He has a Bible Study group in his home, and one of the people in his study asked a question about a Bible verse, Romans 8:28. He contacted Pastor Don for help in rightly dividing that particular Scripture. Pastor Don thought we would be blessed by the answer to this person’s question, so he taught this tonight. He asked God for confirmation that this was a right topic for us, and during our prayer time, I prayed for someone who experienced difficulty. I assumed it was because satan was distressed that this person was doing good work for the kingdom. I read the situation wrong, making a non-biblical assumption, and that was the confirmation Pastor Don needed to know this was an important subject to teach. I’m glad when any assumptions I make in error are corrected, because I never want to misrepresent God.
Pastor Don pointed out God has said, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Life is tough. Natural causes can make life difficult, as can supernatural causes. The problem is to discern whether or not the cause of a difficult situation is natural or supernatural. But even knowing this, the outcome is the same. He gave a few examples. If you are promised a bicycle for a present, does it matter if the person paid cash or used a credit card? No, the important thing to you is you get the bike. If you have a cold, does it matter if you caught it because someone sneezed on you or you didn’t wash your hands? No, what matters is you get well from the cold. If you broke your ankle, does it matter if you fell down the stairs or if a heavy object fell on your ankle and broke it? No, your concern is the healing of the ankle. The ankle is still broken no matter what caused the broken ankle.
The warfare we are involved in has a spiritual source and a natural source. We need to focus on the solution to the situation. When we seek to discern the cause, it is a means of helping us prevent having the situation occur again. If we fell and broke our ankle tripping on the stairs because of a cat then, when we walk down the stairs in the future, we make sure there is no cat on the stairs.
Bad things happen to good people, and sometimes these bad things have a supernatural cause. Pastor Don said, what if you come home and your doors are opening and closing, your lights are going off and on, your TV is turning off and on, you may assume it is an electrical problem. If it is, you can solve it. If it is a spiritual demonic phenomena and you assume it is an electrical problem, you may end up in worse circumstances. Discernment is important to determine the cause – spiritual or supernatural. But whatever the cause, there are still things you need to do to eliminate the problem.
If we have amassed a major debt it helps us to know how we got into debt in the first place. Was it flesh, was it greed, a spirit of gambling, or just getting out of control with spending, or just not thinking of consequences of using that credit card.
In a lot of difficult situations the things people in the Body of Christ do make no sense at all. Why? Because we are human. The funny thing that all humans do when in difficulty is we cop a plea and make excuses or we think someone else should do something, or didn’t do something and that is why we have the problem.
Pastor Don said someone may come to him with a major debt of $30,000 and ask him to loan them $30,000 to pay the debt. Pastor Don said, “NOOOO!” That would be like giving the person in a pit a shovel – they would only dig themselves in deeper. It would be more helpful to the person to figure out why they are in so much debt, and help them devise a plan to figure out how to get out of the debt.
There are two things to remember. 1. The devil made me do it and 2. My flesh went along with it. Until we accept #2, that our flesh went along with what the devil prompted us to do, the situation will keep on happening. We have to figure out why the situation is so enticing to us. How come we fell for the situation. The reality is you will not get free from your sin until you accept the fact you are acting in cooperation with satan.
Some people use a verse from Scripture and turn it around and create a problem. This is the problem. Something bad happens to a person, they think it is happening to them because they are in service to the Lord. That sets them up for trouble and misrepresents God. What kind of God do we serve if serving Him leaves us open for all kinds of trouble? That is the assumption about God I was making in how I was praying for these people who had trouble in their lives.
With this background, we can now begin to look at a passage in Mark that helps amplify the problems in our lives if not used properly.
Mark 11:22-24 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says, (bold is my emphasis)therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
You must believe, believe you receive, and not doubt in your heart. You will have what you SAY. If you say, “I am serving God so satan is doing bad things in my life,” you will have what you say. It is like giving satan permission to act in your life. What you say is what you are going to get. If you believe, because I am serving the Lord, I will be attacked by the devil. That is what will happen. Anytime something is wrong in my life, you will then attribute that wrong thing to your being in service to the Lord.
If you say, I always have trouble with my wife, or when I serve God, the devil comes in and messes up my life, you are putting out a welcome mat for trouble. Jesus says we are blessed. Are we blessed when we are facing sickness, struggling with finances, or having any other problems in our lives? Nooooo.
If you learn to say what the truth is, even if you do not fully believe it in your heart, you will be blessed more often than if you are speaking your circumstances.
The Church in the United States caused a revolution in how the world perceives God, with a simple phrase, “God is Good.” and people answer “All the time.” All the time, God is good. This little phrase went around the world. Pastor Don was in Russia, and a cab driver kept saying (I am spelling it phonetically) Slavo Bogu, and that translated was God is good. We are in the world, which has evil in it. When bad things happen, God is still good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
We KNOW. What do we know? In order to rightly divide the truth of this scripture, we have to ask ourselves who is Paul talking to? The Church. What is Paul talking about? The will and purpose of God. In what Context? It is here that the church messes up. They want to put a period (.) after the word “good.” “And we know all things work together for good.” Is that true all the time, noooo. If Pastor Don goes outside and gets run over by a bus, can we go up to him and say, “all things work together for good?” Is it good being run over by a bus? No. Even in the universe all things are not working together for good, there is the process of entropy. The universe is slowing down, and when entropy occurs, their world becomes more and more chaotic. Look at our bodies, those of us who are older, cannot honestly say our bodies are as in tune as they were when we were 20 years old, we have arthritis, our bones creak, our back hurts, we can’t stay up all night like we did when we were 20.
We want to revise events because we are afraid to be wrong. We have a theological question when something goes wrong, and we have to work out a complicated system to justify our symptoms. It is witchcraft to believe that an evil spell was cast on you by God, for an end purpose. That is trying to make something bad appear good. To say God wants us to suffer so He can be glorified is wrong thinking.
That being said, God can take something bad in our lives, (something caused by the world we live in, our stupid choices, or what satan puts on us) and God can turn it to a good purpose. But God’s desire would be for us to live in His will, and obey Him, and avoid the evil. We are not smart, we often make stupid, ungodly choices, and have consequences. God can turn those consequences around, but God did not have it in His plan for us to have to face those consequences.
God is a farmer, He plants His seeds in us, and as a gardener, His goal is to help the plants grow. A good gardener would not plant weeds among the good seeds, or lay plastic on the field to repel water. Why would God plant hurtful things in our lives to grow with the good that He has planned for us. That is not what a good gardener would do.
If you have been smoking pot for 15 years, or smoking cigarettes and end up with emphysema, God did not do that. YOU chose to smoke.
All things are not good, but “…All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Now some read a little further in Romans 8:28, putting the period after the Word, “God.” “All things work together for good to those who love God.” People who love God still do stupid things on a regular basis. Saul (before He became Paul) loved God and thought he was doing good to kill Christians. Had he not changed what he did when Jesus came to him and confronted him about his behavior, Saul would probably have died early. David loved God, but made a wrong choice often – taking the census, taking Bathsheba, and he made wrong choices that affected the lives of many people. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, decided not to listen to his advisers and increased taxes on the people, sparking a revolt that split the Kingdom of Israel into two. They loved God, but not all the choices they made worked together for good.
You can’t say everything that happens to you, happens because you love God. You will reap what you have sown in error unless God gives a crop failure.
To understand the whole verse you have to take all parts at once.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
It helps if you read the verse backwards. If God has a particular purpose for you, and He has called you to THAT purpose, and you love God, then all things will work together for good in that situation. If God has sent you on a mission He has for you, and you are in accord with God’s purpose in your life, God will want you to complete the mission He has for you, and will help.
Pastor Don (I wish you could have been there to see his enactment and voices for Paul and Silas) talked about Paul and Silas. Initially Paul wanted to go to Macedonia, and God did not permit it. God had things to work out regarding Macedonia before Paul went there. When God gave permission to go there, Paul and Silas had no funds. God arranged for Lydia, a seller of purple to house Paul and Silas and they began to teach the gospel in Macedonia. Eventually it made people in that town mad and they arrested Paul and Silas and put them in prison. Because they were doing God’s will, Paul BELIEVED God would turn that adverse situation to good. Pastor Don pretended Silas was crying and upset, telling Paul, we made a mistake. Did you REALLY hear from God? We should have not come here, we should have stayed at Lydia’s, etc. Paul, instead tells Silas let’s praise God. They start singing praises, feeble though they might have been, (Pastor Don said they couldn’t raise their hands because they were shackled) but they sang songs that the whole prison heard. God sent angels down to shake the prison, and all the prisoners were freed. None of the prisoners ran away, and the end result was the jailer and his family were saved. God turned the bad situation to good and it bore fruit – but that happened because Paul and Silas were IN GOD’S WILL. God had a divine purpose for Paul and Silas and they were in accord with that and in the right timing.
That is VASTLY different from a pastor who may not be in God’s will, who may be doing their own thing, and bad things happen. If God is not in the situation, then God is not obligated to turn a bad thing into good. People in the Body of Christ are believing a lie if they think this verse is a blanket covering for all things in their lives. If a person says that when the devil comes after them it is because they are doing work for God’s kingdom, is it true? Is the person really doing what God wants them to do? Have they basically given satan permission to do evil in their lives because they think that satan’s evil happened because they think that they are doing God’s will (when in reality they are operating in their flesh)?
Had Paul gone to Macedonia before he got a revelation from God to go there, God would not have been obligated to show up. We need to be functioning in full obedience to God. Given the trouble Job received in his life, how could he say, “I know my redeemer lives?” He knew God had a higher purpose for what was happening, and chose to believe God, even though others tried to convince him otherwise.
Now, in order to REALLY see what Romans 8:28 is, we have to look at the whole section, not just one verse, for one verse taken out of context is not necessarily what God is saying. So lets look at the topic of this passage. Remember the scrolls did not have chapter and verses, they dealt with topics. The topic of this passage is we know that it is hope, faith, and eternal faith based on God’s will, God’s glory and the intercession of the Holy Spirit. And waiting with perseverance in the situations in our lives. Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
The passage talks about how God helps us with our sufferings, and we see in verse 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
I think I am going to stop here because the next part is a long explanation of prayer in the Spirit. This was one of those wonderful two hour Bible studies where we would have gladly stayed another hour. There was so much taught.
Have a blessed day, I will continue this tomorrow.
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