August 16-18, 2014
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Romans 8:28-30
1. God knows all.
2. God plans all.
3. God works all.
Romans 8:28-30 (NIV 1984) “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
In our the first reading today from 1 Kings God told King Solomon to ask for anything. Just think, he could have asked for money or power, the ability to eat as much as he wanted without getting overweight. He could have asked for his team to always win the big games. But he didn’t. He asked for wisdom, that wisdom that begins with the fear of the Lord. That was more valuable. Jesus in the Gospel reading told some parables to picture how valuable being part of the kingdom of heaven is. It’s so valuable that you give up everything you have for it. If you’ve been in worship with us the past few weeks you have heard sermons based on Romans chapter 8. Such a comforting portion of God’s Word to have bookmarked. It helps you understand why God’s spiritual blessings are so valuable.
Today we continue going to that well for good news from God and it revolves around the little word “all.” You know there are some things God has created that are pretty small but very powerful. Think for instance of the ant. Did you know an ant can lift 100 times its own weight? That would be like a 200 pound man lifting 20,000 pounds. Or think of a little acorn that grows into the mighty oak. All is a little word in our language but it is very powerful when it comes from the mouth of God. Listen again to how it governs or rules our entire text. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” What great news for the children of God. God works all, knows all and plans all.
“For those God foreknew.” This is talking about God knowing before the creation of the world those who would be His children and it reminds us of the overwhelming truth that God knows all. The technical term for that characteristic of God is omniscience. He knows everything. What do you think about that? On the one hand it’s kind of scary, isn’t it? God knows everything. You know those things you try to hide from your parents or maybe a spouse? God knows those sins. How about the thoughts we have and our motives, why we do and say the things we do and say. Yes, He knows that too. That’s not so nice to know. You can’t hide from God. On the other hand it’s really comforting that God knows everything. Have you ever had it happen that you are going through a tough time and some well-meaning soul talks to you and says, “I know just how you feel.” And you think, “you have no idea how I am feeling.” That’s true. But God does know and He cares and helps.
When you put together the fact that God knows all and knows beforehand things like people it really highlights God’s grace. Those of you who play fantasy football will be drafting your teams soon. What kind of players do you go for? If you knew beforehand that a quarterback would be the league leader in interceptions or throw only half the touchdowns that he did the year before would you pick him? How about the running back that would have the most fumbles or the defense that would give up the most points? We wouldn’t pick them if we knew beforehand they would be like that. But God did. He knew beforehand all our sins, our fumbles, all the right things we would fail to do and He still picked us! What a wonderfully loving God we have. The God who knows all.
And the God who plans all. “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” One of the jobs I had working my way through college was for a construction company. I remember seeing our foreman look at the blueprints the very first time. What a mess. Page after page of what looked like endless and meaningless impossible to understand drawings, numbers, notes. Didn’t make sense. After a while though he taught me what to look for and all those pages began to make sense. Paul lets us have a peek at God’s blueprints for our salvation. We have to remember that since we are untrained at salvation some of the plans might not seem to make sense to us. We know that since God knows all things He knew Adam and Eve were going to sin. He knew that going ahead with Creation meant the sacrifice of His Son. According to the plans God drew up before the Creation of the world then God predestined or predetermined to conform us to the likeness of Jesus. That means that we will be like Jesus in true holiness some day. Then as the plan gets revealed through time He called us to faith in His Son. Through faith in Jesus we are justified, that means declared innocent of our sins and granted citizenship in heaven. From God’s timeless perspective we are also glorified. Now that part of the blueprint hasn’t been unfolded for us to see yet but God already has it all planned.
And that’s what gives us the comfort for whatever we face in this life. God works all. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” First of all understand brothers and sisters, that you are the ones Paul is talking about here. You have been called according to God’s purpose. Because of everything He has done for you from creating you, taking care of you, redeeming you through His Son Jesus Christ, you love God. You are those who love Him. And do you know what we know about those who love God? We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. There’s that little word “all” again. It’s a little word but it’s a powerful word. For what does all mean but all?
All covers good health and sickness and diseases like cancer. All covers births in the family and deaths. All covers job offers, job promotions, job rejections and layoffs. All covers where we live and where we go to school. All covers accidents. All covers storms and fires and floods. All covers good weather and bad. All covers even the evil that men do and the plots and traps of the Devil. All covers, well, all. And if ever you are having trouble believing this let your thoughts and attention return to the cross of Jesus Christ. Rewind and review what happened there. How could God let them do that to His Son? He could and did because in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. And what good God accomplished there, freeing us from our sin burden and all punishment and opening the way to real life, the glory that is to come. Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh what needless pain we bear not only because we don’t remember to take everything to God in prayer but also because we in times of trouble we have a hard time believing God’s truth that in all things He is working for our good.
I’m sure that all of us can look back at some difficult time or trouble or hardship we went through that was very difficult at the time but now we see a bit of God’s plan, the good He worked. That blueprint makes sense. There are I’m sure plenty of other times we look back and still don’t see or recognize the good God worked. But the measure of truth is not what you and I see or recognize. The measure of truth is what God says. And God has not given us this word for the purpose of looking back but to give comfort for right now. What is it that causes your heart to ache, your mind to worry? Hear the word of the Lord. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. And all means all. Amen.