May 10 | Sermon text: Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV
People have free will. They do as they please and yet for those called by God all things work together for his purposes. God doesn’t simply cause good things to happen, and not everything that happens in the life of the believer will be good. It’s just not that simple. God has ordained the events of history and orchestrates things we would label good, bad and everything in between to serve his will. Let’s look at some examples from the Bible and you will able to see it.
In Genesis 50 Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. They had trapped him in a pit years earlier and planned to murder him but sold him into slavery instead. Everything he did while serving Potiphar’s house prospered because God’s blessed it. He was thrown into prison (on false charges) but remained faithful. In time, all of the other prisoners were under his command. He was a ruler in Potiphar’s house, a leader in the prison, and eventually rose to second in command over all of Egypt. His brothers feared revenge..
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:19-20
In Acts 2 Peter preaches on the day of Pentecost. Speaking to some of the same crowd that called for Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter said:
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:22-24
In both cases evil men set out to do evil but brought about greater good. Joseph was sold into slavery but was in the right place at the right time to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. God’s only begotten Son was nailed to a cross and died; but that was his plan of salvation!
Romans 8:28 works like baking biscuits. Imagine going to the kitchen for a midnight snack and the only thing you can find is a bag of Martha White self-rising flour. What if you scooped up a big handful of raw flour and put that in your mouth? It would turn into a slimy, doughy paste. What if you tried to wash it down with a spoon full of Crisco? The ingredients of delicious, buttermilk biscuits are pretty nasty taken one at a time. I don’t even like buttermilk. But my mother works her kitchen magic by combining flour, buttermilk and oil into a ball of dough. She doesn’t measure anything and doesn’t roll the dough out on the counter and use a cookie cutter either. She pinches off a glob of dough a little larger than a golf ball, rolls that around in her hand, places it on the baking pan and gives it a little “punch” to flatten it out. They they all go into the oven, preheated to 500 degrees.
You wouldn’t last long in a 500 degree oven. The process of baking bread produces two poisons, carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide is why bread and cakes rise. The gas simple escapes the holes it creates in the fluffy layers and the alcohol evaporates in the heat. Minutes later you get hot, flaky goodness as the scent drifts through the whole house. I like to slice a few open while they’re so hot they are hard to handle and butter them up so the butter melts and soaks into the bread.
Hot, delicious buttermilk biscuits that make you want to slap your momma. So to speak. But think about how we got there: flour, buttermilk, shortening and an oven hotter than Death Valley. And those things worked together to produce a beautiful result. So it with Romans 8:28. That’s how God works. In days we mark on our calendar so we can remember them forever and on days when everything that can go wrong does. He is working during the pain and the pleasure, in the life of every believer, to bring about his will for our good. This is the promise of scripture.
Peace and God bless.