I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)
So I wasn't able to make it to church yesterday because I was feeling really bad :(
BUT I listened to a sermon (for the second time haha) and I figured I would use it for my "Sermon Notes" series, especially since it's clear that I enjoyed it enough to listen to it twice within a few days. It wouldn't make sense if I didn't share it with you.
I'm going to summarize it, but provide you with the link in case you want to listen to it (which I think you totally should so you get all the great examples and details).
The sermon is titled "A Christian's Happiness" by Pastor Tim Keller and is based upon the popular verses, Romans 8:28-30...
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
I know I've talked about this verse a lot, but I feel like it's something people really need to grasp, as well as the encouragement it can provide.
Many people believe this idea that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, that life will be easier. Perhaps suffering, life obstacles, and trials can't touch a Christian, but the truth is, that's not true. This idea can create a lot of heartache because if you are a believer and something bad happens in your life, it would be natural for you to question God's goodness or even the strength of your faith.
In fact, there was a period where I thought why is this happening to me and is my faith not strong enough that God would allow this to happen?
Pastor Tim Keller would answer, "No." He explains his reasoning in 3 simple points.
1. Bad things will happen.
2. Good things will never be lost.
3. The best things are yet to come.
Let's dig a little deeper into each point...
1. "Bad things will happen even if you love God."
Jesus never promised that if you believe in Him, your life will be free of worry, suffering, and hardship.
Instead, He promised that you will face trouble. For example, all of His disciples faced many hardships, even persecution and death. Therefore, we can't believe that suffering is not included if we love God.
John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
So bad things will happen, however, God can use them for good in totality.
Pastor Tim says, "The lower you lay me, the higher you'll raise me."
If something bad happens to us, we can't expect it to turn to good the following week. Maybe it will, but maybe it won't.
In my experience, the first 6 months after my diagnosis, I was angry. I didn't understand why God would let this happen to me. It became a wedge between us. However, as time went on, I realized that through this suffering God had shown Himself to me in ways I had never experienced. I started seeing the good that has come out of it. Lyme Disease is bad. Period. However, God has shown me that through times of suffering, good can be created.
We may never see the good that comes from our suffering whether it be death or disease, but we can rest in the truth that even if we don't see the positive outcome, our suffering can bring us closer to God if we realize that He's not doing it to us, but better things are yet to come.
2. "The good things will never be lost."
Anything good that happens to us means that God is working together for good.
"Jesus did not suffer so that you will not suffer, but when we suffer we will become like Christ."
Through our suffering we can become like Christ and closer to Christ because we are able to taste a piece of what He went through for us. We can come to appreciate the life that He lived, including the suffering.
Our faith can be strengthened.
These good things will never be lost.
3. "The best things are yet to come."
"The Bible doesn't promise better circumstances, but a better life."
Things like grad school and marriage are considered a circumstance.
We are never promised that because we are Christians that we will go to the best grad school and have the best marriage, but we are promised that our life in totality can be better. In verse 30, it says that our life is already better because "He has glorified" us. The "ed" shows that it's already been done.
God will change our inner essence into Christ's essence which in turn gives us a better life because we are able to live in humility, nobility, joy, love, service, etc.
The circumstances don't last, but what Christ can offer us can last forever.
Just like I talked about in the last post, the stuff doesn't last, but the way we live can. Not to mention, the best thing that is yet to come, is the truth that we will live forever with Jesus.
When bad things happen, Jesus is right by your side, crying with you. Use that time to cling to Him.
When good things happen, praise Him for the good in your life because that's where it comes from and know that this life isn't promised to be paradise, that's later...the best is yet to come.
Here is the link to the audio of the sermon...check it out! It's much better than my summary.
Today: Isaiah 5-8
Tuesday: Isaiah 9-12
Wednesday: Isaiah 13-17
Thursday: Isaiah 18-22
Friday: Isaiah 23-27
Saturday: Isaiah 28-30