922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran

We often feel like we simply can’t.  We can’t go another day.  We can’t get out of bed.  We can’t step up and follow in the steps of Jesus.  But God promises us that we can, because all things are possible for us through the Jesus who gives us strength.

What is 922 Ministries - The CORE & St. Peter Lutheran?

The episodes are the weekly sermons from 922 Ministries (St. Peter and The CORE) of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Promise Land
Week 4 - St Peter
Pastor Bill Monday
9:30 AM
Welcome back to our fourth week in the promised land. We've been looking at a lot of the promises of the Lord God for you. And for me promises of his presence promises of his grace for us in this life. Last week promises of his presence in his guidance, for his glory, for our good in regard to our hardships. Because this last promise such a difficult one to put our faith in. It's kind of a two-parter. Not only will we take a look at sufferings and hardship for his glory and for our good. But actually, as essential for the nature of this life, this is part. Two of bringing us through all hardship, it is the way suffering is the way by which God brings us home to him. So that causes us to really prepare our hearts to, to face it and really embrace it. Kind of is a badge of honor for the Lord is with us, in our suffering. With that. Why don’t we open up with prayer, before we jump into a message in the second part of Romans 8, we'll pray.

Sanctify us by the truth. Oh Lord, your word is truth. Amen.

All right, I want you to imagine a maze. Maybe you, when you were really young, you like drawing, mazes. Anybody like to do that and you'd hand it to a friend and try to make that path. As difficult as you could feed it to get, you know, through a piece of paper and you have all these dead ends set up and see how long it takes a friend to get through that maze. So picture that or maybe it was just a few weeks ago, you took your kids out your grandkids to an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, and they had one of those corn mazes that were out there. I remember one of my kids were younger. I'd like to take them through and see who could finish first. I would often cheat. I would just walk all the way through the court. I'm terrible. So but it was, it was a blast, right? Trying to get through a maze and seeing how smart and clever you were and then being impatient just walking right through it. Or maybe if you're a gamer you like the legend of Zelda the adventures of Link, how many additions have there been ? The last one around tiers of the kingdom came out last spring and again, you find Link going through all these dungeons and mazes and maps and China figure things out to get from one into the victory and to rescue princess elder in the land. So if you don't mind, amazed now, I want you to expand it. It's as big as the world.

The maze lasted as long as human history as long as time.

Scattered throughout the maze or all of God's chosen people, and every generation and every realm and aspect of the earth. And here's what God has done. Before the creation of the world before this maze was all set in place and became so complicated, a labyrinth a prison because of sin. God mapped it out. Choose each and every one. Who calls on the name of Jesus. Chose you and me to make it from wherever we're at is we're wandering and we are sheep who loved to wander. Where he and flesh and blood would enter into our time, our space, having not things out, everything going according to his plan with all the variabilities. That could be, he finds every one of those. He chose that he loved the whole world. You are precious to his eye, you are the elect you've been called in faith in Christ. He found you. Not one, is he lost? And it's so mind-blowing. As we consider well, our default nature is to reject God. It's the further ourselves in the dead ends of that worldwide maze as long as human history. But he does it. It's a promise. It's a promise in this maze as big as the world and not just that, but I love how the Lord God, he actually calls us to be ambassadors of this good news, this grace, that God's on a rescue mission and he finds people the lost of the lost. Any rescues, any brings home and he brings out whether through joys or in sorrows. And in fact, hardship is part of the maze. He depends on us to communicate that saving message those promises to others any never, ever fails.

I love this promise as difficult as it may be for this one truth, and if you're taking notes, Here's the truth to embrace. You're going to make it.

If you ever wondered because of whatever hardship, whatever suffering, whether it's spiritual, whether it's some sin that you can't shake

Whether it's of such a devastating sword in relationships and everything's breaking and you've got no one and maybe it's self-inflicted or maybe it's because somebody just took advantage of you and you wonder where God is and you wonder what's it all going to come to and you wonder if you can even breathe the next moment let alone survive.

God promises, he swears by the blood of Jesus. You're going to make it.

And that's true for any physical ailments. Any sicknesses? Chronic illnesses, any terminal diagnoses whatever God promises. You're gonna make it. I will not lose you.

No, but it surely is. My son is bled and died for you. So then I will see you through.

Few of us don't need to hear that from day to day, you're gonna make it You don't have to worry about a thing. God will bring you from wherever you're at now, home with him, that's his plan. That's is promise. And then we can beat back the devil to come along and say, well, if that's really his promise, why don't you test him in that? Why don't you just kind of utilize his grace is a licensed city? You do whatever you want. Let's just see. It will rescue you. God's elect God's saved rescue people. We just don't think that way. Now if this grace has claimed us now and it's promised that God will make us through, then what is the natural response to believe in him that much more to follow him that much more closely and to even come to terms with hardship and suffering to say? Well, then this must be a blessing to and the very way I make it through.

I didn't come up with that promise. I'm not just sharing it with you because why I think it makes you feel better. This is God's word. This is what Romans 8 is all about in the second half. And really, what God's word is intended to give you in me, even in the face of suffering in a hardship, So, let's jump right in and go to Romans, 8 versus 29 and following, we're picking up, we're pastor. Tim kind of keyed off in Romans 8:28, that's for all things work together. For the good of those who love him. Who's been called to, according to his purposes? It all worked for his glory. Every hardship will work out for your good. In verse 29, in following, we find that every hardship will be a must.

It's never as if God is surprised by it. Whereas everything and like, well, how am I gonna work this out? It's like, no. This is ordained for you. This was planned from the beginning for you and it's not because I'm mad at you. It's because I love you.

So let's see what this is about. Then first 29 in following Paul says, those God fore knew that would be every Christian who puts their faith in and Jesus in time. That's you and me God, who he for knew, he also predestined. So he organized it all, he flung us to the very corners of the map that were journeying through and he rescues us, he brings us back to himself. He predestined us to conform to the image of his son. That he that would be Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters and those he predestined he also called those he called by me. Also justified to declare not guilty, you’re his. And those he justified he also glorified. What I love about that, it's actually a future thing. You and I have not been glorified yet but you've been predestined your called you're justified done deal. How will it not follow that? You'll be glorified and so God makes promises about the future in past tense because it's as good as done, just mind-boggling. That's why Paul says in verse 35. So who shall base? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? I think our natural responsibility. Yes, yes, yes, any one of those? Yes, Paul says not even any of those hardships or suffering. By the way, it's been written. It's for your sake. Oh Lord we face death. All day long. We're considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Everybody knows that God knows it. It doesn't phase him that we face def all day long, he will not lose us, even in death.

And so God can conclude and all these things were more than conquerors through him loved us. I'm convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels, nor demons, neither the present, nor the future, nor any power. Or anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God. That is in Christ. Jesus, our Lord, that's the promise. Nothing. No hardship. No suffering. Can separate you. In fact, hardships, suffering, it's been predestined for you and it is the way God brings you through. Reminding us of last week for his glory, for your good.

How can this be?

Hardship, we try to avoid it like the plague.

Paul is saying. You can embrace it. And that you're more than a conqueror.

As it. What's got up to. Why does he not? Just allow it but he determines to bring us through it as the means by which we come to him and others are found in that maze as big as the world. And as long as human history,

When I understand that, we got to go back to a verse and Romans 8:29 that really, flushes it out something that we can kind of just gloss over because everything else is so amazing in Romans 8. But would you go back to it? As we consider this question, you know, what shall we do with our struggles? And we've already kind of read through, Romans 8:29. There? What are we to make of our struggles? That's what we're wrestling with and, is this really according to God's plan? Yeah. In Romans 8:29. Let's read this.

God predestined us to be conformed to the image of his son can fill in the blanks there. Conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. What is God up to in the hardships and sufferings that come into our lives by his ordaining? It's not an accident. It's not that God wants it. We live in a syn broken world again itself inflicted so often. But God is so sovereign that he takes all those hardships and sufferings and ordains it for us to go through.

So what is he up to? Well, and that truth, he is desiring that we be conformed to the image of his son. Jesus is the only beloved son child of God. Well guess what? God wants more sons and daughters children and so here we are. And God wants us to be so much a child that he wants us to be conformed to look like have a life. Like Christ Jesus. So, I went to the picture. Jesus Christ.

Kind of life. Did he have?

All about ready to enter the Christmas season. Right. After Thanksgiving, we're thinking about angels and shepherds and cattle, and Mary, and Joseph, but ultimately, we find baby Jesus, pour the pores. He's there in a feeding trough for animals, that's the image. God would have you conform to In a sin-broken world. And then he becomes a refugee in his parents in Egypt. That's the image. God would have you conformed to, and a sin-broken world. And he comes back and he gives up what could have been a stable profession, carpentry, and he decides to become an itinerant preacher. Where throughout his ministry says, hey, birds have nests and foxes have holes, but I don't have a place to rest my head. Follow me. God wants us to be conformed to that image.

And he picks friends, that none of us would choose tax collectors. Sinner prostitutes former lepers foremen former demon-possessed souls. Fisherman that nobody cares about terrorists salads. This is his crowd. This is his group so much identified with them. That others were talking about them. He must be demon-possessed, himself a drunkard, he dines with sinners. That's the image. God wants you to be conformed to talk about hardship and suffering. And then fast forward to the gospel. We read, he's betrayed by a close friend. He undergoes six mock trials. They treat them like the worst of criminals crucified between two, thieves, although all the while they mock him as a king with a royal crown of thorns piercing his head.

Flogged ultimately crucified, buried. God would have us conformed to that image. Because if this is what the child of God goes through, this is what the children of God go through and praise God. That the extent of our hardships and suffering ordained for us, isn't to the extent of Jesus, you and I will never suffer hell. And you and I will never have a week like Jesus did.

And still yet. It's God's. And in his infinite wisdom and divine love. Where he says I want you to be like Jesus. So then I have a plan for your hardships and struggles. In fact, I put them in your life. Not because he wants us to suffer. But because he has plans for good for his glory and this is the way through.

I am remembering the apostle. Paul's words here.

Paul wasn't kidding. When he said this, we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, if you're filling in the blanks, We must go through many hardships to enter. The kingdom of God notice is not an option. And in such as persecution, but it's just all kinds of suffering, emotional, physical. Every kind of suffering. God's people will become familiar with whether individually or as a group. These are the ways that we go through this life, the apostle Paul says, there's hardship for you, don't be discouraged, don't be discouraged. What why Because of the nature of what God does with hardship and what it means. Any last week we talked about, hey hardship, pain, suffering often a sign? Something's wrong. Well, God's kingdom is so amazing and so beautiful. It's an upside-down kingdom that when there's pain hardships suffering, it actually means there's something, right?

And I give you a couple of truths illustrations that spring from Acts 14:22. I just read recently about a story of a little girl out of France, a town and small town in France. Marie Powell. As she's four years old and she is in her house in her backyard. There's a swimming pool and her parents raised her to respect the water. It's dangerous, but it can be enjoyed swim lessons, not to go in alone. Always the parent's supervision. So she learned all of this by the age of four. Well, her neighbor friend didn't and they came to visit one time and little dentist was about two years old and fascinated by the water. So, with all the parents were inside, getting ready for the food to bring it outdoors and the patio, it was just Marie and then Dennis kind of wandered out. And he went right to the pool. Close at all. Don't write it and he could not swim. Well, Marie knew this wasn't good. Everything that she had learned, he needed help. So she began to scream for her parents but went right after him and didn't get in the pool. But reached out just a grab anything that she could latch a hold of and guess what? It was his hair and boy, did she pull And she pulled and she pulled and she pulled. She made sure that his head was above water so that he could breathe, and he was gasping for breath. And he was mad at her, and he was swinging in her arms, and let me go and scream it out loud and crying, and she just kept pulling and the parents hadn't come out yet. So she thought, maybe I could pull hard enough. I'll yank them out of the pool. And so she kept pulling and pulling for and she couldn't get them out of the pool. So she kept hitting his head up against the side of the pool and it was just a mess, but she was keeping his head above water. Finally, the parents came out to rescue him and he was safe. And his word got out to some of the leaders in the town. They came over to commend her and given her word and as a news reporter was interviewing her, she was asked, I guess you and Dennis are probably best of friends now, he must really appreciate that. You saved his life and reads like really kidding me. Oh, he's angry. He's angry because I was pulling his hair, so badly. But what else was I to do?

Friends. I think that's an illustration to better understand hardships. That God puts in our life.

It's really his way of pulling hair. God, rescues us through hardships. That's the pulling of our hair.

There are so many good things, so many blessings about the hardships that we must face. But if we don't understand and don't hear the promise of God, how else should we react and what dentist hates Marie? Well, we should hate God. That's our instinct. But when you see the big picture and the maze and God's rescue plan, and how this is the way through this suffering and hardship, you are one and rescued

Within, we can praise God. That he rescues to pulling our hair.

It takes faith to believe it, but you see Jesus. It was God's plan that his beard should be pulled out. That he should suffer in such a way. And is a loving son, he trusted his father and now he reigns overall You see how hard should work? You see how God uses that, whatever hardship you have in your life? That's God's plan, his purpose, he is keeping your head above water, even when it feels like you're going under,

And there's no greater love than somebody who would subject himself to seeing a child suffer in such a way.

Knowing that the child might not understand.

And there's another truth that we can. Well, talk about as far as how every hardship and suffering is a blessing, we're feeling in the next blank. We come to Hebrews chapter, 12, God disciplines the one he loves.

Hardship suffering is actually a kiss from God, Sounds crazy, But in Christ, that's the way he plans it. You think of it this way, I teach 8th graders and 7th graders here, the basics of the Christian faith. There are many of you. I had you've grown so old. So I've been doing it for a little while, I guess. But over the years, I've confirmed four of my own kids or three of my own kids. I got one more next year, hopefully, I'll pass. No, I'm just… he'll do fine. So here was my go-to as far as whenever I would teach and I only have for a couple hours during the week. So whenever you get a new teacher or you don't see a teacher very often. Sometimes you can get a little out of control, that's how I was in seventh, or eighth grade. So I get it when, maybe the boys are girls aren't listening so well, I kind of look over and here was my go-to when I had a kid in class one of my own, I would actually yell at them. Whether they were guilty or not, and this is what I say I'd be like Isabel What's going on over there? And she would look at me like do anything like yeah. Yeah. But I know there's trouble trouble over there and lose there, what's going on? And oftentimes, if there was part of the pro now, okay, who's fine?

Or Zoe, you know what's going on over there now before and afterward? I, you know, I would tell my kids like hey, thank you for letting me call you out. Even though I know many times you haven't done anything, But you see, I can speak in such a way, I can discipline in such a way that it draws the attention of everybody else. And everybody seems to settle down And they don't miss out then on what they need to hear. Now, you might think that's terrible, classroom management. That's terrible. Parenting of you might be

But is not what Jesus experienced with God, the Father. You God discipline those that he loves and no one was disciplined more than Jesus on the cross and it wasn't because he did something wrong. He did nothing wrong. But God wakes up the world. Everyone was amazed to take a look. Pay attention. Send is being dealt with by the discipline of my own son.

What? A kiss of love and blessing, that was a cross. And he rose from the dead.

Friends. That's your suffering, too. That is your pain. Make no mistake. That's God's plan.

And if that's God's plan, then you can wear it as a badge of honor. It is, as if God is saying with this hardship, this suffering this pain, I'm giving this to you because I know in me, you can take it, and I don't know if others could

And when you suffer this way and you like Joe, you say, blessed be the name of the Lord who gives and takes away blessed. Be the name. Others will want a relationship like you have with me.

You'll make it through the maze and you'll bring loads of other people to who, by the way, will suffer with, or without me,

I opponents, all of that up here in this last thought. When he says in Romans 8:17 through 18, It's our last truth for today. Now, if we're children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and coheirs with Christ. If indeed, we share in his sufferings, In order, that we might also share in his glory.

For his just as Jesus suffered hardship and suffering and was familiar with suffering and sorrows a man of sorrow. Isaiah said, Look at him now. Full of glory.

Here's brother your sister, it'll be the same. Suffering hardship. But soon very soon you and I will shy like the stars. Because it's through hardship and suffering. That God brings us from here to there. What a promise. They got give us such great faith to hold to that promise. Amen.