Listen to the message
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Series: Spiritual growth
Sun am 11 January 2015 – Kobus Swart
(Rom. 11:5-7); John 1:11-13; Rom. 8:28-29; Job 1:6-12, 22; Job 2:1-9; Job 4:7-8; Job 8:6-7; (Job 11);
(Rev. 12:10); John 9:1-5; (2 Cor. 5:18); (John 8:11); Job 42:10
The phrase: “And it came to pass” does not mean “it came to stay”. Challenges and tests come as opportunities to grow spiritually. It was the rain and floods in the time of Noah, that lifted the Ark when everybody else perished. It depends on your perspective in life. It is very clear that it is God is able to use all things for good so that our lives should be shaped into the life of His Son (Rom. 8:29 – MSG).
God does that to those who love Him and are “called” according to His purpose. Who are the “called” ones?
Israel, in the Old Testament (a type of the Church), was God’s chosen (or called) people. God chose all of Israel, but not all of Israel chose Him. Only a remnant who individually accepted God’s choice of them connected with God’s purpose (Rom. 11:5-7). However, as many as received Him, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13). Right there He broke the boundaries of a natural nation into a holy nation.
You are called when you have received Him; when you have connected with “God so loved the world” (Jn 3:16). He reconciled humanity to Himself through Christ (Col 1:20; 2 Cor 5:19).
How do we interpret it when disaster or tragedy strikes us? Follow the example of Job.
The name Job means “afflicted.” God could have just remained silent and Job would have had a happy life. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? (Job 1:8). Satan challenged God and there was a tragedy that happened because of this conversation between God and satan. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (Job 1:22). In the next chapter Job loses his health. Situations vary; your own may be different to this, but see how the Lord works here. Three “friends” came and sat with him. One said that the innocent do not suffer (Job 4:7-8). They put questions in Job’s mind making him feel that it was his fault (Job 8:6-7; Job 11). Is everything that happens to us either for punishment or for chastening? Are we listening to the voices of accusers? Satan is also known as the accuser (Rev. 12:10).
What was the religious mind-set’s response regarding the man who was born blind? As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” (John 9:1-2) They felt there should be some sin somewhere. Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do” (John 9:3-5-MSG). The NASB says, Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). That is a better perspective. God has something bigger in mind that He has to demonstrate. The question should not be “What caused the suffering?” but rather “How can I co-operate doing the works of God in this situation?” The word “co-operate” is going to be a key word in this house in the years to come. That means partnering with the Holy Spirit rather than sitting and waiting with a wilderness mentality. After entering the land of promise, the supernatural provision stopped. They had to walk and take possession. There is a mentality that has to change in the redeemed community. We have to move on. We have to become co-workers, partners and progenitors of a new age.
We know that God causes all things to work together for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. Whenever you are in a tough situation, your question should be, “How is God going to work this thing out to demonstrate His works? How can I participate in this demonstration of the power of God, because I love Him?” Do you love Him? Is it an all-consuming love?
We are all called, the whole world is called. He reconciled all of humanity through Christ. It means that we have to receive it; we have to have an encounter with this revelation of having been reconciled with God through Christ. Let the fruit of this encounter show in your life where you do not deliberately continue in sin after receiving the Truth.
You cannot earn the love of God; you can never earn His grace. There has to be an encounter and a reception of that love that will change you. Our reaction to suffering is very important. What was the end result of this man whose name means “afflicted”? The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold (Job 42:10). What was Job’s way of participating? He prayed for his friends – the very friends who accused him. Find ways to participate with God, co-operate with Him because of your love for Him, and see the final results. He began to participate in prayer for the bringing in of the blessing.
What are you going through? Once you have grown spiritually in the areas God thinks you need additional maturity, the season you are in will pass. Nothing lasts forever. If you go through “hell”, go through! Only when you have grown in the areas of testing will you be free to move on with no strings attached.