One of the most difficult questions in life is, “Why did God allow this trouble to come into my life?” We do not always know the answer to the question, “Why?”
- Troubles often appear suddenly and unexpectedly.
Job did not anticipate the great trials that came upon him.
- Troubles are often unexplained.
As far as we can tell, Job never knew in this life about the Heavenly conflict that brought about his troubles.
- Troubles are often extremely difficult.
- Troubles often have hidden benefits.
There are things we learn about our Lord, others, and even ourselves in the time of troubles.
- Troubles can strengthen our faith (if we allow them to).
Though Job struggled to understand what was happening to him, in the end, his faith in God was much stronger than before he faced his troubles.
- Troubles are often part of God’s “chastening” of His children.
Chastening is part of God’s correction in our live, getting us “back on tract” and working to mold us into the person He saved us to be, molding us into the image of Christ.
- Troubles are often part of our conditioning for service.
God may have to put us through times of trouble to equip us for greater use in the future, to enable us to be a greater blessing and help to others as they go through troubles. Many millions of people have found encouragement and strength by reading of Job’s experience.
- Troubles are always designed to bring glory to God in one way or another. See John 9:1-3. Troubles often come our way to show to this world God’s great power, that He is good, and that He can and will give joy and victory even in the darkest of days.
A pearl is a beautiful thing and is highly valued, yet a pearl is the product of great suffering. Troubles in life are inevitable, yet they can be so beneficial.
Paul is encouraging the elders of the Ephesian church and we can glean from his statements to them his “philosophy” of ministry…
- Serve With Humility. (v.19a)
- Expect Opposition. (v.19b,23)
- Be Sure My Walk Matches My Talk. (v.20)
- Focus On Soul Winning. (v.20b)
- Do Not Compromise God’s Message. (v.20a,21-23)
- Be Dedicated To Christ. (v.24)
- Be Joyful. (v.24b)
- Don’t Quit. (v.24b-c)
- Fulfill My Responsibilities. (v.25-27)
- Warn God’s People of Spiritual Dangers. (v.28-31)
- Understand That It Is God That Gives Growth. (v.32)
- Be Content. (v.33-34)
- Be Generous, Hospitable, and Kind. (v.35)
- Saturate My Life and Ministry with Prayer. (v.36)
- Expect Opposition. (v.19b,23)
- Do Not Allow Others To Influence Me Out Of God’s Will. (v.37-38)
Christians worry. New Christians worry, those saved for a long time worry, young people worry, senior citizens worry, Pastors worry, Sunday school teachers worry, bus workers worry, choir members worry. Worry, Worry, Worry! Worry is a very real and serious issue for believers of all ages and stations in life.
The following are observations from the Bible concerning worry…
- Worry Is Distracting.
Six times in this passage “taking thought” is addressed. This does not mean that we should not think about or address these needs, but it does mean that we are not to be anxious or worry about them. Another aspect of the phrase “taking thought” has the idea of “being distracted by.” The Lord is warning us to not allow ourselves to be distracted by the temporal things of this world and life. Worry is distracting.
- Worry Is Demonic.
That is a strong statement. Worldliness can take many forms, a few of which are addressed in our Lord’s sermon here are: hypocrisy, materialism, and worry. Satan tempts the Christian to worry. God never instructs His children to worry. Anything that draws away my focus on, service to, commitment to, and faith in the Lord is of the Devil! Worry is demonic.
- Worry Is Disobedience.
“…I say unto you, take no thought…” This is not a suggestion, it is a clear command. Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing…” The Lord is not suggesting that we simply ignore what we eat, wear, live in, etc., but He clearly commands us not to worry about these things. We cannot allow them to distract us from our faith in God, our service for God, and our focus on the Lord. Worry is disobedience.
A man was shoveling snow in his driveway when 2 boys came along w/ shovels and said, “Hey Mister, can we shovel your driveway…only $2!?” He said, “can’t you see I’m doing that?” “Yes sir, that’s why we asked…we get most of our business from people who are halfway thru and feel like quitting!” (copied)
That’s where the Devil gets much of his business, from Christians and preachers who are only “halfway” committed to Christ and the gospel.
The following are a few key components in personal soul winning that we need to give careful consideration to in order to be an effective soul winner.
- My Own Spiritual Condition.
My own salvation needs to be settled and certain. I need to die to self and be filled with the Holy Spirit. The love of God for lost sinners needs to be shed abroad in my heart. My prayer life must be earnest and effective. There should be as much time put into my own spiritual condition as there is in my Gospel presentation
- Transitioning the Conversation From “Chit-Chat” to Spiritual Matters and the Gospel.
If we are not careful, we can spend our entire visit making “small talk” and neglect to transition to their need of Christ and our presentation of the Gospel. I am convinced most people are willing to discuss spiritual things and their spiritual condition if we will approach the subject with tact, respect, wisdom, and compassion.
- Thoroughly Explaining The Gospel.
Under no circumstances should we “sugar coat,” or water down the Gospel message. Our presentation of the Gospel must be thorough, clear, yet simple. Dr. Shelton Smith warns of “sloppy soul winning,” and I strongly agree. The “Roman’s Road” is a good plan, but must be presented thoroughly and compassionately.
- Making the Decision To Trust Christ.
After presenting the Gospel, do not leave the prospect hanging. Help them, and many times it is good to urge them, to make the decision to trust Christ then and there. It is good to help them call upon the Name of the Lord.
- Give the New Believer Assurance.
We want to give them Bible based assurance that when we do what God tells us to do, (call on the Lord) that He will do what He has promised to do (save us). I must not allow them to simply take my word for it, they must be assured from the Word of God.
- Making Follow Up Efforts.
Again, we must not leave them hanging. Salvation is simply the beginning of eternal life and they must be loved and nurtured in their new faith and introduced to the body of Christ. Follow up is much more than a simple Bible study, it is establishing new relationships with the family of God.
The following are a few things every Christian should do with their Bible…
- Read It Daily.
Every Christian should spend some time every day reading the Bible. The best time for Bible reading is first thing in the morning. A new believer may want to read the Gospel of John or Psalms to begin with, but at some point, we should start reading our Bibles through, cover to cover. I like to read my Bible through each year.
- Meditate On It Deeply.
Joshua 1:8-9 & Psalm 1:1-3 give very clear and precious promises to those who meditate in God’s Word on a daily basis. This is more that just reading through a passage, but giving careful thought and consideration to what is being said, and then considering all the ways it applies to my life and circumstances.
- Claim It’s Promises Delightfully.
The Bible is filled with wonderful promises for the child of God. I cannot claim promises I do not know exist, so take God at His Word and claim the promises He has given us. Note: be careful that the promise applies to the believer. Some promises are to the nation of Israel specifically and not necessarily for the New Testament believer.
- Heed It’s Warnings Diligently.
God is all-wise, knows the future outcome of all our actions. When He gives warnings in His Word, it is wise for us to heed those warnings and take them very seriously.
- Follow It’s Instructions Decisively.
When we do exactly what God’s Word tells us to do, we’ll get the results it says we will get. God knows what He is doing and knows what is best for us, thus it is a good idea to do exactly what He instructs us to do.
- Memorize It Deliberately.
One of our greatest weapons against sin and temptation is hiding God’s Word in our hearts and minds (Psalm 119:11). Memorize reference and the exact wording of the passage and not just the “thought” of the passage.
- Share It Dutifully..
Our entire world needs the Word of God. It needs to be translated into every language of the world, printed by Bible believing, local church publishers, and then preached and distributed throughout the world by God’s people.
O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.
O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.
O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late.