Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

06/24/2018 A.M.

 

What To Do When Life Tumbles In

John 14.1   14.27   16.33

 

Listen to Jesus...

Let not your heart be troubled...And do not be afraid...

You believe and trust in God...Believe and trust in Me.

Peace I leave with you... My peace I give you.

I tell you these things... So that in me you may have peace.

In this world you will have trouble.... But take heart!... I have overcome the world.

 

Jesus is giving His disciples advice on how to deal with life when things don't go our way.  He’s telling us what to do When Life Tumbles In?

 

You see... The Christian life is a journey along a track with two rails....

• One rail is called triumph... joy... And results in a life of Peace...

• The other rail is called tragedy... Sorrow & sadness...And brings mourning.

 

If these two tracks are parallel... And continue to run parallel... Life is good.

There’s maintained a balance...

• Between joy and sorrow...

• Between triumph and tragedy.

 

Allow the track of tragedy and sorrow to pull away from its parallel companion... And life turns ugly and sour.

 

Solomon speaks of these two rails and their parallel balance... When he says... There’s a time and a place for everything under the sun...

• A time to be born and a time to die...

• A time to plant and a time to harvest...

• A time to weep and a time to laugh...

• A time to mourn and a time to dance...

• A time to be silent and a time to speak...

• A time for war and a time for peace.

 

Indeed...Life runs on two rails...

• Blessings and Battles...

• Pain and Peace...

• Victory and Valleys.

 

There are times... when troubles come... When life tumbles in...

• What do we do?...

• How do we live?...

• Do we panic?...

• Do we allow fear and paranoia to reign and rule?...

• Do we live in perpetual panic?

NO...NO... Because we just heard Jesus say...

• Don’t let your heart be troubled... Trust me.

• Don’t be afraid... I came to give you peace.

Paul reminds us that regardless of what’s going on at the moment... God is at work in our life... Working all things out for our good... Our benefit... Our betterment.

 

Old Testament David calms the fearful heart with what we know as the twenty-third Psalm The Lord is my Shepherd... And because of that I’ll never have to want... He makes me to lie down in lush green pastures... Leads me beside quiet still waters... Restores and renews my soul... Leads me in paths of righteousness.

 

When life tumbles in… read the 23rd Psalm… There’s something therapeutic about it!

 

David reminds us that even walking in the valley of death has a comforting factor. David reminds us that death is only a shadow... It has no real power over us as God’s children.

 

You see... A shadow can only exist if there is light... And for us... For God’s children... Jesus is the light!... His presence makes death a shadow...

• A train's shadow can't hurt us...

• A dog's shadow can't bite us...

• Death has no power over us.

 

Paul reminds us that... The sting of death is sin..... And the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God... Who gives us the victory through Jesus.

 

Because of Jesus… Death is an open door into the presence of God in a way that we have never before experienced... And that Paul says... We can’t even imagine... Ear has not heard... eye has not seen... What great things God has in store for us on the other side of this shadow.

 

So... I’ve come here this morning to remind us that the trials

and troubles of life do not have to defeat us...

And that Death is the doorway to unimaginable glory

 

In fact we’ll learn that... Troubles and trials in life have a way of...

• Bringing us closer to God...

• Developing us emotionally and spiritually

• Strengthening our Faith...

• Producing Patience and Perseverance.

 

So...The question becomes... What will we do when life tumbles in?...

• Will we continue TO keep the rails of life parallel...

• Or will we give in to some distorted emotional and spiritual behavior?

 

To better answer our question...

Let’s set these opening remarks aside... Allow them to soak...

As we examine a narrative of a life gone wrong... That of Job...

 

Nobody knows when Job lived... Most Bible Scholars believe he was a contemporary with Abraham... But his narrative... Even though four thousand years old... Could have been written yesterday.

 

Listen to these facts...

 

Job was a righteous man... In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright... He feared God... And shunned evil.

What more could be said about an individual?...

We could talk for hours about each of these phrases describing Job...

• Blameless...

• Upright...

• Shunning evil...

• God fearing.

 

He was a rich man... Rich in many ways...

• He had seven sons and three daughters...

• Owned seven thousand sheep...

• Three thousand camels...

• Five hundred yoke of oxen...

• Five hundred donkeys...

• A large number of servants…

• And what appears to be several homes used by his children.

 

The description of Job closes by saying that he was the greatest among all the people of the East.

 

Job was religious... His sons were in the habit of taking turns holding feasts in their homes. They would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When these feasting parties were over... Scripture tell us that Job would offer sacrifices for each of his children... Thinking that... If perhaps they might have sinned and cursed God in their hearts... These sacrificial offerings would forgive their sin mistakes.

 

These verses close saying that this behavior was Job’s regular custom.

So... Job was... Godly... Wealthy... Successful... Popular... Righteous... Religious.

 

Now enter Satan... One day the angels... The Hebrew calls them sons of God... Came to present themselves before the Lord... And Satan... The accuser... Comes with them.

 

The Lord said to Satan... Have you considered My servant Job?...There is no one like him on earth... A blameless and upright individual who fears God and turns away from evil.

 

Then Satan lives up to His name... The accuser... He says... Of course Job serves you... Because you have built a hedge around him... Blessed him beyond measure... Take away all he has and he will curse you to your face.

 

God tells Satan... All that he has is yours... Do with his stuff as you please... Satan goes to work...

• The Sabeans attack... Taking all Job’s oxen and donkeys... Kills all his servants...

• Lightning strikes and consumes his sheep and the attending shepherds...

• Chaldeans raid the corrals... Taking all his camels... Killing the servants guarding them...

• A tornado like storm struck the house where his children were partying and killed them all.

 

But...I want you to note what Job does next... He tore his robe... Shaved his head... Fell prostate on the ground in worship to God saying... Naked I came from my mother’s womb... And naked shall I return... The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away... Blessed be the name of the Lord.

 

Scripture tells us that in all this Job did not sin.

Somehow Job kept the rails of life parallel... Not allowing… Tragedy... Fear... Paranoia... To rule and reign in his life.

 

But Satan never gives up... Again... He comes with the angels saying... Job still worships You... But allow me... to touch his body... Take his health...And he will curse you. God said...Touch his body... But spare his life.

 

We know the rest of the narrative... Job’s health is gone... Pain ravaged his body... Not a place could be found on his body that was not covered by painful boils... Such pain that Scripture tells us Job came to hate the day he was born…He would rather die than to go on suffering.

 

Yet…The last verse of chapter three has Job saying... I cannot find any ease... I cannot rest... Because trouble just keeps on coming... Life keeps tumbling in.

 

Yet the text says... In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

 

Well... What can we learn about life and living

when troubles come calling...

I think four things...

 

First... Life tumbles in... Trouble comes... To all of us.

Suffering comes to the righteous and unrighteous alike.

I want you to note that three times the text emphasizes that Job was a righteous man. What happened to him did not happen because of any moral fault or failure. Job’s trials were not the result of some hidden sin in his life.

 

We have a tendency when tragedy strikes... To instantly believe that we’ve done something wrong... And that God is striking us with tragedy because of our sin mistake.  We think if we had’a been a better person... Then this would not have been happening to us.

 

Sometimes that may be true... God does punish... But more often it’s not true.  If this narrative of Job teaches us anything... It teaches us that sometimes... Godly people... Righteous ones... God’s Children... Suffer unexplainable losses.  Terrible things sometimes happen to God’s people.

 

Remember John chapter nine?... Jesus heals a blind man... Blind from birth... People begin to ask... Why his blindness?... Was it his sin or the sins of his parents?... Jesus said neither... He was born blind so that God’s work could be seen today.

 

Sometimes the Book of Job gives us more questions than it does answers... But this one thing  we know from the narrative... Suffering comes to the righteous and unrighteous.

 

Secondly... We learn that God is the source of... All we have... All we are.

A primary truth from Job can be seen in the statement... The Lord gives and the Lord takes away...

 

All we have... All that we are... All that we’ll ever become... Have been given us by God.

But here it is... He still claims ownership... All we have and are belong to God... And in the end... We will give it all back to Him... For He is God.

 

Even the angels... The Sons of God are responsible for how they are using God’s grace gifts. They come reporting to God... This tells us...

• Our houses and cars belong to Him...

• Our present and future belong to Him...

• Even our children are His... They belonged to Him before they belonged to us...

• Our spouses belong to him...

• Our successes and influence belong to Him.

Know this church... Life becomes a real tragedy when we think we are self-made men and women... Amen?

 

Number three... We learn that our personal traits and present situation are a result of God at work in us.

Who we are and what we are is not a matter of fate or bad luck... But is a result of God at work in our life...

• Our personal traits...

• Our life... Gifts... Talents... Abilities...

Were God given so that we can fulfill the purpose that God has in mind for us.

 

Romans chapter twelve tells us... We have different gifts, according to the grace given us… (QUESTION!… WHO GIVES US THESE GRACE GIFTS?... WHO EQUIPS US FOR FULFILLING OUR PURPOSE?... GOD!!. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

 

Do we understand this morning that God has a purpose for our life... And that He has uniquely qualified us to fulfill... Our role... Our purpose?...We are God’s workmanship... Created to do good works that He prepared in advance for us to do.

 

How can we read these verses and not understand that God has a purpose for each and everyone of us... And that he has gifted us so that we can fulfill that purpose... That role.

 

Listen...Not only does God gift us separately and individually... He also prepares us for our purpose with... troubles... trials... and problems.

 

Job teaches us that God is at work in our current situation and circumstance.

 

• Peter tells us that like Job... God... Refines... Remolds... Remakes... Us by using the fires of life...

 

• James says rejoice in trials... Because God has a purpose in them...

Our… Trials... Troubles... Problems... Test our faith... Produces steadfastness... Makes us perfect and complete... So that we lack nothing.  Phillips translates this as... When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives... Don’t resent them as intruders... But welcome them as friends.

 

• The Hebrews’ Writer insists that sometimes God uses uncomfortable situations and circumstances to discipline us as His children.

 

• Isaiah 57.1 is an interesting verse... It tells us that sometimes the righteous are taken away to protect them from future calamity... Instead of life tumbling in... They enter peace... A perfect Peace.

 

Church... Think this through... God is at work in our trials and troubles... In life's tragedies.

 

• If we don’t believe that God created us... with a purpose... For a purpose.

 

• If we don’t believe that He is actively working to promote that purpose.

We will eventually give up on our faith.

 

Consider Jonah... God had a purpose for him... He tried to run from that purpose... God worked through situation and circumstance to redirect his life.

 

God had a purpose for Saul who would be Paul... But God had to work through situation and circumstance to bring him to his purpose.

 

So...The question becomes this...

• Is God doing some similar work in my life and yours today?

• Is He working in our current situation and circumstance to prompt us to fulfill our role and purpose?

Sobering questions!!

 

Lastly... Trials and troubles have the potential of drawing us closer to God.

In all this Job did not sin nor blame God with doing wrong.

 

Sometimes... Life tumbles in and we wring our hands saying...

• Why is this happening to me...?

• This is unfair.

When the question should be... What does God want me to learn from this situation?

 

A young minister was leading a seminar... He made the statement that when life tumbles in... We should... Like Job... Praise God!!

 

After the evening’s presentation a man came up to him in great agitation saying... I can’t agree with you...

• You want me to praise God in the midst of my hurt?...

• Praise God when we have been diagnosed with cancer?...

• When we lose our job?...

• When we’ve lost a loved one in death?...

After a moment of silence... The young preacher said... As God’s child… What alternative do you propose?

 

Indeed!...We gain nothing if we turn away from God in time of trouble...

• If we turn away from God... Who do we turn to?

If we turn away from God... We lose our only hope.

 

I don’t know where the lesson leaves you this morning... I hope we understand that God loves us and that He is at work in our suffering to bring us closer to Him.

 

Will we submit to His… Remolding?... Remodeling?... Remaking?

By... Faith... Confession of Jesus... Repentance... And Baptism... Will we be born again to a new life?

 

As His children... Will we submit to His Love?... A love that will not let us go... As we stand and sing together.