THE EVANGELICAAL CHURCH WINNING ALL
5007 SOUTHSIDE DRIVE
LOUISVILLE, KY 40214
www.ecwalouisville.org, www.ecwausa.org firstname.lastname@example.org
TOPIC: CONFORMING TO THE LIKENESS OF GOD'S SON
TEXT: ROMANS 8:28-39
Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi
It goes without saying “Life of faith involves paradox.” That is, if we want to receive we must first give, if we want to be leaders we must first be servants, if we want to be exalted we must first humble ourselves, and if we want to receive blessings we must first be blessings to others. In view of the above statements what does the topic “Conforming to the Likeness of God’ Son” really mean? This could be explained in two different categories.
- Patience in Life's Tragedy
Joseph Reassures His Brothers
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.”’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.”
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them (Genesis 50: 15-21).
Sometimes we human beings go through painful and horrible circumstances to the extent that we wonder if God cares about us. For example, the Scripture records the story of Joseph that he may repay them for the evil that they did to him. Joseph told them that they meant evil against him but the Lord Almighty turned it for good. They requested Joseph to please forgive them their sins. Joseph and this group of people wept bitterly but Joseph finally forgave them their sins and said thus: “Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
The Scripture also recorded the story of Jacob when he wrestled with an Angel and he did not allow the Angel to go. The Bible says:
Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me! 27 So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.”
28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; [a] for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: [b] “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32: 24-30).
What about Joseph the son of Jacob, who had jealousy of his brothers, sold to the Ishmaelite and imprisonment in Egypt (Genesis 37 & 39). What about David's conflict with King Saul (1 Samuel 18 & 19). What about the Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh, being persecuted many times and stoned at Lystra. The Scripture says;
Idolatry at Lystra
And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked (Acts 14: 8-10).
The listed above Scripture Passage is known as tragedies in humans' life, but the good news is, at God's appointed time this man became victorious.
Brethren, bear in mind that no-matter the principalities and powers of the Devil against us, when we depend on the Lord and put our faith in Him, victory is certain. Nevertheless, be assured and understand that even-though we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb each day is still not bed of Roses. In order words, each one of us must learn to rejoice in his or her suffering and pain. Why? The reason is because our Lord understands our situations and He is able to see us through the agonies. This means, each one of us needs to be more like Jesus Christ our Savior for the Scripture says:
Faith Triumphs in Trouble
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5: 1-5).
And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5: 1-12).
2. Obedience to God's Rule and Order
In his book, “Bless You” – Receiving and Sharing the Blessing of the Lord. Warren W. Wiersbe says:
“We today who have trusted Jesus Christ and are under the new covenant cannot claim those old covenant blessings of health, wealth, and prosperity. But the principle of "faith and obedience bring blessings" still applies, even though the promised blessing may be difficult. The just still life by faith and faith still leads to obedience, and obedience leads to God's blessing” (Wiersbe, W. W. 2008, p. 9).
The Scripture says:
Christians obey God because He loves us and we love Him too but not because we want reward. But our loving obedience of true faith in Him opens the door for His blessings on us (Heb. 10: 38-39).
The Epistle of Hebrews Chapter 11 explains the blessing received by our fathers and mothers of the old generation because of their faith. If the Lord were to consider our atrocities we should not have been blessed. But because of His Son Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are blessed by God. Brethren, how faithful and obedient are you in serving the Lord?
The Just Live by Faith
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” [a] says the Lord. [b] And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”[c] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me[d] in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.[e] 35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
37 “For yet a little while, And He[f] who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38 Now the[g] just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”[h] 39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10: 26-39).
Faith without Works Is Dead
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? [c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2: 14-26).
In conclusion, the Scripture says;
Greeting to the Twelve Tribes
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings.
Profiting from Trials
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1: 1-8).
How have you lived your life before, how are you living it now, and how will you continue to live your life? Be assured that pain is real, but it is the way we become mature and complete for without it, we will never make the most of our lives. When sorrow and trouble comes your way, view it as an opportunity and respond to it in obedience to God’s will.