Faith In The Furnace
Dear Church Family,
I am deeply strengthened in my faith as we have been feeding together on the Book of Job. Preparing these sermons has been for me and my brothers who have preached alongside me one of the most intensely challenging exercises I’ve ever experienced in preaching the Word. By God’s mercy, it’s been unusually fruitful and rewarding in our own lives, and from what I’ve heard, in yours too. Thank you for sharing with us all the ways God has been working in your lives this summer through the Spirit’s ministry in this book of the Bible.
This Sunday we will be taking a break from Job for a vision-casting sermon and a baptism service. Then in the month of September we will be fast-forwarding toward the concluding chapters of Job. I want to do one sermon on Elihu, the fourth “friend” who speaks to Job, and then five sermons on the concluding chapters when God comes in the whirlwind and reveals himself, and then restores Job’s fortunes.
We won’t be hearing any sermons from Job 20-31, at least not in this series – but there are two sermons from the past that have been preached from some of those chapters. One was in September 2011 as Pastor DeHaan preached from Job 28; the other was from August 1, 2010, when I preached on Job 23, the day before Kate’s pneumonectomy. In this article I want to share some of the lessons we were learning then as God opened the treasures of his Word to us from the Book of Job.
"But [God] knows the way that I take;
when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold."
What a rich comfort it is to know that:
- Even when we don't know the way that we take, God does – and in Christ, he has walked the path of suffering ahead of us: "For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps" (1 Peter 1:21).
- God is sovereign over our afflictions – he is the One who is trying us, and he is faithful: "I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me" (Psalm 119:75).
- We shall come out of these afflictions one day – they will not endure forever, but we will endure forever in Christ! "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13).
- We will come out of adversity better & brighter in Christ than we were when we went in – Christ in us is the gold, and afflictions are only designed to make the golden radiance of Christ shine more brilliantly through us! God designs the afflictions of his children both to prove us and to improve us: "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Our confidence in adversity does not rest in our ability to find God – it rests in God's inability to lose us.
"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:37-39).
Job knew that His Redeemer lives, and that was what sustained him in the furnace. We know our Redeemer's Name – JESUS – and we have seen his glory, especially as he suffered for us on the Cross. Christ is our Solid Rock, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
I thank the Lord that this is as true today as it was four years ago – and it will be true forever!
Kept by our Strong Redeemer,
Pastor David Sunday
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