On Display
Sunday, February 13, 2011

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Rom. 8:28

 

It has been said that a Christian (using the deepest meaning of that word) is a person who lives out his or her life in the reality that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. . .”  If that is true, and I believe it is, then there is something powerful we must all read into the statement.  That means that we who call ourselves Christian are on display to the world of our total trust in God, no matter what our circumstances, because we believe that in all things God is working out these circumstances for our good.

 

Paul said, “For it seems to me that God has put us . . . on display at the end of the procession . . .” (1 Cor. 4:9) And that is what God is doing in our lives.  He is putting us on display to the world to demonstrate our trust in Him and our love for Him to the glory of Jesus Christ.  Let me unpack that for you and make it harshly real.

 

Do you have cancer?  You are on display to the unbelieving world to demonstrate the hope that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  How you handle your infirmity is a witness to the world of Christ working in you.  I will never forget the story of a few years ago.  A pastor who had served the local church for decades got the news he had terminal cancer.  As the efforts of man proved futile to prolong his life, he addressed his congregation and said, “For many years I have stood in your pulpit and told you how to live.  And prayerfully I have shown you with my own life.  Now I have cancer and my life is eroding away.  So God has given me this one last ministry – to show you how to die for the glory of Jesus Christ.”  He was on display, to demonstrate the truth he had preached for so many years.

 

Are you facing financial difficulties?  You are on display to the unbelieving world (and much of so-called Christianity) to demonstrate the hope that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  How you handle your financial difficulties is a testimony to your trust in God.  One of the greatest sermons in this regard, I ever heard, was delivered by John Piper at the beginning of the long recession in which we find ourselves.  The title of the sermon was, “Why We Should Praise God for the Recession.”  His text for the sermon was 2 Cor. 1:8-10.  “We were under great pressure far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.”  I think this statement fits so many devout Christians in the terrible economic times.  This is true despair – despair even of life, a death sentence.  But Paul’s conclusion was not, “Woe is me.  God doesn’t love me anymore.” Or, “Why is God letting this happen;” or “Why is God doing this to me?”  Not at all.   “. . . This happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.”  We are on display in tough financial times.

 

Has someone harmed you?  You are on display to the unbelieving world to demonstrate the hope that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  How we Christians respond to the wrongs and perceived wrongs done to us will either glorify or diminish Christ.  But no matter, we are on display.  Will Christ be glorified in how we respond?  If not, we bear witness to the reality that we do not truly believe that God is at work in our circumstances.  I will never forget having breakfast one day with a school teacher turned missionary.  We were talking about the teachers being up in arms about some issue in the local schools.  I tried to make the point that the Christian teachers in our school had an opportunity to glorify God in these circumstances.  His response was, “Teachers have rights.”  And he was right.  But on the other hand, are our rights more important for the opportunity to glorify God.  We are on display?

 I am deeply disturbed in my own life when I do not respond to pressures, news, no news, or hurts in a way that doesn’t glorify God.  I am wounded when I reflect on how I put myself before Jesus in those times.  Thank you Lord for grace.  Allow me to learn from those things, that I might display your glory tomorrow and that all I preach or teach may be lived in my life, for I know Lord, “we [disciples] are on display at the end of the procession,” and it will work for my good in Christ Jesus.


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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