THE CROSS: GOOD OUT OF BAD
1. It is in the preaching of the Cross that we find the power of God.
a. The Cross is an inclusive term for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Cor 15:1-4
b. To preach the Cross means to preach and teach what Jesus Christ accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection.
2. What did Jesus accomplish through the Cross?
a. He set us free from the penalty and power of sin.
b. He gave us life for death in every area of our lives.
c. He made us sons and daughters of God with all the rights and privileges of sonship.
d. He provided us with an inheritance that meets every need in this life and the life to come.
3. When the facts of the Cross and what it has provided are preached to people and they believe it, what happened at the Cross goes into effect in their lives. That’s how we got saved. Rom 10:9,10
a. However, not only does the Cross deal with our eternal fate, it is through the Cross that God has made provision for us in this life as well.
b. It is vital that even after we are saved, we continue to study what was accomplished at the Cross, so that we can receive the power and provision available to us in this life through the Cross.
c. By studying what was accomplished at the Cross through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and learning to preach it to ourselves in our daily lives, we can walk in all that God has provided for us.
d. We have looked at that process in great detail in the last few lessons.
4. In this lesson we want to look at one more aspect of the Cross and talk about how we apply it to our daily lives.
a. One of the reasons why Christians can walk without fear of anything in this life is God’s promise to us that He can and will take any genuine evil that comes our way and bring genuine good out of it. Rom 8:28
b. The Cross of Christ is the most spectacular example of God bringing tremendous good out of tremendous evil.
c. By looking at this aspect of the Cross and learning to walk in the light of it, we can be inspired and encouraged in the struggles of life we all face.
1. God has promised to take genuine evil and bring genuine good from it and to cause it to serve His purposes.
a. We know that God is always at work for the good of every one who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose. (Cont. Eng.)
b. In your distress consider this also: When we love God we can be assured that God will make everything we experience to fulfill his purpose for us. (Johnson)
2. We need to make several key points about this verse.
a. God’s purpose for us is that we become sons and daughters conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, resulting in maximum glory to Himself and maximum good to us. Eph 1:4,5; Rom 8:29
b. Rom 8:28 is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible.
1. People mistakenly use it as an explanation for evil. They say God brought this into your life because He’s going to use it for your good. No!! Evil is here because sin is here.
2. People mistakenly use this verse to try to figure out circumstances.
a. They say because this happened, it must be God’s will for my life. b. Then, they respond passively instead of resisting satan.
c. This verse is actually a promise from God that He can and will take genuine evil that is in this world because of sin and satan, and bring good out of it as He causes it to serve His purpose in our lives.
3. This is a whole lesson in itself, but let’s make a few comments about why God allows evil and suffering in this earth.
a. Mean really do have free will and the human race has chosen independence from God will all the resulting consequences.
b. All the suffering in the earth is the consequence of sinful human choices.
c. When human history is finally wrapped up at the return of Jesus, human history on earth will be a monument for all eternity to what happens when men choose independence from God.
4. Couldn’t God stop all the evil and suffering right now? Certainly He could. He’s God Almighty. But consider these points:
a. He is going to stop it when Jesus comes back to earth, and, in terms of eternity, 6,000 years of human history is very little time.
b. God has made provision for His own through the Cross to avoid some of life’s hardships, and those which cannot be avoided, He has made provision for us to come through victoriously as conquerors.
c. God, who is all knowing (omniscient) and all powerful (omnipotent) is able to take the bad, the evil, the suffering, and cause it to serve His eternal purposes — bringing maximum glory to Himself and maximum good to us.
5. The Cross of Christ is a stunning example of this last point.
a. The Bible teaches that what was done to Jesus was an evil act carried out by wicked men inspired by satan. Luke 22:3; Acts 2:28; I Cor 2:8
b. Therefore, we know it was not willed or commissioned by God. There are two keys to keep in mind.
1. God and the devil are not partners or co-workers — God good, devil bad. John 10:10; Matt 12:24-26
2. God permits, God allows means that God does not stop it. It doesn’t mean He wills it or is behind it in any way. I Pet 3:9
c. God, because He is all knowing, knew, before He formed the earth, what satan would inspire Judas and the angry mob to do to Jesus — and God took advantage of it. Rev 13:8
1. God laid the sins of the world on Jesus at the Cross and purchased salvation for man.
2. I Cor 2:7,8–But rather what we are setting forth is a wisdom of God once hidden [from human understanding] and now revealed to us by God; [that wisdom] which God devised and decreed before the ages for our glorification [that is, to lift us into the glory of His presence]. None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this; for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. (Amp)
d. God caused a genuinely evil act, the murder of the innocent Son of God, to result in genuine good.
1. The story of Joseph. Gen 37-50 Joseph’s jealous brothers sold him into slavery, but he ended up second in command in Egypt, and saved their lives and the lives of many others during a time of famine.
b. What Joseph’s brothers did was genuinely evil (attempted murder and lies), but God brought genuine good out of it. Gen 50:20
c. God did not cause or send Joseph’s trouble. That would be a violation of the house divided principle. Matt 12:24-26
1. Acts 7:8,9–What happened to Joseph is called affliction.
2. The Bible teaches that affliction comes from satan and that God delivers His people out of affliction. Mark 4:14-17; I Pet 5:8,9; Ps 34:19
3. When Joseph said God sent me (Gen 45:5,7) he meant: God was in such complete control of the situation, it was as though He sent me.
d. Gen 50:20–As far as I am concerned God turned into good what you meant for evil, for He brought me to this high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people. (Living)
e. And, God was with Joseph throughout his ordeal, helping him. Gen 39:2-5; 21-23; 41:39-45; 51,52
2. The Children of Israel at the Red Sea.
a. God led them through the wilderness, the Sinai Peninsula (dry, mountainous) on their way to the promised land.
b. There were two ways to make the journey. Both were difficult, but God took them the best way. Ex 13:17,18; 14:1-3
c. When they reached the Red Sea they were trapped by Pharaoh and his armies = genuine evil.
1. But, God turned it into genuine good — parted the Red Sea and destroyed their enemies.
2. The Red Sea, this seeming great obstacle, was the very thing God used to bring Israel victory.
3. David used Goliath’s own sword to cut his head off. I Sam 17:51
4. In Psalms and Proverbs over and over again, we see the idea that the wicked fall into the pit they dug for the righteous. Ps 7:15,16; 9:15,16; 35:8; 57:6; 94:23; Prov 5:22: 22:8; 26:27
5. Phil 1:12–Paul could rejoice about being in jail (that’s bad) because God made good out of it (the gospel was preached).
1. Look what the Cross has already meant for us as far as bringing genuine good out of genuine evil in your life.
2. You, a child of satan, became a child of God through the Cross.
a. You went from being an object of God’s wrath to being welcomed into His presence. Eph 2:3; Heb 4:14
b. You went from being an object of God’s wrath to standing in His grace and favor, holy and righteous. Rom 5:1,2; II Cor 5:20; Eph 4:24
3. You were genuinely evil, but because of the Cross, you are now genuinely good.
a. Eph 2:3–All of us used to be just as they are, our lives expressing the evil within us, doing every wicked thing that our passions or our evil thoughts might lead us into. We started out bad, born with evil natures, and were under God’s anger just like everyone else. (Living)
b. II Cor 5:21–For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God’s goodness into us. (Living)
c. I Cor 1:30–For it is from God alone that you have life through Christ Jesus. He showed us God’s plan of salvation; He was the one who made us acceptable to God; he made us pure and holy and gave himself to purchase our salvation. (Living)
4. Listen to Paul’s testimony about himself. I Tim 1:12-16
a. Paul went from a blasphemer and murderer to a preacher of the gospel.
b. His past was gone and did not plague him. II Cor 5:17; Phil 3:13; II Tim 1:3; I Thess 2:10
c. Notice, he is the pattern of what God has done for all of us.
5. Rom 8:31–If God is for us (and He is), nothing can be against us.
a. v28-30–Notice the context of this verse: what God accomplished through the Cross.
b. God’s plan before He formed the earth, His plan in creating man, was to have sons and daughters conformed to the image of Christ.
1. satan tempted Adam and Eve, and through their failure, the whole human race became a race of sinners — evil coming against God’s plan. Rom 5:12-18
2. satan inspired wicked men to crucify the Savior of the human race — evil coming against God’s plan.
3. But,,t in both cases, God beat the devil and the evil at its own game and brought tremendous good out of genuine evil through the Cross.
c. Now, something may come against us to thwart the plan and purpose of God for our lives, but if our sin and captivity to satan and death couldn’t stop God’s purpose, nothing else can either.
d. v33-39–No matter what it may look like, God can and will cause it all to serve His purposes and bring genuine good out of genuine evil in our lives.
e. v31–What shall we say to these things? In light of the example of the Cross, how shall we talk about the evil we see coming against us in our lives? In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him.
1. And, He already has a plan in mind to override the evil intent in every difficulty and cause it to work for you instead of against you, to result in good instead of evil.
2. Remember that as you face the hardships of life. Speak it out in the face of contrary physical evidence.
3. Let the Cross of Christ be an ever present encouragement to you that there is nothing that can come against you that is greater than God and what He has done for us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ — the greatest example of good coming out of bad.