OceanSide church of Christ
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REASONS BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
Reasons #16 and #17
Victor M. Eskew
A. When the prophets saw the kingdom of God, they saw a kingdom that would grow and expand.
1. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths… (Isa. 2:3).
2. …and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Isa. 2:3).
B. The parables of Jesus reveal unto us an expanding kingdom.
1. The parable of the mustard seed (Matt. 13:31-32).
…which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
2. The parable of the leaven (Matt. 13:33).
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
C. In the book of Acts, we see the kingdom of God rapidly expanding from the capital city of the Jews, Jerusalem, to the capital city of the Roman Empire, Rome.
D. It should be our desire for the kingdom of God to spread far and wide. This, however, does not always happen.
1. In the United States, we seem to be in a period of stagnation right now.
2. The Scriptures teach that sometimes it takes bad things happening to good people in order for evangelistic efforts to expand.
I. BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO EXPAND OUR EVANGELICAL EFFORTS.
A. “God knows that the best way to get the attention of a seeker is not necessarily by having his children live pain-free lives. One of the best ways to get the attention of sincere spiritual seekers is for them to see a Christian suffering triumphantly” (21 Reasons, Earley, 135).
B. Three Bible examples:
1. The early church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1, 3-4)
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles...As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and woman committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.
2. Paul and Barnabas imprisoned in Philippi
a. The brutal treatment of these two men of God (Acts 16:22-24).
And the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
b. The two men remained steadfast in their service while in prison (Acts 16:25).
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
c. The events of that night eventually led to the conversion of the Philippian jailor and his household (Acts 16:30-34).
3. Paul tells of the success of the gospel while he was imprisoned in a Roman prison (Phil. 1:12-14).
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; and many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confi-dent by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
a. The Roman soldiers and their families
b. The brethren who were encouraged by Paul’s example became bold in their preaching of the Word of God.
c. Perhaps even the enemies of God’s people were amazed at the courage of those who were facing persecution and stood fast.
II. TO PROMOTE US TO GREATER GLORY
A. One of the worst things we believe that we can experience is death. We might say: “Death is awful. I don’t want to think about it.”
B. The Bible doesn’t picture the death of the righteous as something that is terrible.
1. Psalm 116:5
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
2. Philippians 1:21
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
3. Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
C. When a person dies, we often long to have them back. If they did return, would we want their life to be different?
1. Free from pain? This is in heaven (Rev. 21:4).
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
2. A new body? This will eventually be theirs to enjoy (II Cor 5:1-4).
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do grown, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
3. A beautiful home? This, too, is part of heaven (John 14:1-3).
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
D. “Think about it. When Christians die, they don’t pass away; they go on ahead. They don’t leave home; they go home. They don’t pass on; they are promoted up. They do not leave the land of the living to enter the land of the dying. No. They leave the land of the dying to enter the land of the living (21 Reasons, Earley, 139-140).
A. Perhaps the church is in need of some persecution in order for Christians to get serious in their spread of the gospel of Christ.
B. Let’s not think of death as something so evil. For the child of God, it is a promotion to greater glory (Phil 1:23).
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.