By Lester Roloff (1914-1982)
(1914 - 1982)
Founder of "Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises, Inc."
The Bible says "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17) That includes America. She has forgotten God and everybody knows it. She hates God. She hates Jesus. Hates the Word of God.
College campuses are places of immorality and sin and filth and infidelity. The Bible also says, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34) So we live under reproach tonight, but I have good news.
I have wonderful news for those of us who believe the Word of God. I suppose that for the Christian, the great smorgasbord verse of the Bible is Romans 8:28. You've got to figure out who said this and how come him to say this and who he said it to.
You've heard me say, my old daddy, when he went to the old fashioned country telephone many years ago, after four rings on 187 had sounded, he picked up that receiver on the left and put it to his ear and got up to the mouthpiece and said loud enough to hear him up at the neighbor's home, "Hello!"
And the next question my daddy would ask was, "Who's doing the talking?" He wanted to know who was talking to him. Brother, I want to know who's doing the talking, and I have found out. It's the Lord!
You listen to me a minute. He said, "We KNOW . . ." That's certainty, that's permanent. He didn't say, "We think" or "We presume or imagine or We could wish." He said, "And we KNOW." And I want to know what he knows.
There are a heap of people living in the world who think they know. That's not enough for me. The greatest preacher who ever lived, outside of Jesus, said, "I KNOW." ". . . I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." (1st Timothy 1:12)
Then he said in Romans 8:28 "And we KNOW that ALL things . . ." That's a lot, isn't it. There are a heap of things going on down here, and he said that we know that ALL things work together for good.
We might as well admit that life is a series of things and happenings and experiences and day by day steps, and yet Paul is saying, by the Holy Spirit, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."
One of the considerations in this message is, "Do you really love God?" I'm not talking about loving the church and your denomination. There's no need you wasting your love on that, because that's passing. I'm talking about the permanent. If you get tied onto a denomination or even a church or on some things that ought not to be the object of your love, you'll wind up discouraged.
When you get through analyzing Romans 8:28, here are some of the things you will see. In the first place, he said, "We KNOW. And we know that ALL things, and we know that they work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose".
That means the people in the will of God and who have the purpose of God in their soul. I might as well just go ahead and say it, because it's the truth. This verse does not apply to just the preacher or the average church member. And there's no need to try to make Romans 8:28 work in the average life, because it won't work.
There has to be, first of all, regeneration, no condemnation, there has to be real justification, there has to be sanctification, there has to be an impossible separation and there has to be a certain glorification. All of these things are written down in Chapter 8 of the Book of Romans.
But notice, he said we have some limitations, even after regeneration. He doesn't say that we become perfect as soon as we get saved, but we get on the trail that heads in that direction. He said in verse 27, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
The Holy Spirit always prays in the will of God. He never prays against the will of God. John 15:7 tells us "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
Romans 8:28 is a passage that works for the will of God's people and the purpose of God's people and the people who love God. If we are in love with the world and the junk that is in the world, then don't expect Romans 8:28 to work in your life.
I know that we use this as sort of a hiding place and a springboard and everything else, because somebody gets killed or dies a little early and they say, "Well, Romans 8:28." I'm thinking of one man in particular. He ate himself to death. He won every eating contest he ever entered, and of course he died before he was old enough to die, but he died.
Then the wife looked at me and said, "The will of the Lord has been done." No, it wasn't the will of the Lord for him to kill himself. He committed suicide. I really get sort of tired of people blaming everything on the will of God.
When you walk and live in the will of God, Romans 8:28 is going to hatch out the best for you, and that includes the sunshine, as well as the shadows and the rain. When our hearts and lives are hid away in the purpose of God Himself, and when the will of God is our divine object in life, you put it down, things are going to work out for good.
Paul, bless his sweet memory, said to the brethren one day, "I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the Gospel." (Philippians 1:12)
Paul got word that the people at the church over at Ephesians had had their faith shaken in the Lord because he had so many knots on his head and had so many stripes on his back. Paul looked at them through the letter that he was writing and said, "You know, fellows, it's hard to understand why y'all are about to faint because of my tribulations.
I'm making it just fine." Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." (Ephesians 3:13-19a)
And he wound up that great chapter and said, Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."
Paul knew what he was talking abut. He was not illiterate concerning spiritual things. If there has ever been a man who lived who had a right to question the goodness of God, on the outside, it would have been Paul.
He said over in Philippians 3:7, “ . . . What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ . . . for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
Now, where did Romans 8:28 get started? It had to start on the Damascus Road. Paul got the credentials, he got the papers, he got them sealed and put them in his pocket and headed for Damascus to kill Christians.
He met Jesus Christ and that's where Romans 8:28 went into effect (for him.) "All things work together for good." That's where he met Jesus and was saved. Dear Friends, if you and I knew tonight what he knew, there would never be another worry, another day of anxiety or another fear for our life. Most Christians, including some preachers, live in constant fear.
Now the Number One question is, Do you know that you love Him? Number Two. Do you know that you are in the will of God? Do you know that the purpose of God is being carried out in your life? That's the secret of it all.
Romans 8:28 never works in a critic or complainer's or a murmurer's life. If you sit around wondering when the Lord is going to get you out of this, He won't. But if you will just go ahead and enjoy the circumstances and climb on top of them, God will take care of all the situation. While they were in jail, Silas asked Paul, "How do you think it's going to work out?" "I don't know, but in the meantime we'll be praying. Let's pray now." They prayed and then Paul said, "Silas, do you feel like singing?" He said, "Yes sir. I'll sing." So they began to sing.
The Bible says they prayed and sang. It didn't say they sang and prayed. A lot of people try to sing without praying and you can't do it. A lot of people think that singing is as important as praying. It's not.
After Paul and Silas prayed and sang a while, they felt the building shaking and saw the doors falling ajar. It was a stormy night. The old jailer started to commit suicide, But Paul said, "Hold it. Do thyself no harm. We are all here."
And the jailer came and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved, And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ . . ." and the old boy believed. When the jailer took Paul and Silas home for breakfast and was washing their bloody backs, he said, "Fellows, I'm sorry. I didn't know any better. My, I wouldn't have done this for anything. Silas said, "That's all right. This is all a part and purpose of God to get you saved. We don't mind these stripes." Then he looked at Paul again and said, "You know, I believe Romans 8:28 really does work!"
Folks, do you believe this is just a wild theory and something to preach about, or will it work? Would you be willing to let Romans 8:28 really work in your life? Do you believe that the same God who saved Paul would work out things for you in your life and home if you would be willing to love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength and all that is within you? Just say "Lord, I want You to order my steps out of the Book, and I will delight in Your wonderful way."
But that's not all. I believe this same old rugged prophet of God after he had been jailed beaten, whipped and received 195 lacerations, could look away toward Glory and said, "I KNOW whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." (2nd Timothy 1:12b)
Your life is completely and permanently immortal until the will of God is finished in your life. There is no way on earth that the devil and his crowd in hell can stop you until the will of God is finished, as long as you are walking in the will of God.
Satan might hinder, but he can't stop you. Paul said one day, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy." (Acts 20:24a)
Then in to the next city he went to preach, telling the sweet story. He practiced Romans 8:28 every day he lived, unafraid. He refused to give up or to let up or to back up until that day when he was caught up to be with the Lord.
One of the things that grieves me is that so many people have never found the will and purpose of God for their lives. But, of course they MUST have an experience with Jesus Christ and must know Him as their personal Saviour.
When Paul came to the close of the journey, they said "You'd better get ready. the chopping block days are just ahead." And Paul said, "I am ready now." When the fellows came with an old axe, Paul voluntarily laid his head on the block and winked at Brother Luke and said, "I'll see you in the morning. I'm going Home. It's been a wonderful trip. I've enjoyed every step of the journey and I just want to say Romans 8:28 has been a wonderful experience all the way."
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose."
Paul also said, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ, Neither death nor life nor powers or principalities nor things present or things to come, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35,38,39)
If Romans 8:28 ever worked, it will work right now. It will bless your life and strengthen you with the strength that you need in these closing end-time convulsive days when many are turning back. We need to come to this Book and memorize it and hide it in our heart, that we might not sin against God, and Jesus will meet our every need.