Ephesians 5:18b, 19, 20 “be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,”
When the Jews sang in the synagogues, they tended to chant their songs. They used Psalms and other source material as their “song book.”
When the Hebrew religion ended by the death of Jesus upon the cross, a dramatic change was brought about in the way God wants to be worshiped.
When Jesus came and started His church, the music of worship also changed. The music of the early church was all vocal.
History: In Chapel Style
The word a-cappella is a very important word when we talk about the idea of history. Most of us have heard this word in our lives. Many of us understand it to mean “without instrumental accompaniment.” What most people don’t know is that a-cappella is an Italian expression that literally means “in chapel style.”
Over time the idea of “in chapel style” came to mean “without instrumental accompaniment.” That is because throughout most of Christian history the music heard in chapels, was without instrumental accompaniment; it was purely vocal.”
The Music of New Testament Worship
I refuse to worship God with musical instruments because my primary goal as God’s child, His slave and His worshiper is to please Him; and because He has not indicated that he would be pleased with a praise offering from a musical instrument. I will not make such an offering to Him.
Let’s Read our Bible a Minute
2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Ephesians 5:7-10;Colossians 1:9-10;Hebrews 13:15-16
See also I Thessalonians 4:1-2; I John 3:21-22 and I Timothy 2:1-3
And so we ask, who are we trying to please with our worship?
I want you to see that “pleasing God” must also be our bull’s eye in matters such as coming before God with our offering of praise.
Shouldn’t our first question be: “What can be done in worship to please God?”
God Has Told Us What Pleases Him
Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16
Ephesians 5:19 “addressing one another”
Colossians 3:16 “teaching and admonishing one another”
The instrument of music never fulfills the desires of God and the intention of singing. It is an addition to the Word as revealed to us through the Holy Spirit.
Singing involves the mind. And with our mind and our voices we speak to one another, we teach one another and we encourage one another.
The idea of “making melody” or “with thankfulness in your hearts to God” lets us know that we are to engage our minds when we are singing. Singing is not just about notes and pretty singing, but it is worship to God. Our worship partakes of the essence of God. Worship is making melody in our hearts.
Christians should emphasize music and realize that the worship of God involves spirituality and sincerity from the depths of their hearts. Music becomes vital as we enter into our worship. It is our own human response to God Almighty, and we cannot help but become better people when we sing and participate.
The Sound of Praise
Read Hebrews 13:15-16 God wants “the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name.” And we know, of course, that this phrase means heartfelt words of praise and thanks.
I Corinthians 14:15 Here Paul discusses how worship must come from both our spirit and our understanding.
Read also James 5:13 Also consider Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:18, 19 and Acts 16:25.
As we look at the expression in these verses we notice something. Expression like “singing…to God,” “singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord,” and “were praying and singing…to God.” Heartfelt singing and heartfelt praying are given “to God.” That’s an offering. That’s worship. And that obviously pleases God.
It hasn’t been specifically forbidden!
We can’t make assumptions about Worship and assume that we are pleasing to God. Can you read God’s mind? Are you a mind reader? Are you going to base your soul on what you feel?
We are under the New Covenant now, and under the New Covenant isn’t it true that God is only concerned with the worshiper’s heart?
Although pure motives and sincerity are without a doubt fundamental factors in how God responds to us, the Scriptures make it unambiguously clear that God is also concerned with our actions.
So please, do not try to have a relationship with God based on the false assumption that all God cares about is your heart—your motives and sincerity. He is also concerned about your actions.
People worshiped God with instruments in the O.T.
2 Chronicles 29:25 “for the command was from the LORD.”
Notice Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Certainly in Tabernacle worship they used a trumpet to call everyone together. When David was getting people ready for Temple worship, he was commanded to make instruments and add a chorus to the mix.
Consider this: If the O.T. was binding on us today, then why don’t we have an alter of acacia wood to burn incense to the Lord as commanded in Exodus 30:1? Why didn’t you bring your grain offering today made of unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil an a griddle to the Lord as commanded in Leviticus 2:4-9? Why didn’t you bring a bull or a sheep or a goat today to fulfill the required sacrifices as described in Leviticus 1:1ff.
Shouldn’t we be consistent with our arguments?
Because my ultimate desire in worship is to please God, I’ll keep opting for singing. The potential of displeasing God in worship is enough to keep me right where I am. As long as I continue to offer to God only those sacrifices of praise that He has specifically indicated are pleasing and acceptable to Him, I know that He will be pleased and that I will be pleasing.
Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that acknowledge His name.”
The death, burial and resurrection of Christ form the central theme of the gospel message.
Old Testament Roots
God commanded them to observe the Passover feast every year, to commemorate their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. (Exodus 12:1-13:10)
Read Matthew 26:26-28
Jesus became the sacrificial Lamb of Messianic deliverance. He gave His own body and blood as payment for our sin debt to deliver us from the bondage of sin and death. The simple elements He chose appropriately represent His sacrifice.
A Feast for a King
Jesus said that He would eat and drink a new feast with them when the kingdom came.
Jesus had promised that the kingdom would come in their lifetime (Mark 9:1). He had promised Peter the privilege of opening the doors of the kingdom, which He also called His church (Matthew 16:18, 19). Peter used the keys of the kingdom on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. He preached the first gospel sermon, which resulted in the first converts to Christianity (Acts 2:14-40).
The Lord’s Supper is a feast fit for a Messianic King and His subjects. This feast binds us together as one with each other and with the King. The feast around the Table of the Lord is “sharing in the blood of Christ” and “sharing in the body of Christ” (I Cor. 10:16).
We are invited (Christians) to this banquet for one purpose—to participate with Him and with each other in the event that brought about our victory over sin.
A Lord’s Day Supper
From their earliest beginnings, Christians assembled on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 2:42, 20:7). “Break bread” was a term often used for the practice of taking the Lord’s Supper. When Paul spoke of “the bread which we break” in I Corinthians 10:16, he was referring to part of the Lord’s Supper.
No evidence exists, in either Scripture or early church history, challenging the practice of Christians meeting together on the first day of the week to observe this sacred meal.
When are we to Eat and Drink?
The only Bible reference to the day that the Lord’s Supper was kept indicates that it was observed on Sunday—the first day of the week.
The church’s universal practice, following the period immediately after the apostles, was to observe the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, the first day of the week. This would indicate that Sunday was a day established by the apostles, whom the Spirit guided into all truth. Being helped by the Spirit, they were able to instruct the converts to observe all things Jesus had commanded them to teach.
When are we to Eat and Drink?
Christians met on Sunday each week. The purpose for their gatherings was to take the Lord’s Supper. Weekly observance must have been a pattern established by the apostles. Those today who want to continue in the apostles’ teaching should meet each Sunday in order to partake of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus.
Yes they met at other times, but the day they partook of the Lord’s Supper was Sunday, for on that day Jesus conquered death on behalf of mankind.
At the table, Christians experience both sorrow and joy.
Jesus wants us to remember not only what He has already done for us on the cross, but also what He is doing for us now as our King, High Priest, and Mediator. He also wants us to remember what He has promised in the future. 2 Timothy 2:11b, 12 “if we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.”
We are somber and reflective, we are joyful. Jesus paid our sin debt to set us free!
The bread and the fruit of the vine remind us of His sacrificed body and blood. He is our sacrificial Lamb. We participate together by giving thanks, as He gave thanks for the bread and the wine. We celebrate our deliverance. As we commune with Him and with each other, as members of one body, we reaffirm our unity and our support of one another.
Celebrate—but recognize that God is holy and pure, while we are sinful and frail. He is not like us, but He wants us to be like Him. The Lord’s Supper provides a perfect setting for us to exercise both reverence and joy.
The Lord’s Supper is Important
This is what binds us together and holds us together as one body. The Lord’s Supper is not just a ritual to be performed, but a meal to bring us together and enable us to commune with God and with each other.
The Pharisees were used to judging others self-righteously. Jesus said there are problems with that kind of judging. It’s overly critical, always going around with a nit-picking attitude, digging and searching for faults, always suspecting the worst.
What Jesus is talking about is a hasty, unloving, “holier than thou” type of attitude.
Whenever we make a judgment, we do so based on what we have seen and sometimes that’s not enough to provide the whole picture. Human judgment is limited to the information which we put into it and sometimes that isn’t enough to make an accurate judgment.
Searching For Specks Matthew 7:3-5
Bertrand Russell capsulated this hypocrisy when he said, “I am firm. You are obstinate. He’s pig-headed. I have reconsidered. You have changed your mind. He’s gone back on his word.“
We’re not qualified to sit in judgment on others because it’s impossible to be impartial — we’re influenced by our own imperfections.
When I spend my time pointing my finger at your sin, my attention is distracted from my own sins, and that’s the real danger of judging. We’re all sinners, and we’re to work together as a family to overcome our sins.
Helping Our Brother Matthew 7:5
Suppose a child comes to you with a splinter in his finger. He’s crying, “Please take this splinter out!” What’s the Christian thing to do? Leave the splinter there? No! You take the splinter out. So Jesus was saying there is a place for some discernment in people’s lives. If you see brothers or sisters who have specks in their eyes, you need to help them take it out!
The Right Way To Judge Matthew 7:6
Some believe that you can’t judge anyone else as being right or wrong and you have no right to condemn the way anyone is living. If you are doing that, you are wrong and that you shouldn’t live that way. Thus they practice the very thing they claim is wrong for others.
First Jesus says, “Don’t judge, don’t condemn.” Then, in the same breath, He says, “Make certain judgments concerning people and behavior.”
How can these two positions be reconciled? The two positions actually complement and limit each other perfectly. In the first statement, as we’ve already seen, Jesus condemns the critical, holier-than-thou, jumping to conclusions sort of judgment that the Pharisees were known for.
In this second statement, Jesus acknowledges the need for making decisions concerning people and behavior that is detrimental to our Christian lives.
In Matthew 7:1-6 we have a warning to avoid the extremes of judgment.
We need to be careful not to become harshly judgmental, looking for faults, taking the opportunity to look down on others from our position of self-righteousness.
But neither are we to overlook sin. We need to be able to recognize sin for what it is. Any attempt to overlook or justify sin on any grounds is itself sinful.
In John 8 We come to another story, the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery. Notice how Jesus demonstrates Matthew 7:1-6
Jesus refused to look down on her. He wouldn’t allow the mob to treat her as a thing. Rather He forced the mob to consider their own sin.
But, He didn’t justify her sin. He wouldn’t refer to her action as anything other than sin.
There are many concepts out there about the reality of Hell. Some profess to its reality and others claim that there is no such place. And the tragedy of our time is that most of those who are now living will go to hell.
But we must realize that the same Bible that tells us of this wonderful place called Heaven also tells us about the awful hell below.
Let’s look at some words translated Hell in our Bibles and then let’s talk about this place. There are three Greek words in the text of the Bible that are translated Hell.
- The first word translated Hell is Geennan or Gehenna. This word was originally used to describe the Valley of Hinnom, which was a deep and narrow valley in the South of Jerusalem.
The valley called Gehenna, was so called from the cries of the little children who were thrown into the fiery arms of Moloch as the Jews worshipped his idol and sacrificed their children to him. The faithful Jews so abhorred the place after these horrible sacrifices had been abolished by king Josiah (2 Kings 23:10), that they cast into it not only all manner of refuse, but even the dead bodies of animals and of unburied criminals who had been executed. Fires were always needed to be burning there to consume the trash and the dead bodies, and so the air was very tainted by the putrefaction.
You can imagine just what a terrible place it would be as the garbage dump would be crawling with insects and worms feeding and the fires burning. It’s disgusting to think about. This is the word the Jesus uses here to describe the place of eternal punishment for the wicked.
READ Mark 9:42-48 The word hell is the word Gehenna. Jesus wishes us to see just how terrible hell is.
2. The second word translated Hell is Hades. An example of this is found in Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The word Hadou or Hades is “the unseen world.” It is not so much a place as it is a state of being. Of course there is no possible way we can completely comprehend this concept, so we accept the fact that someday, unless Christ comes before you die, you wil be here and will know for yourself what it is really like.
Hades is the place where all the souls of the dead are to be found, whether good or bad. It is where we await the Final Judgment. There is one “part” (an inaccurate term, but the only one I can use to get across the idea) where the good are found and another “part” where the wicked are to be found.
But now, having said all that and having drawn that distinction, we need to realize that it is an actual place, and not much different from our final resting place either in heaven or hell.
There is just no way to really convey the dreadfulness of this place. It is beyond our human comprehension. But let me assure you that just one second in this place would convince anyone that he should flee to God at once.
Another verse that uses the word Hades is in Acts 2:27, it lets us know that Jesus was there for a short time after His death and before His resurrection.
And one of our favorite verses of hope and security also involves Jesus as He speaks to the thief on the cross. He says in Luke 23:43 “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Paradise is what Jesus calls the part of Hades we all want to be in.
3. The third word translated hell is what the Greeks and the Bible call Tartarus.
READ 2 Peter 2:4-10 The word hell in verse 4 is Tartarus.
Tartarus is a place of punishment for the spirits of the wicked dead, the other side of Hades, the opposite of Paradise. So Hades, often translated Hell, is the place everyone goes after death, awaiting the judgment. And we will be there either in Tartarus or paradise.
Remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus from Luke 16? The rich man ends us in Hades, being in torment. He was in Tartarus. What is Hell like?
- It is a place of Torment. There are no words in any language to adequately describe this torment. The Scriptures use the example of fire to try to covey the idea. The figure is a good one. If you have ever sustained a burn, you know how painful it can be. If you can, try to remember that pain. Then try to imagine what it would be like to be burned over every square inch of your body. And then finally, try to imagine what it would be like to be “burning up”–to have your soul eternally “on fire,” always burning, but never consumed.
Just thinking about this place will drive you insane. The want of relief, the desire to even have one drop of water is so great and yet, there is no way out once you are there.
2. It is a place of memory. In a way, even more hideous than the fact that this is a place of torment, is the fact that this is a place of memory.
There are people today who claim that there is no soul, no eternal part of man. How we would wish that to be true if we were in hell. But the truth is that after death, one is very conscious and very aware–of where you are, of all that is happening to us, and all of this is eternal.
Your spirit, or maybe we could call it your mind, when it is released from the flesh will gain in its capacity to understand. We will be in tune to the Omniscient and Omnipresent Mind of God (a wonderful situation if you are in the realm of the saved, but a horrid situation if you are in the realm of the doomed).
Again looking to the story of the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man was able to recognize Abraham, a man he had never seen before. He still had his memories, he remembered his brothers and their plight on earth. And these memories will never fade. Memories that will continue to haunt us unmercifully.
“Why didn’t I do that?” “Why did I go there?” “What was I thinking?”
Memory for the saved must be one of their greatest blessings. You can almost hear the praises and blessing as they give all glory to Jesus the Christ and God the Father.
3. It is a Permanent Place. Of course, all of this would be bearable if there were any hope at all of relief. If we could know that in a thousand years, or a million, or a billion, that there would be an end, then we could stand it one way or another. But this is not the case. This is the most permanent place.
Don’t believe those who tell you that they can get you out. That they can pray you out or be baptized for you to get you out of Hell. This is a place that shall never end–and those in it today will be in it tomorrow and they will be in it a hundred million years from now and a hundred million years from then. What a terrible thing people do when they tell others to “go to hell.” What an awful thing to wish upon another creature.
Now is the time to be concerned about Hell.
Until it happens we will never know just what a surprise it will be to die. We have so many plans. We are counting on doing so many things, and then–we are dead. Whether we like it or not, our work is done.
Are you concerned about your soul? Are you concerned about your children? your neighbor? your friend? Is there anyone who means anything to you?
You know that the Messiah died on the cross for all of us. He was willing to take the punishment, to bear the separation from the Father, to suffer emotionally and physically too. He is a wonderful Savior.
And surely if you want to respond to His call, you too can be a part of the saved.
And surly if you share His love with others there will be others who will want to be saved.
The conditions of salvation are simple. Trust in the sacrifice of Jesus. We call that Faith
Repent of your sins. Change your mind about who you are and what you are about.
Confess Jesus as Lord with your lips unto salvation.
Submit to Baptism where the blood of Jesus washes you clean.
Live in faith until you too die.
To those who once came to Jesus but have gone astray, we are told to come back to Him in repentance, confession and prayer. This sounds so simple and yet many will not do even this to escape Hell.
Hell is not a resort, a reform school or a playground. Hell is a place of punishment. Do everything you can to never go there.
Scripture makes several promises to God’s faithfulness that, if true, require that God is still at work on behalf of His children today. Notice the following promises.
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”
Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than may sparrows”
Remember when we took our time and looked at Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
I Corinthians 10:13 “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 the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
The lesson today centers around two main characters in our Bibles. They both lived during a time where the Israelite nation were facing possible extinction, and both times the people were saved. In each of these events God does not use miraculous means to save the people. What happens can best be described as providential.
Providence and Joseph
As we first look at the life of Joseph we acknowledge that some miracles were involved. Joseph’s prophetic dreams and his ability to interpret the prophetic dreams of others were miraculous. This event was miraculous because it could not have occurred naturally. In this case we go beyond “perhaps” to certainty because Scripture tells us God worked behind the scenes to make things happen.
READ Genesis 50:20
Let’s trace the story of Joseph. As things stand in chapter 50 Joseph was second in command only to Pharaoh in Egypt, and was in charge of distributing the large storehouses of grain that he had been accumulating. There is a widespread famine just as Joseph had miraculously predicted by interpreting Pharaoh’s dream.
Before Joseph could be the dream interpreter he was to meet a butler and a baker in prison. Here again he interpreted dreams of these men which soon took place. But Joseph was forgotten and let in prison.
If Joseph had not been in prison, the butler would not have known to recommend him to Pharaoh. As one consider it, it is quite unusual that the butler was reestablished as Pharaoh’s butler after he was released. But if he had not been, he would not have had the opportunity to tell Pharaoh of Joseph, who had correctly interpreted his dream. But if he had not been restored, the butler would not have had the opportunity to tell Pharaoh of Joseph, who had corrected interpreted his dream.
Joseph would not have been in prison had it not been for Potiphar’s wife. She lied about him and accused him of rape when it had been her failed attempts to seduction that made her husband Potiphar put him in jail. We wonder, why was not Joseph killed for this crime? Could it be that Potiphar had faith in Joseph to the amount that he doubted his wife’s story, but to save face he had him interned? The overall effect of Joseph’s character and integrity, which had so impressed Potiphar before likely had an effect on the situation. (Genesis 39)
Joseph would not have been in Egypt had it not been for his brothers having sold him into the caravan of traders. And had they not arrived at the time when Reuben was away he probably would have been pulled out of the pit and sent home. (Genesis 37)
And Joseph would not have been in this circumstance had he not shared with his brothers and father his dreams. And perhaps his dreams would not of had the same effect if he had not received the status of “favorite son” and the multi-colored coat.
A whole set of remarkable events, some would say coincidence-some good, some related to the integrity of Joseph, some related to the evil of others–all worked together to put Joseph in position to save his family from the famine.
But what was Joseph thinking as he lived these events? Was he surprised that no one came and saved him from the Ishmaelite traders? After many months working for Potiphar did he think no one cared. WE get a glimpse into his mind in Genesis 41:51, 52 when he names his sons. “Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house. The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
Only later in chapter 50:20 that we read earlier do we realize that Joseph finally understood what was happening to him. God had a hand in these “coincidences,” overruling the jealous brothers intent and using even their sinfulness to accomplish His purposes. The providence of God worked for the good of god’s people in the life of Joseph.
Providence and Esther
The key verse in this set of circumstances is found in (READ) Esther 4:14. “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a times as this?”
To give a quick overview of the book we first notice that the King, King Ahasuerus was in conflict with his Queen, Queen Vashti. She refused to allow herself to be paraded in front of a lot of drunken men and so she was quickly removed from her position.
King Ahasuerus then is advised to find a new Queen. And so all of the beautiful young virgins are gather together into a harm in Susa where the king would then “interview” all of these women until he found one suitable to be the Queen. From this process a new Queen was chosen, a Jewish maiden named Esther.
Esther has a cousin named Mordecai. Mordecai who was also in the Persian empire because his family had been taken away into captivity. This man Mordecai that a favorite prince of the King (Haman) has made a plot to destroy the Jews who lived in Persia. So he goes to Esther and encourages her to influence the king and stop the slaughter.
A series of events take place where the man Haman, the prince who has the king’s ear, goes from most favored to the subject of the kings wrath. While this is happening, the events lead not to a day where the Jews will be destroyed, but to a day when the Jews can defend themselves and destroy their enemies.
Despite the fact that no mention of God or of any explicit act of God is mentioned in the book of Esther, there are inspired indications that God’s providential hand was at work. When Mordecai was sending word to Esther, pleading with her to intervene, he sent this word:
“Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews, For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13, 14
Mordecai was aware of the promises God had made to the Jews since the time of Abraham and of the steadfast love of God that ensured His promised would be kept. Somehow in God’s providence, the Jews would be spared to fulfill their role and bless all the families of the world through the promised Messiah.
God has at times saved His people in miraculous ways. We are reminded of the time when in Isaiah 37 the angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. There was nothing left for Sennacherib king of Assyria to do but to depart and go home after such a miraculous defeat.
In the narrative of Esther is was through a string of remarkable “coincidence” that we say were not coincidental but providential, relief came to the Jews. We see a king who cannot sleep reading how Mordecai saved him from assignation. There is Haman falling into the lap of Esther pleading for his life at the “right moment” for the king to see. God was working and as Mordecai said, “relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews” (Esther 4:14).
For us today, God is still keeping watch above His own. Any one of us at any time could be in a situation that could call for a faithful, effective action on our part to bring about God’s will for His church. Who knows whether we may have come to the kingdom for just such a
Providence, refers to God’s seeing what we need before we need it—and then providing for that need.
Romans 8:28 is the key verse today.
Certainly God Loves Us
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
God has granted us “precious and very great promises” 2 Peter 1:4
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
“We Know” Romans 8:28
Many of us have experiences that validate this promise.
Romans 8:28 does not say that God made me get sick, be in a car accident, or lose that job. Bad things happen for a variety of reasons.
“Time and chance happen to them all” Ecclesiastes 9:11
“For Those Who Love God”
God has “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” 2 Timothy 1:9
Romans 8:28 is not a promise, therefore, that everything always works out great for everybody. It is a specific promise of something God does for His faithful children.
These words immediately precede a panoramic description of redemption from God’s perspective: Read verses 28-30
Nothing that can happen to a faithful child of God is beyond the power of God to cause or to produce a blessing. So I believe that we can apply “all things” to “all things.”
It may take a comprehensive view of many events over several years to see clearly how things have worked together for good.
Patience is great, it is a virtue. We need to learn to wait and see what the Lord has in store for us. Certainly it will all work together for us.
What we might define as good and what God might define as good may not always be the same. We might be thinking of what is good in the short run, whereas God might be working toward our eternal good.
Romans 8:28 is a promise made by a God “who never lies” (Titus 1:2). He will fulfill it.
This verse makes sense, but only to those who are called according to His purpose.
When calamity somehow turns out to bring unexpected blessing, we can “perhaps” attribute it to the providence of God. But whatever may be true in an individual instance, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good” Romans 8:28
This verse makes sense, but ONLY to those who are called according to His purpose. While all are called, not everyone will receive the free gift of Grace. When we answer the call, we become one who receives this great Promise of Good.