August 9, 2020

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit



Old Testament Lesson; 1 Kings 3:5-12

Gospel Lesson; Matthew 13:44-52                             

Sermon Text; Romans 8:28-30


The portion of God's Word that we will focus on today is taken from Romans, chapter eight, looking at verses 28 through 30. 

This is God's Word


We know all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose, because those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those He predestined, He also called.  Those He called, He also justified.  And those He justified, He also glorified.


These are your words, Heavenly Father.  Lead us in the way of truth.  Your Word is truth.



I am going to be talking about three things, today.  The first is this. 

        -All things work together for the good.  Notice it does not say all things are good.  It says, “...all things work together for the good...”

In 1832 there was a French man by the name of Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, who was on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea.  That is when one of the passengers on that ship contracted a contagious disease.  Because of that, the whole ship was quarantined.  (Does that sound familiar?)

Well, here is what happened.  While the ship was quarantined, Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, who was a French engineer, picked up a book that he became very enthralled with.  That book happened to talk about the logistics of building a canal, (specifically to connect The Mediterranean Sea to The Red Sea).

And so it happens, thirty-seven years later, under his direction, the Suez Canal was completed - all because of a quarantine.

Or, consider this.  In 1818 there was a young boy by the name of Louis, in France.  His dad was a harness maker.  He loved his dad, and loved hanging out with him in his shop.  Louis said, “Dad, I want to be just like you.”
So, Louis' dad said, “Well, let's have you start making some harnesses.” 

Louis' dad cut out some leather, and told his son, “Here is an awl, and here is a hammer.  I want you to punch out these certain portions of the leather.  But, be careful.”
Louis did not strike the awl perfectly.  It slipped out of hand, and the awl hit his eye.  And, he was instantly blind in that eye.  And sometimes, as is the case, when you get an infection in one eye, because our eyes are tied together, that infection can go over to the other eye.  In time, he was blind in both eyes.

A little over ten years after that, Louis came up with a system of reading with your fingers, as your hands go over bumps on a page.  You may have guessed it, that Louis' last name was Braille.  He came up with a system for visually impaired people to be able to read. 

Now, in both of those instances, I am talking about something that turned out for the good, physically.  With Louis, it was something he came upon, because of an accident that happened to his eyes.

Today, I want us to think about this from a spiritual perspective.  Again it doesn't say all things are good.  But,

“...all things work together for the good...”

There is a Jewish proverb that says,

All that the Almighty does

He does for good.

One of the sections in scripture I love to go to, to talk about this, is the life of Joseph.  Joseph was one of twelve brothers.  Most of them were older than he, but one was younger.  When Joseph was seventeen years old, Joseph's dad said, “Go, bring some food to your brothers who are tending the sheep.”
So, he did that.

As he was coming toward them, (his brothers hated him, and wanted to put him to death) the oldest brother said, “Let's not put him to death.  Let's thrown him down in to a pit, and we will just tell Dad he died.”  He was trying to save his brother's life.  

Well, he stepped away for a little bit, and the rest of the brothers sold Joseph in to slavery.  Can you imagine your siblings selling you in to slavery?

Joseph ended up in Egypt.  He ended up in Potiphar's house.  He was doing wonderful things, and then that is when Potiphar's wife wanted to sleep with Joseph. 

Joseph said, “How could I do such a wicked thing, and sin against God?”

Potiphar heard about this, and Joseph ended up in prison. 

While Joseph was in prison, he came in contact with a couple of people who later on told Pharaoh about Joseph.  Joseph did great things for Pharaoh telling him about a famine that was coming.  “We need to save grain, now.”  And, that is exactly what happened.  Scripture tells us Joseph was second in command in all of Egypt, only behind Pharaoh. 

When the famine came, he provided for the needs of the Egyptians, the others around the world.  That is when Joseph's brothers came.  Joseph's brothers came to get grain.  After the second visit, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers.   “I am your brother.” 

Initially, they were like, “Oh no.  He is going to take revenge against us.”

But, here is what Joseph said.  “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, the saving of many people.”  Not just from a physical perspective, but also from a spiritual perspective.  You see, Joseph's brothers came to get grain.  And, the greatest person for us to focus on there is Joseph's brother, Judah, whom Jesus would be a descendent of.   The line of the Savior was kept in tack.  And so, when Joseph said, “The saving of many people”, that includes you and that includes me. 

Now, because of the pandemic we are living through, sometimes we can whine and complain about those things we are limited to.  Or, we may whine and complain about those things we cannot do.  But remember what we are talking about today. 

“...all things work together for the good...”

Really, we should be asking the question, “What good is going to come about as a result of this?”
And yet, we can let worry and fear control our lives. 

Now, I don't need to tell you this.  You see this every day, whether you watch the news, or read the newspaper.  Every portion of the world, right now has a common problem.  That common problem is Covid 19.  There is not one corner of the world that is spared from this, right now. 

But, I stand before you today, and tell you something else you already know.  There is a greater problem than Covid 19 that the whole world has. 

The greater problem is sin. 

Now, earlier in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul put it this way.  “All have sinned...”

He doesn't just say, “this group of people”, or “that part of the world”.  He says, “All” You, me, everybody - all have sinned.

In Romans, chapter five, the Apostle Paul puts it this way.

“Sin entered the world through one man (that is Adam)

and death through sin. 

In this way death came to


because ALL sinned.”

Again, it is not just one part of the world.  It is not just one group of people.  It is me.  It is you.  It is everybody.  All have sinned.

And so, we get to ask the wonderful question.  “What good is going to come about, as a result of this?”  The good thing that came about, as a result of this is, God in His love for you and for me, and for THE WORLD, sent His Son, Jesus.  Jesus was born, as a human being to be our redeemer.  That means, simply,

-Jesus has bought us back from that sin. 

-Jesus has bought us back from death. 

-Jesus has bought us back from the power of the devil.

- Through Jesus, God has justified you.  (I will touch base on that word in just a little bit.)  He has justified you.  He has proclaimed you, and me to be not guilty.  He proclaimed you, and me to be righteous.

And so, because of that, (part two, the second part for today), because of what God has done for us, He now wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son. 

I really want to drill down on this word, 'conform' here.  It comes from the Greek word, 'sym morphe'.  So, it is a prefix, and a root word.  The prefix is 'sym' or, 'syn'.  Think of some of our English words.  Synonym- words that are similar to one another.  Symphony – instruments that play together in harmony with one another.  Synchronize – things that work together.  'Sym morphe'to be conformed, to be together as a form, or to be alike, or to be similar.  Knowing what God has done for us in Jesus, God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son. 

We might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.  That is going to happen in the future, right?  That is going to happen, when we get to Heaven.” 

That is a true statement.  Philippians three puts it this way. 

“He will transform our lowly bodies

to be like Jesus' glorious body.”

But God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son, here and now. 

-Earlier in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul talks about how our baptism conforms us to the image of God's Son. 

-Today I want to remind us that we are conformed to the image of God's Son through His Word. 

-I am going to put in a 'little plug' for The Lord's Supper, as well.  Next week we are going to be celebrating The Lord's Supper, here at Holy Cross.  Now, I am not mandating this.  I am not mandating this, but I am encouraging this.  If we are conformed to the image of God's Son, a real encouragement (if you are comfortable) is to come to The Lord's Supper, to receive Jesus' body and blood for the forgiveness of sins, so we can be conformed to the image of God's Son.

The third thing I want to talk about today.  Five Greek verbs.  Five verbs in the Greek language are in the 'aorist indicative'.  (Don't look at your watch.  Don't go grab a cup a coffee.  Stay on the couch, and wait with me just a little bit longer, here.)  Five Greek verbs, and all very interesting.  They are in the 'aorist indicative'.  That means 'they indicate a past action'.  In English we talk about verbs that are past, and present, and future.  The 'aorist indicative' all indicates past action.  So, look at these five verbs.  In English we would say two happened in the past, two happened in time, and one happens in the future.  But, the Greek says these all happened in the past.

“God foreknew” you

and God “predestined” you.

That was something that happened before time. 

And look now at what has happened in time. 

God has “called” you by the Gospel. 

God has “justified” you through His Son, Jesus. 

That means He proclaims us to be not guilty for Jesus' sake.

Usually we think in terms of our being glorified as something that happens in the future. 

We will be “glorified”.  

But, the Greek here says it is an action that has happened in the past.  It is as if it is a completed act, already.

You see, with these five verbs you can't just take one, and not the other.  You can't take a couple, and say they don't all apply, because they are all connected together.  Someone once called these five verbs The Golden Chain of our Redemption, because they are all linked together.  If the two that happened in time took place – your being called by the Gospel, your being justified, it means the first two happened.  It means the last one has already happened.  You see, you have the ultimate treasure right now.  It is like the man in our Gospel Lesson who found that treasure buried in the field.  He sold all he had so he could buy that field, and have that treasure.  You have that ultimate treasure, right now. 

In our Catechism, one of the questions that is asked, and answered is this question.

Can a person know whether they are one of the elect?

The answer that is given in our Catechism is,
Yes, whenever one hears the Gospel, and trusts in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins, that person can be confident he is one of the elect.

It is this portion of scripture, from Romans, chapter eight, verses twenty-eight to thirty, that is the proof passage for that section.  We have the ultimate treasure.

I close with this thought.  C.S. Lewis, the famous writer once said, “The word that is going to be used most often by people, when they get to Heaven is the word 'Oh'.  'Ohhhhh, now I get it.  Now I understand.  God, all of those trials I was going through in life, all of those struggles, oh, I get it!  God you were using that for my good.'”

...all things work together for the good

of those who love God...”

Remember you have the ultimate treasure!



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.  As it was in the beginning.   Shall be now, and forever more.