SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20110904: "Joy In Adversity"

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          Yesterday was a day of ADVERSITY. The hydraulic brake lines  on the ministry truck broke. They were completely rusted out. One of my halfway house men, Chris committed himself to repairing it. We started with Autozone parts. Over and over, we returned to Autozone to get the correct parts. Back and forth, so many times I lost count, getting tools and trying to get the right parts.

          During the project, I noticed a great deal of water coming from my car. I drove it home and inspected it closer. The water pump went out on the Dodge. At the end of a seven hour struggle, we had no hydraulic lines installed and no Dodge. AutoClub hauled it to my mechanics in Greenville.

          Now I have ONLY ONE CAR for all the family's projects. There is an occasion for thankfulness:

1) The truck brakes didn't go out on the freeway with a 300 brickload in the back; and

2) My volunteers installed another 300 bricks in the driveway.


          This morning I'd like to share three stories with you about people who went through incredible adversity. See if you can identify them.


1. This child was born in Port Huron, MI, and was estimated to have an IQ of 81. He had withdrawn from school after three months and was considered backward by school officials. The child enrolled two years late due to scarlet fever and respiratory infections, and he was going deaf. His emotional health was poor. He was stubborn and aloof, showing very little emotion. He liked mechanics, and he liked to play with fire, burning down his father's barn. He showed some manual dexterity but used very poor grammar. However, he did want to be a scientist and a railroad mechanic.

Who was he? Thomas Alva Edison, reputedly the greatest inventor of modern times.



Joy in adversity, Sermon Starter, cont.


2. By the age of 10, both of his parents had died. He was raised reluctantly by an older brother who resented another mouth to feed. His wife died after 13 years of marriage. Of 20 children from two marriages, ten of them passed away while still infants. One died in his 20's, and one was mentally deranged. Eventually, this outstanding musician went blind and was paralyzed with a stroke. Did this man forsake faith in God?

Who was he? Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest composer of classical religious music.


3. He dropped out of grade school and was home schooled. He ran a country store but went broke and it took 19 years to pay off all his bills, but he did pay them off. He had a law firm, but his partner ran off and left him with debts. He was married, but his marriage flopped. His wife came down with mental illness and paranoia. He had a son who was physically weak and died at a young age. He ran for political office four times, twice for the house and twice for the senate, and lost all four times. Ultimately, he held office but was despised by half the country. Satirists and newsmen derided him on an almost daily basis. Most audiences felt his speeches were hum-drum. His classic speech was met with indifference.

Who was he? Abraham Lincoln.

Peter Marshall Quote

Peter Marshall describes the early persecution of believers like this:

"They were thrown into prison and made the cell a pulpit and the dungeon a choir. Stoned, they rose from the dust bleeding and bruised but with a more convincing testimony. Wounded with whips, they praised God all the more. Nothing could stop them. The Romans made human torches of believers to light the arenas on their holidays, yet in death these Christian martyrs made converts through their strange preaching. Hunted and persecuted, thrown to the lions, tortured and killed, still the numbers who made the sign of the cross grew and grew."




Sheepfold Ministries, September 4, 2011

Pastor Phil Roland


ROMANS 5:1-9

“Adversity when it is played out produces character, Joy in adversity is a choice. Make a conscious decision: when adversity comes, and it will, decide to respond with joy.”                                                                 Pastor Phil


“. . .the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10b


“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” James 1:2


"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. "Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt. 5:11,12



“A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.”



“A figure of speech that combines contradictory terms.”




“knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” vs. 3,4

            A. Healthy People learn from life experience

B. Universal Law of Sowing Reaping – Gal. 6:7

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he

  will also reap.”

                        1. Life in the physical world is predictable

                        2. Life is similar in the spiritual world

C. The Simple Fool Naively Repeats their Mistakes  – Prov. 12:15

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his


                        1. D.A.A.R. – “Dumb As A Rock”

                        2. Unteachable and Cannot Learn - Prov. 22:3

“A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass

  on and are punished.”

                        3. Caught by their Own Consequences – Prov. 1:32

“For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the

              complacency of fools will destroy them;”

D. The Scorning Fool Cannot receive a Rebuke – Prov. 9:7,8

"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. 8  Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.”

1. Mockers are never wrong, and cannot be corrected

JOY IN ADVERSITY, cont., p. 2


2. They have no insight capability, no mirror to see themselves

3. They give full vent to their anger – Prov. 29:11

"A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

E. Unhealthy people repeat their mistakes




“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

            A. Both HEBREW AND GREEK Agree on DISCIPLINE

                        1. "Discipline has to do with "Instruction"

                        2. "Correct," "Rebuke," "Instruct"

                        3. The "Rod of Correction" is NOT necessarily something

                                    you hold in your hand to beat a child

                        4. It is a consistently applied Rule of Instruction/Correction

                        5. Surface reading the text leads to Child Abuse

            B. "Stipulation" is a way of changing the meaning of a word

                        1. Chastening is Correcting - Proverbs 3:12

                                "For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in

                         whom he delights."

                        2. When we receive Correction, we perceive as Painful

                        3. That's why Hebrews 12:5,6 uses "Chains" and "Whips"

                        "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to

                        sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be

                        discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD

                        loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."

                        4. Our Non-Spiritual, Carnal Reaction to God's Correction

            C. When we are Corrected by God, "Count it all Joy. . ."          

                        (See Peter Marshall Quote)




"But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold."

            A. Joy in Adversity helps us to stay True to the Foundation

            "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is

            Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver,

            precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for

            the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will

            test each one's work, of what sort it is." 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (NKJV)

                        1. Our Foundation is Jesus Christ

                        2. Our adversities are Overcome By and Through Him

            B. Joy Aids us in Persevering Through Trials - James 1:12

            "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has

            stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to

            those who love him."


JOY IN ADVERSITY, cont., p. 3


                        1. We stay focused on our Goals

                        2. We receive the Victor's Crown (Olympic Language)

            C. Test the Trial, see if God is in it - 1 Thess. 5:21

            "Test everything. Hold on to the good."




            A. Adversity and Trials Reveal who we are

                        1. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"

                        2. Adversity can turn us toward God or away from Him

          B. When Adversity comes many will turn away

                        1. Eg. The Flower Children of the Late 60's

                        2. "Get High on Jesus!" "He's a natural high!"

                        3. The Winds of Adversity came and they blew away

                        4. Their Trials didn't turn them TO God, but AWAY from Him

          C. Adversity comes and becomes a Bit in the Horse's Mouth

            "Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn                their whole body."     James 3:3 (NKJV)

                        1. James is referring to the sanctified tongue, given to God

                        2. Most of us get "mouthy" in adversity

                        3. Be careful not to curse God's sanctified work in you

                        4. Allow your Trials to Turn your Tongue to Expressions of Joy

                        5. PRAISE GOD, ANYHOW!










Romans 5:1-9

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

2  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;

4  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

5  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

6  For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

8  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
















Don't short-cut God when you experience adversity.

Ask him, "Lord, what do you want to teach me?"

 Use it as an opportunity to grow.

          Do as Charles Darrow and his wife did who themselves suffered tremendous adversity. They accepted adversity as part of life and refused to allow it to steal their joy. They worked through it, and God helped them. They learned through this situation, and they kept laughing.

          Back in 1932 was out of a job and broke, and his wife was expecting a baby. Although he was a heating engineer, there were no jobs available and Darrow and his wife were just barely subsisting on the few odd jobs he could get as a handyman. Things were bleak. Fate didn't reckon with the courage of this man and his wife, however.

          They laughed at it, literally. In the evenings, to take their minds off their troubles, they made a little game in which they could pretend they were millionaires, recalling pleasant vacations in nearby Atlantic City. They reconstructed the area adjoining the boardwalk. Darrow carved hotels and houses out of small pieces of wood, and they called the game "Monopoly." Three years later, in 1935 the game was marketed by Parker Brothers, and Darrow and his wife became millionaires because they allowed adversity to make them instead of break them.

When you face adversity, are you going to allow it to break you or make you?

It's your choice.


Joni Erickson Tada Illustration

Larry King hosted Joni Erickson Tada, who I think more than any of us has experienced adversity in her life. Larry asked her where was God in the events of September 11. Here's her response:

"Where was God? That's a question I can identify with. Like I told my friend Steve at the time of my diving accident when I broke my neck, I felt that God had turned his back on me. I was only 17 years old and I imagined that God had become distracted by the prayers of people with cancer, diabetes or divorce. Where in the world was He? After 35 years living as a quadriplegic, I learned that God permits what he hates in order to accomplish those things that he loves. If evil men perpetuate evil crimes, God admits this under restraint and channels it in such a way as to promote his good and his gospel.

 Lamentations 3: 21-23 expresses this well:

"This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Through the Lord's mercies, we are not consumed

Because his compassions fail not. They are new every

Morning. Great is his faithfulness."


A  - Men!

Pastor Phil   <><<