Last week we began discussing this passage focusing on the statement we often make, “God is in control”. One of the key verses we use in establishing this statement of God’s control is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Those of you who hear me often know that I believe strongly that verse 28 should not ever be quoted without verse 29. Verse 29 says “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son; so that He could be the firstborn among many brethren”. Without verse 29 we get to define the good God does any way we desire. But when we combine verses 28 and 29 we discover that the good God is doing, the good that He strives to bring out of “all things” is that those saved by His grace would then be transformed into the image of Jesus. To simplify this, God uses every circumstance of our lives to lead us to grace and to make us like Jesus. Our salvation and transformation are the ultimate and eternal will of God and He goes to any and every length possible to bring them about. They are a dual work, we cannot be made like Jesus until we are saved but salvation itself does not transform us it simply puts us back on the wheel to be remade by the Potter. God is in control of making us like Jesus. Another favorite verse quoted in our declaration of God’s control over our lives is Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” This verse is like Romans 8:28 in that it is beautiful and declares the love, character and leadership of God, and out of context we can allow it to mean anything we want it to mean but in context it is very purposed and specific. Judah had disobeyed God, disregarded His calls to repentance, persecuted the prophets and then used God’s Word and Name to satisfy their own desires. God had been patient and merciful but then finally, after warning that continued disobedience would lead to judgment, Judah was defeated by Babylon and those who survived the siege were taken into captivity and exiled from their homeland. God had warned that this would happen and even told them that the captivity would be 70 years. Jeremiah 29:10 says, “This is what the LORD says, ‘When 70 years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.” Before God said, “I know the plans I have for you”, He had told Judah, that part of His plans, in response to their disobedience, to lead them to repentance and back to transformation, was defeat and exile. God is in control of convicting us of sin, saving us from sin and changing us, transforming us into the image of Jesus. This morning I want us to see that the effort of God, His work in and through our lives, is always about bringing glory to Jesus so that He can bring redemption to men. But this work often must turn over hard places in our hearts, reveal wrong places in our beliefs and even confront stubborn and selfish places in our religion, which is our representation of Him. I pray today that we will be open to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and allow Him to reveal and remove anything in us that is not from Him so that He can begin changing everything in us until we are like Him.