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The Rule of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2021 7:00 am

The Rule of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 26, 2021 7:00 am

If God’s really in charge, how can he allow sin and suffering to exist? It’s a common question, and Dr. Tony Evans will address in this lesson as he talks about what qualifies the Lord to be the sovereign ruler of the universe and what happens when we fail to recognize his authority.

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He either made it happen or he okayed it happening even if he didn't directly cause it to happen. Dr. Tony Evans says it's easy to feel like God is far away when our lives feel out of control, but it's important to remember nothing exists outside of the rule of God. He's sovereign in the big things and he's sovereign in the details. He is absolute ruler over all things. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans.

Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. A good parent will give their children rules to follow for their safety, happiness, and long-term benefit. Well, God has done the same for us, and although we don't always choose to obey those rules, that doesn't change who's ultimately in charge. Let's join Dr. Evans today as he tackles the complexities of God's rule and how our choices for good or bad fit into the picture of the Creator's sovereignty. So what do we mean by the sovereignty of God? The sovereignty of God refers to God as absolute ruler, controller, and sustainer of all of his creation.

To talk about sovereignty is to talk about rule or authority. And he sits on the throne of the universe. Everything he created, he rules over, and he created everything. What this means is that there is no noun, person, place, thing, or thought, that situates itself or operates outside of God's sovereignty. That there is nothing that escapes him, nothing that can override him, nothing that he is not fully aware of because he rules all things because he either causes all things to happen—one option—or he consciously allows things to happen. But there are no oops, mistakes, miss that one, or surprises. Because if it happened, he either made it happen or he okayed it happening even if he didn't directly cause it to happen.

So let's get this straight. Nothing exists outside of the rule of God in your life, in this world, or in creation. The Bible says not one bird falls to the ground of which he is not fully aware and not one hair of one's head is lost, that he is not fully overseeing that. So he is not just sovereign in the sweet by and by. He's sovereign in the nasty here and now. He's sovereign in the big things, and he's sovereign in the details.

He is absolute ruler over all things. Job chapter 23 verse 13 says, God does what his soul desires. Job chapter 42 verse 2 says, no purpose of God can be thwarted or overridden.

He will achieve his goals. Psalm 115 verse 3 says, God is in the heavens and he does whatsoever he pleases. Psalm 135 verse 6 says, God rules from the heaven and that even includes the fish in the sea. Isaiah 14 verse 27, Isaiah 43 verse 13 says that God rules and his ruling cannot be overrun or reversed by man. He is absolute ruler of all. Ephesians chapter 1 verse 11, he does all things after the counsel of his will. Revelation chapter 19 verse 6, our God reigns. So when we talk about the name God, the person God, we're talking about the absolute ruler, owner, creator, controller, sustainer of all things. Nothing sits outside of sovereignty.

Perhaps we can relate it to this. Most in here have a home. You own your home, or the bank makes you think you own your home. So you are responsible for your home. You ever have anybody come over to your home and tell you how your home ought to operate? Suppose somebody came in and said, well, I don't like that furniture. I don't like that paint. I don't like how you have it arranged. Well, that may be your opinion, but it's virtually irrelevant until you start paying the house note, paying the utilities. Worse yet is when you have folk who not only come to your home, but live in your house, who want to intrude on your sovereignty.

I mean, Anthony was here, and one of the reasons God gets preachers' kids is so they can come up with fresh illustrations. This is as fresh as it gets. He comes home from LA and he comes into my and he comes into my house, which last time I checked, he has not paid one note on, has not volunteered. He comes to open up the refrigerator, having put no food in it. He uses my coffee. He, you know, he comes to my—it kind of takes over, you know?

Father, I'm concerned. Boy, you are a visitor, okay? So he comes in. So we have a little, we have a, we have a little issue because he likes the house ice cold.

I mean, he thinks he's moving to Alaska or something. He turns that thing down. So the thermostat is in my room, my bedroom. I'm in the bedroom with the door closed. Do you think he knocked on the door?

No, he did not. He walks right in the bedroom, turns the thermostat down, and I'm looking at him like he done lost his mind. And then he's gonna come in, turn the thermostat down, talking about, I'm hot. You hot. You hot in my house, touching my thermostat, walking through my door without permission. So I said, just a minute, just a minute. You're not gonna make me uncomfortable in my own house so you can be comfortable when I'm paying the bill.

Go in the den, sleep in the den where there is another unit, and you can get as cold as you want to. But don't pretend like this is your house by adjusting it. Maybe some of y'all got kids like this.

I ain't the only one. In other words, he came in functioning like a sovereign, functioning like an owner, functioning like a ruler, when he was barely a visitor. And isn't that where we get into conflict with the teenagers when they think they more grown than they ought to be? How do you think God feels, who's owner of the world, and he got these grown kids wanting to dictate to him his creation? Crystal, when she was growing up, you know, she had got this little rebellion streak going on, and we were having a little disagreement. I don't remember when the disagreement was over, but we were having a little conflict, father-daughter conflict, and I said, well, this is the way it's going to be. This is the way it's going to be. She didn't like my ruling, so she storms away from me while I'm talking.

Exactly. She storms away from me while I'm talking, and I say, where are you going? She said, I'm going to my room. I had to help her sit down. I said, no, you go into the room, I might let you sleep in.

Because she was taking ownership. Priscilla, I see you. I haven't forgot that you're sitting right there. Well, I got a whole sermon for you, so I'm going to let that lie. God is ruler of all things. We are his tenants in his house of his creation. He lets us exist in for a while. When you lose sight of his sovereignty, rulership, then you act like an owner, which creates conflict with the owner. This leads to a second issue about his sovereignty, and that is, how does his sovereignty relate to our choices?

When God created his world, he included something in the creation. Choice. He gave men freedom to make decisions. If he would have removed choice, then he would have removed humanity. Because God wanted people to respond to him by choice, not by mandate.

Didn't want us to be robots, where he'd just wind us up and we'd do what he says. He put two trees in the garden, he says, eat this one, don't eat this one, you choose. Now, let's explain choice. Now, let's explain choice. Choice never negates sovereignty. Let me say that again. Choice is real, but it never negates sovereignty.

Here's what I mean. On a football field, you have sovereign lines, non-negotiable lines. You got sidelines, you have a goal line, you got hash lines, you got the lines every five yards. Those lines don't move. They are not to be negotiated, for they are fixed. They're sovereign lines, non-negotiable boundaries. However, within those boundaries, each team can choose which plays they run, which plays they don't run. Some plays they're gonna make progress, some plays they use lose yardage, because they get to make choices, but what they don't get to do is change the boundaries. The boundaries are fixed.

So the moment a player runs and he steps on that sideline, a whistle's gonna blow because you have infringed on the boundary. The boundary cannot be negotiated, but within the boundary, you can make decisions. God has established sovereign boundaries of which he will let nobody cross, but within those boundaries, he's let you make choices. So sovereignty involves choice. Therefore, here it is, choice allows for evil.

Let me put it another way. God doesn't create evil, he creates choice. But when God creates choice, choice allows for evil, because the mere fact I can choose for means I can choose against. So the fact that God has given you a choice means that you can do like Adam, not choose him, choose against him, and therefore have the repercussions of the choice, therefore sin. Satan fell when he chose to rebel against God. Adam and Eve fell when they chose to rebel against God, which allowed evil to exist. The Bible is clear.

God cannot sin, nor does he cause sin, but he allows for sin because he allows for choice. Dr. Evans will come back to unpack that idea when he continues our lesson in just a moment. But first, I want to tell you about his brand new book called Prayers for Knowing God.

It's a collection of more than 50 prayers designed to help you better understand God in areas of his mercy, his goodness, his lasting purposes, and so much more. The book goes hand in hand with Tony's current 12-part audio series, God's Heart Revealed, and that's why we're bundling them all together. You can receive this audio and book package as our thank you gift when you make a contribution toward Tony's ministry. This special offer is only available through Monday, so let one of our resource team members help you make the arrangements right away. Just call us at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Or you can make your contribution and request online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's lesson right after this. How do you share the gospel with confidence? What's God's plan for our communities?

Why does the Old Testament matter to your faith today? Those are just a few of the questions you'll get answered when you enroll in the Tony Evans Training Center, an interactive online study experience with Dr. Tony Evans where you can grow in your knowledge of God's Word and learn to advance his kingdom agenda in your life. Visit tonyevanstraining.org to get started today.

That's tonyevanstraining.org. God's sovereignty is controlled by his attributes. The reason why God rules all is because all that makes him God—his attributes, his omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, his veracity, his holiness, his grace, his mercy, his wrath, his justice—all of these things that we'll get into later. Those are attributes of God, and the attributes of God assure that sovereignty occurs because when all of those attributes are collected, nothing can sit outside of them.

Therefore, because God manifests his attributes—glory—there needs to be conditions under which various attributes are needed and therefore manifested. So God allows things, even if they are against him, because those things that he allows that are against him create opportunity for him to reveal something about himself that would otherwise not be seen. So Romans 1, verse 18 says, For the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness.

Romans 9, verses 22 and 23. What if God willing to reveal his wrath? So one of the attributes of God is wrath, but the only reason you need wrath is because you have sin. But the only reason you have sin is because there's a choice.

So the choice produced sin. The sin opened the door for wrath. So God's nature of wrath gets revealed because sin has been demonstrated because men have rejected God and chosen to rebel against him. So even the rebellion of man creates an open door for God's character of wrath to be manifested.

But the reality of sin creating the open door for wrath also creates a new door that can be opened called mercy, because mercy is not getting what you do deserve that wrath calls for because sin was acted on. So everything that happens is an open door to reveal another aspect of God, whether it's for him or against him, he's going to show up in it. You have to understand, God will always accomplish his purpose. What you do or do not do will never block God from getting to where he's designed to go, okay? He will go with you, around you, or over you, but you will never interfere with his end result.

God will always accomplish his purposes, because God never limits himself to one route. This church is 11 miles from downtown Dallas. There is a preferred route to go to downtown Dallas, a direct line, 35 north. You get on 35 north, it will take you directly to downtown Dallas. That is the preferred route, that is the quickest route, but sometimes 35 north gets blocked with an accident, gets blocked with construction, and the route is no longer the convenient way to go.

Well, because of Google Maps and other technology, you're not limited to 35. They will show you other options. If you know it, there are more than one option than your preferred route. God would prefer to accomplish his plan with your cooperation. That's what he would prefer, because if he can accomplish it with your cooperation, everybody wins, but if you don't cooperate, don't think you were his only option. He's got multiple ways of accomplishing his goal. He can do it with you or without you. He can go around you or run over you, but no human being will thwart God's ultimate plan.

You are his preferred route, never his only route. And so when you understand that God's sovereignty does not negate your choice, it includes freedom to choose. You are free to choose, but you need to know when you choose against him, you have opened up the door for the manifestation of another attribute, because God exists for his glory, and the glory is the manifestation of his characteristics, perfections, or attributes. God is so good at what he does. He even uses evil to accomplish his goals.

Isn't this what Joseph said in Genesis 50 verses 19 to 21? You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good to bring me to this place. Guess how God got me here? God got me here by you boys getting jealous. God got me here by you selling me into slavery. God got me here by you accusing me of rape. God got me here by forgetting me in jail. God got me here from Pharaoh having a bad dream, and God didn't use all that mess to bring me to this place.

And see, that's the good news about the sovereignty of God. He can take a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and a little bit of the other, and put it in his cosmic blender. By itself, it may not look like much. You take the flour by itself, it ain't much. You take the sugar by itself, it ain't much. You take the different ingredients of a cake by themselves, it's not much. But bake it right, and all those independent elements are joined together to accomplish something. That's why Romans 8 28, all things work together for good to them who love God and are the called according to his purpose.

He says, I prefer 35. Cooperate with me. Help a deity out.

Work with me here. He's so good at what he does as sovereign, he even uses the devil to help him out. That's as bad as you can get.

That's as low as you can go. Because the devil is not the devil, the devil is his devil. Peter, Luke 22, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. Satan has made a request.

Why? Because even the devil can't do anything without asking God first. We're going to let him mess with you a little bit to put you in your place, but when you have been converted, when your life gets right, when you stop trying to do this stuff on your own, when you learn your lesson, then I can use you. But I'm going to let the devil mess with you a little bit because you ain't thinking right, you ain't acting right, you're not living right.

So I'm going to let him blow you up until you get right, then I can fix your life. The only reason Job's life fell apart was because the devil made a request of God, and God okayed it. And the great apostle Paul in 2nd Corinthians chapter 12, he said, there was a messenger sent from Satan to buffet me, to oppress me, and I went to God and I said, God, get the devil off my back. You ever said that to God? Get the devil off my back. He said, God, get the devil off my back. And God said, no.

No, I'm going to let him ride you because I got to deal with something in your life that's a problem, and I need the devil to amplify it so that you see it, so that I can deal with it, so that you can get rid of it, so that I can do something special with you in a greater revelation. Dr. Tony Evans, with some important words today on the rule of God. Now, this message is just one of the 12 lessons from Tony's audio series called God's Heart Revealed. And if you'd like to get a full-length copy of today's lesson, it's available in its entirety on both CD and digital download, including portions we don't have time to bring you on the air. Better yet, get it as a part of that special limited-time package I mentioned earlier, which includes all the messages in the series, along with Tony's brand-new book, Prayers for Knowing God. All these are our gift to you, our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry. Just contact us at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements.

Resource team members are standing by to assist. That's 1-800-800-3222. Or make your request online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. On Monday, Dr. Evans will continue his examination of the rule of God and how that impacts every aspect of our lives. I hope you'll join us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-21 02:46:09 / 2023-12-21 02:54:26 / 8

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