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December 28, 2020 1:00 am
Walmart has my mom. I will be still on all the holds me shall not be one of my duties leads by 171 can turn my will and I and what am I gonna call being made to all all on true wage column for you show all saw shall what my Einstein debate in those all wrong mind.
Not all areas holds me at high shall not matter wonderful message and song that goes hand in glove with the theme of our message tonight the sovereignty of God and what lies ahead want to read a brief introduction as we get the message the sovereignty of God is a theme that runs from Genesis 11 to Revelation 2221 it's a truth so grand and complex that leaves those who study it steps and all. The apostle Paul reminded Timothy that in the last days perilous times will come. I'm sure we all agree that the year 2020 has showcase violence, corruption among our leaders and uncertainty as to the future. One things for sure, 20, 21, is certain to have this in common with 2020 and that is that the perfect will of God who is sovereign is going to be accomplished in every detail in this message.
Tonight were going to consider different aspects of God's sovereignty that I believe will offer hope and confidence to each of us and I wanted to share to text by way of introduction before we get another message one, perhaps on felt familiar to you, but it it offers a very sobering truth and that's found in Lamentations 337 and 38. If you listen who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it, is it not from the mouth of the most high. That wall and well-being proceed test your faith, listen to that last sentence or question, is it not from the mouth of the most high, low, and well-being proceed. It's one we do not understand what God is doing that. We have to trust to God is a New Testament passage that I read is very familiar to all of you. Romans 828 to 31 and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose for whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he predestined, these he also called me call these he also justified me justified, these he also glorified. Then this final sentence. What then shall we say to these things. If God is for us who can be against us first met we want to share with you tonight is the principle of God's sovereignty that is definitive.
What we mean by that definitive means serving to provide a final solution or to end the situation authoritative and apparently exhausted. That's the sovereignty of God serving to provide a final solution or to end the situation authoritative and apparently exhausted listen.
Ecclesiastes 713 to 14.
I think it states as well. Consider the work of the Lord, for who can make straight what he has made crooked in the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider surely God has appointed the one as well as the other so that man can find out nothing that will come after him. Let me read that last portion again. Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other so that man can find out nothing that will come after him. We don't know what the future holds but we know whom moles the future and that is such a source of encouragement and peace in the life of a Christian the sovereignty of God is not merely the God has power and right to govern all things but that he does so always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign in principle, but he sovereign and practice AW pain gives kind of a heavy quote, but it still would. Truth, he says, subject to non-influence by non-absolutely independent.
God does as he pleases. Only as he pleases. Always as he pleases.
Nine come toward him.
Duncan Hendren so his own word expressly declares, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. He does according to his will in the Army of heaven and in the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand and goes on to state divine sovereignty means that God is God. In fact, as well as in name that he's on the throne of the universe directing all things working all things after the counsel of his own will beloved the principle of God's sovereignty is definitive.
He provides a final solution and as I said earlier when we do not understand what this great Almighty God is doing. We can rest in who he is. The second thing want to consider tonight is the preeminence of God's sovereignty is determined by his character. The preeminence of God's sovereignty is determined by his character theologian Lorraine Bittner states although the sovereignty of God is universal and absolute is not the sovereignty of blind power.
It's coupled with infinite wisdom, holiness and love in this doctrine when properly understood, is a most comforting and reassuring and then he states this. Who would want not prefer who would not prefer to have his affairs in the hands of a God of infinite power, wisdom, holiness and love rather than to have them left the fate or chance or airboat revocable natural law shortsighted and perverted itself.
Those who reject God's sovereignty should consider what alternatives they have left fatalism.
I have often been in the situation where I have wondered how I'd make it if I did not believe in the sovereignty of God that is a gift that we as believers have that tie the world just does not have enough were to put this in layman's terms. In layman's terms, it is the character of our God that guides his conduct a study of his names were his attributes, fosters confidence, contentment and consecration and all who love and fear him.
He is the self existent. I am that I am. He's the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity is Almighty God is the father of mercies and the God of all comfort, all powerful, all-knowing and everywhere present point number three that were going to look at. Will take up the bulk of our message and will be very practical. I think it's going to show us the areas that God is sovereign in. We know that his sovereignty is definitive. What he determines is going to take place. We know that it's preeminent because of his character and now want to look at the panoply that means the big picture I like to think of it as standing on the Blue Ridge Mountains and just getting an overview of the expanse before the panoply of God's sovereignty is displayed in every area of life. In the first two that will look at a and B are the most critical because everything else is really meaning less apart from these, the first one.
God is sovereign over the passage of individuals from birth to death. God is sovereign over the passage of individuals from birth to death. I'm sure this passage from this pulpit before Joe basked in whose hand is the life of every living thing in the breath of all mankind.
And then he answers his own question.
A few verses later. Speaking of mankind. He says since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you. You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass theological wordbook of the Old Testament states this word limits means prescribed portion or task. In other words, beloved God has ordained the day that each of us is going to die. Sometimes you'll hear well-meaning people say well he died too soon.
Well, maybe from a human standpoint, but not from God standpoint, David ended up writing your eyes saw my substance, yet being unformed and in your book. They all were written the day's fashion, forming when as yet there were none of them again theological wordbook gives this definition. The word fashion means frame preordained or plan to frame preordained work plan that verse is found in Psalm 139 verse 16. Paul reminded the intellectuals in Athens that God gives to all life breath in all things and that in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 1725 and 28 and then God himself said now see that I even I am he. There is no God beside me. I kill and I make alive. I wound and I heal. Nor is there any who can deliver from my hand. Deuteronomy 32 verse 29. The second one is the longest one and probably the most crucial. Although obviously unless God in his sovereignty has us born there is not a need for salvation for lack of a better way of putting it, but is his sovereignty over our birth and death, and that has sovereignty over the predestination of Indo vigils to salvation Ken Collier that Wiles has this little quip only two choices on the shelf. Pleasing God, or pleasing self.
Well I am going ask this question only to choices on the shelf is that God is God sovereign or myself. Let me read that again only two choices on the shelf is God sovereign or myself, and I think it will see by the time were done with this that indeed God is the one who sovereign question is God a reactor to the sovereign will of man who musters the faith to do what first Corinthians 214 says that the natural man cannot do and will not do because he sees the things of God is foolish folks.
It just reading it as it is natural man cannot and will not bow the knee to the sovereign God, because spiritual things are foolishness to him.
Listen carefully to this next statement. This view sees man as ultimately determining his eternal destiny. The notion that the common grace of God enables all men to go against their sin nature is incompatible with this text and others like it if all natural man can decide to balcony to King Jesus and there are no natural because Paul says the natural man cannot and will not do this another verse that says this plainly is Romans three verses 10 and 11. Paul is quoting Psalm 14, 213 when he writes, as it is written, there is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God first Corinthians 118 states that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but just were being saved. It's the power of God love all natural men are perishing. All natural men look upon the preaching of the cross as foolishness. So we ask this question. Is God a reactor to the sovereign will of man who musters the faith to do with the Bible says he cannot and will not do or a second question is man a reactor to the sovereign will of God who chose before the foundation of the world to regenerate individuals who by nature are children of wrath, and spiritually dead friends. All you have to do is read Ephesians chapter 2 and it jumps off the page to you. The pronouns referring to what God does on behalf of natural men, that they might believe. Ephesians 1 is written to saints and faithful in Christ Jesus repeatedly. This chapter presents God as the great initiator and enabler of salvation by grace alone to faith alone in Christ alone for the glory of God alone. It declares claimant that God sovereign grace is never at aided or threatened by the corrupted will of man, there is no spark of divinity within the human heart. They can be fanned in the flame of eternal life by the will or the work of individuals can I say that again there is no spark of divinity within the human heart that can be fanned in the flame of eternal life by the will and work of mankind. Jesus came to save those given to him before the foundation of the world and I've mentioned read Ephesians 2 beloved, if you read John chapter 10 in John chapter 17 John 17 being Christ high priestly prayer. You will gratefully bow the name to God sovereign grace in your life. Speaking of that familiar versus Ephesians 289 state.
For by grace you been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It's the gift of God not of works, lest anyone should boast. John MacArthur offers this insight.
The phrase not of yourself refers to the entire previous statement of salvation not only the grace but the faith although men are required to believe for salvation. Even that faith is part of the gift of God which saves and cannot be exercised by one's own power. He goes on to say God's grace is preeminent and every aspect of salvation and again. Just recall you would what the Bible says about the natural man.
He cannot and he will not understand the things of the spirit. Repentance is a gift.
Repentance is a gift, acts 1117 and 18. Speaking to the Gentiles. Peter wrote, if therefore God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God when they heard these things, they became silent and they glorified God, saying, then God has also granted to the Gentiles, repentance to life in those two verses God gave them the same gift as he gave us when we believe and then God has also granted to the Gentiles, repentance to life. Repentance is a gift of God. Secondly, well, faith is a gift. Acts chapter 14 verse 27 now when they Paul and Barnabas had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them and notice this, that he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. There was a time in my life that I did not believe that faith was a gift I believe, like many in the church that all I had to do is decide to follow Jesus and I decided one day that I was going to start at ground zero and study what the Bible had to say I so much respect to the teaching that I received from this pulpit. When I first got in that person study so much respected and I can remember many of the sermons of Pastor Burkman shared with the congregation as we began. If I can put this weight inching toward embracing the doctrines of grace. But, beloved, if you will with an open mind. Read John six John 10 John 17 Ephesians 1 Ephesians 2, you can't help but see that God is the great and gracious initiator.
The Quicken or to spiritual life. There's no question about that. The first two areas that we considered have to do God's sovereignty as it relates to physical and spiritual life and as I said at the start. Without these, the other areas are meaningless. The third area that we want to look at is this God is sovereign over personal characteristics of individual God is sovereign over personal characteristics of individuals personal ability. Exodus 410 and notice I have two examples Moses and Paul notices what it says about Moses.
Moses said to the Lord all my Lord I'm not eloquent, either before nor since you have spoken your servant. I'm slow of speech and slow of time were talking about person ability, personal ability being under the sovereign control of God and Moses saw himself as slow of speech and slow of tongue, but he (he led hundreds of thousands out of Egypt. Second Corinthians 1010 they're speaking of Paul in this verse and is has for his letters they say are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak in his speech contemptible. You know, when you embrace the sovereignty of God, you embrace the abilities that he is given you are what he wanted you to be you would. He has given you the talents and abilities that he would have you to have form his well a secondary doll is not just personal ability but providential disability providential disability.
Exodus 411 so the Lord said to Moses, who has made man's mouth who makes the mute the death the seeing the blind have not I John nine records. The man born blind so that he might glorify God. Years later, on a specific day at a specific time in a specific place we can read John nine that account and marvel at it without really plummeting that depths of that that baby was born blind in the sovereign evidence of God who one day would be on the side of a road when Jesus happened to be coming along and Jesus healed him for one purpose that God would be glorified. That gives me great hope that gives me great peace. I think most of you who would be listening to me tonight know that we have special needs grandsons when you embrace the fact that God is sovereign, you embrace the fact that there exactly as he would have them be for his purposes, and when we as a family look and see how God has used those providential disabilities. If you would go special needs in the lives of the people it becomes clear to us. He has his purposes for he has his purposes for I don't know that I'll say this exactly right, but a friend of mine has cancer and and submits to the sovereignty of God.
There's no doubt about this. This lady does and I made the comment on Facebook I private messaged her because she's about going to some therapy and I end up saying that God will use this in your life and he will use you in this God will use this in your life and he will use you in this what you mean by that we can comfort others with the same comfort that God comforts us with no question he makes no mistakes, and perceived providential disabilities and then this third one perceived tragedy, and I give you a couple of illustrations as a baby. Fanny Crosby was blinded by an incompetent doctor. She was asked at one time she had one wish would she wish to see in a reply was now now at first sight. The first face that I see when I get the glory will be the face of my Savior perceived tragedy now and then I think most of your familiar with Johnny Erickson, Tana, is paralyzed in a diving accident and because of that she has an international ministry of this reach multiplied thousands of people.
God is sovereign or personal characteristics of individuals. 1/4 area that we want to consider is God is sovereign in the preparation and polishing of his servants.
David's talents with the harp and sling prepared him for his role in the palace and the battlefield. Think about that for a while and I like to. As I said before, I like to visualize what would it have been like to be David. No, not standing there facing Goliath not yet sitting there watching stupid she passed regret that's rather incontinent. Maybe but I have done it and they have about as much sense as a rock and just sitting there day after day after day after day watching Moshe Yelton while he was watching Moshe on the path of duty. He polished his skills with a slang and with a harp and we know the rest of it.
The sling was used against Goliath. The harp was used, to calm Saul David's talents with the harp and the sling prepared for his role in the palace and the battlefield. Second Corinthians 12 seven through 10 will not read it, but it talks about Paul's thorn in the flesh, and that was designed by God to keep him humble, independent, and I might add useful men.
First Corinthians 127 to 29 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world put to shame the wise God's chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty and the base things of the world and the things which are despised, God's chosen and the things which are not to bring to nothing the things that are and why does he do that, that no flesh should glory in his presence.
One be very careful in how I say this I might've mentioned this before from the pulpit but when we talk about God being sovereign in preparation and polishing of the servants.
Just think back in your life and just note some of the mile markers on your life and in your life that God used to prepare you for where you are now. When I was 16 years of age to 53 and hundred and 12 pounds. I kid with the kids a lean, mean fighting machine. I had no earthly idea. As I said before that I would ever play the game of soccer albeit intramural. If it wasn't intramural. I never would applied was intercollegiate I never would've played it was intramural.
I played I never dream they going to Elkton Maryland is the art teacher I would be asked close the JV soccer namely the varsity soccer game and the rest is history, but folks I look back on that in my life and I see how God used that if I can put it this way prepared me and polished me for what I believe was a very important ministry in my life. I will say this one before I came on staff. I had the conviction when I taught couple serving Christ, that every man should try to live up to the qualifications of the pastor with the exception of being apt to teach. That's something that God gives. But as far as character, I believe every Christian man should seek to live up to the requirements of pastor Elder Deacon. You never know the leading of the Lord down the road and again God is sovereign over the preparation and polishing of his servants. I will just mention this to you when I attended Bob Jones is our major you go down there was stars in your eyes and ready to roll and you know you're ready to conquer the world and then you find out you're not so hot.
Everybody down there was pretty decent in their art department and the little high school and then you find out that there are 60 of you and you're going to have to go through what they call a sophomore check I did not know I was going to get into that before I went to Bob Jones. I thought I just major in art. I go for years give the degree and in the providence of God, teach I could either go straight art in a commercial artist or teach, and quite honestly looking at a foreign language over here kinda swayed me not to ghostwrite our swayed me to go more teaching and again the rest is history, but I I say this is honestly as I know how we started out with 60 and at the end of the first year there were 29 left and then came the dreaded sophomore check they had in the speech, Sue, and I'm sure want to that in speech.
They had it in music. Some of our young people have probably done that or will and they had it in our and it was a three-phase test. I I don't know that I remember the order but the first was a written test and we went from 29 down 18 after that first written test and I was still breathing. The second test was your portfolio. They looked at all of your work that you supply went from 1812.
The third part of that task on believable for me because it was an interview and Sue and Phillip's dad was one of the interviewers I will never forget that in one question that they asked of all of us. Was this if you don't pass this test. What will you do if you don't pass this test.
What will you do I'd never considered doing something drastic. The bottom line is I only had a couple of options change my major change schools as it and I answered with this if I don't pass this test. I'll probably major in Bible. Well I walked out and some of the art majors. It might not of been let's just say spiritually minded is a might could have been said, how did you answer that and I said I told him if I didn't pass that proclamation by ball and I can still remember two girls and you idiot, don't you know they want to build their preacher boys glass you're done while it went from 29 to 18 to 12 to 7 and one didn't come back and I I say this, my wife knows and I'm serious when I say this I did not at any time into this day. Do not consider myself one of the six better art majors out of those 60. Why do you think you made it in the providence of God.
There's no question the discipline my senior year before my senior year during the summer I worked for my wife's uncle during the day and did watercolors at night to prepare for my senior show they had my work in this room.
There were three groups of my pieces and I had no idea which group they picked you had you had to have a certain number. Well, if you've ever been in our house.
I got a drawing that I did of an old prospector that was over here and I had won first place in the county fair in Greenville, so I thought well maybe that's that's the group, but I thought maybe that painting automated. I'm just agonizing. How is this gonna work. And then the three of them came in. Bob Blair and Kuhn sounds like a law firm and I loved all three of they pointed to the smallest group that's the group that they picked and I cried. I felt helpless I felt absolutely helpless. My show had to be at first it was just the luck of the draw, and how did God use that and polishing me in preparing me because I have the tendency to want to please other people to the point that I overworked things Stroop. I overworked my paintings. I couldn't overworked my paintings. After that I had to get them going and this is kind of Anita's side and I think it's part of God's sovereignty.
I do with all my heart I had my stuff ready for my show in the rejects in our history, there was there was this art show call this alone to refuge. I'm sure in butchering the French but it was a group of rejects that common people could buy their their stuff and I saw my Sloan to refuse you know the rejected paintings and that's how I paid to frame the stuff that made it in my show. I didn't mean for that long mile marker in my life but I think you can tell at age 70. I was 20.
Some of the time that impacted me that impacted my life and in folks I can't take more time to to get into this, but I see how that projected out in other mile markers in my life. Down the road and you can say the same thing. I'm sure the fifth thing I want to sure God is sovereign over the provision and prosperity of individuals. The provision Matthew 631 to 34 you've read many times therefore do not worry, saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink, for what shall we wear for after all these things the Gentiles seek.
For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble that's easy for us to read that there are some people in our country that are experiencing that right now. What shall we eat, what shall we drink are you prepared my prepared spiritually for God to put us at the task as it could come in and prosperity in Old Testament text first Chronicles 29. David prayed yours. The Lord is the greatness, the power and the glory of victory and the majesty for all it is in heaven and earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom the Lord in your exalted as head over all, both riches and honor come from you and you reign over all in your hand is power and might, in your hand is to make great and to give strength to all.
Now, therefore, our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name but who am I and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly. Is this for all things come from you and of your own.
We have given you.
God is sovereign over the provision and prosperity of individuals a couple more God is sovereign over the political leaders whom he puts in the power you can say amen to that. Just knowing when we don't understand what God is doing. We trust to be as God is sovereign over the political leaders whom he puts in the power Gen. 221 states any changes the times and the seasons, he removes kings and races of kings and we see God's sovereignty over governments in Daniel chapter 4 with Nebuchadnezzar who eventually praise God in the very next chapter. Daniel five with this blasphemous Sunbelt as God is sovereign over political leaders in Isaiah 45 427 God declares to Cyrus king of Persia. I have even called you by your name though you have not known me. I am the Lord, and there is no other. There is no God besides me. I will gird you know you've not known me that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting.
There is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity.
I the Lord do these things. Beloved, there's no point in Friday who are leaving up is this country we can trust the sovereignty of God, who will put put them in place and then we see that God is sovereign over the preservation and protection of his own.
God is sovereign over the preservation and protection of his own Job 19 so Satan answered the Lord and said, does Job fear God for nothing. Have you not made a hedge around them and around his household around all that he has on every side. You bless the work of his hands in his possessions have increased in the land. God has his hedge of protection about his own. Psalm 34 seven the angel of the Lord in camps all around those who fear him, and delivers them and then finally, Hebrews 13, 5B, you were to read that in the amplified. It's like saying there's absolutely no way whatsoever that I will ever ever leave. There are several negatives for emphasis in Hebrews 13, 5B in the original.
God is sovereign of the preservation and protection of his own in the last year that we want to look at God is sovereign over the perseverance of those he is given to Christ.
I've mentioned read John chapter 6 read John chapter 10 I chosen two verses from each of those passages. John 637 all that the father gives me will come to me and the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out the angel told Joseph you shall call his name Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sin. John 637 all that the father gives me will come to me one who comes to me I will by no means cast out. And then John 1027 to 29. Listen carefully. My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me and I give them my sheep. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My father who was given them to me, is greater than all and no one is able to snatch them out of my father's hand were secure in Christ.
The last thing briefly that we want to look at is this Job is an example of displaying and developing trust in God, through extended extreme trials, folks, and visiting some of our our beacon members. We have some that have gone to extended extreme trial in their trusting in the sovereignty of God. Joseph is an example of God's ultimate control over the affairs of individuals, families, and nations calls an example of how God turns enemies and the sons to accomplish his will. We all are children of wrath by nature, and he has basically turned each of us who are in Christ and the sons who were enemies and then finally Christ as the example Victoria submission now you may be sitting there, even though I had a PowerPoint and you're saying there's no way on God's green earth I can remember all of that. I can either but when I can do is this. Understand that when I don't know what God is doing.
I can trust God is the sovereign ruler of the universe, the sovereign ruler of the universe.
I want you to take part in the panoply of God's sovereignty as we enter the uncertainties 20, 21, I want you for a second. Just imagine being on that overlook and look at what God's sovereignty covers the passage of individuals from birth to death the day of birth, and the day of death are appointed by God, the predestination of individuals to salvation, pray and witness with full reliance upon the God of salvation. We are in missions minded church. We are soul sensitive church burden for the souls of of love and my wife is mention it before and I'll say it.
We pray for our grandchildren by name, every single day, sometimes more than once God is sovereign over the predestination of individuals to salvation but we honor him when we pray for his grace and his mercy. We honor him when we witness to them. God is sovereign over the personal characteristics of individuals. The content with how God has made you to do his will.
I don't be looking over the fence at somebody else's greener grass be content with house made you God is sovereign over the preparation and polishing of his servants make the most of divine opportunity to do your best for him. He bring circumstances in your life, and some are not pleasant.
This year our family has gone to some unpleasant circumstances. And yet God is stretched us and grown us, strengthen our faith through this. The preparation polishing of his servants, the provision and prosperity of individuals be content with and grateful for God's blessing the political leaders whom he puts in power do not fret over who God chooses to lead this nation and others. He knows what he's doing. The preservation and protect protection of his own personally embrace the truth of Romans 828 that God is working all things together for good and your life, because he loves you and this called according to his purpose and then the perseverance of those whom he is given the Christ rest in the eternal security that we have in Christ beloved will close with this statement. We rest in the sovereignty of God. We can know that the best is yet to come. Please bow for the benediction grace and peace be multiplied unto you, to the knowledge of God is our Lord according as his divine powers given under us all things that pertain in the life and godliness to the knowledge of him that if called us to glory and virtue. Amen