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August 26, 2021 6:00 am
These days if you said there's only one true God. You probably get some pretty quick confrontational questions like who says so what makes you think your God is better than all the other guys how would you answer that question will today I'm going to tackle it head on. Stay with welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with your favorite Living on the Edge features the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram of the Staley discipleship program friendship series the real God talking about seven key characteristics that describe God really the first characteristic. Chip dug into was God's goodness listed catch up anytime in this program he looks at the sovereignty of God approaches this massive topic with some practical insight casts a whole new light on God's authority. After the teaching triple wrap up with a few personal points of application sure to stay with us for that know this talk from Romans chapter 8 here's chip everybody has a job and there's parts of it, you sort of pinch yourself and save wow I can't believe I ever got to do that and for me it is been probably traveling to places around the world. That is a young kid I and in a central Ohio. I just never even, knew were there and that one occasion was a number of years ago I was flying from Beijing to Hong Kong and Annie wintry summer with me and they were separated like 20 rows somewhere in this will surprise some of you but sometimes I get in a talkative mood, because I traveled a lot.
I just found if you could say hi how are you, you know, that was delicious, just, you know, six, seven, eight phrases in in a five or six different languages. It really helps people connect. So I just thought enough. I'm get a probably say hi and how are you in Chinese and then I'm going to open my Bible and do some work and so there was lady right next to me in early 30s I think and I gave her my best Chinese hi how are you and the answer just shot me and in the clearest British accent.
I'm quite good actually to self and and I you know I just noticed that you know she had a very finely manicured hands. Her briefcase was at her feet and it was monogrammed it was leather just from the jewelry that she had on in the very pristine business suit. I was aware this like think she's probably pretty successful businesswoman and I think she saw my Bible and some dialogue begin to happen and I've spent the next two hours explaining to her my best understanding of who God really is the gospel, but I've never ever this is like one of those conversations of a lifetime. I've never met someone who, for the first 23 to 25 years knew nothing of God.
She grew up in Beijing. Her parents were a part of the cultural Revolution. God was outlawed completely her parents. I had some level of education and so they were discriminated against and they were made Street sweepers. She was really intelligent so you know, less than 1% could get a college education. She passed all the tests did her undergraduate work in Beijing. I did graduate work in Europe and then she was in a multinational company in London and from all the externals it was obvious she'd been very very successful and so if you can imagine someone who's had no concept of God. There is no God, who then gets educated, and then had a very humble, very humble, financial, social, economic, beginning and now found herself about the last eight or 10 years in London, multinational corporation and and she now was like exposed to this world that she didn't know existed and she was beginning to explore various truth claims in various religions and our conversation was different than anyone that ever had because unite begin to explain just a little and she paused in and it wasn't in a like antagonistic and it wasn't like you to prove this to me is like someone with a desire to know and she said well I've been doing lots of reading in the last 10 years, and I studied the world religions and different philosophies would you explain to me why your God is better than all other gods but but not it wasn't like you know hands on her hips. It was like a child who never heard and said you seem to make sense. Would you please help me understand and here was one of those moments but oh God please help me and and I explained to her the character of God that there was a creator and that she was deeply loved, and she's made in his image and and there was a fall in that the suffering in the world and all of us are separated and God the son Cayman has died in her place rose from the dead. He's a Redeemer and he loved her. He had a new life and it's a free gift and you know for two hours on me. I'm just now knowing that she was just leaning forward and you know taken notes and I do I give my best shot, and always had this thought. I thought if this is not going happen. By the way, if like she would walk through that door right now I what I would say is you know I sort of did that on the fly. But I've had some time to prepare now and I'd really like to make it a lot clearer about why I worship the one the only the sovereign God of the universe and on the front of your notes. If she would walk in that door. This is what I would share with her. I would tell her that the reason I think my God the Creator God. The unique God the one and only God is better than all other gods, all other religions. All of the truth claims is because he is before all things, he created all things. He holds all things by the word of his power. He's above all things he actually knows all things actual and possible he controls all things he can do all things. He accomplishes all things. He rules over everything and he's in control even of prime ministers and nations, and kings. He's actually in control of the visible and the invisible. He's the Alpha and the Omega, he is outside of time. He's the all-knowing, infinite, self-sufficient, holy, loving creator of all that is and ever will be, and he loves you.
I worship the sovereign God of the universe, his purposes cannot be thwarted, he has a purpose for your life for nations for peoples. That's why and then I would have her read all those passages that I gave you on the front of your notes very, very slowly as you open your notes. I I put those purposely and I can feel very overwhelming.
But here's something if you would if you would care to do this because were going to talk about the sovereignty of God in the some pretty significant intellectual issues about the sovereignty of God.
There are some pretty big biblical issues about the sovereignty of God. But when we finish. I believe what God would want you to get more than anything else. Is it perhaps the most comforting aspect of the character of the God that you serve is the sovereignty of God, that in the midst of a fallen world and pain and difficulty in ministry and things you don't understand, and mistakes that you will make and I will make in betrayals and hurts and things that happen in a world of terrorism in the sex trade of radical Islam of upside down economics and corruption. I believe the most comforting attribute of God is that he sovereign so what what I want to do is I want to give you sort of some intellectual aspects and I want to give me some biblical background but then I want to share what I think is the Bible's story of the sovereignty of God. That's heart and intention was to comfort you and to answer the big question of life is if there is a good God and if he really cares how can there be so much evil and suffering and what you see is it for a season in a Limited Way, God will allow evil and he'll actually flip it and use it for good for those that are called for those that love them.
For those that walk with. So as you open your notes. II thought I would give a definition of sovereignty because maybe some of you are like me, I've never heard the word I was a new Christian Christian, maybe a year year and 1/2 and a good friend was in a accident and our college campuses.
He was best friends with my roommate and he was in intensive care was paralyzed from the waist down. The doctors told us that there is very little chance he would live get internal bleeding and all. And I remember as a young Christian and a member down in the emergency room and Frank was just screaming. I can't feel my legs. I can't feel my legs and about 20 of us college students. We we prayed for them there.
The woman up to the chapel and we just beg God for two days to save his life and God intervened about. I remember as we were praying a girl that was far more spiritually mature than me.
I remember just vividly her saying God I thank you that in the midst of all of this that you're sovereign that we can trust you that you're in control and I don't if you've ever been in a prayer meeting where someone was praying and I said something and you thought on what that means. And so I was deathly knock and asked the girl, so I asked a friend I said you know when when she was praying, thank you God that he sovereign.
What's that mean I mean maybe I just have that education I'd never heard that word before and never heard and was a God is sovereign is so notice sometimes said that the dictionary is a great place to do Bible study the word sovereign means above all superior to all the greatest, the supreme in rank and power holding a position of authority, a ruler, excellent raining, a person possesses sovereign authority and specific like a monarch or a ruler and I put some synonyms down there that help me to think it's it's the ultimate authority.
It's is the King of Kings. It's the Lord of lords. It's someone who is completely without equal. That is absolutely free in the universe. That's the God that you serve. He said he is the unique one, the creator. He's all-powerful, he's all-knowing, he's all wise, he's all I think he's completely holy. He's infinite he self-sustaining. He needs no one before there was time before there were planets before there was existence.
He was before he will be after he is the sovereign ruler King, creator of all that is of all that ever was, and that all will ever be that that's that's a that's a huge that's a huge statement about who you serve. I tried to take what I've learned about the sovereignty of God and put it in a couple paragraphs to summarize the sovereignty of God is that which separates the God of the Bible from all other religions. Truth claims and philosophies we say God is sovereign. We declare that by virtue of his creator shipped over all of life.
In reality, is all-knowing, all powerful and benevolent rule that he is in fact the Lord of lords and King of Kings and in absolute control of time and eternity. Think about you might underline that he's an absolute control of time and eternity and then put a little squiggly line under the last one because here's where the comfort comes, nothing will come into my life today that he did not either allow or decree for my ultimate good. Nothing today. Nothing ever doesn't mean it's easy people to terrible things in a fallen world, terrible things happen.
But if God is sovereign, he either decrees.
This is his will or it is allowed and if I will cooperate and trust him, he will actually take the very worst that can happen in your experience and mine. The mate that walks out the cancer that brought death, the drunk driver.
The left of center, the wayward son the wayward Donner the betrayal by a business partner.
The upside down financial experience the loss of a house even terrorism. God says I'm in control of it all and I don't keep my people from the effects of a fallen world.
I will use. I will use these things as you would trust me and go through the pain and lean in and let me love you through them. I will ultimately use them for your good and if you ever get that and it's a huge faith statement because in your pain and difficulty and betrayal.
It is really hard to believe that but the Bible is clear on that. How do we know that I've given you for five things about how God reveals his sovereignty and I would encourage you to find one of these old things that force you to turn pages and go to where it says he's above all things and look up the verse and read it slowly. He's in control of all things, and just read through each of those passages very, very slowly. I think what you experiences your view of God will get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and that will be phrases that he created all things and through him all things, and for him all things, the Romans and dominions and powers his purposes are sorted you'll you'll get this larger and larger and larger picture of God and faith is always rooted in the character of God and the promises that he makes. And if you don't have a clear accurate picture of God you can't trust him. And if you have a small God you always have big overwhelming problems, but if you have a big, big God that little by little.
Those problems, they won't be less painful but will be smaller and smaller in the perspective of a sovereign God who made you for himself, but made you for eternity. Not just this little window of time. So let's go through some of the intellectual. This is the proof of God's sovereignty and them will talk about some heart relationships. First of all, he reveals his sovereignty through his titles, sovereign Lord most high Alpha and Omega King of Kings and Lord of lords. You have to believe in the Bible. The Bible is very clear. God is not looking for any teammates. He's not looking for any syncretism he saying I am above all other gods. Second, his promises demand that he suffered. Romans 828 a very familiar passage says for we know that God works all things together for the good for those who love him and that are called according to his purposes now. That means if God can work everything for good. He needs to know every situation of every person in every circumstance and every motive to leave it in a way that will work out for your ultimate good. In Philippians chapter 2 we get God's ultimate plan for God the son, and in chapter 2 verses nine through 11.
This is, therefore, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that the name of Jesus every knee should bow those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father angels demons believers unbelievers everything that is ever been created. There will come a day, and though either voluntarily out of relationship or involuntarily out of power. Every tongue will confess that Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of Kings.
You have to be sovereign in order to make a statement like that. You gotta be in control.
The third way that God reveals his sovereignty is through prophecy.
I don't know if you thought of this but especially when this book was written or came to a close and still huge portion. One third of all the Bible's prophetic one out of every three verses is God telling us in the future. Specifically, without air sometime this is what's going to happen and it gives you tremendous confidence because he is the Alpha and the Omega, in the time of Israel as today, there was competing God's. And so God made this challenge. Speaking through Isaiah and Isaiah 44 608. He says this is what the Lord says Israel's King and Redeemer and and notice how he identifies himself, the Lord of hosts for the Lord of Heaven's armies.
I am the first and the last. There is no other God is pretty clear who is like me rhetorical question. The answer is no one but but he sees throwing out a challenge. Let him step forward and prove to you his power since in other words okay there's all the others bail their small like there's always God there's always competition okay let him step. Now here's the test.
Let him do is I have done since ancient times. When I establish the people and explained its future what he saying is I I've told you in advance. This is going to happen.
This is going to happen. This is going to happen in the chalice to the other gods. Is this don't tremble or be afraid to do not proclaim my purposes for you long ago. You are my witnesses, is there any other God.
No, there is no other rock. Not one and the challenges jury God can tell the future with 100% accuracy all the time. The lead and step up and do it because from ancient times.
That's what I've done and I was a skeptic. I didn't believe the Bible. Growing up I was in a Christian. Growing up I struggled to believe whether I could trust the Scriptures all the things that you hear about you know is it like playing telephone and they were written so long ago I did know about the Dead Sea Scrolls. I didn't understand about archaeology I sensed on lots and lots of study. But for me the tipping point on the authority of Scripture is prophecy to give you II would got a whole series called why I believe that develops this I'm really because I was a skeptic. It was so helpful, but to me the greatest picture of that is Daniels chapter 7 through 12 and we won't get to help me just give you the gist of it. Daniel is taken. You know that Israel disobeys God if you know sort of your history of Israel and God promise it because it when you disobeyed me I'm going to scatter you and they going to captivity.
The going to Babylon so Daniel is bright and so they would take the young and the best and they would put them in the in the King and they would want to try to brainwash them and so Daniel ends up in three different dynasties and he just each time he ends up as an official with authority. And so Daniel is a very very godly teenager all the way through. In fact, you might be interested to know that when he's in the lion's den.
He's 80 years old and so he's in the Babylonians, the Medo Persians and then when they get taken out each time God gives him favor so as the 70 years that God said there would be a Daniels spring and Daniels asking God this very tremendous passage in an God reveals to a human being in a Daniel 789-1011 12 in this chapters, God reveals to Daniel the next four major kingdoms that would come, identifies them very very specifically okay Babylonian will be followed by the Medo Persian. The Medo Persians will be a great ruler and the Greeks will take over. They will have a great ruler that will take over the world and then a break in the four parts. The great ruler was Alexander the great broken for parts with four different generals, then the Romans will take over and so I mean hundreds of years of specific prophecy and is it so much so that liberal scholars when they read the book of Daniel. They try and dated hundreds of years later, it was actually written because there's no answer for the how can anyone know those things and know that with such specificity is what God is saying is you can know I'm sovereign because I will just tell you that like Cyrus 100 years before Cyrus was born God said he would be the king that would allow captivity and deliverance when they went back to rebuild Jerusalem and the wall, but all through Scripture, God says, I know the end from the beginning because I'm in control. My purposes can't be thwarted.
The fourth way not only through titles, promises, and prophecy about your Christ and hit his life as a picture of the sovereignty of God's supernatural birth and I don't mean just by a virgin. I mean, just think of this, just typing a skeptic with me just for a minute and think about okay there's been lots of people lots of leaders like the truth claims here's a Rabbi young rabbi who started his ministry at 30 and has about a three year run. He travels maybe 30 to 50 miles from his home. He doesn't have an established religious environment. He's actually a revolutionary. There's no technology 80% of the known world is illiterate of. There's nothing in writing.
How in the world does one Rabbi without technology, without satellites, without being putting things in print. How in the world is that one person turned the whole world upside down in the first century turns the world upside down. By the way, great book regarding Rodney Stark has written two books is a sociologist think he teaches at Baylor. Now it's called the triumph of Christianity and the rise of Christianity, and in that he what he documents is the growth of Christianity. And I don't know where he's coming from, spiritually because he he's viewing it as a sociologist. What were the events that happen, not the Holy Spirit, not God, not supernatural, but what of the world events happen so that by 313 when Constantine declares the Christianity we the state religion there. 16 million people in the Roman Empire and 33 million are followers of Christ. How can that happen.
Let me tell you how it happens. Galatians 44 says in the fullness of time, God sent forth his son, the word fullness. Literally we get our word. It's went when the world when the earth was pregnant in God's game plan in his sovereign plan to fulfill his purposes. There was a point in time when the earth when the dynamics of life on the earth were this narrow little window that allowed a rabbi for three years to do something that would transform the world number one corruption in Rome was an all-time high number to the philosophies and the religion of the Greeks was an all-time low. On top of that for the first time ever in world history. There was one language of the trade language called Quinn a Greek of which the New Testament is written so no matter where you were where you came from because Rome took control is where you have a language it would be like the Internet of today. So now there's a language to communicate a message everywhere in the world on top of that is that in the ancient world travel was very dangerous. You get killed or beat up or whatever will they had Roman outpost was called the Romano pox. There was peace everywhere and enters all these soldiers everywhere so that was safe to travel and you maybe have heard that that lined every road led to Rome.
Guess what it did, there was a transportation system to all the corners of the world.
So think of this little window of time for the first time ever, Jesus is born when the Roman government and people are.
That's not the answer. The religions in the philosophies are drained communication at a new level like never before. Transportation is happening you can travel and then before this happened. The Jews were persecuted so synagogues have been placed all over the Roman world. So now the New Testament rolls out the gospel goes forth and they have preaching points to say the promises of Messiah. He's come so when you read the book of acts where it always go he always starts in the synagogue, they have a God consciousness and end this revolution occurs only a sovereign God can pull that one off.
Jesus life fulfilled hundreds of prophecies.
His messianic teaching. The whole book of Matthew is not. I'm a good teacher. This is a good example is a lot of world religions. I want to get on the salad bar the world religions and this is a good way to live. That's not what Jesus said a whole book of Matthew is filled with prophecy after prophecy after prophecy after prophecy. He claimed to be God. He said I'm the king on the king of the Jews on the Lord of lords. I'm coming to usher in a kingdom and he was never killed that don't get that. The Romans never get mad at you, Jesus, and no one killed me. I lay down my life right and I take it up again. He's a sovereign God's claim was before Abraham insisted I I am that I am Jesus whole life demonstrates the sovereignty of God himself. Listening to the first part of chips message the sovereignty of God from his series, the real God will be back with his application, but before he is to give you a quick sketch of the series overall in the real God chip looks at seven key attributes of God's character and explains that none of them is ever diminished or overshadowed by the others which means that God is 100% love 100% just and 100% merciful kind of mindbending when you think about it that way and why it becomes a lifelong adventure to get to know him for who he really is a great way to learn how these attributes of God work together is to do this study with a small group of friends. So for a limited time. The small group resources for the real God are discounted because we want to do everything we can to help you get a clear accurate view of God to place your order or get more information on the real God. Go to LivingontheEdge.org taps special offers on the chipping roadmap or give us a call a 8883336003 that's AAA 333-6003 will ship your teaching today really brings home how important it is to get into God's word.
But how do we turn that head knowledge into life change. I mean we get it to really sink in and then stick will Dave. I'll tell you, you have to study and unit doing the daily discipleship and some other things we've offered when people were stuck at home is absolutely critical.
But what we know from all the research is that people have been isolated and isolation causes anxiety and isolation causes you to doubt yourself. There's a huge need right now to get back into community to develop relationships and for some people yes maybe still zooming is the only way you can do it, but what I would say to people is what ever you have to do in this season, I mean whatever priority change. You need to make find a way to get in a room together face-to-face and get into God's word and share your life. Boy, a video screen is never gonna hug you a video screen is never to cry with you a video screen is never to be able to say let's stop right now and let's pray for so-and-so because that's a big issue. You can read people's body language a bit through a screen, but there's nothing like sitting around in a circle with God's word at the center and having authentic deep relationships is fuel for your soul and because of that and the huge need that we see. We discounted all of our small group resources we want to help you get into community. Get connected.
Get loved and give it to other people help you do that we've temporarily discounted all of our small group resources. There are so many available on relationships, marriage, parroting doctrine, Christian living, doing a small group Bible study that meets the need will help you and everyone in your group. Take the next step, whatever that means to each of you included in each discounted workbook is a unique code to unlock the online videos get the workbooks use your codes and your set to take advantage of this limited time offer.
Just go to LivingontheEdge.org or taps special offers on the chipping roadmap for more information. Give us a call at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 will now here's chip today we learned that far from simply making claims to be the supreme and sovereign God of the universe that God has demonstrated that this is not an iffy doctrine. This one isn't up for grabs his titles reveal that he is sovereign.
His promises reveal that he is sovereign. His story history in itself reveals that he is sovereign. The prophecy in Scripture reveals that he is sovereign.
He has made specific multiple literally hundreds of predictions that only a sovereign God in control of all of life could fulfill. And finally, first and foremost his son the Lord Jesus his life's work. His death his resurrection and his ascension, all demonstrate that God is sovereign.
He's in control is a comfort to know that light isn't spinning out of control that events and people and circumstances in the stock market and world rulers.
They aren't randomly throwing wrenches into your life.
God is purposely orchestrating all of life to fulfill his ultimate will and get this, he's doing it for his glory and for your good. There is a place regardless of your circumstances. Define on believable peace. Jesus promised in the world will have tribulation, be of good cheer. He is overcome the world. And the reason he can overcome the world.
Is he is sovereign but the sovereignty of God raises two critical questions. If God is sovereign. What about our free will or our choices. And if he's in control of everything. What's our part, we are going to address those two issues head-on in our next broadcast.
Don't miss it. As we wrap up I want to say thanks to those who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs. Purchaser time and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. If you've been blessed by the ministry of Living on the Edge and you'd like to bless others. In return, would you consider sending a gift today. You can call us at AAA 333-6003 that's AAA 333-6003 Donate on the app or donate online at http://livingontheedge.org.
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Let's offer this program until next time, this is Dave Drewry saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge