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The Complete Plan of God #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 24, 2024 12:00 am

The Complete Plan of God #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 24, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. It is our joy to continue our commitment to teaching God's people God's Word. Today Don is continuing with the second part of a message we started last time. So let's get right to it. Open your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. Overall, I have seven points.

Whether I get through them all this morning or not, we will see. But I want to answer a fundamental question with seven aspects. What can we say about the decree of God? What can we say about the decree of God? Stated differently, what has God revealed about this complete comprehensive plan of His that He established before creation and is now working out according to His wisdom?

Point number one. The decree is diverse and yet it is one. The decree is diverse and yet it is one.

Now, that sounds probably kind of abstract, but again, just stay with me through this, through all of this. When we think about the decree of God, the complete plan of God, beloved, you need to understand this. There is a unity to it.

Everything is subsumed under one comprehensive plan. And so there is a unity to it. There's only one decree with infinite aspects to it. And those infinite aspects show us that there is a diversity to the decrees of God, and yet there's a unity to it.

Think about it this way. Those of you that enjoy jigsaw puzzles, think about the decree of God in this sense. A jigsaw puzzle is one, whether it's 300 pieces or 1,000 pieces or 2,500 pieces, it's one, right? When it all fits together, there's one puzzle that is completed at the end. And yet every jigsaw puzzle has a diverse number of pieces that fit together in order to create that one puzzle in its final output. You can think about it this way.

You strain for analogies that help, that have their own built-in defects when you use them, but you strain for analogies that just give something to help us put things in to words that we can understand. The decree of God is as if there was an infinite jigsaw puzzle that was put into place and it is being put together over time in a way that when it is completed, there will be a full picture shown and every piece will make sense in the overall context of that great jigsaw puzzle that's been done in like manner. The complete plan of God, the divine decree, has infinite aspects to it covering every event that ever happens, every person that ever lives, every animal that ever walks the face of the earth, every aspect of it has a place in the plan of God and he is working that out according to his will. And you can see this in a crucial passage from the Apostle Paul. I invite you to turn to Ephesians chapter one. Ephesians chapter one.

And we'll come back to this passage a time or two over the course of this six or eight part series. Ephesians chapter one. Let's begin in verse seven, which is focused on Christ and then works out from there. Ephesians chapter one, beginning in verse seven. In him, meaning in Christ, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us in all wisdom and insight.

Watch this carefully as I read. Making known to us the mystery of his will. Notice singular will, one will. Making known to us the mystery of his will according to his purpose, singular, his singular purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, we have obtained an inheritance having been predestined according to, here it is again, the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. Now, beloved, I understand fully that when you read through the Bible and you read those verses in 10 or 15 seconds and keep going on, that the fullness of the significance of that maybe has never hit you. But that doesn't limit what Scripture is teaching, the fact that you and I read it so often and the full impact of it utterly escapes our attention. That only means that we are dull as we read Scripture, that we are spiritually sluggish, and we need the help of the Holy Spirit to open our minds to understand the fullness of what God is saying here. Now look, as you go through that passage, look at how often it refers to the will, the purpose, the plan of God. Verse 9, the mystery of his will, his purpose, verse 9. Verse 10, a plan for the fullness of time. Verse 11, the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. His will, his purpose, his plan.

God has a plan that he's working out. Singular. It's a singular decree. And yet, notice, beloved, that in the most comprehensive, extensive, exhaustive way, Paul says that everything is governed under and everything is included under the purpose of that plan. Verse 10, to unite all things in him. Does all things mean all things? Well, it means things in heaven and things on earth. That's pretty comprehensive, isn't it? That seems to be a pretty comprehensive description of all that exists in the universe. And in verse 11, he goes on to say, the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.

All things, beloved. And this is after he said in verses 3 and 4, look up there with me, blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. The fact that you in the past, I'm going to be a little sharp here maybe, the fact that in the past you've had Arminian teachers who explained away the doctrine of election to you, and in the process explained away without even recognizing it the decree of God, doesn't change the clarity with which God speaks in his word.

God chose us before the foundation of the world. And Paul goes on to say, later in that same context, he speaks about the will, the plan, the purpose of God that is comprehensive in all things. And so all things, plural, are included in this singular plan of God. One will from one God, and yet a plan that covers everything in the universe, from the beginning of time until the end of time.

It's incomprehensibly massive. This is not according to human thought. And let's just say this, you know, as people would furiously look for ways to contain this and to restrain it, and thereby put God in a box that they can control, understand that God has spoken with clarity here. You can speak of, as I said, you can speak of the divine decree, singular, which emphasizes the unified plan. Others say decrees, because God's appointed an infinite number of things to show that all things are covered by it.

We'll today speak in terms of one decree, emphasizing the unity of the plan that God has, by which he foreordained everything that would come to pass in all of the universe. Now, you step back, and there's an appropriate right sense of holy hush that falls rightly on a room where these things are being discussed, a holy hush that recognizes these things are high and holy and far beyond the way that we normally think, far beyond our capacity to understand. How can one being have such wisdom and such power to do that? And that is the being to whom I will one day give an account of my little individual life?

Yes, yes, that is sanctifying, that is frightening, that is why the Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, to recognize that this God exists independently of you and me, that he has a plan that far transcends you and me, that he is righteous and holy and just and wise in all that he does. This is not a God with whom we should trifle. This is not a God to treat as a vending machine.

God, I need this, and so I'll pull this lever or I'll push these buttons, please have the vending machine deliver what I want on the timetable that I want. As the popular churches of our day would teach us to think, no, no, God is so great and so holy and so majestic that he has a plan and he established everything that would ever happen in the universe. Now, just briefly, I want to say, because I'm not going to get into it today, you say, well, what about sin? What about evil?

What about all the bad things that seemingly happen in the world? We'll deal with that in the future. We're not dealing with that today for the sake of being able to keep things reasonably clear on the primary point that needs to be established. We see, first of all, the decree is diverse and yet it is one. The decree is diverse and yet it is one. It covers everything in the universe and yet God has one plan that he's working out.

He's putting an infinite jigsaw puzzle together with perfect precision. And not a piece will be lost, not a piece will be misplaced, whether it's a hair on your head, a bird in the sky, or whether it's the rise and fall of a nation like Rome, one day to rise or fall like the United States of America. All of it on a massive macro scale or on a micro scale, it all fits under the divine decree. Now secondly, what can we say about this decree? The decree of God is eternal. The decree of God is eternal and that's what I've been saying all along.

We won't spend much time here. God planned the course of the universe before time began. He planned the course of the universe before time began. We saw that in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 4. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world. Paul speaking of the doctrine of election that God chose beforehand all those who would be saved and passed over others who would not be saved. Do you realize, beloved, I haven't always even thought about it in this sense myself, but do you realize that in that verse, the distinction of those who are chosen and those that are passed over, that in that one verse you have a comprehensive dealing of God with every human being who's ever lived? God chose beforehand who would be saved. He passed over others who would not and be left to their own sins. Do you realize that therefore the billions of people who have ever lived and who ever will live are included within the course of that statement?

And if the individuals are included within it, then certainly their activities by which they will be judged or for which they will be judged are included within that statement. This is absolutely comprehensive, and God determined it before the foundation of the world. Listen as I read another verse from 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 9. 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 9 says that God saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. Before the ages began, this is an eternal decree of God, which included in it the cross of Christ and Christ dying at the hands of godless men. The book of Acts shows us that.

Again, I'll just read this for the sake of time. Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost to the Jews who crucified Christ says, This Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. That Jesus you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Our purpose for today is that the crucifixion of Christ was in the fulfillment of the plan of God. God planned that out before the ages began. And beloved, this is where the this is where we have the opportunity to draw upon past things that we said. One of the things that we said in the past in the course of this series was that we know that Jesus is Lord by the outworking of the fulfillment of the prophecies that were made over the course of 2000 years before he came. Those prophecies made millennia before he lived on the earth all required this this incomprehensibly intricate fulfillment and motions of men and words and events over the course of every day of every year for thousands of years in order that they would be fulfilled at precisely that time. Now the only way that that happens is if there is a divine plan that is being worked out and orchestrated by a divine conductor who is in perfect control and has planned it all out to do exactly what he wanted.

Even godless men are working under the hand and direction of God because God is wisely moving all things according to his purpose. Now listen, beloved, let me give you another analogy. I'm giving you table game analogies here, which is really ironic because I hate table games. I hate table games.

Ask Nancy, she'll tell you. I hate table games. The bad thing about saying that is that that's all some people will remember. They'll forget everything about the divine plan. Oh, Don hates table games.

Isn't that cool? Beloved, understand this. That in the world in which we live, as we think about calling upon God for help and we pray to him for help. And you know, you think about what it means for God to be sovereign.

Understand this, beloved. The world is not operating like a game of checkers or a game of chess where God makes one move and then we make a move in response or Satan makes a move and contradicts it. Satan moves his bishop and puts the king in check.

It's not like that at all. When we talk about the divine decree and the outworking of the divine decree, which is the doctrine of divine providence, which we'll get to, we're talking about something where God is orchestrating, God is directing, God is working in everything that happens. He is sovereign over it all. He is working out all things according to his purpose. And so God does not make a move and then wait for Satan or man to respond. He established the end from the beginning and everything within the course of his universe is working to the fulfillment of that great goal. Now, what does that mean for you and me? And I'm going to leave the rest of this for next time.

Why is this so very, very practical? Beloved, every joy, every sorrow, every difficulty, every uncertainty in your life is included in the comprehensive complete plan of God. There is nothing in your life that has come apart from, that has not been filtered through the mind and hand of God. Everything that is in your life is there with a purpose from God himself. And this is utterly transforming in the way that you think about these kinds of things.

It's not. You are not, and those of you that have come from charismatic churches, I'm delighted to be able to liberate your minds from the lies that you've been told. You are not subject to Satan as you go through this life. God is in control, not the devil. And you see that in the book of Job. You know, Satan had to get permission from God to even afflict Job.

God set limits on it and then God brought glory to himself and blessing to Job at the end. You're not subject to Satan. You're subject to a holy God, a good God. If you're in Christ, you're subject to a God who loved you and sent his son to save you and to bring you into his family. And everything that happens somehow is in furtherance of that.

You say, well, what about the hard times? You know, and if what you're saying is God sent this heartache to me, God sent this rebellious child to me, God sent this affliction, this bankruptcy, God sent all of these problems then if what you're saying is true. Look, people think that they are protecting God by shying away from that conclusion.

It's an utter disaster. That's a wrong way to think. Just one scripture passage would give us a sense of it. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul talks about how there was a messenger from Satan that was afflicting him. And he recognizes, you know what, God sent that affliction to me to humble me, to keep me from exalting myself. God has a purpose in these afflictions. And not only does he have a spiritual purpose in it, alongside the affliction, he gives us a grace that is sufficient to help us endure it. A grace that enables us to give him the glory, a purpose that causes us to acknowledge our weakness, to humble ourselves before God and before man, and to say, I am nothing before him. I am nothing before you. I am weak, I'm a creature of flesh, and I'm like a wisp of smoke passing through the wind that will be gone quick enough.

And quick enough forgotten. And it's through afflictions, severe afflictions, that God teaches us to think rightly about ourselves in that way, and to draw upon him in intimacy even as Christ drew upon the strength of his father as he faced Gethsemane. And so, yes, God has a plan.

He's working it all out to his glory. It includes everything in the universe and every detail in your life. Now, yeah, that's a lot to take in.

It takes some time to process that. But when you view the issues of life from this perspective, you see them completely differently. If you're not calculating God into your approach to life at all, then you don't understand the first thing about what's happening to you.

You don't understand the first thing if that's not a central part of your thinking. If you think that Satan's just being a bully to you, and that, you know, you need God to call him off, you're looking at things all wrong. The devil is God's devil. God uses the devil for his own purposes. If you think that the presence of hardship and affliction is a sign that God has abandoned you, that God's not loving, you're viewing it all wrong, beloved. It's because you're viewing it far too narrowly.

You're viewing it as a time-warped creature in a time-focused manner and not connecting it to the greater purpose of God. That is, at work in everything that happens. And you and I are going to have the privilege of working this out more in the days to come. For now, we thank God for the opportunity to have introduced this, and we'll look at more of it on Sunday. Be with us on Tuesday as we continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount. Let's pray together. Father, these are matters of great consequence, we know. To contemplate a God that was never created, to contemplate a being that has always existed by itself is too much for our minds to grasp. To comprehend a God who had the power to speak into existence out of nothing, the heavens and the earth, it's too much for us, Father, our minds aren't that great.

To contemplate a God who could plan redemption before there was even a fall of man, where do we begin, Father? We are lost in wonder and awe at the majesty of your great being. We bow in worship before you.

Father, we humble ourselves before you. And while the subject matter is so vast for our minds and our understanding, yet by your Spirit, provoke in our hearts a recognition of what is true about this, is that something in these truths that we have seen from your Word today, something about these truths have the clue to the nature of my existence. They contain the explanation for what I need to go through life.

They contain what I need to face my deathbed and the fear of death and what lies beyond. In all of these things, Father, your hand is in them all. We thank you for that. It's because your hand is in everything that happens. It's because your plan is comprehensive. It's because you're working out a perfectly exhaustive plan that Paul could say, Father, in Romans chapter 8 verse 28, he causes all things to work together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Father, your purpose is driving everything that happens. We know you in Christ.

We love you and trust you as a result. Be glorified in our midst and help us as we continue in days to come to grasp these things and build in us a Christian mind that thinks rightly about God and the universe and lives accordingly. Father, for those here that perhaps wandered in not aware of a gospel, not aware of Christ, not aware of their sinfulness, Father, we pray that you might graciously point them to the blood atonement that Christ offered for sinners at the cross so that they might find their eternal hope in him and enter into the kingdom of God.

We pray in Jesus' name. Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, thank you for joining us for yet another podcast from The Truth Pulpit. And we wanted to let you know that in addition to these audio resources that you are enjoying, that there are also written resources from my ministry. The Lord has given us opportunity to put some of the things that I've taught over the years in print.

And I have one book in particular that I would want to call your attention to. It's the most popular book that I've published so far called Trusting God in Trying Times. It's a book born out of deep personal sorrow and is brought into context, you might say, through the Word of God. How to trust God when you are going through the deepest valleys and the most sorrowful things in life. How do you trust God through those times when you can't see your way forward?

I've been there, my friend. And the book Trusting God in Trying Times speaks to that spiritual experience in the life of the believer. You can find all of my books at That's Just click on the link there. You'll find links to different books and you will find that they take you to an easy place to purchase them for your reading enjoyment. So thank you once again for joining us on The Truth Pulpit. We'll see you next time as we continue to study God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-24 04:56:21 / 2024-04-24 05:05:52 / 10

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