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God Over All #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2024 12:00 am

God Over All #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 3, 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, I'm Bill Wright. Thanks for joining us as we continue teaching God's people God's Word. Don begins a new message today, so without further delay, let's join him right now in the Truth Pulpit. It's a delight and a privilege to be back with you and to return to our series that we've titled Building a Christian Mind. As we've considered this series over the course of this calendar year, we've established plainly that we live in a realm in which God exists and has made Himself known.

God is there and He is not silent. Those are simple words, it seems, but they contradict the spirit of the age in which we live, and it's important for us to realize that. As we've continued on and seen the authority of Christ and the authority of Scripture, we've seen that there is truth in the universe in which we live. There's truth in the realm of our existence.

We're not left to our fleeting feelings to determine what's true, but there is real and actual truth that is absolute and transcends time and circumstance. And in more recent weeks, as we've considered the decree of God and the creation by God, there's a very basic reality that we need to understand and let it filter through all that we think and all that we say and all that we live for. We live, beloved, in a realm that God planned. We live a life that God has planned for us. We live in a realm that God created and established according to His wisdom. And now as we pivot into a new aspect of our doctrinal consideration here today, we're going to see that we live in a realm that God sustains and that God directs in every single detail. And the implications of this are massive for everything, and they're very massive for the living of your Christian life. There is nothing more practical than the doctrine that we are about to consider over the next several weeks. All of our building of a Christian mind through the past several months has led us to this very critical point that is absolutely essential to a right living of the Christian life. If you are not clear on the matters that we're going to be considering today, you will struggle, you will stumble, you will be discouraged and anxious and fearful, and there's no need for that. The Christian life does not have to be that way.

And I say this with complete sympathy. I know that some of you live in a realm of constant fear and agitation, fear over what's going to happen, regret over what's happened and what you've done in the past, and fear of what's going to happen in the world around us, what's going to happen to our country, what's going to happen to my children, what's going to happen to my grandchildren. You know, we all live in that realm. But, beloved, we don't have to live in a state of fear and agitation. In fact, Jesus said, stop being anxious in Matthew chapter 6. All of our building of a Christian mind and all of those things that weigh on each one of our hearts lead us to an extended consideration of the doctrine known as divine providence. Divine providence.

If that term is new to you, you're in for a blessing over the next few weeks. And I can say this honestly, and those that are around me would say the same things. Few things in my life have changed me like the doctrine of divine providence. I don't always live consistently with the way that it's changed me, but it's changed me, what we're about to see. Few things in life have daily sustained me like the doctrine of divine providence, of getting beyond the realm of emotional manipulation in religious services and just living from a false spiritual sugar high from week to week in emotionally driven services while you collapse during the week and wait for the next spiritual energy drink to down and keep you going for another week or two. Just like living off sugar and caffeine, that stuff wears you out eventually.

And it destroys your body in time, even though for a day it may seem to give you a stimulant. Well, in a similar matter, the doctrine of divine providence gives you the real strength, real genuine power to live in the knowledge of the God who is there, the God who is not silent, the God who has expressed his authority in scripture and in the savior, the God who decreed things, the God who created things. All of these things come together now in a way that we see impacts every moment of every detail of every day of our lives. Few things have changed me or sustained me as this blessed doctrine.

And I have no fear of overstating, overpromising things. And I can only pray that the Spirit of God would help you as he's helped me through the truth of God's word on this point. And so today, if you are weary in life, you need to sit up. You need to sit up and pay attention because the Lord has brought you to a place of help. And the time for spiritual lethargy and checking the watch, when's this going to be over?

That's over. We have something more important than a clock and personal comfort to consider here today. If you're discouraged, if you're weighed down, let me in sympathy encourage you to pay heed. The help that your heart longs for is here and here over the next few weeks. And if you're anxious, controlled by fear, as I say, I know some of you are, help has arrived. If only you will give heed to the word of God, submit to him and ask his Spirit to help you apply it to your life. Because there is no weakness in what we're about to see.

There is no defect in what we're about to see. These are the things that are the answer to the problem of daily life for the believer. And so, just to set the stage here, we've looked at the divine decree. God had a plan before he created the world.

God planned everything out. In a single act of his omniscient mind, he determined what would happen throughout the course of all known history and to bring it to a culmination that brings him glory. That decree, beloved, we saw just two, three weeks ago, that decree was comprehensive, we said.

The plan was comprehensive. We saw that it was a decree that encompassed the course of nations. It is a decree that encompasses all the details of life and existence.

It's a decree that included redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, at the macro scale of the greatest course of nations, in the details of minute things in the animal kingdom and our personal lives, and in the glories of salvation by redemption through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God planned all of that before Genesis 1.1. When there was nothing, God determined it. Before time began and eternity passed, God determined it all and established that decree. Then, as we've seen in the last couple of weeks when I've been here, he created the world in six 24-hour days.

A short time ago, comparatively speaking, 5,000, 10,000 years ago, not billions of years. He had a comprehensive plan, he created things, and now things are happening, you could say. Since creation, things have been happening.

That's the simplest way that I know how to put it. And what you need to understand is this, is that the doctrine of divine providence teaches us that the things that have been happening, the things that have happened, the things that are happening, the things that will happen, all of them are under the oversight and direction of the God who planned it all. God planned it, God created it, and now everything that's happened since then and is happening now, God is providentially directing everything that happens in order to accomplish his purposes. That's the doctrine of divine providence. And this doctrine, beloved, will deepen your reverence for God, it will steady you in your trials and give comfort to you in your affliction, and it will give you confidence as you face an uncertain future.

The Christian should not fear the future because the Christian, by profession, by reality, we trust, is someone who is a child of God, is a child of the God who planned it, who created it, and is now directing it. And God, as a loving father, has not lost sight of us in the midst of the infinite complexity of everything that's happening. He knows us by name, he knows the number of hairs on our head, he determined the days in which we would live, we have a fixed course of days that we are living out, and so the God who is great is a God who is good, who has created us, and who is sustaining us in every single detail.

This is just by way of overview to introduce you to what we have ahead. And the knowledge of that, therefore, causes us to revere him, it causes us to fear him, and it causes us to trust him. If God is so good that Christ would leave heaven above to come to earth, and if God is so good that Christ would live a faithful, obedient life for 30-some years, and then willingly offer up that life as a sacrifice to God to pay for the sins of everyone who would ever believe in him, those who deserve judgment instead receive divine grace through the work and the person of Jesus Christ, if God's so good to do that, so good to do the greater thing, then it's obvious that God is being good in the lesser things, the smaller details of life as well.

He wouldn't give us the greater thing and then withhold the lesser things. And so this doctrine of divine providence can give you confidence in the future as well. And beloved, mark this really carefully, this doctrine enables you to let go of all of the regrets of your past, every single one of them, every single one of them.

It's not right and proper. It's not good for people, especially for Christians, to talk about, oh, I need to forgive myself, or I just can't forgive myself for what happened in the past. That's not biblical thinking. God is the one that we've sinned against. God is the one who must grant forgiveness. But I understand the mindset that says I live with regret over what I've done in the past, how I ruined my first marriage, how I ruined my second marriage, things like that, the people that I sinned against, the way that I've been sinned against myself, all of these things and all of that junk, all of that junk, beloved, that, and you know people like this, I know that you know people like this, people that live in perpetual introspection or people that perpetually portray themselves as the victim of what others have done to them.

Whether they're Christians or not, we don't need to worry about today, but it's clear they're not anchored in the doctrine of divine providence. To the extent that you feel like I've been wronged so many times, it's time to come to the doctrine of divine providence. And I say this graciously and with a spirit to help you, beloved, it's time to get over that. It's time to get over that and to live in light of the fact that there is a sovereign God directing everything that's happened. And it's time for us not to live as a victim but to live as a victor, to live as one who's triumphed in Christ, that Christ has saved, delivered, loved, and has a great future for us.

It's time to live in light of those realities and all of the details instead of in this psychological introspective junk that holds people in bondage and makes them frankly a pain to be around. You don't want to be a pain, do you? To the people around you, why would you want to be a pain to everybody? Why not be a blessing to everybody around you? It's possible if you embrace, if you understand and embrace the doctrine of divine providence.

I have a dear family member struggling on the edge of death about an hour and a half north. Some of you have met him, kind of a distant cousin by marriage. But I think of him in light of this simply because the doctrine of divine providence enables you even to face your deathbed with a sense of serenity and confidence, a sense of resignation, a peaceful resignation that I can resign myself to the will of God, come what may, and live without fear. That the God who decreed my life, who created my life in my mother's womb, who has sustained my life through years and decades and now has brought me to the point of leaving this life and crossing the river and entering into the next, I can trust him for even that. Beloved, this is utterly comprehensive in its meaning and significance for all of life. I hope that you're anticipating that there's a sense of anticipation, hey, this sounds like something that could help.

Well, yeah, because it will. And so let me give you a definition of the doctrine of divine providence. And as you're getting ready to write, the title for today's message is God over all. God over all. God ruling over all is the idea. And the doctrine of divine providence, I've defined it this way in the past and I'll define it this way again today. God, when we say God, the God that we've been talking about for all these months, the God who has made himself known in creation, the canon, conscience, Christ and in conversion, that God who has revealed himself in scripture, that God who has revealed himself in Christ, that God who decreed the way that all would take place in the universe, that God who created by the power of his spoken word, that God is the one that we're talking about, not the false God of Islam, not the crazy God of charismatic theology, not the legalistic false God of Roman Catholicism, not the false gods, the true God, the true God of the Bible that we've been talking about all these months, that God is the God we're talking about. God continually upholds his entire creation.

I'm going to say this slowly, I'm going to say it several times, I want you to write it down and get it right. God continually upholds his entire creation and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens, and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish his will, period. God continually upholds his entire creation and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens, and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish his will. That's the doctrine of divine providence. Now, let me just say something by way of clarification and help you understand the scope of today's message. There are difficult questions that come up in relationship to the doctrine of divine providence. We're going to address them in the future. We're not going to deal with the hard questions that this doctrine creates today.

Today, our goal is different. Before we deal with all of the questions and all of the objections and all of the foolish things that men rise up and speak against the sovereignty of God, before we deal with those and answer those and refute the objections, today we have a more limited, a very joyful task in front of us. Today, we're just going to see what Scripture says and let this doctrine rise up for us from the pages of Scripture so that we can understand the fullness of what the doctrine is. Only when you first understand the doctrine and what it means and what it covers can you then be in a position to deal with the difficulties that it raises. Deal with the first principles first and then deal with the subsidiary difficulties that it might seem to raise in the mind before we understand. I'll give you the definition one more time as we reset here and transition from the introduction to the content. God continually upholds his entire creation and sovereignly works in absolutely everything that happens and thus directs all creatures and events to accomplish his will.

Nothing happens outside the determined will of God which he established before the foundation of the world. Now, another way to think about today's message is this, is that we're laying a foundation that we're going to build on for the next seven or eight weeks. I'm very excited about what lies ahead. Even this morning I was doing work on these future messages and I'm just so excited about what we have ahead.

I know it's going to help you. But today's the foundation. We want to lay a level square solid foundation to build upon what were things in the future. So think about it this way.

I've compared it this way in the past. Think about preparing a piece of ground in order to plant a garden. You go, there's rocks, there's weeds, the soil is hard, all of that. And so you've got to do work in order to prepare for the garden in order to enjoy the fruit of the garden and the harvest of the garden down the road.

You don't throw the seed in the ground in the morning and then eat the corn at night, do you? Now, if we can understand that in a physical realm, then we should have the patience to deal with the truth of God's Word knowing that even if we don't see immediately all of the ways that it affects us, that we just patiently do the work and let God bring the fruit and the increase in time in our hearts. And He will.

He will. God always accomplishes what He intends through the preaching of His Word. And so in some ways the preacher of God's Word should be the most confident person in the world in the task that's ahead of him.

His Word does not return void, and beloved, it will not return void in your life if you just pay heed, you're here, and you absorb these things and consider them repeatedly over time. So when you think about preparing a piece of ground for a garden, you move rocks, you dig, you plant, you water, you weed, you sweat, and it takes hard work over time to get the benefit, but it's worth the effort. It's worth the effort to enjoy that fruit later on.

It's worth the effort to have canned goods in the winter when the storm is raging outside. It's worth the effort, and so you gladly invest in it knowing that there's hard work to do. Well, beloved, studying divine providence is like that.

It takes some heavy lifting at first. And if you've never studied the doctrine of divine providence, it's a privilege for me to introduce it to you because these are things that are going to, these are things that are just going to expand your mind and give you a view of God that you've never had before. And that view of God enables you to live in the midst of a cursed, wicked, fallen world with confidence, not the victim, the victor. Three principles for today, and let me just give them to you at the start as we're defining God's providence today and giving you biblical evidence for it.

Biblical evidence to understand the doctrine. First point will be God's providence is broad. God's providence is broad. You could say God's providence is comprehensive. Secondly, God's providence is detailed.

It's in the small things as well as the big things. God's providence is broad. Secondly, God's providence is detailed. Thirdly, the sweet part for believers, God's providence is personal. It's personal.

It's broad, it's detailed, and it's personal. There is nothing beloved that you can possibly think about that is outside the providence of God as it is revealed in scripture. Anything you think about, anything that's happened in life, anything that's happening in the world, in history, nothing, nothing is beyond the doctrine of divine providence. And because of that, you cannot begin to have a properly functioning Christian mind until you understand the doctrine of divine providence. Because everything around you is being directed by Him to accomplish His will. Until you understand that, you haven't begun to understand the nature of the life that you're living.

So let's dig into it now. First point, God's providence is broad. And you can turn to the book of Ephesians for a starting point here. God's providence is broad.

It covers everything in the universe. Let's look at Ephesians chapter 1 verses 9 through 11. Ephesians chapter 1 verses 9 through 11, where it says that God is making known to us the mystery of His will according to His 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 the purpose of Him, here it is, who works all things according to the counsel of His will. Beloved, look at the plain words of Scripture there.

God has predestined according to the purpose of Him, who works all things according to the counsel of His will. Now, in verse 10, you see that word to unite all things in Him. That word unite is a word that has the idea of a summary. If you think of a public speech or an attorney's argument at the close of a jury trial, that the point of that argument is to bring everything together into one place and to summarize it, speaking as, you know, from the perspective of an attorney, to summarize all of the evidence that has been presented during the course of the trial, to summarize it and bring it to a point where the jury sees that the only rational way to respond to all of that evidence is to come to this conclusion, you need to rule in favor of my client. It brings everything to a focal point. It shows how each part relates to the complete argument. What we see here, as Paul speaks about the counsel of the will of God, the purpose of God, the singular purpose of God, as an infinite number of details have been working themselves out in the five or 10,000 years since creation, every detail of that unfolding of creation, every detail of it fits with the purpose that God established and will fulfill the intent of God and the design of God when it's all done in the end.

It's a summary. It's all united together. It's all part of one plan.

That's what you need to see. Nothing that has ever happened in the world or in you, nothing has happened apart from the plan of God. Every part relates to the overall purpose of his will. And God moves everything by his power so that what he decreed to be the end, the purpose of it all would be accomplished. And the end of his purpose is the glory of his own name, the glory of Jesus Christ. Look at Ephesians chapter one verse six.

Start in verse five. He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will to the praise of his glorious grace. In verse 11, we saw things were according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. Verse 14, that we would receive the guarantee of our inheritance until we require possession of it to the praise of his glory.

Beloved, there's so much more at stake in the universe and in your life than how things affect you individually and personally. There's a greater purpose at work. That greater purpose, that goal, that end to which everything is moving is to the praise of the glory of God. Romans 11, 33 to 36, from him and to him and for him are all things. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. All of it moving to a purpose. All of it, each individual part like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece having a part to play in the entire mosaic that's presented, that when it's all said and done, the redeemed and the holy angels will look at the full mosaic and in wonder say praise God.

He deserves glory for that. And God, to make certain of that, moves everything to that end. God works all things so that nothing thwarts his plan. Let me say that again. God works all things so that nothing thwarts his plan.

As R.C. Sproul says, there's not a speck of cosmic dust anywhere in the universe that is beyond the sovereignty of God. He created it all, so obviously he has power over it all. And because he's a wise infinite God, he has a plan for what he's doing.

He doesn't do things haphazardly. He's an intelligent, purposeful God, so that everything that comes into existence in the realm of his creation is serving the purpose that he established before the beginning of time. This introduces you to a great and high, lofty view of God, and that's what you should have. A great, high, lofty view of God. Not simply as though he were some kind of cosmic vending machine that you put a quarter in and pull the lever or push the button so you can get what you want in your time of need and then move on in disregard to it.

God works all things so that nothing thwarts his plan. 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 thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. 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. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thank you so much for listening to The Truth Pulpit. Join us next time for more as we continue teaching God's people God's Word.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-03 04:56:32 / 2024-05-03 05:07:28 / 11

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