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God Over All #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 6, 2024 12:00 am

God Over All #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 6, 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. The several passages affirm God's control in this unqualified sense. Write down this first reference, in addition to Ephesians 1 that we just looked at. All things means all things. You know, you don't need to be a great exegete to understand that.

All things mean everything. In Psalm 103, verse 19, we read this. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.

The sovereignty of God rules over everything that has ever happened and ever will happen. You're in the book of Ephesians. Turn to the right a couple of pages to the book of Colossians. Skip over Philippians and come to the book of Colossians now.

Colossians chapter 1. Speaking of Christ in verse 15, we read that He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Firstborn there meaning He has the highest rank. Christ is the highest ranking one in all creation. Then He goes on to explain why that rank is so massive. Verse 16, for by Him, by Christ that is, all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.

Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things, He picks it up again for emphasis so you wouldn't miss it. He started by saying all things were created. He explains what He means by all things and then He comes full circle and says again, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things. And in Him, all things hold together.

All things, all things, all things. Christ created it all and in Christ it all holds together. Stated differently, in Christ everything is being directed according to the purpose that He intends. It's not simply a physical description that things don't disintegrate because He's holding them together.

I think that's true. But the whole plan of God is being held together in Christ as He advances His purpose through everything that ever occurred. Look over at the book of Hebrews chapter one.

And here today we're just touching on things so lightly and superficially in some ways and leaving a lot of things unsaid for the sake of getting the big picture in a single message. In Hebrews chapter one, beginning in verse one, we read this, Long ago at many times and in many ways God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, or as the original says, in His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, there's that phrase again, through whom also He created the world. We've covered those first two verses in our prior messages. And now in verse three we see something about the firstborn of all creation, something of the most glorious one in all of the universe, the one before whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Who is this one who commands such universal submission and worship, forced or willing, either way all will bow before Him?

Who is He? Verse three, He is the radiance of the glorious glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Publishing will go in cycles and people will write books about angels or TV shows about angels, and angels are great, angels are this. Look, whatever you think about angels, and angels have a place in the purpose of God, they're not to be the focus of our attention. Christ is because He's superior over all of them.

He made them. He rules over them. And by essence, He is infinitely more excellent than they are. And so we don't give our attention to angels the way that we give our attention to Christ. And what Scripture is saying here is that Christ upholds the entire universe by the word of His power.

By the exercise of His power and His mental ability, He upholds it all. And so God's providence, as we've seen it in Ephesians 1 and Colossians 1 and Psalms 103 and Hebrews 1, multiple, multiple places, all things, all things, all things, beloved, God's providence is as broad as you can possibly imagine and beyond your imagination. The stars orbit because God established them and keeps them there by His power. Your arms stay attached to your body because God, by His providence, makes sure that happens. Your chair holds you up because God sustains it.

That's how broad things are from the orbits of galaxies around one another, in places that the most distant and powerful telescope has not yet penetrated. God's providence operates there. As you sit in your seat, God's providence operates there, all of it being upheld by His power. And so His providence is broad as you could possibly imagine. Now secondly, God's providence is as broad as you can possibly imagine. Now secondly, God's providence is detailed. God's providence is detailed. You know, it's one thing to say God's providence is broad and just assert it like we just did in the past few minutes. It's one thing to say God controls everything. That's one thing to say that and to understand it at that abstract level. You need to establish God's providence and understand it at that abstract level.

You need to establish that. But beloved, it is another matter altogether. It is another realm of comprehension and spiritual growth for your heart to go to Scripture and take the time to list out all of the different matters that Scripture says is directed by the hand of God. God's providence is detailed.

Scripture doesn't just simply say this in a broad, overarching sense. It details it. And so what we're going to see are four little sub-points here in the detailed providence of God.

You can write these out ahead of time. God's providence is detailed over nature. God's providence is detailed over the animal kingdom. God's providence is detailed over seemingly chance events. And fourthly, God's providence is detailed over nations. Nature, animal kingdom, chance events, nations. Let's run through this rather quickly here now. God's providence is detailed and His providence is over nature.

And you could go, I don't know how many places. I'm just kind of randomly choosing texts, the themes of which could be repeated in multiple places in Scripture. Let's go to Psalm 147 for a moment. Let's go to Psalm 147 for today. Psalm 147. God rules over the world that He created. God rules over the world that He created. In Psalm 147 verse 7 we read this.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Make melody to our God on the lyre. He covers the heavens with clouds. He prepares rain for the earth. He makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food and to the young ravens that cry. God covers the heavens with cloud.

He prepares rain. He makes grass to grow. He gives beasts their food.

This is comprehensive. Drop down to verse 16. He gives snow like wool. He scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down His crystals of ice like crumbs.

Who can stand before His cold? Verse 18. He sends out His word and melts them. He makes His wind blow and the waters flow. Beloved, nature runs its course under the hand of God, under the direction of God, not from the independent power of impersonal, biological, or climatological processes. God is intimately involved in it all. And so the regular cycles of nature and astronomy can be measured, they can be observed, they can be predicted because God has chosen to keep them in order and this is the way that He operates the universe. No other explanation could explain the fact that we can determine when cosmic events happened millennia ago because of the nature of the predictable nature of the way that God orders the stars in the heavens and how we can know when the sun is going to set tonight.

It's not because the sun just chooses to do that on its own. It's because it's what God has established in His providence over nature. The very field of science itself, beloved, is only possible because God upholds things in a systematic, predictable way. Science has to assume the certainty of the providence of God in order to exist, even if they don't honor God in the process. Because on what basis can you predict that tomorrow will be like today unless there is something making sure that that happens, someone that makes sure that that happens.

They have to borrow from our world view in order to do their secular work. So God's providence is detailed over nature. Secondly, God's providence is detailed over the animal kingdom. Look at Psalm 104. Psalm 104, beginning in verse 24.

Psalm 104, verse 24. O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom have You made them all. The earth is full of Your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures, innumerable, living things, both small and great.

There go the ships and leviathan, which You formed to play in it. These all look to You, all the creatures in the sea. They all look to You to give them their food in due season. When You give it to them, they gather it up. When You open Your hand, they are filled with good things.

When You hide Your face, they are dismayed. When You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. Beloved, the testimony of Scripture is that every animal, every bird, every creature of every kind lives, eats, and dies in the providence of God. Matthew 6 says God feeds the birds of the air and makes that an argument for why we should not be anxious in life. If He cares for the birds, He'll care for us.

Matthew 10 says that sparrows die at His command. Now, beloved, you might wonder why God would care about such seemingly insignificant creatures. Why does He care about that? Well, He does, because it pleases Him, because He's a God of order, because He's a God of detail, because He's created everything, and in the massive complexity, the infinite complexity of His mind, it pleases Him to set all of these things into motion, to rule over all of it, and to direct it to accomplish His will.

And ours is not to second guess. Well, you know, I mean, God forgive the blasphemy of what I'm about to say, but just to make the point, you know, someone might say, well, if I was God, I wouldn't care about that. Well, you're not God, and I'm glad you're not. God is pleased to rule over the infinite complexity of the universe and to guide every detail of it, to guide all things to accomplish His will. That pleases Him, and it pleases Him because He's so much greater than we are. We may not care about details even in our own personal life, but God's not like us. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

And it pleased Him to rule over nature, to rule over the animal kingdom in complete, perfect detail. Thirdly, we mentioned seemingly chance events. Think about the roll of a dice, for example. The classic text on this is Proverbs 16, verse 33. Proverbs 16, 33, the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Some people think that the high priest in the days of Israel had, that he had, they had means of ascertaining the will of God, that they had two disks, black on one side, white on the other side, and when you would cast them, either of the three possibilities come up. Double white meaning yes, double black meaning no.

If it's split, the answer is wait, the simplicity of that. Well, what Proverbs is talking about is that when something like that is done, the outcome of that was determined by the Lord. It seemed random and by chance from our human perception, but the outcome was in the hands of the Lord.

Our equivalent, like I said, would be rolling dice or flipping a coin. The Dutch theologian Herman Bavenk, some pronounce it Bavenk. Herman Bavenk says this, this is where your mind needs to go and grow into, beloved. A great statement, and I quote, the Christian surveys the whole of existence and the entire world and discovers in all things, not chance or fate, but the leading of God's fatherly hand.

I'll say that again. The Christian surveys the whole of existence and the entire world and discovers in all things, not chance or fate, but the leading of God's fatherly hand. And we know this, we know this because we believe Scripture. We believe Scripture on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Remember, we talked about that. That's why all of these things are so critical and vital for us to know and understand. Why do we believe the Bible? We believe the Bible based on the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as we read the Bible and know that it's trustworthy in everything that it affirms, we find these things. And so we believe the doctrine of divine providence based on the testimony of the word of God, which is certified to us by the firstborn, the highest ranking in creation, Jesus Christ himself. What you think about these basic fundamental things has massive consequences for all of thought, all of life.

I trust that's becoming more and more clear to you as we go along. Now, we said God's providence is detailed over nature, over the animal kingdom, over chance events, and finally God rules over nations. You think about flipping a coin. Say, how small and insignificant is that? A micro view of the providence of God.

Well, it goes from a micro view to a macro view and becomes absolutely comprehensive. God rules over nations. Daniel chapter 2 verses 20 and 21, I'm just going to read it. Daniel 2 verses 20 and 21 says this, Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epics. He removes kings and establishes kings. And if you do any superficial reading of world history, you realize how magnificent that statement is.

First there was Egypt, and then there was Israel, and then there was Assyria, then there was Babylon, then there was Persia, then there was Greece, then there was Rome, and on into our day. Scripture says that those rise and fall of nations over centuries, over decades, they flourish for a while and then they fade away. All of that by the hand of a sovereign God who changes the times and epics, who removes kings and establishes kings, beloved world rulers rise and fall at the command of God. And God is at work even in the electoral processes or whatever measure, whatever means a country uses, a state or jurisdiction uses to establish its rulers. God works through those and determines what the outcome will be. Now it has implications. Beloved, you may or may not like the fact that Joe Biden is President of the United States.

I don't really care what you think about that because we've got more important things to talk about. But just understand that Joe Biden became President because it pleased God to give that authority to him. God determined before time began that that would be part of the outworking of his purpose. And so what you and I have to do as Christians, this becomes very important and practical for us, we have to trust God no matter what the changing politics of the world around us is.

Whatever we think about it, whatever you want to think about the involvement of individual Christians in politics, I don't care about talking about that today. That's not our point. Our point is to be able to look at the world and interpret it properly, to realize that there are leaders who have power because God has given it to them. And I may not like the direction things are going, but I'm going to trust the God who established a decree and included that ruler as part of his process. I may not see where it's going.

I may not like where it's going. And that's not the point. The point is God rules over all, including nations, including leaders. And we trust him no matter what. We trust him no matter what.

We trust him no matter what. You can think of the providence of God on a continuum in light of what we've just said. God's providence is over details that do not concern you.

What do I care about an elk that falls dead in Colorado? I don't care about that. God's providence is at work in it. What do I care about a sparrow that gets hit by a windshield on the drive home today? I don't care about that.

That's not important. But God's providence rules over that. God's providence on the left hand of the continuum covers even details that are insignificant to you and me. On the other end of the continuum, these massive world geopolitical things that happen that you have no control over and yet affect your life, you have no control, you have no concern over birds, you have no control over international affairs, and God rules there and on every point in between. Details that don't concern you, world events that you can't control, God's in charge. God rules over it all.

Now that brings us to our third and final point here this morning. We'll have more to say about this very practical and personal aspect of it in future ministries. But now this all gets very personal, practical, and helpful in your personal life. Because point number three, God's providence is personal. God's providence is personal.

God is a personal God. He is a living, thinking being who knows each of us by name. For those of us who are Christians, Jesus Christ knows us personally by name and He died for us by name when He suffered on the cross. Not just giving us a blob of a sacrifice for a mass of humanity and then leaving it to someone else to figure out who would believe in Him. No, when Christ died on the cross, He thought of His people. He thought of us individually. Somehow, in a way that I can't understand, He personally appropriated or better stated, our personal sins were imputed to Him on the cross and He suffered and died for them as a substitute in our place. He knew us by name even when He was on the cross. It's that personal.

It's that intimate. And now we come to providence and the things that affect our daily lives and we realize that God's providence is operative there also. Turn to Psalm 139. Psalm 139.

Beloved, we've got to stop being afraid of men. We've got to stop being worried about the course of events and occupy our mind with the greatness of this God, the greatness of His plan and the greatness of His providence. If we would spend a fraction of the time, some of you, I say this in love, beloved, if some of you would spend a fraction of the time thinking about these matters of providence and thinking theologically instead of filling your mind with the Fox News Channel, you'd have a whole different perspective on life.

It would be far more pleasant for you to live by. God's providence is personal. Psalm 139. He's personally guided every detail of your life.

Look at verse 13. Psalm says, David says, for you formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. God formed you exactly the way he wanted you in your mother's womb. Transgenderism is a sin against the purpose of God. Period.

Full stop. God has determined the days that you would live. God established them beforehand.

Why? Because he's a God of providence that's over all. He's a God that's over all of the details of your life. You're a man or a woman by the creation power of God, by his choice, and you don't get to alter that.

You can try, you can mutilate yourself, but it doesn't change the reality of God. While you were in your mother's womb, he was guiding the growth of your bones and the length of your days, so that Matthew 10, Jesus could say, the hairs of your head are all numbered. Every aspect of your life, every aspect of your being determined, directed, planned, carried out by a sovereign, great, good, gracious God.

The doctrine of providence is crucial to a Christian mind. So let me just ask and answer a couple of questions here, and like I say, everything we've talked about here, there's a lot more to come. This was just an overview message. First question, do you enjoy a good and comfortable life? Have you enjoyed a good, comfortable life?

Have the lines fallen to you in pleasant places? You should realize that that's not by the power of your hand. It's by the goodness of God who has blessed you and helped you along the way. You should give him thanks and not take credit according to your own power.

Like Herod did, they called him a god and he accepted the worship and was eaten by worms as a judgment from God. This humbles us, those that have had prosperity and success. This humbles us and realizes it's only by the good hand of God that anything has been accomplished in my life. So we give him thanks.

We give him all the glory. Secondly, and here having the privilege to speak to you as a pastor, has life brought you hardship and sadness? You know something about rejection from people you love?

Failure in business, failure in life. You've known hardship, came in here with a broken heart, tears just behind the eyelids, waiting for the right word to be said to cause them to come forth. Providence speaks really directly and personally to you. Beloved, God has ordered even those sad things in your life.

Now that may not at first seem to be like a very comforting thought, and it may make you want to say, well then why do I want to, why would I serve a god who orchestrated this sorrow to come into my life? Don't be in such a hurry. Don't judge it so quickly.

Here's the thing that you need to see. God is working out a purpose that he established before time began, and you and I are not able to judge his providence in the moment of what we see right now. Haman was planning to hang Mordecai.

He had built the gallows in the book of Esther and was just about to send Mordecai to the gallows when providence intervened and it all turned around and Mordecai was blessed and Haman was hanged on his own gallows. You can't judge providence in the moment by what you see. You're not a reliable judge of the providence of God.

Your job is to know God, to know his providence and to trust him for it and to let him work out his purposes over the course of time. And here's where providence helps you, beloved. Yes, God orchestrates and sends pain into your life. He sends pain into my life. And sometimes I, metaphorically speaking, I cry, ouch! This hurts! And God, I don't know how much more of this I can take. It hurts and providence pinches and constrains us.

So I get it. God sends pain. But beloved, here's what you must see in light of the doctrine of providence. First of all, providence means that your pain came to you by the hand of a good and gracious God. You may not see and understand, but there's a purpose in it that's good, even though it's not visible to you in the moment.

That doesn't matter. Furthermore, providence is your hope that God will deliver you. Yes, God's over the sorrow that's in my life, this difficulty, this hardship.

And yeah, it's hard, but you know what? God's sovereign over it, and he can change it in a moment. Jesus could stand on the shore after his resurrection and just say, breakfast, and breakfast was there. God can change it in a moment.

The Assyrian army, he slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. God can change it in a moment. It doesn't mean he will. But providence is your hope that God will ultimately deliver you and help you and make it better. So beloved, don't resent him. Seek him. Submit to him in trust. Give him time to unfold the fullness of his providence in your life, and you'll be able to say with the apostle Paul, we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. All things, beloved, he causes all things to work together. Even that pain, even that affliction, even that sorrow, he causes it all to work together for good in the end. He will keep his promise.

He is true, and he is overall. Let's pray together. Father, we do honor you and we submit to you in this hour.

We are utterly dwarfed by the greatness of your being. Speaking of things sure and true from your word and yet so far beyond our capacity to comprehend that we can only bow in worship, and we do. And I ask you, my friend, whether you know this God, you can find him through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Christ made an atoning sacrifice for sinners just like you who would turn to him in repentance and faith and receive him. I invite you to Christ. I invite you to repent and put your faith in him, and that you would enter in on the favorable side of the providence of God, and that the sorrow that he has sent you would become the means by which he draws you to himself. Father, do that for your glory, we pray, in the life of everyone outside of Christ under the sound of my voice. We pray these things 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, before we go after today's broadcast, I just want to invite you to look me up on Facebook, Don Green on Facebook. I often make original posts, I make comments about ministry and other matters of biblical importance there that do not make their way into this broadcast. And so if you are on Facebook, I invite you to join me, look for Don Green, and join us on Facebook for another way to connect with our ministry. 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 / 2024-05-06 04:55:00 / 2024-05-06 05:06:38 / 12

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