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God Over You #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
May 8, 2024 12:00 am

God Over You #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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May 8, 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. Turn to the book of Job. The book of Job.

And you know the story. Job was a blameless man. Satan sought permission from God to try to discredit Job and God granted to the devil the liberty to afflict Job in every conceivable way short of death. His sons and daughters were taken away from him. His immense prosperity taken away.

All in a matter of a day. And his seven sons and three daughters eating and drinking in their oldest brother's house. Job gets word that a great wind came verse 19 chapter 1 came across the wilderness struck the four corners of the house that fell upon the young people and they're dead. And the messenger says, I alone have escaped to tell you. Job, I know you woke up this morning a prosperous blameless man.

You woke up this morning in that condition. And for reasons that you don't understand, it's all been taken away from you. You have no more wealth. You have no more children.

It's all gone. Adversity had thundered down on his life in a totally unexpected and demonically inspired way. How did Job respond? You know, when someone dies, you can't pin your hope on what's going to happen in the future with them, right?

There are no more hopes about earthly outcomes and that exposes what it is that we're going to hope in going forward and the way it should have been all along. What did Job do in his adversity? Verse 20, Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and complained.

No, that's not what it says. He worshiped. He worshiped. And he said, naked I came from my mother's womb and naked shall I return.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He submitted to Yahweh in the midst of unspeakable affliction. In verse 22, in all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

Well, as you know, the story goes on. He worshiped God. Satan wasn't finished yet and so God gives permission to Satan to afflict him in a horrible physical way. He afflicts him with boils, painful boils, loath some sores.

Look at chapter two, verse seven. Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, struck Job with loath some sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. What a miserable existence.

What a miserable existence. No morphine, no penicillin, nothing to alleviate this except a broken piece of pottery to dig and scratch at the sores that were on his body. And what did Job do? Well, first, let's see what his wife said. Speaking of Job having affliction, here's his wife speaking. His wife said to him, Do you still hold fast your integrity?

Curse God and die. The one closest to him is tempting him to turn on his creator and redeemer. And what did Job say in all of this adversity? But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Beloved, there you go.

There you go. The doctrine of divine providence calls on you, compels you, commands you, invites you to accept adversity from God's hand rather than rebel and complain against it. Look, I know that this is touching us at the very nerve center of our being to be told from Scripture that providence tells us to accept adversity, not to rebel against it. But if God loves us, if God is wise, if God is sovereign and providentially directing everything to accomplish His purpose, how could we view everything in life in any other way? If God orders it and He's a good and wise God and He's the God of our salvation and He chooses to give us adversity, where is the room to rebel and complain and cause problems over it? Where?

I ask you. There is no such room. There is no such corner in the house for the believing heart. Look over at 1 Corinthians chapter 12.

We kind of need to look at all of this in one big unit here today. What was true in the Old Testament, true in the New Testament as well. True in the patriarch Job, true in the apostle Paul. Paul was suffering under an affliction of a thorn given to him in the flesh. Probably a false teacher, satanically inspired who was destroying the church at Corinth. Someone coming in, teaching false doctrine, wreaking division upon the body, causing the church at Corinth to question their founding apostle. And the sorrow in 2 Corinthians was great on the heart of the apostle Paul.

What does he say about it? Verse 7, Paul having been to the third heaven and seeing things and hearing things that men aren't permitted to repeat. 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 7 he says this, so to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this that it should leave me. God take this away, God take this away, God take this away.

Paul no, Paul no, Paul no three times. But God supplied him not with the answer to the prayer as he constructed it and wanted it to be with something else that's related to his eternal sanctifying purpose. Verse 9, but he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.

God this hurts, God I don't like this, God I'm suffering, God help me. Yes, you are in a position of weakness, I get that, I sympathize with you here today from the pulpit, beloved, I get that. But isn't it true that at the end of the day my sympathy from the pulpit doesn't help you at all?

Maybe it helps you a little bit with a little bit of encouragement, it's nice to know that somebody understands and is with me, but that sympathy doesn't give you really the power to live. It might help you take another step, but it's not an enduring power to live. And so I can't sympathy from the pulpit doesn't in the end help you if it's divorced from an understanding of the way that you respond to divine providence.

I can't help you with that, that's why you have to preach to yourself. And in verse 9, Paul goes on to say, therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong. Paul says, here I am in all this adversity, satanically inflicted upon me and I'm content. What do we see from Job, what do we see from Paul, what do we see from Christ in Gethsemane, Father if it's possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done.

What do we see from all of that? Beloved, write this down too, write this down too. In the midst of your trials and afflictions and adversity, beloved, it very well may be that the purpose of God is not to satisfy you and to give you what you want in it. It very well may be the purpose of God not to grant you relief from that. The purpose of God is always higher, His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and God places a far greater premium on the sanctification of your soul than He does on the earthly ease with which you live in this brief window of time that He's given to us. So God's purpose may not be to satisfy you at all, it may be that He sent the affliction to sanctify you and to teach you not to love this world but instead to lean on Him and to love Him more than you love life itself. And He may, beloved, withhold blessings from you.

He may bring trials to wean your affections to your world, to teach you even to love Christ more than you love mother or father, son or daughter or anything else, to love Him with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind and it's not until the lesser things that we attach our affections to are removed from us that we are free to learn how to actually do that and to prove forth the reality that the love in our heart for Christ is the surpassing thing that we love most of all. And so in light of divine providence, my preaching students, here's the simple thing that you have to do in your affliction. Your attitude toward God, the words that I suggest you audibly say to yourself as you're looking in the mirror is, Father, let your will be done, not mine. I submit.

I submit. I accept this even though it's difficult. God, I pray that in this you would sanctify me, that you would do the work on my soul that you intend to do regardless of how the circumstances do or do not change. With different language and a different context Martin Lloyd-Jones said this, he said, the one who responds to adversity in that way is on the high road to the blessing of God. Do you want the blessing of God or do you want earthly comfort? Sometimes those two things may be in conflict. The one who believes divine providence and truly belongs to Christ submits in adversity and says, yeah, Father, your will be done.

That's what I want. My body's breaking down. Your will, not mine, be done. Oh, God, you took a loved one from me. Father, your will be done. Let me kiss the rod that disciplines me, as Sarah Edwards said in the 18th century after Jonathan died. Kiss the rod, submit in the adversity. Secondly, a belief in divine providence for the believer makes you sincere in your obedience, not only submissive in your adversity, sincere in your obedience. You say to your soul, soul, adversity has come, you must submit to this. I must submit to this.

I want to submit to this. Lord, help me to conform my desires to yours. Secondly, it makes you sincere in your obedience. Divine providence should make you a man or a woman of sincerity. We all have temptations that come our way.

Young men, young women have their temptations. As older folks, we have different sometimes temptations of different forms, but the bottom line is it's just temptation seeking to draw us into sin away from love and obedience to Christ. Now, when that temptation comes, someone might twist the doctrine of divine providence and say, well, God knew that I would be tempted. Here I am, and so I'm justified in giving in. Oh, you know, I'm not going to be too worried about holiness here because after all, God orders all things and I'm tempted and he knows I'm weak and blah, blah, blah. Well, let's get a shovel and clean out the stall from that mess and replace it with godly thinking shaped by the doctrine of divine providence.

Beloved, here's the reality. God will hold you accountable. One day you'll give an account to him for the way that you respond to what is revealed in Scripture, and he's not going to tolerate an accusation, an insinuation that somehow he's responsible for you sinning because of the way the circumstances were ordered.

That's not true. You don't need to turn there, but in Ecclesiastes chapter 12, the last two verses of that entire book, A Philosophy of Life, really you could say, which is another way of saying building a Christian mind, a philosophy of life, verse 13, the end of the matter when all has been heard is this. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man, for God will bring every deed into judgment with every secret thing whether good or evil. Your responsibility living under the light of divine providence is to fear the God who gave you life and has ordered your circumstances, not to complain against it, not to sin in the midst of it, not to live carelessly in the midst of it, not to love your family more than you love Christ. None of that.

None of that. There's just so much in the stall that we need to shovel out of our minds so that our minds are a clean place where the Spirit of God can work in a sanctifying way. And so we respond to Scripture, we respond to the revealed commands of God rather than justifying sin. The truth of the matter in divine providence when it comes to the temptations that you face is what's expressed in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 13. No temptation, none. No temptation has overcome you, but such is as common to man. And God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape so that you may be able to do it. I'm in a time of temptation. Providence does not mean, oh, I get to indulge this.

Providence means somewhere there's a way of escape here that I can respond in a godly way, God, by your Spirit help me to find it, strengthen my heart by your Spirit to desire the escape, not the indulgence, so that I could live to your glory. And so you preach to yourself, my preaching students, you preach to yourself, I'm in a time of temptation but I know that God orders my life and I'm going to honor him with the way that I respond to this, not indulge my carnal desires. Thirdly, the doctrine of providence not only makes you submissive in your adversity and sincere in your obedience, you're no longer playing games. You're no longer content with an outward form of godliness that lacks the inner power. You're no longer content to make a visual display to the people of God, while inside you're actually hard as granted against the Spirit of God, against instruction, against correction, because you don't want anyone messing with you and no one's going to mess with you.

That's not godly. We just need to be honest with ourselves to that effect. Submissive in adversity, sincere in obedience. Thirdly, sanctified in your planning, makes you sanctified in your planning.

Here's what I mean by that. Divine providence does not mean that we take a haphazard approach to life. Proverbs commends the wisdom of good planning. We're supposed to order our lives and plan things and use, consciously use the minds and the resources that God has given us to accomplish good and we plan to do that. But, beloved, we're not the one who disposes of our plans. We don't get to determine the outcome.

We get to make some plans, but we don't get to determine what the outcome of those plans are. And so, in a belief of divine providence, what you do is you make your plans and you set them apart and you commit them to God and you let Him determine the outcome thankful and submissive and grateful no matter what it may be. Look at James chapter 4. James chapter 4. We'll just read verses 13 through 15. Come now, James chapter 4 verse 13. Come now, you who say today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. I got a plan. I'm going to go to X place.

I'm going to work there for a year and according to my plan I'm going to make this much profit. And scripture rebukes that presumptuous, untrusting attitude, that self-sufficient, self-reliant attitude. Verse 14, you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. And he's not merely saying that this is what should be the words that come out of your mouth. We've all known people that say, that just say that so flippantly. What James is cultivating and calling for is a heart that is truly submitted to the providence of God and truly from the heart says if the Lord lives we'll do this. And the implication being if the Lord doesn't will then we'll do something else. And that's okay.

I don't have to so grasp my plans for the day or my plans for life that if I get a half hour distraction and I can't do the household duty that I had planned in that half hour then I'm thrown off for my day and wondering what's happening and oh, and you fall apart. No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

No. We make our plans and then we adapt as providence directs us and the course of the river of divine providence turns at a bend or goes straight. Either way we're just happy to go in the current of the providence of God. And part of part of trusting God is knowing that for his own good reasons he may thwart even your good plans. In other words your plans are subject to how God chooses to bring them to pass. Look over at Acts chapter 16 where you see another apostolic example of this.

Sometimes we think of the apostle Paul and he got everything he wanted not like that at all. And even Paul had to respond to providence leading him in different directions. Acts chapter 16 verse 6. And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia having been, here it is, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Messiah they attempted to go into Bithynia but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. God was providentially hindering them from their plans to take the gospel to other regions.

And so verse 8 passing by Messiah they went down to Troas and then things continued from there. Beloved, we have to hold our plans with light fingers. We have to be willing to let them go. Sometimes we have to be willing to let our loved ones go.

Through death or through relocation or through rebellion. It's not what we planned, it's not what we want, but we let it go. Trusting God for the outcome. Proverbs 16 verse 9 says, the mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. We make our plans, we set it in motion so to speak, even that's under the providence of God, but we set it in motion and then God steers where it goes. And so you preach to yourself, my preaching students. You stand, you look at yourself in the mirror, you say I'm going to submit to God in this adversity.

I'm going to trust him for it. I'm going to stop playing games of hypocrisy and be sincere in my obedience. And then when your plans are frustrated, rather than getting angry, whatever, you preach to yourself and you say this is okay.

God orders my life according to his will. Daily plans, massive plans. A collapse of everything that you worked for. In relationships, in business, you know you spent decades working out and then your health fails and you're reduced to a shell of what you thought you were going to be.

An accident comes and you can no longer walk. Happens, doesn't it? Then what? You preach to yourself. I'm going to accept this. God orders my life according to his will. I believe that and I'm going to stake everything about my affections upon that reality and be content even though it's not what I wanted. And if your plans do work out, then you just give thanks to God. God, thank you. You blessed my plans. Not everybody gets to have their plans work out the way they want, Lord, and here I am. I'm in the unique, privileged position of seeing your blessing on what I wanted.

God, thank you. Fourthly, this all kind of, these things all fit together. These all run together. These are all interlocked, interrelated. Fourthly, it makes you serene in your needs, serene in your need.

I needed an S word there. Peaceful. It helps you to live in peace even when you don't have what you need or what you want. You're serene in your need.

Providence brings peace even in times of affliction because you know that fundamentally God provides for you. God orders your circumstances, and Scripture even says if we have food and covering with these, we will be content. Are there any of you in here that truly don't have food for today? Are there any of you here that don't have covering for your body? Are there any of you here today that truly don't have some kind of roof to go to? Not everybody does, especially in the degraded way.

Our country's disintegrating. But here today in the room, most of you have a place to go home to. There's something waiting for you to eat when you get there.

There's a drawer and a closet full of clothes. Scripture says you have that? Why are you so discontent? In Philippians chapter 4, you can turn there with me. Philippians chapter 4 verse 6. Let's start in verse 5. Philippians 4 verse 5.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. The Lord is at hand. The Lord is near. The Lord has ordered these circumstances. The Lord is with us in our midst even as we speak now because He said, lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.

Where two or three are gathered together, there I am in their midst. Beloved, we are speaking today in the sight of Christ Himself from His word with everything that we're saying to you. Everything that we're saying, the presence of Christ is at hand.

And so how do we respond to that? Verse 6. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. And in verse 19, my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. The Lord may let us feel the weight of lack, the weight of affliction for a very long time, but He never abandons His children.

If you are without things that you thought you needed, give thanks. Be at peace. God is over all. He supplies your need. He's faithful. He cannot change. He must be faithful to Himself.

If He's your heavenly Father, then commit yourself to Him and let Him determine the time of the provision. And be at peace. So that, my preaching students, all 250 of you or whatever the number is here today, you preach to yourself. You go to yourself and you're discontent. You stand in front of the bathroom mirror in your discontent and with humility and even with a chastened afflicted heart that says, Lord, I know better than to be like this, but it's time for me to preach to myself. And you preach to your soul and you say, soul, you will be at peace here. God is watching over you, my soul, and it is time for you to settle down, to be content, to be at peace, and to trust the God who is over all, whose providence reigns over all, who orders your circumstances, and to be content right there.

There's no other legitimate response. To be agitated and discontent in your circumstances is a contradiction of what you say you believe as a Christian. You know, there's an old hymn that we used to sing back in southern Indiana, I'm satisfied, satisfied with Jesus. But are you really satisfied?

Or is your life one of chronic discontentment for whatever reason? If your life is chronically discontent, beloved, then you need to step back, come back to the doctrine of divine providence, and start preaching to yourself. I'm happy for you to preach to yourself on the assumption that you are a genuine Christian.

I'm happy for that. But if you're so chronically discontent and you're always agitated and always unhappy, there comes a point where you have to examine yourself, am I really in Christ? How can I be like this as a pattern of ongoing life if the spirit of peace is really at work in me? If I really am a new creation in Christ and Christ is our peace, then how is it that I live this way? How is it that I talk this way? How is it that I relate this way? How is it that I make such accusations against others this way? You say, well Don, if what you're saying is true, there's a lot of people that are professing to be Christians and aren't Christians. And yeah, and that's the whole reason we're having this discussion is because false views of evangelicalism have conditioned people to think they're Christians when they're not because they haven't truly repented and found their all and all in Christ. And I'm not willing to play along with the game.

I am not willing to play along. Scripture is not difficult to understand. What's difficult to understand is how the church can teach these things and be this way and everybody inside the professing evangelical church actually be born again. That's not OK. Those two things cannot be reconciled. Now fifthly and finally, and the conclusion of all of these things, is that divine providence makes you satisfied in all things. It makes you satisfied in all things. That's the culmination of it is that there's an inner tranquility and satisfaction that should be the goal of our hearts to attain. And when we fall short of it, as we inevitably will, not to accept that, justify or defend it, but to repent of it and come back to the refuge of our souls, to come back to Christ who is with us always, to come back to Christ who orders our circumstances, to come back to Christ who is with us always and to say, Lord, I fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23, that outcome is where God calls us to live. Divine providence makes us satisfied. It makes us thankful. God's hand is in everything that happens in one way or another, whether it's in affliction or prosperity, whether he gives or he takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 18 says, in everything give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. And so, beloved, I've come to the end here. I feel like I'm just getting started.

I'd like to go another two hours. You come to the end of these things and you preach to yourself. And you say to your soul, you say to your heart, my soul, my heart, you are under the care of your Heavenly Father.

I'm not going to allow you to continue in a grumbling spirit. My soul, you have so many reasons to give thanks. Today we will be thankful. Today we will not complain. Today we will glorify God and say you are sufficient to satisfy everything in my heart. And you preach to yourself that way. Beloved, your Heavenly Father is directing the details of your life to accomplish his purpose in you so that you will be blessed in the end.

Whatever the inconsistencies may appear to be in the time are irrelevant to the greater reality that we have seen from Scripture. I close with this quote from Charles Spurgeon who said, We are here to say, let others say what they please. I know God is here.

I am his child and this is all working for my good. I will not fear though the earth be moved and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Spurgeon goes on to say, Oh, I would to God that some of you who are full of worrisome care and anxiety could be delivered from it by a belief in divine providence. Let's pray together. Father, help us to that end, to be submissive in adversity, sincere in our obedience, satisfied in Christ in all things. And if, Father, these truths have exposed our hearts as not truly being in Christ at all, may your Spirit draw each one like that out of the false religion, false knowledge, false assumptions, false presuppositions and into the truth that we might all live forth and bring forth the fruit that your glorious name, that the glorious cross, that your glorious providence and the glorious consummation all call for, Father, hearts full of gratitude and trust toward you, whatever may come before the end. In Jesus' name we pray.

Amen. That's Don Green here on The Truth Pulpit. And here's Don again with some closing thoughts. Well, my friend, just before we close today's broadcast, I just wanted to give a special word of greeting and thanks to the many people that listen to our podcast internationally. It's remarkable to me, the last report that I saw listed 83 different countries that in one way or another are listening to us, and I just want to send a special word of greeting to those of you that are in lands that are distant from my own home here in the United States. You know, we've seen people from every continent except maybe Antarctica, and people from countries like Ireland and Australia and Singapore, Canada, the UK, India, I have friends in all of those countries. And whether you've met me face to face or whether you only know me as a voice through your favorite device, I just want to say God bless you, thank you for your interest in the Word of God, and may the Spirit of God work deeply in your heart as you continue to study God's Word. Thank you for being with us, thank you for your prayers, God bless you, my prayers and love are with you as well, and we'll see you next time on The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-08 04:54:07 / 2024-05-08 05:07:14 / 13

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