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The Sovereignty of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2021 7:00 am

The Sovereignty of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 18, 2021 7:00 am

There’s nothing wrong with looking out for number one, as long as you realize that number one isn’t you. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains why that’s true in this lesson on the sovereignty of God and the real reason you were put here on earth.

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We get to make decisions, but when you think it's the final one, that all depends on what God says. Dr. Tony Evans says even when we think we have it all figured out, we aren't the ones with the last say. Because God is ultimately sovereign. He is the Supreme Court of the universe. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. There's nothing wrong with looking out for number one, as long as you realize that number one isn't you. Dr. Evans explains as he talks about the sovereignty of God.

Let's join him. We want our independence. That's what Adam wanted. He wanted his independence. Sovereignty negates that, because sovereignty says that we don't get to make the final decision. We get to make decisions, but when you think it's the final one, that all depends on what God says. Because God is ultimately sovereign. He is the Supreme Court of the universe.

So lower courts may make a decision—your court, my court, autonomy may make a decision— but the Supreme Court gets to rule and to overrule. By sovereignty, I mean God is absolute ruler, controller, and sustainer of all of his creation. He sits on the throne of the universe. He is the ultimate ruler, the final authority.

That's what sovereignty means. Ultimate ruler, final authority. Which means all things happen, either because God made it happen, or he gave it permission to happen.

Either because he made it happen, he said, this is what's gonna be, and I don't care what anybody says, or he allowed it to happen. So you can't throw God a surprise party, because he's sovereign. There's no—you can't surprise him, and he never goes, oops, I missed that one, because he is sovereign. Everything comes underneath his control.

A number of scriptures we're gonna put up as we walk through this concept that is life-transforming when you grasp it. Psalm 33 verse 10, Psalm 33 verse 10, the Lord nullifies the counsel of nations. He frustrates the plans of the people. In other words, he can cancel out even what nations decide to do. And you're not a nation.

I'm not a nation. So you know if he can cancel out what nations try to do, he can cancel out what you try to do, because God is sovereign. The problem today is people want God everywhere but on his throne. We live in a culture that wants a jack-in-the-box God. You know, we want a God that'll pop up when we want him to. Job 23 verse 13, but he is unique. And who can turn him and what his soul desires that he does?

He can do whatever he decides to do. Now, you may not like that, but you probably don't like that about some people in your life. You probably don't like that about the person you're going to work for tomorrow, that they can overrule you. Your kids don't like you for the same reason that you have authority to overrule. So we want to have a right that we don't want to give to God.

Psalm 115 verse 3, but our God is in the heavens. He does whatever he pleases. So I just want you to feel this thing of sovereignty. He does what he decides to do. Now, to appreciate his sovereignty, you have to understand all of his other attributes.

But I am saying this one you've got to get because nothing sits outside of it, because of the comprehensive nature of sovereignty. Ephesians 1-11, we know that he does all things after the counsel of his own will. He does all things after the counsel of his own will. There's nothing outside of his will that can happen that is possible. Revelation 19, 6 says, Our God reigns.

We've sung that many times. Our God reigns. So God rules. You must establish that in your mind.

All of his other attributes guarantees his sovereignty. I told you that in my house, I am sovereign in terms of my immediate home. So you coming into my house means you must adjust to my rules. If I come into your house, I must adjust to your rules. The problem you have with your parents when you were a teenager that God is paying you back for with your teenagers is wanting to have your rules in somebody else's house.

It's going to be conflict. And so we have a creation in conflict with God who want to put their rules in his house. God's sovereignty is all-inclusive. It includes not only the macro, mega issues of life, but the idiosyncratic, the minute details of life. Remember, we said not one hair falls from a person's head, of which God is not fully aware, the Scripture says.

So his sovereignty deals with hair follicles. I mean, it goes down to the minutiae. So let's not keep God in the big stuff only, but the micro stuff. Well now, if you're dealing with God on a micro level, that means you can't leave him out of anything if he's getting down. The Bible says not one sparrow falls to the ground, that he's not fully aware.

No birds go missing, of which he's not fully aware. This brings in some of the other attributes, his omniscience, his all-knowingness that we went over. So what we tried to establish is God's sovereignty, and as I said, 1 Corinthians 8, 6, we exist for him, and we exist through him. So he is to be the centerpiece of our existence. Once you do that, once you make up in your mind, I make up in my mind, we make up in our mind that we are dealing with a sovereign God who goes down to the minutiae of life, as well as the mega of life, then there is no such thing as excluding him.

That's not possible. Whether you intentionally do it or not, it's not feasible because of the breadth of his sovereignty. Now, God's sovereignty includes the recognition of our freedom. In God's sovereignty, he has granted a measure of freedom. Now, he has not granted absolute freedom. Nobody has absolute freedom because then you'd be God, because you'd be in final control. But he has given mankind relative freedom, that is, freedom to a point. Freedom allows for choices, and choices allow for sin.

Okay, let me walk through it again. Freedom means you can choose. Freedom allows for choices, and you can only have a choice if you have options to choose from. If there is no option, there is no choice. So God in his sovereignty allows for freedom. So you can choose God, you can reject God. You can choose to do right, you can choose to do wrong. Let me say this now. Freedom does not cause sin, but it allows for it, because it allows for choice.

Okay? And so we get to choose, so the Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 30, it tells us, choose life. It says choose. So you have a choice. Now, God is sovereign, so when you choose to go against him, he will give you the freedom to do that. What he will not let you choose are the consequences. See, if we could make the choice and control the consequences, oh, okay. But what he has done is taken the consequences out of your hands while giving you the freedom to choose. I mean, probably most of us in here can talk about a time when we made the choice of something and we had no idea the consequences were going to come back on us like that, you know? Because what you don't get to choose are the consequences.

That's why it's freedom to appoint. Dr. Evans will continue our look at the sovereignty of God when he comes back to share a personal story in just a moment. As we come into the celebration of our 40th year since the beginning of the Urban Alternative, words cannot express my gratitude to God for his faithfulness to the development of this ministry. Little did I know when we began with cassette tapes and we were bagging them up because people were requesting the sermons, that he would take humble beginnings and turn it into an international ministry. Now, on over 1,400 stations daily in 130 countries around the world, reaching hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people with the truth of God, I am humbled by his faithfulness to me and to us and to the Urban Alternative. And I'm certainly grateful for all the friends he's given us who have been faithful, too. I praise God for 40 years of his favor on us. You know, Tony has said that the more people who meet Jesus, the more lives will be transformed.

It's a simple equation, and it's the driving purpose behind this ministry. None of what we do here would be possible without the faithful contributions of people like you. And that's why I want to let you know about a special package we put together as our way of saying thank you when you make a donation to keep this ministry going. It starts with Tony's newest book, Prayers for Knowing God. In times of crisis and change, knowing God is the only path to heart-deep stability and peace. And you'll better grasp his love, character, and strength as you work through these 50 topical prayers, all designed to help you understand and experience God more deeply. Along with the book, we'll also send you, on CD and digital download, all 12 full-length messages in Tony's current series, God's Heart Revealed, a compilation that can help you delve deeper into an understanding of who God is and how he wants to work in and through your life. This is a limited-time offer, so don't miss out. Visit today to make your contribution and request. Or give us a call at 1-800-800-3222, where one of our friendly resource team members is standing by to assist.

I'll have our contact information for you again after Part 2 of today's message, and this. The biblical roles of husbands and wives, the source of our authority as believers, understanding the concept of grace, winning spiritual battles, they're all important subjects but seem as different as night and day. Would it surprise you to know there's a common thread running through all four? You can discover what it is by taking the course on Ephesians in the Tony Evans Training Center. One by one, you'll dig into the powerful themes of this book and make new discoveries about what Jesus' death accomplished, how to maintain unity at home and at church, what spiritual armor is all about. The course includes custom content from Tony not available anywhere else. Work through it at your own pace.

Collaborate with other students. Get your specific questions answered through our online forum. Connect with the Tony Evans Training Center at

It's like having a seminary on your smartphone or other device. Start today. I remember some years ago I told you about my brother.

It's passed on now. My brother was the all-state wrestling champ for the state of Maryland. Unlimited weight class. So he was a beast in wrestling. He played football, went to college on a football scholarship, but he was also on the wrestling team, and he was all-state.

So he was like the man on campus. One day he came home, my father asked him to do something, and he said to my father, Well, I'm not going to do it. He said, I'm not, I'm not going to do it. Too much, my father said, Oh, no, you're going to do it. He said, I'm not going to do it. My father said, let me put it like this.

If you're going to stay in this house tonight, you're going to do it. OK, so my brother in rebellion said, well, I don't have to stay here. To which my father said bye. OK, so he was given a direction by my father. He chose to rebel. He said, I'm going to get my stuff. He said, Oh, no, no, my father, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Let me understand. The only thing you can get is what you have on, because you ain't going up in my room that I pay for. You can leave now. So my brother's huffing and puffing in his rebellion, and he leaves the house. In his rebellion, he had forgotten something. It was February in Baltimore, Maryland. It was freezing outside. That night, it started to snow. So it's freezing, started to snow, and he wasn't able to get his coat.

It's about an hour and a half later, he came knocking on the door, apologizing, and he did whatever it was my father wanted him to do, because while he could rebel, he couldn't control the weather. See, there were some things out of his control. God's sovereignty does not negate man's principle of freedom.

That limits it, because we're not all sovereign or fully sovereign, but it allows for it. Genesis 50, Joseph told his brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good to bring me to this place, and your evil helped get me here. So when people choose against God, that's just another way of helping God out. The devil is not just the devil. The devil is God's devil. The Bible says in Luke 22, Satan has asked Peter to sift you like wheat.

Wait a minute. Why would Satan have to ask? Why can't he just sift him as wheat? Because even the devil can't do what I don't get permission for. So evil, even when chosen, does not have the last word. So sovereignty, Lamentations 3, verse 37. Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill come forth?

I know we sing about good. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. But even ill doesn't come forth without Him permitting it or causing it. You say, when does God cause ill? When He's judging something. For example, He causes ill. Sometimes in trials to develop us, He causes ill. But it all permeates through His fingers. So what does this mean? What do we do with this concept of a God who is in control of everything down to the minutia?

Well, first of all, you're going to include Him a lot more. Because many things that start off as minor become major. Many things that start off, you think that wasn't a big deal, and it turned out to be a bigger deal than you expect. And we want God on the big deal when it becomes a big deal. It means that you're going to get away from luck, chance, happenstance, accident, fate, lot. In all the words that are antithetical to sovereignty, you cannot have luck and have a sovereign God. You can't have chance and have a sovereign God, not if He's covering all the details.

What we call luck is actually providence, how God connects things behind the scenes so that it looks like luck. But there is no luck if you have sovereign God. Now, with sovereignty, you begin now to look for God's hands or His fingerprints in everything.

You look for His fingerprints now. God, where are you in this? What are you doing in this? What are you saying to me by this? How do I come to understand this, whether it's something that looks like luck or looks like something that's unlucky? But since we're not dealing with luck, but we're dealing with a sovereign God. You know, I shared the story I got to Dallas.

Just one professor just passing by me one day said, Have you ever thought about Dallas? Just a passing comment that could have easily been dismissed when it was really a sovereign move by God. You and I must begin to look for God in the ordinary and not just the extraordinary, not just the things that blow your mind, but in the things that seem like it didn't even matter. God, are you doing something now that I need to catch a hold of? And then the way God works is sometimes He takes something from years ago and connects it with something now, things that you thought were not connected and He connects. But see, if you don't have that view of sovereignty, then you aren't looking for that. You aren't asking about that. You aren't praying about that. But when we have this view of sovereignty that God is in control of the big stuff and the stuff that doesn't even look like it matters, now God is included in everything.

He's included in everywhere. And you're just kind of watching Him do His thing in and through you and in and through life's circumstances. Dr. Tony Evans, with a look at God's power and direction over the big picture.

He'll come back with a final question for each of us in just a moment. In the meantime, I wanted to remind you of that package of resources I mentioned earlier. It includes all 12 messages from Tony's current series, God's Heart Revealed, as well as his just-released book, Prayers for Knowing God. These resources can help you connect with God more deeply than ever before, and they're all yours when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. So be sure to drop by right away to make the arrangements before this limited-time offer runs out. That's

Or reach out to our resource center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by around the clock to help. The word love is used a lot in this world, and it's been associated with everything from fast food to fast cars. Although it is tied to feelings, Dr. Evans says love shines brightest when it's put to work. And tomorrow, he'll take a look at the ways God demonstrates love and the example He sets for us.

Right now, though, Tony is back with this final thought. How does this understanding of sovereignty affect your view of God? How does this make you think of God differently? And there's so much more we could say, but with this understanding, what does this make you think about God, and how are you going to look at life differently in light of this? You may be dealing with something right now, or as you see things happen in your life. I'd like you to talk about that, because I don't want sovereignty just to be a theory and a thesis. I want it to be a perspective that you're operating by. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-23 22:17:55 / 2023-12-23 22:26:08 / 8

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