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The Sovereignty of God

What comes into our minds when we think about God, is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people have ever risen above its religion, and mans spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. A.W. Tozer

What is your view of God?  What do you believe about God? Our view of God is critical to our life on this planet. Our view of God must be based on what the Bible says and not what we want Him to be.

 

Isaiah the prophet describes God based on Gods own description of Himself.

 

6 This is what the LORD says, Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heavens Armies:

I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.  7 Who is like me?  Let him step forward and prove to you his power.  Let him do as I have done since ancient times 
when I established a people and explained its future. 8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses.  Is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock.  Not one!
 Isaiah 44:6-8 NLT

Why do Christians think their God is better than all other gods? Its a fair question and unless we know the answer we will be woefully ignorant of one of the foundations of our belief system. What do you tell someone who knows nothing about your god?

It used to be that we didn't have to deal with that question here in the USA because there was clearly a Judeo/Christian foundation in our nation. Those days are long gone.

We live in a pluralistic culture that instructs us to be tolerant of all concepts of truth. Tolerance can be a very good thing unless it is misapplied. Tolerance as defined in the dictionary has to do with accepting other peoples race, background, culture and other externals, making sure that these kinds of things don't hinder our relationship to them. The problem with it in our context is that it has evolved to mean that no idea or view is any more true or valid than another.

You might be tempted to think that this concept carries with it an intellectual sophistication and openness but let me suggest this line of thinking in some other areas of life and you will see that it makes no sense.

What if you had a life threatening infection and the doctor prescribed penicillin, but one of the nurses suggests several alternatives. How would you feel if the nurse began to push on the doctor to consider other options?  After all there are many kinds of drugs on the market. Isn't it intolerant of the doctor to prescribe one drug over the other? At that point I want him to be very intolerant and discriminating and pick the drug that will save my life.

Suppose you drove into a gas station and while you were getting ready to pump the gas an attendant runs out and ask you if you want to put water or alcohol in your tank as an alternative. Who has the right to say that gas is better than water or alcohol or fruit juice for that matter? Isn't that intolerant and bigoted? We know that such a view would be disastrous. The bottom line is that when it comes to objective reality being tolerant doesn't cut it.

You don't have to go to a remote part of our world to find ignorance about God and His Son Jesus Christ. You just have to go across the street or to the grocery store or talk to people in the public arena to find a complete ignorance who God is and why He is Sovereign.

What does the word Sovereign mean?

What does the word Sovereign mean? It means above or superior to all others; chief, greatest, supreme. It means ruler of everything. It means that He is the God above all other gods that is in control of every situation. That is a big statement because we often endure some very tragic happenings in this world and it takes a biblically based theology to trust that God, our God knows what He is doing and has our best interest at heart. Simply put and to borrow a phrase, He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Why should we worship this God?

Chip Ingram say it best, On the salad bar of the worlds religions, we haven't simply come up with a nice little system that takes a little bit from here and a little bit from there. Our God is not just one option among many. We worship a God who has made outrageous, ridiculous, exclusive narrow claims about himself. He insists that He and He alone is to be worshipped.

He is before all things: Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. Psalm 90:2; Col. 1:17; 1 Tim. 6:17

He created all things: In the beginning God created all things.  Genesis 1:1; John 1:3; Col. 1:16

He upholds all things: 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3

He is above all things: I am the Lord, there is no other God. Isaiah 45:5-12; Ephesians 4:6

He knows all things: 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. Psalm 139:4, 6; Isaiah 46:10

He can do all things: Jeremiah 32:37; Luke 1:37

He accomplishes all things: The LORD of Heavens Armies has sworn this oath: It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided  Isaiah 14:24; 46:10; Eph. 1:11

He rules over all things: Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 1 Chron. 29:11-12; Daniel 4:34-35

He is in control of all things: 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Rom. 8:28

How does God reveal His Sovereignty?

His Personal Names: I am Sovereign, I am the Most High God, I am the Beginning and the End, I am who I am, the Eternal, Self-existent one.  Gods names throughout the bible set Him apart as the God above all other gods.

His Promises: Let me just give you two that you can hang your theology of Gods Sovereignty on: A moment ago I mentioned Romans 8:28. While I don't belief that is a verse one should quote when giving comfort to someone in a hurting situation I do believe that it can form the core of our own belief system. It is a verse I would teach to my children and my children's children.

Do you realize that God could never stand behind that promise unless He knew everything? Unless He had unlimited power? Unless He was all-wise, had created everyone, could dictate what happens down to every atom and molecule? You cannot just simply work all things for good unless you are the sovereign King of the universe. God makes that promise and millions throughout the history of our world can testify that is holds true. Time and time again He has backed up this claim.

His fulfilled Prophecies: Look again at Isaiah 44.  

 

This is what the LORD says, Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heavens Armies:

I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.  7 Who is like me?  Let him step forward and prove to you his power.  Let him do as I have done since ancient times 
when I established a people and explained its future. 8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago? You are my witnesses.  Is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock.  Not one!
 Isaiah 44:6-8 NLT

The title on His business card reads: King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heavens Armies!

He is not an alternative religion that you might choose over Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormonism. He lays down a challenge that no one can meet: Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done in ancient times.

When you speak of prophecy many people want to talk about the end times but I would encourage you to study the prophesies that tell about God. Study the prophesies that foretell the coming of the Messiah and then see how they were fulfilled in the first advent of Jesus Christ to this world.

His son Jesus: Prince of Peace:   Gods greatest and clearest demonstration of His sovereignty comes in the form of His Son, Jesus.

I think the final and most compelling evidence of His sovereignty is through Christ.  Galatians 4:4, literally says, When the world was pregnant, His birth.  The life of Christ, the birth of Christ, His teachings, His death and resurrection, each one demonstrate the sovereignty of God.  In the fullness of time, it says, In the fullness of time when there was Roman peace in the fullness of time when the trade language of the world was Greek allowed communication; in the fullness of time when the religious systems were absolutely bankrupt and the family was being dissolved.  In the fullness of time God sent forth His son at a sovereign point in time, after the Jewish Diaspora.  So when the Gospel went out there were all these synagogues all over the Roman Empire, there were roads to get there and there were Roman soldiers to protect people and travel so the Gospel went like wildfire all around the world in a language everyone could understand.  Thats what that text means.  A sovereign God created a historic platform to send His son into the world at just this time in history so He could save people, so He could communicate to people, so He could love people.

Look at not only His birth but His life fulfilled how many prophesies?  He gets on a donkey and rides in because it is written.  Read the Book of Matthew and every time it says It is written, it is written, it is written, thus He fulfilled, Matthew is writing to the Jews and the reason he quotes all those Old Testament passages, he wants them to know that Everything you are seeing happen is the fulfillment of the prophets of long ago.

 Can you imagine being in a class with Jesus and someone ask a question about Abraham and He says, Before Abraham was I am, I mean He makes no pretense about who He is and His death and resurrection, Hes sovereign.  John 10, He says, No one takes my life from me; I lay my life down, I have the power to take it up again.  If I wanted to, I would call myriads of angels. 

When Steven is martyred, what is Jesus doing?  Standing and sitting in heaven, looking at the work of God.  In Revelation when we see the final end what happens? Revelation 19:

I saw there standing open before me, A white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True with Justice He judges and makes war.  His eyes are a blazing fire and on His head are many crowns; He has name written on Him but no one knows but He Himself.  He is dressed in robe that's dipped in blood and His name is the Word of God and the armies of heaven were following Him riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword which to strike down the nations.  He will rule them with an iron scepter; He treads the wine press with the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On His robe and on His thigh has His name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

 See what I want you to understand is that He is called sovereign, His promises demand He be sovereign, His control of space/time history reveals that Hes sovereign, the extent and the predictions and the fulfillment of prophesy confirm that Hes sovereign and Christs birth, life, teaching, death, resurrection, ascension and ultimate reign and return all point to a God who claims I am the Lord that is my name.  I am the center and the core and the object of worship of all the universe before time began and long it is gone.

How should we respond to Gods Sovereignty?

If God is sovereign you will respond now or later, but you will respond. I want to give you three ways that I believe we should respond to our Sovereign Lord.

We bow and worship Him:  

The day will come when every tongue will confess him and every knee will bow in submission and surrender. For those who trust in Christ while alive on this planet, it will be a joyful day of awesome celebration. It will be a day of horror for those that have stiff-armed God and said either passively or with active rebellion, Ill be the king of my life. Ill call the shots.

The bottom line is that God has provided a way and those that choose to willfully reject that way have willfully rejected God. Here's the practical application: Absolute surrender of all that you are and all that you have. That has profound implications for both the unbeliever and the believer.

IF you are not a believer it means acknowledging your sin, self-will, pride and inability to know and love God on your own terms. It means giving your life to Christ and following Him as Lord.

For the believer, absolute surrender means that what you once thought of as your time, your talents, your treasure (money) your sexuality, your career, and your interest is all His. It means that you turn your idea and philosophies, your plans and your future, your dreams and your abilities over to Him. It means you no longer own yourself but you have been bought by the One that made you.

Is there anything in your life that you are holding back from God? The wisest most intelligent move you could ever make is to surrender your life, all that you are and all that you have, to the One who loves you like no one else.

Will you bow and worship Him?  A second response is this:

We believe and watch Him   

Think for just a moment what this will mean. Believing in His sovereignty in all circumstances means that all that comes into your life is either allowed or decreed by God and that He will use it for your benefit! The conflict in your marriage? God will work it for good. The current trials with your kids? God will work it for good. The reality of the economy and your retirement or current financial situation? God will work it for good. Your emotional pain and even your depression? God will work it for good.  Oswald Chambers gives us a simple principle to live by when embracing the sovereignty of God:  Absolutely refuse to worry.  That's it.

Quit trying to manage God. Believe in Him and trust Him. Keep working even though it may seem futile. Is your marriage horrible, refuse to worry and pray intensely but refuse to worry. Is someone in the ICU? Refuse to worry. Is life about to change for you and you feel like it is out of your control? Refuse to worry. God is doing things that are deeper than you can imagine. They are more wonderful and beyond our imagination but you have to believe and then watch Him work in your life.   Many times we give up way too soon.

We behold and wait on Him

We are to behold the mystery and majesty of His sovereign rule. Don't argue about Gods sovereignty just embrace and believe it.

The application here is worship God for who He is, not merely for what Hes done.  I want to tell you a little secret that I'm very slow learning is that if you want to get an accurate view of God, you must study the Bible, it is very important to be in a life group or a bible study group.  Yes you need to cultivate and develop your prayer life, but what I want to tell you is that so often in Christian circles we think these are all these duties and demands and what we've lost is the awe and the wonder that you get to sit before the presence of the One who named the two billion stars and to wonder that you're the object of His affection.  That He knows all your tears and puts them in a bottle.  That He understands all your hurts.  That He is patient and quick of sympathy and the only way you get a right view of God is you need to sit quietly in His presence and you need to sing to Him and you need to worship and you need to not accomplish anything and not get any intercession done and not figure out how you can tell Him how to orchestrate your part of the universe and just worship Him.  When you see Him for who He is and as you worship Him, God gets bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger in your minds eye, and your problems get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller.  But if you focus on your problems then pretty soon your God becomes very small.

Paul wrote in Romans about Gods sovereignty. You can read it for yourself in chapters 9-11 but when he is done he breaks out into chorus declaring the mystery and majesty of God.

33 Oh, how great are Gods riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! 34 For who can know the LORD's thoughts?  Who knows enough to give him advice?[l]  35 And who has given him so much  that he needs to pay it back?[m] 36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

One of the greatest mysteries is the testimony of those who find Jesus as their Savior. Today we are baptizing six people. Listen and watch their testimonies.