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Exploring The Sovereignty Of God

Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

07/12/2020 A.M.

 

Exploring The Sovereignty Of God

Isaiah 46.9-11 & Colossians 1.16

 

This morning... We examine The Sovereign Nature Of God.

 

Beforewe start... I warn you this is a tough subject.

• I will say some things that you will disagree with... That you will seriously question...

• I will say some things that will prompt more questions than they will answers.

 

However... My prayer is that I say nothing that is not Biblical... And that we both agree upfront... To just allow the Bible to speak.

 

I pray that neither one of us will import any thoughts into the lesson that are not supported by Scripture.

 

I am not preaching this to answer all our questions about His DivineSovereignty... But that we go home believing... Having an unwavering Faith... In His sovereign Nature.

 

So...We start with a definition... And...We must accept God’s definition... Not our own human ideas... Come...Let’s see what we can learn...

 

Isaiah 46.9 reads... Remember this... I am God... And there is no other... I am God and there is no other like Me.

 

Sovereignty means that God is unique... None like Him... He is one-of-a-kind.

Verses10 through 11 tell us what it means to be Sovereign...

• I declare how things are going to turn out.

• I know the end from the beginning.

• I know what people are doing... Both in ancient times and the times yet to come...

• My counsel... My commands... My word... Will stand.

• I will accomplish My purpose.

• I will do all I please.

• What I have spoken will come to pass...

• What I have... Promised... Purposed...Will come to pass because I will do it!

• I will do it by using a bird of prey or a man... My choice!

 

These attributes that make God Sovereign are found in verses 10-11... Read them again... I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

 

Listen church... These verses tell us that... God controls the present and the future... Because He knows the present and the future.

The Future is as known to Him as the Present.

• God isn’t a fortune teller...

• He has no crystal ball.

He knows the future because… He Lives in the future just as we live in the past…

He knows the future because He accomplishes the future... The future is in His hand.

 

Listen to Him…

• My Counsel...

• My Covenant...

• My Promises...

Will stand... Because I will accomplish it... I will Do it!

 

So...These verses tell us that God is Sovereign...

He has... The Authority... The Right... The Freedom... The Wisdom... The Power...To bring about everything He intends to happen.

Therefore everything He intends to happen... Does Happen.

What He doesn’t want to happen will not happen.

God’s sovereignty is His ability to do what He wants to do... To bring about His purpose... Regardless of what that might be.

 

Now... Before you stop listening to me... Allow me to backup what we’ve said with Scriptures...

• Not human wisdom...

• Certainly not my wisdom...

• Not some other teacher’s wisdom...

• Or your ideas...

But Bible... Scripture... Listen...

 

First... I want us to see that God Rules Nature.

He uses nature to accomplish His purpose.

Proverbs16.33... The lot is cast into the lap... But every decision is from the Lord.

Every decision?... No surely not every decision?...

 

Yes... Even the birds of the air...Are under His Sovereign Care.

Listen to Jesus... Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father... Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Not a sparrow... Not a bird in a thousand forest falls outside the will of the Father.

 

In the Sermon On The Mount... Jesus said God supplied and cared for the birds.

God knows the number of the hair or hairs that fell from our comb or brush this morning.

No not the number of them… But the number He has assigned to them.

R.C.Sproul said... There is not... One maverick... Not one rebel... Molecule in this universe... All are under God’s sovereign control.

 

God controls both plants and ANIMALS... The worms... plants in the ground...Fish in the sea... The Book of Jonah confirms this...

• God... Appointed... Commanded... A fish to swallow Jonah... A fish did God’s bidding.

• God... Appointed... Commanded... A plant to come up and shade Jonah.

• God... Commanded... Appointed... A worm to cut down the plant.

 

God is sovereign over the stars.

Isaiah 40.26 reads... Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

 

Of the millions upon millions of stars in the heavens...

• They all have a name...

• Why are they where they are?...

• Why are they doing what they are doing?...

The Bible says because God is Sovereign... Because He is mighty in His power and strength.

 

Not only are the stars under His control... So is the weather...

Listen to Psalm 147.16-18... He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like pebbles.Who can withstand His icy blast? He sends His word and melts them; He stirs up His breezes, and the rains come... Water flows.

 

Job chapter 37 has a lot to say about God’s control of the weather...

• Verse 11... He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters his lightning through them.

• Verse 13... He brings the clouds... To punish men... To water His earth... To show His love.

• Verse 15... Asks the question… Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes His lightning flash?

 

In the midst of a life-threatening storm... Jesus says three words... Peace Be Still... And the winds stopped... The waves went flat... And the clouds disappeared.

 

Listen... Is Jesus the same today as He was that night on the Sea of Galilee?... Is He?

 

Has He or the Father God lost some of... Their Sovereign Nature... Their Sovereign Power?

Can He still say PEACE... And there be peace?...

• Peace in the Weather...

• Peace in our World...

• Peace in my Heart and yours.

 

Know this church... If… IF…God doesn’t say... Stop...Peace... Be Still... To that which is around us... To our personal storm, He has a purpose for its continuance... A Purpose that is better than its avoidance.

 

Can I say that again... If God doesn’t say... Stop... Peace... Be Still... To our personal storm... He has a purpose for its continuance... A Purpose that is better than its avoidance.

 

Human suffering Plays a part in God’s Sovereign nature...

 

1 Peter 3.17... It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

 

1 Peter 4.12-13... Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.

 

James 1.2-3... Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

Human frailties & shortcomings are God-caused... This is a tough one for us…

 

Exodus 4.11… Moses has tried to excuse his responsibilities saying that his voice was not the one God should use to deliver and lead Israel.

 

Hear God!... The Lord said to Moses... “Who gave man his mouth?... LISTEN NOW!!… Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?

 

The man in John chapter nine was blind from birth so that God’s Sovereignty could be demonstrated by Jesus’ healing.

 

Church... Is there any doubt?... Should there be any doubt?...

That God is sovereign over Nature?

 

Next we note that God is sovereign over the affairs of men.

Listen to Daniel 2.21... He... GOD... Changes times and seasons... He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

 

Proverbs 21.1... The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

 

Psalm 33.10... The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations... He bringS to nothing the plans of men.

 

OK…Let’s read Colossians 1.16... By Him... JESUS…GOD... All things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities... all... A-L-Lthings were created by him and for him… For His purpose!!

 

For instance… Let’s note God’s role in the crucifixion...

Question... Did the Jews and the Romans slip-out-from-under the-control of God when they... Arrested... Persecuted... and Killed Jesus?

No...They were at their worst... But still well within God’s control and purpose.

 

God’s hand was at work... Listen carefully as I read Acts 4.27-28... Indeed... Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles… The soldiers… and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

 

Here it is church... Had it not been for God allowing their sin... You and I would still be in our sins... Lost eternally... Without any hope.

 

There would have been... No God in the flesh death on the cross...

• No blood-bought forgiveness...

• Nor hope of Heaven.

 

Think about it... It is by God’s Sovereign Nature that we are saved and kept secure in our salvation.

 

Not only does He exert control over kings and nations... But over us individually!

 

Psalm 139.1-4 has David testifying... Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways... LISTEN... Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.

 

Then there’s James 4.13-15... Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

 

Do we have plans for tomorrow? Will we accomplish them?... Only if it is God’s will!

Will I finish this sermon? Only if it is God’s Sovereign Will.

 

I warned you… That this lesson was difficult… That you would disagree and question. But I hope all I have said is backed up by scripture.

 

Listen…we can never understand God… His thoughts… His Ways… His Purposes… Are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth… But we can explore HIS SOVEREIGN NATURE… AND HAVE FAITH IN HIM AND HIS ULTIMATE PURPOSE for each of us.

 

I want to do one more thing with the lesson...

That’s to note the behavior of those who come to a realization of God’s sovereignty

 

You recall Isaiah chapter six... King Uzziah has died and Isaiah comes to the Temple to consult with God on how to deal with the death of their King. Once there.... He sees the Sovereignty of God on display... Six winged Seraphim are flying through the Temple crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord.

 

Isaiah realizes he is in the presence of the Sovereign One... He sees God’s Holiness…And his own sinfulness… And confesses his sin...

• A Seraph takes a coal from the fire...Touches his lips... Removes his sin guilt.

• At that point Isaiah says... Here am I Lord... Send me... Use Me… I’m  ready to use my… Time… Talent… Treasure…Energy… in Your Kingdom Service.

 

They had been fishing all night without any luck. Jesus comes suggesting they try fishing on the other side of the boat. They did... And the net fills with fish to the point of breaking... The boat begins to sink. Remember what Peter said in Luke 5.8... Depart from me... For I am a sinful man.

 

What are you seeing Peter... ? The awesome HOLINESS of God...

•The absolute set-apartness of God...

•His sovereign uniqueness.

Interesting isn’t it that Scripture says… At this point they left everything & followed Him.

 

We are on the Sea of Galilee... Jesus and company are in a life-threatening storm.

Jesus says... Peace Be Still...

• The winds stop blowing...

• The waves stop rolling...

• Clouds are gone.

And those in the boat understand that they are in the presence of the Sovereign Lord... And they said one-to-another... What manner of man is this that all of nature responds to His commands and purpose.

 

We see Paul on the Road to Damascus... A great light shines about him... He’s blinded... He senses he is in the presence of the Sovereign One... And cries out... Lord... What would you have me do?

 

The next scene is found in Revelation chapter four... Heaven’s Throne Room... God is there...All Heaven recognizes His Sovereignty... And fall down in Worship to Him.

 

So here we are church... We have heard what Scripture has to say... That God is Sovereign... So how are we going to respond?

 

• Like Isaiah... Will we acknowledge our sins?…

Saying… Lord Let Me... Work... Minister...Labor... In Your Kingdom?

 

• When we see His Sovereignty… Will we leave everything and follow Him?

 

• Like those on the Sea of Galilee...Will we allow Jesus to bring peace in our current storm?

 

• Like Paul... Will we be found saying... What would you have me do Lord... Submitting in… Faith... Repentance…and Baptism?

 

• Like those in the Throne Room will we bow before him in Genuine Spirit & Truth Worship?

 

The question is before us... As we stand and sing this song together.



Written By

Bella Vista Church of Christ

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