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God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Freewill

Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

07/26/2020 A.M.

 

God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Freewill

Genesis 50.15- 21  Colossians 1.15-20  Galatians 6.7-8

 

In our last time together we examined the Sovereign Nature of God.

 

This morning... God’s Sovereignty and Man’s FreeWill.

 

Let’s review our previous lesson...

Isaiah 46.9-12 has God defining His own Sovereignty... I am God... And there is no other like Me... I am God and there is no other God.

 

Then He tells 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 always stand.

• I will do all I please.

• I will accomplish My purpose.

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

• I will do it by using a bird of prey or a man... It’s MY CHOICE!

 

These verses tell us that...

• God has controlled the ancient past...

• He controls the present...

• And the future...

Because He knows the present and the future... The Future is as known to Him as if it were the Present.

 

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

• Everything He intends to happen... DOES HAPPEN.

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

 

For instance... We noted that God is sovereign over nature...

• Not a common sparrow dies apart from the will of God.

• He numbers the hairs on our head...

• The stars in the sky are Named & their Paths directed by Him

• He controls the plants and animals... In the Book of Jonah God commands a fish to swallow Jonah... A plant to grow... And a worm is appointed to cut the plant.

• On the Sea of Galilee... Jesus spoke three words... And all of nature responded... The winds... The waves...The clouds & storm… Obeyed.

 

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

 

We also noted that... God is SOVEREIGN OVER THE AFFAIRS OF MEN.

Daniel 2.21 reads... 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 tells us... The king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord... HE DIRECTS IT LIKE A WATERCOURSE in a river… He directs WHEREVER HE PLEASES.

 

Perhaps God’s Sovereignty is best summed up in Colossians 1.16... Where we see everything is in Him hands… By Him... All things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities... ALL... A-L-L THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM… FOR HIS PURPOSE!!

 

After exploring His Sovereignty... It is easy for us to conclude that we have... no choice... No part to play... in our salvation.

 

Yet... YET!!... We know that we are created in His image... And Scripture teaches from Genesis through Revelation that this includes... a freewill... That we choose to... Be... Do... And become what we will.

 

So... How do we harmonize the two...

God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Freewill?... We Don’t!!

 

First... Allow me to give you this concept...

It is possible for both these two truths to exist in parallel... Parallel truths...

• It is true... God is Sovereign... Everything... EVERYTHING!!... IS UNDER HIS CONTROL.

• It is true... Man was created a free moral agent... He has a God-given will... We choose our own course in life.

These two truths are parallel and are forever parallel...

They never come together or intersect.

 

Ours is not to… explain them... Reconcile them... When we try... We only weaken or destroy them.

 

Great men of the Bible... Preachers... Commentators... Scholars... Have tried and failed.

 

There is no explanation of the two in Scripture... Our is to just accept the truth... Believe them both... His sovereignty... Our FreeWill.

 

It’s not an either or situation... But rather... We can and should embrace both as God-revealed parallel truths.

 

Church... There is nothing new in our accepting such parallel truths that we can’t explain.

 

• For instance the Incarnation... Jesus being... Fully God... Fully Human... God in the flesh.

Trying to explain or reconcile this parallel truth only weakens or destroys it... Amen?

 

• How about the Trinity... Scripture says... Our God… HE is One... Yet we see this oneness in the... Father... Son... Holy Spirit... Parallel truths that must be accepted by faith. That’s what faith is... Isn’t it... Accepting what we cannot understand or explain?

 

So... Let’s settle this… This morning in our minds...

•Yes... God is Sovereign...

•Yes... Man has a Freewill Choice.

 

Now... There is a title for each of these concepts... Calvinism and Arminianism.

 

Raw old line Calvinism... As credited to John Calvin... Stated that God did the choosing of who was to be saved and who would be lost and that there was nothing... No-thing that we could do to change that regardless of our life-choices.

 

This doctrine was opposed in the sixteenth century by a Dutch Theologian... Jacobus Arminius... Those who believed in man’s freewill were called Arminians.

They believed that God predestined our salvation... by faith... A choice to believe in God and follow His Divine Will in the acceptance of Jesus and His shed blood as the means of our forgiveness... And the hope of Heaven.

 

Listen to these Scriptures filled with faith choice verses...

 

John 3.16 &17...God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

Galatians 3.26& 27... We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ.

 

John 5.24... I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

 

John 1.12... To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

 

Ephesians 2.8... Tells us that God’s grace gift of salvation is through our faith.

 

It was Joshua who said... Choose today whom you will serve...

 

Jesus is heard saying... Come unto me all you that labor and are burdened... And I will give you rest...

 

In Revelation... He says... Here I am!... Behold!... I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door... I will come in and eat with that person and they with Me.

 

Galatians 6.7& 8... Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

 

Then there’s James 4.7 & 8...Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands… Purify your hearts.

 

Church...Can there be any doubt this morning that...

humankind has a freewIll...

• That we choose who and what we are and will be?

 

Come... Let’s see what we can learn from some familiar narratives...

Where God uses man’s choices to accomplish His purpose.

 

Adam & Eve had a choice... And their choices had consequences... They were gonna reap what they had sown.

 

They chose evil/sin...They chose to live by... Their wants... Their fleshly desires... And as a result were cast out of the Garden.

 

But listen to this... God knew this was going to happen... He used their freewill to bring about His purpose of Jesus dying on the cross to forgive their and our sins.

 

How do we know this?... Because Scripture... 2 Timothy 1.9 & Titus 1.2… Has Paul saying... Jesus has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of the world.  In Titus... Our... Knowledge... Faith... Hope of eternal life rests upon God who doesn’t lie... promised before the beginning of time.

 

Abraham had a choice... Follow God by faith... Or stay in the Ur of the Chaldees. Unlike Adam & Eve... He chose to believe and followed God... Becoming the father of the Jewish nation and our father... Father of the Faithful.

 

Scripture indicates over-and-over that this was God’s hand at work in His scheme to bring Jesus into the World… Brought about through Abraham’s choice.

 

God is Sovereign... But He uses mankind’s freewill to carry out His purposes.

 

There’s an interesting narrative about Assyria in Isaiah chapter ten...

Here God is condemning the Ten Northern Tribes for their Sin failures.

 

He says... I’m going to use Assyria as My rod and staff to punish you... A godless nation...

• They will carry out My wrath...

• They will seize you...

• Take your spoils...

• And plunder your belongings.

God says... Assyria will do this because they are... Wicked... Evil... LISTEN NOW... With a heart to harm… With an intent to hurt…  and destroy.

 

God is saying... I’m going to use the... Ugly... Hateful... Heart of Assyria to punish Israel.

 

God is Sovereign... And He used the rebellious ungodly heart of Assyria to punish the Ten Northern Tribes.

 

We see this same issue in God... Hardening... Strengthening... The resolve of Pharaoh in not letting Israel to leave Egypt.

 

Scripture paints Pharaoh was a callous evil-minded man... God used His evil heart to serve His purpose.

 

There’s the narrative of Joseph in Genesis chapter fifty.

Perhaps the best known example of God using our freewill to bring about His purpose.

 

On their initial visits... His brothers never recognized Joseph... But ultimately... They came to realize that the Prime Minister of ALL Egypt was their brother... The brother that they had sold into slavery years previously.

 

We come to the end of the narrative... Father Jacob dies... And now the brothers are... scared...Terrified... Afraid that father can no longer shield them for their ugly behavior.

 

On their knees... Prone in the dirt... They are begging for Joseph’s forgiveness…Saying… Just make us your servants.

 

Reminiscent of the Prodigal Son... Just make us a servant in your house.

 

Joseph responds... You meant it for evil... What you did to me was... Ugly... Unspeakable... Brother-To-Brother behavior... But God took your jealous...sin behavior... And used it to His good... To accomplish His purpose.

• You scared me...

• You hurt me...

• You broke daddy’s heart...

• You destroyed my relationship with my father...

• I spent years in prison.

But know this... God was there guiding every step... All this happened within His Divine providence.

 

Joseph was saying God was using... your evil heart... Your intended ugliness...To bring about our family’s salvation.

 

No wonder Paul could say in Romans 8... All things work together for good to those who love Him.

 

Our last narrative is about Jesus’ Death.

Here is something interesting... Why do we call the day Jesus died on the cross?... Good Friday!! Why not bad Friday?... It is Good Friday!!... Because God is sovereign... And He was working His will and purpose.

• He was using the heart of Peter in His denial.

• Using the proud hearts of Annas and Caiaphas...

• The vindictive Jewish mob...

• The heart of Pilate...

• Herod...

• The soldiers...

To accomplish His purpose… To bring about our salvation.

 

Listen again to Acts 4.27 & 28... For right here in this city... They gathered against God’s Holy One... Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel to do whatever you had predestined to take place... What your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.

 

Listen church...

• Is God Sovereign?... Yes!!!

• Do we have a freewill?... Yes!!!

• Does God use our freewill to accomplish His purpose?... Yes!!

 

But here it is... God does everything He can to bring our heart inline with His will and way... Not willing that any should perish... But that all should come to repentance.

 

The choice given the Jewish crowd on Pentecost... Who had crucified Jesus... Is given to us this morning... Repent and be baptized and you will receive... The remissions of your sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit... God’s indwelling Spirit to the saved.

 

God is giving each of us an opportunity to choose this morning...

May God help us to choose correctly as we stand and sing this song together.



Written By

Bella Vista Church of Christ

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