The Sovereignty of God
(The following are the message notes for the sermon track listed above)
Seeing the Sovereignty of God
God has an answer for the world that we see all around us. The ultimate answer to all men’s problems is resolved by believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and so we must learn it, love it and share it as often as we have occasion.
In addition, there is an attribute of God that I want to highlight that we desperately need to be reminded of, strengthened by and comforted in and it is what’s known as the Sovereignty of God. This attribute means that God in His triunity is in control of all things that come to pass. Listen to Paul refer to Christ as Sovereign in 1 Tim 6:15 (ESV) “he [Christ] who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” Here is a quote from Pastor John Piper on why we need to think about the sovereignty of God:
“Sometimes we need to be reminded by God himself that there are no limits to his rule. We need to hear from him that he is sovereign over the whole world, and everything that happens in it. We need his own reminder that he is never helpless, never frustrated, never at a loss. We need his assurance that he reigns over ISIS, terrorism, Syria, Russia, China, India, Nigeria, France, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States of America — every nation, every people, every language, every tribe, every chief, president, king, premier, prime minister, politician, great or small. Sometimes we need to hear specific statements from God himself about his own authority. We need God’s own words. It is the very words of God that have unusual power to settle our nerves, and make us stable, wise, and courageous.” John Piper
I want to read you some verses and my hope is that they will settle you as they begin to paint the picture that God is high in the heavens, in total control of all things, not just all “good things” at all times here upon the earth. To doubt this is to bring into question the very GODness of God.
Ps 115:3 “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.”
Ps 135:6 “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.”
Isa 46: 9-10 “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’”
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”
1 Pet 3:22 [Jesus] “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”
Ps 33:10 “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the people’s.”
1 Sam 2: 6-7 “The Lord kills and brings to life;he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts.”
John 6:65 Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.
These verses ought to put steel in our spines as we face this world. They ought to create boldness in our prayer life know ing that when we pray, we speak to One who cannot be refused, thwarted, or denied…ever. Seeing God as Sovereign logically leads to prayer.
Now I would like us to look at a very familiar passage in the form of the parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15: 11-18. What we will see is that God is not only sovereign over big things like governments but he also sovereign over the individual circumstances of our lives.
The Parable of the Lost Son
13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
- This is man indulging himself to the full. Here the prodigal embraces a naturalistic philosophy which Paul expresses in 1 Cor 15:32 “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
- Notice up until now God is silent in all these matters. Nothing done by the son causes any panic, or alarm in God. Why, because there is more mercy in God than there is sin in you.
14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
- Notice the timing here. Once the Son had exhausted all his resources, the famine came. While the unregenerate would see either nothing of significance in this or “bad luck” we Christians see the very hand of God.
- Consider the prophet Isaiah when he writes in Isa 45:7, “I [God] form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things”.
- In His sovereignty, God ordered this famine and used it to drive the son home.
16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
- Here again, the son finds himself subject to the sovereign hand of Almighty God.
- The words of the Psalmist ring true as He spoke of God’s dealing with the children of Israel during the exodus,“He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants” (Ps 105:25).
- God prevented anyone from helping the son by turning their hearts away from him further driving him home.
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
- Calvin’s Commentary on verse 17, “Instructed by this example, let us not imagine that God deals cruelly with us, if at any time he visits us with heavy afflictions; for in this manner those who were obstinate and intoxicated with mirth are taught by him to be obedient. In short, all the miseries which we endure are a profitable invitation to repentance.”
- How did the son come to himself? Was it not a result of the well timed famine and lack of generosity of the people around him? And who caused both of these things to happen? God.
- The son came to himself but he did not come to himself by himself.
18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father,I have sinned against heaven and before you.”
- Sinned against heaven…this acknowledgement shows true repentance because all sin is sin against God first and foremost. Ps 51:4 “Against You, You only, have I sinned”
God controls the heavens above the skies.
He controls the earth below the ground.
He controls all the systems at work in this world whether atmospheric, geological or natural.
He controls the powers of this world. Kings rise, fall and make decisions at His leading.
He makes nations great and He brings them to dust.
He makes men great and brings them to shame.
He causes His people to believe the Gospel by shining light into their souls.
He draws men to Christ to the praise of the glory of His grace!
Psalm 9:10 “And those who know Your name [sovereignty] will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”