There are two doctrines that the Lord has made me aware of in my walk with our God that has left me in admiration of His majesty. The one doctrine has raised my curiosity to a pinnacle of desire to want to learn everything within His scriptures that can possibly be learned. The second doctrine has brought my intellect to a closer knowledge of whom and what God is, that I now have a yearning for His knowledge that will never be fulfilled. It has brought my mind; my emotions, my spirit, my soul, and my heart to a helpless submission to the absolute sovereign will of God.
The first doctrine, I bring up only in passing is the doctrine of predestination. This doctrine along with all of its antecedent doctrines and its subsequent doctrines reveals to us a system of theology, which places the Gospel of Christ in its most proper perspective. It stands alone in comparison to any other Christian system. The second doctrine is the subject of tonight’s learning; the sovereignty of God. If any man can approach these two doctrines objectively instead of subjectively, which is to say; leave your biased emotions and tainted finite rationality outside of the scriptures. A study of these two doctrines with an objective approach and a desire to only want to know exactly what God is teaching; will leave the student of God marveled about the character and attributes of God. So marveled that I’m left cognitively strained because I cannot find enough vocabulary to properly express enough glory to God for His sovereignty!
Last week we learned about the attribute of God’s supremacy; meaning that God is the highest authority over every aspect and over everything. Arthur Pink defines the sovereignty of God as, “the exercise of His supremacy,” (Pink). God who has absolute authority over everything is in control of everything and exercises His free will however He desires. The Advanced English Dictionary defines sovereign as, “not controlled by outside forces.” This definition is in complete harmony with the first attribute of God’s solitariness; that God is not contingent on any forces outside of His triune deity to exercise His will. God is absolutely self governing, independent, and autonomous; God is sovereign!
God is sovereign over heaven and earth:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens belong to Jehovah your God, the earth also, with all in it.
It is said by logicians and philosophers that whatever exists cannot be created out of nothing. To that point I agree, surely something cannot proceed from nothing; something must proceed from something. It is said by some Christians that God did create something out of nothing, and that is the miraculous power of God. I understand that my brothers mean to convey, that before there was anything metaphysically existing God created out of nothing, and which God did create through a spoken word; however, to phrase is it as something out of nothing is just illogical to the rational mind. I believe it is better logically stated; that God certainly did create something out of something. God is the source of all creation, therefore the something out of something is Himself, and He molded the universe and its planets the way God decreed it to be and it all belongs to Him. Give glory to God for His sovereignty.
God is sovereign over nature and weather:
Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. And Jehovah caused the sea to recede by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Only by God’s miraculous sovereign power was He able to blow such a strong sharp wind piercing through the ocean causing a separation wide enough and long enough; as the scripture reads, “all that night” God blew a constant wind holding the ocean walls for hours. God created a safe passage for His people as he dried up the wet and muddy ocean soil; making it possible to bring through carriages and whatever spoils God gave them from Egypt. Then by God’s awesome providence, He ceased His wind to blow; and allowed the divided ocean to close in and crush, drown, and kill the Army of Pharaoh. This amazing display of power goes to show; that just as God made a way for the salvation of His people from the Army of Pharaoh, so also all who God calls unto salvation will come to Christ. There is no force in existence that can keep God’s people from being delivered from Egypt, which translates to us as being delivered from the wages of sin which is death. Repent of your sins and call on the Lord your God. Believe in Christ and be saved, because just as God split the sea; God would split this universe to save one of His lost sheep while at the same time preserving the 99 that are left in the wilderness. God is sovereign.
Jonah 4:5-8 And Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east of the city. And he made himself a booth there and sat under it in the shade, until he might see what would happen in the city. 6 And Jehovah God prepared a plant, and it came up over Jonah, to be shade over his head, in order to deliver him from his misery. And Jonah rejoiced with great joy over the plant. 7 But God prepared a worm as the morning dawned the next day. And it struck the plant, and it withered. 8 And it happened when the sun shone, God ordained a scorching east wind. And the sun beat on the head of Jonah, so that he fainted. And he asked for his life to die. And he said, better is my death than my life.
The prophet Jonah had just preached repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jonah made himself some shade from the burning sun; most likely from the brush and leafs of the trees. Then as it reads God ordained a plant to grow and relieve Jonah of the heat. Then God prepared a worm to devour the plant over night. The next day the sun rose to heat; God ordained a strong wind to add to Jonahs misery causing him to faint. The point of this text tonight is not to exegete it, but to reveal to you God’s sovereignty over His created elements. God commanded the plant to grow for Jonah and it obeyed and grew. God commanded a worm to devour it and the worm obeyed. God commanded the wind to blow and it did.
God makes the impossible to occur for His people. Never think that there is something you ought not to pray for. Never think that something is not significant enough to pray for. No prayer is too unimportant for God. Never think that God has better things to do, or not enough time because God knows no time. Seek the mighty will of God and He will give you the desires of your heart because if Christ is first in your life; there is your treasure, there is your reward. God knows of all the things you have need of in order to fulfill God’s plan for your life. There will be times of suffering but God’s sovereignty will provide the shade; however, do not allow your anger to get the best of you when God ordains the shade to temporarily be removed. God is sovereign.
God is sovereign over Nations and its rulers:
Joshua 11:20 For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts so that they should come against Israel in battle, so that they might be destroyed, so that they might have no favor, but that He might destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.
Up to this point Joshua had gone to war with many cities and slaughtered kings and all the king’s men and plundered all their spoils. No enemy was left breathing at the order of Moses which came directly from God. Only the Hivites of Gibeon were at peace with Israel, and all this was from God’s sovereignty as God hardened the hearts of nations in order to go to war with Israel. God informed Joshua not to fear, God decreed that Joshua would have the victory and he did. All this hardening of nation’s hearts from God was so that they may be destroyed and their land taken captive for the nation of Israel; and so it was that Joshua took the land and divided it between the tribes.
This is the God of the bible. This is your sovereign Lord. If you are called by God, chosen to be His people; God would kill any opposition in order to achieve His good plan through your life. We need to do nothing but obey His commandments. God is faithful and just to supply our needs for His purpose. God is sovereign.
God is sovereign over people’s hearts:
Genesis 20:6 And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the sincerity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me. Therefore I did not allow you to touch her.
For the second time Abraham had fallen into the sin of lying by presenting His wife Sarah as his sister instead of his wife. Both times were for the sake of selfish ambitions including fear for his life. Scriptures refer to Abraham’s wife as a beautiful woman even in her nineties; she was desirable to kings because of the fact that she had to this point not bore any children yet. King Abimelech called Abraham’s wife Sarah with intentions of marring her thinking she was Abraham’s sister. God spoke to the King in a dream and told Him he will die for taking her. The king contested for his innocence arguing that he took her with sincerity of heart thinking she was not married, and that he had not touched her. The lord replied that it was God who withheld him from sinning against the Lord. God then commanded that he return the prophets wife and he shall live.
Abraham; expressed in the scriptures as one of the greatest men of faith reveals that any one of God’s children may backslide into sin. He had repented once for lying about his wife when a Pharaoh of Egypt tried to take Sarah as his wife, and the Lord struck the Pharaoh with a plague so that he would return Sarah to Abraham undefiled. Then again tempted by the same sin Abraham falls, and God forgives. We men are such weak creatures. It is amazing how slow God is to anger with us. It is amazing how merciful God is with us; withholding from us what we deserve, his wrath. Instead He is gracious to give us Christ and forgive our sins as He forgave Abraham for being willing to use his wife. Our spouses, our family, and our friends are all unreliable, but the merits of Christ alone are unfailing. God is sovereign.
Proverbs 16:1 The ordering of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from Jehovah.
In this verse; the heart is meant the mind, intellect, and thinking of man. The next clause deals with speaking, which cannot happen unless a thought first occurs in the mind. Do not be offended because God is sovereign over the minds of men. The human mind can never truly know how corrupt, evil, and tainted with sin the heart and mind really is. To this point:
Mark 7:21,22 reads; For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
Genesis 6:5 And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
We see consistently that the heart of man is referred to as the mind of man being evil continually. Whenever any man says, “deep down in my heart, I am a good man” know that it is a lie. It is an immense benefit that God is sovereign over the hearts of men, because it is by His grace that God’s goodness restrains the evil of man’s heart by His power of suppressing men’s sin as we previously saw in Genesis 20:6 with King Abimelech. If God were to remove His righteousness from the earth God only knows what kind of hell on earth there may be. Have you realized that the preaching of the Gospel restrains evil on Earth? Have you not considered what this world may look like without true religion? It is said by some of my eschatological amillennial, and premillennial brothers that the world will continually become more and more evil. I say no brothers; since the commissioning of the Gospel being sent to the four corners of the earth, evil has been restrained. Remove the Gospel and then we will see evil at its climax through the degenerate hearts of man’s depravity. Thank God that he is sovereign over the hearts of men.
God is sovereign over whom He reveals the Gospel too:
Luke 8:10 And He said, to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God. But to others I speak in parables, so that seeing they might not see and hearing they might not understand.
John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they should not see with their eyes nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
If you approach these passages objectively outside of personal emotions; the meaning is very clear. Christ said, “it is given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom” what are the mysteries of the Kingdom? It is the revelation of Christ, the understanding of His parables, the understanding of God’s word, and the believing of the Gospel of Christ. Christ speaks in parables because it is given only to whom God chooses to understand; the rest of the world can hear but not understand, they can see only the carnal things of the world, but are blind to the spiritual matters of God.
2Corinthians 4:2-4 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor adulterating the Word of God, but by the revelation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But also if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those being lost, 4 in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should not dawn on them.
In verse 2 The Apostle Paul is speaking about walking in practical righteousness; Renouncing all things that are contrary to God’s word and Gospel of Christ. Preaching the Gospel to men’s consciences in the sight of God; meaning with the understanding that God, in a real way is presently observing their courage and uncompromised teachings. Without craftiness or adulteration of the Word of God as Paul puts it. What this means is that, when the Apostle’s preached the Gospel to the consciences of men; they left it all on the line and held nothing back. Neither craftiness, nor adulteration means that, the Apostles never sought any methods of trying to make the Gospel more appealing or entertaining to men. They did not mix the Word of God with any vain philosophy, neither any carnal doctrines currently popular to men; neither did they compromise the Gospel by holding back the hard doctrines that they knew may offend the hearts and minds of men. The Apostles knew that God observes all their teachings and one day will be held accountable for their integrity and courage of ministering the Gospel. And so it is with us who minister this day. Pray for the love, wisdom, authority, courage, and boldness to minister the Gospel with no compromise. Whenever you think; “maybe I should not teach this”, teach it! It is not men who you are trying to please, it is God. If you think, “I do not want to offend people and chase them away, then they won’t hear the Gospel,” Remember that the Gospel’s intent is also to separate the sheep from the goats. If someone walks away because you preached the Gospel with no compromise; do not worry. Concern yourself with preaching an adulterated Gospel and let the Holy Spirit do His bidding throughout the masses; do you not trust God?
Verse 3 reads “if our Gospel is hidden it is hidden to those being lost.” By our gospel is meant that we are entrusted with it. We bear the responsibility of rightly dividing the Word of God so take it serious. If our Gospel is hidden; the Gospel is not outwardly hidden, because they had the manifestation of Christ. In the Old Testament the Jews had the ceremonial law which typified and pointed to the prophecy of Christ. They had the Apostles preaching repentance and the kingdom. Now we have the canonization of the 66 books of the bible. The Gospel is not hidden in the outward sense, so if it is hidden as Paul said; it is hidden to all whom the Gospel has not yet been revealed by God. All are born lost, so the Gospel is inwardly hidden from the hearts of all men who’s minds are blinded as written in verse 4; “in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should not dawn on them.” This is a hard truth, but must be settled. Until God illuminates the mind of whom He wills with the light of the Gospel of Christ; the unbelieving man will remain lost until his death. So let this be an inspiration and motivation to move every human faculty within us to pray for the lost; to minister to the lost, to preach the Gospel without compromise to the lost. We have no clue on who God will choose, or why God chose. Do not waste a thought on it. The fact is that God will illuminate the minds of an innumerable number of men with the light of the Gospel before Christ returns and we are privileged to be used by God to bring that light to all men. Glory to God, He is sovereign.