Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Sovereignty of God

Last Thursday night, Mission 28 was blessed to have Mickey Connolly, Senior Pastor of CrossWay Community Church come and speak to us about God's sovereignty. He addressed the confusions concerning the line between sovereignty and free will which can often time perplex us.

We all like to be in control...to have the authority over a situation and our own lives. The word sovereign is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible and Lord is mentioned over 8000 times. God is Lord over all.

To be sovereign means to have the undisputed right to make decisions and to have the power to act accordingly.

God freely decides, everything that has every happened or ever will happen down to the minutest details. He works all things in accordance with his will. He is never surprised and nothing ever stops him. He is unchangeable, eternal, and all comprehensible. He has a plan that he has infallibly carried out.
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it
God owns creation and has the right to do with it what he wants. He is sovereign over nature. In him all things hold together. We see this lived out in the stories of Jonah and Daniel in the Lion's den. He is also over the nations.
Job 12:23 He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. 
Acts 17:26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
He is over everything...even the devil. Satan still has to answer to God. God is in complete control of every aspect of every individual life. He supplies, directs, cares and loves. Everything happens because God decided. There are no accidents, no chance, no fate, or impersonal force....God decided.

As for human responsibility...aka free will. Joshua 24:15 says to "choose this day who you will serve". We choose to obey God's commands or not. We are called to make choices. The Bible urges us to choose the right and pure ways. Our choices have real consequences and we must give an account to God on judgement day for the choices we made.

You might ask, well if man is free to act then how is God sovereign? Well, free doesn't mean autonomous from God. Free will is the ability to choose according to our strongest desire at the moment. Every choice we make is influenced by something. You might not like me for this but I don't care...no one ever went to hell that didn't choose to go.

Because we are hostile to God...we won't choose him unless he first chooses us. You give up a lot if you want to say that God isn't sovereign. So how do we live with this? What does it mean? Well...you have to accept that both God is sovereign and he gives us the ability to choose...accept both to be faithful to scripture. We are morally responsible for our lives but God is still sovereign. Both are true. God knows what is going to happen but he still gives us choices...choices for the good or the bad...if he knows we will pick the bad, he gives us the opportunity to choose the good...if we are going to pick the good way, he gives us the temptation of the bad choice to test our faith.

God decrees everything...even evil. If there is something going on that God did not ordain then God is not God and that simply cannot be.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
God does not tempt anyone...
James 1:13-14 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 
God doesn't owe us any answers or always tell us why. We have to submit and trust. God's wishes are for our good. We have no right to question his sovereign plan for our lives. The only thing that is acceptable for us to do is to submit to him, trust him completely (get used to not being God...let God be God...even when we don't understand...he's still in control), and obey. He is in complete control and will not be thwarted. God is God and I am not...and that's all I have to remember.

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