SS 8-23-20 Submitting to the Sovereignty of God
Our expectations of what should happen in any given circumstance depends upon what we have been brought up to believe. Most Baptists believe that God answers His children when they pray. There are several ways God answers our prayers depending upon what He is wanting to accomplish–which is usually more than just one thing. It is His very sovereignty of which we will speak today.
We begin with 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Let’s read it:
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
In order to wage war, we must know how to use the weapons God has given us. Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, we are in a world that is hostile to Your children. We do not think like they do nor do we fight like they do. The weapons You have given us are designed to break down the barriers that keep a person from recognizing their need for Christ. We take every thought captive so that we can focus on You and what You have in store for us today. Teach us to pray for others that their thoughts would be taken captive by Your Spirit so that all people would become obedient to Christ. Amen.
We need a biblical example of someone submitting to the sovereignty of God–His Father. Whom might that be? Jesus Christ! We begin by reading Philippians 2:5-11.
One of my favorite verses is John 17:24 because it reveals several things. Someone read it for us.
- God is His Father.
- God has given us to the Son (see verse 20).
- We will be where Jesus is, which is seated at the right hand of the Father (see Eph. 1:20).
- We get to see His glory, which was His before the creation of the world!
Let’s look at some of Jesus’ teachings and see if we can spot God’s sovereignty in them. For this exercise, we will go to the Sermon on the Mount. This mount is somewhere in Galilee, maybe even on the hillside outside Capernaum that goes down to the Sea of Galilee. We will take the Beatitudes one at a time:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
In each of these, God is assumed as the Initiator, Sustainer and Rewarder. Let’s look at the next two examples. Read Matthew 5:13-16.
The first example tells us that we are to keep pure from foreign (worldly) ingredients, meaning…?
The second example tells us that we are to live our lives so that they point to Jesus–by doing the first example. Is this example our goal in life? Are we walking with Jesus and living obedient lives to His Spirit so that we remain pure from the world and thus let our lights shine for Him? Are we attractive to people who are looking for God? Or, even something different than the world?
The biggest example of Christ’s submission to the sovereignty of God is found in Matthew 26:42, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” We know that God’s sovereign plan was for Christ to die for us and be resurrected so that we, too, can be resurrected! Read the rest of the Plan in Ephesians 1:9-10.
Now, that’s worth the wait and the work!
There was a picture at Mardel with the Scripture passage 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says,
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Robin and I discussed it and this is what we came up with:
Giving thanks in all circumstances will result in rejoicing always as we pray continually.
This is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
God’s plan for us is to be with Him–or, Him in us for now. Our obedience is us going in His direction! Submitting to the sovereignty of God is not a hardship at all. Rather, it is agreeing with God that what He says is best for us is, indeed, best for us; it is spending time in His presence and becoming like Him without ever realizing it; it is believing what He said/says and enjoying the pleasure of His company, finding all along that He is trustworthy.
Next week, we will look at Paul, what he taught about the sovereignty of God and how he lived according to the sovereignty of God.
- Do you enjoy talking to God or would you rather do something for Him?
- How do we relate to God in regard to the five Love Languages, i.e. Time, Words of Affirmation, Touch, Acts of Service, and gifts?
- In light of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, do you believe that God has us going through our circumstances for our good?
- Do we sometimes cause our circumstances?
- Does God ever let us simmer in our circumstances?
- Does it ever take much longer for God to get us out than we expect?
- Does unexpected good ever come from bad circumstances?
- How easy is it for God to move us from our present circumstances to where He wants us to be? For instance, the Israelites on the shore with the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them: The waters part, and the Israelites move through. It seems that God had to let the circumstances get pretty grim before the Israelites were willing to trust Him in the matter. How about you? Have there been any grim circumstances in which trusting God was your only real option?