Summary: Everything in history is moving according to His plan. To know there is a plan in the midst of a crisis is wonderfully reassuring.
Darren Goforth was a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office when he was murdered at a suburban Houston Chevron station just two Fridays ago. While many of us were busy heading out to enjoy Friday night football, authorities say the deputy was the victim of a “cold-blooded assassination.” Goforth was in uniform while filling up his patrol car and in uniform when he was targeted around 8:30 pm (August 28, 2015). The officer was approached from behind when multiples shots were fired. In fact, this unprovoked attack continued as the assailant continued to fire shots even after the deputy had fallen to the ground! Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman commented on this bone-chilling murder, “I’ve been in law enforcement 45 years. I don’t recall another incident this cold-blooded and cowardly.”
There are times when we sense the evil of this world and we feel an extreme vulnerability. We wonder how we will protect our families and ourselves. We look to our parents, our leaders, and friends for assurance. At times of national crisis such as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, we wonder and shake our heads in disbelief. Every Presidential debate and every 30-second political commercial is aimed at saying just this, “I have a plan. Trust my judgment. You can relax.”
Is there a plan? Can we ultimately be assured or are we to live with anxiety and insecurity for the remainder of our days?
We’re doing a series on God’s Big Story where we are tracing the central storyline of the Bible. The aim of this series is to see the big picture of the Bible. I want to offer a bird’s eye view, if you will. The Bible’s story can be unpacked in these four sentences:
God made the world.
We rebelled against our ruler.
God reentered the world to redeem us.
And God will remake the world.
We traced the primordial pivotal points of the Bible’s storyline in Genesis from God’s actions before anything came into existence to His placing of Adam & Eve in a lush, pristine, perfect garden. We watched carefully as the First Couple “cut their own path.” We witnessed their rebellion bring misery into the world. And we were surprised that God kept His hand on the world and did give us up to our choices and desires. Instead, He promised to crush the head of the evil serpent, Satan and He promises to start over again with His chosen man, Abraham (Genesis 3:15; 15:1f). Hope emerged like the phoenix rising from the ashes. So climb on top of the observation deck with me and let’s get a better perspective of the Bible before us.
Today’s Scripture Passage
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14)
This is one of the richest and most rewarding passages in all of Scripture. Beginning in verses 3 through 14 of the first chapter of Ephesians is 1 long sentence in Greek. There are 202 words in that one sentence and no other sentence in the New Testament comes close to this. This sentence is so long that no English translation tries to offer this as simply one sentence. Instead, they divide it into shorter sentences It’s not easy to read, but it is a magnificent and overwhelming beautiful sentence. It’s so rich.
1. There is a Plan