Summary: Our great God is sovereign, and He exercises His sovereignty for His glory and our good
For Our Good and His Glory
October 9, 2005
Do any of you watch a program on TV where the episodes are continuing? You know, each week is a cliffhanger of sorts, trying to get you to come back to watch next week.
Most of those kinds of shows have a brief recap that starts something like this:
“Last time, from the pulpit of TCF….” Or “previously, from the microphone of this very pulpit…” I thought we’d begin this week by having a similar recap of the last episode for those of you who slept through the sermon two weeks ago, or those who just weren’t here, for whatever reason.
Perhaps you weren’t here for weenie excuses like Gordon’s – you were on the other side of the globe…
So here goes……Last time Bill was in the pulpit at TCF, we saw Abigail entrust a precious possession to him, believing Bill was able to protect it for her. For a while he could, because he picked on a sweet young lady, who couldn’t wrestle the coin from his grasp. But when the larger, more powerful Dave Troutman attempted to take the precious coin, he overcame the weak and puny preacher, and took the coin that Abigail had entrusted to Bill to protect. Remember that?
What we learned last time was that God is omnipotent, and I’m not. We focused on God’s ability to do His will, anytime, anywhere. We learned that to truly trust God, we must truly believe that not only does He love us, not only does He have the wisdom to carry out His plans and purposes perfectly, but He also has the power, the ability, because our great God is an omnipotent God….He’s almighty, all-powerful.
We have to know and believe in all three things…the big three attributes that Rich Mullins sang about in Awesome God…His wisdom, power and love, before we can truly trust God.
I also want you to remember that we noted there would be some inevitable overlap between that message focusing on God’s omnipotence, and today’s message, on God’s sovereignty. That’s because God’s sovereignty includes His omnipotence. That is, He could not be truly and completely sovereign if He wasn’t omnipotent. But His sovereignty includes more than just raw power to do things. It includes His plans, His purposes, His will, and His eternal purpose that’s shaped by His love for us.
So the title for this morning’s message is Sovereign God. But the subtitle could be For Our Good and His Glory. That’s because, as we’ll see this morning in the Word of God, His sovereign plans and purposes, accomplished by His omnipotent power, known in advance by His omniscience, are first and foremost to exhibit His glory, with the wonderful side benefit to us of being for our good.
A couple of passages of scripture to start with this morning:
Psalm 115:3 (NIV) Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.
Eph 3:10-11 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If we think of sovereignty, we can start with a dictionary definition:
1. a monarch; a king, queen, or other supreme ruler.
2. having supreme rank, power, or authority.
3. supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
4. greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
5. being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
As is the case in some of our English words, this dictionary definition is helpful, but it only scratches the surface of what it means when we recognize the scriptural teaching that God is sovereign. For example, when we think of a sovereign ruler of a nation, it cannot include the full understanding of what we mean when we say that God is sovereign.
For example, a sovereign ruler is still subject to others in many ways. Maybe no one in his own country is powerful enough to challenge him, but rulers of other nations may be. Even the most powerful, sovereign nation on earth cannot make decisions without at least the acquiescence of other nations.
Adolph Hitler probably thought he was sovereign. He certainly seemed to be in Germany – he ruled with an iron fist, and people questioned his decrees only if they were willing to risk imprisonment or death. But even Hitler was not truly and completely sovereign, because he found out that despite his massive power in his own country, despite his ability to crush those nations immediately around him, when the rest of the world awakened to the situation, and decided to gang up against Nazi Germany, Hitler’s sovereignty was over. He could no longer do as he pleased.