Summary: Sermon Objective: God’s sovereignty (from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective) is showcased and illustrated in The Book of the Revelation providing motivation o remain faithful and confident.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD: THE REVELATION IN REVIEW
Rev. 3:19 - 4:11
Sermon Objective: God’s sovereignty (from an Arminian perspective) is showcased and illustrated in The Book of the Revelation providing motivation o remain faithful and confident.
REVELATION 3:19 – 4:11
3:19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
4:1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
I brought along a marionette today. It is an interesting little puppet. I pull this string and this leg moves. I tug on this one and this leg moves. The puppet has no choice to but move as I tell it to. It is designed so that when I pull on certain strings it responds to my wishes.
Some people understand the sovereignty of God in this fashion. They tell us that “God declares or decrees” an event and it just happens. It has no choice but to happen. A string on the marionette is pulled … plans are put into motion. This “puppet theology” applies whether in regards to an individual human (predestination), the destiny of an empire, or a cosmic act.
They call it “God’s sovereignty.”
Such a view of sovereignty understands human destiny to be a script. God not only knows what is yet to happen He has foreordained it. It is mechanical. It is determinism. Or to use their word it is “irresistible” as in “irresistible grace.” When the string is pulled a person will acknowledge Christ as Lord, reject Him, or whatever the script has foreordained. Such a theology is “cause-effect” oriented … God pulls a string and the creature moves in exactly the way it is intended.
A “puppet on a string” sovereignty is logical and many people, of many different religions, believe it is the way God runs the cosmos … even Christians. But I do not think it is Biblical. Or at least a complete Biblical view of Sovereignty.
So, if sovereignty is not “mechanical, deterministic, puppet-on-a-string Cause-Effect” then what can it be?
WHAT IF WE LOOKED AT SOVEREIGNTY FROM AN “INFLUENCE-RESPONSE” PARADIGM INSTEAD OF A “CAUSE-EFFECT” MODEL?
Such a paradigm takes God’s Sovereignty seriously.
It also takes God’s principle of “reaping and sowing” seriously.
It also takes free will seriously.
It also takes human responsibility seriously.
If you read “The Revelation” as a call to repentance and faithfulness … a “Gospel Tract” so to speak … then God’s sovereignty and our God-given free will cooperate together.