Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 12, 2012

"Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord who rules over all. He is the King of glory." Psalm 24:10

I am not a great mathematician but there is something comforting about math. It is absolute and predicatable. 2 + 2 is always 4, always was and always will be. Once you learn your math tables you will have them for life and they will never let you down.

That is comforting news for those who operate on a budget and balance a bank account.

You might say the rules of math are sovereign over all of your calcuations. All you have to do is work the numbers and the numbers will work for you.

This week during VBS we taught our kids that they can always trust God. No matter how they feel they can trust God. No matter what others say, they can always trust God. No matter where they are they can trust God. No matter who they are they can trust God. No matter what happens they can trust God.

It was a basic introduction to the sovereignty of God. Sovereignty means God is in charge and you can always trust Him.

The sovereignty of God is not just an obscure doctrinal concept for theologians to debate. It is essential for you to understand Who God is and what it takes to know Him and please Him.

You wrestle with the issue of God's sovereignty multiple times each day. Every time you are tempted you are faced with a decision about God's sovereignty. You must decide if you are going to obey Him and resist the temptation or rebel against His sovereignty and act according to your will. In essence, you have to decide each time if you are going to trust Him in this situation.

If you are a follower of Christ, you should not willfully choose to disobey Him. You have made a commitment to submit to His sovereignty in all of your decisions.

The Psalmist declares that you are to have "clean hands" and a "pure heart".

Clean hands have to do with your conduct and behavior. The only way you can have clean hands is to have been forgiven by God for the sins you committed through wrong behavior. In other words, you have trusted God for salvation through His Son. When you confess your sins and repent of them you can receive the forgiveness of God and His moral cleansing through the blood of Christ.

A pure heart refers to your motives. What motivates you to do the things you do? A followers of Christ should be motivated by love for God and for others. When you love someone you will be kind and generous and helpful toward them. You would never choose to hurt them. That "perfect love" is given to you by the Holy Spirit when you surrender your selfish will to His sovereign will. Your sins are forgiven and your sinful nature is under the control of God's Spirit.

The evidence that you have clean hands and a pure heart is that you no longer struggle against the sovereign will of God because you are now surrendered to it. In a very real sense you have "opened up the gates (your will) and let the King of Glory come in".

Only when you have surrendered fully to the sovereign will of God and ceased struggling against it does trusting God really begin to add up!

Have you surrendered to His sovereignty?

August 11, 2012

"The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it. He set it firmly on the oceans. He made it secure on the waters. Who can go up to the temple on the hill of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? Anyone who has clean hands and a pure heart. He does not worship the statue of a god. He doesn't use the name of that god when he makes a promise. People like that will receive the Lord's blessing. When God their Savior hands down his sentence, it will be in their favor."  Psalm 24:1-5
In 40 years of pastoring I have never had a parishioner plead with me, "Pastor, would you please preach about sovereignty?"

I probably won't in the next 40 years either. But even though this in not a burning issue on the frontal lobes of the average person, it IS a crucial concept for those who want to follow Christ. God's sovereignty is fundamental in understanding who He is and how He operates. It is a foundation stone upon which solid faith is built.

There has never been a time when this doctrine has not been important, but in these chaotic and unpredictable times IT IS REALLY good to be reminded your God is LARGE AND IN CHARGE! That is why I am devoting an entire week to it and a sermon about it Sunday.

Trust me, you need to know this!

God Is Sovereign because:

1)       He Is Creator, Vv. 1-2 - "The earth belongs to the Lord. And so does everything in it. The world belongs to him. And so do all those who live in it. He set it firmly on the oceans. He made it secure on the waters."

He is sovereign over nature! When you create something you get to be in charge of it! God created your world and your universe and He is the only One smart enough and powerful enough to rule over it. The precision He built into the universe was on full display this week when the space probe landed on Mars right on target.

He is sovereign over history. History, after all, is HIS story, the story of good and evil played out in time. History began with God and it will end with Him and it will be a happy ending for those who are on His side of history!

He is sovereign over morality. Morality is an essential element of His sovereignty. In time and space occupied by fallible people, it is absolutely necessary to know what is absolutely right and always wrong. There can be no peace, no social order without clear rules to guide the behavior of society. Not only did God establish those rules - He is the Ruler and you live by His rules or you answer to Him.

He is sovereign over His grace. Grace is God's mercy and goodness extended to people who don't deserve it and can't earn it but who desperately need it. It would not exist if He hadn't thought of it and offered it AND purchased it by the blood of His Son!

2) He Is Christ, V. 5 -   "People like that will receive the Lord's blessing. When God their Savior hands down his sentence, it will be in their favor"
He Is Savior. When the perfection of paradise was destroyed by the sin of Adam, God announced a plan to redeem His creation. It would cost Him His Son but the Second Adam would provide a second chance for a lost race of beloved people.

He is Sanctifier. This is the completion of God restoring His perfect creation. By the atonement of Christ's shed blood on the cross not only can sins be forgiven but the sinful nature can be cleansed! The heart and mind of God can be restored to you by appropriating His grace fully. 
He is Sustainer. As Paul told the Greeks on Mars Hill, "It is in Him we live and move and have our being." God did not just create the universe and check out on it, He is intimately involved in sustaining it every moment. Because God is an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God, nothing happens without His awareness and His approval.

Sovereignty may not occupy your thoughts but it affects every moment of every day! It is the result of God's presence in your life. God is able to do what you wish you could do for your own children - be always present and always protecting.

Will you take a moment and thank God for His sovereignty in your life? Will you surrender to His sovereignty?