God Is In Control, But Does He Control You?
By Matthew Black, pastor
Date: Sunday, May 10, 2009, 6pm
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: When any trial or difficulty comes along, a Christian’s greatest struggle is going to be accepting God’s will and keeping a right heart attitude toward the Lord and others. There are three aspects to the Lordship of Christ that are foundational to living the Christian life: Control, Authority, and His Presence. These three aspects of making Jesus Christ Lord is the foundation of living out our faith. Without understanding and living out the Lordship of Christ, we will be overtaken by our trials and the hurts of this life.
CONTEXT. There are three aspects to Christ’s Lordship: control, authority, and His presence. We see this in verses like Matthew 28:18-20, “All power [AUTHORITY] is given unto me in heaven and in earth [CONTROL]. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [PRESENCE].”
A. | Presence |
God’s Control: God control’s all things. In other words, God gives everything life and breath. If God decided to stop controlling all things, you would cease to exist. This is seen first in Creation. He brings all things into existence. Can you think of some verses that might show that God controls all things as the Creator of the universe?
1. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
2. John 1:1-3 is even clearer, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”.
3. Acts 17:25, 28,“…He [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being”.
4. Colossians 1:17, “He [that is, Christ] is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
5. Hebrews 1:3, the Bible says that Jesus Christ is “the brightness of his [that is, the Father’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power”.
B. God’s Authority: When we speak of authority, we are talking about God's right to be obeyed stems from his status as Creator.
1. God's authority is absolute: it may not be questioned. God says to Israel in Jeremiah 18:6, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter‘s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
2. God’s authority extends to all areas of life.
· Proverbs 3:6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
· 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
God created us and therefore has the authority to tell us what to do.
C. God’s Presence: Christ’s Lorship is personal. He has promised to be with us while working out His plan through our lives.
· Matthew 28:20, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [PRESENCE].”
I. Consider God’s Wonderful Control in your life. The foundation of all of life is that God is in control of all things. What do the following verses tell us about God’s control?
A. What does Ephesians 1:11 tell us about God’s control in all things? Ephesians 1:11, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”.
God is in total control of every event in my life. God gave me the parents I have, the talents and abilities I have. He gave me my DNA. He formed me in my mother’s womb. You must understand that the power of the universe is in His hand. He doesn’t need you to worry about it for Him. We have no reason to worry.
B. Acts 17:28 says, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being”. What does this tell us about every detail of every day? It says that every day is a gift.
C. God’s control in making me who I am and my family who they are: Psalm 139:14, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” God made you to be you. I’m not talking about your sin, but your personality. We are all so different. We need to realize that all that we are and all that we have is from God. It is under His awesome control.
D. Colossians 1:17 says that by Jesus Christ “all things consist”. What does that mean to your present circumstances?
· You are one tiny dot in a massive universe, and you are not the center, God is!
· God can take you from this earth at any time. Every breath you take is a gift from God!! God has let you live another day.
· Jesus is a lot more powerful than me. He can do anything. He can change anything at any moment. He is the Creator—in charge of the whole universe.
II. God’s Authority over our Lives
As we said above, God's right to be obeyed stems from his status as Creator. God's authority is absolute: it may not be questioned (Job 40:1-5; Rom 9:20)
A. What has God given us to express His authority over us? The Word of God! 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Because the Bible is given by inspiration, literally God-breathed, that means every Word of this book is authoritative and should command everything I do and think. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” So God gave us His revelation to control our minds and our hearts and our lives.
B. God’s authority extends to all areas of life.
· 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
· Matthew 22:37, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
· Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
· We were not created to please ourselves. We were created to please God. Revelation 4:11, we hear the saints in eternity future singing, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
C. Since God owns us and controls us, he has the authority to tell us what to do. The main thing we are commanded throughout the Bible to do is to “trust him”. In other words, we are to do what God tells us to do whether we understand His reasons or not. We are to trust in everything. Can you think of some verses that tell us to trust God no matter what we see with our eyes?
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” God does not owe us an explanation for what He does with our lives. We are called to trust Him regardless of the waves and the sea.
What is another word for trusting God? FAITH. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We have to trust God in all things.
D. God’s authority is NEVER to be questioned. We are to trust.
1. Example of Job. There was a man in the Bible that at first trusted God, but then he began to waver. After so many trials, the man named Job wanted to have a conference with God. He was one of the few in the history of the world that was granted one. But we need to ask, did Job have a right to question God? Turn over to Job 38. Remember what happened when Job questioned the Creator? Job asked in Job 38:1-5, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.” And what did God say to Job? Job 38:4-5, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?” The Lord actually goes on for the rest of chapter 38 and 39 about His works as the God of the universe. He explains some of the things He has done as the Creator and sustainer of the universe.
The Lord concludes in Job 40:1-5, “Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said, 2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. 3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said, 4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. 5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further”.
2. Now look at Romans 9:20-21. Do we have a right to question God’s fairness in our lives? “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”
God can make a man born blind for His own glory. God can harden Pharoah’s heart for His own glory. God can allow affliction and trial in our lives. We never have a right to question God.
B. Yet we can trust God. His promises are wonderful. We may not understand what God is doing in our lives today, but we can understand His overall plan. Look at Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son”. Does God have a purpose for suffering and hurt in our lives? Yes! We can rejoice and give thanks even in trials. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
C. We need to allow God to RULE our mind. This is where the battle for authority really takes place. Read 2 Corinthians 10:5. We see where God’s authority over us begin? 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. This is why Ephesians 4:23 is so important. If we want to change, we must come more and more in line with God’s authority. The way to do that is to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” on a moment by moment basis. In other words ask God to guide you and tell you what to do. Always keep your mind in check. Never let it wander. “Gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Peter 1:13).
Application: Are certain anti-biblical thoughts controlling you? If so, what are they? Cast them out! Maybe you say, God is not working for your good. That’s a lie. Maybe you say God does not have the power to change your situtation. That’s a lie. Gird up the loins of your mind. Cast down imaginations.
D. Colossians 3:17 tells us we should have a certain attitude in all the circumstances in life. What is that attitude, and how can you apply it to your situation in life?
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Philippians 4:6 tells us the same thing, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
E. Genesis 50:20 tells us that Joseph had a certain understanding about wrongs and hurts and difficuties in life. Listen what he said when his brothers wronged him, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”. How would you describe his philosophy? God allows wrongs into our life for His own glory. How would you apply this philosophy to your life right now? Have you been wronged? If you know Christ, you can trust that God has a greater plan for you. He will not make you suffer needlessly.
III. Finally, consider God’s Presence with us. Christ’s Lordship is personal. He is working out His plan in and through us. God does not just tell us what to do. He enters into our heart and soul and lives in us and guides us.
1. Matthew 28:20, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [PRESENCE].”
2. Isaiah 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
A. Look at Matthew 1:23. What is Christ’s name, what does it mean, and what does that mean to every detail of my life? Christ’s name means “God with us”. That means that Christ personally dwells in me after He saves me. Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “Christ liveth in me”. Christ lives in you so that He can guide and control you and comfort you.
B. Hebrews 13:5 gives us a promise from Christ. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. What is it? Can any thing go wrong in your life without God having a purpose in it and personally guiding you through it? No way.
C. Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us God has given us a downpayment of heaven? What is it? Ephesians 1:13, “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory”. What does that tell us of God’s investment in us? An “earnest”. What is an earnest? It is a down payment on something, specifically on eternal life in this verse.
D. Philippians 1:6 give us a promise that God will work in our lives until He brings us to heaven. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”.
What implications does that have on the trials you have gone through?
Conclusion: Are the three aspects of the Lordship of present in your life? God’s Control, God’s Authority, God’s Presence.
Do you recognize God’s control of the universe (and you as well)?
Do you believe He has the Authority to control you and tell you what to do and think?
Do you experience His presence guiding you and comforting you?
This is what it means to be a Christian. This is the pathway to Christlikeness.