Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Sovereignty of God

Whether they are behind the pulpit, on Christian radio, or television, we must understand that we cannot simply take to heart a message due to the fact that it sounds good. When all is said and done, what results are being produced from the messages we are taking in? For a period of time, we may feel supercharged, but after this period of time comes to a close, we find ourselves frustrated and needing to be recharged. This simply should not be the case at any time.

It often seems we will hear a message in our time of need that speaks directly to us, but how do we know these messages are truly from and of God? There are two ingredients that must factor into this equation. The first is patience and the second is using patience as we go behind those whom we may be learning from in order to make sure what they are teaching is accurate to the truths of God’s Word.

2 Timothy 4:3-4, “3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

The devil has most certainly sown tares (false teachers and troublemakers) among the wheat (the church).

Matthew 13:25, “25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”

There are many who are among us with messages that sound great, but as I have already mentioned, a great sounding message is not always from or of God. We will often find ourselves seeking something to sooth our wounds, but such things are commonly nothing more than a temporary fix. I like to use a band-aid as an illustration in order to make this point.

A band-aid is nothing more than a temporary fix for a cut or scrape. It covers the damaged area, but in time, the adhesive of the band-aid will wear away, causing the band-aid to fall off, re-exposing the wound being covered. In other words, the problem was covered, but not fully dealt with. This is what takes place when we hear those great sounding messages, but in time, we find ourselves back to being aggravated, frustrated, and even depressed. Each of these things is not from or of God. So, why do we often find ourselves in this repeating pattern? It is due to the fact that we are not being told truth or gaining a proper understanding of God and His true nature.
"There are many who are among us with messages that sound great, but as I have already mentioned, a great sounding message is not always from or of God."
Keep in mind, the devil will never poison something we are not going to buy into. He will use a portion of truth, but take it to an extreme to keep us from being able to take advantage of that truth, thus causing us to live from struggle to struggle. The worst part is that these things are not always obvious. They will overtake us slowly until the day arrives when we realize how unpleasant our life has become. We then begin to seek answers, but are often told, “God is in control, He is sovereign”.

Have you ever taken the time to research this popular Christian buzzword? Do you know its true meaning? Yes, many church and ministry leaders use the word sovereign, but that does not mean they are properly using this word to represent God.

Before we move on, I have a challenge for you. If you own a concordance, pick it up and look up the word, sovereign. Take some time to complete this task before moving on.

Are you wondering why you couldn’t find this commonly used word? It may have been a shock to you to discover the fact that this popular word is not found in the concordance. Let’s dig a little deeper concerning this popular Christian buzzword.

The word “sovereign” is a popular and commonly used word in the church today. Just as is the case with the phrase “God is in control”, we seldom, if ever, hear the word “sovereign” until something bad has happened. Have you ever looked up this popular “Christian buzzword” in the dictionary to discover its true meaning? The majority of Christians who use this word have not done so. This is why I have provided the definition below.

Sovereign - One that exercises authority in a limited sphere. 2. An acknowledged leader. 3. independent. 4. Excellent.

As you can see, the word sovereign, does not mean “in control of everything that happens”. Nevertheless, this is what the modern day church has presented. There are even denominations that believe God controls every little thing that takes place. They believe God is in the smallest of details. Any person who follows this common path always draws the line at a place of personal convenience. In reality, the word sovereign does define God perfectly, in its proper context. He is at the top of the food chain, so-to-speak, (is an acknowledged leader) and does not take orders from anybody (is independent). However, this does not mean that God “controls” everything that takes place on the Earth. This includes the events that do and do not take place in your life

One of the leading reasons in the popularity of the common “Sovereignty of God” belief system is that it excuses us from most if not all responsibility when things don't go the “right” way. You may ask, where did the word sovereign gain its popularity? Has it always been a word used since the foundations of the world? Believe it or not, the answer is, no. Let's take a further look into the misuse of this word.

The New International Version of the Bible uses the word “sovereign” more than any other version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament alone but is not found anywhere in the King James. In the NIV, sovereign always appears along with Lord (Sovereign Lord) and is equivalent to the King James Version of “Lord God”. Please see the example below:

Genesis 15:2, And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (KJV)

Genesis 15:2, But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" (NIV)

The example seen in Genesis 15:2 illustrates this point quite well. An interesting point to consider is that none of the verses in which we see “Lord God” or “Sovereign Lord” have anthing to do with being “in control”! Let's face it, it is always much easier to blame others when things don't work out as opposed to just saying, “I made a mistake”. The Bible is very clear about the fact that our own decisions determine how things will go for us. Proverbs 19:3 is the perfect example to use in this matter.

The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.“ (KJV)

However, I believe the Message Translation of the Bible puts it far better in this case.

Proverbs 19:3, “People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?“ (MESSAGE TRANSLATION)

As we have already discussed, there are some denominations who call themselves Christians that actually believe God controls every single event that takes place: PERIOD! If this is so, then it means God's will always happens no matter what the case may be. However, the Bible reveals the truth concerning what God's will truly is when we read 2 Peter 3:9.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Obviously, there are simply too many people not accepting the truth of the Gospel for this to be accomplished. Nevertheless, the Bible says it is God's will for nobody to spend eternity in Hell. Therefore, we can conclude that the will of God does not automatically come to pass. Jesus Himself said many more would perish than those who would come to repentance (Matthew 7:13-14). The Scriptures clearly declare it to be God's will for every single person who walks the Earth to become born-again. Remember, Jesus did not die for our sins only (believers) but for the sins of the whole world according to 1 John 2:2.

If we study the Bible in the area of healing, it is simple to see it is always God's will to heal. In addition, it is always God's will for everyone to be born-again, but as we already know, it is not happening. God's will does not automatically happen contrary to the decisions of man. Many people have prayed and believed for healing, but have not always seen the manifestation of healing take place. Unfortunately, it is very easy to begin to wonder why our prayers are not being answered. If we believe God is the one who controls who is healed and who is not, we instantly begin to form an unbiblical view and doctrine concerning God and His plan for healing. Nevertheless, it is convenient and makes for a great excuse when needed!

Acts 10:38 tells us that Jesus went about doing “good” and “healing all because God was with Him”. Jesus never told a single person that it was not His Father's will for them to be healed. Based on this information, we can draw a very simple, yet profound conclusion. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In John 5:19 Jesus said that He only did what He saw his Father (God) doing. If we link John 5:19, Hebrews 13:8, and Acts 10:38 together, it is not difficult to see that it is always God's will to heal. So why do we not see every person healed? I cannot necessarily answer that question for every individual case, but I can say one thing for sure. The problem is never on God's end! The bottom line is that we cannot draw a conclusion when someone dies and believe it was just God's plan. Remember, according to Romans 5:12, death did not enter into the world based upon the will of God, but based upon the decisions of man. A person may experience temporary relief when told it was God’s will for a tragedy to take place, but it may just throw gasoline on the fire and turn that dear one against God. In either case, this is not only an answer that fails to bring any sort of satisfaction, but it is also not a Biblically based answer.

Just consider the words of Matthew 7:13-14 in this matter. The majority will always take the easy road. It is much easier to lay blame to God (He allowed or caused my problems) as opposed to asking God to show us what we can do differently. Remember, this does not need to involve any sort of condemnation.

God independently (sovereignly) made the decision to put man in control of the Earth (Genesis 1:26, 28). If we allow what we feel, hear, touch, taste, smell, and see to determine if we believe God has done His part or not, we are in for a long and miserable ride. That's just the way it is. The wrong view of the sovereignty of God will produce passivity and that is exactly what Satan wants from us! If he can convince us that things are not working out because God doesn't want them to, then we have no reason to do anything but just learn to live with the problem(s).

If we want to know a person's belief system we can ask them one simple question; “Does Satan have to go to God to get permission for anything he does?” Most people will answer “yes” and cite the book of Job or Paul’s thorn in the flesh in doing so. However, the answer is “No!”. The most dangerous part of the wrong view of the sovereignty of God is how it flings the door open to Satan in our lives. He can steal from us without our knowing what is going on. If we truly believe something is from or of God, we would be in outright rebellion against Him to resist whatever might come our way. This a primary reason why it is so dangerous to believe that God controls everything.

A common belief in the church is one that proclaims God to send problem in order to guide and direct our steps. However, as you are about to see, such a notion is completely untrue.
Learn more truth concenring this topic when you read, "God Is Not The Source Of Your Problems". You may order the book via the following link in paperback and Kindle form.

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