God’s Providence (Sovereignty)

Theology

God owns, rules, and sustains the creation
(Ps. 24:1; Gen. 14:19 [possessor]; Acts 17:24-28; Acts 14:16-17; Eph. 1:11)

Psalms where God rule or reigns;  96:10;;99:1

World Events and Rulers (Ps. 33:11; Daniel 2)

The book of Daniel 1:1; 2,  Chapters 4,5,

The Death of Christ (Acts 2:23-24; 4:27-28)

REVELATION—the right to rule (4 & 5), the final judgment 11:15

God is so wise, loving and powerful that He can work in all situations-even through foolish & evil human choices-in such a way that His plan is advanced and our highest good is achieved.
Human choices are not the final word!

  • Even Satan is under God's ultimate sovereignty, and can do nothing that God has not allowed him to do (Luke 22:31,32)

Application

God’s Sovereignty and Your Life

Romans 8:28

  • All persons and all situations in my life can be used by God as part of His wise design to develop me spiritually.
  • Everything we go through can benefit us if we choose to cooperate with God.

No person or situation can thwart God’s plan to make Himself known through you.

Abraham & Jacob & Joseph

  • Genesis 45:1-8  4 “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you… 8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.
  • Genesis 50:20

David

  • 2 Samuel 7:8 I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel.  9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 
  • “My times are in your hands” (Ps. 31:15)
    31:22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight”
  • Ps. 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  • God will intervene through other people:
  • 1 Samuel 25:32-33 God has sent you (Abigail) to meet me… David hears the voice of God I her words

Trusting God’s Sovereignty in various areas:

Struggling with fear—try harder to be safe and protect myself from pain—because what people do to me is that last word. And what I do, my mistakes are the last word.  (Ps 46; 27)

Struggling with control

Reading the Word. If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I will expect God to speak to me when I study the Bible rather than viewing it as just an intellectual process. I will be able to trust that He knows what I need to hear at this time in my life.

Prayer. As with reading the Word, if I trust in God’s sovereignty, I will expect to hear from God in prayer because He has a plan that He is unfolding to me. I will also know that even through I struggle in my prayer life and often don’t know what to pray for, God is still committed to leading me.  When my prayers are not answered, I will be open to the possibility that His plan is different and therefore better than what I had in mind. Because He is sovereign, He “puts things/people on our hearts.”

Fellowship. The composition of our home group is not accident. If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I will view the people in my life as people God has brought to me so I can receive and give to them. SEE 1 COR 12:21 
A sense of “compatibility” will not me my main concern. People that are different from me and difficult for me are God’s tools to shape my character. I will at also realize that God  sends people to me to teach me and correct me. I can lower my defensiveness when I realize God may be speaking to me through them.

Conflict. Conflict is seen as much vertically as it is horizontally. Without the perspective of God’s sovereignty, a conflict is me vs. you and me proving I’m right—me wining.  Control or be controlled. If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I don’t have to win and defend because God can teach me through conflict even if the other person is wrong and misunderstands me.

Suffering. If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I will have the hope that God will bring good out my suffering—even if I don’t see it at the time. Examples: Stress & Pressure at Work Busy/Hard time in school; Depression; Marital pain because of past wrong choices or neglect; sickness; Mistreated when innocent; Betrayed; Loss of a loved one; Lonely; Suffering cannot take away what God wants to give me. A LOT OF WHAT WE CALL SUFFERING IS A LOSS OF CONTROL AND FRUSTRATION OVER NOT GETTING OUR WAY.
Other times it is when we feel like a victim. EXAMPLES/STORIES:

Decision-Making/Career. If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I know that God wants to lead me into His plan and that He knows what I could contribute. He is committed to giving a significant and purposeful life. Without this perspective, we tend to view His guidance as empowering our own agenda.
Career becomes a substitute for playing our role in the BOC and outreach a way to pay for our stuff.
EXAMPLES/STORIES: HOW I HAVE BEEN WRESTLING WITH MY OTHER JOB. SEATTLE?
Being Single & Getting married

Parenting. Without a perspective on God’s sovereignty, we will increase our attempts to control as we feel threatened.

Our Service to God (Ministry).

Our service to God is not something we make happen or force. Mt. 28:18, 20
In Xenos overall, and in CTs and our HGs do we think about and rely on MT 16:18 I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not withstand it.

Evangelism: Without God’s sovereignty it is me trying to get someone to buy into a quirky beliefs system that could  inconvenience and offend them.  If I trust in God’s sovereignty, I know that God wants to reach people and is able to orchestrate events so that seekers and I cross paths.

A cell group: A place to learn the Bible and hang out… or a team that God has brought together in order to build a team of Xian workers

Discipleship (investing personally in a Xian to equip them for service). Without God’s sovereignty, discipleship can be very intimidating for some and an opportunity for control for others.

  • Hope and vision (rather than discouragement) based on the belief that God is committed and active in the disciples’ live and in the discipler’s.
  • impatience, not hanging in there
  • The discipler’s agenda verses looking for God’s.

Failure is part of our training and spiritual history. Without God’s sovereignty, failure is simply wasted effort and an area of shame. Failure is avoided and when encountered is often denied. We also look to blame others.
EXAMPLES/STORIES: