God is the sovereign ruler over everything that happens both good and bad – Bruce Ware

Photo credit sweetepistles.hubpages.com

It is so clear, God has control over what happens, over these nations of the world and the choices that people make, so that His will is accomplished. This is one of the areas that Christian people struggle with most deeply, when they come to these difficult teachings of Scripture. And I understand that because I struggled with them for many, many years and I understand your struggle as well. What ultimately brought me to accept this is  simply the conviction: This is the teaching of the Bible. And if I think I know better, good grief, what does that say about me? So, are you willing to accept God on the basis of what God says about Himself?

Isaiah 45:6b-7
I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

So, indeed, God has complete control over everything good. Oh my, we love that teaching. It is true and it is glorious. James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Indeed, God does control every good thing that happens.

But, this text and many other texts in the Bible also indicate He has equal control over everything bad that takes place. Indeed, He is the one ultimately who has the say so, as it were, of whether these bad things happen, and to whom, and in what manner, and the like. God is the one who ordains not only the good, but the bad as well.

There are a couple of things we have to bear in mind here. Even though God exercises complete control over both good and evil, God is good, and in no respect is He evil. My goodness, how important it is for us to affirm that. God is not yin-yang, as the god of Shintuism is. God is not light and darkness. God is good and not evil. 1 John 1:5 –  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God is light, not darkness, God is good, not evil. Which brings me to my second point: Because God is good, He is light, then His control of evil would be for what purpose? For good purposes, that He will bring about only through the evil things that take place.

The supreme example of this in the Bible is the cross of Christ. It is so clear. Think for example to a statement by Peter in Acts 2:23 – this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Question: How would you answer the question- How did Jesus get put on that cross? How did this happen? What’s the biblical answer to that question. Well, it’s complex, isn’t it? Don’t you have to say two things, not just one. You have to say, „God put Him there.” Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Right? Was Jesus there on the cross because God put Him there? Absolutely. This was the Father’s design, to send His Son, by whom we would be redeemed of our sin. This was the design of the Father, that His Son would be crucified for our sin.

But, is that the only answer you give? How did Christ get there on that cross? You also have to say, „Wicked men put Him there.” Delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to the cross by the hands of Godless men and put Him to death. So you realize that the answer to that question involves two answers: God did it, men did it, wicked men did it. Now, get this further. God, in doing that is praiseworthy, men who did this are blameworthy, are Godless men, wicked men and they are culpable for what they did.

One more thing I’d like you to see. You’ve got this dual agency here: God did it, men did it. The next question is this: Is one of those 2 agencies ultimate? Does one have priority over the other? Yes, indeed.  delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Clearly, God’s agency is ultimate, so that they carried out what He designed they do, and yet, they bear full responsibility for the evil that they committed. That’s one example of many examples in the Bible, where you realize God exerts control over evil that takes place, but our confidence is this. Because God is the one who controls it… Let me stop there. What if He weren’t the one who controlled it? What are the other options that we have? Satan, demons, evil people, forces of nature that are outside the control of God? Honestly, if that’s the case, stay home, stay in your bed and hope for the best, because, wow, what a scary world this would be if God is not the one in control of the evil that takes place. But, because He is in control and He is good, His ways are right, He is just in all that He does, we can have strength of confidence and hope that God’s purposes will not fail. Even though we read the paper, even though we see horrible things happening, we know God is in control and His purposes will be fulfilled in the end.

VIDEO byMars Hill Church  Watch the full sermon here: http://jesus.to/1cTmYRw Check out the full Best Sermon Ever series here:http://marshill.com/bestsermonever

God is exclusively God, incomparably God, and through that deserves ultimate glory because he is the sovereign ruler over everything that happens in heaven and earth, including sovereign ruler over good and evil. Because God is good, he is light, then his control of evil would be for what purpose? For good purposes, that he will bring about only through the evil things that take place. The supreme example of this in the Bible is the cross of Christ.

This clip is excerpted from the sermon „The Incomparable Glory of God,” the second part of our sermon series Best Sermon Ever. It was preached by Dr. Bruce Ware out of Isaiah 40–45 at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue and released on August 18.

God is the glorious Redeemer of his chosen people – Bruce Ware

My friends. I know that this is something that is highly objectionable in the culture in which we live. It’s an offense, out there in the culture to proclaim Jesus as the only way to be saved, but it’s true. And because it’s true, we cannot shy away from it. Goodness, their destinies are at stake, and our fidelity to God and Christ is at stake, in whether or not we are faithful to the Gospel message that Jesus is Savior of all who believe in Him.

Photo credit www.kammyskorner.com

God is exclusively God and incomparably God, and therefore deserves the highest glory because he is the glorious Redeemer of his chosen people. I want you to pause here with me and realize that this second point didn’t have to be in the Bible. Here’s what I mean by that: God created us, we’re dependent upon Him, we owe Him our allegiance, we owe Him our worship, we owe Him the adoration that He alone deserves. Because He is Creator, we owe that to Him. But, what did we do as His creatures? We rebelled against Him and went our own way. We committed tyranny against the Most High. And so, we brought upon ourselves the just condemnation of our Creator God, and He could have said, „That’s it!” and consigned us all to an eternity away from Him. Oh, yes,He could have. (Photo on right http://www.sbts.edu)

But, I am here to tell you something amazing, and that is that this Creator God, who looks down upon us now as sinners deserving judgment, designed a plan by which He could redeem us, save us from our sin, and bring us back to Himself, so that we could, with him, then again experience the fulness of joy we will only know because we are with the one who has it all. What did God do to accomplish this? Look with me at Isaiah again, chapter 52 and chapter 53. We’ll begin in Isaiah 52:7-10 and then read on in ch. 53:4-6.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Now, how did He bring about this saving work? Isaiah 53:4-6-

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

This is astonishing, amazing! That this God who is the Creator, who did not need the world that He created, now looks at this world that He created with its human population, sinful- all sinned against Him, turned away from Him, and in His compassion, devises a means by which we may be freed from our sin and brought back to Him. You see, that has to happen. Do you understand why that is the case? Because God is holy, and as the holy God that He is, He cannot have in His presence those who are sinful. And yet, He looks at us and we’re all in our sin. And He cannot have us with Him until sin is dealt with.

But, here’s the next problem. If He gives to us the task of getting rid of our own sin, it will never happen. There are no works we could do. There’s no amount of church going, or deeds that we can do that would rid us of the sin of our lives, that would qualify us to be in the presence of God. So what did God do? In His mercy He sent His Son, no less than His own Son to come and take on our human form and then bear our sin in His body, on the cross. That He might pay for that sin, and that we by faith, and faith alone, might be brought back to Him with sins forgiven, restored in fellowship to Him and enter into newness of life that will never ever end. What an incredible thing this God has done in giving His Son!

And, look at the ways in which it is expressed in Isaiah 53:4 „Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” but now, the second part of the verse- if you were there on that day, when Jesus was hung on the cross between two thieves at Ghetsemane, what would it look like to you when you’d see this beaten, bloodied man crucified on this cross? What would it look like to you? Isaiah 53:4b „yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted” Here’s what it would look like: It would look like He is getting what He deserves. He is smitten of God and He is being judged of His own sin.

That’s what it looks like, but here’s the truth my friends. Verse 5 „But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; Do you see it? On the cross, He was not getting what He deserved, He was getting what we deserved. And He bore the sin of our lives, and the penalty of that sin, so that by faith we could be forgiven and be brought into newness of life and the fellowship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit forever. It’s an amazing work that God has done for us in Christ. And, no other work of salvation is possible. That is, this is the only way to be saved. It is through what Christ has done for us.

My friends. I know that this is something that is highly objectionable in the culture in which we live. It’s an offense, out there in the culture to proclaim Jesus as the only way to be saved, but it’s true. And because it’s true, we cannot shy away from it. Goodness, their destinies are at stake, and our fidelity to God and Christ is at stake, in whether or not we are faithful to the Gospel message that Jesus is Savior of all who believe in Him. By the way, ask yourself this question: How many Saviors does a sinful world need? You just need one that works. Guess what? We’ve got one that works. And Jesus is that one Savior, whose death on the cross paid the penalty of the sins of the world, that anyone who believes might be brought into relationship with Him. So indeed, God as Redeemer of His people took upon Himself the cost of our salvation in His son and paid the penalty for it.

„The Incomparable Glory of God,”

God is exclusively God and incomparably God, and therefore deserves the highest glory because he is the glorious Redeemer of his chosen people. Creator God, who looks now upon us as sinners deserving judgment, designed a plan by which he could redeem us, save us from our sin, and bring us back to himself so that we could be with him. What an incredible thing this God has done in giving his Son.

This clip is excerpted from the sermon „The Incomparable Glory of God,” the second part of our sermon series Best Sermon Ever. It was preached by Dr. Bruce Ware out of Isaiah 40–45 at Mars Hill Downtown Bellevue and released on August 18.

VIDEO byMars Hill Church  Watch the full sermon here: http://jesus.to/1cTmYRw Check out the full Best Sermon Ever series here:http://marshill.com/bestsermonever

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