Getting To Know God | Week 5: Letting God Be God


Our God knows everything (omniscience), He’s everywhere (omnipresence), He’s almighty (omnipotence) and He’s unchanging (immutability). This week we’re looking at another character quality, God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty is a natural consequence of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, and immutability.

“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV

Sovereignty simply means that God is in control. He’s in control of everything because He created everything. Anything man makes comes from resources God created. When He wants to overrule it and do a miracle, He overrules it. The Bible says everything is moving toward a focus, that there is a plan, a purpose, a climax that history is moving toward.  God is in control of our lives. You might not always live like it, but deep down you know…

Scripture says that God’s sovereignty decided when and where you were going to be born. It’s God who marked out your appointed time in history. The Bible says God has decided already which natural abilities and gifts you were going to have; you didn’t deserve or earn. The fact that God is sovereign essentially means that He has the power, wisdom, and authority to do anything He chooses. Whether or not He actually uses that control in any given circumstance is a completely different question.

We tend to assume that, if God is not directly, overtly, purposefully driving some event, then He is somehow not sovereign. That’s a cartoon version of sovereignty depicting a God who must do anything that He can do, or else He is not truly sovereign. But God does not operate that way all of the time. Do you always exert the full measure of that control? No. Sometimes you let a child run with a decision you wanted them to make differently. Sometimes you let an employee run with an idea you don’t love. Same with God. He is in control of His control.

God is not the only one with power and authority in our world right now. Satan has some power and authority in the current world system in which we exist. Satan rebelled, was cast down to earth, and he’s powerful. The Bible calls him the god of this age, or the prince of this world. Meaning, he has some dominion, by tempting people and commanding demons, but he is not equal to God, and he’s under the sovereign control of God. But God has made it clear that there is only one way to escape the power of Satan’s dominion, and that is through God’s son, Jesus Christ.

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

Obviously, the enemy knew this plan for Jesus to come and live the perfect life we could never live and to die our death in our place, to pay for sin and to rise from the dead defeating death and the grave. Satan used all the power he had to try and stop him. He tempted Jesus so that Jesus couldn’t be a sinless offering, it didn’t work. There’s only one King. That’s King Jesus. Not prince Jesus, King Jesus. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The name above every name. This is why Jesus speaking of the cross He was about to bear, declared victory:

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” John 12:31 NIV

Jesus had the last word when He spoke on the cross, it is finished. Jesus has the last word in your life. And now there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So, when the enemy comes to lie to you about who you are, you can remind him that there is one who is completely sovereign and our hearts are set on Him and our mind will stay on Him and through the power of His name our hope will not be shaken.

Pause and have a SELAH moment focusing on the sovereignty of God.

If God is in control of everything, do we even have a choice?  Is there really any freedom?Yes there is freedom. But it is limited.  There are boundaries, parameters of which you cannot go beyond. Because you are a human being you have freedom of choice, but there are limitations. Let’s say you are going to take an ocean liner to cross the ocean. While you’re on this trip, you could have many choices you’re free to make; you could get on the first deck, the second deck, or the third deck. You could watch movies, sleep, eat food, play shuffleboard, or swim. You could do many different things — lots of freedom on the boat but there is nothing you could do that would alter the ultimate destination of that ocean liner. 

The Bible says God gives you freedom to choose the way you want to live, the way you want to act, but once you make those choices you are no longer free. You are not free to choose the consequences. God set up a cause and effect universe. You reap what you sow. God says if you do certain things then certain things are going to be the result.

Because God is in control, our plans have a limit.  You’ve heard the phrase, “The sky’s the limit” but the fact is the sky isn’t the limit. God is.  He decides what are the limitations in your life. 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV

We need to be flexible in our plans. Let’s give you a wrong attitude and a right attitude when it comes to living with this. Wrong Attitude: Presumption When we say, “We don’t need God and we can figure it all out. We’re not going to pray about anything.”  We just assume that everything is going to go the way it’s intended to go, that’s presumption. The Bible says that since life is uncertain, we should not presume on it. 

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:13-15 NIV

A mature person is bendable to God’s plan. Mature people of faith hold their plan with an open hand. Right Attitude: Cooperation People used to write at the end of letters the initials, “DV” which stands for Deo Volente. It means, “God Willing.”  “We’re going to come see you Lord willing. We realize that ultimately our plans may be changed.” That’s a good attitude.

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NLT

Make plans but let God lead you. Since God is in control our plans have a limit. 

Because God is in control, our problems have a purpose. Life is not a series of random events that have no meaning. There are many things that happen in life that are not God’s will. Sin is not God’s will.  He doesn’t cause sin. He doesn’t even cause all your problems.  He doesn’t have to. You bring enough problems on yourself.  And other people bring enough problems on to you.  He doesn’t have to cause problems in your life for you to grow from them.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9 NLT

God is so good, so powerful, and wise that He’s transforming what was meant for evil into something positive to conform your character to Christ. God allows —He permits—problems. God could have kept Paul out of prison at Philippi, but He let him go to prison.  He allowed it.  As a result, the jailer became a Christian.  God could have kept Jesus from going to the cross, not have to have the crucifixion. But He allowed the crucifixion so He could do a resurrection. Don’t blame God for all the evil in the world.  God is redeeming us.

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:21 NIV

Job says, everything I have comes from God anyway.  He gave it to me; He can allow it to be taken away.  It is His right.  If you lost everything the way Job did, how would you respond? 

Joseph is an example of how you handle it when people hurt you intentionally.  Joseph was his father’s favorite son. All of his brothers got very jealous and they sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave in a man’s house. The man’s wife tries to seduce him. He won’t give in so he’s accused of rape.  He’s put in prison and he spends years in prison, dwindling away.  Joseph had to be saying, “Where is God in all of this?  What did I do to deserve this?”  If we were Joseph we’d be saying, “Why, God?” But he was exactly where God wanted him to be. 

God was in control and God was working through circumstances and situations. He didn’t cause it but He allowed the brothers to sell him in to slavery.  Later on, Joseph rose to a position of prominence in Egypt and there was a great famine.  Because of his wisdom both Egypt and Israel were saved. Later he came face to face with the very brothers that tried to hurt him.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 NIV

We need to look past the pain and try to find God’s purpose behind the pain. Some things in life we’re never going to know. But God has a plan and God is a good God. He’s in control. In 2 Corinthians, God says the temporary problems you are going through right now are minor compared to the reward you’re going to be given on the other side for how you handled them.  Paul says, “We don’t look at the temporary problems we’re going through.  We keep our eyes on the eternal things.  The things that really count.  The things that matter.” Look past the pain.  Your problems have a purpose.  And your plans have a limit. 

Because God is in control, our prayers have an impact. It’s not a waste of time to pray. The Bible says because God is in control our prayers have an impact.  Prayer works. Because God controls everything, He has the ability to answer your prayers.  If God were not sovereign then prayer would be a waste of time.  God is in charge of everything so He can change things. 

“(God)… is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20 LB

The point is, prayer can do whatever God can do.  Over twenty times in the New Testament, the Bible says, “Ask.”  God says “Ask and I’ll show you great and mighty things that you don’t know.” Prayer does have an impact.

There is nothing beyond God’s control. Pray about it. God can control it. That is the power of prayer.  Some of you are thinking, “Since God is in control and He can do anything and He’s told me to pray, why don’t we get everything we ask for?”  Many reasons – God is not a genie. Do you realize what a mess our world would be in if God answered every single prayer of every person?  If God answered every prayer it would ruin us because we don’t know how to handle that kind of power. 

Often times there are competing prayers.  Christians pray in conflict. One Christian asks for one thing, another asks for the opposite thing. Because we don’t have total knowledge we often pray by mistake. The bottom line of why God doesn’t answer all requests is that God knows what’s best.  We need to be able to say, The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” The Bible says in I John 5:14-15 that when we pray according to God’s will then the answers come.  The attitude must become, “Lord, Thy will be done.”  This is what we want, but Thy will be done. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Lord, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, Thy will be done.” 

There is no attribute that is more comforting to the Christian than the attribute of God called His sovereignty.  He is in control. Does it take trust? Does it take faith? Yes, but there is peace. Because God is sovereign, He has a right to call the shots in your life.  You wouldn’t even be alive if it weren’t for God.  If you’re not letting Him call the shots then you’re living in rebellion and that’s why life is frustrating.

The best decision we will ever make is to say, “God, You are sovereign. We want to cooperate with that. We recognize that You have a right to call the shots in our life and we want to cooperate with that.”  You will find so much fulfillment, meaning, purpose, satisfaction cooperating with the plan of God instead of fighting it.  We invite you to do that today. Let God Be God.

Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week, “Our Unchanging God” God’s love for us never changes. God’s Word never changes. God’s purpose for my life never changes. Any more thoughts or conclusions about that message?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

God is sovereign. Sovereignty simply means that God is in control. He’s in control of everything because He created everything. God is in control of our lives. Scripture says that God’s sovereignty decided when you were going to be born, and how long you are going to live. God has also decided which natural abilities you were going to have, you didn’t deserve or earn. Do we have any freedom? Yes, but it is limited. Because God is in control, our plans have a limit, our problems have a purpose and our prayers have an impact.

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV

Discussion & Application

  • What stood out to you in this message?
  • How is the fact that God is sovereign any comfort to you in the midst of what you’re facing?
  • Because God is in control, my plans have a limit. Read James 4:13-15. What might it look like to plan, yet cooperate with the purpose of God?
  • Because God is in control, my problems have a purpose. Read 1 Peter 1:3-9. What verse stood out to you the most? What does Peter encourage our response to trials being?
  • Because God is in control, my prayers have an impact. What are some reasons we do not pray? Has there ever been a time in your life when your prayer-life has been very vibrant? What made that time unique?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Also, continue to pray for nations, state and community leaders. Pray for first responders and medical personnel.

Next Steps

Who can you encourage this Easter? How could you encourage them with the hope of Jesus Christ?

For Mobile Wallpaper

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s