With all the news of school shootings lately, it's with a bit of trepidation that many parents send their kids to school not knowing what might happen to them while they're at school. Insurance companies make millions of dollars on risk, either real or perceived. You might get sick, you might get in an accident, or you might die and leave your family behind â€“ so since we don't know we buy insurance in order to help safeguard ourselves and our loved ones in such an emergency.
Or let's look overseas this morning. The war in Iraq continues as it will for a long time, and every day our men and women in uniform face uncertainty as a way of life. The war in Afghanistan continues, North Korea has Nuclear capabilities; and Iran is doubtless planning a shopping trip to Kim Jong Il's place in the near future even as they pursue nuclear capabilities. Life is full of uncertainty.
In the wake of the shootings at that one room schoolhouse in Amish Country there were a number of interviews with different local people. Among the first of those that I saw was a gentleman who lived near that school and as the reporter pushed for details he stopped her and simply said this,
"There are two things that we know for sure. One: God is in control. Two: God is good."
Those are powerful statements, which give us hope. We've heard it said in our own congregation. Many of you have experienced moments like that where nothing else can help you. In those two statements, Jesus Christ the firm anchor of grace for our soul and the certain comfort of the Holy Spirit of God comes back to us. Our God is indeed an awesome God, he is the only God and to him be honor and glory forever! Amen.
GOD IS IN CONTROL! (and we can trust him). God demonstrates that he is in control in many ways in the Bible, I want to show to you four of them today.
The most likely time that we are prone to wonder where God is, is during times of extreme difficulty and testing.
God shows that he is in control because testing doesn't come without His permission.
As you read the Lord's prayer you come across the phrase, "Don't lead us into testing." That's because God has power over testing.
I've always been intrigued by the fact that after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist the Holy Spirit lead him out into the desert so that he would be tested there. Testing was the purpose. And it was under God's control.
Job stands as a timeless example of a man who endured terrible testing at the hands of Satan but even the Devil himself could do nothing without first getting God's permission. God controls hurricanes, floods, rains and drought. He is in control of people, places and weather patterns and not even a sparrow can die without his permission.
My friends, if difficulty comes, we know that God is still in control and it doesn't come without God's permission. And because we know that God is good, we also know that hard times are opportunities for growing in faith, or for others to demonstrate faithfulness.
And when that testing comes, God is going to stand right by you through it.
God also shows that he is in control by helping his people endure trials.
There was another man named Peter he was impetuous, enthusiastic, restless and blessed By God to be the first disciple to proclaim the true identity of Jesus as "the Christ". Toward the end of Jesus' journey to the Cross, he spoke to Peter and said, "Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you as wheat, But I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail, and you after you have recovered, strengthen your brethren." (Luke 22:31)
Again, Satan demanded to test a righteous man, permission was granted, and God was glorified in the end. Jesus Prayed, Peter endured and eventually recovered and received a threefold invitation of mercy which Peter Gladly took. The Mercy and Grace of God was soon displayed to the world from the one disciple who had suffered the most, and then also the others as they came to see the grand forgiveness and power with which God runs HIS universe.
Today in nations removed only by miles from us, there are Christian brothers and sisters losing dignity, and losing health, and losing life because they claim the name of Jesus Christ as their only Lord and Savior, and yet they rejoice in the strength of the most perfect God, who loved them enough to die for them. A sacrifice they are themselves willing to give to their Lord Jesus. And when they are asked what we should pray for, they repeatedly say, â€œPray that God will help us stand firm!â€
God is sovereignly in control over the salvation of sinners and the continued faith of the saints.
Who in the scriptures could be a more unlikely Christian than Saul of Tarsus? Blinded by his rage and anger he pursued the disciples of Jesus Christ to their deaths, or to their imprisonment. Then he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. And God sovereignly transformed this former persecutor into the Apostle to the gentile nations.
If Saul then can be saved, can we not be protected in Christ as well? Too many Christians are enfeebled by an unrealistic fear that they are somehow going to find themselves outside of the grace of God. But as faith to believe comes first from God, so also has God determined that his believers will be maintained in their faith.
At the end of the brief letter of Jude we find this inscription of praise:
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude vv24-25)
God Demonstrates his sovereignty over the hearts of kings and kingdoms.
Take a look with me at Prov.21:1 & Ezra 6:22 and Daniel. 2:21; Daniel 4:25 esv "…the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." and finally Daniel 4:34-37
We may be concerned about North Korea's nukes, but God is not threatened by Kim Jong Il, or Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's not the least bit tense over the upcoming elections either.
The Theme of Daniel is the overwhelming sovereignty of God in relation to nations. It is God who caused men to create this nation, it is God who led our forefathers to develop a constitution based upon Biblical Concepts. It is God who rules over America.
It is also God who rules over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, China, and Turkey! God is the one who sets up world leaders and God who eliminates them. Every man, woman and child is in his hands.
As God was able to force Babylon's ancient king Nebuchadnezzar to worship him, there is no ruler on the earth today who is immune to God's authority. They rule by his permission, and they all will answer for how they use or abuse their power. Moreover, because God is in control over leaders, he exhorts us (1 Tim 2:1-2) to pray for and about these rulers so that we may lead peaceful and Godly lives; not just here in America but also for our Christian brothers in North Korea, China, The Sudan, Iraq and in Israel. Your prayers really do change the world because God â€“ The Lord Almighty really is in control.
He is God, He is the King of kings! He is the Lord of Lords. He is the Ruler of Rulers and the lawmaker supreme. Every government answers to him, and every person will do the same.
I leave you this morning with these words penned by a Christian musician
"God is in control, though Godless men conspire, his will unfolds, though mortal man is sometimes left to doubt, his ways are higher than our ways, and even through the fire, Take heart and know, God is in control."