Tuesday, September 11, 2001 is a day that will live in our minds for as long as we walk this earth, as the day our nation was changed. As of 7:55 AM for most of us, and continuing throughout the day, our lives were touched by the hands of terrorists, men claiming not the name of political transformation but open spiritual Islamic warfare upon our nation. In a single moment thousands of American civilians, hundreds of American Soldiers, and hundreds of Civil Servants, Fireman and Police officers entered eternity before their hearts understood what their heads were telling them. And America was angry, and in many ways continues to be angry. It’s the same response we have to the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Spiraling debt and unemployment, Oil Spills in the Gulf of Mexico and Governmental incompetence.
But it isn’t just the global issues that knock us back on our heals. It’s when the vow was broken, when the phone rang, when the job was lost, when the abuse happened, when the lie was uncovered, when the driver lost control. And there it is. The core of the matter for us in our weakness, a sudden and irrevocable loss of control.
Nobody likes to be out of control.
More than anything else this morning, I want reassure you, to teach you and to display for you THAT 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 five of them today. The first three testify to the truth that God is in control of Believers and those who will yet become believers.
God shows that he is in control because testing doesn’t come without His permission.
There was a Godly man named Job who lived amidst great riches and was called the greatest of all men in the East. One day, God pointed Job out for his faithfulness and Satan demanded to test him. But Satan had no right to mount a campaign against that righteous man, a fact sometimes missed. We know he had no right because he had to ask permission. Inexplicably permission was Granted. Job was tested, and God was glorified in the end. The Story of Job shouts loudly to us that God is in control, Satan cannot lay a finger even on the flesh of a man or woman or child without God’s express permission. And though all the world may rage, Satan cannot take our eternal lives, God has decreed it!
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” (Romans 8:38–39, NAS)
God also shows that he is in control by helping his people endure.
There was another man named Peter he was impetuous, enthusiastic, restless and blessed By God 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 he gladly took. The Mercy and Grace of God was soon displayed to the world from the one disciple who had suffered the most in his weakness, and then also the others as they came to see the grand forgiveness and power with which God runs HIS universe.
This week I got word of a pastor in East Asia who texted a friend with this message:
“right now there are over 20 policemen are in our church, and they are going to take me away, pls pray”1
Instantly I was moved with a single prayer, that God would enable He and his church to endure with grace for this is the single request from so many of God’s persecuted servants.
God also shows that he is in control by showing his glory to godless men,
A short time after Peter’s restoration a man named Saul, blinded by his rage and anger pursued the disciples of Jesus Christ to their deaths, or to their imprisonment. His wrath was short-lived however, because he met Jesus. On the road to Damascus his life was forever changed. He fell there and learned who Jesus was – The Lord! For three days, blinded, fasting and praying, Saul searched his heart and found peace when Ananias laid hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you …, has sent me so that you may regain your sign and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized..” (Acts 9:17-18)
God shows that he is in control by showing his glory to godless men, full of their own religion, so that he might humble them and call them into service. Many times it is in the midst of the struggles where God reveals Himself. On Tuesday 9/11/2001 a story was told of one man who hit his knees when the first building collapsed and he waited 30 seconds and opened his eyes and in his own words, “it was night, I could not see.” I crawled on my hands and knees for some distance, perhaps a block, and as I struggled to rise, a young boy pulled me into a church where I washed out My eyes with holy water so that I could see.”
How deeply we need that our nation would be dragged by the sons of God, out of it’s spiritual darkness and fear and given the holy water of Jesus Christ, to wash out it’s eyes so that spiritual sight may be given to it! We must continue to pray to our Father to open the eyes of the Blind. God is in control, and He proves it by revealing his Glory to godless people!
God shows he is in control by guiding the hearts of those in power
Take a look with me at Prov.21:1 & Ezra 6:22.
As it was 9 years ago, so it remains today. The heart of the king/president is like putty in God’s hand. That includes our president and every other world leader. The world is not spinning out of control, it is headed right where God is guiding it. Our prayers must be that God will guide the nations to HIS glory in Jesus Christ.
God shows he is in control by causing Kingdoms to rise and fall
Daniel. 2:21; 4:34-37
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, whether America wants it or not. For he also rules Saudi Arabia, Australia, China and everywhere in between. God is the one who sets up world leaders and God is He who eliminates them. Every man, woman and child is in his hands.
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.
Still today, no surprise there are terrorists and nations who wish to do us harm. They and we will all individually and nationally answer to God. Let us pray most fervently that the leaders of nations all the way down to the least man, woman or child, will find faith and forgiveness at the cross of Jesus Christ.
When our world seems out of control, let us not forget that God is in control, and his desire for us is that we share the gospel with those who need to hear it.
And let’s not forget, that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to eternal life!” If 9/11 has only taught us to hate the enemy than we have missed the opportunity to display the Glory of Christ. We must pray for our enemies to find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
And we know that when we pray, that our prayers are heard, that our prayers will work and that our prayers will be effective, because the God we pray to is in control!
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.”
1OT: Urgent Prayer – Logos Bible Software Forums http://community.logos.com/forums/t/22824.aspx