Genesis 1:1,2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Before this creation existed, before physical life existed, there was absolute chaos. God chose to bring order out of chaos. Nothing, absolutely nothing, that was part of the chaos defied God. God was sovereign. What He willed even in chaos happened because He was sovereign.

God said, "Let there be light, and let light and darkness separate." And, it happened. It happened because God was sovereign. Neither light nor darkness rebelled against His sovereignty.

God said, "Separate the waters so the heavens may appear." And it happened. It happened because God was sovereign. Nothing rebelled against God's separation.

God said, "Let dry land appear in the separated waters that are below." And it happened. It happened because God is sovereign. Neither the waters nor the land rebelled against God's declaration.

God said, "Let there be lights in the heavens, and among them let there be the sun and moon for the earth." And it happened. It happened because God is sovereign. Nether the darkness nor the lights defied God.

God said, "Let the waters on the earth and the skies above the earth be filled with living creatures." And it happened. It happened because God is sovereign. Neither the creatures nor the voids they filled defied God.

God said, "Let the dry land the filled with living creatures, and among them let there be human life to exercise dominion." And it happened. It happened because God is sovereign. And neither the land nor the creatures God made defied God.

Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

  1. God asserted His sovereignty and brought into being everything we know.
    1. In doing this, He brought us into being and made us unique from all other life forms.
      1. God made us unique by placing a part of Himself in us, something that scripture calls His likeness and His image.
      2. Since God is not a physical being, we should understand God's likeness or image does not refer to our physical form.
      3. In specific ways it relates to God making us free, making us beings that never cease to exist, not even when there is physical death.
      4. God gave us independence even if we use that independence to defy God's sovereignty and rebel against Him.
    2. Unfortunately, that is precisely what humanity did after creation.
      1. Nothing God made in this creation defied His sovereignty--but us.
      2. Because of human defiance and rebellion, God's "very good" creation that pleased Him became a perverted creation that rejected His sovereignty.
      3. That which existed through the will and acts of the sovereign God now dared to defy God's sovereignty.
        1. Genesis 6:5, 6 says,
          Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
        2. In incredible arrogance, humanity not only defied God's sovereignty, but people totally turned to evil.
        3. God found the rejection of His sovereignty was so painful that He regretted bringing people into existence.
    3. From the moment humanity rejected His sovereignty, God began working seeking to reestablish His sovereignty over a defiant human creation.

  2. God's sovereignty is used throughout scripture to declare God's feelings and explain God's actions. Our failure to understand God's sovereignty results in our inability to relate to God.
    1. Moses used God's sovereignty to urge God not to destroy Israel. (Exodus 32:7-14).
      1. After God spoke the ten commandments to Israel (Exodus 20:1-17) at Mount Sinai, Moses went up the mount to receive those commandments in writing.
      2. While Moses was gone, the people grew impatient and decided Moses would not be back.
      3. They urged Moses' brother, Aaron, to make them an idol to worship, and Aaron took their gold jewelry and made a golden calf which they worshipped.
        Exodus 32:7-14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, "Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshipped it and have sacrificed to it and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!' " The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation." Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.' " So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.
        1. God said to Moses, "I have had it with these people."
          1. "In Egypt they did not trust Me.
          2. "At the Red Sea they did not trust Me.
          3. "In the wilderness they did not trust Me.
            1. "Now they worship an idol they made saying it is the god who brought them out of Egypt.
          4. "They are a stubborn, hardhearted people. Moses I intend to kill all of them and start over with you."
        2. Moses said, "God, please do not do that."
          1. "Consider Your sovereignty.
          2. "If you destroy them, the Egyptians will say You took these people to the mountains to kill them
        3. Moses realized the importance of people knowing God's sovereignty, and his appeal to God to consider God's sovereignty changed God's mind.
    2. Several times in Ezekiel God explained His actions by focusing attention on His sovereignty.
      1. Concerning His promise to return captive Israelites to their homeland, God said this in Ezekiel 20:39-44:
        As for you, O house of Israel," thus says the Lord God, "Go, serve everyone his idols; but later you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane no longer with your gifts and with your idols. For on My holy mountain, on the high mountain of Israel," declares the Lord God, "there the whole house of Israel, all of them, will serve Me in the land; there I will accept them and there I will seek your contributions and the choicest of your gifts, with all your holy things. As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the land which I swore to give to your forefathers. There you will remember your ways and all your deeds with which you have defiled yourselves; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for all the evil things that you have done. Then you will know that I am the Lord when I have dealt with you for My name's sake, not according to your evil ways or according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel," declares the Lord God.' "
        1. God said, "I will demonstrate my sovereignty in my deeds."
        2. Concerning an explanation of why God acted as He acted, we read in Ezekiel 36:22, 23:
          Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the Lord God, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight."
          1. God said, "I will demonstrate my sovereignty to the nations."
        3. Concerning the consequences Israel endured in their captivity, Ezekiel 39:21-24 says:
          And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them. And the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward. The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them." ' "
          1. God said, "Israel's wickedness produced their consequences and demonstrated my sovereignty."
    3. God's sovereignty is extremely important in the gospel's message.
      1. When the gospel was presented in Athens among people who worshipped idols, Paul centered his lesson on God's sovereignty.
        Acts 17:24-31 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
        1. You must not think of God in the same way you thought about other gods.
        2. Other gods were not sovereign; God is.
        3. Why should all people repent? Because the sovereign God has revealed Himself in Jesus' resurrection.
      2. Paul spoke of the significance of Jesus in Philippians 2:9-11:
        For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
        1. How will bowing knees and confessing Jesus Christ's Lordship give glory to God the Father?
      3. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 15:23-28
        But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
        1. God the Father gave Jesus Christ his position of Lordship and made him ruler.
        2. When Jesus has subdued everything in rebellion to God's sovereignty, then Jesus Christ will submit himself to God so that God again will be the all in all.
    4. With good intentions we have made Christianity about people, but in doing that we have produced a horrible form of human arrogance.
      1. The primary objective of Christianity is not about people; it is about God.
      2. Surely people in Christ receive all the wonderful promises and benefits to be found in Jesus Christ.
      3. But the primary of objective of Jesus Christ is reestablishing God's sovereignty.
        1. For that to happen, we rebellious people must surrender to God's sovereignty.
        2. With all His being, God's wants us to surrender as our choice.

Everyone of us should know that one day we will acknowledge God's sovereignty. We will use our knees and our voices to declare God is the all in all. Will that happen now by our choice, or will that happen in judgment because we are a conquered enemy?

If you say your life declares God's sovereignty, I ask, "How do you show God is in control of your life?"

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 28 July 2002

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