God’s Works Toward Human Being
The story has been told of a museum guide who would take his tour group to a darkened room, shine a light on a mass of string, color, and apparent chaos and ask the group, “What do you think this is?”
“I don’t know,” was the inevitable reply.
He would then say, “Stand over there and watch.” As the group moved over to the other side of the room, he would turn on a spotlight. It was instantly apparent that the mass of jumbled colored string seen just a moment earlier was in fact an enormous tapestry—from the back side. The real work had to be seen from a different perspective to understand what the artist was creating.
So it is with God and his ways. We often look at them and ask questions such as “Why?” and “How?” not because there is no purpose in what God is doing, but because we are on the wrong side of eternity to be able to have the perspective that would enable us to see the order and pattern to God’s work. ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
GOD’S DESIRE FOR THE WELFARE OF MEN.
The following seven facts speak for themselves, that the Lord desires the welfare of men:--
Ⅰ. The cross of Christ declares it (John 3:16).
Ⅱ. The nature of God asserts it (1. John 4:8,9).
Ⅲ. The invitations of Jesus affirm it (Mat.11:28).
Ⅳ. The word of God reiterates it (John 3:17,18).
Ⅴ. The Spirit of God repeats it (Rev.22:17).
Ⅵ. The ambassadors of the Gospel proclaim it (11. Cor.5:20).
Ⅶ. The tears of Christ confirm it (Luke 19:41).
But if men will not have God’s mercy in love, they must have His might in judgment. He is almighty in grace (Gen.17:1), but He is also almighty to punish (Rev.15:3).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
IN THE LORD’S HANDS.
Ⅰ. The place of Blessing. “ All His saints are in Thy hand……every one shall receive of Thy words” (Deut. 33:3).
Ⅱ. The place of Chastisement. “ Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord” (11. Sam.24:14)
Ⅲ. The place of Creation. “ Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about” (Job 10:8).
Ⅳ. The place of Life. “ In whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10).
Ⅴ. The place of Keeping. “ My times are in Thy hand” (Psalm 31:15).
Ⅵ. The place of Supply. “ Thou openest Thine hand, they are filled with good” (Psalm 104:28).
Ⅶ. The place of Disposal. “ The King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord……He turneth it whithersoever He will” ( Prov.21:1).
Ⅷ. The place of Hiding and Usefulness. “ In the shadow of His hand hath He Hid me, and made me a polished shaft” (Is.49:2).
Ⅸ. The place of Security. “ Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:28,29).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
"THE SOVEREIGN RULE OF GOD"
1. We live in a time of great uncertainty...
a. Turmoil in places abroad
b. Terrorism in places at home
2. It is easy to be filled with anxiety...
a. What does the future hold?
b. Will things get better, or only worse?
3. What attitude should the Christian have in such times as these...?
a. Should we fear the future?
b. Shall we worry for our well-being?
[The answer can be found in remembering that God is in control. But is
He really? Even in times of uncertainty and anxiety? It may help to
understand by reviewing "The Sovereign Rule Of God"...]
I. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
A. DECLARED BY THE PROPHETS...
1. Such as Isaiah, who:
a. Prophesied God would have the Medes overthrow
- Isa Babylon
b. Depicted the nations as "tools" in the hand of God - Isa 10:
1) Using wicked nations to punish other wicked nations
2) But leaving none unpunished
c. Proclaimed God's judgment upon such nations as...
- Isa 13-14 Babylon
2) Assyria and
Philistia- Isa 14
- Isa 15-16 Moab
- Isa 17 Damascus
and Cush - Isa 18 Ethiopia
- Isa 19 Egypt
Edomand Arabia- Isa 21
- Isa 22 Jerusalem
- Isa 23 Tyre
-- All these judgments came true as prophesied; verifying God's
existence and sovereignty - cf. Isa 46:8-11
2. Such as Daniel, who:
a. When God revealed Nebuchadnezzar's dream and its
interpretation, came to realize the sovereign rule of God
- cf. Dan 2:19-21
b. Prophesied the rise and fall of the Babylonian,
Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires - Dan 2:36-40
c. Explained that Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a great tree and
it's fulfillment was to impress him with God's sovereignty
- Dan 4:19-26, cf. 34-37
B. THE BASIS UPON WHICH GOD GOVERNED SUCH NATIONS...
1. Implied in Pro 14:34
a. A righteous nation is exalted, but a sinful nation is
b. This distinction based upon righteousness supported in Jer
2. Some illustrations of this principle
, to be punished for its evil treatment of its Babylon
subjects - Isa 10:1-4
b. Other pagan nations, as listed by Amos - Amo 1:3-2:3
Judahand - Amo 2:4-8 Israel
[God's sovereignty over the nations in Old Testament times was clearly
manifested. But what about today...?]
II. THE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
A. PROCLAIMED IN MESSIANIC PROPHECY...
1. Pertaining to the Messiah's reign - Isa 9:6-7
a. The government will be on His shoulder
b. There will no end to increase of His government
2. Regarding God's everlasting kingdom - Dan 2:44
a. Established in the days of the fourth kingdom, the Roman
b. A kingdom which will never be destroyed - cf. Lk 1:31-33
c. A kingdom which will break in pieces and consume all
-- Such prophecies indicate that the sovereignty of God would
continue in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ!
B. PROFESSED BY JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES...
1. After His resurrection, Jesus claimed all authority - Mt 28:18
2. His apostles taught that Jesus had all authority
a. He is head over all things - Ep 1:20-22
b. All have been made subject to Him - 1 Pe 1:22
c. He is the ruler of the kings of the kings of the earth - Re
d. He will reign until He comes again - 1 Co 15:24-26
1) A reign "in the midst of His enemies" - cf. Psa 110:1-2
2) Destroying with His coming the last enemy, death! - 1 Co
-- The sovereignty once exercised by the Father is now being
exercised by the Son!
C. WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE CHRISTIAN...
1. Jesus is truly Lord of lords and King of kings! - cf. 1 Ti
6:15; Re 17:14; 19:16
2. No government exists without His approval - cf. Ro 13:1-2
3. What happens in governmental affairs is a matter of His concern
a. He rules the nations with a rod of iron - cf. Re 3:26-27
b. He brings nations into judgment, especially those that
oppose Him (the theme of Revelation, Re 17:14)
c. As did His Father, the Son has various means at His disposal
to judge the nations (war, famine, pestilence) - cf. Re 6:
d. Don't forget, such judgment may involve using one wicked
nation against another!
4. The best thing a Christian can do for the welfare of his
a. Spread the gospel
1) It has the power to save men - Ro 1:16
2) And to make them righteous - Ro 1:17; cf. Pro 14:24
b. Pray fervently - 1 Ti 2:1-3; cf. Lk 18:7-8
1) Every time you pray, you are given a private audience
with the King!
2) Sincere prayer to the King will have more influence than
a trip to the ballot box!
c. Remember that our true strength is in the Lord
1) Not in weapons (such as horses) - cf. Isa 30:15-16; 31:
2) But in righteousness, wisdom, and knowledge - cf. Isa 33:
1. We need not look to the future with anxiety...
a. For the one in control is our Lord and Savior, Jesus
b. If we seek His kingdom and righteousness first, our needs will be
provided - Mt 6:33
2. Even if persecuted, we can still rejoice...
a. For the kingdom of heaven is ours! - Mt 5:10-12
b. Jesus can help us to "weather the storms" - Mt 7:24-27
3. Speaking of the sovereignty of Christ...
a. His sovereignty over the nations began when He was raised from the
b. When we are united with Him in His resurrection, we can enjoy His
How can one be united with Christ in His resurrection? By being
baptized into His death and then raised with Him to walk in newness of
life...! - cf. Ro 6:3-11