God is in Control
Well how are you looking forward to two thousand and eighteen.
You're not here it comes right as you look forward to this coming year and I wonder if anyone has any big events that are coming up you're looking forward to maybe something in the summer you have a big occasion coming up in my family in my personal family the biggest event that's coming up is my little sister Becky is getting married. This Friday. In the shoot in she didn't time that out very well but anyway I'm happy for her she met this great guy and so I'm very very happy my sister is getting married Unfortunately I can't go I just found out about the wedding recently so. They're doing this and in four and four Friday and in Michigan and so that's their own fault you know they should come back it's like ten degrees back there and so I want to tell you about this is kind of funny my mom who lives in Montana Kalispell Montana obviously she's going to the wedding you know she didn't have a job so she she can go and so my mom has been into group texting you know texting is kind of new it's been around for a while or I just kind of contradicted myself but for her it's kind of new and so what my mom likes to do is she doesn't just text individuals she texts everybody and so in preparation for this wedding she texted me and all my sisters and then my stepdad Bruce his four grand kids texted all of us are like thirteen people in this text so they were moving out we're going to go out to Michigan we're looking for this but having a hard time getting out of Kalispell because of all the snow they're having a blizzard right now so yeah Bruce had to go out and plow the driveway anyone remember that plowing the driveway of snow aren't you glad you don't have to do that anyway so they put that in this curb text to everybody and as a good Phoenician I did what everyone is supposed to do I said oh that's too bad and I took a screenshot of the weather app the next nine days and I showed all of them it's going to be in the mid said. And he's down here in Phoenix and I told him I said you could all live vicariously through me this winter. I'm not very popular in my family right now because they did not like that Bill get over it you know your family they can't get rid of me but you know I think that's my second favorite thing to do in Phoenix in winter is send tax to people that are not in Phoenix area especially people up in Montana and Washington and Michigan my fest The second favorite thing about Phoenix my first favorite thing is that i'm see here in Phoenix for the winters and I'm sure most of you probably feel the same way Well we're about to end one year and tomorrow is going to begin another one and so we go it's disciplines every year and who knows what two thousand and eighteen will be like I'm sure most of it is going to be exactly like it's always been maybe there's a few things that are going to happen in the world events and there are definitely some things that are going to change but as each year goes by it's kind of nice right now to just stop and just reflect on the things that are the same and even the things that are different but as we look every year every year comes by we get the new years in the news even in New Year's Day when we wake up on the first day of every New Year there is one thing that has always been constant from the very beginning of time and that is that God is in control God is completely in control and nothing is going to happen in the year two thousand and eighteen that is either not caused by God or allowed by God to happen you know I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'm taking a break for a few weeks from our series on Galatians last week was for Christmas today I wanted to do kind of a New Year's type of topical message next week when we're all together for the last two Sundays here in this building next week is going to be on unity because we're about to do something pretty big as a church and so I want to focus on unity we're also going to have our last communion service here in our church in this in this facility and then the week after. That on January fourteenth will be our last Sunday in this building and that's Sunday is going to be a little bit different it's not going to be our typical standard service we will sing there will be a message but we're going to talk about memories of what God has done in our church and the people and so on the hopefully you'll see in the bulletin I'm asking everyone to find pictures of people in the church doing stuff together whether it happened here at the church or camp or whatever in the Old or the better we want to see some funny pictures of people who really young but send those to me created an e-mail account just for this it's in your Bolton I think it's on. The on union hills a G.-Mail dot com Please send pictures there we're going to have a slideshow but then also share a favorite memory something that you're always going to remember but make it brief if you give a paragraph we're not going to be able to share so like a one or two sentences always remember this about this location of the Church of this occasion and please send those to me at that e-mail address and then we'll share that two weeks and then we'll have our first Sunday in the new building and then we have our annual missions conference and so we've got a really busy month of January coming up but for this morning what I want to do is I just want to talk about one of the many attributes of God that I find personally very comforting during this time of year as we enter into a new year especially for the changes that we're about to experience as a church so I want to reflect on God's sovereignty and how we should respond to that so when we say that God is sovereign I think most people have an idea of what it means. But let me give you a definition this is what the dictionary says sovereignty means there is an adjective form a noun form and so when we say that someone is sovereign and we're using the adjective we're talking about someone or something that is above and superior to everything else it is the chief or it's the greatest thing there is it's at the very top there's nothing above it so someone of a sovereign is. The very top and if you're using the noun form you're talking about a person who possesses a sortie or a power and so everyone answers to that person and so this children sovereignty is extremely exclusive there can be only one that is sovereign and so for us to say that someone is supreme above all others it means that they are the best and that's it there's no a discussion to be had and so over the last few days you've probably noticed.
Especially online there's lists of the greatest the best of us last year two thousand and seventeen I like to go through those those are a little subjective aren't they sometimes they're not sometimes people want to words and so you can say that they're the best but isn't it interesting how every year changes there's always going to be a new best this new best that but every year that we change there's something that doesn't change and that is that God is sovereign and he always is and the implications of God's sovereignty are great and so for this morning what I want to do is just talk about God's sovereignty and God reveals His sovereignty in a number of ways but I just want to talk about one way in particular that God reveals His sovereignty to us and then we'll spend the rest of the time reflecting on how we should respond to the fact that God is sovereign and the one way that I want to share the way that God One of the ways that God reveals His sovereignty to us is through his promises this is one of the greatest things that I love about God and the Bible he reveals his prophet his sovereignty to us when he makes promises.
I asked you before how many of you have big plans for two thousand and eighteen some of you probably do are going to be cations going to go anywhere do anything isn't it great to sit down and say I want to do this or I want to accomplish the story in this year however we hope that we can carry them out but there's a chance that we might not be able to because we're not in control of everything sometimes things happen that are outside of our. If we make a promise to another person and we say hey I'm going to meet you at a certain time in a certain place we have absolutely no ability to make that come to pass one hundred percent guaranteed And so when we make a promise to someone else what we're doing is we're sharing with them our best intentions and that's kind of all that we can do a promise is basically our best intentions and what we intend to do but there's nothing that any of us can guarantee with one hundred percent certainty. I'll tell you what I'm going to be doing tomorrow morning the first thing I'm going to be doing tomorrow morning if it is within my power for the new year is I'm going to do what I do every morning I'm going to wake up I'm going to make some coffee and I'm going drink some coffee and I'm ninety nine point nine percent sure I'm going to do that but who knows what's going to happen so only God is someone who can make a promising guarantee that it will be fulfilled and as you go through the Bible one of the things I love about the Bible is you go through it and you see that God is making promises to different people at different times and one of the biggest promises that he made was a promise to a man named Abraham and he told Abraham I'm going to bless you on in the bless the people of the world through you and I'm going to give you and your descendants a land that he made this promise and hundreds and hundreds of years later when he actually fulfilled that promise we see Joshua talking about God's promise I'll go ahead and read for you Joshua twenty three of verses fourteen and fifteen Joshua twenty three Joshua saying to the nation of Israel. And now I am about to go the way of all the earth and you know in your hearts and souls all of you that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God has promised concerning you all have come to pass for you not one of them has failed. So Joshua in the entire nation of Israel could say we're here because God promised that we were going to be here and beyond leading Israel into the process. Slain God has fulfilled many more of his promises and sometimes we talk about promises we use the word prophecy This is where God says I'm going to do this and specifically God fulfilled lots of the prophecies regarding the Messiah. And I know usually around this time of year everyone has a new year's resolutions I'm sure some of you probably said you want to do this or that. With this being the last Sunday of the I want to get one more cross that story and so I want to tell you about my Cross Fit Gym at Tusker Ossett they're doing a challenge for the month of January and our coach is asking us to give something up something that might hinder our performance it's kind of relative depending on your age if you're really performing well if you're in your twenty's if you're in your forty's maybe not so much but anyway he wants just to give something up and so a typical thing that most people are going to give up as you know unhealthy eating habits fast food sugar stuff like that and so on one day when we're warming up we're all talking about what we're going to give up for January and I said well I'm going to give up sweets like deserves hopefully I can go the entire most without any sweets and maybe cut back on some carbs and one one person said and just kind of joking joking around this person said and I'm not going to tell you who it is. They said you know that this is the reason why I don't believe in God and it wasn't so much making a religious statement there just joking around but they said this is why I don't believe in God because I don't think that a good God would make something that is so bad for us like sugar. And it was more of a joke but then this person said this is the reason why I don't believe in God I thought oh that's interesting and I was just thinking if the setting was a little bit different and if I had a different kind of relationship with this person what I would have said is this and this is something all of us can say to someone who says that they don't believe in God I would have said well if you don't believe in God then how do you explain all of the fulfilled prophecies
and if I have a relationship with that person that's good enough or I could bring this up I would hope that they would respond by saying what in the world are you talking about trying to get them curious and say wait a second your god doesn't exist but how do you explain all the fulfilled prophecies in Scripture and hopefully that would spark some interest in someone to say I don't even know what you're talking about maybe I should check out the Bible to see if there's really something to it you know I've mentioned this before and that for me I believe in God and there's many reasons why I believe in God but one of the main reasons I believe in God It serves as a foundation for my faith is all of the fulfilled prophecies that we find in the Bible I believe in God because he has said many times I am going to do this in the future and he did hundreds and hundreds of years later I want you to go read your Bible so the Book of Acts we're going to look at a couple of these.
And the neat thing about the book of Acts especially chapter two this is when Peter stands up and he's talking to everybody that's gathered there for Pentecost and what he's doing is all the the believers of the time the followers of Christ they're starting to realize and looking back at Christ life in the realizing hey when this happened it was the fulfillment of that prophecy way back in Isaiah or wherever it was. An action up to one beginning in verse fifteen Peter starts talking about these fulfilled prophecies in the first one X. one beginning in verse sixteen is about Judas and the betrayal of Judas and how they had to elect another disciple or apostle to replace Judas and so on Acts one fifteen says in those days Peter stood up among the brothers the company of persons was in All About one hundred twenty and said Brothers the scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke before hand by the mouth of David concerning Judas. Who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus and so here is Peter hundreds of years later saying hey this was talked about by King David this event was talked about and he was talking about our friend Judas or someone that we thought was our friend and this is the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Psalm one hundred nine verses sixteen rate and I include this in your sermon else if you want to look at these up but in Soma hundred nine versus sixty rate King David wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Appoint a wicked man against him in accuser stand of his right hand when he is tried let him come forth guilty let his prayer be counted his sin may his days be few may another take his office and so they are sitting there here in Acts chapter two realizing this is Judas the one that we knew we served Christ alongside of David talked about him and so this was a fulfillment of prophecy and if you keep going and actually see that there is more go over to actually to. Beginning in verse twenty two X. two verses twenty two twenty four. Talking about Jesus the specific prophecy it says men of Israel hear these words Jesus of Nazareth a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did to him in your midst as you yourselves know this Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and for knowledge of God you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men God raised him up loosing the pains of death because it was not possible for him to be held by it and so Peter says this was by the four knowledge in the definite plans of God And he saying this is the fulfillment and we see the fulfillment of the prophecy back in Isaiah fifty three a read for you Isaiah fifty three verses ten to twelve it says it was the will of the Lord to crush him referring to Christ. Just He has put him to grief when his soul makes an offering for guilt he shall see as offspring for he shall prolong his days then the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied and by his knowledge shall the righteous one of my servants make many to be accounted righteous and He shall bear their iniquities therefore I will divide him a portion with the many and he shall divide the spoil with the strong because he poured out a soul to death in was numbered with the transgressors yet he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors and so this is just a couple examples in fact if you go through acts you see Peter's referencing quite a few different prophecies but only someone who is sovereign can keep these promises in a world of people that change their mind only someone who is sovereign could bring to fulfillment these prophecies made hundreds and hundreds of years years before and so in this way as we see God controlling human events God reveals to us his sovereignty and so if God is sovereign and we see this being revealed to us how should you and I respond because there should be a response how should we respond to God Well let me give you three ways that we should respond and I think we should keep this in mind not only for the new year but for the rest of our lives the first way we should respond to God's sovereignty is we should worship him. We should worship Him If God is sovereign then one day we will realize that we either were with him or her against him and we need to make that choice now while we still can no one should claim to have complete control and authority over their lives if we do we're making a mockery of God and God will hold us accountable someday in fact some You're familiar with the story an abstract rich world where King Herod. Some of the Peters set up and he gave this speech and everyone said You are the it's not the voice of a man it's the voice of God and King Herod he didn't say anything and so God struck him down and gave him a worm a new eventually killed many died the sin God is not going to share his glory with anyone else and so one day our choice will be known before all mankind that we are either with God or against him and so we must worship God Now while we have the chance because he is sovereign So that's one obvious way that we should respond to got.
Another way that we should respond is by believing in Him and by believing in Him I don't just simply mean that we believe that He exists that we should believe in him that he is involved and he is sovereign in your life specifically. We should believe that everything that comes into our life whether it's good or bad was either allowed by God or caused by God Everything that comes into our life falls under God's sovereignty. And so this is God's desire for us to become like Christ and so God will allow to come into our lives or causes them one thing that he will allow in your life is he will allow temptations to come into our lives and he allows that to come into our lives because God's will for us is for us to become more like His Son Jesus and so we allows that so that we will develop perseverance God also allows or causes blessings to come into our lives and the reason he does that is because he loves us so how many of you can look back at this year and say you know these really good things happen to me God cause that in some way because he's a sovereign God and sometimes he will allow hardships to come into our lives and he lets that happen so that we learn truly how to depend on him and so that means that everything is here for a purpose whether it's to bless us or to grow us or really shape us into the image of Christ I want you to churn in your Bibles to the book of Matthew.
Speaking of God's sovereignty.
This is something that all of us do even though we know that God is ultimately in control how many of you are worriers raise your hand if you're a worrier we've got a few worriers usually women worry more than men I don't know why it is they just do it but if you're a worrier maybe this is can say this is a New Year's resolution stop worrying you know it's kind of impossible but Matthew chapter six talks about I guess the futility of worrying and it really shows us that God is ultimately in control he knows the things that we need so Matthew chapter six beginning in verse twenty five I'm sure this is a passage most of you have heard before but just dumb just allows us to really give you comfort knowing that God is in control Matthew six beginning in verse twenty five
says Therefore I tell you Do not be anxious about your life what you will eat or what you will drink nor about your body what you will put on is not life more than food and the body more than clothing look at the birds of the air they neither so nor reap nor gather into barns yet your heavenly father feeds them are you not more valuable than day and which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life that's a good verse we worry and we worry and it does absolutely nothing to prolong our life was twenty eight and why are you anxious about clothing considerable is of the field how they grow they neither toil nor spin it I tell you even Solomon and all of his glory was not a raid like one of these but if God so close the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven will he not much more clothe you oh you have a little face therefore do not be anxious saying What shall we need to work shall we drink or what shall we wear for the gentiles seek after all these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all but seek first this kingdom the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these will be added to you therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Or any of you worrying about something right now something in the future you probably are I'm sure all of us are to some extent and I'm going to make a statement and I hope you understand why I'm saying this but when we worry. Are worrying is directly tied into us denying or doubting the sovereignty of God I can't tell you how many times I've had a conversation with so many people and you have this to we're talking to people and people are worried about some unresolved issue in their life they're not sure how something is going to turn out after all the life is full of uncertainty but being. Concerned about the outcome does not mean that we don't have any faith and doesn't mean that we're sinning but if we're worried about something it means that we're not trusting in God's sovereignty like we could be. And so God tells us to not worry about these things we're on is a twenty eight great verse it says and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose how in the world could someone say God make that claim that everything that happens in our life can work together for good the only way that he can say that is if he is a sovereign God in control of all things well the final way I think we should respond to God is not only should we worship Him We should also believe in him but we should trust him trust him with whatever is going to happen in the future specifically your future some of you this next year are going to see changes in your life maybe somewhere you are looking for a job a new job maybe creating your own business or whatever it's going to be some of you are dealing with a very difficult situation God is involved and you can trust him with that process and not only can we trust him with the future the near present future we can also trust him for sure with our eternal future I love what it says in the fusions one thirteen or fourteen. Says in him you also when you heard the word of truth the gospel of your salvation and believed in him were sealed with the promise Holy Spirit verse fourteen says who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of physical Henri that is guaranteed if you place your faith in Christ God here in tease that you will spend eternity with him. And also and this kind of gets relevant to all of us here as in Greece Bible Church of Phoenix as a church we. Can trust him with our future obviously two thousand eight hundred is going to be a very big year for our church there's going to be a lot of changes and as I think about this relocation I get excited to the closer we get to it I I get excited I'm a little scared normal nervousness you know change is obviously scary for a lot of people and if someone were to tell me last year at this time at the beginning of two thousand and seventeen that in one year from now we would be preparing to move to another facility I would say you are crazy how in the world is that going to happen yesterday as I was in the afternoon after I made all my family really mad at me by sending them a picture of whether I decide to go out enjoy the weather so I went for a walk yesterday and I was kind of just thinking about the sermon and I started thinking about OK we're moving in about three weeks from now and and I just I kind of got a little anxious and we do have a lot of stuff to do and then I just asserted reminding myself of what I was going to talk about today about God's sovereignty and I just can ask myself Josh do you trust God Yeah I do well don't worry about stuff and what I did is as I was out walking I had an opportunity as I was reviewing for the sermon to just kind of retrace the steps of how we got to where we are as a church right now and over the last few years we've known that we've been kind of outgrowing this facility and so we decided to take a couple different steps the first step was to go to two services we did that back in October of two thousand and sixteen and then our last congregational meeting in the spring a member of the board the board was saying OK let's talk about the next step and would eventually we're going to talk to our neighbor and I remember in the congregation meeting we're talking about the next step and we're going to talk to a neighbor maybe try to get his house and renovated and stuff like that and at the very end we said Anybody have any questions and we're waiting for for people to ask questions well how are we in the do this sort of going to do and there were two two women who spoke up and I don't know if you remember this but I'll remember this Judy camper and Patty variable and their comments were basically. Along the lines of let's stop talking about this is actually take a step and do something or they said well let's go talk to our neighbor let's go see if we can maybe secure a property and I remember I don't next congregation or next board meeting we said you know maybe the church is kind of waiting for us to stop talking about it and that's actually try to do something and so that summer we talked to our neighbor and it was like the next day God said finally now that you're going to take a step I'm going to show you what the future is and so as we're looking at next door and looking in the right direction right there I'm not going to do that much much longer our kids over there and my God you were looking in that direction and God said No no I'm moving your head over there where's the two or three church over there so that's not it this is your future and so what we did is we went we looked at that building and I remember we said you know the board the entire time we said if we're going to do this God you have to make a way for this to happen you have to show us yourself in this and the first way he showed himself to us is by having the other church accept our offer I mean we offered quite a bit less than they wanted and they were asking and they said yes and then the other way is the church voted ninety three percent approval to move forward in the pledges came in to where yes we can make this happen and the biggest thing that had to happen is we had to find someone to buy our building within six months and you know the story only a couple months ago or whenever it was someone came through one of three offers within a weekend and we got a full price cash offer which is exactly what we needed so here we are two more Sundays in this building and as I went for that walk I kept asking myself Josh do you trust God and I kept reminding myself absolutely another thought that came my mind was the fact that God cares for Grace Bible Church of Phoenix more than any of us can put together he cares about his church God knows the unique giftedness of our church he knows how to best use this for His glory and so. I trust that God is behind this not only for our church but there are three churches involved in this process and God cares for all three of these churches the church that selling our church and the church is buying this property and so I believe all those all three churches are True Body of Christ churches and God has what's in the best interest for all of us if we just trust him and so.
Here we go two thousand and eighteen is going to be a big year and but I said I am confident that we can trust God Well that's for our church what about you what is it about this next year that you're going to be facing that you really need to trust God. I hope that you can see as we go through the consistency of every new year coming and God is still the same God the sovereign and he is in control while all of us at some point in this day will fall asleep. Who knows whether it be before midnight or after midnight and all those who will wake up and it will be a new year however the same God the same sovereign God is going to be in control still and because of that the way that we should respond is by worshipping him. And by believing in Him and by trusting in Him So let's close in prayer and reaffirm our trust in him.
Your father I think you so much for bringing us to this point in human history. Just as mankind we can look back at all of human history biblical history and secular history and we can see that we're right exactly where we should be we're right on time everything happens according to your timeline because you are a sovereign God and thank you for giving us the perspective of history that we can look back and we can see the Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of your promises that he is the one who died on the cross for our sins and that he is the one that we place our face in and when we do that and we have the hope of any church to be with you thank you so. Much Father for giving us that perspective and because the past is in your hand we can also trust that the future is and so for anyone here that is really worrying or struggling about something that might come up in the near future for them or I pray that today that you give them comfort and peace knowing that you are alternately control and Lord for us as a church this is going to be an exciting year but we are going to experience quite a bit of change especially this next month these next couple months as we relocate help us to reaffirm our trust in you and to follow where we believe that you are leading us we believe that you of face will be served through us to people these last forty years of our churches existence and we believe that you'll do the same for the next forty years or for however long we will exist or until you come causal world we love you we're so thankful for what you did for us in the year two thousand and seventeen and we look forward to how we can serve you in a greater ways in two thousand and eighteen we love you pray these things and pricing even.