He Doesn’t Control Some Things

  
That’s right.  He controls all things.  

Is a trumpet blown in a city,and the people are not afraid?  Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it? 

Amos 3:6

Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?  Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?  Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins? 

Lamentations 3:37-39

For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Acts 4:27-28

And this is very, very Good News.  

The greatest comfort I can give a child of God, and I can only give it to a child of God (meaning someone who has been adopted by God through faith in Jesus Christ), is that God is in total, absolute control of your pain.   And the reason why that’s comforting for the Christian is that God promises to work all things together for the good of His elect.  

This is a God whose hand predestined the worst sin in history for His people’s rescue.  

He does no evil, but neither is He perplexed or surprised by any evil.  And He will work all things together for His good purposes.  

From the other side of Christ’s return, there will not be one moment of history, from Eden’s tree to Calvary’s Cross to Hitler’s Holocaust to Hell’s shut doors, where Satan will be able to say, “Well, at least He didn’t get to work that one out for His purposes.”  When all is said and done, God’s glory and beauty and His people’s good will be pulled from every page of history, even the bloody and awful and scary ones.  And the greatest proof of that is Christ’s bloody and awful Cross.  

Some of you who are born again and in chaos or agony need to internalize this.  

What is frustrating to the unbelieving heart is peace to believing one:  There is no sovereign but God.  

I am telling you to pray to the God who will roll up the sky like a blanket, who set the Milky Way spinning as though it were a top, who fashioned all our souls from His own creative heart.  This is not a God who will win at the last second on a Hail Mary.  I am here to tell you there is a King in the Heavens.  A King.  God is not a powerful figure with good intentions who can only do so much.  This is the King of all creation, and He is taking audiences with all who will call upon Him in faith.  

There is nothing that befalls us that is not ordained by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

Keep all your gods, America.  I have met the only One who can save a man like me.  

This God is in control.

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Eyes of Fire, Voice like an Ocean

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We would fall flat on our faces if we saw Jesus in His glory.

The Apostle John wanted to do just that. While He was in exile on the island of Patmos, He was given a vision of the resurrected and ascended Jesus.

He records it this way in Revelation 1:

“Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last.'”

There’s a tendency, I think it’s fair to say, in American Christianity to make Jesus a harmless God who wants to help us achieve our dreams.

But see, we don’t get to remake Jesus. He is who He is. And who He is is a breathtakingly big God, beautiful enough to cause your heart pound and your face fall to the ground.

Now, it is true that this big, real Jesus loves us. The fact that we have a lopsided view of Him and talk almost exclusively about His love and compassion doesn’t mean that we should correct the mistake by denying them.

Actually, the Jesus who caused John to fall on His face and caused demons to plead for mercy loves us more than that Teddy Bear misrepresentation ever could, because He is more powerful and righteous and glorious and sovereign than the cosmic hug machine He is packaged as.

The form of a slave, the broken human flesh that the real Jesus took on was a far greater sacrifice than the fictional, small Jesus who is just a quaint buddy could’ve ever made.

The actual, Biblical Jesus is a King who became a peasant, and who is returning to rule with the rebel peasants He’s rescued.

So He loves us impossibly, and His greatness and hugeness and power magnify, highlight that love.

But He isn’t only merciful. He is also awe-inspiring. Large. Gloriously sovereign and with the authority to rule. He is the One chapter 1 of Revelation says all the tribes of the Earth will wail on account of.

The Bible is a book filled with and commanding worship. And you don’t worship a buddy. You don’t fall down and praise a pal.

Check out the last few chapters of the Gospels and the first few of Revelation, and see how many times Jesus tells His disciples and followers not to be afraid of Him.

We worship a Jesus so powerful and pure and amazing and that He has to remind us not to be afraid of Him.

Never fall into the American Christianity trap (not universal across the landscape but definitely widespread) of worshiping a Jesus who is harmless and only out to give you nice material things or help you get your American dreams.

Avoid, like a dangerous snare set out for the unsuspecting and undiscerning, the idea of a Jesus who is only a servant and never a King.

He has flaming eyes and a voice like a hurricane and has conquered sin and death as though they were twin insects under His heel. And He has the right to lovingly and righteously reign.

If you worship a small Jesus who’s primary concern is your happiness, two bad things are going on:

1) You’re worshiping a Jesus who doesn’t exist.

2) You’re robbing glory from the Jesus who does.