(Part 4) March 15, 2020 Sunday Sermon: Submit in Trust to the Sovereignty of God
By Pastor Robbie Casas
2. UPON HIS OWN
When God deals affliction upon His people – whether His chosen people Israel or His redeemed in Christ – it is primarily for their sanctification. And this sanctifying purpose has two further main objectives: (1) to deal with sin, and (2) especially for believers, to deepen their walk of faith. These may not always be readily clear to us, but it should be enough that it is clear to God.
We see all over the Old Testament how God would severely deal with His own people, Israel, for evil or disobedience.
In 1Ki 9:9, when God appeared to Solomon a second time to consecrate the temple, He gave this warning to Israel if they turned away from Him: “And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore the Lord has brought all this adversity on them.’”
In Dan 9:14, we read this as part of Daniel’s prayer when he realized that the 70 years of Israel’s exile was completed: “Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the Lord our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice.”
On the other hand, for us believers in Christ, when we sin God disciplines us.
Read Heb 12:4-11: “4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
‘MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.’
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
This passage seems to tell us that we are not always successful “in [our] striving against sin,” so that when we do fail and therefore sin, God has to discipline us because He is holy and He loves us. This discipline many times comes in the form of affliction or calamity.
But sometimes God afflicts His children for their spiritual deepening.
James exhorts us in Jas 1:2-4: “2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Peter tells us in 1Pet 1:6-9: “6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
Paul mentions in Rom 5:3-5: “3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Even the Lord Jesus, in Matt 5:11-12, implies this truth: “11 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
All this tells us that just because we are God’s people does not mean that we will be exempt from all the calamities and afflictions He unleashes upon the world.
Just in our lifetime, how many major disasters have we all seen or experienced? How many believers do we know perished or were seriously injured in an accident?
I remember reading about Philip Bliss, the great hymn writer who wrote hymns like Hallelujah, What a Saviour! and the music for It Is Well with My Soul.
Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876) is the second most famous Christian song writer in history. Had he lived as long as his peers, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley and Ira Sankey, he may have surpassed them all, as the greatest song writer of all time and the most widely used singer of all time, but a tragic accidental train wreck snuffed out his life in his 38th year.
Why the Lord took this man of God early only He knows. But one thing we know, God in His sovereignty is holy, wise and loving. Nothing that He sovereignly ordains – no matter how painful or difficult – contradicts nor diminishes any of these glorious attributes of His.
HE IS TRULY WORTHY OF ALL OUR TRUSTING SUBMISSION.