Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Master of the world

by Milburn Cockrell
 

"So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said: Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone!" 1 Chronicles 29:10-12
In these days of man-centered religion, verses like these have been ignored. The pulpits of our land preach a defeated God, a disappointed Christ and a defenseless Holy Spirit. Man has been deified, and God dethroned. Most preachers today hold to the theory that man is a free agent and the determiner of his own destiny. God has been relegated to the background.
The God most people believe in has benevolent intentions, yet He is unable to carry them out. He wants to bless men, but they will not let Him. The average churchgoer thinks Satan has gained the upper hand, and that God is to be pitied rather than worshiped. Modern preaching is so lopsided that when we mention God, people immediately think of a babe in a manger, or a dead man on a cross. Much Christian service is rendered to get God out of an embarrassing situation. The God of popular Christianity has a weak smile and a halo.
One will search in vain in the Scripture for the God of modern day preaching. The Bible knows nothing of a defeated, disappointed, and defenseless God. The God of the Bible is the "Almighty God" (Genesis 17:1) Who has all power in Heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). With Him nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37) or too hard (Jeremiah 32:17).
Too often we try to confine God to the limits of human logic. We are prone to modify our remarks about God to such things as the carnal mind of men can comprehend, or the wisdom of this world will approve. In this message I am going to speak of the eternal, immutable, sovereign God of all creation. The God of the Holy Writ is the Master of the World!
 
Just Who Is God? 
The God of the Bible is the Supreme Being in the universe. He is "the Highest" (Psalm 18:13; Luke 1:35; 6:35). He is over all; He is the most High, higher than the highest. He has no superiors and no equals. He speaks through the pen of Isaiah: "To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? . . . Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:5, 9). It is absurd to compare God with any creature, for God is infinitely above the noblest creature.
Notice the magnificent description of God by David in our text. David spoke with awe and reverence of the perfections of God.
First, he calls attention to "the greatness" of God. The greatness of God is immense and incomprehensible, and all angels and men are nothing in comparison to Him. "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity" (Isaiah 40:17).
Second, King David magnifies God's "power." Psalm 62:11 says: "Power belongs unto God." "Great is our LORD, and of great power" (Psalm 147:5). Job said: "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power" (Job 37:23). The power of God is almighty and irresistible. All the power of the host of creatures is derived from Him and depends on Him (John 19:11).
God does whatever He pleases or wills. His counsel always stands, and He ever does His good pleasure; otherwise He would not be Almighty. "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, that brings out their host by number: he calls them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one fails" (Isaiah 40:26). "But how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power, who can understand" (Job 26:14)?
Third, he mentions "the glory" of God. The Bible declares that "His glory is great" (Psalm 21:5). "The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens" (Psalm 113:4). His glory extends "above all the earth" (Psalm 108:5) and "the heavens" (Psalm 57:11). His glory never changes: "The glory of the LORD shall endure forever" (Psalm 104:31). All the glory we can give Him with our hearts, lips, and lives comes infinitely short of what is due Him.
Fourth, to God is ascribed "the victory." Jehovah transcends and surpasses all. He is able to conquer and subdue all things unto Himself. His victories are incontestable and uncontrollable. When human history has run its course, God will have the victory. Eternity will demonstrate Him as the mighty Conqueror and the Master of the World.
Fifth, there is reference to "the majesty" of God. This speaks of His sovereign power, authority, and dignity as Master of the World. The majesty of the most High is inexpressible and inconceivable. All created things are at His disposal: "All that is in Heaven and in the earth, is yours." "The LORD has prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all" (Psalm 103:19).
God is God. He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. "He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desires, even that he does" (Job 23:13). Agreeing with this is Psalm 115:3: "But our God is in the heavens: he has done whatever he has pleased." As the Master of the World He declares: "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isaiah 46:10).
God is the Supreme Being and the Sovereign of the universe. He exercises His power . . .
as He wills,
when He wills,
where He wills.
"All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. But He does according to His will in the host of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth. No one can ward off His hand or say to Him: What have You done?" (Daniel 4:35) All popes and potentates, men and minerals, rocks and rivers, trees and treasures are His servants: "For all are your servants" (Psalm 119:91).
 
God Governs All His Creatures and Their Actions
The events that take place on earth do not take place by chance, or fate, or luck. The so-called accidents are not even incidents with the Master of the World. God did not stretch out the north, and balance the earth upon nothing, without a design or purpose. It is not by chance that the "heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). He numbered the hairs of our head and noted the sparrow's fall in eternity past by His "determinate counsel and foreknowledge" (Acts 2:23). The Master of the World set the bounds of our habitation on earth. The number of our months is with Him, and our days are appointed to us as the days of an hireling who cannot pass his bounds (Job 14:5).
The Master of the World restricts the wickedness and ungodliness of men. He has so foreordained human actions that "the wrath of man shall praise you, the remainder of wrath shall you restrain" (Psalm 76:10). "The LORD has made all things for himself: yes, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Proverbs 16:4). In Proverbs 20:24 it is written: "Men's goings are of the LORD." When the ten kings of the revived Roman Empire destroy the Great Whore, it is said: "For God has put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled" (Revelation 17:17). This is not fatalism; it is the doctrine of Divine providence.
There is one thing for certain.
God controls all things--or nothing.
He must either rule--or be ruled.
He must either sway--or be swayed.
He must either accomplish His will--or be thwarted by His creatures.
He is not obligated to leave the affairs of this world to be governed by accident, chance, or the will of sinful men. To charge God with creating and sustaining all things without a purpose, is to charge Him with being a fool.
If we admit that God absolutely governs all things according to the counsel of His own will, then we admit that He has determined what shall and what shall not transpire in time and eternity. To deny His universal control of all things, is to deny His eternal power and Godhead. If He has the power and wisdom to determine all events--then He can cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
How can prophecy come to pass, if God is not in absolute control of the government of all His creation?
God is holding the helm of the universe and regulating all events. All events are of Him as to their cause through Him as their course; and to Him as to their climax. The Apostle Paul said: "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Master of the World "works all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11).
What a blessing it is to know all things are of God and are under His control. Nothing exists, unless God created it. Nothing can continue to exist, unless God wills it for His glory. All events, whether good or evil, are according to God's will of pleasure, or God's will of permission. Colossians 1:16-17 declares: "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together!"
 
Omnipotence Reigns over the Nations 
Behind of the rise and fall of nations is a just, all-wise God Who reigns in righteousness. In Revelation 15:3 God is referred to as the sovereign "King of the nations." Psalm 22:28 says: "For the kingdom is the LORD's: and he is the governor among the nations." It is the Lord who "increases the nations and destroys them: he enlarges the nations, and straitens them again" (Job 12:23). Let us rejoice that the Supreme Being rules the nations "and has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26). The godless nations of the world will go no further than God wants them to go. "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigns!" (Revelation 19:6).
The Master of the World says: "I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed fit unto me" (Jeremiah 27:5). The Prophet Daniel said it was God Who "removes kings, and sets up kings" (Daniel 2:21). Four times it is said in the book of Daniel "the most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whoever he will."
 
The Fall of Man 
The entrance of sin into the world was no unprovided-for event with God, because to His eyes sin, death, and Hell have no covering. The Bible says that "times are not hidden from the Almighty" (Job 24:1). Before the deep foundation of the earth was laid, God understood what He was about to do and the result of His actions.
The sun would remain in the heavens;
the earth revolve on its own axis; 
nations 
rise and fall in quick succession; 
man 
would become a rebel to His government and authority;
Christ would die on Calvary;
some would believe, and others reject Him; and
that Heaven would be peopled with the saints--and Hell with the damned.
All of this passed before the mind of the Master of the World.
The great God foreordained and foreknew the fall of Adam as He did all events. Acts 15:18 informs us: "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." This must be so. Otherwise God could not have declared "the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isaiah 46:10). The Master of the World declares in a voice that has the sound of many waters: "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth, I tell you of them" (Isaiah 42:9). The God with whom we have to do "calls those things which are not, as though they were" (Romans 4:17).
If it had been God's pleasure to have prevented sin from entering this world, can we doubt His power or wisdom or ability to do so? If sin entered this world in opposition to His will, what assurance have we that it will not enter the world to come?
The truth is, God predetermined the fall of man. He permitted it for a purpose known only to Himself. The eternal purpose which God purposed in Himself before the morning of time was sufficiently perfect and comprehensive enough to include all that could possibly transpire in time and eternity. The Father did not just decide to send Christ into the world, just before the crucifixion. The death of Christ was no accident or incident; it was predetermined. Jesus Christ "was foreordained before the foundation of the world" as the Savior of His people.
The Father foreordained Christ to be a atoning sacrifice for His people (Romans 3:25). Peter said that when Christ was crucified at Calvary those men did whatever God's hand and "counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:28).
 
God Ordained Our Salvation
We are told in Ephesians 1:4-5 that the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world and "predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." We learn from 2 Timothy 1:9 that we were saved and called, "not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." In Titus 1:2 we are informed that God promised us eternal life "before the world began."
Man's salvation is owing to God's appointment and Christ's atonement: "For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The elect are "vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory" (Romans 9:23). God will call, justify, and glorify all whom He foreknow and predestine (Romans 8:30).
It is lawful for God to do what He will with His own. Romans 9:18 says: "Therefore has he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens." God saves some, to the praise of His glorious grace; while He leaves others to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice. Dare any poor, finite worm of the earth to dispute the sovereign right of God to do all His pleasure among the inhabitants of earth! "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why have you made me thus" (Romans 9:20)?
Someone may say, "You are making God the author of sin!" No, I am not. But let me ask a few questions. Against whom is it possible for God to sin? Is He amendable to any law above Himself? If so, by what law can He be indicted, and in what court can He be tried and convicted? It is God's eternal right to do all His pleasure. He is not accountable to any of His creatures. Job 33:13 declares: "He gives no account of any of His matters." In Romans 11:33 the Bible says God's ways are "past finding out!"
 
Is God Trying to Save the World? 
If God is trying to save the world, He is losing the battle to Satan. To hear the average sermon, one would get the impression that God is standing on the sideline, weeping, because men will not permit Him to save them from Hell. You would think that God has a will to do good, yet how to perform that which is good, He finds not. The religious world needs to get God off the charity list!
To suppose in the slightest that God has failed, or that He has been defeated, is the height of foolishness and the depth of impiety. During the present dispensation God is taking out a people for His name (Acts 15:14). His eternal purpose is being worked out. Everything is going according to His plan, and all things are under His control. Satan has not defeated God, nor has the Devil taken Him by surprise.
The Lord is not conducting broken-hearted appeals. He is not struggling desperately to plead, argue, or beg people to repent. He does not need to bargain or beg men. The Master of the World does not even need man, but man needs God. He does not need to plead with you--you need to plead with Him. Each sinner is completely in the hands of God to save or to damn to Hell-fire. It is you, dear unsaved person, who needs to sue for God's mercy, lest He let you go to Hell, then "a great ransom cannot deliver you."
 
The Practical Effect of this Doctrine
First
, this doctrine puts God in His place. He is the Master of the World. It teaches that all whom the Father gave to Christ in the Covenant of Grace in eternity past, shall come to faith in Christ (John 6:37). All whom God has ordained to eternal life shall believe (Acts 13:48), and Jesus Christ shall "give eternal life to as many as" the Father gave Him (John 17:2).
Second, such a doctrine causes a person not to worship at the shrine of free will. The grace of God causes the unwilling sinner to receive the Christ of the gospel. Of the Lord's covenant people it is written: "Your people shall be willing in the day of your power" (Psalm 110:3). One is brought to see that the Master of the World works in man "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Man has spiritual life, because God wills that he be begotten with the Word of truth (James 1:18). We seek Him, because He first sought us. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). We have nothing to boast about. It is only of "the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed" (Lam. 3:22).
Sinner, you are in the hands of a sovereign God! If He does not perform a work of grace upon your heart, you are doomed and damned without remedy. All you can do is throw yourself upon His mercy and grace!

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