Theme: God is Sovereign
1 Timothy 6:13-16
Objectives: (From the D6 Fusion Sunday School Lesson book)
Know: God sovereignly reigns through the expression of His natural attributes.
Think: Have the mindset that total obedience to God is best due to His worthiness to rule.
Do: Trust and obey God with the confidence that your loyalty is properly placed.
Song: Trust and Obey
A1 God’s sovereignty
B1 Views (3 broadly defined ways. There are variations in each group).
D1 (From the TERCENTENARY EDITION of the Westminster Confession of Faith)
Of God’s Eternal Decree.
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath He not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.
III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.
The doctrine that God eternally and unconditionally decreed all future things necessarily follows from the fact that God is independent, all knowing, and unchangeable, which is what chapter 2 of the confession teaches. Since God is independent, it follows that His decree cannot depend upon anything in the future or anything outside of Himself. Since God knows all things, it follows that God must have first decreed all things. And since God is unchangeable, it follows that God must have an unchangeable decree at the foundation of all that He does.
E1 How can God escape being the author of sin?
F1 First general Calvinist answer: God decrees the highest desire and the individual in their free will chooses that desire. This is compatibilism.
F2 Second general Calvinist answer: Everything God does is holy, because He is holy.
E2 How can a person be judged and sentenced for doing God’s will?
C2 Classical Arminian (and Wesleyan Arminian, too):
Here is my view: God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.
The sovereignty of God is a vitally important truth Wesleyans badly need to recover. This is not only because it is crucial for understanding the biblical drama, but also because many Wesleyans have tended to neglect it because Calvinists often give the impression that it is one of their distinctive doctrines. But the sovereignty of God is not a Calvinist doctrine, it is a biblical doctrine, and no one who wants to be faithful to Scripture can afford to ignore or downplay this great truth.
So what is the sovereignty of God? Simply put, it is the truth that God is in control, that he has supreme power. It is the truth that he is the Lord of the Universe and of everyone and everything it contains. The sovereignty of God is not always appealing because it is sharply at odds with the popular illusion that we are in control. It is a common human conceit to think that our lives are our own, that human beings are running the show and answer to no one higher than themselves.
F1 Is God really sovereign if He allows (or decrees) a limited, libertarian free will?
F2 How do you explain free will?
C3 Open Theism: I had a difficult time finding Open Theists who could define Open Theism, and I don’t have the money to buy their books and find a correct quote from them. So, I am turning to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy for a reliable definition: Open Theism is the thesis that, because God loves us and desires that we freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of, and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. Though omniscient, God does not know what we will freely do in the future. Though omnipotent, He has chosen to invite us to freely collaborate with Him in governing and developing His creation, thereby also allowing us the freedom to thwart His hopes for us. God desires that each of us freely enter into a loving and dynamic personal relationship with Him, and He has therefore left it open to us to choose for or against His will. While Open Theists affirm that God knows all the truths that can be known, they claim that there simply are not yet truths about what will occur in the “open,” undetermined future. Alternatively, there are such contingent truths, but these truths cannot be known by anyone, including God. Another article that may help.
D1 First question: How can God be omniscient if He does not clearly know everything in the future?
D2 Second question: How can God not know every truth?
C4 Personally, I choose the Reformed Arminian view as correct because of the plain, normal reading and study of Scriptures. The other views use systems of interpretation and/or prior presumptions as their world view or theological standards. Please! Always interpret the Bible in its plain, normal sense.
B2 Main points
C1 God can do what He wants, and no one can alter His decision.
C2 God truly gives a limited, libertarian free will.
C3 Love is a choice, not a coercion.
C4 Some verses:
D1 Daniel 4:35 HCSB All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?
D2 Matthew 19:25-26 HCSB When the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
D3 2 Chronicles 20:5-6 NKJV Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
D4 Acts 7:51 (NKJV) You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
D5 Matthew 23:37 (NKJV) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
D6 In view of the above verses, if God is sovereign, how can people resist?
A2 Isaiah 46:8-13 (NKJV)
“Remember this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.
B1 How does memory help us in our spiritual life/walk?
B2 How can we know there are no other gods?
B3 How does He know the future?
B4 When God makes His mind up and makes a decision can it be changed? By whom?
B5 Why is God making an appeal to this group of transgressors? Does it suggest there might be some form of free will?
B6 What is foreknowledge?
B7 What is the condition of those described as stubborn hearted? Why are they stubborn? How does this kind of stubbornness hurt people?
B8 Where does righteousness come from?
C1 Romans 10:3 (NKJV) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
C2 Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
A3 A few more questions:
B1 How do you realize God’s sovereignty in your life?
B2 Does God’s sovereignty give you a sense of peace or restlessness?
B3 How does God’s love demonstrate His sovereignty?
B4 How can we explain the occurrence of evil, calamity, and trouble in this world and our lives?
B5 Do you want to resist God?
A4 Next week:
B1 Always the same
B2 Theme: God is Unchanging
Numbers 23 25-27
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Posted by Choco in 2018 at 14:11
Labels: God’s sovereignty, Sunday School Lesson