God is Sovereign
Prayer LinePastor Jerry Gillis - April 26, 2020
Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
- What should we do in light of God’s sovereignty? (There are many things, but focus on the three that were given in Sunday’s message.) Which of these three actions comes most naturally to you? Which of these is most challenging to you?
- If God is sovereign, why should we pray? What needs to change about our praying so that it better reflects our conviction that God is sovereign?
- Read Luke 22:42, focusing on the second half of the verse. Where is God’s Spirit leading you to say, “Not my will, but Yours be done”? How can you demonstrate real surrender to God’s sovereignty?
- What is one action step you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our discussion today?
This past week, Elizabeth, Queen of England had a birthday. She turned 94. I imagine that as we all know, there is some etiquette around talking about a woman's actual age, but I think that when you cross over boundaries like 90, that it's wonderful to celebrate. Now, when I think of the Queen of England, it takes me back into thinking about ancient kings and ancient queens and monarchies and those types of things. Now, the British monarchy is a little bit different because it's a constitutional monarchy with some Commonwealth realms, which means this, that the queen is limited in her power because there's a parliamentary system in England where you have basically a parliament that passes and executes legislation. And so, the queen's power is limited.
But there are some places in the world still where you have what we would call an absolute monarchy, a place like for instance, Brunei. Now, Brunei is on the Island of Borneo, that's in the neighborhood of Malaysia and the Philippines. It's a small place, but the Sultan of Brunei is considered an absolute monarch. Or we could actually say it this way, he's called a sovereign. What that means is this. Plain and simple, he answers to nobody in the kingdom. So there's no body of people, there's no other government branch, there's no balances, kind of checks and balances there. He's the sovereign. The Sultan of Brunei is the absolute monarch. He is the sovereign over that entire kingdom.
Now, if you were to look up the word sovereign in the Bible itself, it depends on which translation you were using, you would either see it a whole lot of times or you would see it just a very few times. So for instance, in the New International Version, if you looked up sovereign, you would see close to 300 uses of the term. And if you looked it up in the ESV or the English Standard Version, you would see it only used about four times. Now, why that's the case is certainly justifiable. It's just an interpretive case. It doesn't make right or wrong. It's not that at all.
In fact, what the NIV does is when they have a phrase together with Jehovah Adonai, that phrase together, they translate it sovereign Lord, where the ESV would translate it, Lord God. So it means virtually the same thing but there is one place where both the NIV and the ESV use terminology. One uses ruler and one uses sovereign, but it's talking about the nature of God as King. And it's found in 1st Timothy chapter six and it says this very simply. It's talking about God. "He who is the blessed and only sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords."
Now, when you see this passage, we know that this is talking very specifically about God himself. So here's the question. When we say that God is sovereign, what are we saying when we say that? The Bible testifies to it both implicitly and explicitly all throughout the context of scripture, Old and New Testaments. But when we talk about that, when we say God is sovereign, what exactly are we saying? Well, to say it simply as I can, it would be this. God's sovereignty means there are no limits to God's rule. In other words, God is the one who is completely and totally in control over everything. His sovereignty means there are no limits to the nature of his rule.
Now, this applies to everything. It applies to the universe. For instance, when God created everything, it demonstrates that he is sovereign over every single thing, every star put in place. Everything that has happened in the universe is because of God's sovereignty. God is sovereign over salvation itself. In other words, those of us that now live like we live, we don't have a say in what salvation actually is. The method, the mode of salvation, the plan of salvation, God is the one who sovereignly has put that together. That human beings can only be reconciled to him through what his son has done, Jesus, on a cross dying for sin, rising from the dead, and now by faith in him we can be justified before God, our sins can be forgiven and we can be reconciled in relationship to the father.
See, God is sovereign over salvation. God is sovereign over his mission in the world. In other words, God is the one who has initiated creation. He has initiated the making of humanity. He has initiated salvation and he has initiated the mission that he has using his people as ambassadors, as proclaimers of his gospel in the world. God is sovereign over his mission. God is even sovereign over suffering. That when these things happen, God is sovereign over it. It doesn't mean that he has caused it in every circumstance, but it does mean that he's sovereign over it and can use it. God is even sovereign over the evil plotting of wicked people or the enemy or any of those kinds of things. In fact, when you are a sovereign God who is sitting on your throne and you are overseeing everything and there are no limits to your rule, then evil planning and evil plotting pleads.
God is sovereign. In fact, listen to how the Psalmist said it in two different places. Psalm 37 it says, "The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them, but the Lord laughs at the wicked for he knows their day is coming." And then in Psalm chapter two it says this. "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, 'Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.' The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them." Why can he do that? Because he is sovereign over everything. Nothing happens except by his decree or by his allowance, and everything that happens, if we will trust him in it, can be leveraged for his glory and ultimately for our good no matter what it is, because there are no limits to the rule of God.
So, what are the implications of this? What does this mean for us? Well, if you think about it, we can understand intellectually that God is sovereign, right? As best we can in our limited intellectual spectrum, we can understand that God is sovereign. I mean, ultimately we understand this. Either God is sovereign or he's not God, right? There's no sense in calling God by definition, God, if God is not sovereign. If there is some limit to his rule and some other power that can influence him toward his rule, then he's not sovereign and therefore he's not God. I think to some degree we can understand that.
But what are the implications for us? What does this actually mean in our everyday living? What does this actually kind of promote in me as a response when I understand that God is sovereign? How does it affect the way that I view God when I understand God to be sovereign? Well, we're going to look at a one line prayer of Jesus that helps us to understand the implications for us of God's sovereignty. And in fact what I'm going to do is simply talk about it in the nature of saying that because God is sovereign, we do certain things and those certain things that we will do will be based on what we saw Jesus do, what Jesus has lived out, what Jesus has said. And this one line prayer of Jesus helps us to see all of that.
Now, you're going to know this prayer because when I tell you the setting, you're going to get it right away. You see, it's right after Jesus and the disciples have had what we call the last supper. It's when Jesus is in Jerusalem for the very last time and he is soon to be finding himself on a cross by the actual will of God. And Jesus has now, after the last supper, made his way into a garden in Gethsemane. And while he's there, he comes in with some of his disciples. He leaves them and tells them to pray and then he pushes out a little bit farther. This is what it says in Luke chapter 22. It says that Jesus withdrew about a stone's throw beyond his disciples and he knelt down and prayed. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will but yours be done."
This is what we're going to look at. We're going to look at the nature of God's sovereignty and the fact that because God is sovereign, it causes in us some responses, and those responses we're going to see are the responses that Jesus had. I mean, if anybody knows that God is sovereign, if anybody knows, it's Jesus. And I think, listen, I think friends, if you will listen and engage and receive what God wants to say to us today, this will change your life. It will change the way that you view God. It will change the way that you understand circumstances that you find yourself in. This has the power to change your life.
Now, I don't know where you are right now watching this. You may be with family, you may be alone, you may be on a phone, you may be on a computer, you may be on a television. Wherever it may be, whatever the circumstances may be for you, listen carefully, God can change your life today if you will receive what he has for you. So looking at what Jesus did and what Jesus said, I want to give you a few implications that we can gain from this in our own lives in understanding that because God is sovereign, it actually promotes some things in our lives. And here's the first.
Because God is sovereign, we pray. Because God is sovereign, we pray. In fact, I want you to look again at verse number 41 of our text that we were just looking at. Jesus withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed. Now again, if anyone knows that the father is sovereign it is Jesus, and what Jesus did is he prayed. This wasn't an afterthought to Jesus. Jesus was serious and intentional about what he was about to do. He prayed. Now, for the curious among us and those who like to think a bit deeply, I imagine that this thought may have crossed your mind or will yet cross your mind or I'm going to go ahead and make it cross your mind because you're going to come to it at some point as you work through this.
You might think to yourself, if God is sovereign, why pray? I mean, if God is in control, if God has a plan that cannot be thwarted, if God is all knowing about everything, then why pray? Well, let me say this. I think it's possible that maybe in thinking along those lines you may have developed behind that idea a wrong view of what prayer actually is. It's possible. I'm not saying that's for sure in your life, but I'm saying it's possible. If we're asking that question, if God is sovereign why pray, then maybe behind that question we've got a wrong view of what prayer is actually for.
Now, let's put aside for a second, even though this is really important, let's put aside for a second the fact that Jesus, who knew better than anyone who has ever lived because he was in very nature God, knew that God was sovereign and still prayed, which by the way, that's all that we need right there. We could just hard stop right there, period, end of sentence. Jesus knew God's sovereignty and Jesus prayed. That's all that we actually need to know to realize that because God is sovereign, we pray. But maybe you're thinking to yourself, I've struggled with this question. God's sovereign, he's all knowing, he's in control, he has everything right, and you kind of go, well, then why pray?
Maybe it's because you thought that your praying was designed to change God's mind. And if so, you've got a wrong view of prayer that's behind this question. You see, if we believe that prayer is for the purpose of changing God's mind, I want you to understand how dangerous an idea that is. That it's actually a dangerous idea for us to think about prayer changing God's mind. I mean, let's be honest. What if you and I were praying and we were praying about the same thing but wanting different outcomes? Who wins? What happens if we want different outcomes praying about the same thing and what if God's mind could be changed so that for one moment he's with me and for the next moment he's with you and he's back and he's forth and he's back and he's forth.
That does not seem like a God that we actually want to be bringing all of our requests to, does it? That's more like us where we're engaged with people and they're swaying us back and forth. Why? Because we don't understand the whole situation because we don't know exactly what's going on. And if God is a God who's changing his mind based on what we're praying, if people are praying about the same thing wanting different outcomes, then God may be paralyzed to be able to act because he's swaying back and forth. That's a dangerous idea to think about and it's certainly not true about God.
But there's a second kind of idea associated with this that I think is even more dangerous; because for us to think that we could change God's mind would mean this, that God actually needs our counsel. Think about that. That God actually needs our counsel. "God, I know you're thinking about doing this, but I think you need to do this." As if God's going to go, "Oh, I missed it. Thank you Jerry." Listen, if we think that God needs our counsel, I can tell you pretty quickly that Isaiah and Job and Paul would disagree.
In fact, listen to what Isaiah's words in Isaiah chapter 40. "Who can fathom the spirit of the Lord or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding?" Obviously these are rhetorical questions. No one did. And then what does Job say in chapter 21. "Can anyone teach knowledge to God since he judges even the highest?" And then Paul, who was actually referencing in the book of Romans what was said in the book of Isaiah says this in Romans 11. "Who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?"
You see, whether it's Isaiah or Job or Paul, they are all telling us, no, we cannot be the counselor of God. You see, our praying, listen to this. Our praying doesn't change God. God is unchanging. Our praying changes us. That's the point. And see, that's why because God is sovereign that we end up praying because what prayer is is it's a vehicle of God to accomplish his sovereign purposes and he does it by involving us. He actually gets us on the same page with his sovereign purposes when we pray and involves us in his greater purpose in the world.
Do you know this? God is so sovereign in relationship to prayer that God actually initiates prayer. I mean, if you went back all the way to the very beginning, when we look at the very first recorded conversation in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. Now, the first recorded one, I'm not saying it's the first one that ever occurred, but the first recorded conversation between God and people, The very first one, do you know what happens in that? Listen to what it says in Genesis chapter three. It says, "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden, but the Lord God called to the man." And that initiates the conversation.
I wonder if you see it there. In the very first recorded conversation that's about to begin between God and man, between God and humanity, Adam and Eve, God is the one who enters the garden, he initiates. He comes. And God is the one who calls out, right? There is an initiation of God. Why? Because God actually wants to talk about what's on his heart. And when we begin to understand the nature of God's heart, our conversation with God is all the way built around what's on God's heart. That way when we're praying, God already knows what we're talking about because God has initiated it in our own hearts because he's sovereign.
In fact, that's more or less what we see in Isaiah chapter 65. Listen to what it says. "Before they call," God says, "I will answer. While they are still speaking, I will hear." Why? Because God is sovereign even over prayer. I mean, let's be honest. We need God's help to even pray. That's what Paul said in Romans chapter number eight verse number 26. Here's what it says. "In the same way the spirit helps us in our weakness, we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans or groans that we cannot comprehend."
You see, all of this tells us something. It tells us instead of asking the question, if God is sovereign why should I pray, that we should actually say this. We pray because God is sovereign. That's what Jesus did. We pray because he's sovereign. But there's a second implication that I don't want us to miss when we look at what Jesus said and did here in this one sentence prayer, and it's this. Because God is sovereign, we surrender. That's what we see in the life of Jesus. Look carefully with me. At verse number 42 it says this. Jesus prays these words, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done."
I've said this before and I think that this word yet here in the NIV, if you are reading it in the New King James, it says nevertheless. When he says, take this cup from me yet or nevertheless, not my will but yours be done, I think that word 'yet' may be the most courageous word in all of the Bible. Jesus is facing all that he's facing and he says, "Father, if you're willing, take this cup from me yet not my will, but yours be done." I can't think of a more courageous word ever uttered in the history of humanity than that word because what Jesus is doing is he is surrendering his will to the father's will.
Now, what is this cup that he's talking about? Take this cup from me. Well, he's talking about the cup of suffering. He's talking about the cup of God's wrath because Jesus was going to a cross to die in the place of guilty sinners even though he himself was guiltless and sinless and spotless. Jesus was perfect and he goes to a cross to take upon himself all of the sin of humanity poured out on him where God, the father, pours out the righteous wrath of God against sin and Jesus receives it unto himself. He drinks the cup of the wrath of God. He drinks the cup of suffering.
This is startling for us to think about. But Jesus says, "Not my will, but yours be done." You are the one who is sovereign, father. You are the one God who is sovereign over all of this and I'm praying that this conforms to your will, not my own. Now, a word real quickly about the idea of 'wills' here. Because he says, "Father, if you're willing, take this cup from me yet not my will but your will be done." In the Bible when we talk about will, or the will of God, we're usually talking about one of two things. We're talking either about the sovereign will of God, which is kind of the decree of God that says this is going to be and there is no chance that anyone anywhere can violate this. It is going to be what it is going to be because it is the sovereign will of God.
So for instance, before anything ever was when God said by decree let there be light, there was no choice. There was nobody arguing, there was nothing that could go, "I don't know. I think I'm going to stay dem." Nothing could do that, right? Sovereign God decrees, and it is. This is what we're talking about when we talk about the sovereign will of God. It's more or less what we see in Isaiah chapter 46. This is the idea in Isaiah 46:10. It says this, "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say, my purpose will stand and I will do all that I please." This is the sovereign will of God.
So that's one aspect of the will of God. But the other aspect is what we would call the moral will of God. This is the revealed will and desires of God for human flourishing. And while the sovereign will of God cannot be violated because it is God's decree, some theologians will call it the decretive will of God. The moral will of God can be violated because even though God has said, this is what I've set up for you to flourish as a human being, this is my heart for you, it can still be violated by our choices. And it's difficult to think about these kinds of things. So we have to understand what we're talking about when we talk about the wills of God: the sovereign will of God and the moral will of God.
Well, what was Jesus praying about here when he says, "Father, if you're willing take this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done." At its heart, it's talking about the sovereign will of God. Jesus is talking about the grand plan of God for the world. Why do I think that? Why do I believe that? Why do I know that? Because this is exactly how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. "Our father, the one in the heavens. Holy is your name, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
This is actually less of a request and more of a simple, humble declaration. I consulted with Dr. Abidan Shah, who is a Greek Professor at Southeastern Seminary and he points out that when we read this model prayer, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, that it's actually designed in the third, in the Greek it's in the third person passive or what theologians call the third person divine passive. The idea there is not that this is so much of a request of God, it's more of a humble declaration because this is about the sovereign plan of God. In other words, what we're praying into then when Jesus taught us to pray is we're praying that we conform to the sovereign purposes of God. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
And then we are to be a people who conform to the sovereign purpose of God. That's what Jesus was doing here in the Garden of Gethsemane. "Not my will, but yours be done." Jesus was surrendering his will to the father's will. He was surrendering to God's sovereign plan even if it involved his own suffering and his death. Jesus surrendered to sovereignty. This is remarkable for us. These are why the implications of this are so important to us, that not only can we say because God is sovereign we pray, because that's what Jesus did, but we can also say because God is sovereign, we surrender. "God, if you're willing, take this cup from me yet not my will but yours be done." Jesus modeled for us what it looks like to surrender to sovereignty.
This could not be a better reminder for where we're living today. I'm imagining that some of you had maybe an idea like I did that we were in reasonable control of our life. How's that going? That we were thinking, "Man, I've got plans." Some of you had plans, right? You have plans. You had vacation plans, you had personal goals, you had professional goals. You maybe had relational goals. You might've had graduation plans. You might've had wedding plans. And then we're in the midst of a global pandemic and everybody is stuck in their house and realizing something really, really quickly; that we're not in control. Some of us had vision boards for the year, right? We've got 2020, it's my year, man! I've got stuff going down in 2020. And what we have failed to remember is that we are not sovereign.
So how's that control thing going for you now? It's not going well for me and I'm imagining it's not going well for you either because what I'm hoping is this, have you figured out by this point that you're not sovereign? I hope so. Have you figured out by this point that you're not in as much control as you thought you were? I hope so. And the reason that I hope so is because there's really good news on the back of that. And the good news is this. There is one who is sovereign. It's not us, but there is one who is sovereign and it is God. And what should we do about that? Exactly what Jesus did. Surrender to sovereignty even when it's difficult. Even when we can't make sense of it all, we surrender to sovereignty. Because God's sovereign, we pray. And what we're doing when we pray is we are surrendering to sovereignty.
But let me tell you a third implication; is because God is sovereign, we trust. We trust. Look at Jesus and look at what he says in verse 42. "Father, if you're willing, take this cup from me yet not my will, but yours be done." Do not run past that word. I have been known by my kids to be pretty much the king of my kingdom when I'm at home. We laugh about it a little bit but even growing up, I would do stuff to remind them that, "Hey, this is my house. You live here. I'm glad to have you, but this is my house. Right? You share it with me, but it's my house." I would do funny stuff, right? Even sometimes if we were out to restaurants, I would do funny things to remind them that everything that they have has come from their mom and dad. It's not like they earned anything, it's not like they did anything to get it.
I remember when we were, I think it was maybe... I don't know how old my kids were. They were pretty young and we were at a Wendy's I think doing just... because we were on a health food kick at that point. We had some French fries, right? And I just, maybe I didn't have any or I was done with mine and I reached over and I grabbed a fry. I don't remember if it was from Trace or Tanner, but I grabbed one and I started eating it and one of my sons had the gall, the audacity to say to me, "That's my fry! You can't have my fry." And I was like, "I'm sorry, what? Did you pay for these fries? Did you buy these fries? You think those are your fries? I'm just letting you eat my fries that I bought. All this food right here, my food."
Now, I've done some silly things. Probably you've done the same. Some of you right now are in your house looking at your kids going, "See, Pastor Jerry's done this too." But there was one particular time where I wanted to teach my sons. We used to have these family nights when my kids were young and we would do some teaching in the word and we would pray and we would talk. Sometimes we'd act out stories in the Bible and that kind of stuff. But one day I wanted to teach them about the gospel. And so I got up on the top of a staircase that goes upstairs. I don't know how many steps there are, 15 or whatever it is.
I sat up on the top of the staircase and I told them as they were at the bottom, I said, "We're going to play a game and here's the game. You have to get to the top of the staircase without touching any stairs. You have to get to the top of the staircase without touching any stairs at all. And if you do, we are going to get milkshakes at McDonald's or dairy queen or whatever, right?" So I've got milkshakes on the agenda. Now, here's the good thing, they're fired up about it. And here's why. Because they know I can deliver. I have enough money in my wallet, however much that is, right? I have enough money in my wallet, I can deliver on milkshakes for them. And they know I have the power and I have the authority to be able to deliver on milkshakes.
So they're at the bottom and they're starting to plan. I said, "Now remember this, you cannot touch a step because if you do touch a step, it's over. No milkshake. Game over. We're done." So they're like, "Okay." They're young, right, and they're down there plotting and planning. "What are we going to do? What are we going to do?" One of them has this idea, "You know what I'll do? I'll put you on my back." And then they figure out, well, one of us still has to take a step on the steps even though the other one isn't and it looks ridiculous to them. They're like, "Okay, we can't do that." So they're down there for 10 minutes trying to plot as to how they're going to do it, right?
They've got the stair rail right there and they're thinking, "Maybe we can get on the stair rail." And I was like, "You can't touch any part of the stairs." And they're like, "Okay. Okay." So they're thinking. And in their minds they know there's got to be a way. There's got to be a way because dad wouldn't have just said you can have a milkshake if you do this if it's impossible to do, would he? And so now they're starting to get upset and they're starting to get freaked out and they're starting to get maybe even angry.
One of them, I remember distinctly, one of them starts crying and they are frustrated. And through their tears, listen to this, through their tears all they're seeing is one who has power and authority yet isn't acting in a way that they think he should act. They don't think that I am being fair by way of them. They don't believe that I'm being fair because they think to themselves, "This is impossible. I don't understand how this can happen. We can't get up to the top of the stairs without touching the stairs. This is not going to work." And now through their tears, all they see looking up is one who has power and authority. That's all they see.
But eventually one of them through their tears says, "Dad, what if you came and got us and carried us up the stairs?" I said, "Now we've gotten somewhere." And I went downstairs and I picked them both up so that neither of them touched the stairs. I brought them to the top. I sat them down and I said, "This is what God has done for us in Christ. We have sinned. We cannot make it to God on our own. It is impossible, but God in his graciousness has sent his son who has come to rescue us so that we could be forgiven, so that because of what he's done, we now can receive fellowship and relationship with God."
You see, here's what they realized. They weren't able to say it at the time, maybe still haven't quite thought about it in these terms, but here's what happened. Through their tears when they were in the midst of not understanding anything, all they could see was one who had power and authority. But eventually they realized that not only am I the king of my kingdom sitting up at the top of the stairs, but I'm also their dad, and maybe I'd want to help.
You see, when Jesus says, "Father," don't miss that. When he prays, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me yet not my will but yours be done." Do you know what he was teaching us? He was teaching us that when we surrender to sovereignty, even though Jesus is sweating drops of blood, he's in the most difficult position he could possibly be in, he still knows that this is his father and his father can be trusted. This is imperative for us to remember. When Jesus surrendered to sovereignty, look what happened. Look what happened. Did he suffer? Yes. Was he beaten beyond recognition? Yes. Was he brutally treated? Yes. Was he marked? Yes. Was he crucified? Yes. Was he killed? Yes.
But look at what else happened. Was he resurrected? Yes. Was he now able to procure salvation for everyone who would believe in him because of his death and his resurrection? Yes. Was he exalted? Yes. God gave him the name that is higher than every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess, in heaven and on earth and under the earth that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father. He would now be considered King over Kings and Lord over Lords. He was exalted. And do you know what this did? This glorified the father.
You see, this is what we have to be able to remember, ladies and gentlemen, this. Friends, this is what we need to remember. When we surrender to sovereignty through prayer, we learn how much our father can be trusted. When we surrender to sovereignty through prayer, we learn just how much our father can be trusted. This is the implication from this one line prayer of Jesus, and I don't want us to miss it. You see, what Jesus showed us is he showed us that surrender to sovereignty is worth it. There are no limits to his rule and it doesn't matter what's happening, even if you don't understand it, even if you can't comprehend it.
Even though you're in the midst of a pandemic and you don't know what tomorrow holds for your job situation, for your financial situation, for your health situation, you don't know what it all looks like and it feels like we're out of control. What Jesus is showing us is that we pray because God is sovereign and in our praying we are surrendering to sovereignty. But we're not just surrendering to one who has all power and authority, he does; but he, the sovereign one, is our father and he can be trusted. This is what I want to make sure that we get. When we surrender to sovereignty through prayer, we learn how much our father can be trusted regardless of the situation that we are walking through.
I love how Charles Spurgeon said it and he said it in a message that he preached called A Happy Christian. He said these words. "The worldling blesses God while he gives him plenty, but the Christian blesses him when he smites him. He believes him to be too wise to error and too good to be unkind. He trusts him where he cannot trace him." That is brilliant. He trusts him where he cannot trace him. He looks up to him in the darkest hour and believes all is well. I sure hope that that's our heart this day because when we look at Jesus' prayer, this one line, one sentence prayer; "Father, if you're willing, take this cup from me yet not my will but yours be done," what we realize is this, is that while God's sovereignty means that there are no limits to God's rule, we have to remember that when we surrender to sovereignty through prayer, that we learn how much our father can be trusted.
So, what does that mean for you? It means everything. This can change your whole life. It can change your whole worldview. It can change your perspective about who God is and what God wants to do to redeem whatever it is that you're walking through. Now, you may be in a place where you've never before entrusted your life to Jesus. I hope that you would because he's demonstrated that the father can be trusted and Jesus has said himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." Do you realize this is the sovereign plan of God? That Jesus is the sovereign plan of God for the salvation of humanity. That Jesus is actually God who was put on flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten son of God.
And so, if you've never come to a place where you've turned from your sin and you've put your faith in Jesus Christ, do you know that this is God's moral will for you? That, listen to this, he's not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. That means a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. He wants new life for you. And if you've never come to that place where you've received Jesus, where you've said, "Enough with me trying to be king of my own life, enough with me trying to be sovereign over my circumstances, enough with me thinking that I can control the outcomes of everything." But instead learning what it means to actually trust God with everything in our lives, listen to this, and with our souls.
If you've never come to that place, then maybe you desire to do that. And if you want to know what that looks like and want to know more about that, I want to encourage you to go to thechapel.com/KnowingJesus. What this will give you an opportunity to be able to do is to connect with someone who can follow up with you and talk to you about what it means to surrender your life to Jesus. Maybe you can also communicate if you've got a need of prayer there. We'd love to talk to you.
Or if you want to call, then feel free to call the number that you see on the bottom of your screen. You can talk to somebody, they'd love to talk to you about what it means to receive Jesus, to be transformed, to have your sins forgiven, your life made new. You see, the sovereign God of the universe knew that we would all sin and we would all come short of the glory of God and in his kindness and in his graciousness to us, he has made provision for us to be able to know him and it is through his son Jesus. My hope is that will be the case for you.
Father, I pray for each person who's heard this message today. I pray God that you would give them a sense of understanding and that you would open their minds to the reality of the beauty of the gospel. Lord, for those who have yet to put their faith in you, I pray that you would allow faith to rise up in their hearts and that you would draw them to yourself by the power of your spirit. And I pray for all believers who have been listening to this message that we would all be reminded that sometimes we need a course correction and understanding who you are, that you God are sovereign. But that when we understand Jesus knew that you were sovereign more than anyone who's ever walked the face of the earth and he prayed and he surrendered his will to your sovereign will because you can be trusted as father, God would you make that true in our own hearts.
Father, would you make it true in our own hearts that no matter the circumstance that we're in, no matter what we're experiencing, no matter how much we don't understand about the things that are going on in the world or in our small little worlds of our lives, that even when we, listen, even when we cannot trace you, we can trust you. May my soul listen to that truth today. May our soul listen to that truth. I ask in Jesus' name. Amen.