BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 4 - The Sovereignty of God

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, the word "sovereign" has the following meanings:

  1. above or superior to all others; chief; greatest; supreme
  2. 2. supreme in power, rank, or authority
  3. 3. of or holding the position of ruler; royal; reigning It is evident that in the truest sense of the word, there can only be one sovereign of the universe.

Only one "supreme in power, rank or authority," only one above all others.

Most Christians today claim that the Sovereign of the universe is really three persons, that there is not one supreme Being, but rather, three supreme Beings. However, this claim is not supported by biblical facts. The Bible everywhere identifies the Sovereign of the universe as one almighty Being, a supreme Ruler to whom all others are subject. Because God is sovereign, His will is supreme in the universe. Not only are we as Christians obligated to obey that will, but all creation must submit to His purposes. God's sovereignty is the guarantee that all He has promised in His word will surely come to pass.

 

Part 1: The Supreme Ruler

                                                                                                           

Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. 1 Tim 6:15-16

"God would have the rulers of the nations know that He is the supreme Ruler. Those who preside over the affairs of nations should realize that there is a King of kings. The man who does not know God as his Father, and Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the infinite God, cannot rule wisely. He who has been placed where he has authority over others should seek the Lord for wisdom, that he may govern wisely the subjects of God's kingdom. An earthly ruler cannot exercise authority wisely or set an example that is safe to follow, unless he obtains wisdom from God, who is too wise to err and too good to do injustice to His human subjects." _ Manuscript Releases Vol. 3, p. 37

 

What is the significance of the fact that God sits on the throne of heaven? Rev. 5:13,14; Rev. 19:5,6

God is the great I AM, the source of being, the center of authority and power. Whatever the condition or situation of his creatures, they can have no sufficient excuse for refusing to answer the claims of God. The Lord holds us responsible for the light shining upon our pathway. We may be surrounded by difficulties that appear formidable to us, and because of these we may excuse ourselves for not obeying the truth as it is in Jesus; but there can be no excuse that will bear investigation." _ Sketches From The Life of Paul, p. 296

"Even to discuss the authority of the Almighty God seems a bit meaningless, and to question it would be absurd. Can we imagine the Lord God of Hosts having to request permission of anyone or to apply for anything to a higher body? To whom would God go for permission? Who is higher than the Highest? Who is mightier than the Almighty? Whose position antedates that of the Eternal? At whose throne would God kneel? Where is the greater one to whom He must appeal? `Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.' (Isa 44:6)" _ The Knowledge of The Holy, p.116 by A.W. Tozer                    

                                                                                                           

Key Thought

As the supreme Ruler of the universe, God is entitled to supreme obedience, and worship.                        

                                                                                                           

Part 2: An Irresistible God

                                                                                                           

This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. (Dan 4:17)

"But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God's purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking furnace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be four hundred years. "Afterward," He said, "shall they come out with great substance." Gen. 15:14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh's proud empire battled in vain. On "the self-same day" appointed in the divine promise, "it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." Ex. 12:41. So in heaven's council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son." Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer." _ The Desire of Ages, p. 32

 

By what symbol did God reveal the certainty of His purposes to Ezekiel? Ezekiel 1:4, 26; 10:8

"As the wheellike complications were under the guidance of the hand beneath the wings of the cherubim, so the complicated play of human events is under divine control. Amidst the strife and tumult of nations He that sitteth above the cherubim still guides the affairs of this earth. "The history of nations speaks to us today. To every nation and to every individual God has assigned a place in His great plan. Today men and nations are being tested by the plummet in the hand of Him who makes no mistake. All are by their own choice deciding their destiny, and God is overruling all for the accomplishment of His purposes. "The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order." _ Prophets and Kings, p. 536                      

                                                                                   

Key Thought                                     

                                                                                               

Since God is irresistible why was sin permitted to rise,and why has it been allowed to continue for so long?                 

Part 3: Thy Will Be Done

                                                                                                           

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Mat 6:10.

"Christ has taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." This opens before us the height to which we are to attain by steady progress and continual advancement. As members of the church of Christ, we are to do His will on earth. If all would do unto others as they would have others do unto them, we would see indications of a converted world. Upon this principle the Christian is to build. We are to ascend a ladder whose top reaches to heaven. . . . "Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord." Can we comprehend this? In Christ's stead we are to beseech men to become reconciled to God. . . . Acknowledge Him as your Redeemer, and you will become one with Him, even as He is one with the Father."--Letter 190, 1907. Reflecting Christ, p. 204

Is God's will being done in the conflicts and upheavals which seem to determine the place and destiny of nations today? Isa. 45:7; Dan. 4:17

"John beheld four angels standing on the corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the winds should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. These symbols are illustrative of the troubles that will come upon the earth, but that the angels of God have been mercifully holding back until the servants of God should be sealed in their foreheads. "Winds and earthquakes and tempests are not capricious outbreaks of unregulated mechanical forces. All nature is in the fullest sense under the control of physical law. It is the expression of a higher will. "He holdest the winds in His fists;" "He gathereth the waters in the hollow of His hands;" "He maketh the clouds His chariots;" "The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth king forever." Let not human wisdom dethrone and defy the great Sovereign of the universe. "He that made the world, and all things that are therein," He is the sustainer. All nature is but the working out of the laws which He has made, a manifestation of His sovereign will."--Ms 10, 1906. Manuscript Releases, Vol. 3, p. 342

 

Though God's will is supreme, what fact must we recognize as we look at the situation in the world today? Joshua 24:15

"God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automation. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. . . . It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan's charge of God's arbitrary rule." _ Conflict and Courage, p.13                      

                       

Key Thought                                                                                     

What is the difference between God's permissive will and God's perfect will.                 

Part 4: Without an Absolute Equal

                                                                                               

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. (2 Sam 7:22)

"He who gave being to the world has not lost His power or sovereignty. He still presides over the world. It is His prerogative to speak out His purposes. By His Son, the Mediator between God and man, these purposes are executed, and the Holy Spirit gives them effect. . . . ." _ Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 343

 

Which other being is equal to God in nature? John 1:1; Phil. 2:5,6

"Jesus alone could give security to God; for He was equal to God. He alone could be a mediator between God and man; for He possessed divinity and humanity" _ Review and Herald, April 3, 1894

 

Is Jesus Christ equal to God in absolute authority? 1 Cor. 15:27, 28; Matt. 11:25

"The great Creator assembled the heavenly host, that He might in the presence of all the angels confer special honor upon His Son. . . . The Father then made known that it was ordained by Himself that Christ, His Son, should be equal with Himself; so that wherever was the presence of His Son, it was as His own presence. The word of the Son was to be obeyed as readily as the word of the Father. His Son He had invested with authority to command the heavenly host. . . . His Son would carry out His will and His purposes but would do nothing of Himself alone. The Father's will would be fulfilled in Him." _ The Story of Redemption, p. 13

"The Son of God was next in authority to the great Lawgiver. He knew that his life alone could be sufficient to ransom fallen man. He was of as much more value than man as his noble, spotless character, and exalted office as commander of all the heavenly host, were above the work of man. He was in the express image of his Father, not in features alone, but in perfection of character." _ Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 2, p. 9

 

What name given to God the Father illustrates the fact of His ageless eternity? Daniel 7:9

"The Ancient of Days is God the Father. Says the psalmist: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God." Psalm 90:2. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment." _ The Great Controversy, p. 479                  

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

What thought came to the Psalmist as he considered the greatness of God? Psalm 8:3,4                        

                                   

Part 5: Lord of time

                                                                                   

LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psa 90:1-2

"I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike with God. He sees the most remote events of past history and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things which are transpiring daily. We know not what is before us, and if we did, it would not contribute to our eternal welfare. God gives us an opportunity to exercise faith and trust in the great I AM. . . . Our Saviour says, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56). Fifteen hundred years before Christ laid off His royal robe, His kingly crown, and left His position of honor in the heavenly courts, assumed humanity, and walked a man among the children of men, Abraham saw His day, and was glad. (John 8:57, 58). . . ." _ That I May Know Him, p. 12

 

What ability of the true God further emphasizes His authority as Lord of time? Isaiah 46. 9,10

Time is something which comes and goes without our thinking about it. We can use it, lose it, manage it and waste it, but we can never control it. What about God, does He have control of time? think about this: Did time exist before God, or did God create time? If time existed apart from God, then it would mean that time is greater than God. However, if all things were created by God, then this must also include time. Therefore we must look at the concept of time as having a definite beginning, with the period before this being eternity. The Bible was inspired by the mind of God. contains hundreds of prophecies, some of which span thousands of years, and yet, which are being faithfully and accurately fulfilled with the passing of the centuries. One may ask the question, "What is the reason for the accuracy of the Bible? Is it simply that God is good at calculating averages? Is it simply that the laws of cause and effect indicate that certain end results must take place as a result of certain actions over a period of centuries?" Only a very simple person who is unacquainted with the prophecies of the Bible would come to such a conclusion. The prophecies of the Bible are so detailed and accurate in their predictions that an intelligent mind immediately recognizes that the Being who was the author of those prophecies knew exactly, in every minute detail, exactly what would happen in the far distant future. This is not simply because God is able to see the future, but because as the Lord of time of time, He is able to use time to accomplish His purposes.

Key Thought

Time marks the beginning of created existence. God dwells in eternity but time dwells in God.                        

                                   

Part 6: Lord of my life

                                                                                   

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. (Psa 139:8-10)

"We are never alone. We have a Companion, whether we choose Him or not. Remember, young men and young women, that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, God is there. To your every word and action you have a witness,--the holy, sin-hating God. Nothing that is said or done or thought can escape His infinite eye. Your words may not be heard by human ears, but they are heard by the Ruler of the universe. He reads the inward anger of the soul when the will is crossed. He hears the expression of profanity. In the deepest darkness and solitude He is there. No one can deceive God; none can escape from their accountability to Him." _ The Youth's Instructor, May 26, 1898

 

How should we acknowledge God's claim upon us and His authority over our lives? 1 Cor. 10:31

"Here is a principle which lies at the foundation of every act, thought, and motive; the consecration of the entire being, both physical and mental, to the control of the Spirit of God. "Even the natural act of eating or drinking, should be done . . . "to the glory of God." _ The Faith I Live By, p. 230

 

How may we relate to the future in light of God's certainty? Matt. 6:31,32

"Much unnecessary care and anxiety is felt in regard to our future, concerning what we shall eat and drink and wherewithal we shall be clothed. The labor and worry of needless display in apparel causes much fatigue and unhappiness and shortens our lives. Our Saviour would not only have us discern the love of God displayed in the beautiful flowers about us, but He would have us learn from them lessons of simplicity and of perfect faith and confidence in our heavenly Father. "If God cares to make these inanimate things so beautiful, that will be cut down and perish in a day, how much more careful will He be to supply the needs of His obedient children, whose lives may be as enduring as eternity. How readily will He give them the adornment of His grace, the strength of wisdom, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. The love of God to man is incomprehensible, broad as the world, high as heaven, and as enduring as eternity." _ In Heavenly Places, p. 115

"The word that fed Israel in the desert, and sustained Elijah through the time of famine, has the same power today. "Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?" (Matt. 6:31, RV). . . ." _ Lift Him Up, p. 304

Key Thought 

           

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. (2 Chr 16:9)  

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

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