Tag Archives: Lord

Meet the Man Who Created the Sabbath

Part of a weekly series on Matthew. This week: Matthew 12:1-8.

The Pharisees had a tough time seeing it. Something greater than Jonah. Something greater than Solomon.

They made the same mistake when they accused Jesus and his disciples of plucking grain and eating it on a Sabbath.

Jesus, like he did when tempted by Satan, went to Scripture to demonstrate their hypocrisy.

He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?

In essence, Sabbath laws do not restrict deeds of necessity, service to God, worship or acts of compassion.

What was prohibited was work for the sake of profit.

Therefore a priest could perform his duties. A child weak with hunger could glean for food. A man with a withered hand could expect restoration.

In fact, refusal to do good on the Sabbath is tantamount to doing evil. “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Sabbath laws should give way to means of religion. And means of religion should always give way to circumstances of mercy.

And if the Sabbath must give way to means of religion, should not both give way to the One who created them?

This Is the Man Who Created the Sabbath

Jesus then drives a stake in the ground: “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

A straightforward claim that he was indeed God. Messiah.

No man ever claimed to be lord of the Sabbath.

Not Moses. Nor David.

Only Jesus.

Keep in mind: he didn’t come to abolish the Sabbath.

He came to preside over it. To redeem it from the oppression of the religious. To undo the straps of the yoke. And to breathe an air of love and liberty into it not known until then.

This is why he said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

As Messiah, Jesus’ campaign of liberation included the Sabbath. In fact, his intention was to bring a taste of our future eternal bliss to us by restoring the Sabbath to its natural state.

A little bit of heaven on earth.

So, when we turn the Sabbath into a theater of hurry or confusion or indulgence, we abuse it. Jesus’ design was that it would become a theater of saints at the feet of their Lord. At rest. At peace. At worship.

Let’s make sure we keep it that way.

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God’s Sovereignty and Why It Doesn’t Contradict Man’s Freedom

Where you learn that God’s sovereignty means the absolute rule, authority and government of God over all His creation…including man’s freedom.

Supreme. Superior. Chief. Foremost. Highest. Preeminent. Superb. Superlative. Ultimate. Utmost. Predominate. Unsurpassable. Ruler.

These are all words used to describe sovereign. And they apply to God’s sovereignty.

God’s sovereignty means the absolute rule…the absolute authority…and the absolute government of God over all His creation.

But in order for God to be sovereign there has to be a uniqueness to His being. He alone has to be God. In other words, He doesn’t share his rule with anyone–or anything.

Deuteronomy declares:

To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. 

Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. 

See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me. 

The consequences for us if God is sovereign:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 

The first rule of worship is this: worship God alone.

God Is Alone in His Sovereignty

Not only are there no other gods, but He’s the only God of every nation, culture, race, philosophy and language.

He is the only one who reigns over men and women, blacks and whites, the dead and the living, the born and the unborn.

He lords it over every Christian, Jew, Mormon, Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Baha’i, Buddhist, atheist and agnostic.

Every insect, mammal, bird and plant are under His control.

That is to say, God possess all. He has the right of dominion over all. The earth is His. All it contains. All who live in it.

We owe God for our existence. Our movements. Our lives. And not only does he possess all, but he governs all.

God Is Alone in His Government

He governs the world. And what He declares is determined and accomplished without apology or error.

But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such decrees are with Him. 

No purpose of his is restrained. Any purpose at odds with Him is frustrated. And He will execute his will regardless of man.

That’s why His sovereignty requires that He be absolutely free. He must be free to do whatever He wills anywhere at anytime–to carry out His eternal purpose in every single detail. Without interference. Including creation.

God Is Alone in His Creation

The creation of the universe–and everything in it–was by a fiat of God. It was his breath–the symbol of his almighty creative will–that brought us to life. His words.

And His words alone.

Eight times Genesis says “God said.” God spoke, and created. Psalm 33 recognizes this:

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host. 

For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. 

Only the highest power could bring something from nothing. Somebody from nobody.

God alone.

Furthermore, all of creation must rest within the supreme dominion of God. Nothing is outside of it. Anything independent of God denies the sovereignty of God.

Paul appealed to God’s single and solitary dominion over subordinate beings when he argued with the Athenians:

The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 

God Is Alone in His Providence

As Creator, Governor and Lord, He rules over all events, men and morals. This is seen in three ways.

1. All ordinary events are under his power: the burrowing of the worm, the pounding of the waves, the formation of the mountains, the orbit of the planets and the birth of the universe. He surmounts these events like Mt. Everest surmounts a mole hill.

2. He rules, establishes, judges and overthrows the authority of all men–whether Christian or not. Corrupt governments and criminal leaders are under God’s sovereign purpose.

3. God respects good and evil. Sins of men come with the scope of his role and provider. “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” 

 God creates light and darkness, peace and evil.  that He kills and makes alive, wounds and heals.  if evil is found in a city wasn’t it appropriate to say God did it?

We say God approved of evil’s purpose to accomplish His goals. The same way God is actively at work in the .

Every step of it.

God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies and glorifies. He owns every step of salvation. He’s elected those whom he loved beforehand to receive grace because that–in his incorruptible and flawless wisdom–is what He decided.

And without argument the grandest example of God’s sovereignty as it respects wickedness and goodness is found in the crucifixion:

This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 

God is just in all his way. Holy in all his works. So God does not contract evil because He allows it. He can’t be accused of evil. Responsibility remains with the man.

Divine retribution must not be divorced from the sinful, perverse condition of the heart. God may foreordain evil–He may will it–but he certainly doesn’t live it.

In the Bible this is obvious and paramount: God blinds the minds of men and hardens their hearts as part of his judgment against them. He lets them sin.

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 

Which brings us to one of the most perplexing questions when it comes to God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom.

Why God’s Sovereignty Doesn’t Contradict Man’s Freedom

So, if God rules His universe the way he wants to rule it, then how is it possible for man to have any freedom?

More to the point, how can God hold anyone accountable for sins they commit if God determined that’s their fate?

This one stumps many people. But here’s the best way to explain it.

God determined that man should be free to choose between good and evil. And from the beginning, man’s fulfilled that decision by making his choice between good and evil.

In fact, we live under the foolish myth–just like Adam and Eve–that we are our own gods. That we declare right and wrong. That we live by our own standards.

God didn’t decide which choice we would make. What he determined was that man should be free to make it. And the live by the consequences of those choices.

Certain things have been decreed by the free determination of God. And one of these is the law of choice and consequences.

He said that all who love darkness and continue in rebellion against the high authority of heaven shall remain in a state of spiritual alienation and suffer eternal torment.

That is the consequence for rebellion.

He said that those who love the light, obey His commands and believe and trust in the substitutionary power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ shall enjoy living in his kingdom of heaven forever.

That is the consequence for obedience.

There is freedom to choose which side we want to be on. But there is no freedom to negotiate the results of the choice once it is made.

Our choices are our own. But the consequences of those choices have already been determined by the sovereign will of God.

From this there is no appeal. Share your thoughts. Brutal and all.

**Part of The Nature of God series.**

What Does It [Really] Mean to “Call Upon the Lord”?

For all the talk of God’s sovereignty, election and spiritual bondage, the Bible unequivocally clamps down on our reaction to the gospel…

There’s no missing it: We are responsible for exercising our faith.

We are, in the end, held accountable to “call upon the Lord.”

Here’s Peter and Paul’s take on it:

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

But what does “call upon the Lord” mean? More importantly, is it the same thing Jesus described in  when people came to him saying “Lord, Lord”?

No, it’s not. It’s way more complex than that.

When Peter was asked what one had to do to be saved, , “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Paul said that this calling upon the Lord can’t happen . A sinner cannot “call” until after he has heard the Word of God–and believed it.

So then, every non-believer who wants to obtain salvation does not get it by simply praying to God or saying, “Lord, Lord,” but by submitting to God’s authority.

Ultimately, a genuine Christian, among other things, obeys God’s commands, reject this evil world, longs for Jesus’ return, loves other Christians and discerns between truth and error.

Only when a person submits to the will of God can he accurately be described as “calling on the Lord.” And only then can he enjoy great confidence in his eternal salvation.

There’s no short-circuiting that process. At all.