LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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Lesson 6 God, The Ruler of All Things

 

Devotional Reading:   Psalm 34:1Ė11.

 

Memory Verse:           Matthew 10:29.

        

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

 

LESSON TEXT

 

Nehemiah 9:6. Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.

 

Psalm 103:19. The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.

 

Psalm 37:3, 25. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

 

Matthew 6:26Ė30. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

 

COMMENTS ON THE LESSON TEXT

 

Nehemiah 9:6. God is here represented as the creator of the universe and also as its preserver. Man must be included.

Psalm 103:19. God rules the whole universe. He is preserver and ruler.

Psalm 89:9. Nature is specific as coming under Godís rule.

Psalm 37:3, 25. Here Godís care over his people is expressed.

Matthew 6:26Ė30. Jesus points out Godís care for the smallest of things and from it argues his providence toward man.

 

LESSON TOPIC: GODíS PROVIDENTIAL RULE

 

Definition. Two ideas are included in the thought of God as ruler. One refers to him as the preserver of all things, the other to his direction of the universe. Both ideas are found in the text.

 

I. NATURAL PROVIDENCE

 

1. Erroneous ideas.

 

A) The denial of providence. A certain class of people allow that there has been a creation but affirm that God, having created the world, has left all to be governed by natural law. He has retired from the scene and no longer takes an interest in the affairs of this world. The Bible clearly refutes this idea. B) Immediate control. Other hold that ever event in nature, even to manís acts, is the result of an immediate volition on Godís part. That God can, and at times does, exercise such immediate control is not claimed in the Scriptures nor do facts of experience warrant this conclusion. To assume that God controls the thought and acts of men, in their entirety, is to deny the moral responsibility of men.

 

2. Sustaining providence.

 

A) Is nature self-sustaining? It is often claimed that the natural forces now in operation are sufficient to sustain the universe without the presence of God. We may not be warranted in saying that should God retire from the universe all would at once become chaos. Nor has it ever been proved that the presence of God is not essential to the sustaining of natural forces. Itís so any how. B) Sustaining Providence a Security. But could the world do without God? We feel a greater security in his presence. We have the assurance that he who made natural forces and formed natural laws is himself sustaining nature. The Bible gives us full proof of this providence which is a source of confidence to man.

 

3. Rule through secondary causes.

 

A) The existence of physical causes. The existence of physical causes, auch as gravitation, magnetism, centrifugal force, adhesion, etc., must be admitted. The fact that men are able to use these forces at will would indicate that they are not the direct acts of God expressing his immediate volition. Man uses a physical force to destroy his neighbor; this cannot be said to be a direct act of God. B) Godís use of natural causes. Physical forces are but secondary causes, back of which is the Great First Cause. Inasmuch as man uses these forces at will, may not god also use them at will to accomplish his own purpose? He does so use them.

 

II. SPECIAL PROVIDENCES

 

1. What they are.

 

Special providences are those unusual acts of God which he performs in the world. Because of their infrequence we call them miracles. Yet they are much more frequent than even many Christians suppose. They are acts out of the usual course of nature.

 

2. The need of special providence.

 

A) Manís ignorance. Natural law is not alone in its operation. The free volition of man affects the operation of these laws. Because of manís ignorance of law, special protection is sometimes necessary. Paul unconsciously picked up a serpent which Providence prevented from harming him. B) Manís sinfulness. Because of the wickedness of men it becomes necessary that Godís people receive special protection. There are frequent examples of this in the Bible and in present experience.

 

3. The fact of such providence.

 

A) The possibility. The possibility of miracles is acknowledged when we admit Godís omnipotence. It is no more impossible nor unreasonable for God to do an unusual thing to accomplish his purpose than for him to use natural means. B) Miracles are not unnatural. Special acts of providence are not contrary to nature but simply above the ordinary course. Men use one physical force to counteract another without annulling natural laws. May not God supersede nature without destroying it? But should special acts of God be in violation of natural law, has not he who gave the law a right to suspend it? C) Proof of Special Providence. Such experiences are common to Christians in a greater or lesser degree.

 

4. The method of operation.

 

A) Direct acts. Many instances are on record where by a direct act, God has intervened for men. These acts need not be spectacular though they sometimes are. God often acts in what appears to be the most ordinary way. B) Influencing MENíS minds. Though we may not understand how, God does impress his will on the minds of men. At times men do things that afterward reveal the hand of providence. At other times one feels impelledóhe knows not whyóto do what later proves to be Godís special will. The Bible abounds in answered prayer.

 

III. THE SPHERE OF OPERATION

 

In Nature. Through special acts of God, waters were parted, walls fell, lionís mouths were stopped, fire quenched, sick healed, dead raised.

Human affairs: Nebuchadnezzar.