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Jun 10, 2019

Inky Johnson [former Tennessee Volunteer Football star] has an amazing perspective on God's sovereignty. Pastor Tom mentions Icky's perspective in a message that reminds us that God is 100% POWERFUL - 100% GOOD - 100% LOVING - 100% ABOUT DEVELOPING US - 100% ABOUT FREEDOM OF CHOICE - 100% A PROBLEM SOLVER - 100% FOR JUSTICE. And he is OK WITH THAT.

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Inky Johnson believes in a sovereign God - and is okay with the fact that He [God] is Sovereign. I'm going to read you a few quotes from him.

One is this... listen to this.

"I thank God for ruining my career. I'm a firm believer that God has never made a mistake. I'm also a firm believer that the things that happen to us are not designed to stop us, but to reposition us, so that we come into contact with what God really has for us. But just being honest, I think people missed the boat on the whole concept of God. Being good. You know, most people considered God to be good if He blesses them with a big house or new cars, you know, it's mostly based upon superficial material things.

Whereas me, I can wake up and say, God is awesome. I woke up today... you know, somebody didn't wake up this morning. You don't know what God has protected you from while you were sleeping, you and your family. And so if a person is up, if a person is alive, and well, that's enough. I've been living 27 years... and so I get to this point when I'm 27 years old, and I pray and I lead a godly life and then I see something that I want and I feel I deserve it. I pray for it. I work for it. And then it doesn't happen.

I can take that circumstance and say, Man, I'm mad at God. Why didn't God give me this? I felt I deserve this. I worked for this. I've been patient. I've stayed prayed up, I've helped some souls come to Christ. Why didn't I get this? And I can forget about the other 26 years of my life when God has blessed me tremendously. I can make it look at this. I can make a permanent decision over a temporary situation and consider myself to be mad at God. This is where a lot of us find ourselves. Sometimes we're upset at God at something that ultimately is temporary and we make permanent decisions that affect the rest of our life.

Why do that? God blesses us in so many ways every day. Every day, and we don't even pay attention to it. STAY THE COURSE. God says in Jeremiah 29:11, for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

He goes on, he says... when you hear something like that, take it for what it's worth. It's not a man talking. It's not a lady talking. It's God."

[Pastor Tom] So I'm going to read that scripture, one more time You are the YOU in this passage, okay?

Here's the passage. [For I know, the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.]

For a few moments now... I want to talk about God... His Sovereignty.

Sovereignty is a word that you and I basically are familiar with... to the extent where some people over the history of the world have been known as Sovereigns. Kings and queen. I mean, this goes clear back to some of the earliest civilizations known on Earth where as people say... Okay, this one individual... this one man or woman has total sovereign power. They can make any law they want, they can enforce it, they can do whatever they want. They are Sovereign.

Now there's been some people like that throughout the history of the world, and there are still some nations that have Sovereign rulers. So we might be familiar with the term through that. But when we talk about God being Sovereign, it's not like a person who's acting like they are Sovereign. God is [truly] sovereign. And I want to (just for a few moments), show you the uniqueness of His Sovereignty, instead of what we would see in a king or a queen.

And God's Sovereignty (that of course)... means God is 100% powerful. God, is also 100%. Good. At the same time, here is a God who is 100% Loving (at the same time). And this is where complications arise. You and I... who are not Sovereign... you and I... who do not understand what one second from now really is going to look like... you and I know nothing about the future... you and I... who who know very little about what's going on now in our life... we tend to get real high and mighty, and we judge the Sovereign God, who knows everything. And so we say things like... well... if you are all powerful, then why are some things on earth not so good? Truth is, we don't always know what good really is... what truth is in God's eyes, because God is seeing things in a picture that is so much bigger than what we can ever see.

You know, our ability as human beings... we look at what's happening before us right now, and we look at the past. But again, we can't even really see what's happening before us right now, in the big picture. So in this unique, Sovereign combination of God, He is all-powerful, but He's also all-good, and he is all-loving. And, fourthly, he is "all about developing us".

Again, it's a unique package here... of a God who is totally powerful, yet totally good, and totally loving and totally wanting to see us develop into the person we need to be.

Parents, grandparents, anybody who works with children... teachers... you know that your number one goal (when it comes to your child), I mean... beyond keeping them healthy and so forth... is that you want to see them develop as a human being. You want to see them develop.

So, sometimes [from the child's point of view]... in your desire to see them [the child] develop... you don't seem so loving. Or maybe you don't even seem so good, because you have the power to keep them from some pain that their going through. Bit you allow them to go through [that pain] to develop them as people. You know what that's like, as parents, grandparents. You've done that so many times... where you willingly let your child struggle, or feel some pain, because you know the only way they're really going to learn and develop is to feel that.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to North school to do some reading for students. And I was a little early. So I sat there in front of the school, before I went in. And I I was looking at the building - just the size of the building - and thinking what it was like the first time I went back to my elementary school as an adult. How small it seemed! You know, you've had that experience... when you're a child... your school seems so mammoth, so big, right? And then you go back as an adult, you just can't believe it [how small it is]. But also, as I was thinking about that, I was also thinking of the fear that goes through the child, the first day or week of school, right? They go through this big building, they don't know where they're at.

And [as I was sitting there in front of the school]... I was really feeling that fear. And then I was remembering as a parent, the feelings of allowing my child to ride on the school bus for the first time. And I was fearful for them to go to school for the first time, knowing that I could not be there. I was feeling that. But the thing is... as a parent, I had to let them do that. I had to let them feel that fear and that anxiety... and that's part of growing up. It's part of developing them. If I didn't love them so much, I would just say, I'm not going to let you feel or go through any of that.

But If you had to ask THEM on that day about their feelings... maybe they would have said... you're telling me that my dad could have stopped that? He's not so good.He let me go through that? Not so loving.

So it's not easy being God. There's this unique package of Him being powerful and good and loving, and then always wanting to develop us. But the thing also [and this complicates things even more]... is that God is 100% about freedom of choice. This is what makes Him different than any other person who's acted like they are Sovereign. God actually says... if you don't want to serve me, you don't have to, if you don't want to love me, you don't have to, if you even want to use my name in vain, you have permission to.

I'm going to give you total freedom of choice to do the right thing, or the wrong thing.

You know, why does that? Because, well, the second one [on the list]. God is a good God, and He, in his goodness, allows us the freedom to not be robots and be able to experience life... even if it's the wrong kind of life. And because He is loving, God doesn't want to make us into that kind of existence... like that robotic thing. And because He is so loving and wants a relationship with us, He also gives us the chance to NOT love him because nobody can really love you unless they have the chance NOT to love you.

You can't make somebody love you. For it to be real love, they have to have the chance to deny you... to say, "I don't like you, you bug me" and "stay away from me". And so God... wanting this to be a true relationship... knew that He needed to allow the chance for people to say "I don't love you". So there's this freedom of choice. But with choice, now in this whole sovereign package. With choice comes all sorts of problems. Because since the beginning of time, people have used choice in a way that has just snowballed into all types of terrible things... like things that we've heard on the news here this week,... the massacres...


And we say... if God is 100% powerful, he should have taken that away.

Well, that takes number five totally away to him, it takes your choice away, it takes our opportunity to have a relationship with him away.

NOTE: HERE ARE THE (SEVEN) ITEMS ON THE LIST:God Is Uniquely Sovereign...1.) 100% Powerful 2.) 100% Good 3.) 100% Loving 4.) 100% About Developing Us 5.) 100% About Freedom of Choice 6.) 100% A Problem-Solver 7.) 100% For Justice

It's hard being God. We love number five... we hate number five. It's all part of it. Inky Johnson had the choice of whether or not to play football.He had free choice. And that choice led him into where he's at today.

So God, is 100%, powerful. 100% Powerful. 100 % good. 100% loving. 100% about developing us, and 100% about developing us and 100% about freedom of choice. And the thing about God is that He doesn't leave it that way. You can get all upset on up on your high horse and judge a sovereign Almighty God in your incomplete understanding, if you want to. But remember this, God is a problem solver. He doesn't just leave it in the messy state that freedom of choice has brought it to. So for instance, you know, John 3:16. [For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.]

It's about a God being 100% powerful, and 100%, good and 100% loving... so much that He came to this earth and had the powerful ability to become a human being and die for us. And why did He need to do that? Because number seven (which I'll get to in a moment), is that God is 100% about justice. God is all about doing things, the right and just way. And when you and I offend the greatest being in the universe, God... when we do things our own way and reject God... the punishment for that is death. The greatest offense deserves the greatest punishment, which is death. And so God... to solve that problem... says, He sent his only son so that whoever would receive the gift of his death in our place... could find salvation through Him. So God solved that problem.

Romans 8:28, the amazing verse that so many of you know says that God takes every situation that happens for the believer... every situation.. and He brings good out of it. And the situations that happen that aren't so good, are so many times... because of number five happening, freedom of choice.

He is 100%. for justice. I know this is messy. I know life is messy. I know that. I know that sometimes with God and all of His power... and the fact that He is good... I know that sometimes it's easy to complain about stuff going wrong. And you know, when number five gets out of hand [see list above], the freedom of choice and... and just the way life is... God didn't create this world to have disease and all of that initially. It's because of the rebellion of man that all of this is... that it has gone this way. So God finds a solution, and then He's all about justice. And I'm just going to end it on this... For those of you who come to Him and relationship, God wants to make things right... that haven't gone right in this world.

For those of you that have had a loved one die, you know, way too early. God's gonna make that right.

God is for justice... those of you that have been treated cruelly... those of you who have been walked on unfairly in your life... those of you that people have knifed you in the back. God says vengeance is mine. Vengeance is his.

In the end, God will make sure that whatever is unfair, will be straightened out. But that's God's, and it's not yours. God is 100% for justice. And because God looks at things... not in just this short lifetime. God looks at things within the scope of a timeless eternity. Somehow... either in this lifetime, or somehow beyond this lifetime... it's all going to be worked out forever, God's going to make it right. And so He is uniquely Sovereign.

And this is why inky Johnson can say... (and this is a quote now from what you heard earlier), he says, "I understood the process is more important than the product. And He is saying I understood the fact that God is developing me even though He ruined my career. I understand the process is more important than the product, I understand that I had the freedom of choice to walk onto that football field, but there's still a process. He says it wasn't about the outcome for me, whether I made it to the NFL not that was in consequential to God's plan for my life."

Here He's [Icky] talking about the fact that God is, is 100%, about freedom of choice, but God is good, and God is loving. And so even if the NFL didn't work out for him, (which it didn't), He could rest in the fact that there is a God who has a plan. And He's good 100%, and loving 100%. And He [Icky] says,

"but I was going to fall, [I love this, quote], I was going to fall in love with that process. You see the thing we have to understand about everything we are part of... is that first and foremost, it's a blessing from God."

And I'm just going to leave you with this.... I'm just going to encourage you with this today for a God who doesn't make sense, because He doesn't make sense... because you've got a life that seems unfair and hasn't worked out the way you want it to. I'm going to encourage you to believe in a Sovereign God who is fully in love with you. He has your good in mind all the time. And I'm going to... I'm going to encourage you to fall in love with the PROCESS of what's going on, even if it hurts, even if it's incomplete. Even if you you can't see any reason for it. I'm going to encourage you to fall in love with the process of all of that, because you know that there's a God behind it, who is Sovereign and who does work it out and is 100% for your good and loves you and He's in control of the process.

So fall in love with the process, even though it hurts and you don't like it. And maybe you can be ok with the fact that God is Sovereign.

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