#3 "Hope In His Sovereignty"

“Hope In His Sovereignty” was preached on December 16th, 2012 by Pastor Nathan Yarbrough at the worship gathering of Ekklesia Muskogee. Week #3 in Ekklesia’s An Old Hope; A New Hope Advent sermon series.

Isaiah 9:1-7

1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 35:1-10

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
2 it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

3 Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Galatians 4:4-7

4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

God is sovereign. He is above all, supreme in power, and independent of all else. He is not just sovereign over everything else but sovereign, period. Nothing, in our sphere of existence or elsewhere, holds any sort of sway over Him. He is the creator, author, and sustainer of all that is; He breathed out all that exists and upholds it by the Word of His power.  This is the God we can fully and truly hope in; who we can desire and whose promises we can expect to come to fruition. God, in his sovereignty, wrote the story of our existence and set it into motion, knowing every part fully. From our creation, to the fall of the world into sin, the defeat of His chosen people, and the redemption of His creation through His son Jesus. He has woven Himself into this story. He bends down in His independent, supreme state of being and loves us simply because it pleases Him to do so. He displays His great grace for His glory by His sovereign promises, our Old and New Hope as displayed in Isaiah 9 & 35. Also, in the perfect timing of Christ’s birth in Micah 5 and Galatians 4. Finally, His sovereign glory is displayed in our involvement and adoption into His family, and as His chosen people, our spiritual, emotional, and physical redemption- this is for all those who come to trust in Jesus as their Savior King. All for His glory, through Jesus, made possible by His sovereignty over all things. This is the true hope we focus on in this season of Advent. More so than any other thing or act we could halfway hope in, we can hope fully in Christ as the word of God says. O the sweet taste of sovereign grace!

DISCUSSION
Q.1 Was there anything from Sunday’s sermon or the big idea that was new to you or had an affect on you? Did you hear anything that raised more questions in your mind?

Q.2 Why is it truly hopeless to set your hope and trust on something or someone that is not Sovereign?

Q.3 What does it mean that God is sovereign in salvation- what about God’s command to man that he must come to Jesus through faith; that he must repent and believe the gospel to be saved? How can God’s sovereignty in our salvation and preservation give us hope? What hope do we have if we live in denial of God’s sovereignty in all things? ***What Scripture can you think to give evidence for your answers?

Q.4 Specifically, where in your life do you see darkness, pain, or persecution contrasted with the light of God’s sovereign grace? How can God’s sovereignty lead us to hope when we find ourselves in situations like the Newtown Shooting in Connecticut or Herod slaughtering all of the male children 2 years and under after Jesus birth (Matthew 2:13-18)? ***What Scripture can you think to give evidence for your answers?

Q.5 Where do you struggle with God’s sovereignty? Either in belief in his sovereignty or acceptance thereof.