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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - Is God in Everything?

Charles Stanley - Is God in Everything?

Charles Stanley - Is God in Everything?
TOPICS: Trust, Comfort

I want to ask you a real tough question. Is God in everything? Is God in everything in your life? It's a tough question and one sometimes, we would like to avoid but one that every one of us need to have a very clear answer about in our life. And here's the reason. Because whether He is in everything or not affects my faith in God, that is my confidence in Him. It affects my reaction to conflicts in life. It highly influences whether I am able to experience comfort in time of sorrow and heartache and trouble. It makes the difference as to whether I'm going to be able to experience contentment in the time of trial or not. And it highly influences my compliance with what God requires of me. For example, when He says, "In everything give thanks" if God is not in everything, can I really and truly give thanks? Well, it's a whole lot easier for me to say, "Yes, God is in everything" when I look at it from a positive viewpoint and things are going my way.

It's not so easy for me to believe that God is in everything when I am suffering pain and hardship and heartache and trials and troubles. For example, is God in everything? Is He in our financial success? What about our financial failure? Is He in a good marriage? Is He in the divorce? Is He in godly children? Or is He in those that are living in sin, alcohol, sex, drugs, wasting their life? Is He in the promotion that you receive on your job? Then is He in the loss of your job? Is He in the good health that you experience every day? Then is He in the sickness that you're undergoing? Is He in your life of obedience? Then is He in the sin that you commit? Is He in the good weather, the sunshine, the good snows, the gentle rains? Then is He in the tornadoes, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, the eruption of volcanoes? Is God in everything?

Well, that's the title of this message and there's one verse of Scripture I want you to turn to and let's examine the question, "Is God in everything"? Romans 8:28. Most all of us know it by heart but turn there, if you will, because somehow there's something about reading it that just saying it isn't quite the same. The eighth chapter of Romans and the twenty eighth and the twenty ninth verses. And Paul addresses this, and he says, "And we know", that is he says, "Now I know we all know this. That God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called or who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren".

Is God in everything in your life? Well, you may look at your life this morning or today and say, "Well, I believe He's in some things but I would have a hard time believing that He is in everything". So, the first thing I want to say in this message in this, God is in everything. Listen to this passage and stay with me now. Don't jump ahead and try to figure out something because if you do, you'll get confused. Listen, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good". There's some things he does not say in this passage. First of all, he didn't say everything is going to turn out good. He didn't say simply that God's just in everything, period. He says, "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose".

God is, indeed, in every single thing. Now, He is not in every single thing the same way but He is in everything. And this does not mean that God is the initiator of sin. At no place and at no point in your life or mine would God ever initiate sin. He would never, personally, lure us into sin and then judge us as a result of it. He doesn't instigate it but He is in everything. He is in everything and either He is the one who sends it or He is the one who allows it, permits it or He is the one who withholds blessings from our life. But God, indeed, is in everything.

So, as we think about that question and we think about what is happening in your personal life at this time. And maybe you're thinking about some things that are going on and you're asking the question, "How could God be in something that hurts me the way I'm hurting? And how could God be in something that is someone else's fault, I had nothing to do with and yet I'm the one who is suffering the pain? How could God be in something like that"? Well, that brings us to what I call the second agent. That is, the second cause. Oftentimes you and I look at what we are suffering and the way we are hurting and we say, "Well now, I know God is in the good things that come my way but look what he's doing to me. Look what she has done to me. Look how they are treating me. Do you mean to tell me that God is in that"?

So, listen, for the believer there's no such thing as a second cause. God is either in everything and not only in it but has everything under absolute control or He cannot be God. If there is anything that is out of the control of God, then He's not the God of the Bible. And you and I know that that is not true. God is, indeed, in every single thing. Now, which means that everything abides under His control. And so, no matter what comes your way and my way, as believers... And I'm coming to unbelievers later. No matter what comes your way and my way, as believers, everything, no matter what the second cause may appear to be or what the agent may be whether it is something or some thing, God, ultimately, is in control and He's involved.

For example, let's say that your little boy, he's five years of age, has a very, very bad cough, croup. He's all congested. You go to the medicine cabinet, as his mom, and you look through all the things that you have and you pick out this big bottle of black, terribly tasting syrup. It's horrible. The last time you tried to give it to him he ran in the bedroom, got in the bed, and pulled the covers up over himself and said, "No, no, no, I'm not going to take it". So he knows what's coming. So, you get the big bottle of dark syrup and you bring it to your son and you set him down and you say, "Now, you're sick and you must have this because this will make you well".

Now, let's think about it for a moment. It isn't mother that tastes bad. It's the syrup that tastes bad. The syrup is in the bottle. And so, what does the son do? For example, let's say that he gets real angry and he slaps the bottle. Well, he slaps the bottle because that's what he doesn't want. Now, he wouldn't slap his mother. The bottle didn't take itself out of the cabinet, unscrew its own top and walk its way into the boy's bedroom. Mother reached into the cabinet. Out of a loving heart she picked the only thing in there and the best thing that would bring healing to her son. She choose the medicine. She took it in her hand, and she brought it to the bedroom and said, "Son, this will bring healing to you. I know it tastes terrible. I know it stings. I know you don't like it. It makes you have a face, and you don't feel good. And it may make you a little nauseated, but I know it's going to heal you".

Now, he doesn't like it. He would never slap his mother, but he slaps at the bottle. If I begin to slap at the bottle what I'm going to do is I'm going to get bitter and resentful and hostile toward those people or those things in my life that have caused me hurt, harm, ill will, suffering, heartache, whatever it may be. That is the natural, normal tendency to blame the bottle. The bottle only holds the medicine which the Father, ultimately, holds. Is God in everything? God is in everything. So, I can respond in one of two ways. I can get resentful, hostile, and angry, and I can blame and seek vengeance. Or, I can say, "God, You said You are working everything, everything you are working together for my good. You didn't say I would like it. You didn't say it would be pleasant. I'm not to hoop it up and say, 'Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Just bring it on God, I love problems.'"

God knows better than that. None of us like it and we have a right to say, "God, I don't like it. I object to it". You can argue with Him, tell Him exactly how you feel. Just let Him know, "God, I don't like anything about this. I feel it's unfair, it's unjust". Just tell Him. Get it out of your system. It doesn't hurt His feelings. He understands. So, you see, the truth is all of us know that we go through those circumstances and situations in life, and we go through them but, in spite of that, listen, in spite of that we know that there is a seal of protection around of us. And, if that's true and God allows the injustice, and He allows the ill will and He allows the accusations and He allows Satan to work us over in a very harsh fashion remember the bottle. It only contains the medicine.

The hand of God, ultimately, is in absolute and final control. The second thing I want you to notice here is this and that is that God's involvement in everything is limited. Now listen to what He says. He says, "We know that God causes all things to work..." That's not what he says. "God causes all things to work together" He fits them together for, listen, for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. So, everything I have said up until this point about what God causes and what He does is related to the believer.

You say, "Okay, now what about the unbeliever. Is God in everything"? Yes and no. He is in everything that happens in the life of the unbeliever. And what I mean by that is the person who has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. He is in everything that happens in the life of the unbeliever in this light, He knows everything the unbeliever does. He says that. He is continually extending His love to the unbeliever. He is continually reaching out ready and willing to forgive the unbeliever. He is continually attempting to convict the unbeliever of sin, continually attempting to bring knowledge and understanding so that that person will understand they need Christ, but He is also continually involved in the life of the unbeliever attending his and her sin, seeing to it that they suffer the consequences of their disobedience. Because the wrath of God is coming against all disobedience and rebellion.

That's what He says in Ephesians chapter 2. Is He involved in the life of the unbeliever? Yes, He is. You see, when a person rejects the Lord Jesus Christ, turns their back on God... Now listen, when a person turns their back on God. How does God respond to that? Look back to Romans chapter 1. He makes it very clear. And my friend, if you happen to be one of those persons who has made a decision, and there is a point, there is a point in a person's life, and if you have made this decision in your life, if you'll just think a few moments, you'll be able to look back and see where you decided. "I don't want any part of that. I am going to live the way I want to live".

Then what you did is you stepped across an invisible line and here's God's response to your awesome decision. Verse 21 Romans 1. "For even though they knew God..." Let's put it in the present tense. "Even though they know God, they do not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but they become futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart is darkened by their decision to turn away from God. They profess to be wise, but the truth is they are fools, they exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and of four-footed animals and crawling things". In our culture, people and things primarily. What's God's response? Here's his response. "Therefore God gives them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them".

Now what He's saying here is that immorality dishonors the body. Then he says, "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this reason God gives them over to degrading passions". Verse 28, "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gives them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper". You want to know what God's response is to those who insist on living their life their own way, apart from God? It's real simple and here's what He says. He says, "If that's the way you want it, you can have it your way".

But, with your way come the consequences of the wrath and the chastisement and the judgment and the punishment of a holy God who created you to be like Himself. Well, there's a third thing about this passage I want us to look at, God's involvement in everything. And that is this, third thing I want to say here is, first of all, that He is involved in everything. And as we said here, secondly, not only is He involved in everything but that His involvement is limited to those who are believers to some degree. But He's also involved in the life of the unbeliever. But thirdly God is involved in everything even our sin. Now this is where I want you to be careful to listen. God is involved even in our sin. Does He initiate it? Never. Does He instigate it in any way? Never. Does He lure us into sinning? No, because to experience sin I must suffer the consequences. It would not be in the character of God to lure me into sin and then to judge me for the thing that He caused. So, God never tempts us. He never lures us into sin, but God is in our sin.

Now, when we say that, "Is God in our sin"? Yes, He is and I want you to be sure you follow me carefully here. First of all, we said He does not cause it but He allows it. We have a free will to some degree and so, when we choose to step out of God's will, do what we want to do, He allows it to happen. Why does He allow it? So, He's in our sin in this fashion, not that He's responsible for it but He's in our sin in that in allowing us to sin and giving us the freedom to do so what does He do but reveal to us our weaknesses, our faults, our frailties, our pride, our arrogance. What is the one thing God has to deal with above everything else? S-E-L-F, self.

Now let me give you a good example. There are times in your Christian life, and you can sort of relate to this. There are times when you get in a habit of reading your Bible every morning. You get up in time and a week goes by and you've read every morning and you've prayed. You've prayed for all the folks you pray for on your prayer list. Two weeks, three weeks, four weeks go by and man, things just seem to be going your way and you know boy you, "Praise God. Lord, I'm really learning how to get this done now. Thank you Jesus and I think I'm being able to do the work You've called me to do and I just want to praise You for it". And all of a sudden, bam. You're down. Absolutely sin against God.

You say, "Yeah, that does happen sometimes". It happens to all of us. And you know why? God isn't about to let us begin to think now we are doing it. We are doing it, in our energy, our strength, our wisdom and our spirituality. We are reading the Bible daily and we are praying and we are doing pretty good and everything is just going great. "Praise the Lord. God, I know that You recognize my help". Ho, ho. No, He doesn't either. You see, pride can slip up into all of us before we know what has happened to us. And you know what God does? He says, "Fine, be My guest". And what do we do? We fall flat on our face. And what happens when we fall? "Oh ho, God I am so weak. The old flesh gets the best of me".

You see, God wants us to live at the end of our self all day, every day, absolutely depending upon Him. It is not our works. Listen, we didn't work to get saved and we don't work to stay saved. And it isn't our works that keep us obedient to God. It's trusting Him. Because the Christian life is not a life of working and doing myself and managing and getting better. You see, the truth is your flesh is no better than it was before you were saved. It's the same old flesh. Human nature with its five senses. The only difference is now you have Christ living on the inside of you and He is the victory. And it is only when I trust Him that I'm victorious. And when I don't trust Him, I fail. How is God in our sin?

Here's how is He in our sin. He's in our sin by teaching us the consequences of it. He's in our sin by teaching us the awesome forgiveness of His love. He's in our sin by overwhelming us with grace that He could forgive us and cleanse us. And you see, this is why when you falter and fall that you're not to walk around in a big circle having a pity party. "God, I really blew it this time. It's terrible. God, I'm ashamed. God forgive me". And on and on and on we go thinking, thinking that if we tell Him how bad it is and how awful we feel and the more we tell Him finally He'll be convinced and finally He'll forgive us. That is a waste of time. When were you forgiven? Two thousand years ago. At the cross, God’s forgiveness covered every single sin. Our confession and repentance is to renew our fellowship with Him.

And listen, you can walk around in a circle and have the biggest pity party for weeks and months and years talking about things in your past. And that is exactly why where some people are and why they live in a state of depression for years. Because they will not accept the forgiveness and the grace of God now! There's no reason for a pity party. My acting like I'm sorry does not impress God. What God wants is immediate repentance of my sin and move on in the Christian life. Is He in our sin? Yes, to demonstrate His awesome, inexplainable grace. Does that motivate to sin? It motivates to love and obedience and service and honor and praise and worship of this living God who could be so forgiving. Is He in our sin? Doesn't instigate it. Suffer the consequences of it? Yes. But He uses it to teach us, to instruct us how weak and feeble we are. That we are absolutely dependent upon Him for every single thing in life.

And just the time you and I think that well, we think we've got this down now. And so, we're not going to let that bother us any more what happens is we learn, no we don't. You see, in the natural life what do we do? The older we get the less dependent we are upon our parents. In the spiritual life the more mature you are the more you rely upon the Savior.

Now one last thing I would say about this, quickly. God is in everything. God is in every single thing. He is involved in every area of our life because that is His motivation for accomplishing His great purpose in your life and mine. What is His ultimate purpose? He says in verse 29, "to conform us to the likeness of Christ". Because you see, God's goal isn't my happiness but to be like Him. And in His wisdom He says if you're going to get well you need the old black syrup. I don't like it. You don't like it. But so, we have to decide, "Do I want to be like Him"? Then I must be willing to see every single, solitary thing from the hand of a loving Father. As painful as it may be I must see it from His hand.

Now my friend, if you're not a Christian let me just say this to you. You may not understand when we say God is in everything but listen carefully. God is in everything in your life. And that fact that, up until this point, you have rejected Christ as your Savior, you've decided to live your life the way you want to because God is in absolute charge and because He loves you, He has allowed you enough free will to make that terrible choice. But He's in everything in your life and He will see to it, as much as He does not want to, He will see to it that the consequences of your sin, you will have to face and pay the penalty of that sin because you see, to do otherwise He could not be God. To do otherwise would send out a message that you can reject God and get away with sin which would be against the will and the purpose and the plan of Almighty God.

I want to encourage you to confess your sin to Him and tell Him that you've lived long enough without Him, that you don't want to live your life full of misery. Think about this. Think about the people who come the end of their life, the last days and the last hours. What a terrible thought to think that you've lived with that emptiness, trying to fill it with everything imaginable and you come to the last days and hours of your life and realize all along it could have been filled with the most precious, precious possession any man and woman ever has and that is the life of Christ Himself. Don't make the mistake of dying without Christ. If you want God's best you will say to Him:

Heavenly Father, from this day on I choose to receive everything that comes to my life as from Your good hand. I receive the good and the welcomed. I receive the painful and the hurt and the sorrow. I receive it all from You. I choose to see it coming from you no matter what the agent, no matter what the bottle. No matter what appears to be the second cause, I see it from You and I thank You and rest my entire life in Your omnipotent, loving, sovereign keeping hand.

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