New Wine for New Wineskins February 2020

By , February 1, 2020 9:03 pm

Don’t Worry – God Is Not In Control

What kind of a title is that?  I have to confess it is supposed to have a bit of shock factor.  Call it Holy Spirit CPR.  

Do you believe that God is in control?  How many times have you heard it said or even said it yourself?  “Don’t worry – God is in control!”  We say it to try and comfort or encourage ourselves or someone else.  While all the time we sit in passive non-resistance to and acceptance of whatever bad stuff is going on.

So, the title of this month’s message is, “Don’t worry – God is NOT in control!”  Before you shoot me down or write me off as a heretic, please allow me an opportunity to explain.

Let me start with a question:  Do you have all of your needs met in abundance?  If not, then that proves that God is not in control, or perhaps it is just that he can’t be trusted to keep his word.

Matthew 6: 25 – 34

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Another question: Does our heavenly Father neglect his children or renege on his responsibilities?  Why don’t we let Jesus answer that one.

Matthew 6: 7 – 13

7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Our Father knows and has made full provision for our needs, but our seeking and asking are the controlling factors in regards to what we receive from that provision.

So don’t worry – you are in control!  Our Father has fulfilled his responsibility in providing all that we will ever need, and has given us the responsibility to seek and ask for that provision.

We were created to live by faith.



Genesis 1: 26 – 28; 2: 8 – 9, 15 – 17

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion…..over all the earth…. 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over…the earth.”
8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…..15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Faith is activated by hearing what God says, and is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.  Faith hears what God says, speaks what God says, and sees what God says.

Adam had never physically seen or experienced death and was never supposed to.  Faith – activated by hearing what God said – was his shield against death.  Even though he had never seen death or its effects and didn’t know what it was, it was attached to a “You shall not” and so faith takes that seriously.  Faith doesn’t only do what God says to do, it doesn’t do what God says not to do.

Every time God speaks it is an opportunity for us to exercise free will.  We always have a choice – to obey and live or to disobey and die.

If I choose to say what God says I will see what he has said.  God has placed the power of death and life in our tongue.  Say what God says and live, reject what God says and die.

I have become aware over the years that the simple message of faith isn’t always the most popular message among church folks. That might sound a little odd, and so it should, but it is nevertheless true.

It has repeatedly shocked and never ceased to amaze me how many of God’s children reject the simple message of faith and refuse to believe that he wants to save everyone, heal everyone, deliver everyone, prosper everyone, etc and that he has made provision of all for all.  Sadly, many would rather argue themselves out of blessing rather than simply receive it.

Some may enjoy hearing about the odd miracle and would even travel land and sea to try and witness one but somehow they just can’t seem to swallow the simple truth of God’s word.

I always knew there had to be an explanation for this.

Galatians 5: 7 – 9 (Amplified)

7 You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth 8 This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ]. 9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].

The reality is that the enemy of our souls only has one weapon at his disposal – the power of persuasion.  He is an expert at presenting a convincing and enticing argument against simply following through on what God has said.  It worked for him in the beginning in the Garden of Eden and it has been effective many times since.  There is something about simplicity that seems to injure man’s pride and provokes him to formulate more and more complex and difficult to understand theological concepts that remove people from the everyday experience of the fullness of the provision of a Father for his children.

Jesus said that there are things that are often hidden from the wise and the prudent and yet they are revealed to babes (Luke 10: 21).  Paul said that God has shown the wisdom of this world to be foolishness, and that he has chosen the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1: 20, 27).  Paul also expressed his concern for the Corinthian believers because he could see that they were in danger of being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ just as Eve had been deceived by the craftiness of the serpent (2 Corinthians 11: 3).

The most profound wisdom is often presented in the simplest of language.  Man’s theology creates words of five, six, or seven syllables whereas God’s Word relates some of the most awesome truth in words of one syllable.  To introduce himself – the creator and sustainer of all things – he uses two words of one syllable – “I AM”.  How much more simple does it get than that?  I can easily respond and relate to him in two words of one syllable each – “You are” – and tell everyone else all about him in two words of one syllable – “He is”.  We are told that without faith it is impossible to please him, and so we simply have to believe that He is “I AM” and that he rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11: 6).  Possibly the biggest question we could ask, “Who is God?” is answered in three monosyllabic words that basically say it all – “God is love” (1 John 4: 8).


So many times I have seen people persuaded out of the protection and provision of God’s word by being drawn away into teaching presented in books, on Christian TV, by preachers who sound like they know what they are talking about and present their case in the most articulate and persuasive of ways, or via the most recent addition to the mix that tops them all in its ability to suck people under in a quagmire of wrong information – the internet. 

So, has the conception (understanding) of faith been perverted (distorted, corrupted, misinterpreted)?  Has this distorted understanding of faith infiltrated the church and been perpetuated through faulty theology that has permeated the church and moved many away from the simplicity of the gospel message?  Personally, I believe it has.

Ephesians 2: 8

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God

This well-known scripture is, I believe, a key to understanding why many are limited in their ability to access and receive all of the fullness of the provision that God has made for everyone.

If I were to ask you what the “gift” is that is referred to in verse 8 your answer could help explain a lot in regards to how accessible God’s provision is to you.  There is a theology / doctrine that teaches that the gift referred to here is faith.  The premise is that a person cannot believe unless God first of all gives them the faith to believe with, and that he only gives that faith to those he has chosen (pre-selected) and predestined.  

In other words, God is in control.  If he gives you the faith to believe with then you will believe, and if he doesn’t then obviously you won’t.

This faulty understanding limits the potential of reaching everyone with the free offer of salvation, and also the potential for those who have received initial salvation (forgiveness of sins) to access/receive all of the benefits of that salvation (healing, deliverance, etc).

Surely, in Ephesians 2: 8 the gift refers to salvation, and not to faith.  Faith is the means by which the gift is received.  Faith lays hold of the gift. 

John 3: 16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 5: 15 – 21

15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6: 23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The gift of God is life!  Life is the gift and faith is how we live the life!  If it’s not by faith then it’s not really living!

Romans 6: 1: 16 – 17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Habakkuk 2: 4

“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.

We are saved to live the life that God always intended us to live and enjoy – life in all of its fullness!  The gift of God is eternal life – quantity and quality!  Jesus came so that we could have and enjoy life in superabundance.  We are reconciled to God – re-connected to our life source.  Those who are joined to the Lord become one spirit with him.

The thief comes to steal the word but faith holds fast to the word; he comes to kill the life that the word produces but faith places a shield of protection around the life that holds fast to the word; he comes to destroy the image of God in us but faith boldly acts on the word causing the life of God to manifest in us and through us.

Ephesians 2: 9

9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

“Not of works” doesn’t refer to faith but to the fact that the provision of salvation is all of God’s grace – the unmerited favour that is the expression of his unconditional love.  The exercise of faith is simply saying “yes” to what is freely offered.

Ephesians 3: 1 – 12

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.

Faith is our response to the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the truth of God’s grace which is the expression of his love.

If Adam had lost the ability to exercise faith when he sinned and fell, and if he had lost the capacity to exercise free will and to choose whether to believe or not – to obey or disobey – then he would not have been able to hear God calling his name unless God first of all gave him the faith to hear and believe.

Cain would not have been told that he could exercise dominion over the sin that was seeking to manifest through him in the murder of his brother if he could not choose to obey or disobey (Genesis 4: 7).

When Peter says that it is not God’s will that any perish (2 Peter 3: 9) then that must be a lie if God has to give people the faith to believe and yet he supposedly only chooses to give that faith to certain people.  When Paul tells Timothy that God desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2: 4) then this statement must also be a lie, if that is impossible without faith and faith is only given to a select few.

The truth is that a slight inclination to error has led to a faulty teaching that has produced a lie that has gone through much of the church like yeast through dough, and as a result has seriously limited God’s kingdom purpose in making salvation, healing, deliverance and every other kingdom benefit accessible to all who simply seek and ask.

I was shocked recently to hear the militant atheist Richard Dawkins state during a debate with the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that man doesn’t have free will as everything is predetermined.  I thought to myself, “Wow!  That places him in agreement with a lot of Christians who have made the same erroneous assumption!

If you start with the premise that the first sin led to man being totally depraved (totally corrupt morally) then it sets you on a course where you freewheel downhill and lose sight of the truth of God’s word – the simple truth that sets people free!

If Adam became totally depraved then God’s recorded dealings with the first two generations of mankind cannot be accurate.  
 
God’s image in man was marred (disfigured) by sin but not totally obliterated.  Man’s ability to hear from God and respond with faith was still intact.  His ability to exercise free will remained – the right to choose life or death, blessing or curse.

We have dominion.  If it is not working it is because we are out of alignment with our Supplier and so the provision isn’t getting through.

Jesus said:

Matthew 6: 9 – 13

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

This is the prayer of alignment!  We were created to live by faith – faith that asks, seeks, and knocks – faith that receives, finds, and opens.

Matthew 6: 31 – 34

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Our Father knows our need and so he has made provision for all of our needs.

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Give us this day…” deals with all of today’s needs!  Bread represents everything that Jesus has provided at the Cross including healing, deliverance, and prosperity.

Seek the kingdom!  Don’t worry – God is not in control and holding out on you!  He is in sovereign charge – but not in control, because he has sovereignly made provision and sovereignly chosen to give you and I control in regards to accessing that provision!

Matthew 7: 7 – 11

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Everyone who asks receives! Who says so?  Jesus says so!  Ask, seek, and knock and you will receive, you will find, and heaven’s storehouse will be opened to you.  And you will have a powerful testimony to share with others – that they too can ask and seek and knock, and taste and see that the Lord is good!

The supply is controlled by our faith – faith that is activated and energised and expressed and working through the revelation of how much our Father loves us (Galatians 5: 6).

So don’t worry – God is not in control and withholding his blessing from you.  He loves you and so he has made full provision and given you control!

Be Superabundantly blessed as you ask and receive, seek and find, and knock until the supply opens and pours out an abundant overflow that blesses you and all around you!

 

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