God is Sovereign
What does sovereign mean? It means over all….seeing all…..in control of all….ruler of all.
As sovereign, God has set forth a Purpose for each one of us….with the responsibilities that that purpose entails.
Man is responsible to use the prescribed means to bring about God’s foreordained ends.
There was Moses rod….a means he was to use before Pharaoh, and with Israel all through the wilderness. (Exodus 4:2)
David was to wait for the “moving of the mulberry trees”, before he went to fight the Philistines. (2 Samuel 5:23-25)
Jeremiah was to speak before for the people sometimes….write what God said at other times. (Jeremiah 7:1-2, Jeremiah 36:1-3)
Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem, as the Scriptures said, as a king, in the first year of His ministry….but the last week. ( Matthew 21:5-9)
Paul was told, that if everyone did not stay in the ship, they would not all be saved in the shipwreck. (Acts 27:24-32)
There are many examples of God’s sovereignty….but what God is stressing by them, is that we are personally responsible to God for the purpose He has given us…..and we are to use the means at hand to fulfill the work.
Once I was impressed to study Hebrews, and chose a commentary which went over every little phrase. I loved it! The Lord at that time was dealing with me, that every word in His Word was important.
I started, and…..while I was reading, I was coming across words I was unsure of.
(Here is the important part)….the Lord told me….if I wanted to teach this way….I would have to look up every word I was not sure of!
Plainly that was going to be a lot….but it lead me in a way I had not gone before.
There are many words in Scripture that do not mean what the world has defined them.
So I looked up the words I did not know, and shared the definition of them with the class. (How expressive the Scriptures are!). I do not know how much of the study the class took in…..but some of them still know the definitions I shared….because the Lord led me that way…that time!
Responsibility to God: Everyone is responsible to God.
(For He is the Creator. He is Sovereign….overall in Wisdom, Power, and Goodness….and HIs Will…not only is best….but His Will will be done.)
The lost are responsible to hear about God….even in Creation….and seek Him. (Psalm 19:1-3).
The saved are responsible to love God….and to love God in action.
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” John 14:15
1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. (Or burdensome)”
One example of God’s Sovereignty and man’s responsibility where the work of soul winning is concerned (harvest) is the householder who needed his harvest of grapes picked….today. Matthew 20:1-16
(And how often we put off saying that word of witness, or giving a tract, or inviting them to church? We think there is time….but Paul says, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake our of sleep:….the night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:11-12)
So the Householder goes out to the marketplace where men who need work are gathered….and agrees with them for a day’s wage (a penny)….and sends them to his vineyard to begin the harvest picking. (Matthew 20:1-2)
As the day goes on…..he needs more workers…so he goes back into the marketplace three more times, and hires more….agreeing that he would pay them….”whatsoever is right”. (Matthew 20:3-5)
The eleventh hour….one hour before the sunset….he went out and hired those that were there…..”Why stand ye here all the day idle?”
They said, “Because no man hath hired us.” (Matthew 20:6-7)
(Some people say this is a picture of the Church age….the different times of awakening and revival. The workers going out are those called to bring forth fruit for the Householder….our Lord Jesus Christ.
The eleventh hour workers are us….in This Laodicean age. We haven’t had Rome’s Colosseum where Christians were thrown to the lions. We haven’t had the Dark Ages to deal with.
We have the Scriptures in every language…..not like when brave, holy men fought for them to be given out to the people.
We have so many good books of commentaries and expositions.
For Laodicea….our harvest has been “easy” in comparison to some times…..except that we have become idle…all the day….feeling that others have and can do the job.
I believe that God is still coming and sending out workers into His “vineyard” to win souls for His kingdom….and the question comes….will we go?)
Matthew 20:8 “So when the even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.”
(Now at the judgement seat of Christ, where everyone will be seen as they are….and rewarded according to their love of Christ in their works….will only begin at the Rapture. All of them are waiting till the last workers are brought in!)
Here in this parable, everyone receives the same pay! The first, and hardest workers….the workers from the third, sixth, and ninth hours….and even the workers who labored only one hour! Everyone receives a full day’s wage! And they start with the laborers which were there last!
The first workers cry, “Why are they paid the same as us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day?”
But the Householder simply says,
Matthew 20:13,15 “….Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
(Haven’t I given all that I have promised….both in your labor and in your reward?)
Is it not lawful for Me to do what I will with Mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”
(Are you going to let my goodness to others cause you discontent?)
(First, let me say, that we are not judged according to the amount of works….although we have been given grace to see every work done….but we are judged according to the devotion and obedience to Christ, through all our works.
Therefore, though one work long and hard….has not the householder given the grace to do it? And though one work a short time….has not the same grace been given?
How this levels the field! It is not our sweat God rewards….[not that we are to be idle]…..but our hearts, which follow the Lord wherever He goes!)
Now here is Sovereignty and responsibility…..
….for God in His Sovereignty has placed us in our circumstances and called us…as Jesus said:
John 4:35-36, 38 “….behold, I say unto you, Lift up you eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
And he that reapeth recieveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors.”
Some may have heard the Word at some time…..and had no response…..and we may give a witness to that person….and God gives grace to the Words spoken….and the fruit to eternal life is born.
We are responsible to God, to use the means He gives to bring about His foreordained ends.
God is Sovereign…..and it is as we enter into subjection to His Sovereignty that we are brought into the joy of our responsibility.
He called us…..and we can bring fruit for Him! He gives us grace….and we can stand in that day….full of devotion to Him….
….that we might cast our crowns at His feet…for He is worthy.