God Has Things under Control

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When life is going well we attribute it as good luck, and when life is going poorly we refer to it as bad luck. But Tony Evans wants you to walk away from the idea of luck and introduce you to a new word: providence. In this lesson, begin to view life’s detours not as luck, but instead as God arranging things to come together or disconnect for His will.



remember your blessing includes you, but it’s not only about you detours detours are distractions from the original intended route that you had planned to go. They take you off the beaten path. It takes you longer than you had planned to be using to arrive at where you are hoping to go. If you’re here today and you want your destiny, I would not be being fair to the word of God if I didn’t tell you that they’re going to be dry spots where nothing appears to be happening and you find yourself stuck. If you are a believer in jesus christ today, you have a destiny. I’m telling you to let you know that when God is ready to move it. Don’t take long. Well today I want to change your vocabulary. I want to walk you away from a thing called luck. I’m gonna give you a new word for some perhaps it’s a new word, but it’s it’s the right word. The word I want to talk to you about from the life of joseph is the word pronounced providence. You’ve heard it providence, Rhode island. They came up with the word providence for Rhode island off of this word, providence is a subset of another word. So let me give you the first word because providence like comes underneath it. The second most important thing you need to know in your christian experience. The first important, the first thing you need to know in your christian experience is the gospel. You need to know how to come to faith in, jesus christ for your eternal destiny for your salvation. That’s the most important thing to know. But the second thing you need to know, it’s about God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty. 1st, Timothy chapter 6: verse 15 says that God is sovereign. That is he is the absolute ruler, controller and sustainer of his creation. That’s sovereignty. It’s the ultimate ruler, the person who has the last say so and here it is. Nothing sits outside of God’s sovereignty. There are no events over which he does not rule. There are no things if it is created, he runs it. That sovereignty, the ultimate ruler over all of his creation. Underneath sovereignty is a word that couples with it and that’s the word providence. Providence is the way God arranges things to achieve his sovereign purposes. Sovereignty is his ruler. Ship providence is how he hooks things up, integrates things connects things detaches things, arranges things in order to wind up at the sovereign goal to which he is moving. So providence is the arrangement that facilitates sovereignty. The bible is clear that our God is sovereign And that he does all things Ephesians. one verse 11, after the counsel of his own will, that his purposes can never be thwarted. The scripture is clear that he is ruler over all. He’s sovereign. Now, here it is, you cannot simultaneously have sovereignty and luck. The two can never coexist because Luck is random events that occur that shape things. But if you have a sovereign God who controls everything. You can’t have random events that shape anything. So you can’t have sovereignty and you and look, you can’t have both. And the way God works out what you and I might call luck is through providence. That is arranging things so that they come together or disconnect as he so chooses. So I want you to begin to moonwalk from luck and begin to make your way towards providence. Okay, We have watched joseph’s life and it is filled with ups and downs. He’s a he’s in a coat one day he’s in a pit. The next day he’s got a good job. One day he’s accused of rape. The next day he’s in prison. He’s forgotten. He’s remembered. I mean this guy is going through stuff. It looks like one day he’s 1 1 day he’s got good luck the next day he’s got bad luck. But look at how joseph looked at his life In Verse 19 and 20. But joseph said to them. Do not be afraid for I am in God’s place. As for you, you meant evil against me. But God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result to preserve many people alive. You know what? He just said. God did this on purpose. What looked like an unlucky day and a lucky day. Was God fulfilling his purpose to bring me to my destiny. Yeah. If you ever get providence. The subset of sovereignty. And move away from luck, You will begin to view life differently, sovereignty must be the foundation and his providential working, we’ll talk about that by which you now begin to live and look at the events that shape your life so that you can arrive at your divinely ordained destiny. But if you start with the foundation that God it’s sovereign and that he providentially arranges things to accomplish his goal, you have laid a foundation through which to look at the complexities of life that comes your way. What you and I and others may look at as random events are actually orchestrated events in the purpose and plan of God. Let’s put it another way this mysterious thing called providence means God is sitting behind the steering wheel of history and sometimes he’s on the main highway. Other times he’s driving down back alleys, sometimes it looks like he’s going the wrong way on a one way street, but he’s steering the steering wheel of history to arrive at a destination. Now let’s let’s get this straight sovereignty and his providence, how he hooks things up is not merely related to the big things that happen. See we look at the big things and we say, well either God was in it or God wasn’t in it because it was a big because it affected me greatly. Sovereignty is so complete and providence is so intricate That God includes the details. That’s why Matthew 10 says that God knows every hair that’s on your head and when it comes out and he says he knows every sparrow that falls out of a tree. So when we talk about the sovereign providence of God, we’re talking about not only that he controls the big things that get our undivided attention, but the little things we don’t think twice about. Now, I know you like to think the devil is in the details, but God says I’m in the details because sovereignty covers everything. And providence is how he hooks the everything up in order to arrive at his specific purpose. Because God is sovereign. He has never caught by surprise and he never says oops, that one got away from me, he doesn’t do that because if he’s controlling the big and the little that means, he’s not surprised by anything. What shocks you was long known by him. Hi. So here is the word, The word is providence. God arranging things. So let me help you right now about providence. The Bible says in Romans chapter 11 verse 33. God says that his ways are uncertain. Chewable. You can’t google his providence. You cannot sit at your computer and google God’s ways. Mhm And get the intricate details of how he does what he does because it is past finding out. So don’t be surprised when God doesn’t make sense. He’s not supposed to because his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are now our thoughts and they’re not even close as high as the heavens are above the earth, Isaiah 55 says so is the gap between God’s thinking and Gods are thinking God’s ways in our ways and you cannot think he is the unfilled your audible God. The only things you can figure out is what he decides to tell you. And Deuteronomy 29 29 says he doesn’t tell you everything. Now watch this, He says in verse 20 as for you, you meant evil against me. But God meant it for good. Oh please stick what that word meant. They did his brothers, his family did evil against him. And he says, and you meant it for evil. You messed up my life on purpose. You plan to sell me as a slave. You plan to tell my daddy I was killed by an animal. You you plan to ruin my life anybody in here. Well, somebody planned to mess you up. I mean they they pre playing that thing. They thought about that thing he says. As for you, you meant it for evil. But then he uses the word meant again. But God meant it for good. Providence includes good and bad. God is sovereign. Nothing happens outside of his rule. But within God’s sovereignty, he created freedom. Okay, freedom means you get to choose. There’s no freedom without choice. You’re free to say yes or no to go or stay. God created freedom, but he’s also sovereign. So how can he be sovereign and control everything. And at the same time create freedom because freedom means I can do good or bad, I can be righteous or unrighteous. I can be evil or not. We’ve all done both because we are free. God is sovereign. He’s created boundaries, but he’s also created freedom. That freedom allows you to do bad or good to be right or wrong. But he limits how free he lets free go. Because when you step on his line, when you step on the line, the whistle blows. So God keeps his sovereignty while allowing freedom. Now watch this because God is sovereign in his providential connecting of things. He either causes all things that happen or allows them to happen. If he didn’t cause it. God cannot sin. God cannot endorse sin. But what he will do is use it. He cannot do evil, but he will use evil to accomplish his purposes because joseph says you meant it for evil. But God meant it the it that you meant for evil. He meant it for good. Let’s put it another way, God use your mess in my life to bring me to this location. It’s because you messed over me. I’m fulfilling my destiny. It’s because you were trying to do me in. I’m in God’s place. See when you got a sovereign God like that, who can take folk messing over you to bring you to where he wants you. You don’t want to hang out with luck. You want to hang out with providence. Because providence is how he arranges it for it to happen. No, God is so good at his providential work of hooking stuff up and arranging stuff in order to accomplish his sovereign purposes, Luke. jesus told peter, the devil has asked permission to mess up your life to sift you like wheat and permission has been granted. So the devil is not just the devil, The devil is God’s devil because even he only gets to be a good devil by permission. That’s how sovereign God is. The devil doesn’t even get to be good at his job without a divine. Okay, I know that’s messing with you, but but we’ve got to deal with the fact that God is sovereign. He says you meant it for evil, you are out to get me. But God used that thing to bring me to this location And when you’re dealing with the prominence of God watch this now, you never see all there is, you never see all that’s taking place. You never see all the details that God is working out behind the scenes. In fact, what you do see often doesn’t connect there are parts that don’t seem to relate to one another. That’s because God is always doing more than one thing at a time. He’s dealing with 50 million things at the same time. That’s what makes him such a unique being. He can take billions of people at the same time. It connects everything in order to accomplish our purpose and his destiny in our lives. And he’s doing it all at the same time. But because we can’t see it sometimes it doesn’t look like he’s doing a thing. Sometimes it looks like he sleeps sometimes. It looks like the phone is busy. Sometimes it looks like he’s on vacation. That’s because all you see is what you see and if all you see is what you see, you do not see. All there is to be seen. He says you meant it for evil. But God meant it for good in order to accomplish his purposes. I don’t think that the king of kings and Lord of Lords and the sovereign of the universe can run over a situation that gets in his way. And as long as you have a sovereign God who controls providential activity, that means the people the problems and the circumstances in your life don’t have the last word because God can run over anything that gets in his way. His position demands it providence. The sovereign hand of God ruling and overruling all things. You meant it for evil. But the idea here is that God in his providential working takes good and bad to bring about like this, the present result. What is his present result? This man has reached his destiny. He’s in the place God was taking him all the time. It takes it took him 22 years to get here when we started, he was 17. This is 22 years later. So it took him 22 years to arrive at the spot because we don’t arrive at our destiny overnight, Very few people arrive. That depends on what God’s purposes are and whether we’re cooperating or contradicting those purposes, whether we’re walking with him or walking against him, which can affect the delay or the development of of our destiny. Our goal through this series is for everybody to end your life. Having reached your destiny, even if it meant evil had to be used to get you there. And I know some of you are thinking, well, what if you’re the one that did the evil? That’s another sermon for another day. But God never endorses it. But he does use it. Here’s the goal of God’s providence. You know the scripture. Well, Romans 8 28. All things work together for good. To them who love God and who are called according to his purposes. All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purposes. God’s goal in our destiny is always his glory and are good God is the master weaver and things are rarely as they appear. You have to know that the statement in this story, I love this statement. Jacob, joseph’s father, He says this. He thinks joseph is dead. Benjamin, His son is is being held hostage by joseph. For those who read the story, they’re getting ready to lose. Simeon. They’re hungry because there’s a famine in the land. And and Jacob did like many of us when everything is going wrong, he threw up his hands and said all these things are against me. Have you ever felt like that? Nothing’s right. Everything’s wrong. And what’s broke is gets broker. Just everything is just wrong. He says all these things are against me. Little did he know Joseph was fine Prince in Egypt. Benjamin was fine, joseph taking care of him. Simeone was gonna be fine. And they were all getting ready to go up to Egypt to eat because you never see all that God is doing when you’re looking at it. You only see that piece that he wants to show you right now. You say, why won’t you show me the whole thing so that you learn to walk by faith and not by sight. So that you and I learned to walk by faith and not by sight. We we had a a cruise to Alaska. It was a cruise. The urban alternative, our national Ministry. We had a cruise for our donors. And we went to Alaska a number of years ago, we went to Alaska. And and on our way back, the captain said, we’re gonna hit a storm Captain. We’re gonna hit a storm and it might be might be a rough storm. And boy, was it a rough storm because we were in a storm and it was dark outside. Sister Evans picked up the telephone and said, I want to speak to the captain. I sat on the side of the bed and went, zero Lord. She said I want to speak to the captain. The lady said the captain cannot come right now. We’re trying to weather the storm. He cannot come right now. I’m so sorry because you know this is turbulent. So we cannot come right now. She said, well, I just want to know. He told us he knew we were gonna go into the storm. He could have gone through the inside passage And bypassed being directly out in the open ocean in the storm. And we could have bypassed a lot of this storm. That was an option. But he didn’t take it inside. He took us and we have 200 guests on the boat. And then having this miserable experience because the captain didn’t go the safer, smoother route. He took the and I want to know why he would do that and give us this much discomfort. The lady said, well, I’ll relate a message to the captain but he can’t come to the phone right now. This is a serious situation we’re in. So the phone was hung up. I took a deep breath. A few minutes later the phone rang and it was the assistant to the Cat and the assistant to the Captain Tulsa Stephen’s sister. Captain said um this is rough and I know it’s bad but you need to understand one thing. This ship was built with this storm in mind when we were in dry dock and we were putting this baby together. We knew we were here today like this. We knew we would hear the day when, when there would be all the world would collapse and there would be a storm like this and all of that was taken into consideration before we ever launched. So even though it’s uncomfortable and even though it’s difficult, I just want you to know that you’re going to reach your destination safely. Even though it’s difficult sailing right now because of what was built here and because of who’s in charge here, we’re gonna get you from where we took you back to where you came from and you’re gonna get there safely. You may be on rough seas right now. You may be in turbulence right now. It may be dark right now. But your trial is on a ship that was built with this trial in mind because you’ve got a captain who knows how to weather the storm. You’ve got a captain who knows how to guide the ship. And you’ve got a captain who knows how to deliver you to your destination safely. Because even though the storm may mean it for bad. God means it for good to all who love him and who are called to his purpose. So leave luck alone, get you some providence so you can have confidence in the circumstances of life. I know it feels like luck, but the biblical word is providence. Providence is the mysterious way in which God inter connects people, places things and thoughts in order to bring about his desired result. Sometimes private instance happens with big things. Other times with small things. But they’re always significant things because they change the direction of your detour. So keep your eyes open for God’s interaction and intervention in life’s circumstances, unpredictable and unexpected. Yet always shifting a direction in life. When God is providentially working in your life, then you will know he’s taking you on a different path to an outcome that will bring you closer to your destiny. Mm hmm, mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word. And in God’s creation, we’re going to enjoy great fellowship, Great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on R. T. U. A Alaskan cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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