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Romans Series #23[i]
Title: Is God defeated?
Text: Romans 3:3-4
Subject: The Sovereignty of God
Is God defeated? — That is the title of my message. — Is God defeated? — Is God frustrated? Is God disappointed? Is the Almighty hamstrung? Is the Omnipotent hand-cuffed? That is the question that the Apostle Paul was inspired of God to ask in Romans 3:3.
(Romans 3:3) For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
What if they did not believe God and they did not believe His Word? What if they did not believe His promises and they did not believe His Son?
“Shall their unbelief make the faith (faithfulness) of God without effect?” — Will that destroy the faithfulness of God to his Word, to his covenant, and to his Son? Is the Almighty defeated because people don’t receive his Word, because people don’t believe Son?
What if some do not believe? Shall their unbelief make void the purpose of God? Shall unbelief cancel out God’s decree? What if some do not believe? Shall their unbelief defeat the will of God, the purpose of God, and the covenant of God? Is God defeated?
Read verse 4, and you will have God’s answer to that question.
(Romans 3:4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Is God defeated? — Most everybody says he is. But that is not what I read in this Book. When I read the Word of God, I read that the living God (the God of heaven and earth) is Almighty. Is that what you read in Holy Scripture? God is almighty and God is sovereign. As David said, — “Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever he pleased.” — “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven and earth, in the seas and all deep places.”
Proposition: God always accomplishes his purpose, always performs his will, and always has his way.
In Genesis 18, God announced to Abraham that Sarah would have a son. Sarah, according to the Scriptures, laughed inwardly. Then, the Lord God himself asked this question: — “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
God’s sovereignty is his glory. Without it he would not be God. Were he not absolutely sovereign in all things, he could not be trusted. You can only trust One who is sovereign. In Exodus 33, Moses asked God a great thing: — “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” In reply to that request, the Lord God said, Alright, Moses, I’ll show you my glory (Exodus 33:18-19).
(Exodus 33:19) And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
That is what God calls his glory: the sovereignty of his mercy and the sovereignty of his grace. That is his glory.
If you will read Isaiah 45 and 46, the whole of those two chapters tell us the same thing, that God is sovereign, almighty, and glorious.
(Isaiah 45:5-7) (5) I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me…(7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
(Isaiah 45:20-25) (20) Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
(22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, — That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. — (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: — even to him shall men come; — and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. — (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.
(Isaiah 46:9-11) (9) Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (11) Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Did you hear God speak? — “I am God; there is none else. I am God; there is none beside me. I declaring the end from the beginning”. Do you know what he is saying? The end of all things is already purposed and already declared from the beginning. What is going to happen in the end has been decided from the beginning. “I declare it,” God says. He foreordained it. He said, “I declare the end from the beginning and from ancient times.” He is talking about things way back yonder in the eons of eternity. God said, “I have declared from ancient times the things that are not yet done; I have declared them and I say that my council shall stand and I will do all my pleasure.” God said, “I have spoken it; and I will bring it to pass.”
Does that sound like a defeated God to you? Does that sound like God can be disappointed, frustrated, and turned away from his purpose or one whose decree can be sidetracked? He said, “I will do all my pleasure; I have spoken it; I will bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will do it.”
In Daniel 4, listen to this…
(Daniel 4:34-37) (34) And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (36) At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. (37) Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
We hear a lot today about man’s free will, man’s power of determination, man’s moral freedom, the free moral agency of man, and all such nonsense. The Scripture says, God and God alone “doeth according to his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of this earth and none can stay his hand.” None can stay his hand. None can stop him. None can force the Almighty to alter his course! None can say unto him, “What doest thou?”
Oh, no! The Lord God says, “Cannot I do with my own what I will? Hath not the potter power over the clay to make of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor?”
That is what God said to Jeremiah. Isn’t it?
(Jeremiah 18:1-6) (1) The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, (2) Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. (3) Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. (4) And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (5) Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (6) O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
In Ephesians chapter 1 the Scripture declares that our salvation is accomplished by and bestowed upon us by the Triune God who, “worketh all things after the council of is His own will!”
Is God defeated? — That is the question I am addressing. The whole world says he is. Poor God, he’s doing the best he can, but he just can’t do what he wants to do.
1. Was God defeated when Satan lead a revolt in heaven? Let’s see what God says about that (Isaiah 14:12-17, 24, 26-27; Revelation 12:7-12)
(Isaiah 14:12-17) (12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (16) They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; (17) That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
Now, watch this. Look at verse 24. Here is God’s response to Lucifer’s bluster.
(Isaiah 14:24-27) (24) The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand… (27) For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
(Revelation 12:7-12) (7) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (8) And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (9) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
What is the result of this? Read the next line…
(10) And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (11) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (12) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Was the Triune Jehovah defeated by Satan’s rebellion? — Oh, no!
2. Was God defeated when Adam fell in the Garden? What does God say? What does he tell us in his Word? — In Romans 5:14 he tells us that Adam in his fall was a type of Christ in his obedience. Just as we fell in Adam, we are saved in Christ. — Was God defeated when Adam fell? Oh, no!
(1 Corinthians 15:21-22) (21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
3. Was God defeated when his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, was crucified by the hands of wicked men doing exactly what they wanted to do? — Read the Book of God and see (Acts 2:22-24; 4:26-29; 13:26-29).
(Acts 2:22-24) (22) Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (23) Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (24) Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
(Acts 4:26-29) (26) The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (27) For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, (28) For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. (29) And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.
(Acts 13:26-29) (26) Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. (27) For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. (28) And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. (29) And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
When our Lord stood before Pontius Pilate in anger because Christ didn’t answer him or show him the respect that he thought he deserved to have, Pontius Pilate said, “Answerest thou me, knowing that I have the power to crucify you or let you go?” Our Lord replied, “You could have no power over me at all except it were given you from above.”
You see, the death of Christ was ordered, predestinated, and foreordained of God. He died the appointed Savior for the appointed people at the appointed hour, by the appointed death, at the appointed time. All that took place at that cross, the things they said and the things that they did, were prophesied hundreds of years before Christ died. They carried this out by their wicked hands and minds, by their wicked hearts and will, by the determinate council and foreknowledge of God. — The cross was not the defeat of Christ, but the defeat of Satan. The cross was not the conquest of hell, but the conquest of heaven (Colossians 2:13-15).
(Colossians 2:13-15) (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
4. Was God defeated when Satan held us as his captives under sin? — Not according to this Book!
At the appointed time of mercy, grace, and love, the Lord Jesus Christ comes into the strong man’s house, binds the strong man, and casts him out forever!
(Isaiah 42:1-7) (1) Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (5) Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (7) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
(Isaiah 49:7-13) (7) Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. (8) Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; (9) That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. (10) They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. (11) And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. (12) Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. (13) Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
That is what I read in in this blessed Book. God is Almighty. He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and sovereign in all things. He is never defeated and cannot be defeated. — “Is anything too hard for God?” He declares the end from the beginning.
5. Was God defeated because the Jews rejected Christ and his Gospel? — No according to this Book (Romans 3:3-4; 11:25-36).
(Romans 3:3-4) (3) For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? (4) God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
(Romans 11:25-36) (25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (28) As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. (29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (30) For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: (31) Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. (32) For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
When I hear today’s preachers, I hear about a different god. I hear about an impotent god, a god who wills to do things and he is not able to perform. They have a god who wants to do great and wonderful things, but men won’t let him. They just won’t let him. That is what they are saying. They tell you, “God has a wonderful plan for your life, but you must let him work it out.” They say God wants to do these things and wills to do these things and desires to do these things. They go as far as saying, “He sets out to do these things but He is not able.” Men don’t believe; they won’t let him have his way.
What strange god that is! He is like Dagon, fallen on his face, with his hands broken off. In fact that is exactly what we are told about him. I once heard a preacher say…
Billy Graham once explained the Bible doctrine of election this way: “God votes for you, and the devil votes against you, and you cast the deciding vote.”
That makes God a minority. That makes God outnumbered two to one. Is that the God of the Bible, He just has one vote in this thing and Satan has an equal vote? Do poor, depraved, wretched; dead sinners have an equal vote with God Almighty? Does God’s purpose and decree ride on your vote? What preposterous blasphemy!
What kind of God is that? It is an impotent god. No wonder “there is no fear of God before the eyes” of men in this generation. They have never heard about God!
I hear men say, “God needs you. God needs your tithes. God needs your talents. God needs your time.” — Hogwash! Dagon needs you; but not God!
God says in His Word, “if I were hungry, I wouldn’t ask you.” He says, “The cattle on a thousand hills are his and the gold and silver that hasn’t even been mined is his too. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Preachers will tell you that “Salvation is up to you.” The Bible says, “Salvation is of the Lord.” The Bible says, “The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord,” altogether and only of him (John 1:11-13; Romans 9:16; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:1-10).
(John 1:11-13) (11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
(Romans 9:16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
(Ephesians 1:3-14) (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 2:1-10) (1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (7) That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We worship God. A defeated god is no God at all. We worship God, the absolute, sovereign Monarch of heaven, earth, and hell!
Is God defeated? No sir! Read the last chapter of the Book of God, and you will see.
(Revelation 19:1-9) (1) And after these things I heard a great voice of much
people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and
power, unto the Lord our God: (2) For true and righteous are
his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the
earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her
hand. (3) And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for
ever and ever. (4) And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts
fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (5)
And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his
servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (6) And I heard
as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God
omnipotent reigneth. (7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour
to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself
ready. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine
linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (9)
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called
unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the
true sayings of God.
(Revelation 22:1-6) (1) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (5) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (6) And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
Our sov’reign God maintains
His universal throne;
In heav’n, and earth, and hell He reigns,
and makes His wonders known!
His counsels and decrees,
firmer than mountains stand;
He will perform whate’er He please;
and none can stay his hand!
All things His will controls;
and His all-wise decree
Has fixed the destinies of all
in matchless sov’reignty. —
Jacob by grace He saved,
and gives no reason why;
But Esau’s heart He left depraved. —
And who shall dare reply?
What if the Potter takes
part of a lump of clay,
And for Himself a vessel makes
and casts the rest away?
Who shall resist His will,
or say, “What doest Thou?”
Jehovah is the Sov’reign still;
and all to Him must bow!
My soul, bow and adore
the Lord in all His ways;
His sov’reignty none can explore;
but I will trust His grace!
“For of Him and through Him
and to Him are all things:
To Whom be glory evermore!
Amen! Amen! Amen!”
[i] Danville — Sunday Morning — August 3, 2014
East Hendersonville Baptist Church — Hendersonville, NC (08/04/14)
Reading: Isaiah 43:1-28