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Sermon #132 — Romans Series
Title: Our Great and Glorious God
Text: Romans 11:36
Subject: GodÕs Glory in and by All Things
Date: Sunday Morning — October 15, 2017
Reading: Isaiah 46:1-47:5
Nothing is more needed in our day, nothing more needed by me and nothing more needed by you, nothing more needed in the church and nothing more needed in the world, than a sense of, an overwhelming sense of, the greatness and glory of God.
Everything in our society is focused on man, his goodness, his greatness, his power, his ability, his potential (Education, Politics, and Religion). — Not so in this Book. The sooner you and I learn that we are nothing but sin, that we can do nothing but sin, and that we shall (of ourselves) come to nothing but sin, the better!
Everything in the world and everything in the church should be focused on the greatness and glory of God.
á We are nothing, less than nothing before him. God, the Triune Jehovah (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), is everything.
á Nothing depends on us. Everything depends on him.
á Nothing is determined by us. Everything is determined by him.
á Nothing is controlled by us. Everything is controlled by him.
Everybody today has the strange, but universal, notion that God is like man. They are startled, shocked, even repulsed when they hear someone declare his supremacy and sovereignty. They are enraged when anyone dares openly assert that God really is God. — ThatÉ
á God is so great and so glorious that he must love himself supremely, infinitely above all men and angels, infinitely above all the universe.
á God is so good, so great, so glorious that he must prefer his own glory to everything else.
á God is so infinitely great and glorious that it is right for him to rule all things and dispose of all things as he will.
Proposition: If ever we get a sense and an awareness of GodÕs greatness and glory as God, if ever we are consumed with God, we will truly worship him and seek to serve him.
I wonder what God might do with a man utterly consumed by his greatness and committed to his glory. — I wonder what God might do with a congregation utterly consumed by his greatness and committed to his glory.
If you will open your Bibles to the 11th chapter of the Gospel of Romans, I want to make one more stab at declaring the message of verse 36. I want, as God the Holy Ghost will enable me, to preach to you about our great and glorious God. My text is Romans 11:36. — Both my subject and my text are indescribably beyond the reach of my puny mind. I have no hope of expounding the text or exhausting the subject. — our great and glorious God (Romans 11:36).
(Romans 11:36) ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.Ó
ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him are all things!Ó That is an absolute, unqualified assertion of unlimited, infinite sovereignty. Not only is the Lord our God supreme, he is totally sovereign. All things are of him. I place no limitations upon the sphere of GodÕs sovereignty. And I place no restrictions upon the works of GodÕs glorious sovereignty. He is totally and universally sovereign. Observe PaulÕs language. ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him are all things.Ó
á All things come from God. They are of God as to their source.
á They are through God as to the means of their accomplishment.
á And they are to God in their purpose.
They are of him in the plan, through him in the working, and to him in the glory which they produce. Taking this to be a general truth of sacred Scripture, letÕs apply it to several specific areas.
Creation and Providence
1st — In the works of creation and providence God is absolutely sovereign and always exercises that absolute sovereignty (Genesis 1:1-5; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 11:1-3; Romans 8:28-30).
(Genesis 1:1-5) ÒIn the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.Ó
(John 1:1-3) ÒIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.Ó
(Hebrews 11:1-3) ÒNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (2) For by it the elders obtained a good report. (3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.Ó
(Romans 8:28-30) ÒAnd we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.Ó
God is before all things, and by him all things exist.
á There was a time when there was no one except the great I Am. God existed alone in the Trinity of his sacred Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
á There was a time, before all time, when there was no day, but the Ancient of Days.
á In the infinite boundlessness of eternity God was alone in his glorious, ineffable Being.
á There was no sun, yet Jehovah dwelt in glorious light.
á There was no foundation for the earth, yet his throne was fixed and firm.
á There were no heavens, yet his glory was unlimited.
God inhabited eternity in the infinite majesty and happiness of his own self-contained greatness. If God was indeed alone in eternity, the first thought, the first idea, and the first act of creation must have arisen from within his own infinite mind.
All things are of God in plan, purpose, and design. Eternal wisdom gave birth to all the plans of all future creations.
á God ordained the size and orbit of every planet.
á God fixed the place of every star.
á God appointed the flow of every creek and river.
á God set the boundaries of the oceans.
á God determined the cycles of the wind.
á God ordained the height of every mountain and the space of every valley.
á God gave every creature of the earth his being, the place of his dwelling, the services he would perform, and the number of days he could live.
In his own glorious wisdom God mapped out the course of human history and the course of every person in history.
á God ordained the heavenly host to be the servants of his chosen seed (Hebrews 1:14).
á God ordained the fall of our Father Adam.
á God ordained the entrance of sin into the world.
á God divided the race of humanity into the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman.
á God has ordained the time and course of every event in all the lives of all (Matthew 10:30).
When the plan was all fixed and settled and almighty God ordered his purposes, he created the world. Mere arrangement and purpose was not enough. There must be an act as well as a purpose. And that act was creation. The only instrument of creation was the Word of God. God spoke the world into existence by Christ, the Word.
á God created the world out of nothing.
á God created all things in the world.
á God created man in his own image.
Today, it is God himself and God alone who upholds the world as it now is by his ever-present, omnipotent hand.
á God is present everywhere and in all things.
á It is the power of God which maintains and orders this world.
The great glory of all this is that in the work of creation, everything is to God.
á The ultimate purpose of all things is the glory of God.
á Every creature and every event of this creation will soon prove to be for the glory of the Creator (Psalm 76:10; Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 45:7).
(Psalm 76:10) ÒSurely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.Ó
(Proverbs 16:4) ÒThe LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.Ó
(Isaiah 45:7) ÒI form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.Ó
Let us take courage from this. Bad as things sometimes appear, the glory of God shall be accomplished in his creation.
Salvation And Grace
2nd — Here is an even more blessed fact. — In the grand work of salvation and grace God is evertthing. — ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him are all things!Ó It was God who devised, ordained, and purposed the salvation of chosen sinners by Christ. No one but God could have devised a plan of salvation that is so just to God and so safe to man as that which is proclaimed in the gospel.
á God ordained salvation by a Substitute.
á God ordained justification by the shedding of innocent blood.
á God ordained redemption by Christ.
God ordained the time when the first gospel promise would be given (Genesis 3:15). God set the hour when the Redeemer would come (Galatians 4:4). God determined the people to whom the gospel would be preached (Macedonia but Not Bithynia — Acts 16:6-10). God ordained the people he would call.
á He set the time, the way, and the place his elect would be molded by his prevenient grace according to his will.
á He fixed the time and the place of our calling.
á He determined the pains of conviction which each of his chosen ones would endure.
á He ordained the time when faith would come.
But we do not stop here. Not only is salvation of God in its plan. — Salvation is through him in its accomplishment.
á In his time the Savior was born.
á At the appointed hour Christ made satisfaction for sin by his death upon the cursed tree.
á He determined everything that took place at Calvary, everything involved in the sufferings, crucifixion, and death of his darling Son at the hands of wicked men (Acts 2:23).
á At the set time of grace, he sent his Spirit to save his chosen. — Oh, what a work GodÕs work of grace is! What a work GodÕs salvation is! — Would you see and know the greatness and glory of God? Go to Calvary! — Would you be utterly consumed by the greatness and glory of God? Live at Calvary! Live at the cross!
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) ÒTherefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.Ó
Because the grand work of salvation is of him and through him, it shall be to him alone. Let the Lord our God alone be praised! In the salvation of our souls he is the Alpha and the Omega! If I am m I a believer, it is because of God, only because of God.
á God loved me.
á God chose me.
á God gave his Son to die for me.
á God called me.
á God gave me faith.
á God gave me hope.
á God gave me life.
Not only did God plan our salvation, he also accomplished it, for our salvation is through him. Salvation is not a work of man, neither is it a work of God and man together. Salvation is accomplished in our hearts by the power of God.
á We are born-again by the power of God.
á We pray by the power of God.
á We are preserved by the power of God.
á We are sanctified by the power of God.
á We will be glorified by the power of God.
And it is our great joy to proclaim that our salvation is to God. The purpose of God in saving sinners by Christ is the glory of his own name (Ephesians 1:3-14).
(Ephesians 1:3-14) ÒBlessed 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.Ó
Salvation, if it is a work of God, through God, and to God, is altogether a work of free, sovereign, eternal, and unchanging grace.
Grace Ôtis a charming sound,
Harmonious to mine ear.
Heaven with the echo shall resound,
And all the earth shall hear.
Grace first contrived the way
To save rebellious man;
And all the steps that grace display
Which drew the wondrous plan.
Grace first inscribed my name
In GodÕs eternal book;
ÔTwas grace that gave me to the Lamb,
Who all my sorrows took.
Grace led my roving feet
To tread the heavenly road;
And new supplies each hour I meet,
While pressing on to God.
Grace all the work shall crown,
Through everlasting days;
It lays in heaven the topmost stone,
And well deserves the praise.
3rd — In the totality of our lives as believers in this world, everything is Òof him, and through him, and to him!Ó
á Prevenient Grace!
á Redeeming Grace!
á Saving Grace!
á Sanctifying Grace!
á Preserving Grace!
á Restoring Grace!
In every work that believers are enabled to perform God alone gets the glory.
á All that we are is of God. — ÒBy the grace of God I am what I am.Ó
á All that we can do is through the power of God.
á And all shall be to the glory of God.
Every trial and hardship that we endure teaches us that God is great and glorious — ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him!Ó
á Our trials are ordained of God.
á Our trials are brought to us through the hand of God.
á And our trials shall redound to the glory of God.
God in Israel sows the seeds
Of affliction, pain, and toil;
These spring up and choke the weeds
That would else oÕer spread the soil.
Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly, vain delight,
But the true born child of God may not,
Must not, if he might.
Our trials shall soon be found to the praise of GodÕs eternal glory (1 Peter 1:7).
If God is truly God and all things are of him, through him, and to him, then we must be careful that in preaching the gospel we uphold those truths which most clearly proclaim God to be all in all.
á Total Depravity and Moral Inability
á Eternal and Unconditional Election
á Particular and Effectual Redemption
á Effectual Calling
á Certain Perseverance and Preservation
Praise to God
4th — Here is an ascription of praise to our great and glorious God by the inspired apostle, an ascription of praise joyously echoed in the heart of every sinner saved by GodÕs free and sovereign grace in Christ. With Paul, let us fall upon our knees before God and worship, saying, ÒTo him be glory forever. AmenÓ
Set this, my brother, set this, my sister, as the goal of your heart. Let nothing set your heart beating but love to God. Let the ambition for GodÕs glory fire your soul. Let GodÕs glory be the motive of everything you do. Let GodÕs glory sustain your heart in every trial. Depend upon it, child of God, where self begins, sorrow begins. Your happiness and joy are secured by setting the glory of God before your heart as the motive of your life.
While we live, let us seek the glory of God.
á Seek his glory by our gratitude to him.
á Seek his glory by implicit trust in him.
á Seek his glory by total surrender and complete submission to him.
(1 Corinthians 10:31) ÒWhether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.Ó
Soon, very soon, everybody is going to see that God is all in all, and everybody will say, ÒTo God be the glory!Ó
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) ÒThen cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.Ó
May God the Holy Ghost give us grace to live in anticipation of that day when all things shall be seen to be to him. In that day, we will cast our crowns before him and sing, ÒThou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were createdÓ (Revelation 4:11).
Would you glorify God? Would you live for the glory of God? — Trust the Lord Jesus Christ! Believe on the Son of God and glorify him forever!
(Romans 11:36) ÒFor of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.Ó
Our God is the great and glorious God! O Spirit of God, cause the greatness and glory of God to utterly consume my life, for ChristÕs sake!
(Psalm 115:1) ÒNot unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.Ó