I had the privilege of preaching at one of my favourite churches, Mount Chapel in Salford, this Sunday (you can listen to it at the bottom of this blog if you like!). I was given John 11 as my topic, which is mostly the story of Lazarus with a bit about plotting to kill Jesus afterwards. As I was planning the Lord began to speak to me about His sovereignty, but not in the context of Him raising a man from the dead (which is a pretty clear demonstration of His sovereignty!) but through His ability to speak, confirm and outwork His word through even those who were plotting to kill Him.
The pharisees and the chief priests were trying to figure out what to do about Jesus and in the middle of that, Caiaphas, the high priest, makes this profound, prophetic declaration that through one mans death, the nation and the nations will be saved. This is both amazing and incredibly comforting because we know that God is sovereign over every situation, even in the middle of the plot to kill Jesus, God is sovereignly able to use whomever He choses to speak His word that His plans be fulfilled.
In fact, there are a number of times in the bible when God used unbelieving people to speak His word. We see Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel receive a prophetic dream about the end-times and God’s kingdom which He will establish that will never end. And we see Cyrus the King of Persia, in Ezra, make this astounding decree that God had told him to send the Israelites back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and that everyone was to help fund it. It says God stirred Cyrus so that His word, spoken by the prophet Jeremiah would be fulfilled. And then we meet Cornelius, in Acts 10, an unbelieving Roman centurion, who was desperate to be a good person. God sends an angel to speak to him in a dream, telling him that his prayers and alms had gone before God as a memorial and that he needed to meet a man called Peter. Peter comes to him, preaches the gospel and we have the first outpouring of the Spirit on the gentiles! Let that sink in, the first outpouring upon the gentiles came as a result of God giving an unbeliever a dream!
Our God is sovereign! This is a truth that needs to sit front and centre of our minds, especially this month. As we approach the EU referendum we face a defining moment in our nation and Europe’s history. The consequences of this referendum are far reaching, regardless of which way the vote goes. We need to avoid being like the pharisees who had more faith in the strength of Rome than in the sovereignty of God. Our God sits above the circle of the earth, He is seated on a throne in heaven, He gives us each breathe, He is faithful to complete everything He starts and He make all things come together for good according to His purpose. If God could use Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus, the two most powerful men on the earth at their time to declare His plans and purposes, if He could pour out His Spirit on the gentiles through the dream of an unbeliever, then He can surely have His way in our nation whether we are in or out of the EU. Im not telling you the vote isn’t important, it is, and we all need to vote, but I am saying that our God is sovereign regardless!
So join me in declaring God as sovereign over everything, over our lives, our decisions, or cities and our nation, God you are sovereign, you are seated on your throne and you are faithful to complete the works to started, you are faithful to keep every promise you make! Amen!
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If you want to listen to the message I preached you can do here!
Michael, along with his wife Becci, lead Manchester House of Prayer. He has a heart to see night and day prayer established in the nations and to see the church walk in intimacy with Jesus. He also serves in the prayer room as a worship leader and prayer leader. Find out more about him at michaelandbecci.tumblr.com.