Has God Lost Control?
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Has God Lost Control?
Why does it seem an all-powerful God appears powerless in a world of hate, suffering and anxiety? Learn the amazing answer.
[Gary] Do you ever feel like your life is out of control?
You can sense it in society... angst....anxiety...anger. We're flooded with bad news. We turn on the television and we're inundated with images of the most recent country to be hit by a tsunami or violence in the Middle East. And then, your friends tell us of the stories on the internet about how the UN is going to take over the world. The radio talk show hosts rant about Iranian nuclear weapons and the collapse of health care.
Where is God in all this mess? Well, on Beyond Today we're going to answer the most important question in all of life's troubles and uncertainties: "Has God Lost Control?"
[Announcer] Join our host, Gary Petty, on Beyond Today!
[Gary] Why does it feel like our world is out of control? Is God like an absentee landlord who lets his property deteriorate? Has He waited too long to intervene in world affairs?
Have you ever wondered why the loving, all powerful God seems to be powerless in a world of suffering, violence, natural disasters and anxiety?
You want God to stop the madness, but it seems like things are getting worse all the time. On the world scene, the old political and economic institutions have become destabilized and have lost credibility. Institutions like the United Nations, OPEC, NATO and the European Union seem at best, sort of obsolete. Now the religious institutions of mainstream Christianity used to supply a moral compass for society. But today, all too often Christian churches reflect the shifting sands of pop culture. Behavior that was condemned in most pulpits a couple of decades ago is now not only accepted, but it is considered hate speech to disagree.
So, we worry about the economy and our jobs. We worry about the changing morality. We worry about the weather. We worry about if government drones are spying on our everyday activities.
So, where is God? Has He lost control? Is He in control, and if He is, why is the world such a mess?
Well, what we'll discuss on Beyond Today will help you understand why it seems like everything is out of control. We'll also look at how you can begin to experience the security and freedom of God's control in your life.
The Bible has the answers that can give you hope and faith. God is only going to allow this confusion to continue for a limited amount of time until He dramatically intervenes in human history and takes control. This is one of the great themes of biblical prophecy.
We're going to look at the most important prophecy in the entire Bible. It is the basis for all other prophecy. Understand this verse and you will know that God is still in control of history and prophecy.
History and prophecy - big ideas, but how does this apply to the problems of your everyday life?
I mean, you're a housewife trying to hold down a part-time job and take care of two children. Or a plumber trying to make ends meet and worried about doctor bills.
When you understand why the world is out of control, and how God is going to bring security and real freedom to humanity, you can begin to allow God to bring stability and security into your life - right now.
To discover the answer to the question, "Has God Lost Control?" let's go back to the beginning. And what I mean is the very beginning of the human race.
Now, I know that the belief that humanity began with two people named Adam and Eve is seen by many people as very "unscientific." On Beyond Today, we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that the Garden of Eden account is true.
Now bear with me, because if it is true, this story gives us the framework for understanding all human history and biblical prophecy! And, it will help you understand why you have so many struggles in your life right now.
According to the Scripture, Adam and Eve lived in the perfect environment. They had no conflict between them and God or between themselves.
God told our first parents that they could eat of all the produce of the Garden except the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 3:2-3). As long as they allowed the Creator of Life to explain how life worked they lived without confusion, or conflict, no depression, no emotional pain. They were secure, happy and truly free.
But, humanity's first parents decided that they could choose for themselves good and evil. Now, they didn't take this action of rebellion against God by themselves. They were influenced by a real spirit being - an angel who had already rebelled against God, and had become known as the Adversary or Satan. He convinced them that God didn't understand them.
You see, when talking about how life seems out of control you can't take Satan out of the equation. This is why the apostle Paul called Satan the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4). You see, humanity has been kidnapped and deceived into lifestyles based on eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.
Oh I know, every time we make a statement like this we get e-mails saying: "Come on, you don't expect me to believe that I've been kidnapped by a supernatural being? I'm in charge of my life. I can decide the difference between good and evil."
Well you know, that's exactly what Adam and Eve must have thought as they allowed themselves to be kidnapped by Satan. Now understand, this doesn't mean that Satan somehow outsmarted God or is more powerful than the Creator. God allowed His adversary to influence human beings because God gave each of us - now listen to this - free will. You and I must choose between good and evil. We must learn what good is and what evil is. It is the problem with free will - you actually get to make choices and live by the consequences.
Ever since Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden, every human endeavor has been a mixture of good and evil. Every human government, economic system, educational system, concepts of morality and religion has been influenced by the "god of this world."
Eventually, everything we create is going to spiral out of control.
The more you experience security by controlling others or by forcing everyone to do things your way, or agree with you on every issue, the more unhappy you will become. So let's face it, we live in frustration. You can't get your husband or children to live under your control. Your co-workers won't submit. And you'll never get control of oil prices, climate change, terrorism in the Middle East or how many hurricanes will wreak havoc over the coming year. So, you feel out of control.
Well, here's the good news.
In the Genesis account of Adam and Eve there is the most important prophecy in the entire Bible. It is the prophecy that all other biblical prophecies are built upon. It predicts how, in the midst of all this chaos, God is going to take control of human history.
Now I'm going to tell you about that particular prophecy in a few moments but first, I want to briefly tell you about today's free literature offer.
Although prophecy comprises about one-fourth of the Bible - let's face it - it can sometimes be difficult to understand. So, to help you better grasp prophecy, I'd like to offer you our free study guide: You Can Understand Bible Prophecy.
This study guide - which is absolutely free for the asking - will help you inject new life into your Bible study. And it will aid you in comprehending the true magnitude of prophecy - as it puts the past, present and future into perspective.
If you are interested in biblical prophecy you really need this study guide. So please don't wait. Go online to BeyondToday.tv to download, read or order your free copy of: You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. Or, call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's, 1-888-886-8632, or go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please be assured that no one will call on you and your name will not be given to anyone.
Have you ever looked at the unpredictability of seismic activity, war, poverty, the unfairness of life and wondered if God has lost control?
Or, maybe you're like really most people who just don't care much about world events. All you care about is your life, getting through the day, your job, your health. I once worked for a radio station where the manager's news philosophy was that most people are more interested in who was in the ambulance that went by the house this morning than a million people dying in a catastrophe in China.
But no matter how you try to ignore the confusion and uncertainty of life, you can't escape it. Television, radio, the internet - brings the world to us whether we want to see it or not. And, let's face it, it's frightening. You can try and hide by pretending that "well, things really aren't that bad. They're really not out of control." But you can't escape the effects.
So, how can you experience a sense of security in a crazy world?
Before we can find the solutions, we first must define the problems.
We've looked at how Adam and Eve took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and plunged future generations into an out-of-control spiral of failed attempts to create a workable society. We live in a confused world because Satan is the "god of this world."
You will never find spiritual security until you face this reality.
Every human being, including you, me - we have all eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The world is out of control, your life is out of control, because at the core of our spiritual being every one of us is spiritually out of control. Nothing will be solved in your life until you understand that truth.
You know, you can't get control of tornado patterns, what's happening underneath the Pacific Rim, or where the next terrorist attack will take place. But you can let God control your life by eating of the tree of life. You see, there was another tree in the Garden of Eden, besides the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We'll return to that tree in just a little bit.
First, let's go back to Genesis 3 and look at what happened to Adam and Eve after they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and how this applies - yes, to you - today.
Now remember, before Adam and Eve decided to explore the knowledge of good and evil for themselves, they lived in happiness and security. But the moment they chose to disobey God, their lives began spinning out of control.
Immediately, they felt ashamed of their own bodies and sexuality. Feelings of guilt and confusion drove them to actually try and hide from God. Adam - he refused to take full responsibility for his actions and just blamed his wife. You see in their minds, God had become an adversary.
You know what, this is exactly where the world finds itself today.
Now, are you hiding from God? Do you play church? Do you believe that it doesn't matter how you live because, you know, God "understands me"? Are you unable to pray because you are wracked by guilt and shame?
The world is out of control because all of us are in conflict with our Creator. We keep searching for physical solutions and it is a spiritual problem.
Thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden God makes this remarkable prophecy. And with this prophecy, we find hope for all human beings.
In Genesis 3:15 God is speaking directly to Satan, the one remember, who influenced the first humans to go against their Maker, and He says this, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel."
Now what does this cryptic statement mean?
God told Eve that there would be conflict between human beings and Satan, but that a human being would "bruise" Satan's head. And here we have the foundational prophecy of the entire Bible.
From the very beginning, God planned to send a special human being, one that the Bible would call the Anointed One - the Messiah, who would defeat Satan, sin and death.
The entire story of the Old Testament is how God went about fulfilling this prophetic promise in the midst of Satan's confused and evil reign. In Genesis, God told Abraham and Sarah that He would bless all nations through one of their descendants. The book of Exodus tells how the descendants of Abraham were saved from Egyptian slavery through the power of God in a man named Moses.
Those people became the nation of Israel under the kings of David and Solomon. And a thousand years after King David, a descendant of Abraham, a very young girl named Mary, was miraculously impregnated with the Son of God.
Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah wasn't just like any other human being. He is the fulfillment of the prophetic theme that began with God's declaration to Adam and Eve as they were ushered out of the Garden of Eden.
Today, we're offering the free study guide, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. One chapter in this study guide outlines nine prophetic principles and themes. The first prophetic theme is "The role of the Messiah." Predictions of the Messiah, and His role in God's rescue plan, are the foundation of all prophecy.
The New Testament book of Hebrews says this about Jesus Christ: "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death" - Now this is speaking of Jesus Christ - He might destroy him" - Satan - "who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15).
God allowed Satan to kidnap humanity, but from the very beginning, as we see here in Genesis 3:15, He had a plan to rescue us. He wants to rescue you.
Do you even recognize your need to be rescued?
This begins with you accepting that you are by nature an adversary of God. You need His forgiveness for your crimes committed against His law. You need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the substitute for the death penalty that is the result of eating of the knowledge of good and evil. And you need to be rescued from Satan's cruel control over your life. Don't let him hold you captive!
Are you ready to have the prophetic message of Genesis 3:15 applied to your life?
It's time to give your life to God's control and live by His ways. It's time to stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution.
Now when you request our free study guide, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy, we'll also send you a free subscription to our full-color magazine, The Good News. This 40-page, bi-monthly publication will really help energize your study of the Bible.
Each issue of The Good News includes articles on Christian living and biblical teaching about God's great plan for your life. It also explains how you can grow in God's grace and knowledge and offers practical ways to better face the challenging issues of daily life.
Another important focus of The Good News is on Bible prophecy. Each issue contains important updates on key events in today's news and analysis from a biblical perspective.
So, be sure to call: 1-888-886-8632. That's, 1-888-886-8632, or go online at BeyondToday.tv for the study aid, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy and our magazine, The Good News.
I really hope you take us up on our free offers today. You have nothing to lose and believe me, everything to gain!
God has supplied a way out of this mess. It begins with your willingness to accept that you are part of the mess and fatally flawed because you have been eating of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. You must be willing to face that longing you have for a meaningful spiritual relationship with your Creator.
God has a plan for bringing the chaos of human history under His control.
Now, we've looked at how the coming of Jesus Christ to live a sinless life, die for our sins and be resurrected to return to His Father is a partial fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. But this beginning of all prophecies hasn't been completely fulfilled yet.
Now we started today's program at the beginning of the Book, at the beginning of the Bible. Let's go to the end. The book of Revelation contains divinely inspired visions given to the apostle John about an unprecedented time in human history. It tells of a time when all humanity will be spiraling out of control. Wars, disease epidemics, earthquakes, devastating natural disasters, and to make it worse, Satan will unleash his hatred on the victims he kidnapped. We will be on the verge of human extinction.
And here's what John was inspired to write: "Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God." Now "The Word" is another name for Jesus Christ.
Now John continued, "And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of [the] Almighty God" (Revelation 19:11-15).
The prophecy of Genesis 3:15 isn't completely fulfilled. God is in control. He is sending His Son a second time to remove Satan and set up God's Kingdom on the earth. Jesus, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will create a new society based on God's ways.
Would you like to be part of what God is doing?
Then you must be willing to give control of your life to God. So, let's look at two things you can do to begin to let God get control of your life:
First, accept that the more you try to control your life, the more out of control it will become. The real problems remember, are spiritual. Real solutions involve turning to God and as Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these thing shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
This involves heartfelt prayer where you ask God to forgive you for eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It involves a complete willingness to seek God's desire for you and submit to His will because you want to be spiritually healed.
Now a second step in letting God have control of your life is that you need to trust in God's goodness. This may be one of the most difficult steps for any human being.
Adam and Eve didn't trust in God's goodness. You know, they thought that He was somehow holding something back, something exciting and pleasurable for them. They didn't believe that God had their best interest at heart.
Do you really believe that God wants what is good for your life? Do you trust Him enough to follow His ways even if you don't know the outcome or if it becomes uncomfortable? Do you trust God even if it means losing a job or having friends think you are silly for being religious? Do your trust in God's goodness enough to...let go?
I'm reminded of a tale about a man walking in the woods who falls over a cliff. Part way down he manages to catch himself on a tree branch. He sort of gathers himself. He looks over the situation and realizes that he has sprained an ankle and broken a couple ribs. He can't climb up. He can't climb down.
Suffering from shock and pain the man cries out, "Is anybody up there? Can you hear me? Can you help me?"
Well, after hours of crying out for help, the man finally sobs, "God, will you help me?"
Suddenly, the man hears a voice from above, beyond the edge of the cliff. "I am here."
"Who are you?" the man asks.
"I am God. Don't you believe in me?"
"Oh, yes I do!" the man yells with relief. "Please God, save me."
"Good," God says, "Then let go and I'll catch you."
There is a long silence and then you can hear the man cry out, "Is there anybody else up there?"
You see, are you like this man? Or are you willing to give up control of your life and trust God and His ways, even if it means letting go? Are you willing to obey His law, His instructions, or are you a Christian only when it is convenient, or easy?
Sounding religious by talking about letting God control your life and actually trusting in His love for your goodness, they are two different experiences.
God is fulfilling Genesis 3:15 through the work of Jesus Christ. Christ came the first time to defeat Satan, sin and death. He is returning soon to remove the god of this world from power and set up God's Kingdom on earth.
Now, we're going to wrap things up by looking at the other tree in the Garden of Eden, but first, I'd like to remind you about ordering your copy of our free Bible study aid, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy and your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both online at BeyondToday.tv.
And remember, all of our publications are absolutely free of charge and offered as an educational service.
You know there was another tree in the Garden of Eden with fruit that our first parents didn't eat. It was called the tree of life. This tree represents the eternal life God will give to those who give up control of their lives and return to Him through the work of Jesus Christ.
In Revelation, John was inspired to write, "Blessed are those who do His commandments" (Revelation 22:14).
God is in control! Soon He will send Jesus Christ back to this earth to stop the chaos, the wars, even the destructive forces of nature. It's time for you to give up the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat of the tree of life.
Join us next week on Beyond Today as we continue to discover the gospel of the Kingdom. We also invite you to join us in constantly praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today I'm Gary Petty. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!