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8-21-22 “Great Themes of the Bible: Providence”

Great Themes of the Bible: Providence (Colossians 1:15-17)

David Peterson / General

Great Themes of the Bible / God’s Providence / Colossians 1:15–17

Sermon Type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: Providence is God’s preserving, accompanying, and directing presence in our world made known to us in Jesus Christ.

Introduction

1. Providence, a definition

a. Donald Bloesch

God the Almighty: Power, Wisdom, Holiness, Love Lord and Ruler

Providence is the mysterious, hidden hand of God at work in all phenomena of nature and events in history, bringing into temporal reality what has already been envisaged and ordained by God from all eternity—but in cooperation with, not in negation of, creaturely freedom.

b. Etymology

Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible Providence

The term “providence” derives from the Latin noun providentia, “foresight, forethought,” and the related verb providere, “to provide for, take precautions for or against” something.

c. Evangelical Catechism

15. How does God constantly prove himself to be the Creator?

God constantly proves himself to be the Creator by his fatherly providence, whereby he preserves and governs all things.

d. J. Rodman Williams — Providence involves preservation, accompaniment, and direction

2. The doctrine of Providence raises many questions.

a. Predestination, election (God’s choosing and purpose), destiny vs. freedom

b. The relation of prayer to God’s plan and the question of evil

I. God’s Purpose is Revealed in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15)

1. In Jesus the invisible is made known

2. We see God’s choosing. His election.

Institutes of the Christian Religion 5. Election Is to Be Understood and Recognized in Christ Alone

Christ, then, is the mirror wherein we must, and without self-deception may, contemplate our own election.

3. We see God has been preserving, accompanying, and directing this world

4. A classic description from the life of Christ

Acts 2:23 NIV1984

This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

II. Everything Must Submit to His Purpose (Colossians 1:16a)

1. The Bible makes clear that all reality must submit to his will.

Colossians and Philemon Explanation of the Text

The following two phrases, “in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,” utilize opposing polarities in denoting totality (merisms). All creatures must submit to him.

2. This is demonstrated in his resurrection (Colossians 1:18). He has the supremacy! (He received the worst of this world and of the devil and overcame it.)

3. Christ reveals that suffering can be used by God.

1000 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching How God Communicates

C. S. Lewis said God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our consciousness, and shouts to us in our pain.

300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans Sometimes Providences Must Be Read Backward

Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backward.

JOHN FLAVEL

III. The Purpose of this Created Order is Christ (Colossians 1:16b-17)

1. Christ is the fulfillment of the created. His appearance brings creation to its fulfillment.

2. Our destiny is to be like him. It is our predestination (Romans 8:29). The hope of glory is Christ in us (Colossians 1:27)

3. Touch of the Master’s Hand (1921)

‘Twas battered and scarred,

And the auctioneer thought it

hardly worth his while

To waste his time on the old violin,

but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried,

“Who starts the bidding for me?”

“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”

“Two dollars, who makes it three?”

“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,

From the room far back a gray bearded man

Came forward and picked up the bow,

Then wiping the dust from the old violin

And tightening up the strings,

He played a melody, pure and sweet

As sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer

With a voice that was quiet and low,

Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”

As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”

“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”

“Three thousand once, three thousand twice,

Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered,

But some of them cried,

“We just don’t understand.”

“What changed its’ worth?”

Swift came the reply.

“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

“And many a man with life out of tune

All battered and bruised with hardship

Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd

Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,

A game and he travels on.

He is going once, he is going twice,

He is going and almost gone.

But the Master comes,

And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,

The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought

By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

– Myra Brooks Welch

Conclusion

Logos Digital Hymnal More Love to Thee

More love to Thee,

O Christ, More love to Thee!

Hear Thou the prayer

I make On bended knee;

This is my earnest plea:

More love, O Christ, to Thee,

More love to Thee.

More love to Thee!

2 Once earthly joy I craved,

Sought peace and rest;

Now Thee alone I seek,

Give what is best;

This all my prayer shall be:

More love, O Christ, to Thee,

More love to Thee,

More love to Thee!

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