Ephesians 3-4, Psalm 9
There are so many pitfalls and wrong thinking which prevents people from coming into a belief in Christ. Many put conditions on being happy. They say if I were married, if I had children, if I had more money, if I got that promotion, if I had a house, etc. then I'd be happy. Many put these same conditions on coming to faith. If this prayer were answered, if I saw a miracle, if I found a church where everyone behaved like a Christian, if I found the perfect pastor, then I'd believe. Many don't believe because they falsely believe that God is winging it, or adjusting to what is going on here on earth. Some actually believe He is perplexed or biting His nails as events unfold. People fail to realize that history unfolds under His authority and sovereignty. Everything is going on according to His plan, perfectly. There is a theological tool called dispensationalism. These are ages or periods of time in history that God governed the affairs of the world, and related to man. In this we see that every dispensation will ultimately fail due to the inherent weakness of man, until the dispensation of grace. There are roughly 7 dispensations (but this number differs a bit among theologians). The dispensation of Innocence lasted from the creation to the fall of man. This reality dispels the theory that if everything were perfect then we would not mess up or rebel. The dispensation of Conscience lasted from the fall of man to the flood. This period dispels the concept that if everyone followed their own conscience and did their own thing everyone would live in harmony and peace. The dispensation of Government lasted from the flood to the Tower of Babel. This period shows the false belief thinking if we only had the right government or political situation then all would turn out well. The dispensation of Promise lasts from the promise to Abraham to the Exodus. This dispels the belief if we only had a vision or a guarantee that all would go well then we would all go in the right direction. The dispensation of Law lasts from Exodus to the cross at Calvary. This dispels the belief that if we only had the right rules and regulations then we would be fine and behave. The problem is that no one can keep it. The dispensation of Grace is our current situation. God provides the solution, He does it all, since we are incapable of doing it in our own strength. Lastly, will come the dispensation of Righteousness during the Millenial kingdom which will be a time of perfect rule, peace, environment, etc. with King Jesus on the throne.
Paul writes in Ephesians 3:2-6, "if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,..., which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through His gospel,". He goes on in 3:9-10 to say, "and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,". God is not adjusting but revealing His plan as He allows history to unfold. No amount of intellect can understand these things fully until God allows it to be understood. Peter also describes this in 1 Peter 1:12, "To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-things which angels desire to look into." Even the angels and the prophets did not fully comprehend these things before God allowed them to understand.
So, we should all take confidence in the fact that we have a God who was and is completely in control. He is in control of the small personal things in our lives along with the larger worldly events. Since we know that God is the complete embodiment of love, this should reassure us all. Whatever conditions or restrictions we have placed on ourselves to submit fully to Him should end. His love for us is unconditional. There is nothing that we can do that will make Him love us any more than He already does. We would and can find peace on this earth if we realized that our God will never leave or forsake us. That during good and difficult times He will never leave our side. That in every situation, even in life or death, He will see us through and strengthen us through the process.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: