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1. Introduction.

Before I teach on why we should stop saying “God is in Control” without thinking about it, I will give an example of how your relationship with God changes over time as we mature in our relationship. 

As many of you know I was a commercial pilot for 7 years and we use “Control” as determining who is in command of the aircraft. So let’s think of God (the Trinity) as initially being the pilot and you being the passenger. This is what it is like when we are new believers. God is our pilot and we just sit in the seat next to Him (Remember we are seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus – Ephesians 2:6). We watch what He does and we don’t have any involvement in piloting the aircraft.

2. You have Control.

A. God Becomes the Intructor.

When we become young men and women in God, He wants to teach us to ‘fly in the Spirit’ so He changes from being the pilot of the aircraft to being the instructor pilot. You then sit in the pilot seat. He now starts to show us (disciple us) what we should do. He then says this: “Handing Over, you have control.” You as the student pilot says: “Taking Over, I have control.” The instructor pilot then takes his hands off the yoke (the steering wheel if you think of a car) and the student pilot is flying the aircraft. However at any stage if the instructor pilot believes the aircraft is in danger, or that he wants to teach or correct the student pilot, the instructor says, “I have control” and the student pilot says, “You have control”.

B. Maturing in Your Authority.

Now let’s move to ‘multi-crew’ operational piloting, where the ‘Student pilot’ is not a student but is a fully qualified pilot able to be in command of the aircraft with another pilot. What happens here is that the fully qualified pilot may now pilot the aircraft with the highly experience pilot (God) accompanying the new pilot (you). 

Before the flight begins the experienced pilot and the new pilot have a conversation, which goes something like this – shortened and amended for simplicity. I will now use God and you, instead of experienced pilot and new pilot.

God: You are the pilot in command of this flight and the aircraft. We will follow these written procedures (like biblical commandments). I, as the pilot not flying will do these written instructions and you as the pilot flying will follow the written instructions for the pilot in charge.

You: I am the pilot in charge of this flight, and am flying the aircraft

God: If there is an emergency, you will remain pilot in charge. I will read the manuals and you will fly the aircraft. You will give the instructions as pilot flying, and I will follow your instruction

You: Understood, in an emergency I will fly the aircraft and you (God) will read me the manuals (the Biblical promises)

God: However, if I believe that the emergency requires me to pilot the aircraft, then I will take control by saying, “Taking Over, I have the aircraft”. At that point I become the pilot flying the aircraft and you become the pilot not flying.

You: If you say, “Taking Over, I have the aircraft” I will hand the aircraft over to you and become the pilot not flying and follow the written instructions as pilot not flying.

3. Reformed Theology Teaching.

  1. God is in infinite control is a central truth to Reformed Theology but is not truth. If God is not in infinite control then other aspects of Reformed Theology fall apart. For example the Reformed Theology that God has predestined some to go to hell. (Which also is not true).
  2. If God has infinite control then there is no need to preach the gospel,
  3. When God has infinite control then all sickness comes from God,
  4. If God has infinite control then all suffering comes from God,
  5. When God has infinite control then natural disasters all come from Him,
  6. If God has infinite control then man does not have free will.

4. God is Sovereign.

He has chosen to not be in control!

  1. God made man in His image, and because  God has free will (He is sovereign), man has free will.
  2. He has given man free will and for this reason is not in control
  3. God is Sovereign and Can Choose to be in Command
    • Because we have seen God being in COMMAND we have made the error of saying God is always in control, as if everything is up to God. We may therefore blame disasters as ‘acts of God’ and sickness as the will of God.
    • While we are young in Christ we see God in control. Just as parents we take control of everything that our infants need and do.
    • When we grow up He wants us to learn about our authority:

I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.

And, I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one.

I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.

1 John 2:13 NKJV

5. God’s Goodness.

God’s goodness will cause His sovereignty to be activated where He will take command.

  1. Being a good Father, God may elect to take command out of His love for us to bring you to your destiny. This is because His ways and thoughts are higher than ours.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 NKJV

6. The Heart of the Father.

Our love of God will motivate the heart of the Father to bring us into our destiny:

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
  • God’s Goodness means He may choose to step in and take control to get to our destiny if we are going the wrong direction.
  • Just like the experienced pilot in my starting story, God may take over command of your life to ensure you get back on the correct path:

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

Hebrews 12:7NKJV
  • God doesn’t usually need to punish us because we are often chastised by our own lack of wisdom. For example not looking after your vehicle properly may result in the car’s brakes failing and as a result having an accident. We need to be careful in instances like this not to blame God, nor to blame the devil, or other people, but to take responsibility for our actions or neglect.
  • Sin always has consequences that may not have been thought of beforehand. Sometimes God will protect us from our sins or mistakes, other times He wants us to realise there are consequences. It’s easy to say at these times, God is in control. Sometimes He is, but sometimes He isn’t.
  • This discipline is a result of His goodness and so our attitude during this time should be:

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalm 33:18 NKJV

7. Pre-Incarnate Jesus is Referred to as Being in Command.

  • Jesus did not say I am the Controller

So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”

Joshua 5:14 NKJV
  • The army of the Lord is spiritual and natural

And all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near; and they came before the city and camped on the north side of Ai. Now a valley lay between them and Ai.

Joshua 8:11 NKJV

And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17 NKJV

8. What We Have Dominion Over.

God is in control of creation EXCEPT for what He has commanded us to have dominion over.

A. He has given mankind dominion over the every living creature, the plants and the trees:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

Genesis 1:28-29 NKJV

B. Mankind’s dominion is a result of being created in the likeness of God:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the …

Genesis 1:26 NKJV

C. God’s plan of dominion was founded in what He started with – a garden that would provide everything:

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 NKJV

D. Sin entered the world and the degradation started.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Romans 5:12 NKJV
E. Sin no longer reigns, instead grace reigns. (See Sin 102)

so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:21 NKJV
  • Creation is expecting the sons of God to mature, because creations is no longer under the weight of sin’s reign.  Now that we are in authority again God wants us to take dominion over the earth again (We cannot say God is in control of global warming)

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Romans 8:22 NKJV

9. God is Sovereign.

Sometimes God’s sovereignty requires He takes Command when We Don’t Want Him to Take Command.

having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 

1 Peter 3:16 NKJV
  • One example is suffering

For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

1 Peter 3:17
  • He does this because He wants us to grow to a new level of maturity and glory:

10. Kingdom Thinking Shows God in Command.

  • God has given Jesus authority in the kingdom of God

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Matthew 28:18 NKJV
  • Jesus has given us authority

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Luke 10:19 NKJV

11. Authority Structure.

God chooses to run this earth and His kingdom through authority structure of man submitted to the Kingship of Jesus.

  • Being in Command means Jesus gives Commandments and we have to take command

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Luke 10:19 NKJV

And heal the sick there, and say to them, The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Luke 10:9 NKJV

12. Words From God.

Prophetic words that come from God may be considered commandments in the same way that God instructed Joshua:

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

Joshua 1:3 NKJV

We cannot just sit and wait for God’s commands to happen (which if God was in control is exactly what would happen) we need to do what He says and take command of our life.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville van Eerten 2021