The Sufficiency of God
Tim Temple

Introduction

In this lesson we will be continuing our study of God and being people who know their God. One of the most interesting commercials on television these days, I think, is the one about the energizer bunny. He just keeps going and going. That commercial is interesting to me for several reasons. First, because frankly, it is just better programming than what is on television today. It's entertaining actually. Second, because it is intriguing to think about that whole concept of endurance, of just being able to keep on going. Third, and most important, I think that is an interesting commercial because it hints at the possibility of something that could go on and on and on forever, without a recharge or without a refill of the energy source.

I am convinced that the next great scientific breakthrough is going to be made in the area of renewable and/or long-lasting, portable energy sources. I think that the next mega-fortune will be made by the guy who can develop the lightweight, long-lasting small energy source—a battery or whatever that energy source might be.

Then next on the list, I think, will be a means of plugging into that kind of power without having to use wires. Think what a great world it would be if we didn't have to have extension cords and plugs and all of that. Great as those things are—and we are grateful that we have them—there is a lot more that could be done.

If you can visualize that sort of thing, you may be able to get a glimpse of the aspect of God that we want to think about today, and that is the aspect of the sufficiency of God . That is the part of God's being that we want to think about today—the sufficiency of God.

Defining God's Sufficiency

By way of definition, He is perfectly complete within His own being . God is perfectly complete within His own being. That is a difficult attribute of God to understand, because like the others that we have looked at, it is so different from our human understanding of things. It is so different from our human existence, and because it is hard to understand, men have tried to diminish it in any way that they can. We do not like to think about something that can't be put in a box, something that can't be categorized or demonstrated with some mathematical formula.

God defies the formulas. He defies the descriptions, and we can only to a certain extent understand all of these magnificent things that God reveals about Himself. The Word of God is absolutely clear about the fact that God is completely self-sufficient and self-sustaining. He never has to recharge His batteries. He never has to refuel His engine.

We humans are only partly sufficient. If we don't get nourishment, if we don't get rest, if we don't get to recharge our batteries, we can't keep going. We are only sufficient to the extent that we have outside resources that refuel and replenish the strength that we have, but God is completely sufficient. He never needs to be refueled or recharged. He never needs help from any outside source whatsoever.

John, chapter 5, verse 26, says:

John 5

26For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

In other words, He is self-sustaining. He is self-sufficient.

Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 28, says:

Isaiah 40

28Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary…

As we think about the sufficiency of God, I want us to look at it from three standpoints. First, the essence of His sufficiency—what is it that really brings about that power within Him. Then we will look at the extent of His sufficiency. Then third, we will look at the extension of His sufficiency to you and me.

It is good to know that we have a God Who is self-sustaining, but the wonderful thing is that He extends that sustenance to you and me. He is sufficient to meet our needs, and not only that, He offers and keeps the promise to meet our needs. So the sufficiency of God is something that we have a personal interest in.

The Essence of God's Suffering

Let's begin our study by thinking about the essence of God's sufficiency—that is, the essential reason for it. The essence of God's sufficiency is the fact that He created all things. This truth is stated very clearly in several places in the Scripture, and each of them carries a little different emphasis, but probably the clearest is John, chapter 1, verses 1-3. These are familiar verses, but think about them from the standpoint of God's sufficiency:

John 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We don't have the time to go through all of the details, but the Word that is mentioned there is the Lord Jesus Christ. That becomes very obvious as you read on down through that chapter. John had his own reasons for referring to Him as the Word . With that understanding that this is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ, these verses actually accomplish two purposes.

First, in their context, they establish the deity of Jesus Christ. If you will notice, it says that “He was in the beginning, and was with God and was God.” Jesus did not become God when He was born in Bethlehem's manger. Jesus had always been the Christ. Jesus had always been God. In the beginning, He was there.

The Importance of the Doctrine of Creation

However, more important for our purposes today, it clarifies the fact that Jesus Christ is Creator and underscores it. Notice again, it says in verse 3:

John 1

3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

What this tells us is that God, Jesus Christ, the Trinity created all things, and in case there is any question about that, it goes on to understate that nothing was made that was made without Him. In other words, He made everything. I mean, He made everything. Nothing exists that He did not make. This tells us that there is nothing in existence today that God did not make. God is outside of and above all created things. He doesn't need anything in all creation to maintain or to sustain His existence.

Incidentally, let me point out again that this is why Satan so vehemently attacks the doctrine of creation, throughout history. The doctrine of creation is the foundational truth of the Word of God. Don't kid yourself. The fantasy of evolution is not the first attempt that has ever taken place to deny God's creation. It is only the latest in a long line of attempts to explain away the existence of everything.

If we face the facts and realize that God is the Creator, then as we appreciate the creation that we see around us, the logical conclusion that we have to draw from that is that we are accountable to that Creator. Men do not want to be accountable to a Creator, and Satan does not want men to be accountable to a Creator, so down through the years, he has come up with various schemes, various explanations, for what we see around us. The latest in a long series of them is the silliness of the theory of evolution. The reason that Satan is so anxious to do that, I say, is that every aspect of God's existence and His authority is tied in with His place as Creator.

Paul's Message On Mars Hill

Another passage that speaks of the essence of God's sufficiency is in Acts, chapter 17. This passage was written when the Apostle Paul was on his second missionary journey. He came to Athens, which was the intellectual center of the world of that day, and as he came to Athens he saw that there were all kinds of idols all over that city.

The interesting thing is that Luke records that as Paul was walking around the city looking at all those idols, he spoke with people in the marketplace about Jesus Christ. Paul didn't wait to be invited to speak in the largest church in town. He didn't wait to be asked to be on somebody's television show. He just talked to the people around him, and he formed a good example of how to spread the Gospel and how to have a witness. He just turned to the people next to him. The marketplace in that day was like our mall today. It was the place where all of the business was going on. He just went out and talked to individual people.

Acts, chapter 17, says that because of the things that he talked to people about, the word got around that he was in town, and eventually he was invited to speak at the Areopagus. The Areopagus was a very famous place where philosophers gathered to discuss their ideas and other people came just to listen to what they were saying. It was a very great honor to be invited to speak on Mars Hill—the location of the Areopagus. It was something like being invited to address a joint session of Congress or to lecture at Harvard. Because Paul was faithful in those day-to-day, person-to-person responsibilities, God gave him greater opportunity.

I'm digressing a little bit, but since I am starting down that track, let me just mention that if you are seeking to have a great ministry, if you are hoping to some day be a prominent Christian, the way to do it is to start right where you are and do what God has given you to do today. Speak to people in the marketplace, and as God blesses that, He will give you greater opportunities if greater opportunities are what He has in store for you.

God's Power and Authority In Creation

Paul was given this opportunity to speak on Mars Hill. In the latter third of Acts, chapter 17, we have the text of the message that he gave there. Look down at verse 24. In the midst of talking to these philosophers in Athens, he says:

Acts 17

24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

It is not our purpose today to study Paul's message, although that is a very interesting and important study, but what he said is something that ties in with what we are talking about—the sufficiency of God.

Notice what he says in the last part of verse 25. He says, “He does not need anything. It is not as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life and breath, and all things.” These verses restate God's creation of all things.

It is so fascinating how often creation is tied in with His power and His authority, but these verses go a step further, and they state what was only implied in John, chapter 1, and that is that God doesn't need anything from us. God doesn't need anything from you and me.

That may be hard to take, especially if you have been listening to evangelists very much. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be involved in a ministry that was a tremendous blessing to me. It had a great impact on me, and I have encouraged other people to go to it. However, in spite of that great blessing, one thing was said in that weekend that is really not biblical. It is really a misunderstanding and probably an oversight, based on the confidence I had of the people who were leading that worship, but one of the things that they said was, and they asked people to repeat, “Christ is counting on me, and I am counting on Christ.”

That is a beautiful concept, and we ought to remind ourselves often that we are counting on Christ, but let me tell you something: Christ is not counting on you. Christ does not need you. God does not need you. God will get along just fine if you never accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, if you are not saved today. God will not be slowed down. It will not change His nature by one millimeter if you die and go to Hell. If you don't witness to that person that you work with or if you don't go into the ministry or go into the mission field, it is not going to bother God. He will find someone else to do it. God is going to accomplish His purposes whether you and I get involved in that or not. It will not mess up God's program if you never give another dime to His work. It will not even frustrate His plans if you never come back to church again.

That is a bold thing for a preacher to say, and if you don't listen to the rest of what I have to say, some of you might be thinking, “I won't be back.” The reason that I am saying all of that is to emphasize to you the sufficiency of God. There is nothing that you and I as puny human beings can do or fail to do that will in any way harm God or His plan in any way. God is all-sufficient. He doesn't need you and me. In fact, Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 15, says:

Isaiah 40

15Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance…

Before you mark me as a heretic, listen carefully to the rest of what I have to say about this. To put all of that in its proper perspective, Acts, chapter 17, verse 25, is not saying, and I am not trying to say that God doesn't want these things. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. First Timothy, chapter 2, verse 4, says that God desires all men to be saved, and not only to be saved, but to grow spiritually, to come to know all that we have because of our salvation. God has given us very clear instructions about witnessing and church attendance and giving and those other kinds of things that I talked about a minute ago. God wants us to do those things. God is pleased when we do those things. God is honored when we do those things, and God blesses us when we do those things, but He does not need those things from us in order to be what He is. He is not going to fall apart. He is not going to be in a situation where He can't go on if we don't do those things that He has told us to do and that He wants us to do and that He enables us to do. You and I will be hurt if we don't do those things, but God will not be hurt. God is all-sufficient.

Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas, has written a book on the nature of God that has been very helpful to me in this series of studies. He puts it this way: “God has a voluntary relationship with everything, but a necessary relationship to nothing.” God in His grace has reached out to include us in His plan, and we need God. Without God reaching out to us, we would be eternally, hopelessly lost, but God doesn't need us. He does not have a necessary relationship to us; He has a voluntary relationship to us.

If you think about it, that should make it all the more precious. Even though He doesn't need us at all, He has included us in His plan. He has allowed us to be a part of it. He has given us the privilege of sharing it with other people. He has given us the privilege of investing in His work and becoming a part of it all, even though He doesn't need us. He will accomplish His plan and His purpose in eternity whether you and I take the opportunity to be a part of it or not. That is a tremendous blessing if you will think it through completely. Rather than turning us off, it ought to reassure us all the more. Even though He doesn't need us, He allows us to be a part of it all. These are the things that have to do with the essence of God's sufficiency.

The Extent of God's Sufficiency

The second thing that we want to think about the sufficiency of God is the extent of that sufficiency. How far does that sufficiency go? The Bible makes clear that not only did God create all things, but that He sustains all things as well. God not only created all things, but He keeps everything going. Look with me at Colossians, chapter 1, verse 17. Here again we are going to find God's creation emphasized. We will begin reading with verse 16, to get the gist of the statement that we want to look at in verse 17. Speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, we read:

Colossians 1

16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17And he is before all things, [now notice this last phrase] and by him all things consist.

Although it is beside the point of this particular study, you should know that, as I have pointed out before, these verses are talking about the Lord Jesus Christ—another proof that Jesus of Nazareth was God. We refer to Him as the Son of God . He is the Son of God, but He is God, to the point that He was involved in creation, so much so that God's Holy Spirit speaks of it, inspiring Paul in writing this letter to the Colossians, as His having created all things.

Notice in what detail creation is spoken of in verse 16—“All things that are in Heaven, that are in earth, visible, invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities…” In other words, God wants us to understand that He created everything. God said, “Without Him nothing was created that was created. All things were made by Him.” That's the thorough principle of the creation of God.

He Holds Things Together

The real point that we want to notice is that last phrase of verse 17: “In Him all things consist.” The word consist is a translation of a Greek word that means “to hold together.” The English word has that meaning, but it makes it a bit more clear, I think, to specify that it means “to hold things together.”

What is it that keeps the planets spinning in their orbits around the sun and that keeps the galaxies in their orbits in the universe? What is it that keeps the atoms in their orbits within our own bodies, and smaller particles of matter even in the atoms? What is it that keeps all of that going, keeps it from going too fast or too slow? Colossians, chapter 1, verse 17, says that it is Jesus Christ: “In Him all things hold together.”

Listen, if Jesus Christ took His finger off the universe for a millisecond, we would have utter chaos. The whole world would look like an earthquake had occurred. Jesus Christ holds all things together. That is the extent to which this sufficiency extends. Not only does He not need to recharge His own batteries, but He keeps everything going in the universe around us.

To put it on a little smaller scale, but the same truth, look at Proverbs, chapter 8, verse 15, and Proverbs, chapter 21, verse 1:

Proverbs 8

15By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

Proverbs 21

1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

These verses say that God's power is sufficient to raise up and put down kings and governments. He is sufficient on the largest scale that we can envision to keep the planets in orbit. He is sufficient on a slightly smaller scale to have control over every power, every governmental authority on the earth. He is sufficient even for that.

There are many other ramifications of that that we have discussed in other times, but let me remind you that Paul wrote to the Romans, “There is no power but of God.” So even those atheistic dictators, even those godless governments are at least permitted by God for His own purposes. It is beyond our scope in this lesson to talk about how God works all of that together, but God sustains kings.

I love Proverbs, chapter 21, verse l. Look at that verse again:

Proverbs 21

1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

God not only keeps kings in power, but He even controls the way hearts are turned. That is a tremendous concept. Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 26, says the same thing from a little different angle:

Isaiah 40

26Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

The context is clearly talking about the stars and the planets that we see when we look up and behold those things on high. Again notice the reference to His sustaining power: “by the greatness of his might, and the strength of His power, not one is missing.” The stars remain in place because God keeps them there.

I am sure you have thought about what would happen if a star were to fall. We know the damage that just a meteor—just a tiny chunk of a star—in the earth can do. But God actively keeps all those stars in place. The ones that fall only fall because of His allowance and plan. He is able to do it and to keep on doing it throughout all time, throughout all those light years that we talk about. God is sufficient.

Acts, chapter 17, verse 28, brings yet another aspect of the sustaining work of God. It says:

Acts 17

28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

It is one thing to think about God keeping the planets rotating, or even the atoms of which our bodies are made, rotating; but this verse says that everything about our lives is kept in place by His sustaining power. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” God's sufficiency is great enough to extend to everything that we do. He keeps everything going within our lives, within our activities. God is not some distant being, far off in the universe. He is a God Who is intimately involved in every detail of our lives, in every breath that we take. That is the extent to which He goes in being sufficient.

The Extension of God's Sufficiency

That leads to one final point in our study. We have said that God is sufficient to have created all things and He is sufficient to keep them going, but the most wonderful truth to me is that He extends this sufficiency to human beings. This is the third thing that we want to think about, the extension of His sufficiency.

You know, the word sufficient has to do with being able to do whatever is necessary. If you have sufficient money, you have enough money. If you have sufficient strength, you have enough strength. If you have sufficient time, you have enough time. We are talking about God's sufficiency, and we have seen some amazing things that God is able to do, and does do on a continuing basis. However, don't get the idea that His only concern is the planets and nations and rulers. In many places in the Scripture He tells us that His sufficiency is aimed directly at you and me.

We have touched on that just now in the previous point, but let's think for a few minutes about some of the personal things that God tells us in His Word that He is able to do. Hebrews, chapter 7, verse 25, says:

Hebrews 7

25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him…

He is sufficient to save us as we come to Him through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ died to pay for the sins that we have committed. If we accept the fact that Christ's sacrifice paid for our sins, as we by faith turn to God with that, God is sufficient to save us. He is able to save those who come to Him through Christ.

Second Timothy, chapter 1, verse 12, says:

II Timothy 1

12…I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

This verse says that God is able to keep the faith that we place in Him. Many times, we say, “I don't think I have the faith to go on. I know all of this is true, and I have trusted Christ as my Savior, but I just don't have the faith to believe what God has put before me. I just don't have the faith to claim the promises.”

Sufficient to Deliver

Our faith is weak. Listen, God is able to keep the faith that we have placed in Him. When you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, God keeps that faith. This is one of the many reasons that we believe in teaching the doctrine of eternal security. Not because we are faithful enough, but Paul wrote to Timothy and reminded him of a truth that all of us need to know. Even if we are faithless, He abides faithful. Paul wrote this same truth in different words in this passage in II Timothy: “He is able to keep that faith that we have committed to Him.”

If you have by faith accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, God has put that in a safety deposit box, and He keeps that faith even if you run out of faith. The illustration was used before of the fact that you may be holding on to God's hand, and that is wonderful, but also God is holding on to your hand. Even if you let your grip go, God does not let His grip go. He is sufficient to keep us in His family.

In the Old Testament, in the book of Daniel, chapter 3, there is that story that probably everyone knows of the three Jewish young men who refused to bow down to worship the idol of Nebuchadnezzar the king, and the king was ready to throw them into the fiery furnace if they didn't bow down. He had enough respect for them that he gave them a second chance, but he said, “If you don't bow down you are going to go into this fiery furnace. Who is that God Who will deliver you out of my hands?” Those young men said to him, in Daniel, chapter 3, verses 17-18:

Daniel 3

17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

God is able to deliver His children from any test, trial, or difficulty that may come our way. He allows us to go into some of those difficulties and trials and tests, but He is able to deliver us from them.

Sometimes He does not deliver us from them, and those young men knew that God might choose not to deliver them. They didn't say, “He will deliver,” but they knew that He was able to deliver them. What a wonderful truth that is. God is sufficient to deliver us from any problem that we may have.

The book of James tells us—other places tell us too—that God sometimes allows us to go on through those testings, because He has things that we can learn from that we could learn in no other way, but He is able to deliver. There is nothing so big that you can get into, there is nothing so terrible that you can get into that God will be stymied will have to scratch His head about what He is going to do to get you out of that. God is sufficient for every need.

Isaiah, chapter 4, verses 10-11, presents this truth from a little different standpoint. Those verses speak of God's shepherding His children. God shepherds His children. That's what the shepherd does. He sees the sheep having a problem, and the shepherd is sufficient to deliver the sheep.

It is interesting to me that those verses come in the midst of that passage that talks about His being sufficient to rule over all the nations of the world. It's in the very passage that says, “The nations are but a drop in the bucket and as the dust of a small scale.” Then in that very same context He says, “God shepherds His children.” He is sufficient for that.

Romans, chapter 8, verse 28, one of the most famous verses in all the Bible, says:

Romans 8

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God is sufficient to take that tough thing that you are going through right now, that disappointing thing, that sad thing, that exciting thing, that challenging thing that you think is beyond your ability, God is able to take that and work it together for good.

Some of you are going through times that are difficult and hard. You think, “Surely there is no way in which this can be good.” God would say, “No, this is not a good thing, but I am sufficient to work it together with other things that I allow to come into your life, to work it together with those things for good, to make you more like Jesus Christ. He is sufficient to work all things together for good, and He has promised to do that.

Conclusion

Turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 3, because this chapter contains one of the greatest benedictions in all the Bible. This chapter gives a benediction that fits in perfectly with what we are talking about today, and I think it is a fitting one to conclude our study today. Ephesians, chapter 3, verse 20, says:

Ephesians 3

20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


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