Posts Tagged ‘Abba Father’


Our Journey through the Cross will stop in Romans 8.

Here we discover what the Cross is all about. It is about the life that Jesus died to give all those who by faith make Him their life. It requires a turning away from our self, our sin, our flesh and embracing Jesus Christ as our Lord, our Life, our Savior.

By faith in what Jesus Christ did for us on the Cross, we are justified by God. We are declared righteous, we are declared His children. By faith, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus shed upon the world at Pentecost, comes and makes us His dwelling place. We are set apart for God’s purpose.

Coming to the Cross and accepting Jesus as your Savior means that you will now live by the cross. We must take up our cross daily, and just as Jesus humbled Himself as a servant, so we must humble ourselves before Almighty God and take up the cross He has given to us.

We have this assurance from the Master himself, that we will not bear our cross alone. In fact, our cross becomes easy and light, as long as we realize that He carries it for us. For the cross means that we no longer live, in fact our old man is dead, and the life that we now live, we live by Jesus Christ.

This is the message of Romans, and Romans 8 reveals what it means to be a Christian. Romans 8 is the insider’s guide to the Christian Life. The Christian Life is all about walking after the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit communicates and manifests Jesus Christ in our lives. Romans 8 details our New Life in the Holy Spirit.

1. The Holy Spirit Joins us to Christ

He brings about a vital union with the Lord Jesus.

“He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17);

It is a spiritual and inward union with the Lord Jesus. This is what Romans 8:1-2 describes:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

When we are born again, the Holy Spirit joins us to Jesus Christ and we live in the Spirit of Life! God is all about Life, and sin is death. Being joined to Jesus means we are no longer under condemnation, no longer under the penalty of sin, no longer under the judgment of death, separated from Holy God by all eternity in Hell.

You and I, if we are truly born-again children of God, have got to know that, right inside of us, a union has been effected between Christ and ourselves, and ourselves and Christ; that we are joined to Christ. That union has been affected; we have been made one.

No more me, but We!

The Lord’s way of illustrating this truth is the marriage union. Paul says, “the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:31, 32). ‘One flesh’. Just as married couples, we are made “one flesh” with Jesus Christ.

Now, if a marriage is what it ought to be, those two people are so ONE, that to separate them is to cut one person in two, and only leave two halves, and not a whole. This explains how death can leave a spouse so empty, so alone, as if part of them is gone. This explains how even years later, divorce can leave an ugly scar upon ones soul.

That is the illustration of our union with Christ. We are not complete until we are united with Christ; our completeness is in union with Christ.

If we do not have Christ with us, we are only half here. If we lose the Lord, we are torn in two. Jesus is that much a part of our lives.

We can – by disobedience, by playing with sin, by disobeying the Lord, by this or that – bring about such an effect, so that we feel as if something has happened; the Lord is there and I am here, and we are not together. It is as though we have been torn in two, are not complete.

This is the beginning of the Christian life; the very foundation and basis of the Christian life:

We and Christ have been made one; not two – one!

Jesus is not our homeboy. He is not someone we go to when things get bad. He is not a good luck charm we wear around our neck. He is not a wristband that says WWJD. We are united as one with the very creator of the universe. This union is a mystery, but it is so real and so powerful that to divide, to walk away and have an independent life – it is to destroy your own identity, to tear your own spiritual personality in pieces; and that is how it is, if we get away from the Lord in any way.

So here, the very first thing that we find about this life in the Spirit, is that there has come about between us and Christ, and between Christ and ourselves, a oneness, which is not in any outward, visible sense, but in a vital, inward reality.

So the first thing is “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (v. 2) – the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus – that is the union: our union with Christ.

2. The Holy Spirit Leads Us

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8:14

When we are joined to Jesus Christ, we are not left to our own abilities. In fact, we must humble ourselves and give all of ourselves to Christ, so that the Holy Spirit will lead us. The operative word is “LED”. He is the leader. It is not a shared responsibility. There can be only one BOSS. This is why Paul wrote that:

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:7-8

To be led by the Spirit we must “walk AFTER the Spirit”

God reveals why we cannot walk after the flesh and why we must walk after the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:29:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son… Romans 8:29

God has a goal for each one of His children- conformity to the image of His Son.

“Conformed to the image” (summorphous tēs eikonos) means both an inward and an outward likeness. This is no happy fake smile Christian. All that Jesus Christ is we are to be. His loves, concern, his righteousness, his passion for the temple, his compassion for the lost, all are to be ours. It requires more of Him and less of me.

What is being ‘led by the Spirit’? Take the example of Israel.

God came down into Egypt, into the dark world of their bondage and tyranny in Egypt. He came down with His great purpose; He took possession of them; and then He gave them the symbol and figure of the Holy Spirit in the Pillar of Cloud and Fire. Paul says ‘They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud’ (1 Cor. 10:2).

What was the pillar of cloud and fire given for? Well, it is an illustration. It is a type of the Holy Spirit. It was given to lead them into the Land of Promise, where God had intended them to be. He had come down into Egypt, got hold of them, pulled them out, and brought them into the Wilderness for that purpose.

The Spirit was ever moving ahead of them, in the Pillar, to get them into the Land.

That is being “led by the Spirit”. As the Lord said, speaking of His people: “Israel is my son… Let my son go…” (Ex. 4:22, 23). As Paul wrote: ‘Now these are the sons of God, who are led by the Spirit of God’.

However, what does it mean? It means that we are always moving on, ever moving on in the way of the Spirit, leaving the old world further and further behind, and getting nearer and nearer to the heavenly promised land.

  • Now, if the Christian life is normal, this is true of the Christian life. This is not something abnormal; this is ‘normal Christian living!

The more you go on with the Lord, the less and less you find it possible to accept this world and to settle down here, and the further you seem to get away from it. Alternatively, it seems to get away from you.

The things of the Lord get nearer and nearer, and more and more engrossing, taking up more and more of your life. You find that, whereas at one time, you could compartmentalize your time, you could spread it out over various things, now you are more and more being absorbed (not obsessed), but absorbed in the things of the Lord; you have no time for other things.

What about your Work?

You go to work, you do your work, you give yourself to your work, you do it honestly… but the thing that has a grip on you inside is the Lord’s interests – what delights the Lord. If you are going on with the Lord, what you want more and more is that which tastes of heaven. Your desire is unto God and His desires.

The Holy Spirit wants to lead us on nearer and nearer to the fullness of Christ.

3. The Holy Spirit brings us to Confidence in our Father

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

The Holy Spirit opens us up to seeing God as our dearest Daddy, the one who cares for us with unconditional love. We no longer live our lives in fear of what can or might happen. We know that we are in the hands of our dearest Daddy.

God is including us in His plan, and that plan involves us becoming conformed to His Son Jesus Christ.

Many of us have experienced horrible tragedies. Many of us have suffered terrible injustices, abuse. There are many ways we react to such experiences.

We can blame others, we can hold on to our pain and grow bitter, we can become frustrated and angry, and we can lash out and be vengeful. None of these reflects the heart of one who sees his life held in the arms of his dearest Daddy.

Living in the Holy Spirit is a life that is confident in the God’s power and God’s Purpose for your life. Living in the Holy Spirit allows us to believe what Paul wrote: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. Romans 8:28

4. The Holy Spirit Bears Witness

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, Romans 8:16

The indwelling Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. How does He do it? The Holy Spirit does not constantly speak in our ear, and say: “You know you are a child of God; you are a child of God”.

He says what He does because of our being children of God – that we know it.

We know how others can do certain things that we cannot; there is something that we have in our heart that makes us aware that this is, or this is not, according to the Father’s mind. The simple truth is this – we know: “the Spirit beareth witness”; we know. This joint witness of the Holy Spirit works with the Spirit of Sonship mentioned in verse 15 wherein we cry “Abba Father”. We know we are God’s child.

Bear witness with is summartureō, “to bear joint witness with” some other person, “to bear joint-testimony with” some other person. “Our spirit” refers to the saint’s human spirit energized by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit bears testimony to our human spirit that we are children of God (teknon, without article, thus, children of God by nature), and our Spirit-energized, spirit thus joins the Holy Spirit in a joint-testimony to that fact. Wuest’s Word Studies

Have you gone through such severely bad times that you started to wonder if you are the Lord’s?

I can recall occasions when the Lord Himself definitely held me, or spoke to me, and made me know that this was right, and this was wrong. It was something that I never received from outside; I never got advice, counsel, or anything; but I knew it in myself! ‘You just can’t – no, not now! You just cannot do it.’ It was as real as, or more real than, any audible voice.

What is that, coming right from the inside? That is the Spirit bearing witness with my spirit that I am a child of God. A child of God does not behave like that; a child of God does behave like this; a child of God does not do those things; a child of God does do these things.

The Spirit says: ‘Others can; you cannot; you are a child of God.’

It is very real – the Spirit bearing witness. That is to be the basic law of our Christian life. In addition, every one of you who is a child of God ought to know what I am talking about

This is what it means to be a Christian. It is something real on the inside.

Next, the Holy Spirit, coming inside, has created and constituted a new kind of human being, a different kind of humanity from all the rest of humanity.

5. The Holy Spirit Makes us Different

(from all other people who are not children of God)

  • He leaves His mark upon us!
  • Our focus is different, our understanding is different, out wants are different. Instead of self-focused, we are God focused.

A.We See Purpose in Suffering

And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Romans 8:17-19

B.We Groan As We Wait For Our Adoption.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

The difference is not that they have decided to be religious, and to go to meetings, and company with Christian people; do this thing and that thing, and give up a lot of other things – that is not it at all.

Their very being, their very constitution, has been changed; they are different people.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus said: ‘You are from beneath; I am from above’ (John 8:23). That is exactly true of every child of God. We too can say: I am from above: this is no longer my place; this is no longer my home; I am no longer at rest here in this world. I have a new nationality. I have a new country, a new land; here in this world I am just an alien.

That becomes a very real thing to the child of God.

Just as Righteous Lot was vexed by the evilness of Sodom, so too we must always be on guard against the wickedness in this world.

Never try to violate it – never try to be at home in this world. If you do, you will be doing damage to your new constitution – because it is that, you see, that is your testimony. It is not that you try to be different at all. Never try to be different; never pretend to be different. The world can spot phonies.

If the Spirit lives in you, you will be different. That is the mark of the Holy Spirit. If you want any proof of that, you will find that, from the moment of your new birth, the Devil knows you! You are a marked person, just as Christ was a marked man when He was here.

The Spirit coming in makes us different, and it is just that difference that is the basis of everything for the future, for the Holy Spirit wants to use us.

6. The Holy Spirit Gifts Us

The next thing, in the life of the Spirit, is that the Holy Spirit gifts us, and qualifies us for a place and a part in this great purpose of God.

With God, it is not a matter of your natural abilities. It is a matter of you allowing the Holy Spirit to work His gift in you and through you.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:26-28

The Holy Spirit Intercedes for us. He wants what is best for us! In fact, God uses our weaknesses and even our failures as instruments to build up his body and work to conform each other to Jesus.

Early in my Christian life, I was very conscious of many lacks, deficiencies, and things that I wished I had. I had ambitions and dreams that I was never able to realize. God did not want me to be somebody else. God wanted me to be what the Holy Spirit was gifting me to be.

On the one side, there are many who have very great natural abilities and qualifications, or qualifications acquired through study, but they are not necessarily spiritual people. Moreover, it never does mean – and you can prove this – that, because you have a tremendous background of scholarship, education, or qualification of that kind, you have a special aptitude for grasping spiritual things.

That is a great thing to learn early in the Christian life: it is not what I have, or what I do not have, naturally – the Holy Spirit is qualification for what God wants!

The New Testament speaks of ‘gifts of the Spirit’ and truly, if you allow the Holy Spirit to lead, He will reveal the gift that He has given you. It will motivate your service to Christ. Do take that to your heart. It may be that you are one of the least, and that you feel there is not much hope for you; but, if you have the Holy Spirit, He can and will qualify you for something that is your particular part in the whole.

The Holy Spirit has come to give us something we do not have naturally, and we cannot get naturally – it is the particular equipment of the Holy Spirit. It is never fleshly talent or abilities. It is a gift that is spiritual from the Holy Spirit.!

7. The Holy Spirit Puts us to Work

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30

I want to come to one more very important aspect of this whole matter of the Spirit.

Let us go back to the Old Testament, to the last section of the book of Exodus, which, as you know, contains the whole account of the making of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. In addition, you will know that it was through the Holy Spirit that the whole thing was made, constructed; that the Spirit came upon certain men for that work, and then, under those Spirit-governed men, gathered all the people together. All the people came into action.

While it does not definitely say so, it as good as says that the whole nation was in this business. They were all doing something about it; they all had something to give. Some had linen to give; some had other materials to give; but they all had something. I suppose you could see ‘sewing parties’ all over the camp, and men at work busy  at this thing and that – some on wood, some on  gold, some on silver, some on brass – all the different materials; everywhere they were occupied with the work, and it was all under the direction and instruction and counsel of Spirit-filled men.

They were all under the government of the Spirit. The Anointing, so to speak, spread itself all over the whole mighty host for work. Now my point is this: the Holy Spirit puts His Body to Work.

Just think, here are some women making a curtain for the Tabernacle. Well, are they going to have their own little ‘tabernacle’ made of their one little curtain, all to themselves? Here are some men making a part of wood, perhaps to be overlaid with gold: is that the Tabernacle? Are they going to have a special little tabernacle of that thing that they are making – a little church of their own? It is nonsense, you see.

All this, by the Spirit, is one thing – it is the Body of Christ at Work.

They are not each living and working for their own little bit, they are living and working for the whole. They have the vision of the whole, and their whole life is taken up with the whole – not with just their little bit as an end in itself. They are living and working for the Tabernacle in completeness. The Holy Spirit has brought them together, and bound them into a oneness. All their work and focus is one, because they are under one Spirit.

8. The Holy Spirit Unites Us

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:31-37

If you and I are really under the government of the Holy Spirit, under the anointing of the Spirit, we shall not have any little private things of our own, any little ‘hole in a corner’ business of ours, any detached and unrelated thing to which we are giving ourselves. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, and of unity in vocation. What it will amount to, dear friends, is this: we shall live for the whole.

Moreover, if it is a matter of our local relationships – such as here – none of us is to be living other than for the whole: we ought to be living for the complete thing. Our position must be ‘I am not living and working as an individual: I am living and working as a part of a whole. And, in the appointment of God, for the time being, my local ‘whole’ is here, and I am living for that; I work for that; that is my vocation.’

So many people are wondering about their service: wanting to be in the Lord’s work, or to do something for the Lord – some sort of ministry, some sort of work – and to know what their work is; and they are asking: What is my work? What is my ministry? What is my job? It is always ‘my’, ‘my’, ‘my’… The answer is: Your job is ‘they’, is ‘them’.

Your value to God is a related thing. You will find the Holy Spirit coming in and using you when you link yourself on with all the rest, and become part of the whole.

If you keep yourself in any detachment, He may not do anything at all with you; He will just leave you; you will be doing nothing, and be counting for nothing.

You see, we are really in “Ephesians”. “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, Ephesians 4:1 and the context or Eph 4 all concerns our relationship one to another in our daily walk. We are not to say “this is not my job; this is not your job, as something personal, as if we were not connected to one another.

It is the Church’s job; it is not yours: it is not mine. Whenever people go off on a personal, unrelated, line they become an end in themselves; and when they go, that is the end. The thing started with them, and it finished with them; and now you have to start all over again.

Therefore, we go back to our illustration from the Old Testament. The people found their inspiration, and the Lord’s blessing upon them, as they saw all the time the whole, lived for the whole, and regarded everything, every detail, as a part of the whole. You live for the whole!

In the church you don’t see it through your eyes. You do not let a little matter get you all upset if you are focusing on God’s greater purpose through the WHOLE. You are not in a church for your own interests. Have the whole view of God’s Church, and you will find that the Lord’s blessing is there. There may be difficulties, but the Lord will stand by you; and there will be something that would not be there if you just became a little company by yourselves, in a corner, living for yourselves, turned in on yourselves.

The Christian life is never about you and what you want for yourself. No! That is not the Living in the Spirit! Catch the vision of God’s purpose!

God works to conform each one of us into the likeness of His Son! That is His purpose, and He uses the WHOLE body!

We started from within – the Spirit doing His work within, joining us to Christ, leading us to our relationship with our Abba Father, making us different, working in us and then working our His purpose in us, gifting us, putting us to work with others, uniting us to a bigger purpose, accomplishing what is on the heart of God.

The end of our Journey Through the Cross is dying to ourselves and what we want, and being conformed to Jesus Christ. That is where we are going.

How? By the Holy Spirit within, and by our Living in the Spirit.

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Journey 2010 is about a church whose people Live in the Will of God. In order to even begin to know the will of God, we must understand what will always frame His Will. Scripture is very clear on what we must have in order to begin to discern the will of God. In fact, Living in the Will of God will always involve these three components:

1.  Eternal Life

Jesus defined eternal life for us. It is not a prayer you make, nor religious activities you may do. It involves a relationship- “and this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3. Eternal life involves KNOWING God and His Son Jesus Christ. Not one or the other. BOTH must be known. Know the Will of God will always involve knowing Him, and as such will always involve having eternal life.

In the midst of this circle of truth is God’s Will:

To Know God’s Will You must Know God. To Know God you must have Eternal Life. To have Eternal Life, you must know God. To know God’s will is to know God.

2.  Wisdom

Listen to God’s Word on Wisdom:

  • that their hearts may be encouraged…to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, Colossians 2:2-6
  • that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, Ephesians 1:17

Both of these verses are found in prayers of the Apostle Paul. So overwhelmed was he that as he was writing, he was moved to prayer for those who would be reading his letters. He wanted them to know that in Jesus Christ is all wisdom. He prayed that God would open our eyes to see this by giving us the Spirit of revelation in knowing Jesus Christ. In order to know Jesus we must walk in Him. He must be the focus of our life, our learning, our everything.

Living in the Will of God will always involve walking in Jesus Christ. Living in the Will of God will always involve KNOWING Jesus Christ. This is how we have WISDOM, for Jesus Christ is our WISDOM!

  • Wisdom is “seeing Life from God’s Point of View.” Knowing God’s Will will always involve seeing Life from His point of View. After all, it is His Will!
  • Wisdom will always involve more of Jesus Christ in your life, for in Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Living in the Will of God requires wisdom, for wisdom opens our understanding to God’s point of View. If you believe that God knows so much more than you about your life and the lives of those around you, then you will want His wisdom, you will want to see things from His viewpoint. Now since living in the Will of God involves Wisdom I need to point out how you get wisdom. It doesn’t automatically come to a Christian. The reason is that we tend to be self-focused and selfish by nature. James Gives this advice about getting wisdom:

Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

You must want to see life from God’s point of view badly enough that you are willing to take your eyes off yourself, take your eyes off this world and focus your being on God and what He has for your life. If you ask for wisdom, if you ask to live in God’s will, yet part of you wants this or wants that, contrary to God’s righteousness, then you will not get wisdom from God. You will not see life from His point of view. You will continue to be like the waves of the sea, tossing to and fro, wandering apart from God’s will. Wisdom from God and knowing God’s Will requires the same desire-a Life that is in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ and His righteousness must become the Love of your life, the desire of your heart and soul.

If you are still self-focused and concerned only for your life, why should God direct your life? After all you only want Him to benefit you! But remember, God’s Will is ALL ABOUT HIM and what HE wants!

3.  Faith

Living in the Will of God involves pleasing God. And Hebrews 11:6 says without Faith it is impossible to please God. By faith Moses left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27. Faith allows us to See God and what He wants to do with our lives.

Faith in your life will do Two Things:

  1. Faith will allow you to see God behind everything that happens in your life.
  2. Faith keeps you in a place where you are not sure what will happen next.

If you can see the road ahead you don’t need to Trust GodLiving in the Will of God will always involve eternal life, wisdom and faith.

WHERE DO WE START?

In order to know what the Will of God is, we must know what it isn’t. Here are four common Falsehoods about the Will of God:

FALSEHOOD #1: God Wants Us to Know the Future

This is the biggest mistake we Christians make with regard to living in the Will of God.

Just because God has led a certain way does not guarantee the end result. We keep trying to look down the road so we can figure out the direction God is taking us. The road ahead is always dark at times. There is NO WAY we can know how things will always turn out. There is a reason why God requires FAITH to please Him, because Faith is what brings God into the unknown

It is rarely God’s will for you to know your entire personal future. God doesn’t light the entire road. He promises just enough light for your step ahead.

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

The ancient Jews would carry small oil lamps that gave off one foot power of light. That meant they only had enough light to see one step in front of them. To see the way, they had to take a step. The light would then reveal the next step.

This verse pictures a man in total darkness walking along a dangerous trail. There is no moon in the sky. Darkness clings to him. His only light comes from the lamp he carries with him. When he takes that step, what happens to the light? It goes forward one more step. The light is not bright enough to illuminate even ten feet ahead.

Let’s face the truth–we want to know the future. At least we think we do. We want to know what is going to happen next year, so we can be ready in advance. But God doesn’t play that game with us. The Bible says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Does he know what will happen tomorrow? Yes, he does; but he’s not telling anyone else about it. Or to put it in familiar terms, does God have a blueprint for your life? Yes, he does; but there is no blueprint room where you can go to get a copy!

Suppose God were to offer you a folder with the details of your life (and for your loved ones also) for the next 10 years. Would you take it? You first impulse might be to say yes. But suppose I add this provision. You can’t change anything you find in that folder. Would you still take it? I can tell you that I would run the other way. Life is much better lived one day at a time.

Does God know what you should be doing on January 17th, 2020? Yes He does. But all you get to see is January 17, 2010.

God wants us to trust Him for each and every STEP we take. Jesus said to pray for our DAILY Bread.

He reveals His will one step at a time, so we must trust him moment by moment.

FALSEHOOD #2: The Will of God is Known with 100% Certainty

Many people believe they must be 100 percent certain of God’s will before they make a decision. I can understand their thinking. After all, if you are facing a life-changing decision–a potential marriage, a cross-country move, a new career, which college to attend, whether or not to begin chemotherapy–you’d like to know in advance beyond any doubt that you are doing what God wants you to do. There are two problems with this point of view.

First, sometimes we think we know God’s will with 100 percent certainty only to find out later that we were mistaken. Second,becasue we believe we must be 100% sure, we end up paralyzed into inaction. We are afraid to do anything, so we end up doing nothing. Some people live by the creed: “When in doubt, don’t.” So much of doing God’s Will requires simple obedience without total understanding. Every great Hero of Faith faced a time in their life when they obeyed God without 100% certainty of the outcome. I have always been challenged by Abraham who immediately obeyed God’s command to kill his son Isaac. The scripture says that he knew God could raise him up, but I can imagine there was doubt haunting his mind as they trekked up the mountain. He obeyed, and it became righteousness to Him. So many of my mistakes and failures resulted in my righteousness as I turned to God in total dependence. If I had not failed I would still be that arrogant, self-centered snot-nosed kid I was in my early twenties. God’s mercy is so great!

We see this principle illustrated in Acts 16. When the Apostle Paul and his team left Troas, they sailed across the Aegean Sea in response to a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (v. 9). When they got there, they found a woman named Lydia. But what about “the man”? He was nowhere to be found. Later on Paul and Silas were arrested, stripped, flogged, and thrown in jail. That night during an earthquake, they led their jailer to Christ, then baptized him and his whole family. The next morning Paul and Silas were released and escorted out of the city by the town leaders, who were glad to see them go. It’s a strange story. In many ways it appears that Paul failed in Philippi. After all, he was in trouble almost from the moment he arrived. Where is the great church he came to establish? But from God’s point of view Paul did exactly what he should have done. He followed God’s leading–God gave more light–Paul took another step and waited for further developments. Step by step, through twists and turns and unexpected means, Paul did what God wanted him to do, even though it wasn’t what he expected to do when he arrived in town.

GOD’S WILL MEANS TESTINGS AND TRIALS

Have you seen this before? (Maybe on those House Flipping Shows?) A couple (after much prayer and seeking God’s Will) buys an older house only to discover that it was in much worse shape than they had expected, costing them many thousands of dollars more to restore. One such couple even consulted with God about the home they would restore. After all kinds of setbacks, the wife wrote this letter:

Seeking God’s will has never caused me much difficulty in the past (partly because I didn’t always!), but when we were in the throes of trying to decide about buying this house, we both prayed long and hard that we would have a clear sense of direction and guidance from the Lord or at least a sense of peace about a decision if it were the right one. Because of the many troubles we’ve had while living here, I had convinced myself that we made the wrong decision and were paying for it in a big way.

Resentment started to taint my relationship with God. Why would He allow us to make such a terrible mistake (expensive one too!) when we spent so much time asking Him for his guidance? Only in the last few weeks have I felt that God does indeed want us here. Our difficulties in getting in here were not God slamming the door shut, but rather him holding it open just wide enough for us to squeeze through. Our difficulties in buying the house now seem like good training for the battles while we’re in it. I have discovered that the outcome of our decisions does not retroactively affect whether it was God’s will!

That final sentence is crucial. “The outcome does not retroactively affect whether it was God’s will.” That’s exactly right. Doing God’s will means taking the next step–whatever it is–without a definite promise about the end result. Many times you won’t have 100 percent certainty; but when the moment comes to decide, you must make the best decision you can, trusting God for the results. Sometimes you’ll know more, sometimes less; but living by faith means taking the next step anyway.

FALSEHOOD #3: The Will of God is My Happiness

Millions of Christians buy into this false idea. They believe that their happiness is God’s supreme goal for them. That sounds good, doesn’t it? “God wants me to be happy.” “God wants me to be fulfilled.” “God wants me to be successful.” They make it all about themselves. They push what God wants aside, and create their own fantasies. This falsehood has been used to justify all kinds of stupid and selfish behavior. I have had supposedly good Christian men tell me “I’m not happy with my wife. God has brought another woman into my life and we are very happy together. It must be God’s will that I should divorce my wife and marry this other woman because God wants me to be happy.”

The French have a word for that kind of thinking: BullCrap!

If your personal happiness is not God’s highest goal for you, then what is God’s will for your life?

  • It is God’s will for you to be holy.
  • It is God’s will for you to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
  • It is God’s will for you to do good works for the kingdom of God.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

First Thessalonians 4:3 states God’s Will very plainly: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” To be “sanctified” means to be made holy. It refers to the life-long process whereby God shapes you, through a myriad of experiences both positive and negative, into the image of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the Bullet Point: He uses the very worst things that happen to us in order to conform us to His Son.

Romans 8:29 says, “Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.” That is the will of God for your life. He wants you to become like Jesus Christ. Whatever makes you like Jesus is good. Whatever doesn’t make you like Jesus is bad. And God is fully committed to shaping your life day by day into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Most of us know about Corrie Ten Boom. During World War II she was taken from her home in Holland to a prison camp and later to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany. There she and her sister, Betsie, were held, and Betsie eventually died. Corrie Ten Boom was released—by a Nazi clerical mistake—just before the end of the war. In her book “Tramp for the Lord”—she reflects on God’s leading:

Looking back across the years of my life, I can see the working of a divine pattern which is the way of God with His children. When I was in a prison camp in Holland during the war, I often prayed, “Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp.” God answered no to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ. If God had not used my sister Betsie and me to bring them to Him, they would never have heard of Him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips. They were well worth all our suffering. Faith is like the radar which sees through the fog—the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see.

How can going to a prison camp be the will of God? It can’t be if God’s will is that you should always be happy and comfortable. Yet going to a prison camp can be the will of God for you if it makes you more like Jesus Christ and gives you opportunities to share the love of Christ to people that would never hear it otherwise. That’s the biblical perspective.

Will God’s plan for you and me always bring immediate worldly wealth and success? No, but God’s plan will always bring peace and joy and fulfillment, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering. Our duty is to follow the Lord wherever he leads us. And when we do that, we find a deep joy in him. The path of obedience leads to a joy the world cannot match.

FALSEHOOD #4: The Will of God is Hard to Know

Many folks think God’s Will is something you have to go to the Oracle to discover. Only after this journey or that experience. My brother who has struggled with drugs most of his life always used to say “If only God would give me a sign.” It was like he wanted a bolt of lightning to strike him before he would get his life right with God. Some people want a visible message from God. Like a God Postcard that reads, “Dear John, Buy the White Toyota. Signed, God.” Or they fear that one night, while they are watching Monday Night Football, God’s will flash His Will across the TV, but we missed it because of a potty break. Or they worry that they have sinned too much and have blown their only chance to do God’s will.

God doesn’t operate that way. He simply says Trust Me, Know Me. Wait on Me.

  • God wants you to know his will more than you want to know it.
  • God is more committed to showing you his will than you are to discovering it.

When you give your will to Him, he will take complete responsibility for getting you from here to there step by step.

  • God has said, “Never will I leave you” (Hebrews 13:5). And He won’t.
  • He also said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go” (Psalm 32:8). And He will.
  • He also promised, “Surely I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20). And He is.

We think that God’s will is hard to find. The biblical perspective is quite different. God will reveal his will to anyone who is willing to do it. Sometimes He makes us wait. But He will always show His will to those willing to do it.

YOU WILL KNOW WHEN YOU ARE WILLING TO TRUST & OBEY

God will usually show you His will and expect you to do it, because you told Him you would. He doesn’t give you choices. There is no Plan A or B or C. He doesn’t say, what do you think of this and allow you to say maybe I will or maybe I won’t. Do you have another plan God? This one looks too hard.

HE WILL SHOW YOU HIS WILL WHEN HE KNOWS YOU ARE WILLING TO DO IT.

There is an old hymn called ‘Workman of God’ written by Frederick Faber (wrote Faith of our Fathers):

“Workman of God! O lose not heart, But learn what God is like; And in the darkest battlefield Thou shalt know where to strike.

Thrice blest is he to whom is giv’n the instinct that can tell that God is on the field, when He Is most invisible.”

Nothing will sustain the servants of the Lord in hard times like knowing God’s character. And as the hymn (and life itself) makes clear, you don’t “learn what God is like” by going to seminary and memorizing the attributes of God. You learn what God is like in the darkness of the night, when you feel overwhelmed and burdened and full of fear and uncertainty. Ironically you learn that when you feel most alone, God is nearest to you. So make it your goal in life to know God.

LEARN WHAT GOD IS LIKE:

  • Learn his holiness.
  • Exult in his mercy.
  • Ponder his patience.
  • Consider his ways.
  • Meditate on his goodness.
  • Remind yourself of his justice.
  • Rest on his faithfulness.
  • Linger at the foot of the cross.
  • Take up your cross
  • Memorize his promises.
  • Pray the psalms back to him.
  • Testify to his kindness.
  • Declare his glory.
  • Defend his honor.
  • Be silent before his judgments.
  • Become His Servant

Get to know the Lord. Nothing matters more than this. When I gaze into my future, I see some things clearly, but there are a lot of gray fuzzy areas. Faith allows me to say as Job did so confidently:

“He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).

  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I don’t.
  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I can’t see clearly.
  • My Abba Father knows the way that I take even when I get lost.

Walking in Jesus is a journey whose destination lies somewhere beyond the horizon. Even when we think we’ve arrived, we haven’t. Even when we think, “Aha! I’ve made it at last,” life suddenly changes and we take a sharp bend in the road. But the journey itself ought to be enjoyed. And we should use it to learn what God is like. If you are struggling with this concept of God’s Will, I urge you to start praying this simple little prayer when you awake each morning:

“Heavenly Father, you are in charge of everything that will happen to me today–whether it be good or bad, positive or negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. For the sake of Jesus, Amen.”

This prayer is powerful because it doesn’t change anything outside of you, but it will enable God to change everything inside of you. Your circumstances won’t change, but your attitude will. Your heart will start to listen to God. Your eyes will begin to see Him in your circumstances. You will find yourself beginning to know Him as your “Abba Father”, your dear loving daddy. And He will always guide those who hold His hand.

Are you ready to Journey with God in 2010? Why don’t you tell Him right now!


When I was a young man of 11, my next door neighbors, the Magyars, had a cute baby boy named Joey. I remember playing with him when he was about 2. One day I learned that he was dying of Leukemia. In fact he died rather suddenly, before he turned 3. What was really strange was that the Magyars and their daughter I was friends with, never spoke of Joey again. When I went to their house I would walk by Joey’s bedroom door, and it was shut, never open. I found out later they never went into his room after the funeral. They kept it exactly as it was the day he died.

This was probably the first time I had encountered death, and it raised a lot of questions? Was God behind this? Did God plan for Joey to die? Why did the Magyars, who were Jewish, get mad at their God? Did they think God had made a mistake? As a young teen I had no answers for them. I had no idea of God or His involvement in our every day lives.

As I grew older and became exposed to God’s Word, my concept of God started to change.

As a free thinking, free will young man I found myself thinking that God has an overall will or plan in mind. However, He leaves the details to us; after all we have a free choice. So much of what happens in this world depends upon us-our faith, our prayers, our evangelistic efforts. In fact, God must rely upon us in His overall battle with Satan. Now Satan will lose in the end, but He is constantly trying to mess things up, to get people to hate or doubt or turn away from God. I know longer think this based upon how God reveals himself in His Word, but I fear this sort of thinking is held by more “Christians” than you realize. I thought this way one time, and I am still tempted to think this way. I would wager that many of you have thought this way about the Will of God.

In Bible College I became exposed to traditional teaching on God. I learned of His:

Immutability: God cannot change in any way and is not able to change.

Impassibility: God is without emotion. God does not experience pain or pleasure. God is not subject to temptation or sin at all.

Omnipotence: God has all power, which includes complete sovereignty over all things.

Omnipresence: God is everywhere and in fact God transcends space and time.

Omniscience: God has all knowledge, including of all past, present, and future events.

These attributes were backed up by verses like these:

  • Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
  • Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
  • 1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
  • Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

God’s Will and “Open Theism”

Back to the way I think many Christians view God. It is actually taking form as a modern day theology called “Open Theism”.  It began in the Pentecostal, Assembly of God schools and has spread to Evangelical churches and Seminaries. It makes sense in light of the “me-focused” spirituality many Christians practice.

Practically, open theism makes the case for a personal God who is open to influence through the prayers, decisions, and actions of people. Although many specific outcomes of the future are unknowable, God’s foreknowledge of the future includes that which is determined as time progresses often in light of free decisions that have been made and what has been sociologically determined. So God knows everything that has been determined as well as what has not yet been determined but remains open. As such, he is able to anticipate the future, yet remains fluid to respond and react to prayer and decisions made either contrary or advantageous to His plan or presuppositions.

They give several Scripture passages to make their case:

• Genesis 6:6-7 (KJV) God repents of his decision to make man and destroys mankind with a flood.

• Exodus 13:17 (KJV) And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:

• Exodus 32:7-14 (RSV) And the LORD said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'” And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.” But Moses appealed, and “And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.”

• Isaiah 38:1-5 At that time Hezekiah became very sick; he was almost dead. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to see him and told him, “This is what the Lord says: Make arrangements, because you are not going to live, but die.” Hezekiah turned toward the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Lord, please remember that I have always obeyed you. I have given myself completely to you and have done what you said was right.” Then Hezekiah cried loudly. Then the Lord spoke his word to Isaiah: “Go to Hezekiah and tell him: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. So I will add fifteen years to your life.

So, Is God an unfeeling entity that is rigidly in control of His creation – as in “El Elyon” God Most High? Or is God some fatherly figure who limits His power and knowledge so as to allow trials and hardships for His children so that they will cry out to Him for help – as in “Abba Father”?

This morning I am not going to offer my well formulated opinions about God and the importance of His Will, and whether that will is constantly evolving subsequent to man’s decisions. I am simply going to look at what GOD says about His will in His Word. I think we’ll get a much clearer picture about the importance of God’s Will

Why Should I Seek to Know the Will of God?

We must know the Will of God so we will not be fools!

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

We also will be taught His Will if we allow Him. This will lead us to Jesus Christ.

Jn 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

So – How do I Begin?

Last week we committed to seeing God, to seeing His power, His presence in our life. I banned the can’t word from our church. From God’s Word we see more things we should do to know God’s Will:

Willingness to do God’s Will opens you to Know God’s Will.

  • Jn 7:17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

God listens to sinners who desire to do His Will

  • Jn 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Will of God affects our Salvation

  • Jn 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Holy Spirit: acts according to the Will of God

  • Rom 8:27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God’s Word is not by the will of Man but by God’s Spirit.

  • 2 Pet 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Is the Will of God an Every Day Thing?

Will of God is in your WORK & SERVICE

  • Eph 6:6 not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

God’s will determines our ENCOUNTERS

  • Rom 1:10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.

God’s Will is SUPREME to man’s

  • Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Will of God determines MINISTRY

  • 1 Co 1:1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

Will of God determines your GIVING

  • 2 Co 8:5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

Will of God requires DAILY OBEDIENCE

  • Matt 21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Will of God will produce MATURITY AND ASSURANCE

  • Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.

Will of God is an ACTIVE FORCE

  • 1 Pet 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Will of God includes SUFFERING

  • 1 Pet 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
  • 1Pe 4:19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Will of God determines your ETERNITY

  • 1 Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

How Important is the Will of God?

JESUS CHRIST

  • “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30

MAN

  • Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST

  • Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

SALVATION

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21

JUDGMENT

  • Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
  • Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
  • 1 Co 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

How Can I Know the Will of God?

The Will of God is DELIVERANCE from this Evil World

  • And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40
  • Gal 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The Will of God always involves JESUS

  • Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ”

The Will of God always involves the HOLY SPIRIT

  • Heb 2:4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

The Will of God requires ENDURANCE

  • Heb 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

The Will of God requires GIVING THANKS in ALL

  • 1Thes 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Will of God requires TRANSFORMED MINDS

  • Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The Will of God requires SUBMISSION & DESIRE

  • Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The Will of God requires CLOSENESS, CLEANNESS AND SINGLENESS OF PURPOSE

  • Jas 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The Will of God is GOOD WORKS

  • 1 Pet 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

The Will of God is DENIAL OF THE FLESH

  • 1 Peter 4:1-2  Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

The Will of God requires RESPECT FOR AUTHORITIES

  • Rom 13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

The Will of God is our SANCTIFICATION AND PURITY.

  • 1Thes 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;

The Will of God Requires FOCUSED DESIRE

  • Jas 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
  • Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street… How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise. “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you. “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me—to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:20-33

Knowing The Will Of God Requires His Wisdom, A Desire For His Teaching, Learning From His Correction, Fear And Reverence Of Him.

The Will of God requires DEPENDENCE ON GOD

  • Php 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

GOD’S WILL IS ULTIMATE

GOD’S WILL INVOLVES ALL LIVING THINGS

  • And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:9-11

This is how important obedience to the will of God is:

And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” Ezra 10:10-11

The Jewish people had to put away their foreign wives and children in order to obey God’s Will. With tears they obeyed. I can’t begin to feel the pain they suffered as they left their wives and children behind. They had married outside the will of God. In order for this beginning to be in God’s Will, they had to firmly adhere to God’s Word. Above all, knowing God’s Will will involve obedience to His Word.

Knowing God’s Will begins with Proper Worship

Now, if you believe that God is so weak that He depends upon you to accomplish His Will, then you go on following that god. For you have just reached down in the mud and molded a little god that will be cute on your mantle, but will have no power to change and affect your life. You are basically putting yourself on center stage, and every now and then when life gets tough, you reach up and grab your god and ask him to do something amazing. After all, He is your god, and he needs you.

Wake up! That thinking is SO contrary to God’s Word!

God doesn’t need you to accomplish His Will. His will has been accomplished through the ages. His Will will continue to be accomplished. He was not surprised by Satan’s revolt. He was not surprised by Eve’s disobedience. He was not surprised by Ishmael being born to Abraham. He was not surprised by Joseph being sold into slavery. He was not surprised by Pharaoh. NOTHING, NOTHING ever surprised God. He works His Will in spite of us, and because of us! That is how awesome God is!

For some reason, He wants you and me! He wants us to tremble before Him in fear and reverence. He wants you to see that you owe everything to Him; you owe your very breath to Him. He wants you to get your life in line with His standards and His desires.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. Romans 1:21-23

He doesn’t want you to be a simpleton, wandering this life as best as you can, calling out to Him every once in a while when you get lost. He will laugh at you, He will not hear you. If you don’t want to follow Him in your daily life, why should He think you want to follow Him in the dark emergencies of your life? He knows your heart. He knows you are only turning to Him because all of a sudden you feel powerless or overwhelmed.

God’s will is for you to turn to Him for every breath you take, for every step you take. He wants you to live daily in His presence!

That is why I want us to look at the most profound verses in the Bible, the ones which will open our eyes to Knowing God’s Will in 2010.

Proverbs 3:5-6

  • Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

These two verses are among the most beloved in the entire Bible. You may have memorized them in Sunday school when you were a child.

British Bible teacher G. Campbell Morgan said that when he was leaving home for the first time, his father pressed a note into his hand. When Campbell Morgan unfolded it, he discovered it contained just one verse of Scripture: “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Looking back years later, he noted that his father had written that verse with no accompanying comment. No comment, he said, except the comment of his father’s godly life.

Solomon wrote quite simply as the Holy Spirit lead him. There is nothing complex about what he said. These verses can be understood by the simplest of minds. They are comfort to new believers, and they are profound to the most seasoned of believers. These verses cling to our soul because they speak to one of the greatest needs we have – to know the way.

I know this is a basic need, because my wife has revealed it to me. Whenever we are going somewhere new, she will always ask me which way I am going, where it is that we are going. I tell her I don’t know, but just sit back and trust me. That doesn’t work too well with her. She’ll start guessing as we continue driving.

Proverbs 3:5 & 6 are written to all those who like my wife like to know where they are going. These verses must be integral in your life if you are to live in God’s Will as our Journey 2010 seeks.

Five Key Steps to Knowing God’s Will

You may know this verse backwards and forwards, but are you living this verse? Is this your breath? Is this your food for life? God wants it to be!

Have you ever found yourself in a very dark place, not knowing what to do, where to turn, which way was North, South. Perhaps you were stuck with no one to help you out. Suddenly you cry out to God, perhaps with anguished tears, and said, God I don’t know where to turn, what to do, so I’m going to sit right here until you show me the next step.

Well, in these verses God gives us five steps for knowing what direction to take in our life. Let’s look at these five steps are revealed in five key words in Proverbs 3:5, 6.

1. TRUST

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” The word “trust” in Hebrew means “to lean with the full body,” “to lay upon,” “to rest the full weight upon.” It expresses the feeling of safety and security that is felt when one can rely on someone or something else. CWSDOT.

In Hebrew, baṭaḥa expresses that sense of well-being and security which results from having something or someone in whom to place confidence. TWOT.

The Septuagint never uses the Greek πιοτευω “believe in” but with ελπιξω “to hope,” in the positive sense “to rely on God” or πειφομαι “to be persuaded,”

So this trust is not based upon your belief in God, but upon your total confidence in who He is and His care for you. In fact, your knowledge can be imperfect without it affecting your trust. Just as a little child trusts completely in his Mom, it is a part of them, not based upon belief or knowledge.

In fact, the image of the Hebrew Word bāṭaḥ is actually much stronger. It has the idea of stretching yourself out upon a bed or resting on a hard surface. The word means to put your full weight on something. To trust in the Lord is to rest your whole weight upon him–to depend on him completely.

2. LEAN

“Lean not on your own understanding.” To “lean” means to rest upon something for partial support. Leaning is what you do when you walk with a cane or hold on to a walker because you are unsteady. This word is used for leaning against a tree or a stone cliff. You lean on something when you are not strong enough to stand alone.

This may mean literally leaning on someone’s arm or trusting in his or her counsel. Ultimately, God should be trusted and leaned on, for He will never fail. CWSDOT

3. UNDERSTANDING

“Lean not on your own understanding.” “Understanding” refers to the mental processes by which you analyze a problem, break it down into its smaller parts, and then make a decision about what you are going to do. Early in the morning when you make a list of all the things you have to do that day, you use your understanding to sort out your priorities. Or it’s what you use on Sunday night when you map out the upcoming week. That’s understanding. You use it any time you plan your life or solve a problem. Understanding is the decision-making ability that God has given you.

When you take the word “lean” and bring in the idea of “understanding,” then add the negative, the meaning is something like this: “Use all your mental powers, but do not lean on them for total support.” Don’t trust in your own ability to figure out your life. Lean instead on the Lord! Rest your weight on Him!

4. ACKNOWLEDGE

“In all your ways acknowledge him.” This word deserves extra consideration because the word “acknowledge” can be hard to understand. In the Hebrew this word is an imperative–a command. You could translate this by saying, “In all your ways know him.” The Hebrew word means to know deeply and intimately. It’s the kind of knowing that comes with personal experience. It means to know something through and through. For instance, somebody might say, “Do you know the President of the United States?” I would say, “Sure, Barack Obama is the President.” If President Obama walked in the room, I would know who he is. If I heard his voice coming over the TV, I would recognize it. Or if I saw his picture on the front page of the newspaper, I would know it was President Obama. But, I don’t really know him. I can’t pick up the phone and call the White House and say, “Mr. President, this is Jim Tompkins. let’s do lunch this week.” He won’t take my call because I don’t know him personally. I just know him at the level of head knowledge. I don’t know him intimately or on a friendship level.

There is another kind of knowing. My wife and I know each other in a completely different way. We’ve known each other intimately for over thirty-five years. When you live together for that many years, you get to know each other at such a deep level that you actually begin to know what the other person is thinking even as he or she is thinking it. You know what your wife is going to say before she says it. You know what your husband is going to do before he does it. You have a deep, personal, intimate knowledge of each other.

Seen in that light, we might translate verse 5 this way: “In all your ways know God intimately … deeply … personally. When you know God that way in every area of your life, he will direct your paths.”

5. DIRECT

“He will make your paths straight.” That brings me to the fifth word, which in the King James Version is translated, “He shall direct your paths.” That isn’t bad. But I think the ESV translation is a little better: “he will make straight your paths.” Imagine that you are driving along a road that appears to be impassable. The road winds through the mountains and down into the swamps. It seems to have a thousand switchbacks. As you travel on, you discover that portions of the road are washed out, others are filled with potholes, and still others are blocked by huge boulders. In some places the road apparently becomes a dead end. This is the road of your life. As you look at it, it appears to be covered with boulders and rocks. Some parts of it seem to be filled with potholes; other sections appear to be going nowhere. That’s the way life is.

Here is God’s message to you from Proverbs 3:5-6. If you will know God in every area of your life, he will take personal responsibility to make your way smooth and straight. He will remove the obstacles if they need to be removed. He will fill in the potholes if they need to be filled. He will redirect the detour so that what seemed to be a dead-end turns out to be the shortest way to reach your destination. All you have to do is trust in the Lord. Lay yourself completely on him for full support. Don’t lean for support on your own human understanding. In all your ways know God intimately. He will take the path of your life that seems to go up and down and around and sometimes seems to curve backwards, and He will make your way straight. That’s the promise of Almighty God to you.

Philip Yancey’s Definition

But it won’t always be easy or come quickly. For most of us, most of the time, the exact opposite will be true. Discovering God’s will takes times as the events of life unfold before us, often in ways that seem to make no sense at all. Rarely will we know the whole plan in advance.

As you join me in thinking over the last decade, at first we remember the hard times.

We remember the ones who died suddenly, financial hardships, losing a job, the breakup of a family. Some even think of the breakup of a church family.

Think a little more to the good times. I think of the Lord working it out so I could come here. I think of my children moving out but then going on to find a wife or a husband, and then of starting their own families.

My favorite definition of faith comes from Philip Yancey who said, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

Why did God let things happen a certain way. Why did that loved one die suddenly? Why did Pastor so and so do such and such? Why did your good friend do so and so? Why did your son or daughter do such and such? We want to know why things happen the way they do and why couldn’t things have happened some other way. Why did Job have to go through so much for so long? God never even let Job know why He let happen what happened. Job had all those questions. Job pleaded for a chance to speak with God.

Yet when God finally appeared, Job was silent.

Faith enables us to see God, but it will not provide all the answers. Perhaps in heaven we will fully understand, or in heaven our desire to know will be transformed by our vision of the Lord like Job. By faith we see things that are invisible to others and by faith we believe in advance those things that right now make no sense but one day will make perfect sense because we will view them in reverse.

Believing is Seeing

The world says, “Seeing is believing.”  God says, “Believing is seeing.” We believe, therefore we see.

God wants us to live daily in His presence. That requires a daily dependence upon Him. When we believe to the point of 100% trust, God will show us His Will exactly when we need to know!

I have seen this principle in action in my life. One time that comes to me is when I had suddenly quit my job and at the same time chose not to show up at the closing where I was supposed to buy business that I had worked at for almost two years and had built his sales up substantially. I would have been in debt a million dollars (1990 dollars) but I believed the sales could have supported the debt. There were a lot of strings however. It was a dream come true, but that night I had the most distinct impression that God did not want me to do it. So I didn’t. The owner was extremely upset. He sued me, and won an injunction to prevent me from working in the only industry I had worked in for almost 20 years. The impact on our family finances was devastating. I was basically in limbo for 6 months. I tried to find some work, but nothing seemed to happen, so I simply waited. It was anxious waiting of course, but I wanted God’s direction for the next phase of my life. I spent some great time with my wife and family. Went down to my parents in Destin, Fl and spent some great time with them. The last three years had been very traumatic on our family, and God wanted me to take this time to “restore” and “refresh”. With God it is all about the wellness of our soul, for that is life to Him!

During this time God was working, and time doesn’t permit me to tell the whole story, but I was peaceful in waiting upon God. When I needed to know, He would show me. He did just that. At exactly the day we were out of money, out of direction, out of resources, God gave me the job that would determine the direction for my life and my family the next 16 years. When I needed to know, He showed me! That is why my life verse is found in 2 James 1:17- “Always give God one more day to show His power!” (Of course this is a Jimized verse.

The reason you don’t know is because you don’t need to know because if you needed to know, you would know, but since you don’t know, you must not need to know, because if you had needed to know by now, you would know by now, but since you don’t know, you must not need to know because when you need to know, you’ll know. If God is God that must be true.”

That’s how God works, isn’t it? When you need to know, you’ll know. Not one day sooner, not one day later. And if today you don’t know what to do next, it’s because you truly don’t need to know. Because if you needed to know, you would know. If God is God, that must be true.

That’s why the search for God’s will is so exhilarating. When God is leading the way, every obstacle will eventually be removed. The path may have many twists and turns, but in the end he will make your path straight. You have his word on it.

“Bless It All, Lord”

So many people struggle at this very point. The Bible says, in all your ways know God intimately, know him deeply, and know him personally. Know him to that depth. Know him with that kind of intimacy. So often we skip this. When we get up in the morning, we say, “O God, help me. I’m busy today. I’ve got so much to do. Lord, I don’t even have time to pray–so here’s my list. Bless it all, Lord. I’ve got to go.” We throw our list up toward heaven while we run out the door. What we are saying is, “God, here’s my schedule. Please rubber-stamp it with your blessing.” And we wonder why our days are filled with frustration.

Many of us go through life leaning almost completely on our own understanding. We like to be in control. I number myself among that group. I like to know what’s going on. I like to be in charge of my own destiny. This passage is a warning to all of us who lay out life the way we want it and then say, “Here, God, stamp it with your blessing because I am going to go out and do it for you.” God says, “I don’t work that way. Know me first. Put me first in everything, including all your plans, all your thinking, and all your scheming. Put me first. And I then will make your way straight.”

KNOW GOD

The real secret of knowing the will of God? Here it is: In everything you do, know God.

But we all want a formula. “I don’t like that. Give me a formula. Give me three steps.” Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us that the secret is a relationship with God.

Imagine you are Joe, and you have been dating Amber for nine months. You pick her up Friday night and she asks, “Where are we going?You say, “I don’t know. I want to take you someplace you really like. I wish you would give me a three-step formula so I could figure out where you like to go!”

How do you think Shirley would feel? Of course, she would be angry, upset. She would not so calmly say, “How is it that we’ve been dating every week for nine months and you don’t know what I like and don’t like? Where have you been all this time?”

We want to reduce our relationship with God to a formula. God says, “Know Me. Spend time with Me. Put Me first in every area of your life because when you do that I will take care of all those details.”

Believing is Seeing. Do you Know God enough to Trust Him with every aspect of your life? Or do you just let Him into certain parts? If you refuse to let God know you, it’s a good sign that you are not taking time to know Him. You are not listening to Him. You are not spending time with Him.

Which Way Do I Go?

We’re hung up on the decisions of life. Should I go here? Should I go there? Should I move to Kansas? Should I take the job with so and so? Should I marry Jill or Megan or stay single?

Here is the teaching of this passage stated in one sentence: God is much less concerned with what you do than with what kind of person you are. So when you say, “Lord, should I move to Kansas or take this job or marry this person?” you are asking the wrong question.

The question is not where are you going to go, but what kind of person you are going to be wherever you go. The question is not, who should I marry, but what kind of person am I going to be no matter whom I marry?

While you are wrestling with the question of relocation, God wants to know, “Are you going to be my man or my woman wherever you go or whomever you are married to?” If you decide to put God first in everything, it doesn’t matter where you live or who you marry.

We focus all our energy on decisions. But God says, “Know me and I will take care of the details.” We want specific direction. God says, “In all your ways know me, and everything else will fall into place.”

1000 Years

Most of our decisions won’t matter at all in 1,000 years. What a liberating way to look at life. The next time you face a tough decision, ask yourself, will it really matter in 1,000 years? Ninety-nine percent of what you worried about this week won’t matter three weeks from now, much less 1,000 years from now. In the year 3010 it won’t matter whether you lived in Minnesota, Arizona or South Carolina. But what will matter is that you have decided in all your ways to know God. That is what will really matter. All these trivial, fiddly details that just soak up so much energy will in that day be seen for what they really are–trivial, fiddly details.

As we began our message, we return to our question – What is God’s Will?

To know God in everything. To see him present everywhere and in everything, and to live in total surrender to him. The most important thing is not the decisions you face; the most important thing is your relationship with God. And the closer you get to God, the easier it will be for God to guide you in the way he wants you to go.

So for our friends the Magyars, who struggled with the death of their little boy Joey. Or to anyone who today struggles with where you have been or where you are going, understand that God wants you to know Him in everything that happens in your life. Your love for Him, your trust in Him is the most important thing in your life. You may not like what He has done or is doing, but I assure you, if you commit to Knowing God, He will make sense and reveal His purpose in the past, and He will show you His direction for your life in the future.

“Lord, Here Are My Hands”

Knowing God means using all your energies for him.

  • Lord, here are my hands.
  • Lord, here are my lips.
  • Lord, here are my eyes.
  • Lord, here are my ears.
  • Lord, here are my feet.

Knowing God means taking all that you have and placing it at the disposal of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Proverbs 3:5-6 ends with a promise: “He will make your paths straight.” God is able to remove the obstacles in front of you. He is able to fill in the potholes and turn a dead-end into a four-lane highway. God rewards those who show regard for him by leading them straight to the right end and removing all the obstacles along the way. We rarely see this in advance. We mostly see the potholes. The boulders block our view. Many times it seems as if there is no path at all. But he will make a way. No one can say how he will do it. There are thousands of ways in which God leads his children. He leads us through delays, detours, miracles, the advice of friends, unexpected opportunities, suddenly closed doors, answered prayer, unanswered prayer, inner impressions, and a still, small voice in the night.

You don’t see it on this side. On this side you see the problems. But when you know God, he leads you step by step. When the journey is done, you will look back and say, “I don’t know how I got from there to here, but I do know this: Jesus led me all the way.”

Doing God’s will often involves great uncertainty and periods of deep doubt.

But if you are willing to do what he wants you to do, he then takes responsibility to reach into the chaos of life and lead you step by step to the place where he wants you to be.

Life is a mysterious journey, full of unexpected twists and turns. The path ahead is a mystery to us all. No one can say for sure what is around the next bend. It may be a smooth road through a lovely valley or we may discover that the bridge is washed out and we have to find a way to cross a deep river. Often the road will seem to disappear or it may suddenly seem to go in three different directions and we won’t know which way to go. But there is One who knows the way because the past, present, and future are all the same to him and the darkness is as the light of day. He knows the way we should go. He promised to direct your path and he will do it. You can count on it.

When you need to know, you’ll know. That is the promise of daily living in His presence. That is what Abraham knew and wanted His servant to know.

Abraham said in Gen 24:40, ‘The LORD, in whose presence I have lived, will send his angel with you and will make your mission successful. Yes, you must find a wife for my son from among my relatives, from my father’s family…

Abraham lived in the presence of God, and so He knew what God could do. When the servant needed to know, he would know!