Posts Tagged ‘fool’


David is a great example of a man who becomes a mighty disciple of Jesus Christ. Sure, I love Peter, Paul, Andrew, Timothy, but no one had their life exposed like David. No Disciple ever had his failures exposed like David. He is a man I can relate too. I hope you can relate to him as well.

Discipleship does not depend upon how much you know about the Bible. You can know all the numerology, all the Theology, all the Eschatology, even all the Soteriology and be dead in your walk with the Lord, and even be dead in your sins.

For Discipleship begins with your eyes being open to the reality of this invisible God. It Grows as the Word of God becomes your source for life, it develops as you learn to depend upon God as you encounter Goliath’s, Saul’s, Doeg, caves and today, a Fool.

Once you have begun your Discipleship Journey by giving your entire heart to God (because Faith has opened your eyes to see this Real Invisible God) then things will be actively at work in your life-hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah.

I know it is crazy to keep using the Hebrew, but did you know we will speak Hebrew in Heaven? God’s law is in Hebrew for a reason, and I believe when we speak it in praise to God, we will use the original language.

Hesed is unfailing love, the love that seeks us out, that strengthens us, that propels us all because of God’s covenant relationship with us.

Mishpat is God’s justice based upon His Word, becoming the justice of our life, and spreading to our House. Jesus Christ restored the Justice to this world when he was crucified and then resurrected. The Justice of the Cross becomes the justice of my heart and my house.

Tsedaqah is the righteousness that God wants to build in my life. The Justice of God in my heart will always seek to become the righteousness of Christ in my outward life. Righteousness is of Christ, but is in constant battle with our flesh, and this world. It is the righteousness of Christ that is constantly warring with the spirit of Babylon.

A Disciple must always be careful how he battles, for in the battle we can lose our walk with God.

  1. Discipleship truly develops when we deal with people. David’s Discipleship developed as he dealt with people.
  2. Discipleship also develops as we make choices.
  • Goliath chose to worship his strength and mocked God. David chose to exalt God’s Name rather than the fear of man.
  • King Saul chose his pride and arrogance and disobeyed God. David learned to humble himself under the wings of God rather than follow what his men or his emotions told him to do.
  • Doeg chose a selfish reward destroyed God’s servants.
  • David learned that the mercy of God means Justice and Righteousness come as he learns to trust God in the darkness of the cave, or on the side of the Rock.

Discipleship grows as we learn to deal with all kinds of people. In addition, as we encounter people, either our love of God will grow or it will weaken. This is where we find David this morning. He has an appointment with a Fool, a real Jerk, and David is going to develop as a Disciple through this encounter.

Lesson from Charlie the Janitor

In “They Call Me Pastor: How to Love the Ones You Lead”, H. B. London tells about his church janitor named “Charlie”. Charlie was a great cleaner. However, he was so frustrated by the people and how they left the church, that he would have been happier cleaning a hermit’s cave. He complained constantly to the Pastor. To Charlie, the church would have been a perfect place without people. He was constantly harping to the pastor to remind the people to keep the church clean and picked up. He even wanted the pastor to make a statement from the pulpit. However, Pastor London thought about it and realized that the church is not just made for people, it is the people.

“Let’s remember that Jess, Mary, Tony and Erica are the reason the church exists. Mrs. Carter, Mr.Jengling and Susie Mae are also part of the fellowship. Meeting human needs or providing a product is what helps businesses make a profit and defines the purpose of every profession.” It is true for us as pastors as well. Every Kingdom effort is intended to help someone.

The old business model was to focus on making a profit. Focus on the shareholders. The new “Apple” business model is to focus on bringing value to the customer. Give them a product that adds value to their life, and they will grow your business.

The focus is outward on the needs of the customer, not inward on the bottom line.

A church will grow as our neighbors learn we have a product that will add value to their lives. However, if the church focuses on their own bottom line, and wants to cater only to the members (or shareholders) the church will not grow. Our church is not about us, it is about “them”. We must not avoid outsiders; in fact, we must seek to bring value to their lives as we interact with them.

David Discipleship Brings Value

Look at David. He brought value to his men as he openly brought the reality of God into every situation he faced. Look at his interaction with Saul in 1 Samuel 24. David confronted Saul, waving the skirt of Saul’s robe in his hand, and said, see, there is no evil in mine hand. He lifted up God to Saul in verse 15: May the LORD therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.” 1 Samuel 24:15.

David brought the value of God before Saul. And for a moment, Saul responded to the mercy shown him.

1 Samuel 24:19-20 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the LORD reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

Discipleship is embracing the Value of Jesus Christ for all of your life, and then exalting Him every chance your get. As you do, God will build your House, and your righteousness will be evident to others.

I. David Encounters a Fool

Remember-much of discipleship development occurs as we learn to react to others. God wants us to react to others in mercy, in justice and in righteousness. But underlying all of our dealings, there must be humbleness before God.

When David encountered a Fool, he forgot the humility part, until God sent a very special woman into his life.

A.  The Story – I Samuel 25

Samuel died. Israel mourned, and David went to the desert area of Paran.

The wilderness of Paran — stretching from Sinai to the borders of Palestine in the southern territories of Judea. Like other wildernesses, it presented large tracts of natural pasture, to which the people sent their cattle at the grazing season, but where they were liable to constant and heavy depredations by prowling Arabs. David and his men earned their subsistence by making reprisals on the cattle of these freebooting Ishmaelites; and, frequently for their useful services, they obtained voluntary tokens of acknowledgment from the peaceful inhabitants[1].

Here David’s men provided protection for the men shearing the 3000 sheep owned by Nabal. His men did not demand any food or payment, they simply stood guard. Normally Nabal’s men would have sustained losses, for roving bands of thieves are prevalent when it is shearing season.

David, in accordance with hospitality laws ingrained into the Jewish and Eastern culture, sent his men to request food and provisions in return for their protection. This was nothing unexpected, and Nabal, who was likely informed of the protection, refused proper hospitality. Not only did he refuse, he insulted David. He insulted his father. He implied he was a runaway slave, and said he would be stupid to take food meant for his shearers and give it to someone he did not know where they came from.

The insult was obvious, and David recognized it at once. As soon as he heard the report, he said, Get your swords on Men, were not going to take this insult sitting down. He left 200 men with the stuff, and he and 400 men left to kill Nabal and his men.

Balaam had a similar reaction to his Donkey

Numbers 22:29 and Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.”

Was David justified? I believe so. David could not let this insult go unpunished. Nabal rewarded David’s good with evil, and it was David’s desire to bring justice to Nabal. (Only it was David’s idea of Justice).

King Saul was a different matter, for He was in God’s office. But Nabal was simply a churlish fool.

In this day and age, we cannot take justice into our own hands. There were no police in David’s day. There was only honor and insult. An insult required action, or there would be no honor.

Discipleship is about Mercy, Justice and Righteousness being in balance in our lives. David knew Nabal’s actions reflected a man who had no righteousness. He was foolish and evil, and David was going to deal with him.

Now surely David knew the command “Thou shalt not kill”. Did Nabal’s foolishness outweigh God’s command?

B. Abigail Intervenes

To involve oneself in a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development:

1. Abigail appeals to David with hesed, mishpat and tsedaqah in view.
  1. Justice (for his House) – because that is what David was taking into his own hands. (vs. 28)
  2. Mercy, Unfailing Love – Reminder that David is bound up and held by God (vs. 29)
  3. Righteousness – David will one day rule as King, and there will be no grief or blood guiltiness. (vs. 30-31)

1 Samuel 25:28-31 (28) Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. (29) If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. (30) And when the LORD has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince over Israel, (31) my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.” ”

2. Look at the Special Qualities of Abigail
  • She was respected (25:17).  The servant knew to go to her.
  • She properly reacted to anger (25:33, 35).
  • She had great faith in God (25:26ff).

She is presented as a woman familiar with God. Her confident trust in God allowed her to remain a saint even though she was in a miserable marriage. Her words to David reveal that her faith was very practical in her life (25:26, 27).

  • She was assertive and decisive (25:18ff).

The situation was urgent and Abigail moved in a decisive way to prevent harm. She knew what needed to be done and did it the best she could. She approached David in the customs of the day but she made sure the task was done (25:24). She did not hesitate to tell David that his desire for revenge was wrong. Later she confronted Nabal and told him how foolish he was (25:37).

  • She cared for the safety of her household (25:31).

Abigail’s first priority was the safety of her home. She did whatever was necessary to assure that her family honored God and was safe.

  • She was humble and meek (25:41, 44).

As she approached David, she demonstrated humility. Humility characterized her entire conversation. –Woman of meek and Quiet Spirit

  • She brought Joy to David’s heart. (25:32).

Indeed, her name meant “My father’s Joy”

II. David Discipleship Lessons

Discipleship Definition

Discipleship – “the intentional process of making the virtue of Christ my own, through submitting to His Lordship and Direction, and the daily Hope of Gaining Christ” Discipleship is simply gaining by trading

Here was David, perfectly just in taking action against this insult. But would this have been a Discipleship Development Moment? Not if he killed Nabal. Disciples submit to God and His Direction.

Even though David did not know Jesus Christ, he was about to learn a lesson, for David is a type of Christ.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

A. Fools are People who say “God is Not”.

Both Psalms14:1 and 53: begin with this statement. The fool (nabal) hath said in his heart, “There is no God”. Young’s Literal translation reveals what the italicized (There is) mean: “God is not”[2]. The “There is” is implied, but not in the Hebrew. You could also translate ‘êyn ‘elohiym as simply “No”. A Fool is someone who realizes there is a God, but denies that He has any importance or rule over his life.

There are others…who, while they profess to acknowledge both (God and his governance of the world), deny him in their heart, and live as if they were persuaded there was no God either to punish or reward.[3]

  • Nabal showed he followed his namesake by refusing to acknowledge David, refusing to be hospitable, refusing to share God’s providence.
  • Nabal’s pride was set against God’s right to govern and judge.
  • Terrell Suggs showed he is a fool by saying the Baltimore Ravens do not need God on their sidelines.
  • Our great nation has been playing the fool as we continue to deny God’s right to govern and judge.
  • “The Harbinger”
  • Preachers can be fools

Ezekiel 13:3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

  • Fools say No to God because they refuse to admit his way is wrong

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

B. Fools are Dangerous to Disciples.

We saw how David dealt with Goliath. We saw how he responded to King Saul. With both he trusted in the Lord! Even in the cave he exalted God, and said, God, you have your way. David faced these huge obstacles and trusted God more and more.

1. David Lost His Cool

Has that ever happened to you? You handle crises and major battles with grace, and people are amazed how you handle things so well, trusting God!

But face a fool, and you lose it! You get all upset, you blow your top and say some choice words!

2. We have all encountered fools like Nabal.

They are usually overbearing, contemptuous, hardheaded and hard hearted. We have all had our:

  • Kindness met by harshness
  • Service unrecognized, unappreciated.
  • Motives Questioned

3. Has this ever happened to you?

  • Your neighbor (you know the one) complains about your dog pooping in his yard for the 90th time and you go ballistic.
  • The bumbling server who has ignored you all night finally brings more drink and spills it all over you.
  • Your boss says one more snide remark and you blow your top.
  • Your friend says one more nasty comment about your kids and you rip into her.

We can put on our Christian Superman Suit to handle a sickness, or the death of a loved one, and everyone says, wow, he really trusts the Lord!

  • God forbid some fool follows too closely on the highway.
  • God forbid some fool keeps his brights on as he drives toward you.
  • God forbid some fool makes a snide comment about your personal hygiene.
  • God forbid some fool disrespects you and the job you are doing.

Fools can get under our skin; they can elicit emotions of revenge, yes, even of murder.

C.  Fools Threaten our House (God’s Justice)

As Abigail said to David:

1 Samuel 25:28-29 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling.

1 Samuel 25:32-34 And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.”

1. David would have troubled his house

If David had taken this action, justified in the sight of men though it was, it would have brought blood guiltiness upon his house. He would have “troubled his house” by seeking man’s justice, and not God’s.

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

2. We must be wise in our Heart

The other half of this verse says that if you want to conquer the fools of this world, you have to be wise in your heart.

Fools strike without warning. We often react in the heat of the moment. But if our heart is wise, we can deal with them the way God wants us to deal with them. Abigail was wise in her heart. She was a picture of the Holy Spirit, who brought wise counsel to the heart of David.

She could have said: David, don’t be stupid! Don’t you know that God says thou shalt not kill! Don’t ruin your life by killing David! While it carried the right message, it would not have been well received. David would have perceived it as additional bitter judgment.

Instead, Abigail reached his heart by reminding David about his House, and how David’s Life was bound in a bundle held by God! David’s life was bound up in the one who held his life! Just as Christians, when we enter into salvation with Jesus Christ, from that moment on, our life is bound up in His life! We become a precious bundle to Jesus Christ. From that moment on our life reflects on His life!

David’s life was a precious bundle to God, for David’s life was bound up in God! Therefore, Abigail reminded David that God had a responsibility to take his enemies and sling them away as if slung from a sling. Abigail reminded David of Goliath, and how if David could trust God to deal with Goliath, he could trust Him to deal with Nabal!

3. David’s House and Inheritance was at Stake!

Isaiah 57:13 When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off; a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain.

4. Wrong Reactions to Fools Will Trouble Your House

Just check the news out to see how people’s lives are ruined by the way they react to fools.

  • A man burnt down a topless coffee shop in Maine because his ex-girlfriend worked there.
  • In Louisville KY, Lequan Washington, 35, started punching his mom in the face when she refused to get him some Kool-Aid. Mom told him to get his own Kool-Aid. Washington told Police that his Mom fired a gun at him.
  • January 4th, a 32 year old man gouged his 62 year old uncles eye’s outs. His uncle was a fool, and finally did something to make the man snap.
  • You can go to YouTube and watch fights in restaurants, fights at school, and fights at the Subway.
  • People get beat by McDonalds Employees.

D.   God Is Best At Handling Fools.

If we can trust God with Goliath’s, with King Saul’s, with Doegs, with the darkness of Caves, we need to trust Him to deal with Fools!

1 Samuel 25:36-38 And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about ten days later the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.

David needed to be patient. Why ruin his House over a Fool? In treating the injustice of Nabal with more injustice, he would have failed his House, and taught a devastating lesson to his Men.

Luke 12:16-21 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Proverbs 27:22 You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.

E.  Disciples Become Fools when they say “No” to God.

Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

F.  Disciples Hear and Heed the Holy Spirit

Abigail is a perfect example of the Holy Spirit. Her name meant “the Joy of my father” and is exactly the impact of the Holy Spirit! As she humbly plead softly David, reminding Him of God and David’s relationship and potential with God, David’s heart became soft, his emotions more reasoned and he committed Nabal to God.

  • 1 Peter 2:23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Abigail UNDERSTOOD the Ways of God

Think about Abigail just a moment. Here she was married to a Fool, and instead of despising God, or becoming a fool herself, she became a gracious woman, known for her beauty and wisdom.

She is a picture of the Grace of Jesus Christ, who said in John 16:33,  “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Disciples do not have to lose our cool to fools. We simply have to follow the Holy Spirit.

1. God’s Loves the Unlovely, but He resists the Proud.

Jesus loved fools. They surrounded him. They were drunks, thieves, tax collectors. He loved Pharisees, but he had a hard time with their arrogance. Even though he was stern and direct with His rebukes, most refused to repent of their pride.

They should make Christians walk humbly before God, for the truth is we are only one step away from being a Pharisee. That is how dangerous pride is. When pride rears its ugly head, we push God to the side and say, “No God” I know what is best, I can figure this out on my own. As soon as we do, the Holy Spirit starts to whisper in our ear, “you fool!”

2. How did Abigail wind up with Nabal?

It could have been an arranged wedding. He could have been charming at first, and then became more in love with wealth.

Regardless, Abigail displayed total respect for her husband, at the same time appealing to David.

There was no betrayal, no selfishness,

3. Why did she intervene?

What do you do if you are married to a fool? When you are reviled, you revile not, but you commit yourself to Him who judges righteously. Do not take justice into your own hands, but appeal to God and patiently wait for him to bring his justice into your house.

A fool give full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. – Proverbs 29:11

Matthew 7:26-27 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

III. Holy Moments

David Discipleship is a “succession of holy moments in which we count on His grace and strength to get us through”. Alan Redpath

Most people come to church needing a Holy Moment. We do our best with singing and preaching, but church is not the place for holy moments. Holy moments take place as you encounter fools, and Goliath’s, your friends, your spouse, and your children. Holy Moments happen when in the face of someone or something that causes you to rear up in pride or revenge, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit whispers in your ear, and you humble yourself to submit to the Will and Word of God. A Holy Moment takes place when your will is set aside so that you may be set apart for the purpose of God!

David was puffed up with pride. He was owed something, his name had been disrespected, and his sword was drawn, ready to exact justice.

Along came the Holy Spirit in the form of Abigail, meaning ‘my Father brings Joy’ and what she said and did brought David into a Holy moment, where he was reminded once again that Discipleship is practicing God’s mercy, God’s justice and God’s righteousness.

Abigail brought a holy ‘unfailing love’ moment to his heart, reminding David that he was a precious bundle whose life was held by God. So this Holy Moment brought a change to David’s Desire.

Abigail brought a holy moment into his House, by reminding him that his pride was about to bring dishonor to his house, a house that God had great plans for. Who cares what a fool thinks of him and his house. As she reminded David:

1 Samuel 25:28 … the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD…

David must stand upon the justice of God, and fight the battles of the Lord. That requires humbleness, not pride. Therefore, this holy moment was beneficial to David’s descendants.

Abigail then brought a holy moment to David’s hope, reminding him that God was able to sling his enemies like a rock from a sling. That holy moment brought a decision that resulted in David’s development as a Disciple, a Mighty Man of God.

Esau and Jacob

Did you ever wonder why God chose the wimpy, liar, deceiver and thief Jacob to be the father of the 12 tribes of Israel? Why not Esau, a man’s man, a hunter, a skilled fighter? He would make an excellent leader for the Jewish Nation.


God hated Esau and loved Jacob, because the one sin that God despises most in man is his pride and arrogance. God could work with a liar and a thief, but he could not work with a proud man. God saw Jacob transformed into a man who leaned on Him. That never would have happened with Esau, for he was too puffed up. Hebrews 11:21 says that Jacob blessed his sons while leaning on his staff. He had learned that he nust depend upon the Lord God for every aspect of his life. So he blessed as he leaned on the Lord!

Are you on a Discipleship Path this year? Do you desire to Develop into a man of God? Then let this mind be in you which was in our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though He deserved to be treated as God, he deliberately laid everything aside, humbling Himself to Death, even the death of the Cross.

Do you desire Holy Moments in your Life? Then lay aside your rights, your pride, your comforts, and your reputation. Humble yourself to the Holy Spirit, and trust in God to grow you and develop you into the man of God He desires.

As Isaiah wrote: “he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain”.


[1] Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, David Brown, A Commentary: Critical, Experimental, and Practical on the Old and New Testaments, (Toledo, OH: Jerome B. Names & Co., 1884), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “1 SAMUEL”.

[2] Psalm 14:1 A fool hath said in his heart, `God is not;’ They have done corruptly, They have done abominable actions, There is not a doer of good. (Youngs Literal)

[3] Adam Clarke, A Commentary and Critical Notes, (New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1826), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Psalm 14”.

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Visit with seasoned saints and it doesn’t take long for someone to ask the question “what is wrong with this world?” Especially when the conversation turns to gay marriage, immorality of politicians or athletes or movie stars or teenagers or anyone for that matter. God has given us the answer to “what is wrong with this world?”. It is found in Romans 1:18-32. Basically the world is thinking upside down, and our attitude toward God is the determining factor! God has let us peek into the way He works when we react to Him the way we do. The bottom line is that our spiritual, emotional and mental health depend upon a right relationship to Him. Anything less will result in thinking and living that is “upside down” as far as God is concerned.

FOUNDATION of WORTHWHILE LIVING

“Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (HCSB)

Both God and the Jews consider this foundational truth for living a a life that is worthwhile.  Jehovah God must be honored with all or our life, beginning with His place in our heart. Romans 1:18-23 paints the big picture of what happens when we do not properly honor God, fail to see Him at work in our lives (thank Him) and exalt ourselves over Him (vain thinking).  Their foolish hearts become darkened and they become fools-‘moraino’-worthless and good for nothing to God!

The God we worship depends upon our heart, and what we hold dear in our heart. From our heart proceeds reverence or dishonor. That feeds our emotional soul and results in a thankful attitude. An irreverent heart results in resentment and bitterness in our emotional being. Our emotional soul feds our mind and either empowers us to set our minds upon God or upon ourselves. If we set our minds on ourselves we will worship a god of our own making.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3

But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Furthermore, if we chose to worship God in only one or even two of these areas of our life, wrong worship will be the result:

  1. If we honor God in our heart alone and neglect our emotions and thinking, we will love ANY god.
  2. If we honor God with our emotions yet withhold our heart and our mind, we will be emotional about EVERY god.
  3. If we set our mind on God without giving Him our heart and our emotions, we will make our OWN god.

PARADIDOMAI AND EVIL SHADOWS

Because men would not glorify God, would not make God part of their life by remembering to thank Him, and then ignored Him by becoming vain in their thinking, Creator God “gives them up” to the consequences of their unbelief – the control of sin.

“Gave up” is paradidōmi: “to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use.” Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God issues not only a permissive sentence, but a judicial one, whereby men discover that failure to worship God and seek after him leads to enslavement to the most hideous things, things which they thought were worth worshipping.

Remember the Movie “GHOST”?

“Paradidomi” pictures a man being delivered to prison to be subject to the power and authority of a wicked warden. If you are a fan of “Ghost” picture the scene toward the end where the evil “shadow spirits” come and take Carl Bruner (the villain) away to eternal torment. We are all applauding to know such a horrible man finally gets what he deserves.

Wuest points out that this “giving up” was first begun by man. “These people had already willfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man’s moral freedom.”

The sad truth is that any man who rejects God as God, and fails to worship His Glory, is subject to the same fate. Not just “murderers” like the character Carl Bruner. God says that any man who fails to honor and worship Him in their heart is a worthless “MORON!” Actually the word is ‘moraino’, but the same meaning is implied. Most translations use the word “FOOL.”

I COULD USE THE WORD “FOOL”, BUT I LIKE USING MORON.

God wants us to have a vivid picture of what happens when we neglect Him or deliberately fail to Worship Him. He gives us Three Pictures of the Downward Descent of Mankind when they forget God and go their own way. The evil shadow spirits are allowed to dominate and control MORONS.

Three times Romans 1 records that God “paradidomi” man. Three times God gives man up to the control of sin. Each time the consequences are frightening. The shocking image of the “evil shadows”  of “Ghost” are nothing compared to the images we will paint this morning.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to call your sister or your brother a moron. There is nothing personal about this at all, it is simply using a graphic “English” word for “moraino”, which is what people become when they “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for … anything else. (Rom 1:22-23)

What Does God Deliver Morons to Be Tormented By?

GOD DELIVERS MORONS UP THREE TIMES TO THREE EVIL SHADOWS

But we are without excuse. These “evil shadows” are not outside of man, blending in with all the shadows of dark and light. These ‘evil shadows’ lurk within the wicked heart of every man. We can never say “the devil made me do it!”, for we make decisions that allow these ‘evil shadows’ to take our heart, and then all sorts of wickedness begins.

The First Place These Shadows Rule Will Always Be Your Heart!

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 (ESV)

But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25 (ESV)

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)

“the land of gloom (is) like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where (even) light is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22 (ESV)

These Evil Shadows lurk DEEP inside the heart of man, and when unrestrained and allowed to control us, procede to corrupt our emotional health and then our mental health.

God’s ways are above ours, and usually just opposite of what we would think. We think that as mankind becomes more enlightened, more educated, the more civilized we will become. We believe it is the enlightened mind that guides society. Therefore we place great emphasis on education and training our minds. We believe if you think right you will act right.

GOD ALWAYS STARTS IN OUR HEART

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2 (ESV) and also Psalms 53

But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14

Our heart has a brain of its own, one that is not educated by thought but is educated by what we say, see, touch and do. The heart influences our thoughts, our actions, our health, and our influence upon others. God knows that faith begins in your heart. If you believe in your heart…Romans doesn’t address the mind until chapter 12. God deals with the sin that is our heart nature. God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The world will tell you that God doesn’t make sense to a rational thinking man, but your heart will tell you otherwise. You mind will tell you that what happens in your life is all happenstance, that God doesn’t care or have control, so it is fruitless to give Him thanks. But your heart rejoices in Him anyway and gives Him thanks. Your mind can’t make sense of pain and tragedy, but all of a sudden your heart will burst forth with joy in the midst of sorrow. God tells us in Prov 23:26, my son, give me your heart! When we refuse to be converted to His way and His truth, our heart is easily taken over by our sin nature, by the lusts that lurk in every corner of our heart, in every corner of the world.

A heart that believes and trusts in God and His Word can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)

THE FIRST GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

I. Uncleanness, Impurity, and Filthiness

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:24-25 (ESV)

  • Neither English word conveys what first century people would think when they heard the Greek word akatharsia.

akatharsia from a = without + kathairo = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and could refer to the pus around an open, infected wound or even a decaying corpse.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (akatharsia). (Mt 23:27)

Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart that makes the person defiled.

Other Verses:

  • Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21 “that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness”
  • Ephesians 5:3 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.”

Given these, we can draw some conclusions about what this word might have “meant” to a first century Greek-speaking audience. Most everyone views decomposing bodies as disgusting and unclean, but for a Jew, this type of uncleanness would have had an additional ceremonial dimension. To a Jew you would not even be fit to approach the Temple. You would be ceremonially unclean and physically a leper, unfit to worship.

When we say “impure” and “unclean” English people get a picture of Ivory Soap or a dirty bathroom.

Let me suggest two possible alternatives:

Corruption- The most common meaning of corruption centers around political dishonesty. We complain about “corrupt” officials. However, it can also be used to describe physical decay. Consider these definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary: “moral perversion; depravity”, “perversion of integrity” and “putrefactive decay; rottenness”.

Defilement-This word is rarely used in English, and carries with it an explicit religious connotation. “To defile” is the exact opposite of “to consecrate”. Random House gives these definitions for defile: “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase” and “to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate”. So “defilement” is essentially “impurity”, but a special kind of impurity; one that is religious or sacramental. If I had to pick an exact opposite for the word “sanctification” in English it would be “defilement”.

GOD’S GIVING OVER MANKIND TO LUST IS DONE IN TWO WAYS.

IndirectlyGod gives them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations, and churches…

Directly-God gives over rebellious mankind by specific acts of judgment. The Bible is has many accounts of God’s wrath being directly and supernaturally poured out on sinful men. The flood of Noah’s day destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 18:20, 19:24,25, 26), for example, were not indirect natural consequences of sin but were overt supernatural expressions of God’s judgment on gross and unrepented sin. God often allows men to go deeper and deeper into sin in order to drive them to despair and to show them their need of Him. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)

What Results When Evil Shadows Take Control of our Heart?

  • Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24
  • because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25

Uncleanness and depravity is the result of the lust within their own hearts, and results in dishonoring our bodies, abusing our bodies, abusing others. When we fail to honor the Truth of God, and instead worship what we chose, or what we think is right, corruption and depravity will be the natural result.

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

The First Giving over to results in hearts being wicked to the point of accepting and tolerating immoral behavior.

The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Note that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world.

  • Idolatry usually results in sexual immorality.

Pastor Ray Pritchard has an interesting insight:

“Why is illicit sex singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart. After all, what is sex but the desire to be worshiped by another person? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. When two people come together, they are seeking much more than physical release. At a very deep level, they are looking for love, acceptance, fulfillment, freedom and meaning in life. By giving themselves to someone else, they hope (and secretly pray) that through this self-giving, they will discover a way to fill the void within. They “worship” through sex hoping someone will “worship” them back. Sex and worship are thus closely related in their ultimate purpose. It is as if God is pulling back the covers in order to show us how empty our hearts are without him. By turning to illicit sex, instead of fulfilling our dreams we only expose the emptiness within. It never works out like we hope it will. Immorality never satisfies…

Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work.

The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely tolerated and even accepted.

THE SECOND GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

II.   Vile Affections, Degrading Passions and Shameful Desires

“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.” For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27

  • The Greek words for degrading passions are atimia pathos.

Atimia: means to lower down from a place of honor. A picture is painted of something which is literally not honorable, not worthy of respect, reverence or esteem. It emphasizes the loss of honor that was once enjoyed = cf man originally created in God’s image), disgrace (to be a source of shame to & often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism), ignominy (deep personal humiliation and disgrace, disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action. This noun stresses humiliation).

Pathos: Pathos means passion and comes from the word pascho which means to suffer; to experience a sensation or impression (usually of a painful nature). A passion is a drive or force that does not rest until satisfied. These are internal desires (emanating from our fallen sin nature) cause the victim to suffer and that have to be satisfied or they drive you crazy. A passion describes intense emotion compelling action; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection; sexual desire or an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. The word “desires” (when used as noun as in the present context) means to have a longing for and stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim; conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.

We all have desires and passions. They are influenced by our heart, not by our mind, for they emanate from our heart. When our heart is corrupted, these desires can run wild, and corrupted passions result in degradation, falling from a place of honor as God’s Creation, into something corrupt and dishonorable. The natural end of those corrupted passions running wild is the ultimate dishonor upon God’s design for our bodies-to procreate, to love a wife or husband in covenant marriage, to raise up Godly generations after us.

GOD’S DESIGN IS CORRUPTED

“As distinguished from epithumia (lusts) in verse 24, pathē (passions), is the narrower and intense word. epithumia is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of pathos is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring.

  • epithumia are evil longings; pathē, ungovernable affections.

Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire.”Wuest’s.

  • When hearts become corrupt, immorality results from unrestrained lust.
  • When passions become degraded, perversion results because we become diseased.

MEN WHO “ABANDON” OR “LEAVE”

Abandoned  (aphiemi from apo = separation, dissociation + hiemi = send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and thus means to send away or to let go from oneself. Aphiemi was used for example of the action of dismissing a wife. The idea is to let go from one’s possession!

The verb abandoned is aorist tense (action at a moment in time, speaks of effective action) and active voice (subject makes a choice of their will to carry out this action). Thus these men made a deliberate, conscious choice of their will to abandon the natural for the unnatural.

Pastor Ray Pritchard once more:

More than anything else, homosexuality is a willful choice. No one can say, “I was born that way.” No one is born homosexual. No one. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of the Bible or has deliberately perverted its teaching. You can talk all you want about genetics, the size of the hypothalamus, about absent fathers, over-protective mothers, about early sexual confusion, and even about sexual abuse. Some of those things may indeed create a predisposition to this particular sin.

But the fact remains: Every act of homosexuality—whether in word or deed or in lustful thought—every single act is a personal moral choice. Temptation is not the issue because temptation in and of itself is not a sin (cp James 1:14-note).

But giving in to temptation—whether mentally, verbally or in actual deed—is a sin (James 1:15-note). That’s a moral choice for which God will hold you 100% accountable. You can’t blame your choices on your hypothalamus! You can’t even blame your father for his failure to be there when you needed him…As a society moves away from God, one mark of its drift into judgment is widespread homosexuality. The tragic fact is that this is exactly where America is today. (Romans 1:24-32 When God Gives Up)

The Second Giving Over results in Emotions and Passions becoming Vile, Degraded and Out of Control.

The heart is corrupted and no longer guides the emotions into that which is right. SO emotional health becomes vile, even depraved, and wrong, even abominable passions result. Emotional Disease Results. Our emotional psyche becomes conditioned to depravity. Christans, God doesn’t want us to know about or even talk about these vile passions. We are to be simple, and experts in that which is good! We are to “Walk in the Light!”

  • “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Rom 16:19
  • Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Eph 5:8-12

THE THIRD GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:

III.   Reprobate, Debased, Depraved Mind

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)

The result of the refusal in Romans 1:18-32 was the “reprobate mind.” Paul uses the phrase: “adokimos nous”.

Adokimos: Debased, depraved, REPROBATE (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.

  • a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
  • a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
  • a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
  • a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
  • a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
  • the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.

Look at the end result: “they refused to have God in their knowledge (ouk edokimasan),” and “God gave them up to a reprobate (= unacknowledged, adokimos) mind.” So God let them have a mind that is void of any divine characteristics.

  • Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.
  • The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!

The Reprobate Mind has a giant “A” stamped on their head and heart.

They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.

  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
  • 2 Timothy 3:8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (literally set themselves against) the truth, men of depraved (destroyed, ruined, corrupted = kataphtheiro) mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the faith.
  • Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless (adokimos – unfit, of proven inability to do good) for any good deed.

The Third sign is that Society has lost their spiritual mind and doesn’t even realize it.

More Dangerous Than Sin Itself:

These men had ”tested” God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the ability to think right. He has “lost his mind” (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn’t even know it.

So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is “right in his own eyes.”

“God gave them up,” “handed them over”—to punishing angels? No, to themselves and the life they have chosen. A life of falsehood, alienated from the true God and the true world he has created, is punishment enough.

13 STEPS TO HAVING A REPROBATE MIND

13. Argumentation – reprobate mind given to perversion – judgment certain
12. Justify immorality – cannot think clearly
11. Re-examine Scripture – doubt
10. Frustration over drives – confusion
9. Religious compensation – rationalize
8. Incomplete repentance – feeling sorry is not enough; root sin of self on the throne
7. Response to guilt – suppress the truth
6. Awakening of guilt – conviction
5. Violation of conscience – law in the heart
4. Questioning Scripture – dangerous; Eve’s root sin
3. Sensual focus – eye toward lust
2. Awakening of conscience – reasoning with the mind – dangerous
1. Natural curiosity – nothing wrong with this – God gave to Adam and Eve

(From IBLP-Bill Gothard)

MAN’S THINKING IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

  • People who are turned upside down in their thinking refuse to acknowledge God as God and furthermore, refuse to thank Him for being God and loving them the way He does.
  • They became Morons (foolish, and showing no thought) in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.
  • They argue stupidly and vainly against God and His Word. Their silly minds become darker and sillier.
  • These reprobates believe they are wise, because their thinking is “upside down”. Instead of wise they are now MORONS, worshipping stuff of no eternal Value, or their pet idols or belief’s. They push God out of their lives or leave him in a dark corner, or even create their our own god.
  • God gives up on them up, allowing their foul desires to become addictive to the point of dishonoring their bodies. Life becomes a game with no real meaning or purpose.
  • These people no longer know the truth of God. They can’t even begin to comprehend it, so “upside down” are their minds. They are prey for liars and deceivers. God hands them over to be dominated and controlled by their sinful and unrighteous passions.
  • Sinful perversions warp the souls of the reprobate. They are no longer in control of their mind, will and emotions.
  • Reprobates are slaves of their degenerate (upside down) minds.
  • Reprobate minds have no shame over their actions, no matter how vile, and in fact give approval to others who do the same things.

THEY FILL THEIR LIVES WITH:

According to Romans 1:29, this person’s life will become “filled with” unfitting and inappropriate practices. “Being filled with” is from the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o) meaning a life so full of itself it will be full of these things listed as the consequence. “All” can be inserted in front of each to express the extreme influence of a “reprobate mind” upon a life. God gives us twenty-two characteristics of this last degree of unbelief in an individual’s life and in a perverted and reprobate society.

  • “Unrighteousness” is from the Greek word adikia (ad-ee-kee’-ah) referring to the violation of justice.
  • “Fornication” is from the Greek word porneia (por-ni’-ah) referring to illicit sexual practices.
  • “Wickedness” is from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah) referring to a depravity in purposes and desires.
  • “Coveteousness” is from the Greek word pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) referring to a growing, greedy desire to have more and more.
  • “Maliciousness” is from the Greek word kakia (kak-ee’-ah) referring to a desire to injure someone or a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
  • “Envy” is from the Greek word phthonos (fthon’-os) meaning life actions always prompted by envy.
  • “Murder” is from the Greek word phonos (fon’-os) meaning a life full of slaughter.
  • “Debate” is from the Greek word eris (er’-is) meaning a life filled with strife and contention.
  • “Deceit” is from the Greek word dolos (dol’-os) referring to deceptive, crafty manipulation.
  • “Malignity” is from the Greek word kakoetheia (kak-o-ay’-thi-ah) referring to bad character and bad morals.
  • “Whisperers” is from the Greek word psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) referring to a secret slanderer.
  • “Backbiters” is from the Greek word katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) meaning a person who secretly defames another or speaks evil of them.
  • Haters of God” is from the Greek word theostuges (theh-os-too-gace’) referring to a person who is exceptionally impious and wicked.
  • “Despiteful” is from the Greek word hubristes (hoo-bris-tace’) referring to a person who is insolent and who either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong.
  • “Proud” is from the Greek word huperephanos (hoop-er-ay’-fan-os) refers to thinking of one’s self as superior to others. This often expresses itself in prejudices by despising others or even treating them with contempt (disrespect).
  • “Boasters” is from the Greek word alazon (al-ad-zone’) referring to a vain and pretentious person.
  • “Inventors of evil things” is from the Greek words epheuretes (ef-yoo-ret’-ace) kakos (kak-os’) referring to a person who schemes in his thinking and imagination of ways to undermine or harm another person.
  • “Disobedient to parents” is from the Greek words apeithes (ap-i-thace’) goneus (gon-yooce’) referring to a person who obstinately resists the authority of his parents. The idea goes into insubordination against all who have authority over him.
  • “Without understanding” is from the Greek word asunetos (as-oon’-ay-tos). It goes way beyond ignorance, referring to a person who lacks any real understanding of the realities of life (including spiritual realities) and therefore makes decisions without any consciousness to those realities.
  • “Covenantbreakers” is from the Greek word asunthetos (as-oon’-thet-os) referring to a person who cannot be trusted to keep promises.
  • “Without natural affection” is from the Greek word astorgos (as’-tor-gos) referring to a person who is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
  • “Implacable” is from the Greek word aspondos (as’-pon-dos) referring to a person incapable of making commitments (let alone keep one).
  • “Unmerciful” is from the Greek word aneleemon (an-eleh-ay’-mone) referring to a person unwilling to help the needy or a person without any compassion for others regardless of the severity of their predicament.

THEY KNOW JUDGMENT IS COMING

The closing statement of Romans 1:32 informs us that the Holy Spirit has fully convinced this person of God’s pending judgment on his/her life. “Knowing” is from the Greek word epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) meaning this person has a thorough perception of what will happen to him once he dies yet he has no fear of God about it because he continues to deny the inner witness of his conscience to God’s truths and existence.

“Judgment” is from the Greek word dikaioma (dik-ah’-yo-mah) referring to a sentence by a judge for a crime committed. The intent here is that this person is fully convinced in his conscience about the eternal death sentence upon him (Romans 6:23). Yet he lives in denial of that cloud of doom over his life. Because of this denial, he not only continues on this pathway to destruction, he forms a partnership with others involved in the same practices which reinforces both his sinful practices and theirs.

WE WILL ALL DIE and FACE GOD

History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear.”

  • Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
  • Sir Thomas Scott, once president of the English Lower House said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
  • The great evangelist D. L. Moody, on his deathbed, said, “I see Earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”

Are You Ready to Face God?

For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not “in the faith” as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled “The Almost Christian”:

I did go thus for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.”

Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”

Is your thinking “upside down?” Could you be a moron, useless to God?

Take the Moron Test for backslidden Christians:

1. Do you ENJOY reading the Bible?

2. Do you allow God to speak to you and guide you through His Word?

3. Do you go days without even thinking about God and what He wants you to do?

4. Do you do things today that years ago you said you would never do?

5. Do you hear about immorality or watch immorality without it bothering you?

6. Are there things you do that friends and relatives would be shocked to learn about?

7. Do you find yourself thinking that God loves you just the way you are?

8. DO you find yourself arguing with other Christians about what behavior is OK?

If you don’t care what the results are, or what God thinks about your heart, YOU ARE A MORON!




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!