How to Know the Will of God




Uploaded by HarvestTV on 27.01.2010

Transcript:
Today we are going to end our Essentials series with a message on the topic, "How to Know
the Will of God." So let’s turn in our Bibles to Romans chapter 12. A couple of quick questions.
Does God still speak to people today? Is He interested in what happens to us as individuals?
Does the Lord have a master plan for our lives? Now these are important questions because
we all want to know the will of God. They are big things that we wonder about. Like
what am I going to do with my life? Who am I going to marry? Why did I lose my hair?
Well that is more personal me. But still. Here is the answer. In the broad sense yes.
God does still speak to people today. Yes God indeed does have a plan for our lives.
Someone asked me the other day do you think it is appropriate for a Christian to say to
someone, good luck. And my response is I don’t know if that is a bad thing, but as believers
we don’t believe in luck. We don’t believe in mere chance. We believe providence. We
believe in God’s will. To bless someone in the name of the Lord is one thing. But
to say good luck is another.
You see we don’t believe that we are mere victims of chance just groping through life.
We believe that God has a purpose for us. And the Bible clearly teaches that as a believer
we are to live by faith. I wish I could say to you I always know the will of God in every
set of circumstances but I don’t. The will of God is not always easy to discern. And
for me personally it is a journey of faith where I read the Word of God. I pray for direction.
And then I take what I hope are the appropriate steps in the right direction. Because the
Bible says the just shall live by what. By faith. It doesn’t say they will live by
feelings.
Remember that stupid song from years ago. “Feelings.” Nothing more than feelings.
Trying to forget my feelings of love. Feelings. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Feelings. Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Feelings here in my heart. Oh stop. You know and a lot of people will live by their feelings
and their fluctuating emotions.
No. Instead as believers we want to live by what His Word tells us to do. God does speak.
The good news is our God does not play hide and seek. He wants to lead you even more than
you want to be led. He wants to speak to you even more than you want to be spoken to. You
know why? Because you are a friend of God.
It was said of Abraham that he was God’s friend. And the Lord said, “Shall I hide
from Abraham that which I am about to do.” You might say, “Well that is nice for Abraham,
but I don’t have such a privilege.” Oh actually you do. Because Jesus said in John
15:15, “I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead I have called you friend for everything I have learned from My Father I have made
known to you.”
Do you have any friends? Don’t raise your hand on this. But you know there are certain
people that we will all regard as true friends. There are high maintenance friendships. And
there are low maintenance ones. Right. I have friends that I have known for years and even
I haven’t seen them for a year or longer when I see them it is like we pick off where
we last left off. The friendship is strong. I have other friends well that relationship
needs more attention. But I have friends that I know that I can trust. A true friend is
someone that will keep your confidence. We all know people that if we say to them, “Don’t
say to this to anyone” they will say it to a lot of people. And if we say, “Really
it is important you don’t tell anyone” they will tell it to as many people as humanly
possible. And then we know other people who are friends that we will say, “Please keep
this to yourself” and they won’t breathe a word to anyone. You can reveal your heart
to a friend. You can tell a secret to a friend. You can trust a friend. You know a friend
will speak the truth to you. Even if it is not easy. Because Proverbs says, “Faithful
are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” A friend is
someone that tells you the truth. God is our friend. He will always tell us the truth.
And listen. He wants to reveal His secrets to us. Because in Psalm 25:14 we read, “The
secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” Yes God wants to speak to us. In fact
Jesus said, “You are my sheep, and my sheep hear my voice.” By the way, that is not
a compliment. God picked one of the most dimwitted creatures on the face of the earth to compare
us to.
I read an article in the newspaper the other day that said that they believe now that dolphins
are the most intelligent of all animals and some even say maybe we shouldn’t even regard
them as animals. Whatever.
But I will tell you what. Sheep are one of the dumbest of all animals. Jesus did not
say, “You are my dolphins and my dolphins hear my voice.” That would be nice. You
are my sheep.
Did you know that if you released most animals into the wild they can survive? If you let
your dog go or your cat or your bird they will in many cases learn to fend for themselves
and make it. But if you release a sheep in the wild it cannot survive. They have no survival
skills whatsoever. You release your cat. He is gone. Born free. You know he is loving
life. You release your sheep. He is just like what do I do now. Where am I? What is for
dinner? Oh no. I am for dinner. That is why there are no wild sheep. They are totally
dependent upon the shepherd. Just like we are. So the sheep come to know that when the
shepherd speaks they should follow because his plan for them is better than their plan
for themselves.
So God has revealed His will to us. Now before we get into how to know the will of God in
particular situations let’s talk about what the will of God is for everyone. We might
call the principles we are about to look at briefly so no-brainers But let me say this.
Maybe one of the reasons we don’t know the will of God in particular areas is because
we have not applied what is clearly the will of God for all areas. Listen. Obedience to
revealed truth guarantees guidance in matters unrevealed. Let me repeat that again. Obedience
to revealed truth guarantees guidance in matters unrevealed. So before we stress about what
God’s plan is for you and for me as an individual let’s talk about His plan for everyone.
Let’s start with the simplest one of all. Number one. God’s will is that you be a
believer. Duh. But it is true. That is God’s will. The Scripture says in 1 Timothy 2:4,
“God’s will is that all would be saved.” Scripture says, “God is not willing that
any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” So before we are ever going
to know the will of God we have to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and
our Lord.
The Bible is not merely a book filled with principles of truth, success, and prosperity.
It is not a book of magic formulas that work for everyone. The way some people teach the
Bible you would think they are like little things that we just apply and they always
work and we just release these faith principles.
But no. Wait a second. The Bible is a book authored by God to tell us how to know God
and to walk with God. And these principles found in, though true in a general sense,
are really for those that are walking in submission to God.
So first you must be a believer.
Number two. To live this life God has called us to live we need to be filled with and controlled
by the Holy Spirit. We need to be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians
5:15 says, “Don’t be foolish. Understand what the will of the Lord is.” All right.
What is it? Ok. Here it is. “Don’t be drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery.
Instead be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual
songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord always giving thanks to God the Father
for everything.”
But what does that mean to be filled with the Spirit. It means to be controlled by the
Spirit. The word filled speaks of permeation. It is used to describe salt permeating meat
to preserve it. The word filled also is used to describe wind filling a sail. And also
the original emphasis in the Greek would be constantly be filled. And finally it is a
command.
So put it all together. God is saying, “I command you to constantly be filled and controlled
by the Holy Spirit. Let His wind fill your sail. Let His power permeate your life. Be
filled with the Spirit.” And how is that expressed. It is expressed with praise and
worship to God. Singing and making music in my heart to the Lord. Giving thanks to God
the Father for everything.
That brings me principle number three. You are to have an attitude of gratitude. You
are to have an attitude of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks, for
this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This is simply the attitude that recognizes
that God is in control of all circumstances that surround your life. He is leading you
both to still waters and through stormy seas. It is all a part of the process of making
us more like Jesus.
Number four. It is the will of God that we live a pure life. That we live a pure life.
You don’t have to pray about this. It is clearly stated in Scripture. 1 Thessalonians
4:3 says, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification that is that you abstain
from sexual immorality.” The word sanctification speaks of holiness and consecration and dedication
to God. Effectively this verse is saying look if you are a single person remain sexually
pure. No sexual relations with anyone until you are married. And once you are married
be faithful to your spouse for all of your life. That is the will of God.
Ok. So having established in a broad sense some of these principles I have clearly defined
as the will of God for everyone what about particular situations. Is it ok to go to God
and say, “Lord I need Your direction in my life.” Answer. Absolutely. In fact we
are told over in the book of James 1:5–6, “If you need wisdom, if you want to know
what God wants you to do, ask Him and He will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking
but when you ask Him be ready to receive an answer.” So we should ask God for His wisdom.
All right. Now having established this, let’s look at our text together. Romans chapter
12. And we are going to read verses 1 and 2. Very familiar verses. Verses that many
have committed to memory that really tell us how to know God’s will. This is what
we might define as a conditional promise. The promise is you will know the will of God.
The conditions are as follow. “I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of
God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which
is your reasonable service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Ok. That is the part we want to know. I want to know the good, acceptable, and perfect
will of God. But what do I need to do? Well according to Paul I have to present myself
to God. I want you to notice that he begins by saying, “I beseech you therefore.”
Whenever you read the word therefore in the Bible find out what it is there for. It is
always drawing upon what has previously been said. And in the first eleven chapters of
Romans Paul is talking about the fact that we are all separated from the Lord from sin.
There is nothing we could do to right our situation through our own strength. But God
demonstrated His love toward us in sending Christ to die for us and forgive us of all
sin. So in light of this, therefore, considering all that God has done for you, Paul says,
here is what you ought to do. Present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice. God is not asking
you a favor. He is saying as your Master, your Owner, your Father, “I command you
to give yourself to Me.”
Another translation of this verse says, “Here is what you need to do. Take your everyday,
ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before
God as an offering.” An offering. You are not being forced to do this. You don’t have
to do this. The language that Paul uses is I urge you. Beseech. It means I plead with
you. I am appealing to you. You could even translate it I beg of you brothers. Here is
what you ought to do. In light of all that God has done for you present yourselves to
Him as an offering.
Offerings are not taken. They are given. When we receive an offering we don’t reach into
your back pocket, pull out your wallet, and extract money. We give you an opportunity
to give a freewill offering as you are led by the Lord.
In the same way with our life. It is something we offer to God. But it is a living sacrifice.
See that almost sounds like a contradiction. Because generally sacrifices are well dead.
Sacrifices that have been killed don’t squirm off the altar. But living sacrifices have
a tendency to do that. In other words we may offer ourselves to the Lord and then sort
of reconsider a moment later. No. Offer yourself again and again as a living sacrifice.
Well what do I offer? Your body. “I urge you therefore brothers present your bodies.”
And that word bodies could be translated your total being, your total personality. First
of all I need to present my mind to God. My mind. I should fill my mind with God’s Word.
Not with the junk and twisted world view of our culture.
A recent survey revealed that America’s children and teenagers now spend an average
of more than seven and a half days (hours) of involved in electronic media. That would
include TV, video games, listening to music, surfing the web, texting, email, etc. Seven
and a half hours of every day in electronic media. And the problem is a lot of that is
going to influence you in the wrong way.
No. Here is what the Bible is saying. Fill your mind with the things of God. Philippians
4 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things
that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy
of praise.”
Number two. I need to present my tongue to God. What we say matters. Words have power.
Both to build up or to tear down. James 3:5 says, “The tongue is a small thing, but
what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.”
And we are so interested in the dirt on people. What are they really like? And you know we
may get a piece of information. Some will say, “Now I don’t know if this is true
will say but.” What? You don’t know if it is true. “No. I don’t know if it is
true, but I heard.” Wait. If you don’t know it is true why would you repeat it?
Have you ever had a lie told about you? Have you ever had someone gossip about you? You
know how that feels? Well the very word gossip just hisses. Gossip. What is the source of
that? How about the father of lies. The one that loves to sow discord among us. I am talking
about the devil.
Maybe we should apply the acronym THINK before we speak. THINK. T stands for is it true?
Before I pass on this bit of information ask myself the question is it true. I suggest
that would stop a lot of information dead in its tracks. H. Is it helpful? I. Is it
inspiring? N. Is it necessary? K. Is it kind? THINK before you speak.
“Well Greg if I applied that acronym I would hardly say anything.” Amen. Do us all a
favor and shut up.
Dedicate your tongue to God. Instead of using it to tear down others and to spread gossip
use it to build up others and to glorify God.
We need to also present our hands and feet to God too. Proverbs 6:16–18 says, “There
are six things the Lord hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes.” Which
would mean an arrogant look. “A lying tongue.” We have touched on that. “Hands that kill
the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong.”
Hands that kill the innocent. Feel that race to do wrong. That is the wrong use of your
hands and feet. How much more glorious it is to use your hands to help others and to
use your feet to bring the gospel to others.
Romans 10:15 says, “How beautiful are the feet of those that bring good news.”
“I urge you therefore brothers,” Paul is saying, “Present yourselves to God as
a living sacrifice, which is your reasonable service.” See that word reasonable. It could
better be translated logical. In other words it doesn’t make any sense to not do this.
A half-hearted commitment is illogical. It is good for nothing. Listen. To be a Christian
means to give as much of myself as I can to as much of Jesus Christ as I know. Again.
To be a Christian means I give as much of myself as I can to as much of Jesus Christ
as I know. We should be growing in our faith. If you have known the Lord for a period of
time you should be stronger spiritually today than you were a year ago. Certainly stronger
than you were 10 years ago. But for some of us our best days are in the rearview mirror.
We are resting on our laurels. We are living in the past. It is time to continue this growth
process. This is the reasonable thing to do. Present yourself as a living sacrifice and
then we will know His will.
Number two. Don’t be conformed to this world. What does the Bible means when it says the
world? It doesn’t mean the planet per se. It means a culture. A mentality. A way of
thinking that is largely hostile to God. 1 John 2:15 defines the world as follows. “Love
not the world, neither the things that are in the world. For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the father but
of the world.” A more modern translation states that verse this way. “Don't love
the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the
Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting
everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father.
It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the
way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”
Love not the world. Don’t be conformed to the world Paul says. And by the way this word
conformed refers to the act of assuming an outward appearance that does not accurately
reflect that which is within. In other words Paul is saying, “Don’t masquerade as if
you belong to the world.”
See we all want to just fit in. We don’t want to be thought of as a dork, a nerd, a
fool, an idiot. We don’t want to be classified as uncool. So we will do the thing that we
think others want us to do. Paul says, “Don’t be conformed to this world.” As the J. B.
Phillips translation puts it, “Don’t let this world squeeze you into its mold. Don’t
pretend to be something you really are not.”
Sort of like what we all do on Halloween. We put a costume on. A mask on. This last
year as I went out as Strawberry Shortcake. I probably shouldn’t have shared that. But
that’s not true. But the thing is is you know you pretend to be someone you actually
are not.
And this is what Paul is saying. Don’t do that. Don’t try to appear to be of this
world when you are not of this world.
I think so much of the world’s thinking has entered the life of Christians. Even sometimes
even in the church. Like just take the world’s view of marriage. What is the world’s view
of marriage? Forget marriage. Let’s just take the world’s view of love and romance.
What is it? Until you get sick of the person. Look at Hollywood as an example. You know
how long these people are together on the cover of the magazines. So-in-so they are
together. Oh they broke up. Oh they are together. Oh they broke up you know. And what do these
people have? Relationships that last like two days you know. And I am talking the marriages.
The others are even shorter. You know so basically the world’s mentality is sure go ahead and
get married if you want to get married. But you know if it isn’t working out, if you
don’t like the person anymore unload them. Dump them. Cut them loose you know. They probably
ought to change the vows from till death do us part to till boredom do us part. I am bored
with you. Bye.
And even in the church we will see people say, “Well you know our marriage isn’t
working out. It is difficulty. We have irreconcilable differences.” I hate hearing that. As I
have said before, I have had irreconcilable differences with my wife for 35 years. We
are different. She is neat. I am messy. She is one way. I am another. Welcome to reality.
But oh no. Irreconcilable differences. Let’s just dissolve the relationship. No. That’s
not biblical think. You are being squeezed into the mold of the world.
No. Listen. I want God’s will. God’s will is always better than my own. Don’t be conformed
to this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may know the good and
perfect and acceptable will of God. God’s will is good.
Now God’s definition of good may be different than our definition of good. Just as my definition
of good is different than my granddaughter’s definition of good. Her definition of good
is eating quesadillas, playing with toys, and watching Care Bear cartoons. My definition
of good is I am good with the toys and the quesadillas. Not so much with the Care Bear
cartoons. I have learned more about Care Bears than I ever knew before. But you see the point
is she is only three and I am 23. And plus a few more years. And so my definition of
good is different than hers. My definition of good for her includes a nap, proper nutrition,
other things that I know will help her.
And so often in the same way our definition of good is different than God’s definition
of it. We define good as that which is fun, pleasurable, happy, enjoyable, pain free,
in the moment. Something along those lines. God’s definition of good is that which is
productive, character building, eternally focused. I tend to focus on the small picture.
God looks at the big one. I am thinking more of the here and now. God more of the by and
by. I think more of the temporal. God more of the eternal. But listen. Know this. His
plan is good. If you want to know the good will of God.
Ok. All right. So these are just general principles. So here is what you need to do. You need to
willingly offer yourself to God. Commit yourself to Him. Don’t let this world squeeze you
into its mold. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might know God’s will.
Now let’s close with some principles about how to know God’s will as individuals. How
do I know if what I am about to do is the will of God?
Number one. You need to always build it on what the Word of God says. The Bible says
His Word is a lamp unto our feet and light to our path. God will never lead you contrary
to the written Word. If it is not in the Word it is not of the Lord. That is why you need
to be familiar with, conversant with the Word of God. The way I know right and wrong is
from studying the Bible. This is the source of truth.
You remember those people in Berea scrutinized the Scripture to see if those things were
true that were being said to them. Everything you need to know about God is found in the
pages of the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed by God and it is useful
to teach what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens
us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every
way fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.”
I bring this up because people will say, “I have a new revelation from the Lord. You won’t
find it in the Bible. This just came to me.” Well it didn’t come from the Holy Spirit
buddy. Because listen. If it is true it is not new. And if it is new it is not true.
We don’t need new revelations. We need to take everything so-called revelation, every
teaching and compare it to what the Scripture clearly says. We need to realize how precious
this Bible is.
I am holding my grandmother’s Bible that was just given to me by my Aunt Willie who
has had it for years. As you can see the front cover is gone. It is held together by tape.
And I am going to get it recovered. But as you open it up. This is the Bible she took
to church with her. And she wrote in the names of her children when they were born. I was
looking through it. It is falling apart as I hold it. But she has the name of my aunt
here. And here is my mom’s name. Born in 1928. Here is my brother. Born in 1945. Here
I am. She writes down. Gregory. Born December 10, 1954. I was very excited when I read that
because my birth certificate says 1952. That means I am two years younger according to
my grandmother Mama Stella. But I actually think she got the date wrong because I do
have the birth certificate. But this was her Bible. Look at how it is falling apart. I
like to see a Bible that is falling apart. It has been said, “A Bible that is falling
apart is usually a good indication of a life that isn’t.”
What if we treated our Bibles like we treat our cell phones? Think how important cell
phones have come to us. Have you noticed how everyone has them now? Even younger kids have
them. In fact a recent study pointed out that 66% of kids now own a cell phone. Even my
granddaughter has a cell phone. She is only three. Now it is not functioning. It is a
Dora the Explorer cell phone. But it is really quite impressive. You push a button and Dora
talks to you. “Hi. How are you? What are you doing?” And then she says, “You are
my best friend.” And then she says, “Have to go. Bye.” And I actually kind of got
involved in the conversation with Dora the other day. And, “Hi. How are you?” “I
am really good. How are you?” “You are my best friend.” “Well thank you Dora.”
And I started like to share a secret like friends do. And she said, “Got to go. Bye.”
Kind of blew me off. Kind of hurt. But then I realized I am talking to a computer chip.
Actually Dora herself is a drawing. But still.
You know everyone has cell phones now. And believe it or not I read an article where
they are actually making cell phones now for dogs. I am not kidding. It is shaped like
a bone. It hangs around their neck. It has a two-way kind of speaker on it. So if your
dog runs off you can call him. And he hears you through the speaker. You know. Sit. Poor
dog. Come home now. Runs home. They don’t make them for cats. Cats wouldn’t even listen.
I was out with some friends the other day and we all had our cell phones. We sat down.
We are waiting for the server to come. And everybody was looking at their emails or their
texts. And I am sitting there looking at everyone on their phone. So I texted everyone simultaneously.
“So when are we going to eat?” They all looked up at me you know. I was like can we
put the phones down for a moment.
I mean phones have become so essential to all of us now. All the things they can do.
Of course they check emails. You can play video games. Take photos. Take videos. Update
your Facebook page. Tweet people. They even make phone calls. Not very well. Some of them.
I have a phone. I won’t say who my carrier is. But it drops calls all the time. AT&T.
And it drives me crazy. Because you know you are telling someone, “So the thing I really
want to say, and I really need your reaction is,” And you say it and there is no answer.
What? What? You haven’t been talking to them for three minutes ok. You have been.
Because the call was dropped.
But someone raises this question. What if we treated our Bibles like we treat our cell
phones? This is not original to me. They said, “What if we carried our Bible around like
we carry our cell phone? In our purse or our pocket. What if we flipped through our Bibles
several times a day? What if when we realized we forgot it at home turned back and got it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the Lord? What if we treated it like we couldn’t
live without it? What if we gave it as gifts to our kids? What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency? One more thing. Unlike our cell phone. We don’t
have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. And no
dropped calls.” I like that.
How precious is the Word of God to you? “Greg I have my Bible on my cell phone.” Ok. Fine.
Don’t mess my point up. Ok. I have my Bible on my cell phone too. That is good. But there
is something about opening up the Word of God and saying, “Lord speak.”
But then some people you know will come up with the wackiest things from the Bible. “God
just told me to do this. I read it in the Bible.” How did you do it? “I just held
it up and the wind blew it. And I said Lord what is Your will. And I read it. And Judas
went and hanged himself. It is in the Bible. And I said but Lord how does that apply to
me personally. And I held my Bible up again and then the wind blew the pages. Go thou
and do likewise. Oh no.”
Are you an idiot? Walk into this right now. What is wrong with you? Read verses in context.
What is said before it? What is said after it? Does that jive with other passages of
Scripture?
God is going to speak to you through His Word. This is where He will give us our primary
truth.
But then believing something is the will of God I ask for confirmation. God also speaks
to us through circumstances where He will confirm His Word to us. The Lord spoke to
Gideon. But he asked for confirmation. In Gideon’s case he asked the Lord to demonstrate
it in a tangible way and he said, “Lord now have a fleece, which is an animal skin,
and I am going to put it out on the ground in the morning.” Normally of course there
would be dew on the ground. But so Gideon said, “Lord if You have told me this I am
going to put this fleece out and if there is dew on the fleece and the ground is dry
I will know it is You speaking it to me.” Interesting request.
Gets up the next morning. It is just as he asked. So he reverses it now and wants dew
on the ground and he wants the fleece dry. And again the Lord confirms it.
I am not suggesting we ask God to do all of these little tricks to know His will. But
I do believe that when I have seen something in Scripture I believe is the will of God
that He will open the doors for me. Ok. And it will confirm that I am doing the right
thing.
A good example is the story of Philip who was directed by the Lord to go to the desert.
And the Lord didn’t give him any more information. He just said, “Go to the desert.” And
so Philip is standing out there in the desert waiting. Lizards are standing around. Lizards.
Lizards. I wanted to see how she did lizards. I am watching the girl sign. Lizards. Lizards.
Lizards. Lizards. Lizards. Snakes too. Snakes. Snakes. And lizards. Hot sun. Nice. Nice.
She is good isn’t she? She is good. Very nice. So do the lizard again. I want to learn
that. Do the lizard. That’s cool. L. Are you call me a loser? It doesn’t mean that.
Anyway so he went out there and he waited. And then along comes a man from Ethiopia who
had been searching for God and didn’t find Him. Confirmation. He was in the will of God.
So first Lord lead me through the Word of God. Operating on biblical principles. The
Lord opens the doors and confirms things through circumstances.
And then there is that work in your heart. That peace of God sealing the deal if you
will. Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, since as members
of one body, you are called to peace, and be thankful.” Or as another translation
puts it, and I think quite helpfully, “Let the peace of God as an umpire settle with
finality all matters that arise in your heart.”
You know there might be something that seems to be biblically sound and it seems as though
the doors are opening. But inside of your heart there is a sense that this just isn’t
right. I have learned to listen to that. Sometimes the Lord gives you discernment about things
that are happening that you can’t see outwardly but are indeed happening. Lord give me your
peace on this situation. Scripture says, “You will go out with joy and be led forth with
peace. The mountains and the hills will break forth before you into singing.” God will
lead you with His peace. When you are in the will of God there will be joy and peace as
a result.
Fourth and lastly there is the issue of God’s timing. Sometimes we have the right idea but
our timing is way off. Like old Moses man. I mean he had the right idea that Israel should
not be captive to Egypt. But man he went about it in the worst way imaginable. Murdering
that Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew. He had the right idea to get the Israelites out
of captivity. He was just way too early. And he was exiled for 40 years. And then in God’s
timing he went back and did what the Lord called him to do. Moses spent 40 years in
Pharaoh’s court finding out he was a somebody, 40 years in the wilderness finding out he
was a nobody, and then 40 years finding out what God can do with a somebody that realizes
they are a nobody.
Timing is everything. The Bible says, “God makes all things beautiful in His time.”
Listen. If the timing is wrong, God says slow. If you are wrong God says grow. If the request
is right and the timing is right and you are right God says go. So I want to get that timing
right.
The will of God. He wants to reveal it to you. The will of God. He has a plan for you.
So we need to say like young Samuel said, “Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.
I want to hear your voice.”
And the reason I can have this kind of relationship with God, the reason I can call Him Friend
is because Jesus tangibly showed His love for me by dying on the cross. And then He
told me to remember what He did in something we call communion or the Lord’s Supper.
We receive these elements that are symbols of His broken body and His shed blood to be
reminded of the great sacrifice of Christ. When He called His disciples in the upper
room He took that broken unleavened bread and He took that cup and said, “Take, eat,
drink in remembrance of Me. Do this to remember what I have done for you.”
There is nothing mystical in these elements. But they represent a holy God who has made
a tremendous sacrifice for us. When we come to the communion table we are told to do a
little self-examination before we receive the elements. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians
11:27, “If anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily or literally
in an unworthy manner. That person is sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That
is why you should examine yourself before you eat the bread and drink from the cup.”
So before you receive the elements examine yourself.
Communion is not for everyone. It is for believers only. Not for perfect believers. Otherwise
none of us could partake. It doesn’t say that you have to be worthy to receive communion.
It says don’t receive it in an unworthy manner, which means don’t disrespect what
it represents. The elements are not holy but the God they represent is.
So I look at my life and I say am I where I need to be spiritually. Remember back in
the Garden of Eden how God asked Adam, "Where are you?” Did God ask that because He was
oblivious to the whereabouts of His boy Adam? No. God asked Adam that question because He
wanted him to come clean. Because He asked him after he had sinned. “Adam where are
you?” “Well Lord I am actually hiding.” What Adam needed to say was, “And I have
sinned against You and I have disobeyed You.” But of course we all know how Adam blamed
his wife. “It is the woman You gave me.”
So here today God might be asking some of us, “Where are you?” Not where are you
physically. You are at a pew at Harvest Christian Fellowship or sitting outside. Wherever you
are on our grounds. Or listening on the radio or sitting at home watching a computer screen.
I don’t mean where are you physically. Where are you spiritually? Where are you at right
now in your walk with God?
We have talked a little bit about the world squeezing us into its mold. Is that a description
of you? Have you been allowing this culture to mold you instead of the Word of God? Or
have you been being conformed to this world which means you have been trying to appear
to be something you really are not. Then maybe a recommitment is in order.
But there might be some of you here that aren’t believers yet? You haven’t yet put your
faith in Christ. You haven’t asked for His forgiveness. I said at the beginning of the
message God’s will for you is that you be saved. I mean that is number one. And if you
have not yet asked Christ to come into your life I am going to give you an opportunity
to do that as we now pray before we receive communion. You do not want to receive these
elements if you are not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But if you are not yet
a believer and you want to become one why don’t you pray with me right now. Let’s
bow our heads. Father I pray for any that have joined us that do not yet know You. Help
them to see Lord the words we have shared today are true. They are Your words. Help
them to come to You now and be forgiven of their sin we pray.