Discovering the Will of God

Intro: Discussion questions: • If you knew that you’d meet God tonight, what would you do differently today? Cf. the responses below: o A lady once asked John Wesley if he knew that he would die at midnight the next day, how would he spend the intervening time. He replied, "Why, madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Martin's house...talk and pray with the family as usual, retire myself to my room at 10 o'clock, commend myself to my Heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory." o Once, while Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, "What would you do if you suddenly learned that you were to die at sunset today?" He replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." • Does God have a specific will for your life, a specific place and position picked our just for you? Yes! cf. Jeremiah 1:4-5 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. • Mr. Bertou – “What does God want you to do with your life?” How can you discover God’s will for your life?

3. Service is God's will for us Ephesians 6:5-9 4. Suffering is God's will for us 1 Peter 3:17; 4:19

How do we discover God’s will in the other, not-soobvious areas?
1. Preliminary considerations A. Must be already committed to obedience 1) He won’t tell you so you can then decide whether to obey. You first commit to obey, and then He tells you! 2) Ill> Us moving to PA – 1st considering on the drive north B. Discovering His will is a process not an event. 1) Ill> Dwight Morrow and his wife were in Rugby, England. After wandering through the streets they realized they were lost. Morrow stopped a boy and asked if he could tell them the way to the station. "Well," the boy answered, "You turn to the right there by the grocer's shop and then take the second street to the left. That will bring you to a place where four streets meet. And then, sir, you had better inquire again." This is an example that, when you’re not sure what to do exactly, at least start moving in the right direction. 2) For us moving to PA, God first arrested my attention with a question (“Maybe we’ve forgotten how to live by faith”), then details came a year later. 2. There are generally acknowledged to be three ingredients to determining God’s will: A. The Word of God – can’t contradict this! B. The Peace/Leading of God 1) Very subjective but still important 2) You can have more confidence in this when you’ve already committed to obedience 3) Walter Knight told of an old Scottish woman who went from home to home across the countryside selling thread, buttons, and shoestrings. When she came to an unmarked crossroad, she would toss a stick into the air and go in the direction the stick pointed when it landed. One day, however, she was seen tossing the stick up several times. "Why do you toss the stick more than once?" someone asked. "Because," replied the woman, "it keeps pointing to the left, and I want to take the road on the right." She then dutifully kept throwing the stick

Some things are obviously God’s will (examples:)
1. Sanctification is God's will for us
A. Avoiding sexual immorality and impurity is God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 B. Wise living is God's will for us Ephesians 5:15-21 C. Non-conformation, transformation, and renewal are God's will for us Romans 12:1-2 D. Continual rejoicing, ceaseless prayer, and constant thanksgiving are God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 2. Security is God's will for us John 6:38-40

into the air until it pointed the way she wanted to go! Today in the Word, May, 1989

C. Circumstances – another less than perfect guide 1) A preacher received a call from a church that offered him a salary four times what he was then receiving. He spent much time in prayer trying to discern what God wanted him to do. One day a friend met the minister's young son on the street. "Do you know what your dad’s going to do?" he asked. "Well," replied the boy, "Dad's praying, but Mom's packing!" 2) While crossing a bridge in London, John Wesley stumbled and sprained his ankle. Some friends carried him to the house of Mrs. Mary Vazielle on Threadneedle Street. She was a widow with several children. She cared for Wesley and his response to her concern was to ask her to marry him. If we were writing fiction we might say that the sprained ankle was God's providential way to bring those people together. But the marriage was a disaster, and Mary finally left John. Had Wesley consulted with his brother Charles, and asked for the prayers of the brethren, he might have avoided that unfortunate situation. Mary was accustomed to her quiet home, and it was difficult for her to travel with her husband and stay in uncomfortable inns. It is unfortunate that Mary was not content just to ignore John's ministry; she actually opposed it. She gave certain personal letters to his enemies and even made additions to them that made them worse! Once she even pulled her husband around on the floor by his hair! "I felt as though I could have knocked the soul out of her!" one of Wesley's friends said. Wesley concluded that his unhappy marriage encouraged him to work harder and not complain about missing the comforts of a home. Certainly it encouraged him to be away from home more! If we want God to guide us, our attitude needs to be right. Here are some guidelines as to how we can play our part in arriving at right decisions. First, we must be willing to think. It is false piety, super-supernaturalism of an unhealthy pernicious sort that demands inward impressions with no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to consider. God made us thinking beings, and he guides our minds as we think things out in his presence. Second, we must be willing to think ahead and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses of action. Often we can only see what

is wise and right, and what is foolish and wrong, as we dwell on the longterm issues. Third, we must be willing to take advice. It is a sign of conceit and immaturity to dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations better than we do, and even if we cannot finally accept their advice, nothing but good will come to us from carefully weighing what they say. Fourth, we must be willing to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves. We must suspect ourselves: ask ourselves why we feel a particular course of action will be right and make ourselves give reasons. Fifth, we must be willing to wait. "Wait on the Lord" is a constant refrain in the Psalms and it is a necessary word, for the Lord often keeps us waiting. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. James Packer, Your Father Loves You A bishop of a century ago pronounced from his pulpit and in the periodical he edited that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God. Oh, the irony that Bishop Wright had two sons, Orville and Wilbur! Jessica Hawn, former church secretary who committed immoral acts with Jim Bakker, and later brought down the PTL empire, said God gave her "real peace" about granting an interview to Playboy magazine and posing for topless pictures. She says she still considers herself a Christian, but goes to God "one-on-one," not through any church or organization. “Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions or revelations to be from God. They may be from Him. They may be from nature. They may be from the Devil.” John Wesley Dr James Dobson's impression that someone in his family would die within a year (which didn't come true), Why Christians Sin, J.K. Johnston

Discovering the Will of God
• • If you knew that you’d meet God tonight, what would you do differently today? Does God have a specific will for your life, a specific place and position picked our just for you? • •

C. __________________

Discovering the Will of God
If you knew that you’d meet God tonight, what would you do differently today? Does God have a specific will for your life, a specific place and position picked our just for you?

How can you discover God’s will for your life?

Some things are obviously God’s will (examples:)
1. __________________ is God's will for us
A. Avoiding sexual immorality and impurity is God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 B. Wise living is God's will for us Ephesians 5:15-21 C. Non-conformation, transformation, and renewal are God's will for us Romans 12:1-2 D. Continual rejoicing, ceaseless prayer, and constant thanksgiving are God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How can you discover God’s will for your life?

Some things are obviously God’s will (examples:)
1. __________________ is God's will for us
A. Avoiding sexual immorality and impurity is God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 B. Wise living is God's will for us Ephesians 5:15-21 C. Non-conformation, transformation, and renewal are God's will for us Romans 12:1-2 D. Continual rejoicing, ceaseless prayer, and constant thanksgiving are God's will for us 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

2. __________________ is God's will for us John 6:38-40 3. __________________ is God's will for us Ephesians 6:5-9 4. __________________ is God's will for us 1 Peter 3:17; 4:19

2. __________________ is God's will for us John 6:38-40 3. __________________ is God's will for us Ephesians 6:5-9 1 Peter 5:2 4. __________________ is God's will for us 1 Peter 3:17; 4:19

How do we discover God’s will in the other, not-soobvious areas?
1. Preliminary considerations A. Must be already committed to __________________ B. Discovering His will is a ____________ not an _____________. 2. There are generally acknowledged to be three ingredients to determining God’s will: A. The __________________ of God B. The __________________ of God

How do we discover God’s will in the other, not-soobvious areas?
1. Preliminary considerations A. Must be already committed to __________________ B. Discovering His will is a ____________ not an _____________. 2. There are generally acknowledged to be three ingredients to determining God’s will: A. The __________________ of God

B. The __________________ of God C. __________________

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