FINDING GOD'S WILL IN LIFE PREACHED AT FELLOWSHIP M.B.C. JUNE 1983
BY: ELDER CALVIN PERRIGO
LESSON 2 WHO CAN FIND GOD'S WILL
Tonight we will look into this particular aspect of the lesson and that is "Who Can Find God's Will In Life?" This might seem to be a rather odd question, but not everybody can find God's will. If we asked the question, "Who can find God's will?" and we come up with a truthful answer, it would be along this line; Any saved person who is willing to meet the scriptural requirements necessary for guidance can find God's will. I think the teachings of the scripture will support that answer. Any saved person who is willing to meet the requirements found in the Bible that are necessary for God's guidance, can find God's will. We will look at that for just a little while in a little more detail.
A lot of people are constantly making this statement "If I only knew what God wanted me to do." Well, a saved individual is really without an excuse if they don't know what God would have them to do. But it might be time that we come to a little fuller understanding of that and we'll deal basically with the lesson text tonight. The text that we announced Sunday night is the 12th Chapter of Romans, the 2nd verse. And this answer that we have already given to this question will be found in this 2nd verse of Romans Chapter 12. Paul encouraged the saints at Rome "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." We have a
scriptural guideline given in this verse of scripture that we might know God's will. We're talking about finding it tonight in this lesson. Divine leadership is a reality. It's not a sentimental feeling. God's direction can be a sweet and blessed reality in the life of an individual that really wants to do God's will. There is a difference in wanting to do His will and wanting to know what His will is for you. We need to consider that as we think about who can find God's will tonight. We can find God's will if we want to know it in order to do it. But it's difficult to come to an understanding of what God would have you to do if you just want to consider it and vote "No" on it, or take a vote on it, whether you want to do it or not. I don't think that it would be left up to our vote if we were really called upon by the Lord to do something. I think we should be an obedient child of God and try to do that which He would ask us to do. So, let's look at it for a little while.
What are the scriptural requirements that we mentioned? If a person is willing to meet some scriptural requirements, it would be important to us tonight to know some of those things that we find in the Bible that are required in order for God to deal with us on the level of asking us to do something for Him. First of all we'll look at the person that is willing and obedient. A willing and obedient person can find God's will. We note from the 1st Chapter of the Prophet of Isaiah, a promise was made there to Israel in that day, to all willing and obedient people that they would be supplied with something. In the 19th verse of Isaiah 1, the prophet wrote through the inspiration of God, "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:" So we can determine from that statement that willing and obedient people find favor with God. That would be one requirement that would have to be met if we are to find God's will in our life. God deals with willing hearted people. We noted Sunday night in our study that God's people will be willing in the day of His power and that's the only type of individual that God really is glorified in and when they do something for Him, they are a willing hearted individual. God can force, but every time God has to force somebody to do something, He loses some glory, because the whole system of the plan of salvation and service toward God is based upon willingness and wanting to do for God because He has done for us. What is done for God willingly brings more glory to God than that which God might force somebody to do. We might need to talk about how God can force some things upon us. Well, all He has to do is to let some little child run a fever sometime, then the first thought that runs through an unwilling person's mind is "Well, you reckon the Lord would really do that to my child in order to make me do something?" Someone gets sick in the family or has some type of financial problem and the thought runs through our mind, "Is God really trying to show me something that I might ought to be doing that I'm not?" But God primarily will deal with the willing hearted individual and that person will respond if they have been born again by the Spirit of God and have noticed any of the goodness of God and recognized God for what has happened to them in their life rather than taking credit for it or giving credit to grandma or grandpa or dad or mom or somebody else. If we will give God His due credit, we'll find ourselves more willing and obedient people. So one scriptural requirement to come to know the will of God is to be willing and obedient subjects of the Lord. To be willing and not be obedient would not suffice. A person can be willing to do anything and when the time comes to do it, still rebel and not do it. We have to put them all together as the prophet did that we read from. Willing and obedient go hand in hand and when they do, God is glorified and His work advances upon this earth. A willing and obedient person can find the will of God in their life. That's one of the scriptural requirements in order to find it. Let's look at one more scriptural requirement in order to find the will of God in our life. This one will be found in several places in the Bible, but we want to look at one found in I John the 2nd Chapter and the 15th verse, and that concerns not loving the world. If a person loves the world they're just wasting their time trying to find God's will in their life because if He dealt with them in some fashion, the first thing that they'd do is rebel because they say in their heart "I love the world and I can't do that because that would be contrary to the things that I love." In the 1st book of John the 2nd Chapter, the 15th verse, the writer says "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him." Immediately we can see that this would be a scriptural requirement in order to seek for the will of God, and that is for that individual not to be in love with the world. That would certainly be a very, very important requirement for an individual in seeking God's will, that he would be disgusted with the world and the things that it has to present or to offer in his lifetime. We remember what the world did to our Savior. We ought to be informed of what the world has done to our forefathers in Baptist churches down through the ages, and all we have to do is to study some history, read some in the book of Revelation and other places and it will make you not care a thing in the world about the earth or the worldly attraction of it, let alone loving that world. We know that a lot of people love the world tonight, and don't know that they do. "Why I don't love the world." Well that's just an alibi that people use sometimes for various reasons, but one scriptural requirement for a person finding God's will in their life is not to love the world. This love of the world might not be noticed by a lot of people. Maybe we need to get down into a little detail and see what loving the world really is. Anything that you hold between you and being obedient to God would be classified in this sense as the world. There could be a multitude of things. Anything that you might have to suffer the loss of or the giving up of in order to do God's will would be in a sense loving the world. There's a lot of things that can stand between a person and doing the will of God. All you have to do is to think immediately in your mind why you don't want to do something for God and those things will keep coming and coming and coming and everyone of them will be because we love the world in one fashion or another. Because the Lord has never asked a person to do two things at the same time for Him. Can you find that in the Bible? Where God ever called on anybody to do two things at the same time? If that be the case then, any time that God would call upon us to do something and we would have a reason for not doing that, that reason could be classified as loving the world more than loving to please the Lord. So another scriptural requirement is to love not the world. Our memory verse taught the same thing. "Be not conformed to the world." Don't be shaped like the world, don't have your life built around the worldly things. If you want to find the will of God in your life, you cannot be conformed to the world. The memory verse told us that formula for finding God's will. "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." This should be clear that one scriptural requirement is, not to be a lover of the world. There's really no point in trying to seek God's will in your life if you have conformed to the world. If you say "Lord, I can't come, I have bought a farm, I must go look at the farm." "I can't come, I've got to check my oxen that I've bought." "I've married a wife, and I can't do this and I can't do that." All of these things are excuses that are put up not to do the will of God. That's being conformed to the world. That's why the Lord taught His disciples a total forsaking in order to be able to follow Him. We know, or we should know, and I do believe that people that have been born again forsook everything in the world, in order to be saved. It doesn't appear to be that way anymore. We forgot that. If we travel through the process of conviction and Godly sorrow, we have to forsake everything in order to be born again. Well that pattern holds in doing God's will. You still have to be willing to forsake everything in this world in order to follow God. Especially people that have been called into the ministry, they have to be willing to forsake everything in order to be an obedient servant to God. I think that even down in the laymembers, they might not have to dedicate their life to one particular job in the church or in the service of God, but they are still going to have an attitude of heart that they too are willing to lay down some things if necessary, in order to find God's will in their life. So, surely the love of the world would hinder an individual from honestly and sincerely seeking God's will in their life. We've covered these scriptural requirements already, a willing and obedient servant and one that doesn't love the world and also does not conform to the world. I think that we would get an argument from, probably already have in the minds of some people here tonight, that "I don't love the world." But can you boldly stand and say "I'm not conformed to it?" Is your life not geared to the world, or is it geared to God's cause? Where is the emphasis in your life, and you can see what conforming would mean in that sense. If God is your life and His work is your life, then you would not be accused of being conformed to the world. There's few Baptists today like that, in fact we live in a time when it is taught that we should not be that way, that you've got to make a living, you've got to live. FOR WHAT? WHY DO YOU LIVE? If it's not for God, why do we live? Tell me. Is it to make a big show in the flesh? Certainly not, nobody here desires that. Is it to make a huge amount of money and stack it up for something? Certainly not. We might make a huge amount of money but we certainly want to put that right back into the Lord's cause. So why do we live as Baptist people if not for the Lord? Are we conformed to the world? Do we find trouble finding God's will?
Let's look at another scriptural requirement for finding the Lord's will. Who can find His will? The individual who is on praying terms with the Lord can find His will. On praying terms with the Lord. "I'm not confined in anyway, I can pray anytime I want to." No, you can't either. You may say that. You may say some words, you may bow on your knees, you may lift your eyes to the heavens, you may not make a physical movement, you may not make a physical sound, you might call that prayer. But we're talking about being on praying terms with the Lord. We're talking about being where we ought to be with the Lord. Are we on praying terms with the Lord? A person that is on praying terms with God can seek for the direction of God, find His will in his life. If we're not on praying terms with Him, then we are in trouble. Well, what would we find that would hinder us from being on praying terms with God? The first thing that we want to note would be a statement found in the book of Psalms. In that Psalm we find something stated there that would cause us to know that we could not pray to God as we ought to. What is that statement? It's one that goes like this; "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" What is iniquity? That's just another word for sin. If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord won't hear me. We can see clearly that there is a ground or a position that an individual can be in where that we would not be on praying terms with the Lord. Would we be able to right now, if some catastrophe hit this building, to really get in touch with God? That would be on praying terms with the Lord. What if the ceiling falls in on this group of people here, and we are unable to do anything about it, and find out there's nothing we can do but to pray and beseech God, are we ready? Are we? I ask you, what have you got in your heart? Got any ill will, any iniquity anything in your heart that would hinder you from God, that you would have to talk to Him about that before you could pray for their release, whatever the circumstance may be. On praying terms with God.
Let's look at another example or two. The first one we want to look at will be a human being like we are, or at least James says he was, and it's the prophet Elijah. Elijah was on praying terms with God. He was on praying terms with God when he confounded the prophets of Baal, made fun of them then rebuilt the altar after they had torn it down, trying to get Baal to answer their prayer. Elijah was on praying terms with God and he defied those people, after he had put his sacrifice in place, and got the wood and everything in order, and he defied their false gods by soaking down that offering, pouring all that water on it, and filled up a trench around it, then he prayed to God, and he was on praying terms with God, and God sent down the fire and those cold hearted Jews who were in a similar condition to cold hearted Baptists today opened their mouth from silence and said "The Lord, He is the God." Up until then they wouldn't answer that question. They were tied over here to Baal, they were afraid because of politics, because of money, because of prestige, and this prophet confronted them, and they wouldn't even answer him that God was God until God sent down the fire after Elijah had prayed, then they responded. "Yeah, He's God now." Well that man was on praying terms with the Lord. James tells us how much he was on praying terms with the Lord. In the 5th Chapter of James in the 16th-18th verses you can find how the writer classified this man of God and he surely and truly was a man who was on praying terms with God at that particular time in his life. Here's what James says about Elijah from the New Testament, and we look at the 16th 17th and 18th verses as we're talking about being on praying terms with God in order to find God's will in our life. "Confess your faults one to another," I'll never tell. I'm not going to tell anybody my weakness. Do you know what would help this church right now? Would be to have enough confidence in one another and enough love one for another and especially enough love to God for us to confess our faults one to another. Why people get the idea that we don't have any faults because we never admit it. How long has it been since you've honestly heard someone confess their weakness to you? James says, "Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Elias is the Greek rendering of Elijah in the Hebrew. "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are," that makes him like we are in other words, "and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months." Now there's a man on praying terms with the Lord. He asked for the rain not to fall and it didn't fall for 42 months. Now look at his praying ability, "And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." He had power with God. He stopped the rain for 42 months because of Elijah's prayer. He prayed again and God sent forth the rain and it had an effect. We can use Elijah as a person that was on praying terms with the Lord. I think that he would have been able to have found God's will if he had of lived in our time upon this earth. "God dealt with the prophets different than he does with us." He spoke to them and said "You do this and you do that." We are subject to the direction of God's Holy Spirit in the age of grace, and that's how God deals with our heart on a spiritual level and gets our attention in that way. There is a man that had some ability with God.
What about Jesus Christ? Was He on praying terms with God? What did He say there at the grave, or tomb, or cave where Lazarus has been put? Here's the terms that Jesus was on as far as His Father and prayer are concerned. "Father, I thank thee thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me." We have a statement here by the Lord that God has heard Him, He confesses further that God always hears him, and that certainly is an example of someone being on praying terms with the Lord. Let's look back at prophesy concerning Jesus Christ and this circumstance and let's see why He had such a relationship with the Father. In Psalms 40:8 we read where the Psalmist, which was a type of Christ in that verse of scripture, delighted in something. What was that delight? Psalms 40:8, what is the delight found here? "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." Now there was joy to do God's will. Prophesied there in the 40th Psalm, the 8th verse as to the attitude of Jesus Christ when he appeared in the flesh. "I delight to do thy will," Remember Him praying there in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He concluded that He came to the earth for that particular purpose. He loved, delighted in other words, to do the will of His Father. Here we have him on praying terms with the God of Heaven, He says; "I thank you that you've heard me, I know that you always hear me." We can see that this would be one scriptural requirement for finding the will of the Lord, is to be on praying terms with the God of Heaven.
Alright, let's look at one more. A scriptural requirement necessary to have guidance from God requires that an individual be a worker for the Lord. That is a scriptural requirement. Can we find any where in the scriptures where God recruited someone sitting and doing nothing for service? Check through the New Testament and see how many times, check through the Old Testament and see how many times you can find a person that wasn't doing anything that God called and said "Come on, I've got something for you to do." God doesn't go to the unemployment lines to find anyone to fulfill His will. That's not His pattern. What was Peter, James and John doing when the Lord called them to follow him? Were they sitting at the gate of the city with nothing to do but to look around and to talk and gossip and carry on? Whittle, and do as people do today that don't have anything to do or won't do anything? These men were at their work. They were fishing in the Sea of Galilee. Fishing for a living. Commercial fishermen as we call them today. They were fishing for the fish of Galilee and Jesus called them from that occupation to follow Him, and He'd teach them to become fishers of men. They were busy men. They were about their natural occupation. They were working in that field when the Lord called them. What about Gideon in the Old Testament? Israel was bound up by the threat of the Midianites, and they had quite a strangle hold on Israel during the days of Gideon and he was thrashing wheat secretly there in order to keep it hid from the Midianites because they had a thing going there. They would wait until Israel planted the crops and got ready to harvest them, then they would run in and take them. That would get old after a while wouldn't it? It's getting old for this nation on your taxes. It won't be long until there will be a revolution in this country because people won't pay the taxes being imposed on people much longer. They will either quit or the government will go broke or there will be a revolution in this country. Mark it. You young people especially. It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't so much waste with your taxes. But it's gotten out of hand, it's outrageous and they think all you have to do when the government gets in debt, rather than setting up and controlling their business and operating like it ought to, is to raise taxes. The State of Indiana was in terrible condition a few months ago while the legislature was in session, trying to get the tax law passed. "We are way in the red, got to have the budget balanced because that's the State Law." Well, what have we got today? They raised our taxes, cleaned our pocketbooks out, and now they've got a big surplus in the State treasury. You know what they'll do, they'll give it all back to us next year. They'll lower our taxes. No they won't. Those politicians are right now figuring out how much they can get out of that excess. "I want that in my budget next year. I want this much in my budget next year. We need to do that so they'll spend that money and we'll come back around and raise taxes again." There will be a limit to that, even in the weak country that we live in today. So, Gideon was hiding from the enemy, thrashing wheat, and God called on him to deliver Israel from that circumstance. He was busy and God called him. Moses was called upon of the Lord to deliver his people. He was busy in the palace of Egypt. He was being educated and prepared to become Pharaoh of Egypt and God had a work for him to do. Philip in the Bible is a good example of God using a busy person. Philip went down to Samaria and was preaching down there and they had a big revival. People were being saved and baptized and all of a sudden God's Spirit dealt with him and said "Head toward the south. Go down toward Gaza" and we see that God used him while he was in service for Him. He left one location and went to another location. So, one of the scriptural requirements for seeking for God's will is to be already in His service. To be a worker for Him and serving Him faithfully, and you won't have as much trouble finding God's will in your life as you would if you were in God's unemployment line somewhere saying, "Lord, I'm ready when you are." What did Isaiah say when he had seen the Glory of the Lord as it filled the temple there, and had been impressed by all the glory and the power that was manifest there in what he saw? He said "Lord, here I am send me." He volunteered to serve God back there as a prophet.
Who can find God's will? Any saved person who is willing to meet the scriptural requirements necessary for guidance. It's obvious if we didn't feel any need for the Holy Spirit guiding us, that we wouldn't be asking God what we needed to be doing. We would just be doing it on our own if we didn't feel any need of guidance, we wouldn't ask God, we'd go on and do it ourself, and we'd probably find ourself out of position with God. A person that has been born again and meets scriptural requirements, and these are not all of them, but these are the main ones that we want to look at in this study tonight, if we can meet those scriptural requirements, we can find the Lord's will. "If I only knew what the Lord would have me to do." How do we find out? What is the method that is used to determine the Lord's will? Maybe the next time that we get on this subject we'll look into that just a little bit. What direction do we go in, what do we seek for in trying to find the Lord's will? One of the most puzzling things today in people's minds and life is "If I only knew. Is that God dealing with me or is that Satan dealing with me?"
I want to drop you this thought before we close tonight. Who is the shepherd of your life? The Psalmist said "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Jesus declared that He was the good shepherd, and that He gave His life for the sheep. If we have been born again by the Spirit of God, the Lord is our shepherd in that sense. Jesus Christ was God's only begotten Son. An individual that had been born by His Spirit, is a Child of God by spiritual birth. That gives us a relationship there that we can relate to. We have a father who is God. We have an older brother, or an elder brother, who is Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the shepherd of our life. He is the savior of our soul. He is the redeemer of our soul. He, being our shepherd has a familiar voice. If you don't know the voice of the Lord, how can He be alive in your heart? Jesus said "My sheep know my voice." He says "They hear me." "My sheep know my voice, and what will they do? Let's look at it in the 10th Chapter of John before we close. John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." So he says, "I am the good shepherd, I know my sheep and am known of mine. Let's see what He says concerning the voice that we mentioned. In the 10th Chapter, back in the 3rd verse, we have a sheepfold circumstance here. That might need some explaining. A sheepfold, we might consider it like this, a public fenced in place. Something like a stock yard where maybe four or five shepherds would house their sheep at night. A sheepfold, an enclosure, it's not just for one flock, it's for more than one flock and that's the purpose of the porter being at the door of it. One shepherd would put his flock in there at night, another shepherd would put his flock in there at night, and another one would come put their flock in there at night. You might have three different flocks in there at night and the porter here is the watchman at the door. Jesus is teaching here and he says in 10:1; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door unto the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." If he doesn't come by this door, it's obvious that he is a thief and a robber if he's going to climb over the fence of that sheepfold somewhere. But he says, "But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep." So, the door of the sheepfold is reserved for the shepherd to come there to that entry to that enclosure. "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." So we have the porter opening the gate, we have the shepherd's voice sounding into the sheepfold, we have the sheep hearing his voice, he calls his own by name, leads them out. "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him; for they know his voice." I can't tell you any other way to know the will of God than to listen to the spiritual voice. How important is it then to have a spiritual ear? Who can find God's will in life? The person that has ears to hear. How many times do we find that in the Book of Revelation? Constantly you read through that book, especially in the first two or three chapters, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear what the television says? He that has ears to hear let him hear what the radio says? He that has ears to hear let him hear what the newspaper says? He that has ears to hear let him hear what mama says? He that has ears to hear let him hear what daddy says? He that has ears to hear let him hear what this one says?" The scripture says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;" You've got to listen to the Spirit of God if you get direction from God to do His will. If you don't know His voice and you can't tell it from Satan, it's a sad day. It's a sad thing for an individual to want to do something for the Lord, and are unsure of what voice they're hearing. The familiarity of the voice will be the key to knowing the will of God in one's life. We can find the will of God if we've been born again, if we're willing to meet scriptural requirements found in the scriptures, we can be acquainted with the voice of the Spirit and know the still small voice of His Spirit is speaking to our heart to do this and to do that, not do this not do that, go this way, go that way. Remember, you can know the will of God if you want to know it in order to do it, and not to just "vote" upon it. Do you have any questions or comment concerning this study tonight, Who can know the will of God? Anything upon your heart? We appreciate your coming, we hope there is some concern and interest in your life to really know what God would have you to do. Regardless of how big or how little it is, it's good to be concerned about really pleasing the Lord, in the center of His will. Would there be a word or anything at all from anyone? (End of tape)
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