FINDING GOD'S WILL IN LIFE PREACHED AT FELLOWSHIP M.B.C. JUNE 1983
BY: ELDER CALVIN PERRIGO
REVIEW AND SUMMARY
We will more or less review tonight and maybe do a little summarizing and hope maybe to get some participation from you. We would like to read a few verse of scripture found in the Gospel of Luke in the 17th Chapter, beginning in the 5th verse for a reading lesson this evening. "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." I trust that when we come to the understanding of the Lord's will for each us in our life or whatever the circumstance may be, that we find ourselves doing His will, that we might have the same feeling concerning the finishing of that particular job just as this that the Lord has taught His disciples here in these few verses of scripture. The question was, or the request was made to increase their faith. And the Lord said if ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might be able to say to a tree, be plucked by the root and be planted in the sea and that would come to pass. Then He goes on and teaches something else here concerning a person's servant and what is expected of that servant. You have him out working through the day plowing or feeding, you have him returning from the field at meal time and rather than the owner of that servant saying, you sit down to eat, that he is commanded to fix his meal and after the master has eaten and drank, then the servant eats and drinks. The question was, would the owner thank the servant for doing the things that he was expected to do or was getting paid to do. The Lord said "I don't think so." And then He told His disciples that so likewise you, when you've done all of those things that are commanded you, say we are unprofitable servants who have done that which thou bidest us to do.
So when we have found the will of God in our life and we have done that, we don't have anywhere to brag, we don't have anything to boast of, we don't expect the Lord to thank us for that which was our duty to do. We consider ourselves still unprofitable servants, just having done that which was our duty to do. So it won't be any honor to you and me, we won't expect any praise from men or from the Lord as far as that is concerned, when we find His will and do His will in life. We are in a fashion as this servant was here in this teaching, we are expected to do that, fulfill our duty and hold our position as a servant of the Lord. For the rest of this evening we will just review what we have looked at and close this study on finding the Lord's will.
We've had five lessons up until tonight concerning finding the will of the Lord. Our first night we were more or less introducing the study. In that study we concluded that if we were travelling through life without the aid of God and His leadership, it would be just about like traveling with a road map without a number or a name on it. We'd just be wandering here and there not knowing where in the world we were supposed to be going next. But if we could get direction from the Lord, find His will in our life, we could have a route planned out for us by the Lord, and we'd be able to travel therein. So the first night's study was more or less just an introduction to that particular thought of finding the Lord's will, that we might have some direction in our life. I'm of the opinion that not knowing God's will is one of our biggest faults today as Baptist people. Maybe we do wander too far and too often through life, not knowing what God would have for us to do. More or less the first lesson manifested a need that we have for the Lord's direction. I think that it is important that every child of God try to find what the Lord would have for them to do in life. That would go as far a particular occupation maybe for a Baptist or for a child of God. I believe that the Lord would help even in the direction of selecting an occupation in life. I know it will apply in our churches as to our direction as to what the Lord wills for us in any given circumstance. If you make a habit of asking the Lord for direction, I believe we would get more answers from Him and probably feel more comfortable in doing things for the Lord when we come to recognize that it is His will for us to do those things.
In the second lesson that we considered, the question was asked; Who can find the will of the Lord? We learned in a little detail in that study concerning who can find the Lord's will in their life. We determined that a saved person was able to do that if they were willing to meet the scriptural requirements necessary for guidance. We concluded that a person, in order to find the will of the Lord in your life, surely must be born again to start with and then be willing to meet those requirements found in the scriptures concerning what it takes to present ourselves to the Lord as a living sacrifice. And we will run through those very briefly here this evening concerning what we must know in order to find the Lord's will. We concluded that we needed to be a willing and obedient individual to find God's will. We decided that we could not love the world and find the Lord's will. So we're not to love the world as a saved individual and expect to find God's will. We're not to be conformed to this world and expect to find the Lord's will. One of the scriptural requirements was that we must be on praying terms with the Lord in order to find His will. We used several different passages of scripture to show of people that were on praying terms with the Lord and were able to get direction from the Lord. We determined that we needed to be workers for the Lord in order to continue to find His will and to walk in the center of His will. So who can find the will of the Lord in their life? A saved, willing, obedient, praying individual can find the will of God in their life if they really earnestly, sincerely wish to find direction from the Lord. A saved individual that meets those requirements can find direction from the Lord. If someone asks you the question some time, "Who can know what God would have for them to do" tell them that saved people can. Tell them that a saved individual that meets certain scriptural requirements has an opportunity to find the Lord's will. You have to be willing and obedient. We could not ever find the Lord's will if we are in a rebellious attitude, and surely if we loved the world, we wouldn't have any interest in finding God's will in our life and there would be no way that we could find the Lord's will unless we were a praying type of individual, earnestly beseeching the Lord for direction. We covered that one one night in the study. The next night we were looking at how the Lord reveals His will to us. We had a very simple answer for that one and that was simply that the Lord spoke to us to reveal His will. We looked at a few avenues of thought that people might have become confused and thought that the Lord gave them a certain sign or something or the other, but when we really got down to the basics of it all, got down to the bottom of everything, we concluded that God was a Spirit and that He had access to our heart because a saved individual can find the Lord's will, that He spoke to our heart, that if we have spiritual ears to hear Him, that all He would need to do then would be to speak to us. We talked about how we could decide if it was the Lord or if it was Satan speaking in a still small voice as a spirit. We concluded that maybe it was because we were familiar with the voice that spoke peace to our heart and we could clearly remember how the voice of the Lord sounded to our heart and make determination therein that it is the Lord speaking and not Satan. So, God being a Spirit, we must have spiritual ears to hear Him and have our ears tuned in that direction that we might know His voice. We gave some evidence from the 10th Chapter of John that the voice of a stranger the sheep would not follow, but if they were familiar with his voice would follow him. We also studied in that particular session concerning the person that would present their body a living sacrifice to the Lord, that they might be acceptable unto the Lord and be in a position to hear the still small voice of the Lord. We talked about the sound of His voice versus the thundering things that Satan might put forth, might be persuaded or carried away with the loud voice of Satan versus the still small voice that God used with Elijah in the cave for one example. And we used the times that the Lord spoke to other servants as an indicator that God reveals His will to human beings by His voice. We used the 1st verse of the Hebrew letter to show that God spoke to the fathers in the times past by the prophets but changed that method, and in the days of Jesus Christ He spoke to us by Him. Now the Gospel of Christ is preached, the Holy Spirit was given to the church on the Day of Pentecost and the Spirit is the Spirit of truth and it leads and guides in every direction that God would have us to go. So we concluded that God reveals His will to us by speaking to us. And that makes it a very private thing with an individual, to try to come to an understanding of the will of God and be dependant upon the voice of God to reveal God's will unto them. That makes it personal and we have no right to go around and discuss other people's lives and try to decide whether that person missed the calling or not, or whether that individual missed the direction or not, but try to keep our spiritual ears in tune with God's voice that we might be directed by Him and travel the pathway of life that He would have us to travel.
In our fourth lesson we studied concerning the knowledge of God's will and was it possible for us to know the Lord's will. We used the Lord in the person of a shepherd of our life in that study rather extensively, and He does guide in the paths that are right. We used the 23rd Psalm as part of the verse in that scripture concerning leading into the paths of righteousness and those things. And we concluded in that study that divine leadership was a reality and not some theory that man has dreamed up, but that an individual could really come to find the divine leadership of the Lord and to understand that it was something that most people fail to experience in their Christian life. We have to be obedient if we know the Lord's will. But we concluded that we can know, if we want to know in order to do it and not just vote upon it. We decided that God would help us if we are really earnestly, sincerely wanting to know His will that He would supply those things that we ask for, as far as trying to find out what He would have for us to do. We can know the will of the Lord. We talked about His will changing from one time to another and not lay out a whole lifetime and say now this is the Lord's will, but be subject to change as we go along life's way. We noted several places in the scriptures where God had other things for men to do and they had to be in tune with God and had to know whether it was the Lord speaking to them in order for them to be obedient to that. Time after time we find where men were called upon to do certain things. Philip was up in the hills of Samaria preaching one time, having success and God spoke to him and sent him south and he met the Ethiopian Eunuch on the route to Africa down there. This is a good example of the Lord changing a person's ministry from one location to another. And from that encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch, Philip went on down to Caesarea and abided there I suppose for the rest of his life as far as the scriptures tell us about anything. He lived at Caesarea and raised his family there.
We have Paul as an example, from time to time the Lord would change direction with his missionary work and he had to depend upon the Lord. So, to know the will of God, and you can have the knowledge of that will and if you are obedient to the Lord, He will help us to understand His will from time to time. So, the knowledge of God's will is certainly something that we can depend upon and it's not a fantasy or a theory that someone dreamed up. I realize that there are a lot of people that tend to make it as a theory or some sentimental something and they get off base and say the Lord has directed me to do this or to do that when it's not in harmony with the scriptures. God's leadership will be in harmony with the teaching of His Word. It may not be in harmony with some particular wording of His Word, but the overall teaching of a particular thing, God's will won't direct contrary to that taught in the Bible. We gave a few little simple things to show the folly of such leadership that men are getting by with and think that the Lord was directing them. Every once in a while you'll hear some person that used to be a member of a Baptist church say I was led to join another denomination. Well the leadership wasn't from God, it was some other circumstance, some other source, some family circumstance or some program or something directed them to that. But for an individual to say that the Lord led me from His church to some man made organization would be a mistake. It would be listening to the wrong voice rather than that of God. But we do that on occasion, "The Lord led me to do this or do that." But we can know the knowledge of God's will and we studied that and we used the Apostle Paul on the road to Damascus as asking the Lord what He'd have him to do. He sent him down to Ananias and from there he found what God would have him to do. We can know the will of the Lord.
On Sunday night we were on the purpose of finding the Lord's will. Why do we want to find God's will in life? We concluded from that study that the reason that we want to find the Lord's will in our life is to glorify God. In Ephesians 3:21 we used that as a foundation last Sunday night. It says; "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." We found from the 15th Chapter of John that in order to glorify God, his disciples were going to have to bear much fruit. So we concluded that our purpose for finding God's will was to glorify God and that in turn would mean that we're going to be fruit bearers for the Lord. We're to bring something that God would be glorified in unto the Lord. We used the Lord calling those fishermen and other men to follow Him and become fishers of men as one example of His teaching of those men. We talked about how important it is to trust in the Lord and not to lean to our own understanding. And a lot of things are involved in the purpose of finding God's will. We got off into the loving part of God's will. We concluded the seven results of an obedient willing individual. From the 1st Chapter of Colossians we found there in a person's life that loves the will of God, that finds it and does it God's way, that the person was obedient, that person was one that produces fruit, that individual is a growing individual, that individual is strong in the Lord, there we find patience with that type of person, we find a joyous person therein and we found a thankful person. So I think those seven characteristics would be something that we would all strive for and when we think about the purpose of God's will in life, surely we'll all go back to God being glorified in what we do. If we can bring honor and glory to God in our feeble efforts as an unworthy servant, surely that would be our desire, and that should cause all of us to sincerely try to find God's will in our life, that we might glorify Him.
When we remember that He created all things for one purpose, and that was to glorify Himself. We find that information in the Book of Revelations. That He was worthy to receive the honor and the glory and the praise, but He created all things, and for His pleasure they were created. So the whole thing is then that God might be glorified. That would be our purpose for seeking for the will of God in our life, to bring more glory to the Lord.
Alright, let's summarize this rather hurriedly now. First of all, a saved individual can find the Lord's will if they meet the scriptural requirements necessary to be led of the Lord. His method of revealing His will to us is by His voice. He speaks to the spirit. We have a spiritual part known as the inner man and God speaks to that part of us and lets us know what He'd have us to do. We can have the knowledge of God's will and can be led by His divine leadership. The purpose of His will is to glorify Him. So in summary what do we find concerning the Lord's will? Are we first of all, knowledgeable of His will. Do we know His will in our life? If we know His will, will we do His will? If we do His will, are we able to say that "I love to do the will of God"? The Psalmist described the delight that He found in doing God's will. Jesus was prophesied of in that 40th Psalm and it talks about the Lord and surely He found joy in doing the will of His Father. He came from Glory to this world, lived as He did, endured what He did, suffered what He did and found joy in doing the will of the Father. So when you get down to the very basic fundamentals of finding the Lord's will, knowing His will, doing His will, then it is important that we love to do His will.
We had one particular formula that we used that might be of some help to someone. I think it went something like this; we mentioned a peculiar set of circumstances, something might happen in our life to get our attention. We used the burning bush and Moses standing there by that when the bush burned and was not consumed as a peculiar circumstance. We followed that by saying that the feeling that persisted after that we had prayed fervently and earnestly and sincerely with God that His will be done, the feeling that remained after that type of prayer had been prayed, that we might depend upon that inner feeling that lingered after we had prayed that particular type of prayer. And then the third part of that formula was that what was asked of us by the Spirit of God, that it would be in harmony with the teachings of His Word. And if we could look at those things it might be a guideline to help us make full determination that this really is the will of the Lord. I know that there are many voices that Satan puts into our mind, that we might oft times get them confused with the voice of God, but the more that we listen to the Lord, the more that we try to be obedient to that voice, the clearer that voice will ring in our heart. The farther we go down the road, the less likely we are to be influenced by Satan. We have to be mindful of his tactics. We have to know how he operates and we cannot just rock ourselves to sleep and say "I know the voice of the Lord and He'll wake me up, just like the story about Rip VanWinkle sleeping for 20 years." If we slept for 20 years on the Lord, and a voice woke us all of a sudden, we might have to really check it out and see what voice that was dealing with us. But if we'll stay in touch with the Lord, walk with Him and know that when we have fulfilled our duties to Him, that we are still unprofitable servants, I believe that we'll find the Lord to give us enough faith along the way that we can take the next step that He'd have us to take in Faith, knowing and remembering how He had already traveled with us to that point in life and have some assurance that this particular project is going to be fulfilled because of what the Lord has already done.
If we can remember what the Lord has done in our past, it will encourage us to do something tomorrow that may be a little different to us. Might be a little unusual for us, and we might say "Lord are you sure that we can do that together, are you sure that's what you want me to do?" Each step that we take with the Lord makes us a little more confident to take the next one in the center of His will. If we can remain in that condition, I believe you'll find the Lord to use you in life, use this church as a body that it might it glorify Him.
I appreciate you attending what services you may have attended in this study. I want to give you some opportunity now if you have anything that you would like to say as far as searching for or finding the Lord's will or an experience of His will in your life, it might be beneficial to someone here tonight to hear what you might have to say along that line. Do not we all have some type of an experience or time in the Lord's will, in doing His will, in recognizing the glory that God receives when we accomplish that which He would have us to do in a particular circumstance. Our testimonies along that line probably would help someone that might be struggling or striving right now at this very time about some particular will that God would have in their life. Anything on anyone's heart? (Inaudible comment from someone in the congregation) Response: Yes, I believe that to be true. I think that our experiences will add strength to that statement. The aim of our study to begin with was simply this; To encourage the spiritually minded person toward prayerful consideration of the statement that Paul made "Lord, what will thou have me to do?" I hope that somewhere along the way that you have been compelled to really ask the Lord that question in a bold attitude. "Lord what will thou have me to do? I used to hear this repeated years ago when I was younger; maybe there would be a circumstance about to present itself, maybe there would be a church without a pastor somewhere where a person would have to move a long way or there would be a very difficult something might open up for someone and the conversation would be going around a circle and I've often heard people say "I'd certainly be afraid to pray about that." There are a lot of people like that. They might not admit it, but there's a lot of people afraid to pray about particular things in life. Maybe a particular need among the work of the Lord, maybe a particular city or something like that and people would say "I'd certainly be afraid to pray about that." But, our aim was to encourage spiritually minded people toward prayerful consideration of that very question: "Lord what would you have me to do?" Remember how Isaiah felt after that he had seen the glory of the Lord. It had filled the whole temple there and overflowed, and he said "Lord, here am I, send me." If you can get a prayerful attitude in your heart along the lines of what the Lord would have us to do, regardless of how little and insignificant you may feel. And it you feel any different about yourself, you're in bad shape, because when we've done all that the Lord has asked us to do, we're still unprofitable servants. So, you never get to the place where you exalt yourself, but the more you do for the Lord in the center of His will, the smaller you seem in your own eyes. You get more humble as you go along if you stay in the center of the Lord's will. So, we need to honestly, sincerely ask the Lord from time to time "What will you have me to do?" And not be afraid to ask that question. And not be afraid, if you see enough of the glory of God as Isaiah did to say "Lord here I am, send me." And when you say those things mean them and the Lord will respond and He'll use those people that are honest and sincere. And we mentioned somewhere through this study about Him using people that were already active and busy and had a job. Most of them that we looked up in the scriptures were already doing something in life. They were not sitting by the wayside waiting, but they were busy in their various occupations when the Lord called upon them to do something. I suppose Paul was one of the most unusual circumstances, being so zealous to go that far from Jerusalem to Damascus to bind those saints of the Lord, to bring them back to Jerusalem to stand trial, and the Lord saw fit to cut him down there on that road to Damascus, saved his soul, let him become a member of the church and then called him to be an apostle. So we can see throughout the scriptures that the Lord used men that were active and really already had something to do. Now there's a reason for that. I would think that we might see a pattern in that actual call from the Lord of men that were already busy in doing what they were having to do at that particular time. Does anyone else have a word? Anything on your heart whatsoever? We appreciate your coming. Let's remember those requests that have been made. You may have something else you'd like to say about anything upon your heart, you feel free to do so. It doesn't have to be associated with this subject that we've just finished. Anything on your heart that you feel you need to mention, I hope you have that liberty to do that at this time.
Seek for the will of the Lord and be willing to obey when the Lord speaks and you'll find the Lord to bless above your expectations.
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