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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, October 27, 2006

Understanding the Will of the Lord

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Ephesians 5:17
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Daily Scripture Reading - Luke 22

Puritan Catechism
Question #46 - What is forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer - The second commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, (Deut. 4:15-16) or any other way not appointed in his Word (Col. 2:18).

Devotional Thoughts
We learned yesterday how it is that the unwise think, talk, and live. Today we see that another way to be unwise is to not understand the will of the Lord. As we work through a few verses we need to make a point. The will of God is not elusive, difficult to find, a great mystery that lies, or a hidden treasure that has a map to be decoded! God's will is not hard to find.

I know we all need to take a breath about now, but this is simple truth. So many writers and preachers and teachers have tried to make God's will a secret. It is as if there are things we must do to earn favor with God so that He will direct us. (Of course, if we earn it then it i snot favor is it?) God does direct us. Clearly, precisely, and thoroughly.

We have been given in the Word of God everything we need to know God's will. Let me say that again. We have been given in the Word of God everything we need to know God's will. Peter began his second epistle by writing:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

There it is. By His divine power through knowing Christ He has given to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness. All we need to know to find and do God's will has already been provided for us. Let us not make it more difficult than it has to be.

I want to quickly demonstrate today that finding God's will is actually quite easy if we are hearing and doing the Word of God. In order to do that I will cover 6 points. These are 6 things that the Bible tells us about God's will. In fact, it is as easy as looking for verses that tell us about the will of God. If we just read and obeyed those we would not have anything to worry about at all. And since we are talking about those who are saved, those who have repented of their sin and trusted Christ, then we will address specifically God's will for His elect.

1. It is God’s will for His elect to be saved.

If we are saved then we have already started doing the will of God. For it is His will that His chosen ones be saved. That is why we are referred to as the elect in the first place. Salvation is God's choice, not ours. He chose to love us. Regarding the doctrine of election, Spurgeon stated:

It is wonderful how Satan will plague many timid hearts with the doctrine of election. That doctrine, rightly understood, is full of comfort; but, distorted and misrepresented, it often appears to be a bolt to shut sinners out from mercy—the fact being that it shuts none out, but shuts tens of thousands in.

Grace is amazing not because God passes some over and leaves them to the wages of their sin. Grace is amazing because God has saved some! And none of those He saves deserves or can earn that salvation. It is a wonder He has saved any at all.

To be sure that the choice is His, let us not forget Romans 9:10-12:

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”

Romans 8:28-30 tells us further about God's will in saving His people:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

He called us according to His purposes, He foreknew us, that is He knew us and loved us and chose to save us before we were even born not based on anything but His gracious choice. So we understand that if we are saved we are participating in God's will.

2. It is God’s will for His elect to be Spirit filled.

The Scriptures make it plain that it is God's will for those of who are saved to be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. We are not to quench or grieve Him but are instead to be filled with Him and obedient to Him. Consider these verses and the point will have been made:

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. – Eph. 5:18

Do not quench the Spirit. - 1 Thess. 5:19

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. - Gal. 5:16

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. - Eph. 4:30

3. It is God’s will for His elect to be sanctified.

We have been saved as a result of God's choice and according to His will and plan we will be sanctified. We will be conformed to the image of Christ through the Word taught to us, meditated upon, and through chastening when we sin and fail to be like Christ.

Read these verses and see how clear this is:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality – 1 Thess. 4:3

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son - Romans 8:29

4. It is God’s will for His elect to be submissive.

Submission is hard! It goes against our fallen will. We do not like to submit to authority. But willingly deferring to the will of others is God's will for us. We must learn to submit to those God directs us to submit to. Of course, above all we submit to Him. Listen to these verses:

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— – 1 Peter 2:13-15

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God - Ephesians 5:17-21

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” - 1 Peter 5:5

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. - Colossians 3:18

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. - Ephesians 6:1

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. - Hebrews 13:17

Therefore submit to God. - James 4:7

5. It is God’s will for His elect to suffer!

Here is a popular message! Maybe when people find these verses they tell themselves that God's will is hard to find and elusive and so they have to work hard at finding it. The truth is, suffering is part of God's plan for us. Through suffering He tries and proves our faith, He gives us patience, hope, more faith, wisdom, and assurance. And for those who doubt that it is God's will for us to suffer, listen to the Word of God:

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. - 2 Tim 3:12

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. -
1 Peter 2:20

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. - Romans 8:18

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. -1 Peter 4:19

And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. - 2 Corinthians 1:7

6. It is God’s will for His elect to be thankful.

As we have learned, it is God's will for us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks. He desires gratitude and humility. Plainly stated, God's will is for us to be thankful no matter where we are, what we have, what we are doing, or hwo we think things are going!

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. - Ephesians 5:3-4

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thess. 5:18

There are other verses we could study, but suffice it to say that the Bible really is clear and precise - God has made His will known to us, so now it is up to us to do what He has told us to do. As His elect it is His will that we be saved, Spirit filled, sanctified, submissive, suffering, and thankful. Study the Word for yourself and see if there are other verses that make the will of the Lord plain. What is it that He wants us and commands us to do? Find out. And then do what He wills!

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

Making Hard Decisions Easy by John MacArthur
An Instructive Truth by Charles Spurgeon

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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