Does God still speak to man? Is He interested in our personal lives? Can we know the will of God? Pastor Nate Heitzig addresses these issues and more in this message.
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All right, go ahead and find your way back to your seat. Great to be here this morning with you guys. Great to see all these beautiful faces. How are you doing this morning? Good. Well go ahead and turn your Bibles to Romans Chapter 12. We're going to be in Verses 1 through 2 this morning for a message entitled, "Perceiving the will of God." Let's open up right now with a word of prayer.
Lord, we come before You right now. And as we open Your word, we are confident, Lord that You desire to speak to us in a very real and vibrant way. Lord, we ask that as we open Your word that You will open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. That we will heed Your word and that You will challenge us and change us this morning, God. We pray that as we leave these doors this afternoon that we will leave with a renewed sense of who You are, what You want for our lives, what Your will is, specifically and generally for our lives. We thank You for this time and we pray that You'll use it. In Your Name, we pray. Amen.
Quick question for you guys, this morning. Who in here has ever seen somebody do something, maybe a friend of yours, maybe a co-worker, maybe someone just completely random do something that makes you say, "What are you thinking?" Anyone's ever seen somebody do something just like that? I personally have done a lot of things that have warranted this response. And I've seen a lot of people do things that warrant that response but sometimes people just do something that makes you question their intelligence. And it makes you kind of question what they're thinking and what life decisions they're making.
Well, the other day, my wife and I were watching a show called, "Most Shocking" on TV and basically this show chronicles the most outrageous and ridiculous stunts and accidents that have ever been caught on camera. And that's really astonishing to see what people do. Well after watching the show for about 30minutes and seeing people attempt to jump off buildings, ride the roof of cars like surfboards and jump copious amounts of stairs on skateboards, I was faced with one resounding question in my mind. And that question was, "What are you thinking?" I mean, you look at these people and you've got to wonder what's going on inside their minds. And you'd have think that they might watch this television show on occasion and realize that these decision are bad decisions but they don't, they just continue to do the same stupid stuff and we get to watch it on TV and laugh at them. But it really makes you wonder sometimes at what people are doing.
Well, I've discovered that in the Christian walk, we can often ask this same question about God. God can lead us into areas of our lives. God can direct us into certain life adventures and oftentimes throughout these situations. we can ask God, "What are You thinking? Lord, why would You lead me in this direction? Why would You bring this into my life? This can't be Your will. This can't be Your desire. This is bad, not good." And we can question God's authority. we can question God's will within our lives. Now this brings up some valid questions. Does God still speak to man today? Is God indeed interested in what happens to us as individuals? Does God care about our future? Does God direct our lives and the biggest question, "Can we actually know the will of God?" Have you ever wondered what the will of God is for your life? Possibly, a certain venture that you're taking, maybe a business venture, maybe a marriage, whatever it is we often ask these questions and these are important questions. However, they're not easily answered.
But in reality, we all need guidance concerning life's great questions. Who should I marry? Should I make a certain move? What job should I work at? What ministry does God have in mind for me? These are questions that we want answers to and I really wish this morning I could come up here and give you an easy 1-2-3 method that I had discovered through copious amounts of study through divine insight and possibly through some angelic being telling me, "Nate, this is the will of God for these people's lives. I wish I could close my eyes and get into some sort of state and let you all know what the will of God was specifically for your life. But that's not the case, that's not how God works. And in my walk with Christ, I have discovered that the will of God most often happened as I took steps of faith trying through the best of my ability to live by putting the principles of Scripture into practice. Now there have been those times when God has spoken clearly and in a rather tangible way but more often than not, we discover the will of God as we embark on a journey of faith. That's why the Scripture tells us, "The just shall live by faith." Well as I said, our title tonight is, "Perceiving the Will of God."
And in response to some of the earlier questions that I raised, the answer is a resounding "Yes." Yes, God does have a plan for your life. God does speak to us today in vibrant and real ways and He does have a unique purpose and plan for your life. You need to know that this morning. Whatever you're going through, whatever situation you're in, God has a unique plan and purpose for your life. God desires to lead you and guide you in every decision that you make within your life. The question is, "Are you being led by Him this morning? The question is, "Are you letting God lead you this morning? Are you letting Him take control and move in the direction that He wishes your life to move? As a matter of fact, just as God lead men and women in Scripture, God wants to lead us.
Sometimes we think that if God would just lead us the way He did to people in the Old Testament, everything would be great. You know, if I had a pillar of fire that would appear every morning and lead me in my direction throughout the day, then I'd always listen to God. If a burning bush would talk to me or maybe a burning ATM would talk to me, well that would just be great. God would really speak to me, then. But the truth is God desires to speak to us just as He did to the men and women of Old. But the problem that we face today is the constant barrage of voices urging us to move this way or that. People wanting us to go in this direction or that direction wanting us to make this decision or that decision. You know the voices that I'm talking about. The voices of your boss, the voice of your spouse, your husband or wife, the voice of your parents, the voice of your children, the voice of your co-workers, the voice of your own conscience, your own heart, often wanting to do things that might be contrary to what God wants you to do, the voice of Satan desiring to lead you astray and lead you into destruction and of course, the voice of God. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice." Are you hearing His voice this morning? Are you hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd? Because unfortunately, many of the voices which claim that they can bring you happiness, prosperity and joy will only lead you astray.
So whose voice are you listening to this morning? The voice of the world or the voice of Jesus Christ? This morning, you need to know, you need to understand and you need to follow God's will and God's way for your life. He says, "This is the way, walk you in it." Just as God said of Abraham, "Shall I hide from Abraham the things I'm about to do. God wants to reveal His purpose to us. Abraham was called the friend of God and so are we. Through Jesus Christ, God can say, "I shall no longer call you servants, but friends." As I mentioned, Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep. He says, "My sheep hear my voice." And this is the important part, "My sheep hear my voice and follow." Are you hearing the voice of God? But most importantly, are you following it? Or maybe you're hearing the voice of God and you're ignoring it. You're doing what you want to do. You're saying, "Lord, not Your will be done but my will be done."
Yeah, you have some good suggestions but this is the way my life should really be run. Is that the case with you today? Could that be a set of your life that you hear His voice and that you follow, that you are knowing His will? Perhaps recently God has seemed silent to you. Like there's no direction, no guidance, no word from the Lord, just an icy silence. Well if this is the case with you this morning, then we are going to look at the primary principles of guidance but before we do, we must examine some prerequisites to God's will. That's our first point this morning, the prerequisites to God's will. Let's look at Romans 12 starting in Verse 1. Paul says, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed to the 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. I want you to notice the order here in Romans 12, 1 through 2. Paul begins with an urge, with a challenge to you and that is to present your body as a wholly and acceptable sacrifice. That's the first thing that Paul says. Then at end of Verse 2, Paul basically says that if you do that, if you abide by that challenge, then God will reveal His good and acceptable and perfect will.
See it goes, living sacrifice first and then and only then, the will of God. We often get the cart before the horse in our walk with Christ. So what I mean by that is we tend to want to know God's will before we decide if we'll give ourselves to it. We say, "God, here's what I want in my life. If what You want from my life matches up with what I want from my life, then I'll follow You. If Your will includes a lot of money, a really nice car, an awesome house, a perfect family that never has fights and all these great stuff well then I can hang with You. But, if You bring trials and tribulation and sickness and pain and suffering well then this isn't just going to work out. This isn't going to be a good relationship. And we tend to bargain with God. Instead of wanting God's will for our life, we really want our will for our lives. And what God is in essence saying here is that He wants you to give Him your life and then He'll show you His will, not vice-versa. You can't want just His will and then decide if you'll give Him your life and it is when we learn this lesson, it's when we comprehend this great truth that we are ready for an exciting life of God continually unfolding His will for us, of God showing us and leading us to where He desires. And the first prerequisite we seek to understanding
God's will is there in Romans Chapter 12 Verse 1. Paul says, "Present your body a living sacrifice." Present your body. The language used here is in reference to an offering, an offering that would be given in the temple. This is an offering that is given willingly, given out of free will, out of choice, out of love, devotion and gladness. See, God wants your heart. He wants your heartfelt gift of your life, of your time and of your resources but He wants it out of love, not out of duty. God doesn't want to force you to be a Christian. God doesn't want to force you to tithe. he wants you to do it out of love and out of devotion to Him. Know this, if you don't want to do this, you don't have to. You don't have to. He won't force you.
If you don't want to give your life freely to Jesus Christ, and experience a life controlled by Him, enjoy. You don't have to. He's not going to force you to. If you don't want to spend your time serving the Lord through the Church and seeing what plans God has for you as you serve Him, you don't have to. He's not going to force you. If you don't want to give up your resources and your money and let the Lord use that to bring people to Jesus Christ, you don't have to. He will not force you to do so. It's not out of duty but it is out of love that God wants your whole body.
Now on the other hand, if you fail to do those things, if you fail to give yourself freely to Jesus Christ, to give Him your life, your time and your resources, then you will miss out on all the benefits of complete surrender to Jesus Christ including His revealed will within your life. If you refuse to give yourself 100% not 95%, not 99%, not 99.9%, if you refuse to give yourself 100% to Christ and His plans for your life, then you will miss out on His revealed will within your life. That's the first prerequisite. The second, Paul says in Verse 2, "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. He says do not be conformed to this world. This world system is spiritually bankrupt. It is hostile to God.
You don't need to be a genius to turn on the news and realize that this world hates God and hates Christians. That's obvious. We recognize that. That the world is hostile to God and to the things of God, yet this same thinking, this same world system can often creep into our walk with Christ. Now what I mean by that is we can often in our lives live under self-centered desires, selfish ambitions, both spiritually and physically within our lives and we can let this world system creep into our walk with God. We can let this world system influence the things that we do. The Greek verb here, "conform" refers to the act of assuming an outward appearance that does not accurately reflect what is within. What that means in the Christian walk is that, if as a Christian, you live life seeing things, doing things, saying things, going places and being with people that do not accurately reflect what Jesus Christ has done in your life than Paul has saying, you are being conformed into the image of the world.
Basically, Paul says the things you do, the places you go, the things you say, the things you see should reflect what Jesus Christ has done in your life. And if they do not, then you are being conformed into the image of the world. But if the things that you're doing, saying, going, all that stuff reflect what Jesus Christ has done, then you're being transformed into the image of Christ. In other words, Paul is saying, don't let the world squeeze you into its mold. Don't let the world squeeze you into this mold. Is the world squeezing you into its mold? Have you noticed little things begin to creep into your life, things that might not necessarily improve your walk with God? Things that do not reflect what Jesus Christ has done but rather things that imitate the world? Things that reflect the world rather than Christ?
In this day and age, where it's acceptable to openly mock and deride Christians. It's a real temptation to not stand up for what we believe in. It's difficult at times to acknowledge that you have a relationship with Jesus Christ for fear of mockery. But 2 Timothy 2-12 says, "If we endure, we will also reign with Him. But if we disown Him, He will also disown us." We, as believers, should not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Don't be ashamed of what Jesus Christ has done for your life. Don't be ashamed of who Jesus Christ is in saving you of your sin. Let me tell you, you can be ashamed of Christ in two ways: one is with words, acknowledging that you don't have a relationship with Christ, refusing to acknowledge that you have a relationship with Christ but the other is through actions. You can be ashamed of Christ through the things that you do, through the things that you let yourself get involved with. Those things often even more so than your words can show that you are ashamed of your relationship with Jesus Christ.
We're told in Mark 8:38, "If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His father's glory with the holy angels. So much of this world's thinking can easily cloud or reason as to the will of God. For instance, if someone's having problems in their marriage or they see someone else that they're attracted to, the world will most often say, "Well I'll just get a divorce." That's the easy way out of this situation. That's the world's response to that situation. But Christians can do the same thing in a more dangerous way. Christians can often do the same thing but then their response is this, "The Lord led me to get a divorce.
The Lord led me to this person." Really? I didn't know God did that. I didn't know you had a magical, special connection with God where He contradicted His word. Because, you know, if you could help me out and ask the Lord if I don't have to pay taxes this year, that would be really helpful for me. But God doesn't do that. God doesn't work in contradiction with what He says. He always, He always, always, always works in unison with what His word has already said. Instead of following suit and doing as the world, we must be transformed from this world's warped and selfish way of thinking and be transformed or literally transfigured.
If you feel that the Lord is leading you to do something that is clearly sin in the Bible, let me tell you that's not the Lord leading you. That is the world leading you. And the ruler of this world is Satan. And that is not being transformed by the renewing of your mind. That is being conformed to the image of this world. So the question is how can we be transformed? How can we be transfigured and not conform to his world. Well, number 1, our minds will be transformed as we spend time in fellowship with God and His people. When you begin to saturate your lives and your thoughts with the word of God, then and only then can you know God's true will for your life. How often do you spend within the word of God? How much time do you spend saturating your life with the word of God and with the people of God, letting Him speak to you, letting Him reveal Himself to you?
See, this is vitally important in our walk with God. If we are not saturating ourselves within His word, then we will not be able to get the revealed word of God. Rejecting conformity to this world's system and to self-indulgent ways and instead being transformed into the image of Christ will cost you to know His purpose for your life. Someone once asked a concert violinist in New York's Carnegie Hall how she became so skilled with the violin. Her response was this, "Planned neglect" She planned to neglect anything that would hinder her from achieving her goal of becoming a concert violinist. Christians need to do the same. You need to plan to neglect anything that would cost you to be conformed into the image of this world. You need to plan to neglect anything that does not transform you into the image of Christ.
I wonder what, in your life is causing you to be conformed to the image of this world. Because we all have something, we all do. We always will have something that needs to be transformed into the image of Christ. That's the idea of sanctification. You're never going to be perfect. You're never going to be a flawless Christian with no problems. You will always have something that you need to give over to Jesus Christ. So what is it in your life that you need to give to Jesus Christ? What is it within your walk with God that needs to be transformed into his image? We all have those areas of our lives that we hide within the depths of our hearts. The closet within our hearts that we don't want anyone else to know about, that we don't want the person sitting next to us to realize that we're ashamed of. Those things in your life you must present to God, a wholly and acceptable sacrifice which is your reasonable service. And I promise you if you do, God will reveal His will for your life.
Number two, our second point, is the principles of God's will. We've seen the prerequisites and now we see the principles. Look at Verse 2, the end of Verse 2, Paul says, "That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. I love the definition of God's will. The adjectives of God's will. God's will is good, acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 in the NIV says that His will is good, pleasing and perfect. It's described as "the good will of God" and we must understand and realize that God's will for us is indeed good.
God's will is good. God isn't some cosmic jerk who wants to make your life miserable. That's not God's desire for you. He doesn't want to make your life a bummer as long as you live. He wants to give you joy. He wants to give you pleasure, he wants to give you a good will, a perfect will. Psalm 34:8 says, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him." And Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of good and not of evil. To give you a future and a hope.
We have to keep in mind God's character and God's relationship that He has towards us. Although times might get hard, although things might come into our lives that we don't understand, you have to remember that God's character is a good God. His desire for you is to give you good things, to give you perfect things that are God's desire for your life. Just as Isaiah, who is in turmoil, when King Uzziah died but his response recognizing the character of God was to see seated on the throne the Lord high and lifted up.
That no matter what happens, no matter what comes into my life, I realized that the character and nature of God is good, and because of that, I can glorify His name. That no matter what comes in my way, God is good. We must remember that His voice is to be associated with our welfare. A lot of people view God like the movie, "Bruce Almighty." As a cosmic bully sitting over an anthill with a magnifying glass burning the ants and we're the ants. That's how a lot of people think of God. But that is not who God is. God is good. God is the Good Shepherd and for the sheep, the shepherd's voice is always associated with positive things, with love and care, protection and warning. God's will is good.
Number two, God's will is perfect. God's will is perfect. There is no plan of ours that can improve on God's plan. Now we think there are, we think that there are things that could improve on God's plan. We say, "Hey God, that's a good idea but maybe you should do this. Hey I really love that Pinto but that Ferrari is really looking nice. Are you sure you don't want to change your mind? Are you sure I shouldn't win the lottery this month? And we often think that God has a good plan but we just have a better plan. We think we can improve on His plan. But keep in mind we only see bits and pieces. God sees the whole picture. We only see fragments of the past.
We measure things by the narrow horizon of our present vision. But God sees past, present and future in its total context as related to eternity. He sees when, where and why we touch the lives of those around us. He weighs all actions and He controls all circumstances. God's will is perfect. It's perfect. How easily, could we with our finite wisdom and with our limited knowledge often find ourselves actually praying against the divine will of God? We might have the best intentions, the most honest interest of the person at hand we're praying for and yet, we could actually be playing against the will of God. This is what I mean.
If you were Joseph's mother, surely you would've prayed that he would be kept safe from all harm. You would've wondered if God was paying any attention at all when he was mistreated by his jealous brothers and sold into slavery. You would say, "Lord, this cannot be Your will. This cannot be Your desire that my son will be sold into slavery, possibly dead. That can't be good." Or had you been Moses' mother, how your heart would've broken when you saw your son raised in pharaoh's court instead of your own home. Lord, how can that be Your will, to have my son separated from me in pharaoh's courts. And had you been Jesus' mother, imagine the anguish you would've felt to see your precious son whom you nursed, nurtured and loved hanging crucified on a wooden cross.
How easily any mother would've prayed against such things, would've prayed that such things would never happen but guess what, they did. They happened. And it's important to remember that these were not mistakes. These circumstances were not oversights. They were not indifferent to the prayers of those who only saw it from a limited point of view. These events were providential. These events were divine. These events had to happen. Had Joseph not been sold onto slavery, he would not have been able to save thousands of lives in the times of famine and most importantly his own family from which the Jewish nation derived including Jesus Christ himself. It was the will of God. Had Moses not been taken into pharaoh's court, he would've missed the vital part of his training to lead Israel out of slavery. It was the will of God.
Had Jesus not been crucified, we all would've remained dead in our trespasses and sins and we wouldn't even be here right now. It was the divine providential will of God. So know this, God knew what He was doing and God still knows what He is doing. You might not think He does. You might not comprehend and realize that His plans for you are good but they are. I challenge you. Perhaps you're going through a profoundly difficult situation, an extremely difficult situation that you can't understand. I challenge you. Instead of praying against that situation, try praying for it. Try praying for it.
Try praying that God would use that situation to reap a great harvest on your behalf. Start praying through that situation that God would reveal His divine providential will to you. That He would increase your knowledge of Him and keep in mind that His nature is good. His character is good and he loves you so. This is why it's always wise to preface our prayers with this, "Not my will, but Your will be done." Don't be afraid to completely surrender to the will of God for your lives because His will is good. Now another question, how does God speak? How does God actually speak to us in times of struggling and in times of doubt?
Is there some kind of a magic Jesus dance that we can do that God will reveal His will to us? Is there a special verse that if read backwards will open up a new book of the Bible that has the will of God book? Or maybe God just has a Facebook and a twitter that we haven't realized and on that Facebook and twitter, God posts periodic daily reminders of what His will is for us. No, God doesn't work in any of those ways. First and foremost, God speaks through the word of God. The will of God comes through the word of God. We're told in the Psalms that His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Sometimes when I go outside if it's really dark, I'll bring with me my flashlight to take the trash out or to go somewhere that I need to go and I'll shine onto the path that I'm going, the light, and that light will illuminate the path that I'm supposed to go and will reveal to me the direction in which I am supposed to go. It will illuminate the path. The same is true for God. His word is a true lamp unto our feet. It is a flashlight to our path. And as we walk out these doors, as we go into the real world, His word illuminates the path. It leads us in the direction that we should go as we seek to follow Him through His expressed will.
Now obviously, He will lead us contrary to His written word. His written word is our litmus test, it's our bedrock, it is our absolute, you could say. Now you wouldn't know this by the casual neglect of some believers. For some believers, the Bible is simply that looks nice on the shelves. They bring it out once a year to read the Christmas story. If things really get hard, they might read Psalm 23 because it makes them feel better. But they don't really spend sincere time within the word of God. They don't spend time letting the Lord reveal the full counsel of His word into their lives.
If you had a personal note from God, would you wait until there is nothing else to do? Would you wait until there are no other options and just get around to it when you did? No. It would be the first thing that you turn to. It would be the first place that you went. And that's what the word of God is. Now of course, there's always the danger of misinterpreting the word or taking it out of context. This is what the devil did to Jesus during the temptation in the wilderness in Luke 4, he said, "If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here." For it is written, he shall give His angels charge over you to keep you. Understand this, the devil knows and is very capable of quoting Scripture.
Prior to contrary belief, the devil doesn't screech when you read the Bible. The devil doesn't curl up into a little coma when you start reading Bible verses. No. He quotes it to you. He uses it to ensnare you with lies by taking it out of context. That is what Satan does. But remember this. Scripture will never contradict itself ever. Scripture will never go against what the whole counsel of God's word says. And that's why it's so important to understand the full counsel of God's word. That means that if you find some text and you build an entire case upon it, yet it doesn't coincide with what the entire Scripture says, it is wrong and that it has taken the Scripture out of context oftentimes by the lure of Satan.
Too many Christians today are far too flippant about what God has supposedly told them. The Lord told me that this is what I'm supposed to do. Really? Where did you get that? Tell me, where in the Bible did you find that? Oftentimes it goes against what the Bible says. Be very careful before you make a statement like that, before you make claim like that. Make sure that beyond the shadow of a doubt that it goes together with the word of God, that it illuminates the word of God that it does not take it out of context but that it makes one whole picture, one whole image in light of what God has said through His revealed word. The Scripture warns us about those who say, "Thus says the Lord" when the Lord has not spoken. A lot of us wonder what God's will is in those unknown areas of our lives. Why don't you begin with what you do know? Why don't you begin with what's as plain as the nose upon your face. And that is the revealed word of God, that which is clearly revealed within the Bible.
Number three, and finally we see the particulars of God's will. We've seen the prerequisites. We've seen the principles and now we see the particulars. Perhaps one thing that God has waited for before He reveals His specific plans for you is for you to act on what He has already told you.
Sometimes, people ask me what the will of God is and they'll say things like this, "Hey, Nate can you pray for me, I'm really trying to see if it's God's will for me to move in with my girlfriend." My response is always, "It's not. That's not His will. You do not have to pray about that, I promise you, God will not let you know that that's okay," that is wrong, there is no way around that. And the Bible says, "Abstain from all appearances of evil." And so on my respond, well, you know what I could do anything is just more economical for us.
It's just makes sense for us financially. Yet, the Bible also says, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." and also flee from sexually immorality and also in Romans it says, "Live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall" and let me tell you living in the same house with someone that you're sexually attracted to and having no one else live with you is setting yourself and that person up to stumble and fall.
See, God often speaks to us very clearly through His will, we just don't like the answer. We just don't agree with what he said so we try to find our own answer we try to question of whether or not that really is God's will and it's not just what matters to this is in matters to many things in our lives where we just don't like the answer so let's look at a few passages not in-depth but rather lightly to get a sense of some specific things that scriptures reveal as to the will of our lives. These are the particulars of God's will.
Number one, you must be a believer. God's will for you is that you are a Christian we're told in II Peter 3:9 God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. I hear people say, "How can God have love, and it is God who sends people to hell." God doesn't send anyone to hell. God's will, God's desire is that none should perish but that all should go to heaven, that all should have eternal life so much so that he sent His only begotten Son to die on a cross for your sins. You literally have to crawl over the dead body of Jesus Christ to get to hell. If you really want to go there, you can but it's going to be hard, you have to crawl over the body of Jesus Christ. God's will and his desire is that you're a believer that you have a relationship with Him.
Number two, you need to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. We're told in Ephesians chapter 5, "Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord will is. Do not get drunk on wine which leads to the butchery but instead be filled with the spirit." Speak to one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, this is significant because it says that we're to be filled with the spirit.
Now in the Greek, this is in present tense which basically means and it translates to be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit, be constantly filled. Be constantly and consistently, daily filled with the Holy Spirit, that means when you wake up it's not an option. Well, I'm kind of late for work this morning so I've really got to go fast, so Holy Spirit You're going to have come late, I got to go. It means consistently daily, if you're putting yourself into a place with the Holy Spirit, it is overflowing from your life in everything that you do pointing to Jesus Christ.
Also, being in this tense it is a command, it is a command which means that as a Christian you have to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be a true believer in Jesus Christ you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you're not filled with the Holy Spirit you are not a true believer in Jesus Christ. It's a command. It is the will of God even His command that every believer be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. Number three, the will of God is that we live a pure life. We're told in I Thessalonians 4:3, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." That is that you abstain from sexual immorality.
And this word sanctification means holiness, consecration, dedication to God, a definition of it would be the process where by the believer consistently and constantly takes the things of their life and gives them to God letting them be transformed into His image, that is sanctification. It's a continual process where you give over yourself to God and part of that is purity, sexual purity. This speaks to single people who are remaining in sexual immorality, who are living a sexually immoral live and are to live from that to, flee from that area of life. It also speaks to those who are married, who are to stay faithful to ones spouse after marriage. This is God's will for your life, to be sanctified through being sexually pure. Now, there are no exceptions to this rule of scripture. God doesn't lead you to do something that He clearly forbids.
Number four, and finally God's will for you is to have an attitude of gratitude. I Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." This is simply an attitude that recognizes that God is in control of all circumstances that surround your life. He both leads us to still waters but He also leads us to stormy seas. And at the time goes can be hard but we remember that His will for us, His desires for us are of good and not at evil. It's all a part of the process of making us more like Jesus Christ. There you have it.
The guidelines to perceiving the will of God and you say hold on a second Nate you didn't give me that 1-2-3 step that I wanted. You didn't give me a special will of God prayer that I can pray at night time to be revealed what I'm supposed to do tomorrow. No, I didn't because God doesn't work that way often. What we need to do as Christians believing in Jesus Christ is to prepare the ground of our hearts for the seat of His will by acting on what is revealed within His scripture. Do a few things. One, dedicate yourself to Him fully completely present your bodies to Him. Two, don't be conformed to this world or this world system and thinking instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind, search the scriptures and finally He has clearly told us within His word.
When I graduated from High School in California, Pastor John Corson pulled me aside and he asked me question he said, "Hey Nate, do you want to know what the will of God is for your life?" And I responded, "Of course, yes John tell me!" thinking that he was going to say something like, "Go to U.C.L.A.", thinking he was going to give me some divine prophetic word and instead he pulled aside and John said, "Nate, love God with all of your heart, your soul and your mind and then do whatever you want." And I pause for a second thought about that and I realized what he was saying, if you present your body as a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God, fully completely not holding anything back, letting your life be 100% control by Him, you heart, your soul and your mind then the things that you will naturally want to do will be the things that God wants you to do.
Remember, living sacrifice comes first and then the will of God. If you give yourself to God fully, God has incredible plans and a will for your life. I'm going to close with this, George Muller, when asked how he discern God's will for his life, he said this and it's great, "Number one, I think at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own and regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here, nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually by the little way to the knowledge of what His will is. "Number two, having done this, I do now leave the result to fill in or simple impression, if I do so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
Next, I seek the will of the spirit of God through or in connection with the word of God. The spirit and word must be combined. If I look to the spirit alone, without the word I lay myself open to great delusions also, if the Holy Ghost guides us at all, he will do it according to the scripture and never contrary to it. Next, by taking to account providential circumstances this is often plainly indicate God's will in connection with His holy word and spirit. I then ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me thus through prayer to God the study of word and reflection I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge and if my mind is thus at peace and continue so after two or three more petitions I precede according. In trivial matters and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective."
My prayer and hope for you is that as a student of God's word as you present your bodies to him is at holy and acceptable sacrifice as you conform not to the world but transform yourself by the renewing of your mind and study the scriptures that God's will to you will be very real, vibrant and that you will follow His will for your life.
Let's pray. Lord, we thank You for Your word. We thank You that it both challenges and changes us but importantly, Lord, we thank You that it reveals to us the way in which we're suppose to live our lives. Lord, I pray that everyone in here will present themselves to you as a holy and acceptable service. A holy and acceptable sacrifice God. And Lord that as they do so, I pray that You will reveal to them Your holy perfect, good acceptable will that You will guide and that You lead them in all their decisions that they make on a daily basis. Lord, we thank You for Your love and for Your grace. We thank You that you are not willing that any should perish and I pray that we will not be ashamed of who You are and what You've done for our lives. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.