"GOD'S WILL FOR YOU"
I. "THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS CONCERNING YOU."
A. I believe that the one question that is asked most often by sincere, committed believers is, "How can I know the will of God for my life?"
1. When this question is asked I think that people are wanting to know what career God is wanting them to follow.
2. Perhaps where God wants them to live.
B. The servants of Jesus in the Bible seemed to have a very clear sense of leading and direction.
1. The Lord told Philip to leave the revival in Samaria and go down to Gaza. We don't know just how the Lord gave him instructions.
2. Paul had a very dramatic encounter with Jesus when he was on the road to Damascus, and that was the beginning of the very precise and direct leading of Holy Spirit in guiding his life and ministry.
3. Peter was led by a vision to take the gospel to the Gentiles.
4. I would like to have a similar experience to those of the Apostles, where the will of God was spelled out very specifically for my life, but such has not been the case.
5. I often step out in faith and hope and pray that it is the will of God.
6. It seems that the Lord is content to just let us walk by faith.
7. I may not get direct leading on where or when I am to move, but I can be assured of the will of God for me in some things.
a. It is the will of God that I confess Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life, for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
b. I know that it is the will of God that I walk in love.
c. I know that it is God's will that I am forgiving.
II. IN OUR TEXT PAUL TELLS US SOMETHING ELSE THAT WE CAN DO, AND KNOW THAT IT
IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR OUR LIVES.
A. "In everything give thanks."
1. He did not say in some things give thanks.
a. This is what we are prone to do. We sort of pick and choose the things that we are thankful for, and there are other things that we wish to complain about.
b. Should we happen to win the Readers Digest sweepstakes, we would think it cause for thanksgiving.
c. But if we are dismissed from our job then this is something to complain to God about.
2. This is one of those scriptures that we seek to look to the Greek text to find if it doesn't give us some out, but unfortunately the Greek word for everything means everything, and the word thanks means thanks.
3. Another problem is that this is not the only place in the scriptures where we are commanded to do this.
a. To the Philippians Paul wrote, "In all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God."
b. To the Colossians he wrote, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
B. I would like to suggest that this commandment is not possible for us to obey in the natural.
1. We look at some experiences in life as blessings and are willing to give thanks for them.
2. There are other experiences of life that we look upon as a curse and we are not ready to give thanks for them.
C. I must know and be assured of certain truths before I can obey such as command.
1. I must know that God is in control of all of the circumstances that I face in life.
a. Nothing happens to me unless God has allowed it to happen.
b. If God has allowed it to happen, He has a good reason for it happening.
2. I must believe that passage of scripture that declares, "All things work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose." Again that is not some things but all things.
a. So if God has allowed it to happen, the ultimate outcome will be good.
b. God does not promise us immunity from pain and sorrow in this life.
c. Quite the contrary, "They who live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
d. Jesus said to His disciples, "In this world you will have tribulation."
e. To live a Godly life will put you at odds with this world.
f. Peter said to not consider it strange concerning the fiery trials that are to try us.
g. He also said that if we suffered according to the will of God we should just commit our souls unto Him as unto a faithful creator.
h. This has been true throughout history.
1. Stephen challenged the Jewish council, "Which of the prophets of God have your fathers not persecuted they killed those who prophesied the coming of the Messiah."
2. When the Book of Hebrews speaks of the men of faith that lived in the Old Testament times, it says of them,
And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith,
i. The scriptures have special promises for those who suffer for the cause of Christ.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
3. I must know that God loves me.
a. He loves me as a father loves his child.
b. He only has my greatest good in mind.
c. He loves me so much that He sent His only Son to redeem me from my sin.
d. His ultimate purpose for me is to spend eternity with Him in the glories of His kingdom.
e. Thus as He works in my life, He always has eternity in view.
j. He is thus not adverse to allowing me to suffer for a short time now, that I might have the eternal joys with Him.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
III. HOW WRONG IT IS FOR ME TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY CIRCUMSTANCES.
A. This was one of the great sins of the children of Israel as they went through their wilderness experiences. They murmured against God.
1. This often leads to false and spurious charges against God.
a. I don't belie that God loves me.
b. I suppose that Jesus could have thought that as He was hanging there on the cross, but because of the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross though He despised the shame.
c. I don't believe that God even cares what happens to me.
2. One of the great examples for us in the scriptures is Job.
a. In all of these things he did not curse God or charge God foolishly.
b. Though we may not curse God, I think that often a person is guilty of charging God foolishly.
B. What should I do when pain or suffering comes my way?
1. In everything give thanks.
a. Know that God is working out an eternal good through this experience.
b. Many of the past experiences of my life where I complained to God about my circumstances and challenged His love for me, I now look back upon as some of the greatest experiences of my life, for I can now see what God had in mind for those hard times.
2. Commit the keeping of your life to Him.
a. My life is in His hands.
b. He is in control.
c. He is still on the throne.