Intro. Paul the apostle is recounting to the multitude who were just trying to kill him, his conversion to Christianity. He has told them of His encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and how that a devout man Ananias came to him and prayed for him to receive his sight, for he had been blinded by the brightness of the light of the presence of Jesus. Ananias then told him.
I. THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS HAS CHOSEN YOU.
A. The God of our Fathers was to identify which God he was speaking about.
1. When God called Moses to go to the Pharaoh to demand the release of the people, Moses asked, "And when the people ask me who sent you to deliver us, what shall I answer them?" God said tell them the God of their fathers, I AM that I AM has sent you.
2. It was necessary to define which God they were speaking about, for the people of those days lived much closer to reality than we do today, and they recognized that men had many different gods.
3. Today many are trying to pass themselves off as agnostics, or atheists. The man who says that he is an atheist is ignorant and out of touch with reality, there are no atheists. When a man says that he is an atheist, he is usually just saying that he does not believe in the God of the Bible, but he worships a god.
4. God is not a name, it is the title of the master passion of a persons life. Every man is mastered by some passion, whatever that passion may be is your god.
B. Has chosen you.
1. Jesus said to His disciples, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and ordained that you should be My disciples, and that you should bring forth fruit, and that your fruit might remain."
a. If any of them were having problems with self esteem, that should have settled it right there.
b. If you are having problems with self esteem, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to have it built up just become a disciple of Jesus and hear Him say to you, "I have chosen you."
2. As Paul began to list the spiritual blessings that we have in Christ Jesus, he topped the list with the fact that we were chosen in Jesus before the foundation of the world.
3. What a thrill it is for me to know that God has chosen me. God loved me so much and esteemed me so highly that he choose to spend eternity with me.
4. On what basis has God chosen us?
5. God said to the prophet Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you, and before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you and ordained you as a prophet unto the nations."
a. This means that God chose him on the basis of His foreknowledge.
b. Paul told the Galatians that God separated him from his mother's womb and called him by His grace.
c. God told the nation of Israel He chose them because He loved them.
II. GOD HAD CHOSEN THAT PAUL SHOULD KNOW HIS WILL.
A. Do you know the will of God for your life?
1. This should be of great concern to you.
a. Everything that you do in life is vain and empty if it is not according to God's will.
b. Some are living only for this present life, they love the world. Listen to the warning of John,
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.
For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
c. Note, "He that doeth the will of God abideth forever."
d. Look back on your life, what have you accomplished? Of the things that you have accomplished, how many have any eternal value?
e. Only one life, twill soon be past, and only what's done for Christ will last.
f. Someone asked the son of a wealthy man who had just died, "How much did your dad leave?" He answered, "Everything."
g. You have heard it said, "You can't take it with you." very true, but you can send some ahead.
2. Some people never take into consideration what God's will for their life might be.
a. They live as though God did not matter.
b. They bury their God given talents thinking that it doesn't matter.
c. What a sad and tragic day when they stand before the Lord the judge of the earth and they hear Him say to them. "You wicked and slothful servant." And to those standing by He will say, "Take the unprofitable servant and cast him into outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
B. What was the will of the Lord for Paul?
1. That he should be an apostle to the Gentiles.
a. To open their eyes.
b. To turn them from darkness to light.
c. To deliver them from the power of Satan.
d. To bring them to God.
C. What is the will of God for your life? I can help you to start.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
Living honestly among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
D. How can you discover the specific will of God for your life?
1. In Romans 12:1
Paul said, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as living sacrifices unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you might prove what is the good and acceptable will of God for your life."
a. Present your body to God. Here is my body God use it for your purposes.
b. Don't be conformed to this world. The worlds way is to live a selfish, self centered life getting all that you can for yourself.
c. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Paul spoke of reasonable service. Now he speaks of the renewing of your mind. Think about it, it makes sense to present your body to God, to live for the eternal values. The problem with most people is that they do not take eternity in view. What are the eternal ramifications or consequences of my actions.
2. You discover the will of God by actively seeking the will of God.
a. As you offer your body to God that He might use it as an instrument to do His work, when in your mind you desire God's will for your life above everything else, your life will then become a progressive manifestation of the will of God.
b. Grow where God has planted you. Whatever you are doing, do it as unto the Lord. If you are not where God wants you, He will move you.
3. God may test your resolve. Do you really want to do His will?
a. There may be things in your heart that you do not know.
b. God often gives tests that He might prove you. Not to prove to Him, but to prove to you, and to show you just what is in your heart.
c. Diogenes the philosopher lived at the same time as Alexander the great. It is said of him that he was content to live in a tub, whereas Alexander the great was discontent with conquering of the world. One day Alexander came to Diogenes and said, I admire you above all men and I devote myself to be your disciple. Whereupon Diogenes handed him two dead fish and told him to carry them in his pocket for two weeks, and he could become his disciple. Alexander walked away in disgust, and Diogenes said, "Such great devotion, all dissipated over two dead fish."
4. God showed Paul that to do his will would involve much sacrifice and suffering, but He also showed him the eternal rewards of being faithful.
a. Hardship now, but eternal glory.
b. He promised to stand by Paul in every hardship. I will never leave you or forsake you.
c. The present suffering is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.
For we know that when our earthly house, or body [this] tent is dissolved, we have a building of God, an house, (Jesus called it a mansion) not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our body which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For we that are in [this] tent do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.