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Topical - Will of God

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Introduction:

I.              Found: Gods Will

Introduction: God wants to give your life direction and purpose: Have you ever wondered about the future!  Have you pondered the answers to such Important, life-changing decisions such as, what job to seek, what school to attend, what career path you should pursue, or even whom you should marry?  More than likely, most of us have asked these questions and wondered if God has a definite plan or opinion in the matter.  With that in mind, here is some good news: God is vitally interested in your life, and He does want to lead you in your decisions'

Most of us acknowledge that God has a plan for the life of every believer, but just which way this plan goes is often the problem of some believers. 

1.             Is God a cosmic Easter Bunny?  To some, God appears to be a sort of divine Easter bunny who has stashed His will, like eggs, somewhere out of sight and sent us running through life trying to find it. 

2.             In The Middle Of It All.  In the middle of all this, we still ask the question, "What is the will of God for my life?”  Are there any concrete principles which may be simply stated and actually put into practice?  Yes, there is!

3.             The Search Is Over.  Let's begin with the assumption that God has a will for us, if so, then He must want us to know it.  For us to know it then we could expect Him to communicate it to us in the most obvious way.  How would that be?  Through the Bible, His revelation to us. 

Therefore, I believe that God's will can be found in the pages of His Holy Scriptures, the Word of God.  In the end finding God's will comes down to living out what you read in the Bible and then living by faith.  My prayer is that this study will help fill in some gaps in your search for God's will for your life.

A.           The First Step.

1.            Salvation: You Must Be Saved (2 Peter 3:9).

a)            It is God’s will that you be saved.

(1)           If your stumbling around in life and tossing up some periodic prayers to God but have never come to the foot of the Cross and met Jesus Christ, then you are not even in the beginning of God's will.
(2)           God has no reason to reveal to you anything particular about your life because you have not met qualification number one: SALVATION.
(3)           However, yes, I believe that God can watch over someone’s life before they are saved, protecting them without them even knowing it, but that’s not what I am talking about.
(4)           I am talking about particularly revealing His will to you specifically in your life.

Again… let me remind you that "The Lord is… longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV)

And Paul said, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."  (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

These two verses together assure us that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked: "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord God, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?  “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, " says the Lord God, "Therefore turn and live…!"  (Ezekiel 18:23, 32: 33:11).

b)            God leads His own (John 10:3-4).

(1)           I’ve heard people say: “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the Big Man upstairs.”  Well, in a sense it’s true that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
(2)           Christ is the sustainer of the entire universe, and nobody would be where he is today without Him. 

Jesus said that God "makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”  (Matthew 5:45, NKJV)

(3)           Those blessings of rain are given without respect to merit or deserving.  If they were, no one would receive them.  This is what theologians traditionally have called common grace.
(4)           God’s divine love and providence, in some forms, benefit everyone, even those who rebel against Him or deny His existence.
(5)           But again, as to God personally leading those who have not received Jesus Christ as personal Savior, there is not one line of Scripture that indicates that this ordinarily happens:

Instead we read the very words of Jesus speaking about the Good Shepherd: "And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”  (John 10:3-4).


!!!! c)            Doing the will of God, starts by being related to Jesus.

(1)                 Again, God’s will is that men be saved, and that is where it all starts as well as being related to Jesus.
(2)                 Jesus made this clear in (Mark 3:31–35):
(a)           What was Jesus saying?  He was teaching that in order to be related to Him, one has to do the will of God.  Turn it around.  To do the will of God one has to be related to Jesus.
(b)           See, the doctrine of salvation is unpopular because it includes the recognition of sin.  Nobody likes to admit sin.  And many people resist the idea that they need to be saved.

The Apostle John said "Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”  (1 John 2:15-17, NKJV)

(c)           Who is going to abide forever?  Those who do the will of God.
(d)           Who is the only One who can give eternal life?  Jesus Christ! 

Paul said that "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23).

(3)           Either you are not saved from your sin and you need to come to Christ because that is God's will, or, you are saved and need to reach others with the message of salvation.
(4)           There is a world out there that needs Jesus Christ, God wants them to be saved, and you and I are the vehicles for the transportation of the Gospel.

 

d)            You say you don’t know what God’s will is, here it is:

(1)           First: That you know Christ
(2)           Second: That your neighbors hear about Christ.  That is His will.  God so desired that men be saved that He gave the One whom He loved most, His Son, and sent Him to die on a cross. 
(3)           That is the measure of His love, and that indicates how much He wills that men be saved!


!! B.           The Second Step.

1.            You Must be Spirit Filled (Ephesians 5:17)

a)            Understand what the will of the Lord is.

(1)           As believers-people in God's family-if we do not know God's will, what are we?  Uniformed?  No.  Searching?  No.  We are unwise (Eph.5:17).
(2)           Furthermore, (v.16) tells us we have to get on with it; we don't have much time (v.15-18).

b)            “Redeeming the time” (v.16a).

(1)           I want you to think with me for a moment: In our fast paced day and age, it is common not to finish what we begin:
(a)           It could be a project, a song, a painting, or whatever it is.  Maybe the job did not get done because the worker dies. 
(b)           But usually it is simply the death of a person’s commitment that causes the incompletion.
(c)           For many people, including many Christians, life can be a series of unfinished tasks.
(d)           Those who are truly productive have mastered the use of the hours and days of their lives.  Whether in the artistic, business, personal, or spiritual realm, no one can turn a dream into reality or fully take advantage of opportunity apart from making the most of [his] time.
Definition of Time —    Is not the term for clock time, the continuous time that is measured in hours, minutes, and seconds.  Is the term, which denotes a measured, allocated, fixed season.  "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;" (1 Peter 1:17, NASB95)

Making the most of —  has the basic meaning of buying, especially of buying back or buying out.  It was used of buying a slave in order to set him free; thus the idea of redemption is implied in this verse.  We are to redeem, buy up, all the time that we have and devote it to the Lord.  The Greek is in the middle voice, indicating that we are to buy the time up for ourselves—for our own use but in the Lord’s service.

(e)           God has set boundaries to our lives, and our opportunity for service exists only within those boundaries.  It is significant that the Bible speaks of such times being shortened, but never of their being lengthened.
(f)            A person may die or lose an opportunity (Heb.9:27).

c)            Mary Grasped the Opportunity (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:7)

(1)           The Anointing Was A Grasping Of Opportunity.  The disciples censored Mary and condemned her act, but Christ defended her.  He gave two reasons why Mary’s act was justified.
(a)           Mary’s anointing was a good work, a work poured out upon Him personally; that is, it was a personal gift.  It was not a gift to an idea or program of His.  It was done to Him personally!  Mary’s Love for Jesus grasped the opportune time!
(b)           Mary’s opportunity to show her love for Christ would not always be present.  Christ was soon to be gone and ascended to the Father.  Bodily, He would not be present for Mary to show her love.  The poor would always be present to whom Mary could minister, but not Jesus.  He would be gone.  If she was ever going to demonstrate her love and faith, she had to do it now.  The opportunity had to be grasped now; it would soon be gone (Mark 14:7).


!!!!! (2)           Cause’s For Missing An Opportunity Are Caused By:

(a)           Putting Yourself First (Luke 9:57-10:1-2)
(b)           Making Excuses (Luke 14:16-24)
(c)           Not Willing (Matt.23:37)
(d)           Being To Busy (Luke 2:1-7)—“it came to pass”,”there was no room for them in the inn”
(e)           Being Unprepared (Luke 12:35-40)
(f)            Luke 10:29-37—“he passed on the other side”

(3)           So much of what we do is a waste of time:
(a)           T.V. – sometimes when we sit in front of the T.V. we vegetate. 
(b)           Think about this: how much would Christians impact the World if we took one week of our television time and spent it in prayer?
(c)           Ask God to show you what are the “Time wasters” in your life.

(4)           Radios, tapes, CD’s are one way to not waste time.
(a)           When you’re sitting in traffic, on the way to work, home from work, whatever, you could be learning the Scriptures.  You car could be your own Seminary Classroom!
(b)           Housewives… when doing the responsibilities at home, listen to Bible Studies! 

(5)           The Bible Warns Those Who Think They Will Always Have Time To Do What They Should.
(a)           When Noah and his family entered the ark and God shut the door, the opportunity for any other person to be saved from the flood was gone.
(b)           The five foolish virgins who let their oil run out before the bridegroom came were shut out from the wedding feast (Matt.25:8–10). 
(c)                 Judas, the most tragic example of wasted opportunity, spent three years in the very presence of the Son of God, as one of the inner circle of disciples, yet he betrayed His Lord and forfeited his soul for thirty pieces of silver.

We need to be as the Psalmist and say "Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.”  (Psalm 39:4-5, NKJV)

He goes on to say "Teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12, NKJV)

James warned, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13–14).

d)            “Do not be drunk with wine” (v.18a).

(1)           On the surface this seems to be a strange pairing.  What does being drunk with wine have to do with being filled with the Spirit?
(a)           What is a person seeking when he turns to the bottle?  Sometimes the boldness and confidence to face a difficult situation.  Sometimes he is seeking to escape from his problems. 
(b)           What do you receive when you are filled with the Spirit?  Boldness and confidence to face any situation.  The answer to your problems.
(2)           So, when Paul says, “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit,” he saying, “I don’t want to come under the influence of anything else other than the Spirit of God.” 
(3)           I don’t want to be “led” or “controlled” by this substance, but I want to be “led” or “controlled” by the Spirit of God! 


!!!! e)            Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be lilted with the Spirit...”

(1)           Be filled with the Sprit is more literally rendered as "be being kept filled."  This involves day-by-day, moment-by-moment submission to the Spirit's control.  It is not: something we do but that we allow to be done to us, entirely by the work of the Spirit Himself.
(2)           Filling -Pleroo connotes more than filling something up, as when someone pours water in a glass up to the rim.
(a)           It was used of the wind filling a sail and thereby carrying the ship along.  This indicates that we should be moved along in our Christian life by God Himself, by the same dynamic by which the writers of Scripture were "moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
(b)           It carries the idea of permeation (to spread or flow throughout; pervade.  To pass through openings or small gaps}, and was used of salt's permeating meat in order to flavor and preserve it.  God wants His Holy Spirit to so permeate the lives of His children that everything they think, say, and do will reflect His divine presence.
(c)           It has the connotation of total control.  The person who is filled with sorrow (John 18:6), fear (Luke 5:26), anger (Luke 6:1 1 ), or even Satan (Acts 5:3) is no longer under his own control but under the total control of that which dominates him.

Jesus submitted Himself entirely to the Spirit's control (Matt. 4:1; Mark 1:12).

Our Lord's greatest joy was to do the Father's will, Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”  (John 4:34).

(i)             A glove: Until a glove is filled by a hand, a glove is powerless and useless.  It works only when the hand controls and uses it.

(ii)            Alka-Seltzer: The concentrated, compact power pill is no good as long as it sits on the bottom of the glass.  Put it in the glass of water, and its power is released throughout the water, filling the glass with its purpose in which it was intended.

PLANNED NEGLECT

SOMEONE IS REPORTED TO HAVE ASKED A CONCERT VIOLINIST IN NEW YORK'S CARNEGIE HALL HOW SHE BECAME SO SKILLED. SHE SAID THAT IT WAS BY "PLANNED NEGLECT" SHE PLANNED TO NEGLECT EVERYTHING THAT WAS NOT RELATED TO HER GOAL!

WALK IN THE SPIRIT (Gal. 5:16-18; 24-25)

BEARING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT (GAL 5:22-23)

         


!! C.           The Third Step

1.            The Priority of Purity (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

a)            Four principles on practical purity.

(1)           #1 – Abstain from Fornication (v.3): “that you should abstain from sexual immorality...”  It does not say avoid sex; it says to stay away from sexual sin.  What does this mean?  It means that we should not get involved in sexual acts that are wrong, stay clear from.
(a)           Looking on a woman lustfully is adulterous:

Jesus said “You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery.  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:27-28).

(b)           Spiritual surgery may be needed to avoid immorality:

Jesus also said “if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell (Matt.5:29-30).

(c)           Put to death sexual immorality:

Paul, writing to the church in Colosse said Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you also once walked when you lived in them (Col. 3:5-7)

(d)           You can overcome sins of sexual immorality:

Watching over your heart is the first step, Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life (Prov.4:23).

Sexual sins come from the heart, For out of the heart (Jesus said) proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man...

(e)           Sexual immorality, including premarital sex (fornication), is described in detail as sin against God and your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
(f)            The sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God:

Paul said Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

(2)           #2 – Control your body (v.4): “...that each of you should know how to posses his own vessel in sanctification and honor,” The Greek has two possible meanings for the word vessel:
(a)           "wife" or "body" - Contextually, I take it to mean "body."
(b)           Paul is saying that we are to control are bodies, honoring God. This includes:

(i)             -Controlling the way we dress- A person can dishonor God by overdressing to attract attention to oneself.

(3)           #3 – Subdue your passions (v.5): “not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” What is Paul saying?  Don't act like the rest of the world-they are guided by their passions.
(a)           Eve's sin began with lusting (Gen.3:6).
(b)           Don't think about how to gratify the sinful nature (Rom.13:14).
(c)           Say no to ungodly passions (Titus 2:11-12).
(d)           Don’t conform to evil desires, but be holy. 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 Peter 2:11
(e)           Christ came to save us from lust and evil desires. Eph. 2:4-5
(f)            Live by the Spirit to overcome the lusts of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
(g)           Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires. Rom. 8:5-8


!!!!! (4)           #4 – Treat others fairly (v.6): “. . . that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.”  In other words don't take advantage of people.

(a)           In sexual matters
(b)           In business matters; trying to climb the ladder of success-
(c)           You might say," I don't like these rules" Verse 8 says, "he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit."
(d)           If you mistreat people, you really mistreat and despise God!

IT HAS BEEN SAID:

Do not forget the inner man, the heart. The cavalry officer knows that his life depends upon his saber, so he keeps it clean. Every stain he wipes off with the greatest care. Christians, We are God's chosen instrument. According to our purity, so shall be our success. "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for ever good work" (2 Tim. 2:20-21). It is not great talent: it is not great ideas that God uses; it is great likeness to Jesus Christ. A holy man is an awesome weapon in the hand of God!

4. Silencing The Critics: SUBMISSION

Picture a young man who is very earnestly wanting to know God's will for his life's work. He's so dedicated to God that he's even willing to be a missionary, which seems to be the ultimate sacrifice in the eyes of some people. But, despite his dedication, he is a little headstrong -(determined to have one's own way) - he seems to have trouble getting along with those in authority over him.

Finally, our young seeker-after-God's will takes his problem to a wise old pastor. "I believe God wants me to be a missionary," he says, "but I'm not sure whether He wants me to be a home missionary or a foreign missionary." The Pastor looks him straight in the eye. "Young man," he says, "what you need to be first of all is a 'submissionary.' You need to learn what submission means." Hard words? Perhaps. But true.

THE APOSTLE PETER WROTE:

-1 Peter 2:13-15 “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordnance 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-...”

What is it that God wills us to do? Submit!

What kind of submission is He talking about?

The kind of submission that makes you the best possible citizen in the society in which we live. Why? Because we are ambassadors, representatives of Jesus Christ:

It is our responsibility to advertise God's virtues:

Peter wrote:

"you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..”. (1 Peter 2:9).

Jesus said in Acts 1:8:

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

So, in advertising God's virtues, it is especially true when it comes to our relationship to government and people in authority.

Example: Daniel & his three friends (Daniel 1)

They disobeyed the law when they refused to obey the king's dietary regulations.

But they way they did it proved that they honored the king and respected the authorities.

§  Obedience to our God

§  But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested (not rebelled) of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."

Daniel here appears to be a humble man and asks permission for a ten day trial, rather than a brash and self-asserting individual.

They were careful not to embarrass the official in charge or get him into trouble, yet they stood there ground.

They glorified God and, at the same time, honored the authority of the king.

The Apostles in Acts 4-5

The Jewish Council commanded them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and his associates refused to obey saying:

“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:18-20).

In Acts 5:28-29 the high priest asked them saying,

"Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!" Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

In Daniel 6 there was a decree to be made in writing, so that no one could petition any god or man for thirty days, except the king. And this decree could not be altered or changed once in writing. Verse 10 says:

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days."

Here we see Daniel's love for His God, and custom for prayer:

§  Daniel did not alter the pattern of his life to any degree due to this decree-

§  He did not comprise his pattern of prayer and hide away into some secret place and pray-

§  He simply continued the pattern of prayer which he had practiced for some time-

§  The reason he prayed three times a day related to the custom of the Jews to pray in the morning, noon and evening times. This pattern is seen in the life of David as well in (Ps. 55:16-17).

"As for me, I will call upon God, And the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud."

The only time a believer is ever to violate the law of the land is when the law either forbids him to do what he has been told to do by direct command from God or commands him to do what God forbids.

If you happen to be employed by somebody, we are to:

“... be submissive to your masters with all fear,...” (1 Peter 2:18).

But you might say, "You just don't understand my boss, he's…” The Scripture continues:

“... not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. “   (1 Peter 2:18b) Do you have a harsh boss? What are you to do? Submit lovingly and willfully.

The Apostle calls us who are Christians working for non-Christian employers to give them and honest day's work for a day's pay and show them that is the norm for a Christian.

-Ephesians 6:5-8 says-

“Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free."

What is the point of all this?

God wants us to be the kind of citizens in the world who will draw the attention of the world, and this involves submission, which is clearly commanded in the Scripture.

Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16,

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Let us be different, let us be submissive.

5. Head On With The World: SUFFERING

Many would-be followers of Jesus come to Him with dreams of greatness, which are good in their place. Jesus put down the disciples for arguing about which of them would be greatest, and told them that real greatness centers in being of service to others.

Jesus said, "If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:33-35). But Jesus also encouraged their aspirations-(a desire for achievement)- for greatness with such statements as, "You who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit everlasting life." (Matt. 19:28,29).

In God's will, greatness follows along behind suffering, often far behind. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Philippians:

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (highlighting mine), that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:6-11).

If a man signs on with Jesus with greatness in mind, he better be aware that suffering comes first.

One man came to Jesus claiming he wanted to do the Lord's will.

"Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." he declared.

-Jesus replied, ""Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Luke 9:57-58. He wanted this would be-follower to know that the will of God involves suffering.

The Apostle wrote:

"But May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you”

That is why the Apostle Peter wrote about "them that suffer according to the will of God" (1 Peter 4:19).

Someone may say, "Boy, I do suffer. I bear a real cross. My parents are my cross, or my husband or my wife is my cross, or my mother-in-law is my cross." This is not the kind of suffering Peter was talking about.

Peter wrote, "For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." (1 Peter 3:17). We are not to suffer because we have failed to be the right kind of person, by being antagonistic, grumpy, grouchy, or out of whack somewhere, but we should suffer for doing what is right.

Peter said, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." (1 Peter 4:12-15).

Paul wrote, "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).

Peter continued in his epistle saying, "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, and evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." (1 Peter 4:14-16).

Listen to the words of Jesus, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt. 5:10-12).

Do you see what is being said in these passages? If you are a Christian who is living a godly life in an ungodly world, you will suffer. Paul wrote to Timothy saying,

"All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." (2 Tim. 3:12).

Let us consider the words of Paul as recorded in Philippians 1:29:

"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."

Here is something shocking - Suffering is linked with faith!!!!

Paul tells us that this conflict is "granted" to us-it is a gift!

If we were suffering for ourselves, it would be no privilege: but because we are suffering for and with Christ, it is a high and holy honor. After all. He suffered for us, and a willingness to suffer for Him is the very least we can do to show our love and gratitude.

J. Vernon McGee puts it this way: "When you get to the place where He lets you suffer for Him, you have arrived-that is the high calling of Christ Jesus."

Paul calls this -"the fellowship of His sufferings"- (Phil. 3:10).

-Acts 16- Paul and Silas had many stripes laid upon them and thrown into prison for casting out a spirit of divination in a girl? What was the outcome? A Philippian jailer was saved and his household.

-Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)

As Christians we should never water down the Gospel. If the truth offends, so be it! Then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.

-In his letter to the Colossians, Paul rejoiced about his suffering:

“I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church." (Col. 1:24).

-Going back to Philippians Paul said:

“Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all" (2:17).

What does all of this mean? The world would like to get at Jesus. They do not persecute Christians because they dislike them; they persecute Christians because they dislike Jesus. They can't get at Him because He is in heaven, so they get at you and me!

-Paul said,

"For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus" (Galatians 6:17).

"From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen,, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches." (2 Cor. 11:24-28).

-Let me leave you with one more Scripture:

-Jesus said,

"In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Are you willing to suffer for Him who suffered for you? Are you willing to confront the world? If so then "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).

-Remember our Heavenly Father is "the Lord of heaven and earth" (Matt. 11:25). With that kind of Father, we have no need to worry! He is the "faithful" Creator, and His faithfulness will not fail.

Tag, You're It! THE FINAL PRINCIPLE

So, here we have it. God's will is that you be Saved, Spirit Filled, Sanctified, Submissive, and Suffering. God's Holy Scripture makes this very clear. Do not read on until you have grasped these five principles!

OK, here we go, ready, hold on to your seat! IF- you are doing all five of the basic things, do you know what the next principle of God's will is?

Do What Ever You Want!- If those Five Elements of God's will are operating in your life, who is running your wants? I will give you one guess. That's right, God is!

The Psalmist said,

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart." (Ps. 37:4).

God does not say He will fulfill all the desires that are there. He says He will put the desires there! If you are living a godly life, He will give you the right desires.

Psalm 1 says,

• "Blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."

When we let "the Words of Christ dwell in us richly" "Working out our own salvation with fear and trembling", and walking in those "good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them", because "we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus", guess what? God is working "in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

The principle is that God must work "in" us before He can word "through" us. Remember, God has a plan for your life and he is vitally interested in leading you in this plan. The Lord said in Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” If the workman is what he ought to be, the work will be what it ought to be. You see the will of God is not primarily a place. The will of God is not, first of all, for you to go there or work over here. The will of God concerns you as a person, God is more interested in "the workman" than in the work. If the workman, you, are what you ought to be, than you can follow your desires and you will fulfill His will.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodes a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect win of God" (Romans 121-2).

And remember that as you walk with the Lord trust in Him "with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5,6)

And by the way, along the path of life “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1Thess.5:18)

May the Lord richly bless you as you walk in His ways.'

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