Faithlife Sermons

Wise Counsel

equipU: Principles in your Life - Knowing God's Will  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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This is the 3rd section of knowing God's will where we study the importance of wise counsel.

Notes & Transcripts | Handout | Sermon Questions
Tell story of 1989 movie ‘Field of Dreams’. Ask ‘why doesn’t God speak to us in this way?’ with the answer being ‘he has already spoken to us in Scripture’.

Review of Last Week

What does the Bible say about God’s will?
2 Peter 1:3 - “Everything we need is in Scripture”
Two types of God’s will
God’s Will of Decree - his secret will/hidden will (Deut. 29:29)
God’s Will of Desire - his revealed will. Our duty

Because God’s revealed will usually contains his commands or “precepts” for our moral conduct, God’s revealed will is sometimes also called God’s will of precept or will of command. This revealed will of God is God’s declared will concerning what we should do or what God commands us to do.

On the other hand, God’s secret will usually includes his hidden decrees by which he governs the universe and determines everything that will happen.

Desiring God article on the difference between the two (
We and they [know it was] God's secret will that Abraham should not sacrifice his son, but yet his command was to do it.
[We] do certainly know that God willed that Pharaoh's heart should be hardened, and yet that the hardness of his heart was his sin.
We do know that God willed that [the] Egyptians should hate God's people. Psalms 105:25, "He turned their heart to hate his people and deal subtilely with his servants."
We do know that it was God's will that Absalom should lie with David's wives. 2 Samuel 12:11–12, "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes and give them unto thy neighbor; and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun."
Two most important questions
Is there a God?
If yes, has this God spoken?
We established “yes, he has spoken” therefore we studied the Doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine A. Definition of the Sufficiency of Scripture

The sufficiency of Scripture means that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.

This definition emphasizes that it is in Scripture alone that we are to search for God’s words to us. It also reminds us that God considers what he has told us in the Bible to be enough for us, and that we should rejoice in the great revelation that he has given us and be content with it.

We see this in 2 Timothy 3:16
5 Application Statements
Believers should be lifelong learners
We are to add nothing to the Scriptures
We are not required to believe anything about God that he does not teach us
We should search for God’s will in our life on Scripture alone rather than just prayer or a “gut feeling”
Emphasize what Scripture emphasizes and be content with that
Romans 8:28

What is autonomy?

Autonomy - a self-governing state, self directing freedom, moral independence
Our culture loves to “be their own boss”, LGBTQ Movement, need for the Nashville Statement
In society, takes ownership off of higher government
In software, we love the concept of autonomy or self sustaining software. That’s why AI is both intriguing and terrifying. Facebook robots.
God wants dependence and weakness
From the beginning of Scripture we see that autonomy is against God’s creation
Genesis 2:18
Paul, even when discusses gifts of celibacy, shows the need for community
1 Corinthians 7:6
2 Timothy 4:10,16-18,21
The end of a letter is a peering into the heart of the writer. Most of the time neglected. We see Paul’s eagerness for community

To be autonomous (truly) there must exist perfect government

Government - the continuous exercise of authority
“Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself or prepare himself thereunto.” - 1689 BCF p.57
Romans 5:6; 8:7
Ephesians 2:1,5
We are forever separated from perfect government, perfect obedience, perfect exercise of authority over our own body.

Where there is perfect government (self-government), there exists a “god”

When we speak of this kind of perfection, the only outcome is a “god”
This type of perfection (perfection our eyes have never seen) we see “god”
As outlined in the previous step, we are not perfect nor will we ever be.

When there is “god”, do we see the God of the Scriptures?

Do we see a triune God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
Do we see holy and righteous Father?
Do we see merciful Savior?
Do we see guiding and counseling Spirit?
Mark 10:18
Deuteronomy 32:4
2 Samuel 22:31
Romans 12:2
or do we see ‘deism’? distant god that cannot be defined. do we see the god of Islam? Distant and vengeful. Talk about Nabeel Quereshi “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”

Therefore, if we as believers, believe in the triune God that is revealed to us through the Old & New Testament (Holy Scriptures), then we see (and cannot help but see) that autonomy is reserved for God and God alone.

We as fallen, sinful humans are not designed to be autonomous
In fact, humans exercising autonomy are in direct violation to the counsel of Scripture and are therefore in sin.
Go over self-governing symptoms (
All of us here have fell into one of these categories of self-government/autonomy
There is a great trench of sinfulness that has separated us from God
Tell the story of Derek Walden salvation story. Standing on the beach swimming across the ocean with no works. With works, you have a canoe and a spoon as a paddle
GOSPEL CALL! Lay out it out clearly here

Lloyd-Jones vs. William Wilberforce

Story of William Wilberforce

Lived between 1759-1833
Close friends with William Pitt who was the Prime Minister
Won election in Parliament in 1780
In 1784, he read the book A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law.
Cause him to doubt his unbelief
'Can one serve God and one's nation in parliament?' He wondered whether the two goals might be mutually exclusive.
He discussed the problem with John Newton, the hymn writer who wrote Amazing Grace and a former slave ship captain.
Newton’s response to Wilberforce
‘God has raised you up for the good of the church and the good of the nation, maintain your friendship with Pitt, continue in Parliament, who knows that but for such a time as this God has brought you into public life and has a purpose for you.’
Labored in Parliament for 20 years until the Slave Trade Act of 1807
“Thank goodness he chose that life since he was in line with God’s will.” NO!
The Lord doesn’t drive an ambulance. He doesn’t show up after an accident - Matt Chandler

Story of Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Age of 25, MD, MRCP Royal Colleges
He felt called to be a preacher
They set off for pastoral ministry
He discovered the Puritains
It is not often that I make any kind of personal reference from this pulpit but I feel this morning that I must speak of an experience which bears on this very subject. When I came here, people said to me: ‘Why give up good work – a good profession – after all, the medical profession, why give that up? If you had been a bookie, for instance, and wanted to give that up to preach the gospel, we should understand and agree with you and say that you were doing a grand thing. But medicine – a good profession, healing the sick and relieving pain!’ One man even said this, ‘If you were a solicitor [lawyer] and gave it up, I’d give you a pat on the back, but to give up medicine!’
‘Ah well!’ I felt like saying to them, ‘if you knew more about the work of a doctor, you would understand. We but spend most of our time rendering people fit to go back to their sin!’ I saw men on their sick beds, I spoke to them of their immortal souls, they promised grand things. Then they got better and back they went to their old sin! I saw I was helping these men to sin and I decided that I would do no more of it. I want to heal souls. If a man has a diseased body and his soul is all right, he is all right to the end; but a man with a healthy body and a diseased soul is all right for sixty years or so and then he has to face an eternity of hell. Ah, yes! we have sometimes to give up those which are good for that which is the best of all – the joy of salvation and newness of life.
– pg 80, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The First Forty Years, 1899-1939, by Iain Murray
Talk about the story of the gentleman with the notes in Haggai. He didn’t just end up in Haggai. Someone told him from the beginning that the whole counsel of Scripture is important. Therefore he read it.
Talk about John Calvin’s letter where he delegates his decision-making to the community of elders.

Role of the Church


Break away from autonomy!
The church cannot nurture it’s flock without humble hearts seeking the Lord
Talk briefly on fasting, prayer, and how it shows our human nature. My experience with fasting

2. Ministry to Believers: Nurture. According to Scripture, the church has an obligation to nurture those who are already believers and build them up to maturity in the faith. Paul said that his own goal was not simply to bring people to initial saving faith but to “present every man mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28). And he told the church at Ephesus that God gave the church gifted persons “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12–13). It is clearly contrary to the New Testament pattern to think that our only goal with people is to bring them to initial saving faith. Our goal as a church must be to present to God every Christian “mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28).


Submit yourselves under those who handle the Word of Truth well
2 Timothy 2:15
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine 1. The Purpose of Church Discipline.

the primary purpose of church discipline is to pursue the twofold goal of restoration (of the offender to right behavior) and reconciliation (between believers, and with God).

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Bible Doctrine 1. The Purpose of Church Discipline.

if church members were actively involved in giving private words of gentle admonition and in praying for one another when the first clear evidence of sinful conduct is seen, very little formal church discipline would have to be carried out, because the process would begin and end with a conversation between two people that never becomes known to anyone else.

Submit yourself under the authority of an elder board who has submitted themselves to the authority of Scripture
Church Membership
Discuss the “church hopping” and how it affect community. Also discuss the hierarchy of submission. Creeds and confession are good (1689 confession), but Scripture is above all else.


Scripture References
Proverbs 11:14
Proverbs 12:15

12:15 The fool thinks he knows better than others. The wise person is humble enough to learn from the experience of others and has the ability to discern good counsel (v. 1).

The contrast to this is in Proverbs 12:1 “Alone we get stupid”
Proverbs 15:22
Proverbs 19:20-21
Proverbs 20:18
Psalms 1:1-6
“it was of importance that the righteous should be confirmed in the way of holiness”
Walk, Stand, Sit

The sum of the whole is, that the servants of God must endeavour utterly to abhor the life of ungodly men.

The prophet, therefore, begins with counsel, by which term I understand the wickedness which does not as yet show itself openly. Then he speaks of the way, which is to be understood of the customary mode or manner of living. And he places at the top of the climax the seat, by which metaphorical expression he designates the obduracy produced by the habit of a sinful life.

Psalm 84
Valley of Baca - “Spring to Spring”

The context indicates that the valley is arid but transformed by the presence of the joyful pilgrims.

They will go from strength to strength; implying, that the saints are continually acquiring fresh strength for going up to mount Zion, and continue to prosecute their journey without weariness or fatigue, until they reach the wished-for place, and behold the countenance of God.

Humility to Accept Counsel

Use Seeking God sheet for this section

Counsel from those who follow the Word of truth

Talk about 500 year anniversary of the Reformation. Martin Luther discovered the Word of Truth. When he went to his wise counsel, they tried to lead him away. He knew the Word and was able to distinguish the false Gospel
Johann von Staupitz (
Galatians 1:10
2 Timothy 3:10-11
“followed my teaching”
2 Timothy 2:15-19
“depart from iniquity”
Paul’s final letter to Timothy, his son in the faith
“I charge you”
Repentance but also bad teaching
Your counsel should involve those who handle the word of truth well and think well
People who do not get “it”, I avoid
“Avoid irreverent babble”
Spread like gangrene
Toxic, infectious
Cynism, pessimism
anti-nomialism “free grace”


Michelle and I darting in and out of the service without talking to anyone. Not good enough.

Community Groups at ECBC

Talk about the Mansel community group and the community group in West Ashley. Talk about the amount of theology that we execute on


Talk about you experience with Dave at Man2Man


Put your name on the board and make a sincere request for anyone seeking wise counsel to talk with you. Be a 3 AM friend.

Bible Studies

Talk about your study with Derek Walden on Thursday mornings. Squeeze you like a sponge. Start giving back.
You are never too old to receive counsel or too young to give counsel
Talk about work environment. In a secular environment

4 Principles to Wise Counsel

What brings the most Glory to God?

God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him. - John Piper
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. - Question 1, WSC
Keyword being “in him”
Therefore seek first the Kingdom of God!

What brings you the most benefit?

When you place yourselves in the path of counsel of wise saints, you find yourself in their prayers and in their path of influence
Derek Walden’s sincere prayer. “Help John be all that I am not”

How can you transfer this knowledge to your neighbors?
Prepare Regularly
Observe Patiently
Operate Carefully
Follow Up Regularly
This is important to know because this is something that comes up a lot in Christian circles. Should I buy this house? Take this job? etc. Use Field of Dreams reference

How does wise counsel point us to Christ?

When we seek counsel from those who seek first the Kingdom of God, Christ is glorified

Final Points

Be encouraged. We are all sinners saved by the grace of the cross.
If we enter into wise counsel under that umbrella, God will be glorified and your benefit will come about.
If you are a seasoned church member, look for ways to make it easy for new members
If you are a new member, look for ways to create those 3 AM friends. Put yourself out there
Talk about Michelle and I being introverts. Talk about the Dorrity’s and how they surrounded us
Take ownership and glorify God
I want you to wrestle with this and struggle with this.

Group Discussion

1.) How can you improve in your own life so that you can more adequately give wise counsel?

2.) How can you improve in your own life so that you can more adequately receive wise counsel?

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