Faithlife Sermons

Where is God leading me?

GO  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes
Transcript
Handout
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Good morning and welcome to The Bridge!
WOw what an exciting week we’ve had!
Absolutely loved baptizing all these individuals this morning! It’s so exciting what God is doing in people’s lives here at The Bridge!
We often find ourselves afraid of moving forward because of past mistakes or current uncertainty.
STORY: Dad, where are you taking us?
We started out like we always did. Walking through the tobacco fields. Sometimes we’d head left at the big barn at the end of the field, cross a couple of roads, climb a fence, and head down a big hill to what we called The Cow Pond.
Other times, we’d head past the barn, down a dirt road take a left down an old logging trail and make our way to what we called The Row Boat Pond.
Still other times we’d take a right at the barn and walk about 2 miles down a long dirt road and then take a right just past the chicken farm and head down another long grassy road with big ruts on either side and make our way to what we called The Dillard Pond.
But one particular day…as we were scurrying ahead, and hurrying to our favorite fishing hole, my dad stops about 3/4 of the way through the tobacco field and hangs a right into the woods. One of my brothers called out to the rest of us… What? Where’s dad going? We’ve never gone this way before! He didn’t say anything, but it was clear. We had assumed we were going one place, but he was taking us some place different. Or at the very least, he was taking us on a different route to get to some place familiar...
After about a 20 minute trek over the hills, through the woods, and past Grandmas’s house, we started asking, Dad where are you taking us?? He turned to us, smile, and kinda dared us with his eyes to keep following him. About 5 minutes later we stepped out of the woods and entered a clearing and sure enough a beautiful pond lay before us.
Being remote, this pond clearly didn’t see much action. So we got our machetes out, cleared several nice fishing spots and threw our lines in the water. We must have all caught at least 2 large mouth bass that day. It became one of our favorite ponds affectionately known as: The Bass Pond.
The Christian life is like that. God is walking with us, leading us from point A to point B. He knows where he’s going and it may not be to the same ‘ol places he’s always taken us. He sees the big picture and he knows all the ways to get us to where he wants us to be.
The problem is, we don’t always see the Big Picture and God rarely passes out detailed road maps.
Life is full of choices and challenges and in order to navigate those with wisdom and joy we have to develop the ability to determine the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.
Acts 16:1–10 CSB
1 Paul went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek. 2 The brothers and sisters at Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to go with him; so he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, since they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they traveled through the towns, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem for the people to observe. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. 6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 Passing by Mysia they went down to Troas. 9 During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
Acts 16:
STORY: Dad, where are you taking us?
We started out like we always did. Walking through the tobacco fields. Sometimes we’d head left at the big barn at the end of the field, cross a couple of roads, climb a fence, and head down a big hill to what we called The Cow Pond.
Other times, we’d head past the barn, down a dirt road take a left down an old logging trail and make our way to what we called The Row Boat Pond.
Still other times we’d take a right at the barn and walk about 2 miles down a long dirt road and then take a right just past the chicken farm and head down another long grassy road with big ruts on either side and make our way to what we called The Dillard Pond.
But one particular day…as we were scurrying ahead, and hurrying to our favorite fishing hole, my dad stops about 3/4 of the way through the tobacco field and hangs a right into the woods. One of my brothers called out to the rest of us… What? Where’s dad going? We’ve never gone this way before! He didn’t say anything, but it was clear. We had assumed we were going one place, but he was taking us some place different. Or at the very least, he was taking us on a different route to get to some place familiar...
After about a 20 minute trek over the hills, through the woods, and past Grandmas’s house, we started asking, Dad where are you taking us?? He turned to us, smile, and kinda dared us with his eyes to keep following him. About 5 minutes later we stepped out of the woods and entered a clearing and sure enough a beautiful pond lay before us.
Being remote, this pond clearly didn’t see much action. So we got our machetes out, cleared several nice fishing spots and threw our lines in the water. We must have all caught at least 2 large mouth bass that day. It became one of our favorite ponds affectionately known as: The Bass Pond.
The Christian life is like that. God is walking with us, leading us from point A to point B. He knows where he’s going and it may not be to the same ‘ol places he’s always taken us. He sees the big picture and he knows all the ways to get us to where he wants us to be.
The problem is, we don’t always see the Big Picture and God rarely passes out detailed road maps.
Life is full of choices and challenges and in order to navigate those with wisdom and joy we have to develop the ability to determine the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.
I want to show you a picture of a windmill:
Did you know windmills have been around for centuries? They were first constructed in the region we call Iran today, and they date all the way back to 200 B.C. Recently, windmills have become a major source of energy throughout the world. These windmills work to harness the invisible, weightless, formless, and powerful force of the wind.
Think about that for a moment. You can’t see the wind, but you can see the effects of the wind. You can’t grab the wind but you can harness its power. Jesus hinted at this and foreshadowed the work of the Holy Spirit.
John 3:8 CSB
8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Like the wind, God’s spirit is invisible, weightless, formless—and immeasurably powerful.
God created the world through the Spirit’s power.
Jesus performed miracles, endured the cross, and rose from the dead by the Spirit’s power.
And through that same power, God moves in the lives of people completely transforming their lives, helping them impact others, and ultimately glorifying God.
Jesus gave every believer this gift. The Holy Spirit, God, living inside of us but we have put ourselves under the Spirit’s control.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Where is God leading me?” Today’s a good day to tune in…The reason we have been given the Holy Spirit is so He can guide us to discover and do the will of God.
Upon reading this passage of scripture, it’s impossible to overlook the direct influence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Paul, Silas, Timothy and the writer, Luke.
“We made efforts to set out...”
And this is the main point of this passage. There’s not a step by step formula for you to follow to stay on course. There’s a person who is invisible, weightless, formless, but immeasurably powerful and he has a name: Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit wants to be our closest friend, yet we have limited His involvement in our daily lives.
“God had called us...”

The Holy Spirit wants to be our closest friend, yet we often limit His involvement in our daily lives.

Can you point to any wasted portions of your life? I can think of when I was in high school. I wasted so much potential. I wasted so much time. I wasted so many opportunities to learn and to grow.
Can you recall moments in your life when you made unwise decisions?
Can you think of any periods of sleepiness and sluggishness in your life?
The Hoy Spirit wants to be your friend and He wants to be involved in your day-to-day!
But here’s what you need to understand from this passage we just read together.
The Holy Spirit is God living inside of you directing you to make choices and take actions that will change your life, impact others, and glorify God.
Paul & his team had a close friendship with the Holy Spirit and this passage we read together this morning shows how that friendship works to change us, direct us, and use us for God’s glory!

Paul & Silas were on the move.

Acts 15:40–41 CSB
40 But Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended by the brothers and sisters to the grace of the Lord. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Acts 15:
Acts 16:1 CSB
1 Paul went on to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a believing Jewish woman, but his father was a Greek.
Acts 16:1
“You can’t be led by the Holy Spirit if your legs aren’t moving, if your hands aren’t serving, if your eyes aren’t seeing, if your heart isn’t giving...”
In other words you can’t be led by God if you refuse to be led by God. God wants to lead you. He wants to walk through life with you. But some of you are standing still and it’s time to get going.
I’m in my mid-thirties now and when it comes to the big-picture of my life I have a pretty good idea of what God wants me to do.
He wants me to be a strong and faithful husband.
He wants me to a loving, caring, and present father.
He wants me to be a pastor to people. That is, to disciple them and help them discover their God-given talents and to motivate them to put God first in their lives.
Specifically he wants me to Pastor The Bridge Church and lead our ministry connecting others to the love of Jesus.
He wants me to be a good friend.
He wants me to serve others.
But it wasn’t always that way. When I was 18 all i knew was that I loved God and God loved people and if I was going to love God I was going to have to love people. So I got moving...
I allowed God to use me in being a good friend.
I said “yes” to God whenever there was an opportunity to serve others.
I volunteered. I worked multiple jobs and served in a variety of ministries in a local church wherever I was.
I didn’t know everything! But I knew that God was always on the move. Always working. And if I was going to be led by God, I had to be on the move. I had to be on my feet. I had to be active. I had to be on the move. I was determined to be led by God’s spirit. I didn’t know exactly where he was leading so I just went in the direction of love and service.
When the disciples walked around with Jesus for 3 and 1/2 years, they didn’t busy themselves doing their own thing, they got beside Jesus and went wherever he went. And Jesus took them to a whole lot of places. Places they never would’ve gone to had they not simply made the decision to be on the move serving, listening, learning, watching, looking for opportunities to do whatever Jesus was doing!
So Paul and Silas were on the move. They were determined to be led by the Holy Spirit. And he was leading them. While they were on the move, he led them to a young man named Timothy.
Paul & Silas take young Timothy as an intern and invest in him.
This was orchestrated by God! This was no chance meeting. Running into Timothy would impact the nature of this entire journey!
Timothy’s mom was a Jew.
Timothy’s dad was a greek.
Timothy’s mom was a believer.
Timothy’s dad was out of the picture.
So the Holy Spirit did some neat things here.
He brought a godly man into the life of a man who didn’t have a father figure to look up to and to learn from.
He gave Paul, who had no son or biological family, a son in Timothy. Someone to love, mentor, and pour into.
He gave Paul and Silas a tool for ministry in Timothy.
Because Timothy was 1/2 Jew he could relate to the Jews.
Because Timothy was 1/2 Greek he could relate to the Gentiles.
Because he was young, he could relate to the young people.
Because he grew up in a single parent household he could relate to the fatherless.
Because his mother was single, he could understand the single moms out there and he could sympathize with the widows.
So now it’s Paul, Silas, Timothy and Luke the writer of course, on the move.
Paul says “wait a minute.” Timothy you’re 1/2 Jew and we’re in a very Jewish area. And all these people know you’re 1/2 Greek. It may be wise for you to become circumcised like the Jews in order to reach them with the gospel.
Hold on now! “I thought you said, it was Jesus plus nothing else! I thought the issue of circumcision was settled.” It was and it is. The wasn’t a matter of works based religion this was a matter of wise living.
While they were moving, the Holy Spirit led them to Timothy and now he’s leading Timothy to consider what’s right to do in this particular scenario.
That’s what the Holy Spirit does. As we’re on the move. As we’re saying “yes” to him. As we’re being led by Him He helps us understand that what we have the right to do and what the right thing to do is are not always the same thing.
Timothy had the right to be uncircumcised. No need for that. He was saved by grace through faith. But He was filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit so when Timothy had a choice between what was right to do and what he had the right to do, He made the right choice.
He considered the needs of others above his own needs! See Timothy had God living in him. The Holy Spirit directing him to make choices and take actions that would change his life, impact others, and glorify God!
And look at the result.
Acts 16:5 CSB
5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Acts 16:
This is what the Spirit does. HE changes things!

The Spirit produces transformation.

“strengthened in the faith...”
This is what happens when we get moving and determine to be led by the Holy Spirit. He changes our lives and makes us more like Jesus. God loves you just as you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way you are.!
ILLUSTRATION: When I was 18, working at Chick Fil A during college, a man came into the store and told us someone had left a box of puppies outside during the snow storm! I sent a worker out to check on him and he came and got me and said, “You’ve gotta see this” I went and my heart broke. I loved every single one of those puppies, but they were bleeding, bruised, had broken bones, and there were 18 puppies piled on top of each other in a tiny little box! I called my owner/operator and said, “I’m going to send one of our workers around the mall with the box so we can find a home for all these puppies.” He said, “Go for it.”
After 2 hours, the mall was closing and everyone was leaving and there was still one puppy left.
His eyes were swollen shut. He couldn’t walk. He was whimpering. He was still shivering. My heart broke for him. We already had two dogs. I knew if I took him home my dad was not going to be thrilled. But I loved him too much to leave him there.
So I took him home. I cleaned up his wounds. I put splinters on his tiny little legs. I fed him out of a baby bottle for weeks! And pretty soon he was a transformed dog.

The Spirit facilitates salvation.

“grew daily in numbers...” The context is that their growth was a result of people receiving the free gift of salvation in Jesus.
You know the Spirit’s leading you when you see transformation and the fruit of salvation!
They were determined to be led by the Holy Spirit!
They kept moving. They kept serving. They kept sharing the gospel.
They went through Phrygia & Galatia. Look at this...
They were about to go to a new place...
Acts 16:6 CSB
6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Acts 16:6 CSB
6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
Acts 16:7 CSB
7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Acts 16:
Acts 16:7
So what did they do? Did they wallow in self pity? Did they complain? Did they tell God, “We never get to do what I want to do?” No, they were determined to be led by the Holy Spirit so they made a plan and they kept moving. They were excited. Change of plans, no problem. We’ll just do something else. We’ll keep depending on God.
Uh oh!!!
Acts 16:
Acts 16:7 CSB
7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
Okay, God, you can close one door but now another door is closed?! I don’t know about this! But what they did do? They kept on moving. They kept on serving. They kept on depending on the Holy Spirit. Finally, they’re resting in Troas and Paul has a vision...
Acts 16:9 CSB
9 During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!”
Paul was determined to be led by the Holy Spirit. Paul was depending on the Holy Spirit every step of the way, even through closed doors. And now the Holy Spirit burdened Paul with a heart for the people in Macedonia.
After the determination. After the dependence. They get some formal direction. Got put a burden on Paul’s heart. He put a burning passion in his soul for the people in Macedonia.
And so what they do? Do they wait? Do they ask God, “Do you really want us to serve those people?” Nope.
They were determined.
They were dependent.
They were now directed by The Holy Spirit.
And so what they do? Do they wait? Do they ask God, “Do you really want us to serve those people?” Nope. Do they make excuses? Nope. They got moving in the direction they sensed God leading them.
God directs us when we surrender to Him and his guidance.
Takeaways.

Determine to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s direction.

Start moving in the direction you sense God leading you.

Ephesians 5:15–18 CSB
15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit:
Ephesians 5:18 CSB
18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit:
Ephesians
Ephesians 5:
What does it mean to be filled? It means to be controlled. Choose today to invite the Holy Spirit into your day to day and watch how his friendship transforms even the smallest details of your life.
I’ve suggested this before, but it bears repeating...
Every morning when you get up, start with this agenda...
“Lord for the next 24 hours, I’m yours! You can do with me whatever you want and take me wherever you want, because the only thing that matters is your will for me. Fill me with your Spirit today.”
Related Media
Related Sermons