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Discovering God’s Will: Presuppositions

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   May 25, 2008

Discovering God’s Will: Presuppositions

Various   |   Shaun LePage   |   May 25, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    The subject of God’s will has been on my mind lately; coming up in conversations; at the heart of consolidation decision; flashed through my mind as I read about 5-year-old daughter of Stephen Curtis Chapman killed; China earthquake 60,000 dead

B.    If you’re like me, you have questions; Swindoll Mystery of God’s Will, p.4

C.    Not all questions will have answers, but the answers we do have are enough;

D.    J. I. Packer: “Belief that divine guidance is real rests upon two foundation-facts: first, the reality of God’s plan for us; second, the ability of God to communicate with us. On both these facts the Bible has much to say.”

E.     Let’s explore together; this morning: some presuppositions about God’s will

II.     Body—4 terms related; some overlap—

A.    God’s revealed will is understandable.

1.     We are not in the dark! God has a will and we can know it! He has made His will known specifically in the Scriptures: Mt 6:10 (assumes we can know God’s will); Ep 5:17—a command! 1 Jn 5:14—assumes we can understand it; Heb 1:1-3—revealed through Christ

2.     Doctrine: “perspicuity” of Scripture—intelligible, understandable; logical—if God revealed His will, He would not make it unintelligible

3.     Ps 1:1-2—Delight in God’s Word Why? To discover God’s will! 2Ti 2:15; Dt 6:7 (pass it on to the next generation)

B.    God’s sovereign will is unfathomable.

1.     It will come to pass. Jms 4:13-15—implication, His will, not yours, will come to pass; not thwarted by Satan (not God’s evil twin) Job 1:6-12, nothing happens without God’s permission (more on this later).

2.     It includes all things. Rom 8:28—“causes all things to work together” may not see good in something now, but we have assurance He is working; 8:29-30—our salvation part of His sovereign will; 1 Pet 3:17—our suffering is part of His sovereign will, God can will it for His purposes/greater good.

3.     It is known only to God. In response to God’s sovereign plan of the cross 1 Cor 2:6-9; God’s sovereign plan for Israel and justification by faith, Paul wrote Rm 11:33-36; only exceptions found in Scripture (e.g., prophecy, 2nd Coming, destiny of humans)

4.     It will bring Him glory. (Rm 11:36) Eph 1:3-12 (highlight “will” and “glory”)

5.     Glorify the Sovereign God (Rm 11:36) Job (42:1-6) glorified God by acknowledging His greatness and recognizing own inability to understand the sovereign will of God

6.     All of this leads to some questions under C…

C.    God’s permissive will requires trust.

1.     “Permissive” will—common term for describing the things God allows (i.e., sinful choices, evil, “accidents”, disasters)

2.     Q1: Doesn’t this make God responsible for sin? Not at all! Just because God permits man a certain level of free will—and therefore sin—does not equate to God causing sin; Gn 1:31 “good”; evil is a corruption of that which was good (e.g., blind eyes); Bible insists God is holy and righteous in all His ways and cannot sin

3.     Q2: Doesn’t this mean human decisions are meaningless? Not at all! God’s sovereignty does not negate man’s responsibility (e.g., Judas, Acts 2:23; Mt 26:24); man has limited free will within the larger context of God’s sovereignty (illus: ship headed for predetermined destination, passengers freedom within ship’s confines)

4.     Not explained (remember “unfathomable”), but not contradictory. We must trust God with the things we can’t understand based on what we do understand about Him. In other words, Walk by faith (trust), not by sight; Job’s words paraphrased in The Message: “I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head.”

D.    God’s moral will requires obedience.

1.     “Moral” will part of revealed will (Bible); commands for how we ought to believe and live; what is preached, discussed in Bible studies, written about in books

2.     Paul Little, in Affirming the Will of God: “Has it ever struck you that the vast majority of the will of God for your life has already been revealed in the Bible? That is a crucial thing to grasp.”

3.     Not random, but flow out of who God is: commanded to love because God is love—Eph 5:1-2; holy because God is holy—1 Pt 1:14-16

4.     If we refuse to obey we can expect discipline in present and loss of rewards in future—Heb 12:8-11; Mt 6:1, 4; 1 Cor 3:9-15

5.     If we choose to obey we can expect blessing: Jn 13:17—Know + Do = Blessed; this too is an imitation of our Lord—Mt 26:39; 28:20 (teaching to obey); Jn 6:38

6.     George Truett: “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement.”

III.   Closing:

A.    Over next few weeks:

1.     What is necessary for me to be able to know God’s will?

2.     What are some common myths about God’s will?

3.     How can I discover God’s will so I can make wise decisions?

B.    Questions related to God’s will? Back of guest sheet…

 Closing Prayer…Col 1:9-12

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