This will give you an idea of the format of Bill’s sermons (with a bit of change due to copy and paste). ~AC
APPOINTED TO KNOW HIS WILL (Part I)
Acts 22:14 (1-16)
In Paul’s testimony about being confronted by the risen Christ, two questions:
Who are you, Lord? ║ What shall I do, Lord?
Important, because they are equally significant for us:
Who is Jesus of Nazareth? ║ What does God want us to do?
There is an inseparable relationship between believing and living. As we noted last week in commenting on Paul’s differentiation between external religious practice and internal spiritual reality, we are genuinely Christian only if that relationship is maintained and is actually working in our lives.
We want to focus today on Paul’s second question, What shall I do, Lord?
- and on the statement which Ananias made to him in Damascus: The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will.
Not hard to believe, because we know that God chose Paul to be the “apostle to the Gentiles.” God sometimes has specific tasks for specific people, and He makes known to those people His purposes for their lives.
But, CAN WE KNOW THE WILL OF GOD? Are we also appointed to know God’s will? In a sense, this is more difficult for us than the idea of a personal encounter with God. (Because we tend to equate experience = emotion; whereas knowing = reason.) Maybe in a general sense, but can we know in particular?
FIRST, we need to settle the relationship between God’s will and what happens to us.
> Common explanation of both tragedies and blessings. But is everything that happens to us the will of God? Leslie Weatherhead, The Will of God.
- What God Purposes
> Does God order tragedies for which we would put a person in jail or in an institution for the criminally insane?
–As Weatherhead asks, do we resist the will of God in attempts to save the dying?
> What about sin and the effects of sin?
–Did God command Adam & Eve not to eat and then will them to do it?
> Clearly, God’s sovereignty does not negate human freedom
–John Calvin, who argued strongly for predestination, also argues that people sin of their own free choice.
> Some things have happened to you and will happen to you that are not God’s purpose for your life.
- What God Permits
> Not all that happens is God’s will; yet nothing happens outside of His will
–Tragedy and injustice are permitted to happen.
–Horns of the “Great Dilemma”: God’s omnipotence ║ love
> Price of human freedom. We are not just victims!
–How often we see people who are bitter toward God for their own consequences.
> God’s restrictive activity
–Case in point is found in Job’s life. God restricts Satan’s power to test
Job: Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand. . . . . Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life.
–Similarly, Paul’s promise to the Corinthians:
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (I Cor. 10:13).
> God’s miraculous intervention
–Two errors into which people fall:
- Some have trouble believing that God ever intrudes into life
- Others want to make God’s intrusion a promise to everyone
–Placing ourselves in His will to make the most out of whatever He allows
- What God Promises
> Two promises which every Christian can hold onto:
–Ultimate purposes of God are never defeated by present circumstances.
The will of God must not be considered apart from eternity.
The meaning of Romans 8:28. God weaves everything into His design:
- Our mistakes, our sins
2. What others may do against us
Here is how we learn to handle what we view as tragedies
–The presence of God is in every place and the provision of God is in every situation:
I will not leave you, nor forsake you (Jos 1:5)
Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
> One of John Newton’s hymns:
Though troubles assail, and dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail, and foes all unite,
Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The promise secures us, –The Lord will provide.
The birds, without barn or storehouse, are fed;
From them let us learn to trust for our bread:
His saints what is fitting shall ne’er be denied,
So long as ’tis written, –The Lord will provide.
When Satan appears to stop up our path,
And fills us with fears, we triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us (though oft he has tried)
The heart-cheering promise, –The Lord will provide.
No strength of our own, nor goodness we claim:
Our trust is all thrown on Jesus’s Name;
In this our strong tower for safety we hid;
The Lord is our power, –The Lord will provide.