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The Vital First Step in Following God’s Will

Friday, November 05, 2010

Listen in to a conversation about God’s will; you’re likely to hear talk about relationship concerns, job prospects, and college choices. Think about yourself—you want to know who God wants you to marry, what career He wants you to pursue, or where He wants you to attend school, right? We seem to have a short list when it comes to God’s will, don’t we.

God has a list too, but it doesn’t start with who you marry. God’s first concern is who you worship—He wills for you to come to Christ. That’s step one.

Tragically, many people groping around in the dark for God’s will miss that vital first step and never recover. In fact, darkness is a good analogy for their condition. Jesus said men love darkness rather than light, and that’s exactly where they remain when they refuse His offer of salvation—in darkness.

So, if you’re confused, frustrated and, well, in the dark when it comes to God’s will, take a look at John MacArthur’s sermon today. He’ll shed some light on the issue . . .


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#1  Posted by Bill Ziegler  |  Friday, November 05, 2010at 7:15 AM

The answer actually is pretty simple as Pastor John said, "those who don't love God don't know." This is worked out in all of our lives by two attitudes and beliefs that guide us and pretty much adhere to the 1st and 2nd great commandments; "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this, You shall love your neighbor as Yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." Mk 12:30-31. (1) the level of our devotion to God (devotion meaning a life given to God) and (2) what are our intentions in life.

On devotion the questions are do I live by renouncing the world? Reject it's joys? Take up my cross daily? Deny yourself? Mourn? See my poverty of spirit? Forsake pride and riches? Think humbly? Live humbly? Rejoice in suffering? Reject the lust of the flesh, eyes, and pride of life. Do I bear injuries, forgive and bless my enemies, love the unrighteous? Do I act at church how I act in my ordinary life?

For intention; what is my highest priority of my life? Do I intend to please God? Is it that? That is the first and most fundamental principle of Christianity; an intention to please God in all my actions. For whatever we intend to do - we do! My failures are not because I am weak or frail but because of my lack to duty to please God in all my actions or life. Usually we simply do not intend to please God in all our lives.

What the 1st and 2nd great commandments really means to me: "i am to make by a deliberate act of my will, as a matter of principle, duty, and propriety to be God's loyal friend and servant showing all my affections and attachments in all my thoughts, feelings, spirit, my rational immortal soul and life itself; using my deepest thoughts, dispositions, understanding, imagination, abilities, might, power, and strength and likewise my fellow man."

Example: I know someone who says they are a Christian and they have never read the bible at least once (I've found most folks in church have never read their bibles); not even the New Testament and they are 54; saved as a child. They read a verse here and there; maybe a chapter or two. They follow along with whatever is being preached. A year ago they committed to reading the NT and they didn't make it through Matthew. Now, they love reading as they go to the library every six weeks (length a book can be checked out) and they have checked out over 40 books during this same time period. Do you think they only read select lines from those books? Start the book in the second half?

It always goes to intention and devotion. Unfortunately it's usually devotion to self with no intention to please God as the rule. Who's fooling who here? Deception and denial go hand and hand with our attitudes and beliefs in reality and perception is reality for most folks. But what do we really believe? Maybe that's the real question. What do we really believe?

#2  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, November 05, 2010at 3:18 PM

I started reading "The Gospel according to Jesus". John makes a good

point of how to exam ourselves. When I read Matt 24 or 25, talks about

the sheep and goats. Are we truly believers? It would be if we do the Father's will. How awesome! God's children are slaves to righteousness,

not slaves to sin. Amen.

#3  Posted by Jean Selden  |  Saturday, November 06, 2010at 11:10 AM

Regarding Comment #1 by Bill Ziegler. What a wonderful definition of how our lives should be. I am sickened by what passes itself off as Christianity nowadays. It is no wonder that people rely on their feelings for direction from the Lord. Repentance, commitment, forsaking ourselves, reading and obeying the Word, and taking up our cross is too difficult for many, so they go with the false teachings of the time. Many churchgoers today are living in a dangerous state of non-reality encouraged all the more by the false teaching of pastors and leaders and the avoidance of studying God's Word. I pray that they will find true life in Christ and quit following whatever tickles their ears.

Jean Selden

#4  Posted by Gloria Thigpen  |  Sunday, November 07, 2010at 10:41 AM

Dear Pastor MacArthur: My church asked me to become a trustee. Is this an appropriate role for a female? I am praying about it, but would like your opinion. I am saved. Thank you.

#5  Posted by Micah Marchewitz  |  Sunday, November 07, 2010at 4:47 PM

Really good message, 5:45 through 6:30 is a hard but necessary truth.

#6  Posted by Bobby And Gerri Azam  |  Monday, November 08, 2010at 6:26 AM

To give an answer to the question... We cannot find God's will most times because we are not looking for God's will. So much of the time people are looking for the easy way, or the most beneficial situation for self or the most pleasurable thing. Basically, many people are not seeking God and His will, they are actually just wanting someone to predict the future and let them know which of the choices in this decision will work out best for me in the long run. People are not concerned with pleasing God...they are not concerned with lining their life up with the Word. And often even true Christians aren't concerned with these things because they've never been taught to. They do not know the truth of God's will from scripture and they are influenced by false teachers and pop culture.

John MacArthur's teaching on this subject is wonderful and enlightening and beneficial.

#7  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, November 08, 2010at 8:48 AM

Gloria:

The office or title of "Trustee" may include different responsibilities from one church to the next. I think your pastor would be happy to answer all your questions about what being a "trustee" entails. Then, when you have clarity, you can search the Scriptures, pray, and make and informed decision with your family.

#10  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Wednesday, November 10, 2010at 11:00 AM

I am coming late to the discussion, just read all the previous blogs on the series.

Coming from a charismatic system (many moons ago), I can only say that the Word of God is really a strength in my personal life now, for it is True! Ex-charismatics know how truth is so much under-rated (not the exact word I was looking for, forgive me, it's not coming to me now). We hear so much "God told me this", "God told me that", we come to a point where we don't really know anything.

But... and I say this with great sadness, after finding the truth, I became a little...hmm... skeptical. I've been trying to find a biblical and sound teaching church for over a year now (there's one not too far whose pastor went to TMC and TMS that we want to visit). A few weeks ago I visited a church that seemed to be biblical. After the service (expository sermon) I chatted with the pastor and asked him several questions. It all seemed alright, so far, and then he starts telling me how they believe in prophecy and tongues for today, and how they encourage their members to exercise those gifts in small groups. But, he told me, he wanted to stress to me that prophecies, today, are not infallible, for the simple reason that humans are used to deliver them and we are all fallen (he also added, quite hastly "the NT doesn't command to stone people who deliver false prophecies"). Now, how does that make sense? Well, it does to him. Unfortunately, his church is part of a big ministry in the US, where reformed theology is being wrapped around this "neo-charismatic". Yes, they proclaim, God is sovereign, but apparently not sovereign enough to make sure if/when He wants to say something, the message gets clearly delivered. Or maybe, just maybe, the prophets in the OT were not fallen? hmmm....

So, I ask, how can anyone claim to be reformed in their theology and on the same hand claim to hear messages directly from God, messages that can either be fallible or infallible, who exactly knows?

There's a subtle and profound danger, IMO, in these cloudy and muddy waters.

I know when God speaks to me. It's not with words or feelings. It's a conviction in my heart while I study His Word. It is true, God has said everything. The problem is not in the message, the messenger, or the sender. The problem lies with us, fallen creatures who love religion, traditions, experiences.

Grace and Peace,

E.