Understanding The Bible
Finding God's Will in Your Life
By Dr. Glen Clifton 1.
“4:1-8 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
“This I ask, if it be according to your will, in Jesus name, Amen.” How many times have we concluded our petitions to God with these words?”
It is this experience many times over, that has driven many to a serious study of God’s Word, for the EXPRESS PURPOSE OF LEARNING WHAT GOD’S WILL IS.
Have you ever stopped
from the hustle and bustle of life long enough to SEEK GOD’S WILL in your life?
WHEN was the last time, or have you ever, cried out like Paul, in Acts 9:6, “Lord, what will you have me to do?”
WHEN, if ever, was the last time you prayed to the Father, as Jesus did, “Lord, not my will but Thine be done?” (Matthew 26:39, 42).
God saves people for a purpose. Have you ever sought God’s will in your life? Some say, “Yes, preacher, but, I just can’t seem to find it."
Friend, when a born again Christian cannot find God’s will in his life, SOMETHING IS WRONG! For God has called His children into sanctification, holiness, and knowledge ... Not into fornication, uncleanness, and ignorance. (vs. 4, 7, 12)
I do know the main reasons we cannot find God’s will in our lives. It is because we do not seek or ask for it.
SOME REASONS WE CANNOT KNOW GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIFE
THE FIRST REASON we cannot find God’s will is the same reason we cannot get our prayers answered ... SIN!
I can hear someone saying now, “Our God is omniscient ... He knows everything, so, he hears all our prayers." No! He doesn't! Sin separates us from communion and fellowship with our Father. Oh, I know, that because of the cleansing blood of Jesus, all, yes, all my sin ... past, present and future is forgiven. But, the problem is: Sin breaks my fellowship with God. That’s why John wrote to Christians, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9). Only through confession, can our fellowship be restored.
Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear me!” I Peter 3:12 says, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Proverbs 1:28 says, “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They shall seek me diligently, but they will not find me.” Because of the sins of Israel, God said, “... even though you make your prayers, I will not hear, your hands are full of blood.” (Isaiah 1:15b) And, because of wicked rulers and prophets, Micah 3:4 says, “Then, they will cry to the Lord, But He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds.”
Satan, having failed
to prevent us from becoming Christians, would hinder our progress and destroy
our influence for good in every
possible way. Satan would have us to SIN. We must RESIST THE DEVIL, and cling to God and claim his promises for victory.
Satan is an untiring, cruel, and crafty worker, and he is a powerful adversary of the human race. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Be sober, be vigilant (watchful); because your adversary the devil walks about, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brothers in the world.” (I Peter 5:8,9).
A SECOND REASON: WE CANNOT FIND GOD’S WILL IN OUR LIVES BECAUSE OF OUR LACK OF SUBMISSION
The Bible says in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
The Apostle Paul
wrote, “They being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish
their own righteousness, Have not submitted themselves into the righteousness of
God.” (Romans 10:3).
Christian, you may be the "apple of God's eye," you may be after the very heart of God, but remember: God HATES your sin! He will not pass over, or wink at your sin. And sin in the heart of a Christian always brings problems, downfall, and the judgment of God. I have seen churches split. I have witnessed brother pit against brother always bringing shipwreck to their lives because of the lack of SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD. Even in most of our churches today, there is absolutely too much self-will in the lives of our people, and leadership (including pastors).
Many pray: “Lord, WHERE will you have me to go? But, if it is to go over to see my next door neighbor, "I won't go, I don’t even like them, and we’re not on speaking terms.” You are NOT in God's will!
“Lord, HOW MUCH do you want me to give? And, if it’s a 'Tithe' ... I’m
NOT going to give it. Who do you think I am, a Rockefeller?” You are NOT in
Some ask God: “Lord, WHAT do you want me to do? But if it’s THAT, I’m NOT going to do it!” You are NOT in God's will!
Many pray: “Lord, how much TIME do You want me to give to Your work and Your church? But remember Lord, that I am a busy person and if it’s too much, I can’t spare it.” Yu are NOT in God's will!
Who do you think God is anyway, the Tooth Fairy? Do you think that God is just some divine Santa Clause? There is no use lying to Him. You can’t fool God! To find the will of God, your attitude must be completely ... ”Not my will, but Thine be done.”
One thing is certain -- GOD’S PERFECT WILL can NEVER be found in your life with this attitude of SELF-WILL. Remember Jonah? He said, “I won’t go, I won’t do it” ... and JUDGMENT CAME. And many of you are living in spiritual bondage and judgment ... outside God’s will because you are running away from God ... refusing to do His work. Only in an attitude of complete submission and surrender can one find God’s will.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE
WILLING TO MEET THE TEST ...
I. YOU CAN KNOW THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIFE!
Paul wrote, “Wherefore, be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:17
Christians must never forget that it is in the written WORD that they will first God’s will. The mind of God is largely revealed in His Word. The Christian will read the Bible to be WISE, believe it to be SAFE, and practice it to be HOLY.
JESUS said, “You do err (deceive yourselves), not knowing the Scriptures.” (Matthew 22:29). He was talking about the Sadducees and their unbelief of the resurrection. All bad doctrine comes from those who DO NOT KNOW THE WORD OF GOD!
We can know example, precept, rewards, admonitions, and warnings through the Bible. The mind of God is revealed to those who sincerely desire to know it and please remember: There is NEVER any guidance CONTRARY to the Word, and seldom APART from the Word.
Don't be the victim of self gross and inexcusable ignorance of the Guide Book that God has given us, for that is responsible for a great part of suffering among believers.
Because, we run past the signposts, the "red lights," and all the warnings He has set along life’s pathway. We're too intent on what WE WANT to do, until tragedy overtakes us, and we wonder why God has visited us with such sorrow.
Although the written Word is our principle source of guidance, it is not the only means of knowing the Mind of God. Experience, circumstances, and the counsel of Godly friends should be considered. But, above all these, we have access to PRAYER with God, Who reveals His will to the honest heart, through the Holy Spirit.
And remember, When God's will is revealed to you ...
II. YOU CAN DO THE WILL OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE!
The Bible says in James 1:22, “Be ye DOERS of the Word, and not hearers only.” And in John 13:17, “If you know these things, happy (blessed), are you if you DO them.”
The Bible always emphasizes the objective will of God. There is a TASK to be done, a LIFE to be lived, a DESTINY to be fulfilled.
Christians of NO SERVICE cannot expect to enjoy the FELLOWSHIP the Master longs to have with them, nor the POWER OF PRAYER He offers, nor the FULL REWARD HEREAFTER. This is why are there so many unfulfilled, unhappy Christians. Saved?, Yes! But Victorious?, No!
Someone once said, “Some Christians have just enough religion to feel out of place at a game of "craps," but not enough to feel at home in a Prayer Meeting! They're miserable all the time ... never working for God. They need to say with the Psalmist, “Teach me to DO Thy will for Thou art God.”
TO FIND GOD’S WILL ... AND DO GOD’S WILL ...
III. YOU MUST
SUBMIT YOURSELF TO GOD’S WILL!
You MUST be ready to say with PAUL, “What will you have me to do?” And then be ready to DO whatever is revealed to you by God. And you PRAY say as JESUS PRAYED, “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
MEANS: being HUMBLE before God. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under
the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care
upon Him for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6,7).
In my almost 50 years in the ministry, I have known many a man who was constantly in trouble…and didn’t know why. I have seen many who were “called to preach,” and they refused. Their lives, their families and their occupations were always in a constant flux. LISTEN: If God is calling you to Christian service, OR to a Christian vocation, HE WILL PROVIDE A WAY!
I have been dwelling on the will of God for Christians, but, now may I ask ...
IV. WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR THE UNBELIEVER?
GOD’S FIRST DESIRE is for mankind to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord of their life.
II Peter 3:9 “... God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God's FIRST will for sinful men is that they should be saved. He doesn’t wish for any to die and perish.
Hear the prophet of God: “As I live says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why will you die?” (Ezekiel 33:11). And then in verses 14 and 15, “Again, when I say to the wicked, you shall surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restores the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live and not die. None of his sins that he has committed shall be mentioned unto him: He has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.”
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “He who believes (trusts) on the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” (John 3:36).
UNTIL that FIRST STEP toward God’s salvation is taken and confession is made before men unto salvation, and in obedience to Christ’s command in baptism and joining the body of saints in His church ... IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR ONE TO KNOW OR TO DO GOD’S WILL! You can neither walk in the path of obedience, nor stand in the place of blessing.
Several years ago, while I was pastor in East Texas, I led a Jr. Hi. boy to the Lord. When he got to High School, he was the quarter back of the football team, and leading scorer. He was a LEADER and example in school. He was MOST POPULAR. This fine young man became a leader of the Church Youth Group. He sang in the Youth Choir. He also spoke for me in a Sunday Evening Youth-Led service. On a youth mission trip to some Colorado churches, he asked me if he could close the service with a few words ... AND HE PREACHED. Young people were saved and many of our own youth re-consecrated themselves to Christ.
Then the "snares" and temptations of Satan began to rear their ugly heads. Soon, he began missing church. He got a High School girl pregnant. He barely finished High School. He ran away, and his folks didn’t know where he was. Two years later, I found him in Tyler, Texas, married and working at some job. He later divorced this girl while running around with other women. He called me one evening to come counsel with him. Now 22 years old, he broke down and cried like a baby, admitting that he had been running from God. His life was in shambles. His spiritual life was ruined. Remember, when God calls YOU, there is no place to hide, and He will help you do whatever He calls you to do.
Would you trust Jesus Today? Would you follow Him ... and make Him Lord of your life?
“If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
“For whoever calls on
the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes ...” (Romans 1:16)
Copyright 2006, Dr. Glen
Used by permission
The Race of Life"
by Dr. Glen E. Clifton
1. Dr. Clifton preached this sermon at King's Baptist church in Vero Beach, Florida in Preached at King's Baptist Church in Vero Beach, FL, September 10, 2006 where he as been serving as Interim Preacher for about 6 months. Dr. Clifton and his wife Dee, have been retired to Florida for 4 years. He has been kept busy preaching up and down the Treasure coast since he moved here. He can be contacted for speaking engagements at (772) 336-3992.
Clifton, Dr. Glen E., Brief Biography