Choosing God’s Will 2-23-14 sermon
“Choosing God’s Will” John 7:17
“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out if my teaching comes from God comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
2-23-14 ?Choosing to Do God?s Will?? John 7:16-19? LMPC Ben Sloan
How you make decisions tells a lot about who your God is.? If God is not part of your decision process, then maybe you are not listening to Him.? In fact, for Christians, we say we do not merely want God to be a part of our decision process, we want to do His will above our own.?? We want to say with Jesus- Not my will but thine be done.? We want to pray ?Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.?? So how do you make decisions that prove you are seeking and choosing God?s will?? We should listen to what the Spirit says in scripture.? We should pray about our decisions.? Seek godly counsel, and listen to what God is saying in providence- opening and closing doors.
When I was a teenager I had a friend who decided to make decisions by the flip of a coin- kind of like the character ?Two Face? in the Batman series.? So if he was asked what color car he wanted, he would flip a coin.? If he was thinking about asking a girl out and he was nervous he?d flip a coin- heads he?d ask her out, tails he wouldn?t.? He?d flip a coin about which job to choose.? In his mind it kept him from worrying.? But it didn?t always work- for he started applying it to moral choices.? So in fact it got him into trouble.?? His father would ask him to rake the yard- instead of listening, he would flip a coin. He would flip a coin about whether he would do his homework or not.?? My friend ended up flipping a coin about using drugs and ended up in rehab last I heard of him.? If we really believe there are no moral consequences, or no ultimate meaning to life, then flipping a coin makes sense.? But we believe life is more.? That life is greater than luck or fate, or meaninglessness.? We are created for a purpose by a Creator.? Therefore we need to listen carefully for the directions.? Jesus said in our passage that we will know the truth of his teaching only if we choose to do God?s will.? ????So let us look at the problems of not choosing God?s will, the choosing, and the benefits of choosing.
I. PROBLEMS IN NOT SEEKING GOD?S WILL- If you do not seek God- there is a good chance you?ll not see Him if He were right in front of you.? If you have hardened your heart to believing that you cannot know God or His will, then you have plugged your ears.? You can be religious and plug your ears to God.? You can be a minister, an elder a leader and still not want to hear God.? The Pharisees in our story were very religious but could not see God in front of them, or understand God?s will.? ?There are basically two things that keep us from choosing God?s will.
A. PRIDE- I know better than God.? God contradicts Himself.? I do not.? I am my own person- I should be in control of what I do.? But no one is ever, ever fully in control of what they do.? If we think we are, we are fooling ourselves.? We are a small part of a bigger picture.? We can be a dark hole in that picture or a bright light in that picture.? Do not let your pride keep you from listening.? The Pharisees were proud in their religion- and could not hear Jesus despite his great teaching, his miracles, and even his resurrection.? It can be the same in our day too.
B. IMMORALITY- If we do not want to do what we know is God?s will, why should God show us the rest of His will?? I can remember? years ago someone was having an affair and he said he wanted God to direct him about where he should live.? My response was simple- when you made your marriage vows before God- God directed you.?? Another person asked me if he should lie to his boss about stealing a trade secret or not.? His question was- would God want me to lose my job, or would God want me to tell the truth?? In the end, he didn?t want to hear what I had to say, and he ended up losing his job anyway.? If we want to rebel against God- do not be surprised that God does not want to help us rebel.? If we do not want to do what has already been revealed, why should God speak?? The good news of the Gospel is- when we fail- we can get back up.? We can hang up on God- but God is always dialing our number wanting us to pick up and listen again.? Choose again to do God?s will.
II. RESOLVING TO SEEK GOD?S WILL 17- If any one wills to do His will.
Jesus said we can choose to do God?s will. ?It is possible to choose to do what is right.? It is possible to be a person of integrity and honesty.? I have run into such people in the church all the time.? People who will not try to deceive you, who keep their marriage vows and have kept them for 50 years. Some have started again and been married for 25 years.? ?Do not become so jaded to sin that you think there is no way out.? Believe in the power of God to change you and to change things.? It is too easy to be skeptical.? Will to believe.
It is not merely a passing desire. ?Will means bending your will.? My son has been helping me work out at the gym and has been pushing me a bit.? I want to get in shape, but the minute it requires me to push myself- I really really want to stop.? My son is the one who pushes me to do that extra two, and when I cannot really do one more, he spots me.? ?I will the extra two because my Son is there to help me and encourages me beyond myself.? Jesus spots us.? He asks us just to will His will.? He will help us get there.? Jeremiah said, ?If you seek him you will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart.?? Isaiah said, ?Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while he is near.?? Jesus said, ?Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.?? ?Seek and you will find.? Knock and the door will be opened. Seek God and His will. You may try to run from God- but you can never, really run away.?? God will find you- so you may as turn and seek Him.
III. BENEFITS OF SEEKING GOD?S WILL. ?Jesus said if we choose to do God?s will we will know where His teaching comes from.? In other words, if we seek God- we will find Jesus.? His teaching is the teaching of God.
A. WE SEE GOD- Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God- they have a pure heart- seeking God?s will.? If you want to understand God?s will, if you want to know God- then be willing to listen to Him.? Give Him an honest effort to obey Him.? It does not require great learning to be a Christian.? It requires a willingness and a heart to listen.
B. THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR PURPOSE- They know why they are here.? People get confused.? Too many choose the very lonely road of believing it is all up to them. ??There are many people who think today there is no hope of ever finding real direction and meaning in life. For some their guiding star is their heart- but both the Bible and experience tell us the heart can be selfish and deceiving.? I invite you to listen and be guided by the wisdom of the ages- from the Lord- the Maker.? In 2012 Apple maps came on the scene and they heard millions upon millions of complaints.? There were lots of jokes too- Columbus discovered America because he was looking for India on Apple maps.? The developer of Apple Maps was the cast of the show ?Lost.? ?It was famous for giving wrong or long directions. ?I can remember I was driving to the church from Chapin and my apple maps was telling me to get off highway 76.? Well I just happened to know that the church is on highway 76 and I didn?t get off.? Today Aple Maps is much better.? But we need to test other?s directions by what we know is the straight and narrow path. Today we are voting on a young man as an associate pastor- who at one time said he would not be a minister in part because his father was one.? But God led Him. ?I had a similar story. ?I like Rascal Flatts song, ?God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.?? God wants to lead us- but we must seek Him and listen to Him.
Do you want to do what God wants?? Jesus said if you want what God wants you will know what God wants.?? If you are not willing to listen- then God will be silent. ?If you are not willing to listen the silence of God will be deafening.? But if you seek Him, committing to Him and His way- you will discover His love.? In the end, choosing to do God?s will is simply choosing to love Him more than other things.? Luther said love God and do what you will.? If you love someone, you don?t need a book to tell you to be nice to that person and to listen to them, and to seek their company.?? My friend, John Leith, once said, ?No one has to teach a man how to love his wife.? He knows how to love his wife out of the very experience of love. ?? We are all called today to choose to do God?s will- to choose to love the Lord.