Knowing the Will of God

These are notes from a seminar I taught back in 1988; can’t believe I found these notes. I taught this to a local congregation while I was a part of Partners, Resort/Family Ministries at the oceanfront. The notes are in outline form so I hope to elaborate on each point.

Knowing the Sovereign Will of God:

Introduction:

  1. This present world system is an organized kingdom of evil. While God created everything and He said that it was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), the evil one came and introduced evil, tempting the first humans to rebel and disobey God (Genesis 3:1, 2-3, 4-5).
  2. This present world is ruled and motivated by the will of Satan.
    1. The Prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-3).
    2. But Satan’s power is limited (Job 1:12 for example).
  3. Only God has all power and all authority.
    1. Theological dualism
      1. Horizontal dualism: two beings of equal power battling, good and evil is a cosmic fight to see who will win.
      2. Vertical dualism: two beings at odds in a battle, but they are not equal, and God will always win, there is no doubt. They battle but God is always higher than the evil one.
    2. I am God and there is no other, I am God and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning. My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (Isaiah 46: 9-10).
    3. It is His pleasure to reveal His will to believers (Jeremiah 29:13, Philippians 2:13).
  4. Jesus told His disciples to get into the boat and cross the sea, did Jesus not know the storm was coming? Why did He not tell them to wait since the storm was coming? (Matthew 14:22-33).
    1. Being omniscient – He knew they would encounter a storm.
    2. Being omnipotent – He would save them from the storm.
    3. Their crossing the sea had to be God’s will; therefore they and the storm was God’s will:
      1. Into the storm they were sent (God’s will is often full of storms).
      2. In no danger, Jesus was praying the whole time (Hebrews 7:25).
      3. In darkness, yet no believer will remain there (John 12:46).
  5. When you seek God’s will.
    1. You may face contrary winds. as even Paul (2 Corinthians 11:24-29).
    2. But remember He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).

God’s Will is Sovereign (Isaiah 46:9-11):

  1. Only the true God can know (what we call) the future, and therefore bring it to pass.
    1. Consider the fact that God is always in the present.
    2. There is no past or future from God’s perspective.
    3. Does God know the future? There is no future since He is always in the present.
  2. No one can ultimately alter the purposes of God: My purpose will be established, I will accomplish all my good pleasure (Isaiah 46:10).
  3. His ultimate will is established in the fulfilling of prophecy.
    1. He declares the end from the beginning.
      1. He knows the end (because He is in it), yet we are not His puppets to blindly follow.
      2. He directs our path, He does not pull us down the path.
    2. The context of Isaiah 46:10.
      1. God is prophesying Israel’s future and He will bring it to pass.
      2. His ultimate will cannot be restrained (Daniel 4:35).
  4. God has a secret will, which is not revealed to us.
    1. We cannot know all of His sovereign will, but we can know the parts revealed in Scripture (Deuteronomy 29:29).
    2. We will not know this secret will until He reveals it.
  5. We can know God’s sovereign will as revealed in history.
    1. To Abraham, “I will make you a great nation.. .and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
      1. Israel was made a great nation.
      2. The nations are blessed through his seed, which is Christ (Galatians 3:6-9).
    2. To all who accept Christ as Savior (John 3:16,14:1-6).
  6. The cross is proof of the sovereign (ultimate) will of God.
    1. 1000 years before Christ: David prophesied the Messiah would be crucified (Psalm 22:14-18).
    2. 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesied the death of Christ (Isaiah 52:1-53:12).

God’s Ultimate Will is Immutable: (Malachi 3:6).

  1. For I am the Lord, and I do not change (Malachi 3:6).
  2. God is not man that He should lie, nor son of man that He should repent. He has said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good (Numbers 23:19, Balaam blessing Israel).
  3. The reason His will is immutable: God is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8).
  4. God’s will is immutable.
    1. What about the Flood, or Moses interceding for the people? The language indicates that God changed his mind. But think about it, the Bible is clear that God does not change, so the language used is more for us to understand in human terms.
    2. In salvation, the plan has not changed for sacrifices of animals to the sacrifice of Christ.
      1. We are saved by grace, through faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
      2. There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9-10).
    3. In judgment, For the Father judges no one, but has committed all Judgment to the Son (John 5:22).
    4. In morals, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
  5. To know God’s will, we must read His Word which has been preserved for us.

God’s Will is Good, Acceptable and Perfect: (Romans 12:1-2). Paul’s challenge is to prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.

  1. God’s revealed will is Good:
    1. For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord gives grace and glory, no good thing does He uphold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11).
    2. God is the giver of every perfect gift (James 1:17).
    3. This giver is a sun and shield.
      1. He is the Light of the world to guide our steps (John 8:12).
      2. He is our shield of protection (Psalm 3:2-3).
    4. He gives to us grace and glory.
      1. Grace brings eternal riches (2 Corinthians 8:9)  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that through His poverty you might become rich.
      2. Glory (Romans 8:17) If indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
  2. God’s revealed will is Acceptable:
    1. His will is the only acceptable will to Him.
    2. Man’s natural will is rebellious (Romans 8:6-8) For the mind set on the flesh is death…and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
    3. Satan’s will is totally evil (Isaiah 14:13-14).
      1. Satan said five times, “I will” and never regarded God’s will.
      2. To what degree does your will conform to God’s will?
    4. You are either doing the:
      1. Will of Satan – which is totally evil.
      2. Will of man – which is carnal.
      3. Will of God – which is good, acceptable and perfect.
  3. God’s revealed will is Perfect (because He is perfect).
    1. He has revealed the mystery of His will (Ephesians 1:9).
    2. He wants us to know and understand His will (Ephesians 5:17).

God’s Will Can be Known: (Hebrews 13:20-21).

  1. Natural man is not capable of doing God’s will, for the things of God are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:14, Ephesians 5:17).
  2. The Christian must desire communion with God, then He will take control of your life and make you complete in every good work to do His will (Hebrews 13:21).
  3. God did not save you to let you go your own way and make decisions according to the old carnal nature (independence).
    1. He gives you a new nature to combat the old nature (1 Peter 1:4).
    2. It is impossible for a carnal Christian to please God (Romans 8:8).
  4. The Question is: How can I know the perfect will of God?
    1. Sincerely desire to do His will (Hebrews 10:38) The just shall live by faith.
    2. Search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) The Bereans “received the word with readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
    3. Stand on the promise of the Holy Spirit.
      1. He communicates with your spirit, always in harmony with the Scriptures, assuring you that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16).
      2. He intercedes for the believer “according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27).
      3. He promised to guide us in all truth (John 16:13).
    4. See the signs of God’s providence.
      1. He may put before us an open door (Revelation 3:8, 2 Corinthians 2:12).
      2. You must be fully committed to Christ, and His will before He will show you an open door.
      3. Learn to wait on (trust in) the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 40:31).
      4. Seek counsel in godly people (Proverbs 11:14) Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.
  5. Realize that God is in charge even when He is not in control, meaning God being directly involved in doing hurtful actions to mankind. But because we live in a fallen world and bad things happen to good people, God can use those hurtful things in our lives to bring about positive changes: He will cause everything to work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
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