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How to Know the Will of God | Sunday Message with Pastor Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 28, 2023 3:00 am

How to Know the Will of God | Sunday Message with Pastor Jonathan Laurie

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 28, 2023 3:00 am

In this Sunday message, Greg Laurie’s son, Pastor Jonathan Laurie delivers a message on the will of God. Christians often ponder this subject, and now is your chance to get your big questions answered!


“Before we can discern and discover God’s specific will for our lives, we must first follow His revealed will for our lives, found in Scripture.” —Pastor Levi Lusko

1. Present Your Bodies.

Seeking God’s Will should not be relegated only to the weighty matters of who we should marry, what cancer doctor we should move forward with, should we take a risk and move out of state for a new job; it’s not just for the monumental decisions in life, but in everything we do!

Human beings are made up of thoughts, actions, and emotions—all of which areas we are to present to God.

Presenting your body as a living sacrifice ultimately means, “to pursue God’s pleasure.”

2. Do Not Be Conformed.

To “echo this world” means, you repeat the behavior, the speech, attitude, and overall objectives this world sets: Wealth, beauty, indulgence, ego, selfishness, and power.

3. Be Transformed.

4. God’s Will Is God’s Word.

Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

Seek first God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).

Suffer for doing good (1 Peter 4:19; 3:17).

Be saved (Revelation 22:17).

Walk worthy (Colossians 1:10).

Doers and not hearers only (James 1:22).

Be a student of God’s Word  (2 Timothy 2:15).

“Sow a thought, and you reap an action; sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to Amen. God is good. Amen church.

God is faithful. Amen. Amen. Amen. Good to see you all.

You can have a seat. Welcome to church, everyone. I'm Pastor Jonathan Laurie and it's great to see you all here today on this Pentecost Sunday, very cool day in church history where we remember in the first century this was the day that the church was born.

Ultimately, this is when God poured out His Holy Spirit upon the church, when they were all gathered together in one room there in Jerusalem and a mighty rushing wind was heard and many began to speak in tongues and they're filled with the Holy Spirit and people came from all the surrounding area to see what happened and Peter, the Apostle Peter, preached the gospel message and 3,000 were believed that day and just an amazing time, an amazing story, and we remember today that God is still at work in the church over 2,000 years later. Amen. Amen.

Hey, special welcome and greeting to our friends joining us from Harvest Orange County and Harvest Riverside. Great to have you guys and we also are remembering that today and this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, a very important day that we remember in our nation's history and in America, the tremendous sacrifice that has been paid for our freedom here in the United States. It's been said that freedom is not free. It's paid for with blood.

We know as Christians that our freedom from sin, our freedom from hell, our liberation was paid for with the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ and as Americans, our freedom is not free. It is paid for with the men and women in uniform who have laid down their lives and made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for that we remember and we are thankful for the sacrifices that they have made. We know that today in this room and across all of our campuses, we have parents, mothers, and fathers whose children have paid the ultimate sacrifice, children whose parents have made that ultimate sacrifice, siblings whose brothers and sisters and nephews and uncles and aunts and all kinds of people, friends, associates, people that have made this ultimate sacrifice and so this Memorial Day, make sure you remember to thank God and to thank these families who've made the ultimate sacrifice by having their children, their loved ones make this ultimate sacrifice for us, for our freedom and so today we're going to have one of our worship leaders come out and sing God bless America at all of our campuses so why don't we all stand up right now in honor of this song. Thank you. God bless America, the land that I love.

Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above, from the mountains to the prairies, to the oceans wide with foam. God bless America, my home sweet home. God bless America, my home sweet home. Lord you are the one that has shown us what true freedom is.

This country is what it is because we have modeled it after principles found in scripture, principles that you have revealed to us Lord in your word. We are so thankful that we live in a country where we can worship freely, we can worship publicly, we can proclaim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but through him. Lord we can do this with boldness, we can do this publicly, we can do this in public spaces, Lord we are thankful for that and we pray that as we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, Lord that you would help us to just really live out these amazing freedoms that we have and exercise them Lord in our country. We love you, it's in Jesus' name we pray together and everybody says amen, amen.

You guys can have a seat. Well today we are talking about how to know the will of God, how to know the will of God. We're continuing in our series which we have called Timeless, Timeless Truths in a Changing Culture and we want to let you know that this service is a special service today because we at all of our campuses are going to be observing communion together, proclaiming the Lord's death and resurrection until his return and so we'll be doing that at the end of service. I also want to let you know that next Sunday my dad will be back in the pulpit, they're coming back from Italy. He shared with everybody, him and my mom went to Italy for their 50th anniversary, I'd say they've earned that one, 50 years and so they're coming back tonight actually and they'll be back with us next Sunday and my dad will be teaching and so you want to make sure to join us for that. Also want to let you know that today we are giving out and we are making available for all of you our Harvest Crusade invitations. We're excited to have these available to all of you so grab a stack of them, invite your friends, invite your family and make sure you get these and help us get the word out.

The best way to get people into that stadium is through personal invitation. All right, well I would say that one of the most common questions I get as a pastor could be summarized in how do I know God's will for my life? How do I know what decision to make?

I want God to bless me in this area, how do I know that this is God's will? It's usually someone facing some kind of decision, right? Should they go away to college or should they stay local? Should they switch careers or should they stay in their current position? Should they send their kids to Christian school or public? Should they carry their dog in a baby carrier?

I can tell you that for sure that that last one God's will for that is a hard no. Have you have you noticed this yet? This is like a new phenomenon. People carrying dogs in baby carriers. The dogs don't like this people. You look at the dog's hips and they've their hips are all like spread out. They've got hip displays of these poor animals.

We know that they're not good for babies. Why would we think that a dog would like it? A dog's legs are supposed to go straight.

That's it and they're spread out sideways. This is terrible. What is the deal with people bringing their dogs everywhere? Everywhere I go people bring their dogs, movie theaters, nice restaurants, the mall, coffee shops. Like I get it if you want to take your dog hiking or take your dog to the beach or the park but why do people bring their dogs to restaurants?

I really I don't understand this. The dog would probably be more stoked hanging out in your backyard or in your apartment even. I like dogs but a dog in a stroller is tame compared to what I see now. Dog strollers you know what that was?

That was the gateway drug. Now we're on to people carrying dogs in the baby carriers. This is crazy.

I saw a man yesterday 60 years old a normal looking guy apparent appearance wise I thought he was normal. He's carrying a dog in this baby carrier walking around. The dog's just hanging there. It's like dude that dog does not look happy.

Sir please stop. Or people that create social media accounts for their dogs and they act like the dog is the one writing the account and they put like captions like the dog is saying the account. I don't I don't understand this.

I don't get this. Also people are now giving their dogs human names all the time. Like you meet their dog. Oh this is my dog. This is Steven. I named him after the first martyr of the Christian church.

It's like what? We used to name our dogs Fido and Max and whatever else. Now you're telling me that your dog oh he's a rescue and he's also gluten-free.

What world are we living in? Nobody cares about your crusty white dog. Yes that's getting a round of applause here at Harvest Riverside. People in Orange County are like he's talking about me. No just kidding.

We love you Orange County. But you know it's true. You know it's true. And so while that may not be God's will for your life that is a legitimate question though isn't it. How can I know God's will for my life? What is God's direction?

How can I know? I'll tell you this. The answer to those questions holds the deepest joy and most incredible blessings a believer can experience. Not because you chose to drive a Ford instead of a Chevy. Lord what's your will?

What kind of car should I drive? Or because you chose to take that job out of state. But because you are seeking to align yourself with God's will for your life. Because you are seeking to align yourself with the will of a holy God in heaven. That is what is going to bless you. The very place of your heart. The position of your heart to seek God's glory. That is going to bless you because that is blessing your father in heaven.

You are seeking to do his will. Is there anything greater than when our own children or grandchildren come to us and they say dad mom is there something I can help you with? Is there something that you think that I should be doing?

It's like you get choked up even thinking about that. It's like man really you're asking me what you think I should you know you should do. I'm telling you this.

Pick up your room more often right now. Ephesians 5 tells us this. See then that you walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise.

Redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise but understand what the will of the Lord is. My goal in this message today is that you would see God's purpose and will for your life.

And that you would learn how to discover it on your own. My friend Levi Lusko shared this illustration of understanding God's unique will for our lives compared to God's revealed will found in the Bible. All of us want to know God's unique will for us. Who we should marry. What kind of car we should drive. We should make this decision. Where we should eat lunch. These are all fine questions.

These are all good. But before we know God's unique will we must be following God's revealed will. And he put the illustration like this. Let's say you're sitting in a parking lot of a grocery store or something and you have an address you want to get over to. As you punch in that address it'll tell you if you're sitting in that parking lot you need to get to a road.

Get to a road. Or it won't tell you turn left or turn right. It's going to wait for you to get onto a road. And then it's going to say okay keep going down this road for a mile and a half.

Or if you get on a different road it's going to say make a left turn at the light. And then follow this road for a mile and a half or whatever it might be. The point is before we can know God's unique will for our lives we need to follow God's revealed will.

We need to get to a road. And the road is God's revealed will. And so as we get to that road that is where God can help guide us to that ultimate destination. Sure he can do that but the goal is for us to ultimately discern and discover God's specific will for our lives. We must first follow his revealed will which is found in scripture. God's will is revealed in his word.

Let me say that again. God's will is revealed in his word. And we're going to be looking together at Romans chapter 12 verses 1 and 2. I've titled this message again how to know the will of God.

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12 verses 1 to 2. He says, I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice holy acceptable for this is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Point number one, present your bodies.

Present your bodies. 1 Corinthians 10 tells us this, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. That's a great verse to memorize, a great verse to commit to memory. Whether you eat, whether you drink, whatever you do, you do it all for God's glory. And this furthers the idea of what Paul said in verse 1 to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. The idea Paul is conveying in this verse and in Romans 12 is that seeking God's will should not be something relegated only to the weighty matters of who we should marry, what cancer doctor we should move forward with. No, the goal that he is saying here is don't just leave the will of God, don't just seek the will of God in these heavy difficult things, but seek God's will in everything, not just the monumental decisions, in everything we do. The way we seek God's will is by understanding what decisions will most glorify Him. That is God's will.

We talked a bit about this last week. We talked about how we can ultimately glorify God. We talked about what is the role of the church, upward, inward, outward, the glorification of God, the edification of the saints, and the evangelization of the world. We are here to glorify God. That is why God created us. That is God's will for our lives. And so as we look at this text and it says to present your bodies, present your bodies a living sacrifice.

The word Paul uses for body comes from the Greek word soma and it refers specifically to the physical body and the behavior associated with it. The decisions we make, the things we say, the things we type on social media, the type of behavior we engage in, we are to do it for God's glory, but to do it as a living sacrifice, to do it for God. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, you do it all for the glory of God. Now human beings, we are made up of more than just actions and sometimes it's hard for us to behave a certain way because we don't feel like it, right?

I feel like I hear this more than ever. I don't feel like it. I don't feel like going to church. I don't feel like getting up and working out. I don't feel like following my diet. I don't feel like loving my wife.

I don't feel like doing whatever. Well, the reality is we are called to obedience and we are made up of all kinds of things, but especially we're made up of, I found really seems like three things. We are made up of thoughts, actions, and emotions.

We're made up of thoughts, actions, and emotions. And we see this in scripture as well. All of these areas we are to present to God. We are to present our thoughts to God.

Philippians 4-8 says, finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. We are to present our thoughts to God. We are to present our actions to God. We are to present our actions to God.

James 2-17, thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Our actions matter more than our feelings. And finally, our emotions. Our emotions, often described as our hearts. Oh, follow your heart, right?

Do what your heart tells you to do. Well, we know what the Bible says about the heart, right? Jeremiah 17-9, the heart is a poet.

In Proverbs 29-11, a fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. Oftentimes, we get things backwards and we allow our thoughts and our emotions to lead our actions. You ever been guilty of this?

I think we all should have been. I mean, pretty sure we've all been guilty of this, especially if you're a late night eater or you just get tempted. You allow your thoughts, you allow your emotions to lead your actions.

This happens a lot of times. Those things can be hard to change, and so you usually end up following what your thoughts and what your emotions are telling you to do. But the Bible teaches us something different. It says that what matters most is the way, not that we feel, not the way we think, but what matters most is the way we act, the actions we take. And what I have found is this, when I act the way that I know that I am supposed to, what happens then is my emotions and my thoughts follow my actions. Now, if I let my emotions and my thoughts drive, my actions will follow those things.

My actions will follow my thoughts and emotions. Oh, I'm angry. I feel upset. I feel depressed. I want to lay on the couch all day long and just eat bad food.

And you know what? If I do that, what do I feel? Ten times worse, I feel like garbage. But if I say, no, I'm rejecting that, I'm going to do what I know I should do even though I don't feel like it. I'm going to get up. I'm going to go on a run. I'm going to get up. I'm going to go surf. I'm going to get up. I'm going to go on a walk around the neighborhood. I'm going to get some fresh air. My emotions and my thoughts change because I decided to act differently.

Isn't that interesting? The Bible confirms this. It tells us, hey, our actions are what matters most because when you allow your negative thoughts or your feelings to dominate your life, it ends up becoming a downward spiral. You become self-loathing or frequently discouraged or depressed and you're unable to break out of it. That is why we are called to submissive obedience by God. It doesn't always feel right.

It doesn't always feel joyful. But I can promise you this, after being obedient, those feelings and thought patterns always follow. So present your body a living sacrifice ultimately means to pursue God's pleasure.

Present your body a living sacrifice. It means to pursue God's pleasure, not just your own. When we aim for our own pleasure, we oftentimes, it's elusive.

We can't even have our own pleasure. It's momentary. It's fleeting. It's gone. Oh, I thought this would make me happy.

It didn't. I promise you this. If you follow after God's pleasure, that is what is going to bring you joy. That is what is going to bring you fulfillment in this life.

Amen. As you follow God's will for your life, you will find the fulfillment you've always been looking for. Eric Little was a Scottish rugby player. Many of you are familiar with his story.

He was also an Olympic sprinter and a Christian missionary. Eric, his story is told in a wonderful movie called Chariots of Fire, which maybe has one of the greatest theme songs of all time, right? If you know it, you know the song. I'm not going to hum it for you. You can look it up later. I'm not going to hum it for you.

You can look it up later. Maybe even better than Rocky, honestly. Like, maybe even a better theme song than Rocky. But when he arrived in France for the 1924 Olympics, it turned out that his favored 100-meter race was scheduled to take place on a Sunday. Now, for Eric, he was a devout Christian, and he was a very principled and moral man. And he said, because this is taking place on a Sunday, I'm not going to run the race.

I want to honor the Lord, and I want to honor God with all that I do. And so he resigned from that race. He pulled out. Now, people were obviously upset. His teammates, his coach, his friends, even family members were upset and didn't understand what the big deal was why Eric wouldn't run on a Sunday.

But Eric stayed true to his convictions, and he did not run. He decided instead to apply for the 400-meter race, which was held on a weekday. Now, I don't need to tell you, but you probably realize the type of person that runs a 100-meter race and the type of athlete that runs a 400-meter race are two different kinds of athletes, right? One is a sprint. One is a little bit longer distance.

The difference is about, you know, a quarter of a mile to a tenth of a mile, if that. It's a much shorter race. And so Eric decided to jump into the 400-meter race, and he ran anyway. Nobody thought he had a chance. He knew many were disappointed in him and his decision ultimately to not run in the 100-meter race, but he trained hard for the 400, and his best qualifying time was a 49.6. That's terrible.

No, just kidding. A 49.6, and that was actually considered to be pretty mediocre on the International Olympic stage, but he qualified, and so he ran. But before his race, one of Eric's teammates, his team's massage therapist, handed them this note. And in the note, it said this, as Eric read it. It says, in the old book, it says, he that honors me, I will honor, wishing you the best of success always.

That was a reference to 1 Samuel 2.30. Eric ran his race, and he ended up running a 47.6, which not only got him the gold medal for that race, but it also set an Olympic record, which stood for 12 consecutive years. Eric made a stand, and he stood for God, and he is known for this quote. He said, God made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.

Isn't that good? See, it's not so much about, oh, what is God's will for my life, and this specific thing, and this tangible thing, and you know what, that's great. God, we always want the specific answers to the problems that we're facing, and you know what, by God's grace, a lot of times, he will give us those answers, and he will give us supernatural discernment. But God is more concerned with about the reasons why we're living, the reasons why we are pursuing these things. Eric ran for God's pleasure, and so whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we do it all for the glory of God. We do it all for God's pleasure. Point number two, do not be conformed.

Do not be conformed. First John 2 15 says, do not love the world or the things in the world, for if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Whenever someone sends me like a picture, like a really good meal, or a cool classic car or something, or a beautiful sunset that they're enjoying, wow, this is great.

I'm loving this so much. I love to send them that verse, love not the world, just to mess with them, make them feel like they're being hedonistic or something. It's my way of being legalistic and distorting scripture.

No, just kidding, but it's fun to mess with them. That word for conformed that we just saw in verse one, do not be conformed, comes from the Greek word which translates to our modern word echo, echo. So we could translate it kind of as, you know, do not echo the things of this world. Now we've all been in a cave or in a room that has a good echo chamber and we can stand in there and we can say something, yell something at the top of our lungs and it'll repeat it back to us and then back and forth and back and forth until it finally quiets down. To echo this world means you repeat the behavior that you are observing. To echo the things of this world means to follow the patterns which this world sets, the behavior, the speech, the attitude, the overall objectives this world sets. It could be beauty, it could be wealth, it could be indulgence, it could be ego, it could be selfishness, it could be power.

Pursue these things. These are things that the world puts value on. Do not echo the things of this world, Paul says. When you hear famous athletes and musicians and actors talk about success, we see that across the board it's an empty pursuit. All these actors, all these people that we put so much stock and so much trust in thinking that they know what is best, they know what this life is all about, so many of them talk about the emptiness of it all, right? The emptiness of fame. Jim Carrey said it really well. He said, I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so that they can see that it's not the answer.

So often we think that, oh, if I get this car, oh, if I get this degree, if I buy this house, if I marry this person, if I have this experience, that's going to deliver the ultimate. And what happens every single time is it lets us down. Yeah, it's cool for a little while. It feels nice for maybe a day or two or maybe a week, but not much more after that. Usually the coolness is worn off. You know, you've spilled the food inside of the car already, and so that new car smell is already wearing off.

You dropped onions in the seat, and now you don't even want to drive in the car. Those things that we think will deliver never do. And so if you pattern your life after this world, if you echo your life after this world, if you conform your life to what the world has to say and what it says you should, what you find is that it is empty, it is lonely, it is depressing, it is lonely, it is depressing, and that is because it is not God's will for your life. You are not pursuing God's will. You are pursuing your own will. Avoiding God's will and rejecting what the Bible teaches is a surefire guaranteed path to pain, suffering, emptiness, destruction, and ultimately hell. Rejecting God's will for your life is going to lead you down a painful path. C.S. Lewis said it well when he said, if you aim at earth, excuse me, if you aim at heaven, you will get earth thrown in.

If you aim at earth, you will get neither. So Paul tells us, do not be conformed to this world. Do not be conformed to this world. Now I don't know about you, but mentally it's really hard to stop a behavior and remove something without instead introducing a new behavior or a new something that I should be doing, right?

This could be spiritual, physical, or whatever. To stop engaging in whatever behavior without replacing it is nearly impossible. That's why the Apostle Paul doesn't leave us hanging here on that verse, do not be conformed, but it continues. It says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. And so that brings us to point number three, do not be conformed, but be transformed. Be transformed, number three.

2 Corinthians 3 18 says this, but we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as by the spirit of the Lord. Now that world transformed comes from the Greek word the Apostle Paul uses metamorphosis. Well it's actually metamorpho, but we get our word today metamorphosis from it.

Now if you were in high school in the last 10 years you probably remember that word from science class, right? Metamorphosis. It speaks of one creature turning into something almost completely different. Usually it's a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, right?

Something that is not so beautiful turning into something amazing and something completely different. My son Christopher has two Cuban knight anoles. These are very cool lizards. They're really pretty bright green and even turquoise colors on them and they eat all kinds of stuff. We feed them crickets. We feed them cockroaches. We feed them hornworms and we feed them mealworms. You know what mealworms are?

They're kind of that yellow and black brownish color. This little worm with legs are pretty ugly and so we feed those to our lizards every day and so recently we dropped a couple of those little mealworms into the cage and they disappeared. Like the lizards didn't get to them fast enough and they crawled into the soil and just burrowed themselves and so we didn't think much of it. We're not going to tear the cage apart looking for them and so they burrowed themselves in there. Well a couple of days ago I'm sitting there and I hear my lizard chewing on something really loud that sounds like a leaf and so I look in the cage and he's chewing on this big black beetle.

Like where the heck did that come from? Where's this beetle coming from? Metamorphosis. That mealworm turned from a really ugly brown little yellow worm with legs into a really ugly black beetle. They could fly and so for the mealworm that was a big upgrade.

It could fly now but it didn't have an opportunity to fly. Ended up as lunch for my lizard and so Paul tells us in a similar way that we are to be transformed. That we are to go through the process of metamorphosis.

It's a spiritual process. The last time I checked humans do not transform physically right. Humans don't transform physically and so Paul is referring to a spiritual transformation. A spiritual metamorphosis. A changing of the heart and that is something that only God can do. Scripture tells us that we must be born again. That we must become a all kind of new creation. A new creature. This last week here at Harvest we hosted an event for our friends from the Teen Challenge ministry and they had a big conference with all of their students and it was great.

Really cool. They love to worship the Lord. They love God's word and they so many amazing stories come out of the ministry that they do there. A few years ago I met a guy and I was I was catching up with some of the members of Teen Challenge and we talked about a guy that we all knew who went through their program that I got to meet a few years ago when I was doing the Sunday night services here at Harvest. His name was Matthew and Matthew as I got to know him and meet him a few times he shared his story. He had a tough childhood. He and his sister were abandoned at a gas station by their mother at ages five and seven. She gave him five dollars and said go inside.

I'll be out here pumping I'll be out here pumping gas. When they came out she was gone. She abandoned them at the gas station and they hung out in the area for a few days until finally CPS came and picked them up and they brought Matthew into different homes. Foster care put into different programming and throughout Matthew's childhood he was subjected to traumas and tragedies as he bounced to different foster homes and youth centers and as a result he got heavily into drugs. He got heavily involved in gangs and did prison time and when I first met Matthew the best way I can describe it is that his appearance did not match his countenance. The way that he acted, the way that he conducted himself, the expression on his face did not match the outside.

You see Matthew had tattoos all over his body, all over his hands, all over his face and these are not like cool hipster tattoos. These are like scary okay I'm gonna cross the other side of the street kind of tattoos all over his face but man he was loving on people. He was smiling. He was hugging people, high-fiving people. He was the most contagious and just friendly person that I think I may have ever met from their program and his countenance did not match his appearance.

He was a guy that you would have obviously crossed the street to get away from but here's the reality. God gave him a new nature. He replaced his heart of stone and gave him a heart of flesh and now Matthew is doing so great.

He had all of those tattoos actually removed from his face and he's doing a wonderful job serving the Lord, walking with the Lord and so just an amazing picture of what a spiritual transformation looks like. Becoming a new creation from the inside out. God changes people. God gives them new natures.

God rewires neural pathways. He makes them an altogether new creation and so together we've looked at and we've exposited Romans chapter 12. We've kind of looked at all the different verses, this wonderful passage. We've seen the meaning behind the words. We understand it but let's not lose sight of what we're here for okay and that brings us to number four and our message title of course is how to know the will of God. That's why we're all here right.

So far we haven't totally nailed that down and so that brings us to number four. God's will is God's word. God's will is God's word and that is found in verse two of Romans 12. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Do not be conformed but be transformed.

Okay that's what we all want to know how to do. How do we be transformed? By the renewing of your mind. By the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. God's word is the tool. God's word is the very tool that renews our minds, that transforms our living and unveils God's will to us. You see we're looking for God's specific will in His word and we're looking for that perfect answer but the reality is is we study God's word and we seek His will. That is the very process of transforming our heart. As we study God's word we see that it begins to change us and it begins to expose who God is to us and we begin to incrementally the process of sanctification.

It changes us bit by bit. King David asked the rhetorical question in Psalm 119. How can a young man cleanse his way? And he answers it by taking heed according to your word. With my whole heart I have sought you. Oh let me not wander from your commandments.

Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. How can a young person live a clean life? He's asking. How can an old person? How can a man? How can a woman? How can a mom?

How can a dad? How can a young person, anybody live a life free from sin? By following God's word. By taking heed according to your word.

He goes on. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. Here he is literally talking about the very act of committing scripture to heart. It fills your mind with thoughts about God causing you to walk in His will more perfectly.

One commentator put it this way. When a believer's mind is transformed his thinking ability, his moral reasoning, and spiritual understanding are able to properly assess everything and to accept only what conforms to the will of God. Our lives can prove what the will of God is only by doing those things that are good and acceptable and perfect to Him. And so in closing today I just want to share some verses that may help you understand a small glimpse of God's revealed will for you found in scripture.

There are hundreds if not thousands of principles and goals that God has set for us and these are some of my favorite. God's will for you is to give thanks in all circumstances 1 Thessalonians 5 tells us. God's will for you is to come to repentance 2 Peter 3 9 says.

God's will for you is to abstain from sexual immorality 1 Thessalonians 4 says. God's will for you is to seek first God's kingdom Matthew 6 says. God's will for you is to suffer for doing good. God's will for you is to be saved. God's will for you is to walk worthy. God's will for you is to be doers and not just hearers of the word only. God's will for you is that you would be a student of His word and God's will for you is pretty much all of Colossians chapter 3 if you want to look there later on.

Hopefully you could write some of those down as we rush through those. But here is ultimately what I have found and here's the point we want to land on today. God's will has more to do with who you are than it is about what you do. God's will is more about who we are than it is about what we do because who we are dictates what we do. Our convictions determine our behavior.

Ralph Waldo Emerson put it well when he said so a thought reap an action so an act and you reap a habit so a habit reap a character so a character reap a destiny. We are to be more concerned about who we are and who we are modeling our lives after than more than we are about what we should be doing because the things that we have that convict us will ultimately determine our behavior. Something I see a lot of in the church and really in the world everywhere today is parents making decisions for their children.

Now don't get me wrong this is completely appropriate and I would encourage in various seasons of life if your son is 35 years old you shouldn't be making decisions for him right you shouldn't be making decisions for him anymore informing giving counsel absolutely but when your children are young and they're unable to make the right choice on their own you make it for them you make the right choices for them. My goal with my kids is to protect and preserve their innocence for as long as possible. I want to protect and preserve their innocence for as long as possible therefore I put things in place to protect them.

Why? Maybe because I'm an overbearing control freak possibly but mostly because I want to love them and I want to protect them. I want to keep them from things that are going to hurt them and as my children get older I don't want to be making decisions for them. I want them to make the right decisions. What I want is to teach them the heart but also the heart behind why I'm making these choices for them and so I talk to them about the dangers that lurk around with drugs and sex and pornography and predators as is age appropriate of course. The way I talk to my 18 year old is different than the way I talk to my 12 year old is different than the way I talk to my 10 year old. As much as I want to be there to make every decision for them and protect them from absolutely everything I know that ultimately they are going to be the ones who have to make the decisions about what kind of language to use when mom and dad are around.

They are the ones that are going to have to decide what they will do when they encounter drugs or pornography or underage drinking or whatever and in those times I want them to make the right decision. The decision that would honor God and bless their families. They'll mess up, they'll fall short just like their dad does and I'll be there to forgive them and pick them back up but in the same way God does not give us an individualized customized and itemized will for our lives as much as we may want that. There's no secret blueprints or unwritten codes that if you hold your bible at a 45 degree angle and divide the number of verses in the bible by the number of chapters and that correlates with a letter and that letter is the you know the first letter of the the spouse that you're going to marry someday it doesn't do that. God's will is about what kind of person you are not where you get your paycheck from. God's will for you is how much like Jesus you behave and believe not what street you're going to move into. Now that being said as we close I do not want you to walk away from here thinking this is some kind of cop-out and that I am not directly answering the very question posed in the title of this sermon how to know the will of God. I can tell you hundreds of stories about people who are seeking God's will asked him for discernment and thought they did not and though they did not hear a voice from God or a perfect bible verse which answered their exact question the posture of their heart seeking God's will the posture of their heart led them to the right decisions and when they looked back and when I've looked back at times when I was seeking God's will and I didn't know what the answer was and I realized that the decision I arrived at because I was seeking God's will was I was seeking God's will was the exact perfect decision that I should have made at the perfect time and I realized wow that was exactly what I should have done at the exact right time with the exact right person and all I can say is that was God leading me to that decision. A lot of times we want to know what we should do before we get there and God is saying just follow me trust me one step at a time and so is God concerned about where you send your kids to school absolutely he is he cares about where you invest your money he cares about what job you take we here at Harvest we believe in the continuing work of the Holy Spirit and he can give you a vision he can give you a dream someone can have a word of knowledge for you the Lord can provide supernatural discernment when you need it and I believe that and we should ask for it every single time but I also know God's primary will for me is more than just seeking where I should get my paycheck from or where I should go to lunch it is about walking with him and living with him and being with him. James 1 5 says that he that lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him and it was Saint Augustine who said love God and do whatever you please for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the one who is beloved is we love God and we follow him our behavior is going to honor God and that is the will of God.

Eric Little said when I run I feel his pleasure because he was living his life for God whatever you do in this life when you have that heart posture of pursuing God's will you will sense God's pleasure and experience and peace and confidence that nothing in this world can ever compare to this is the hope for the believer. I will tell you two things two final things that we know are God's will because Jesus himself commands us to do them and he himself participated in them. Number one he commands us all all of his followers to be baptized we are all to be baptized. Baptism is a public profession a public confession that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and you've been born again in the spirit it's something you do as a brand new believer or as an old believer if you haven't been baptized yet. Jesus was baptized and throughout the New Testament we see that when people put their faith in Christ they immediately were baptized and so here at Harvest on July 9th we are going to be having a church wide baptism that we're really looking forward to it's going to be down at Pirate's Cove and we want to invite you all to come down and support it and support those that are being baptized if you haven't been baptized yet come down and join us July 9th it's going to be the Sunday following the Harvest Crusade it's coming up quick and so make plans to be there it's going to be at 3 p.m and it's going to be a great time a lot of people are going to come down it's going to be a blessing so join us for that if you're watching on the island of Maui you guys are also having a baptism you're welcome to come join us for a baptism over here maybe we would rather like to go join you for your baptism and that's going to be on July 16th at Napili Bay just down the street there from where you guys are having church now and so that'll be great and we'll celebrate what the Lord is doing the lives of the believers and so that is one area that is God's will and the second area is communion communion Jesus tells us he tells his followers to eat the unleavened bread and to drink the fruit of the vine and to proclaim his death and resurrection until his return and that is what we are doing today at all of our campuses in just a few moments but I want to tell you that as we observe communion today that this is for believers only and scripture tells us that if we do it in an unworthy heart that ultimately we are eating and drinking judgment unto ourselves and so I'm going to invite the worship team to come out in just a moment and we're going to distribute the elements and when everybody is served we will pray for the elements together and then partake but before that I want to tell you that you can become part of this family you can know today that God's will for you is that you would walk with him that you would come to repentance scripture tells us that God is not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance and have this relationship with him and so I'd like to extend that invitation to you now heavenly father we thank you that you have a perfect will for us that you want us to be that you want us to be men and women who model our lives after you Lord we pray that you would help us to know what your will is to discern what your will is and in all of the decisions that we are faced with from the mundane to the monumental the Lord we would seek your glory and by process of doing that we become more and more like your son Jesus that is our goal as Christians that is what the very word Christian means Christ like Christ follower and so Lord that is our heart that is our goal we pray that you would help us to do that Lord we know that there are some here today who have not yet put their faith in you who have been looking to the things of this world to bring them satisfaction they've been following their own will and like so many have found it's empty it's fleeting it's a pointless pursuit and so Lord we're thankful that you reached down from heaven and you sent your son Jesus and you have given us a new way to be human you've given us a pattern to follow that will bring us not only joy and blessings and fulfillment and a blessed life but Lord the hope of heaven Lord the greatest gift you've given to us is your forgiveness for our sin and so our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed we're praying together there may be some who have not yet prayed and asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior I would extend to you this invitation now wherever you are watching from whatever campus you are at you can pray this prayer and know that Jesus Christ is coming to your life pray this pray this now in faith pray this dear God I know that I'm a sinner but I know that Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin and I turn from that sin now and I choose to walk with you from this moment forward Lord I want your will for my life I want to be your child I want to follow all of your commands and principles that I find in the bible help me to do that through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name I pray amen amen hey everybody thanks for listening to this podcast to learn more about harvest ministries follow this show and consider supporting it just go to and to find out how to know God personally go to and click on know God
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-29 04:34:49 / 2023-05-29 04:53:36 / 19

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