The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird. It is not a maze.
It is not a puzzle that you have to put together and figure it out. But as Skip shares today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Scripture provides some great instruction for how we can discern God's will even when it isn't crystal clear. Now, here's an exciting resource that puts you right on the road to Emmaus as Jesus walks with two of his followers after his resurrection. For those who knew Jesus while he walked this earth, the road to discovering and believing that Jesus was resurrected started in disheartening confusion, but it ended in decisive confirmation. And we're excited to send you a special set of resurrection resources by Skip that include five of his finest Easter messages for digital download or CD and a full video titled On the Road by Skip. Now, behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked together of all these things which had happened.
So it was while they conversed and reasoned that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. With your gift of support of $50 or more, we'll send you a copy of this hope-filled package of five audio messages for download or on CD and the full video On the Road as thanks for your gift to expand Connect with Skip Heitzig to reach more people in major U.S. cities. So request your resource when you give and take a walk with Christ on the road to Emmaus.
Just call 800-922-1888 or visit connectwithskip.com slash offer. OK, let's go to Colossians three as we begin today's lesson. Show of hands. How many of you here want to know God's will for your life? If that's important to you, so there's some of you that aren't participating in this, I have serious doubts about you, but anyway, that's OK. So most of us want to know God's will.
OK, another question to follow up with that is to require maybe a little more honesty. How many of you often live in uncertainty as to what the will of God is for your life? Show of hands.
Well, you're not alone. People around the world are looking for direction for their future. Everybody wants direction for their future. It's why people read horoscopes. It's why people go to psychics. It's why people get their palms read. It's why people look to Bible prophecy.
People are looking for future direction. Some Christians will resort to practices that I would say even border on superstition when it comes to discerning the will of God. I remember when I was a brand new believer that I had friends that had this little plastic loaf of bread. It looked like a loaf of bread. It was a little plastic box, and inside were promises, Bible promises. And some of these people that I knew would just sort of kind of reach in, grab a promise. And it was sort of like fortune cookie Christianity. You know, it's like whatever it said is what is going to happen.
It's sort of like predicting the future. I heard about a lady who had a long time ambition, dream to go to the Holy Land. And so she got a brochure about a tour that was coming up. And she had the money, she had the time, but she wasn't certain if it was God's will for her to go or not. And so she just said, Lord, is it your will?
Show me a sign. And she looked at the brochure one more time before she fell asleep that night, and she noticed in the literature that it said all the tour participants will be flying on a jumbo 747 jet. And so she closed the brochure, went to sleep, woke up the next morning, and she turned her head and looked at her alarm clock. It said 7 47 a.m. That's all it took for her to think it is now, without a doubt, God's will for me to go on that tour. Not a great strategy for determining the will of God.
Then there was a man who drove his car through Washington, D.C. He lived in the area, and he happened to run out of gas right in front of the Philippines Embassy, and he took that as a sign that God wanted him to be a missionary to the Philippines. Great, I'm glad he did, but there's got to be a better way to discern God's will for your life. Maybe you've heard of the method that some people call the open window method, where you just sort of open your Bible and let the wind blow the pages and whatever page it blows to, and you point to a verse that's God's will for your life.
Can I just say that's a dangerous proposition? One man tried that in his first verse. It blew open to Matthew 27 5, which says Judas went out and hanged himself. Well, he let the pages blow a little further, and it went to Luke 10 37, and the text read, Go and do likewise. And he let the pages blow a little bit longer, and it came to John 13 27, which says, Whatever thou doest, do quickly. It's strange that we would treat the God of the Bible this way.
It's the God of the Bible who said in Psalm 32, I will guide you with my eye. Or Psalm 48, He will be our guide even unto death. The will of God is not some mystical, impractical, ethereal process that makes you weird.
It is not a maze, it is not a puzzle that you have to put together and figure it out. In fact, sometimes the will of God is so plain and straightforward, the Bible just tells you what the will of God is. A couple examples, 1 Thessalonians 4, This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality.
Pretty clear, pretty straightforward. God wants you to be holy and not be sexually immoral. That's God's will for your life. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Very straightforward. But not everything is so straightforward. And because it's not so straightforward and because we're usually concerned about far less important matters in life, things like who we're to marry, what job we're to take, where to move to, I know those are all important to us, but your sanctification is far more important to God than if you live in Placitas or Pittsburgh. But what I want to show you in our text, Colossians chapter 3, that we have opened before us, are what I call guardrails, guardrails to knowing God's will. These will keep you in the white lines of the will of God.
Now the previous verses that we have read, back like up in verse 12, 13, 14, all of these have to do with character, our Christian character. What we are to put on. We're to put on tender mercies and humility and meekness and long suffering. We're to put on love.
We looked at that last week. But now we pivot from character to conduct. That is doing, doing the will of God. So in verse 15, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which you were called in one body and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching, admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. We go from your character to your conduct. From putting on certain things in your character to doing the will of God. And you'll notice something the way it's worded.
It's not that we have to really do anything weird to discover what it is. It says in verse 15, Let the peace of God rule. Verse 16, Let the word of Christ dwell. You know, somebody once told me this years ago. They said the will of God is a lot simpler than you think.
And here's my formula. He said, Just love God with all your heart and do whatever you want. Now, think about that for a moment.
If you love God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength, really you can do whatever you want because whatever you want is what he wants. You're going to be filtering your decisions through a certain kind of a grid. And I want to show you that grid this morning, at least in part. So what I want to give you are four guardrails to know the will of God. First is this. Be ruled by peace. Be ruled by peace. Verse 15, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which you were called in one body and be thankful. The word rule is the most important word, I think, in the verse. The word rule, according to the scholar F.F. Bruce, means an arbiter, one who decides, one who calls the shots.
We might say an umpire. Let the peace of God be an umpire in your heart, in your life. So if you need direction in a certain situation, you want to know God's will? First and foremost is peace. Now, let me explain that.
I want to drill down a little bit. God's peace is two things. It's both objective and subjective. That is, it's both a fact, whether you feel it or not, and it is a feeling, an experience. So, for example, if nations who were in a war sign a peace treaty, now peace is a fact.
It's on the books. They've signed the treaty. There's peace between these superpowers. The people involved in the nations may not feel peaceful toward each other at first. There still might be tension and animosity, but there is a formal agreement of peace. So it is when you come to Christ, when you come to Jesus Christ, and you believe in him and you surrender to him, you make peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you feel peaceful at that moment or not is largely irrelevant because it happens to be an objective truth.
It is a fact. So then, the first aspect of knowing God's will is my conversion. I've got to be on his side, right? I've got to be on the side of the one whose peace I want to feel. Here's a Bible verse. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. That's, again, another straightforward Bible verse about God's will. God doesn't want you to go to hell. God wants you to repent and believe. That's what that verse is saying.
So that's sort of the first step. So when I make a decision then in life, once I come to Christ, I've got to remember whose side I'm on. I belong to Jesus Christ. My unity with him is the governing principle. But then, peace is also, more than a fact, it is indeed a feeling, an inner sense of calm.
And perhaps that's a better way to look at this verse. Let the feeling of peace be the umpire in making decisions or call the shots. You remember that Jesus promised to his followers that they would experience peace. He said in John 14, among many things, he said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Now, that literally means my own personal peace, the peace that I live my life with and the peace that I experience is the very peace I am going to give to you.
Now, let me ask you a question. Do you ever picture Jesus as worried? Do you ever read the New Testament and go, Man, he lived a frantic, frenzied, worried life. Ever?
Like that many times, that many times. He was never worried, never frenzied, never frantic, always in control, always peaceful. He said it here. My peace, the peace that I enjoy, is the peace that I give to you. And that is the stamp that we bear, right? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, gentleness, goodness, et cetera, peace. I recall the very first experience I had with God's peace. I was with a buddy in San Bernardino. We were surfing buddies and Bible study buddies, and we decided on like one night a month we would go to this park that had a little hill in it and we'd just pray. And I remember praying with him and having this overwhelming sense of peace from God. And as I was experiencing, I thought, I never want to lose this sense of God's peace. But then I remember the day I lost that peace. And it was when I bought a sleeping bag.
Now, I got to explain myself here. I was into camping, and I had a friend who was selling a North Face sleeping bag, and it was a really high-end, a super warm sleeping bag. It cost like a lot of money, hundreds of dollars. But he was selling it to me for $75. I just bought it on the spot. I had saved up money for one.
I bought it. I went home. I slept in it, even though I was sleeping inside of a house. I just wanted to be in this cool sleeping bag. And I couldn't sleep. I just had a sense of no peace. And it was like the Holy Spirit just said, you know, you never did ask me about this. You never did pray about this. And I just didn't have a peace.
I couldn't really explain why, but I didn't have a peace after spending the money in keeping this bag. So I took the sleeping bag to his house the next day, knocked on the door, and said, I need my money back. And he said, why?
And I had to tell him. I don't feel a peace. I don't feel God's peace. And he said, what? I mean, he could not figure out what I was talking about.
But I knew. And you know what it's like when you don't experience that feeling, that inner calm of God's peace. So when you're making choices, and you want to know what is the will of God, you ask yourself, is this going to give rest to my soul? Do I have the security that God is in this decision? Now, you've got to be careful with this, because this second part, this feeling of peace, is highly subjective.
And because it is, you're going to need another guard rail so that you don't get into a weird position. You know, somebody can say, yeah, you know, I've been married to this gal for such a long time, always in turmoil when I'm at home, but the day I dumped her, I felt peace. Well, you're just confusing God's peace with the absence of conflict. And if you were to work through the tough situations with that gal, you will experience a sense of peace much deeper.
So we're going to need another guard rail, and we're going to have it in just a moment. But this peace is both a fact and a feeling. So when you're making a decision, number one, is this consistent with the fact that Jesus and I are on the same side?
And secondly, will it result in a deep and abiding rest in my soul? That's the peace of God. So be ruled by peace, first guard rail. Second guard rail, be rooted in Scripture. Now, look at verse 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.
Let's stop right there. The second guard rail governs the first guard rail. Whatever feelings we might have of peace or no peace is superintended by this second guard rail, what is called here the word of Christ, or you might just call it the word of God. The word of God. It could be the word of God generically. It could be a reference to the New Testament specifically, the message about Christ that is the gospel. But the word of Christ, or the word of God. Remember Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice? You want to know what the voice of Jesus sounds like?
It sounds a lot like this. It sounds a lot like Scripture. If I want to hear the voice of God, or the voice of Christ, I read my Bible. And that becomes a guard rail for me. And notice this, let the word of Christ, or the word of God, dwell.
Now that's a key word for this verse. Because the word dwell means to settle down and be at home in. To settle down and be at home in. So home is comfortable.
Hotels are fine, but home is a lot better. So for some Christians, the only Bible verses they get is a sermon they listen to whenever they happen to attend church, or a Bible verse from a song that they hear. That's about it. Well, that's a hotel Christian. That's the word of God just sort of coming over from time to time whenever you're in the mood, just stopping by and saying, hi, and here I am, I'm a Bible verse.
But that's different than settling down and being at home. And notice the next word, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. It means abundantly. You should be jammed full of the Scripture, so much so that when people bump into you, that's what comes out. You know, if you bump into something that is filled with something, whatever is in that vessel is going to spill out. If the word of God is in you and people bump into you, that's what comes out.
But if people bump into you and cursing comes out, well, that's what's in you. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So the Bible should fill your life abundantly. You should be so full of the word of God that if they cut you, you bleed Bible verses.
Now, how can you tell if the word of God is dwelling in you richly? Well, it's pretty simple, really. First of all, you've got to read it. It's not going to dwell in you richly if you never read it. So you've got to read it. Secondly, you've got to study it. And then third, you've got to do it. Read it, study it, do it.
Let me give you a quick little outline about that. Heed it, that's not heat it up, but heed it, H-E-E-D, heed it, handle it, hide it, hold it forth. You do those four things, and the word of God will dwell in you richly. So heed it, Matthew 13, 9. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
You're listening, you're attentive, you're careful to take it in. Second, handle it. 2 Timothy 2.15, be diligent to present yourselves approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Heed it, handle it.
Third, hide it, hide it. Psalm 119, verse 11, your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. It's where you memorize Scripture so it becomes a part of you.
And then fourth, hold it forth. Hold it forth, Philippians 2.16, holding forth or holding fast the word of life. So be ruled by peace, be rooted in Scripture. Now, something I want to point out really quickly, I just can't resist this, is Colossians 3.16 has a parallel that sounds an awfully lot like another verse that's in Ephesians chapter 5.
Listen to this. This is Ephesians 5, verse 17, 18, and 19. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, listen, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
Very similar wording, very similar pattern. But in one section, it says, be filled with the Spirit. In the other book, it says, let the word of God or Christ dwell in you richly. So what are we to conclude?
This is what I conclude. You want to know what it is to be filled with the Spirit? Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. If the word of Christ dwells in you richly, you will find yourself filled with the Spirit, because the word of God in your heart is the handle by which the Spirit of God turns your life, controls your will. So to be filled with the Spirit isn't to sit around and have a weird impression. It's simply to have a life saturated, dominated with Scripture. That's Skip Hytzen with a message from the series, Always Only Jesus. Find the full message as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at connectwithskip.com. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's Word. Christianity centers on one thing, the cross of Jesus Christ. When we look to Jesus by faith, we are healed and forgiven of our sins.
That's what it's all about. Our goal is to get this good news, the greatest news, to more listeners like you. Consider giving generously today to keep these biblical messages on the air and to help reach more people with the gospel. Here's how to give. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate or call 800-922-1888, 800-922-1888.
Thank you for your generosity. We hope you'll tune in tomorrow to hear the conclusion of Pastor Skip's message, Guardrails to Knowing God's Will. Do all in the name or for the honor or for the glory of Jesus Christ. So you ask yourself when you're making a decision, is this consistent with the character of Christ? Is this a decision Jesus would make? Is this in keeping with his reputation? Make a connection, make a connection At the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on his word Make a connection, a connection Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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