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Knowing God’s Will

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 20, 2020 4:00 am

Knowing God’s Will

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 20, 2020 4:00 am

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Being filled with the spirit is allowing the spirit to dominate your life and move you in the direction that God would have you to go. So you don't have to ask for the spirit you possess the Holy Spirit. Don't let anybody come along and say you need the Holy Spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit.

Now, you already have the Holy Spirit living in you. You need to be totally controlled and influenced by his power.

Welcome to Grace to you with John MacArthur. I'm your host, Phil Johnson.

If you're trying to pick a career, how do you know whether God wants you to enter the business world or go into full time ministry or drive a truck? Practice medicine or whatever? Or maybe you're facing another life changing question. Like whom should I marry? Which church should I attend? Or where should I send my kids to school? Bottom line, with every decision you face, how can you be sure you're doing what God wants you to do? That's an issue most Christians, even mature ones, struggle with. Thankfully, you don't have to guess what God's will is. As John MacArthur shows you today on Grace to you. John's continuing his study titled A Course for Life. This series was originally preached to students at the Master's University, where John serves as chancellor. But no matter what stage of life you're in, knowing how to find God's will is crucial. It's something Christians never outgrow. So let's get to the lesson. Here's John with a look at how you can know God's will.

How can a person know God's will? I don't know God's will for my life. Young people asked me that all the time. I don't know God's will for my life. What school should I go to? Where should I live? What kind of career should I choose? What kind of job do I want? Who do I marry? Where do I look for? In a in a partner in life. What should I. What should I look for in terms of of career opportunities? I've got these three things. How do I know what God wants me to do? What church do I go to? What about a ministry? I've got 10 ministries in front of me. I've got the paralysis of analysis. I don't know which one to choose. It would be simpler if I only had one. Why are there so many options? How can I know God's will and you know how it goes?

And there are some people I think, who think God, God's will is lost and they have to find it. You hear these people say, well, I'm searching for God's will, like, you know, God was sort of a cosmic Easter bunny. And he he took his will and he hid it. And he says, Now go find it. And he's up there in heaven saying, you're getting warmer, you're getting warmer. Like this is some kind of a game that we're supposed to play to find what God is hidden. And there are other people who think God's will is is some kind of a trauma. You know, you're running down the street in the rain. You slip on a banana peel and your nose lands on a map of Africa. And this is the call of God. This is the call Africa. It is.

I'm going Lord or a voice out of heaven in the middle of the night. Go to India and you're waiting for the voice and all the voices ever saying to you is stop snoring or something like that.

There are other people who think that the will of God is something that that you ought to be afraid of. I've had young people say to me, I really I'm not asking God for his will because I'm not sure I want it. And I remember it. An athlete asked me whom lake? One time he said, you know, I'll be real honest with you. I want to know God's will for my life.

But I'm afraid of the answer. I mean, I'm an athlete and I love athletics. And my big fear is God's going to break both my legs and make me play a flute.

You know, that God is sort of a God is sort of a cosmic killjoy who goes around saying there's one having fun, get him, you know, and that God wants to rain on your parade and God wants to make you put on a pith helmet and tramp through a mosquito infested jungle, passing out tracts to people who can't read the language in which they're printed. I think there are other people who assume that God's will is of like the brass ring and the merry go round. I don't know what that means, but some places I think Disneyland may still have brass rings on the merry go round. You're right around. And there's this little deal that spits out these rings and you try to grab them and you get a bunch of led ones. But every once in a while there's a brass one. And if you get the brass one, you get a prize. I've been on merry go round like that and you get the brass one, you throw it through the mouth of a clown a little further around the deal and you win the big jackpot. And and there are people who assume, well, that's God's will. You know, you just grab for it and grab for it and grab for it. If you're lucky, you get it using it through the Klan's mouth and you win. But most of us will never get it. And if we do get it, we'll miss the clown's mouth and we'll have to settle for something less. And not everybody gets God's will. You know, people who are big time missionaries or people who who succeed greatly in life really are in God's will. And the rest of us sort of mill around in the shallows having missed the brass ring. So go the theories about God's will. Well, let me see if I can't help you by looking at the scripture regarding God's will. And just before we do that, just to give you a little logical progression in answering the question, what is God's will?

We want to make several assumptions. OK, assumption number one, God has a will for your life. Is that a fair assumption? I think it is. God is sovereign and God has a purpose for your life. That's the first assumption. God does have a will for your life.

He is not nebulous. He is not vague. He is not undecided. He is not without an opinion with regard to you. He has a specific will in mind for your life. Secondly, if assumption No one is true, assumption number two must be true.

He wants you to know what it is. That fair? I mean, why would God have a. For your life and frustrate himself by not wanting you to know what it is. Course he wants you to know what it is. If that's true, the third assumption is he would put it then in the most obvious place. It is discernable. God does have a will for your life because he has a will for everything and everyone. God would therefore want you to know what the will was. So you could fulfill the purpose which he designed. And thirdly, you would expect them to find it in an obvious place. Now, the most obvious place I know to look for the will of God is in the place where God has revealed his will, namely the Bible.

You say now, wait a minute. That's not my question. I want to know who should I marry, where should I work and et cetera, et cetera. I'm not worried about the spiritual part of that. I'm worried about the practical part of it.

And frankly, that might be the real problem because we have to start with the scripture. Second, Peter, chapter three. And here's a familiar verse.

The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, in other words, that the Lord is not slack or indifferent or undecided or unfaithful. In other words, the reason the judgment hasn't come isn't because God is impotent or indifferent or unfaithful. He's talking about judgment here. The reason judgment hasn't come is not because God is slow, but is patient. The reason God hasn't yet judged the world is because he is not willing for any two what to perish. But for all to come to repentance. Now there is the first component. And God's will.

God's will is that men be saved. He is not willing that they perish first.

Timothy. Chapter two. Verse three. There's a statement about God, our savior in first Timothy. Two, three. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our savior. Then verse four. First Timothy two.

For God, our savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. And that's why, in verse five, he has provided the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all the testimony born at the proper time. Jesus Christ. God's provision a ransom for all. Because God is a saving God who desires all men to be saved.

Now both second Peter three nine and first Timothy two, three and four. Tell us the first component in God's will. God is willing that men and women be saved.

That's where it all starts.

Obviously, if you're not saved, if you haven't obeyed the will of God at step one, God is not involved in expressing his will for your life in any positive sense.

God does not lead those who do not know him. I'll say that again. God does not lead those who do not know him. He leads people to salvation. But apart from that, for those who reject that salvation, God is not leading them.

It is, according to Romans, chapter eight, verse 14, that those who are led by God are those who have within them the spirit of God. But those who do not know God are not led by him. Jesus described them this way. They are multitudes of sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus said nobody's leading them. They're really on their own. So if you have never come to salvation, you are on your own. The only thing God has planned for you is eternal judgment. That's the only thing. You're on your own in John. Chapter 10. In Verse four. It says, Jesus said when he puts forth his own sheep. He goes before them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. He leads his own.

You can't even get involved in being led by God without the step of salvation. And that's obvious or should be obvious to all of us. Without Christ, you're a stranger to God, without Christ.

You are an illegal alien, as it were, hanging around the fringes of a kingdom in which you don't belong. Without Christ, you are a rebel until you know Christ, you're not even involved in the process of God's unfolding purpose. And Will, let me give you an illustration of this. Look at Mach three at quite a fascinating account of our Lord and his human family. Jesus was teaching here in a house. And just to kind of make the long story short. Verse thirty one of Mach three says that his mother and his brothers arrived and they were standing outside and they sent word to.

They call him. He's in a house. The thing is just jam packed with people.

And he's teaching fact. He's been teaching about Satan and all of a sudden his mother and his brother show up and they send word to him that they want him. So some message comes up to the front that Jesus is teaching multitudes. And somebody says, hey, your mother wants you. The multitude verse 32 is sitting around him.

And they said your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.

And here's an amazing response. Verse 33 and answering them, he said, Who are my mother and my brothers?

You say, wait a minute. Doesn't you know? Sure he does. It's a rhetorical question.

Here's 34 and looking on those who's sitting around and he said this. Behold my mother and my brothers.

What was he saying? Well, verse 35 tells you whoever does the will of God. He is my brother and sister and mother.

He's saying this earthly relationships only go so far to be truly connected to me.

You must do the will of my father.

And what was the will of his father? Listen. He expressed it when he said this. This is my beloved son. Hear ye.

Him. The will of the father is that you believe in the son. The will of the father is that you love the son. If any man loved not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema. First Corinthians 16 22 says God's will. Is that you commit your life to Christ. The Gospel is a command, isn't it?

It's not an option. We all say where we say, well, I invite you to come to Christ. The Bible never invites anybody to come to Christ. The Bible commands people to come to Christ.

It doesn't invite them. It commands them. And it's the command of the father. This is my beloved son. Hear him. This is my beloved son. Follow him. Believe in him. That's the gospel. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you will be saved.

Confess with your mouth. Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God is raised from the dead and you will be safe. Those are all commands.

And so what Jesus is saying here is temporal relationships. External relationships don't mean anything. If you want to really be related to me, you must do the will of my father and the will of my father is that you believe in me.

So God's will is that people be saved by faith in Jesus Christ. First, John to John says, If any man loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. You can't serve God and the system. So God's will begins by affirming Christ as Lord and savior.

That's the first step. If you haven't taken that step, Jesus says you're not even in my family. You're not my mother. And you're not my brother. You have no association with me. You are a shepherd, lost sheep. You have no leader. You're on your own. The only will I have for you is an eternal hell.

The second element of God's will in the Bible that is basic.

That's in Ephesians Chapter five. Let's look at it. Familiar text Ephesians chapter five and verse 17.

Now, this is kind of hard hitting verse, so hang on a little bit. So then do not be foolish. And the old King James said unwise. What's another word for foolish? It starts with s.. Stupid. Good. That just seems to have a kind of a ring to it, doesn't it? Stupid. Do not be stupid, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Not me. Ask you a question. If you don't know the will of the Lord, what are you.

What are you, stupid? You say. What do you mean? Well, that's what it says. Don't be stupid, but understand what the will of the Lord is. You don't understand the will of the Lord. You're stupid, you say. But I'm looking. I'm looking. It's here. It's been here all the time.

Well, what is it? Verse 18. Just keep reading. Don't get drunk with wine. That's dissipation. But be what? Filled with the spirit.

Second thing in the will of God is that you'll be spirit filled. First thing you'd be say. Second thing spirit filled. If you don't know this. Your what?

Mm hmm. Amazing.

He says, look, I want you to know God's will and God's will for you is that you not get drunk with wine. That's dissipation. But that you be filled with the spirit. You say, well, why in the world do they compare those two things? Like, those are the only two options are either a drunk or spirit filled. What kind of a comparison is that? That comparison comes out of the ancient religious system.

Any of you who've traveled in the Middle East utilities sites in the life of Paul in the early church or in the even the Arab world, such as Baalbeck, where I have been and seen the temple of Bacchus and and all of that, you will know that when you go visit these places, they tell you that when ancient religious worshipers came together, they believed that they would commune with the DST through to means primarily one was sexual immorality with a priestess who was a temple prostitute, and that in the euphoria and the ecstasy of the sexual experience, they were being lifted to commune with the D.A. And the second thing was in drunkenness. They believed that as they became inebriated and drunk, that that lifted them beyond themselves. Drunkenness was a state of religious euphoria that translated them into the presence of their DHT back in the 60s, when the hippie movement was born, a very influential guy by the name of Dr. Timothy Leary was saying this. He he was advocating taking drugs as a religious experience because those drugs would elevate your level of consciousness. This is also true in a in the eastern part of the world, in eastern mystical religions. They believe that certain kinds of self hypnosis and certain kinds of drugged induced stupors elevate you to the level of communion with a duty in Latin America. They do it with a drug called peyote. They do it. And in South America, with a drug that's been used as an anesthetic in our hospitals, in America, kultury it a form of that, they have a number of different things like that around the world. Well, people have associated that kind of stuff with a religious experience. And Paul is saying, look, if you want to draw near to God, if you want to be elevated and transcendent and get out of the norm of life and reach the level of DS3, don't do it by getting drunk. Do it by being filled with what?

With the Holy Spirit. That's how you commune with God, the true God. Don't be stupid. You know what God's will is and his will is that you be spirit filled. That's God's will.

Now, obviously, you're going to ask the question, what does it mean to be spirit fill? Well, let me see if I can just give you a very brief answer. First of all, know this, that if you're a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives in you. Right? Romans eight, nine. If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he has none of his. Conversely, if you have Christ, you have the spirit. First Corinthians six, 19. What don't you know?

Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which you have of God. You're not your own. You're bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit which are God's.

Your body is the temple. First Corinthians twelve, twelve and 13 says that we have all been baptized into one spirit. Everyone who is a Christian possesses the Holy Spirit. But that doesn't mean we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

What do we mean by Phil? Well, we mean, first of all, very simply understood. Controlled by controlled by the word play. Rao has the idea of of total influence. For example, in that in the New Testament gospel accounts, you very often read about someone being filled with anger, filled with fear, filled with wonder, filled with amazement. And what that basically means is that that is a dominating influence. For example, in life, generally, you balance things off fairly well. Let's take, let's say, joy and sorrow that the phrase filled with sorrow is also used in the New Testament.

Let's take joy and sorrow. You could go through life and you can fairly well balance that off. There's enough stuff in your life that's positive. You pass. The test and you got some nice friends, and pretty soon you're going home to vacation, you're going to get a Christmas present from your parents and you know, and all that stuff, you're gonna take some trips you want to study. And that's a happy deal on the other side. You know, you got your old man who's got cancer and the world isn't getting any better. And maybe there's a certain anxiety in your heart because you've got an attachment to somebody you'd like to have a nice relationship develop, but he's not interested in you or whatever it is.

And that's how life goes. You know, that's how life goes. And you just kind of juggle it and and you're not filled with fear and you're not filled with sorrow, but you're not filled with joy. You're just sorry. And now you have your moments.

Then all of a sudden, what happens? Your old aunt dies and leaves her entire estate to you. Millions.

And the scale go war on the joy side. Right. And you are feeling with joy.

And all of a sudden joy becomes the controlling influence. Or on the other hand, you've fallen in love with somebody and they leave you and room on the sorrow side. And the balance is gone and you can't maintain it. And you are controlled by the dominating influence of that emotion.

That's what it means to be filled with a spirit.

It means to be dominated by the force of the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. So that there's not well, I know how I want to live my life, my little Christian life. A little for you, Spirit, and a little for me. I'll do my little deal a couple hours and then you do your deal on Sunday and maybe a few days during week. And we'll work this baby out and and we'll kind of keep this thing balanced.

That's that's sadly to say, what most Christians do. Being filled with the spirit means the scale tips totally in favor of the Holy Spirit. He becomes a controlling influence. One other use of that word in the gospels, it's very interesting, is the use of the word playwrite out to express the wind, that fills the sail, that moves the ship. The same thing happens in your life when you become totally influenced by the Holy Spirit. He becomes the moving force. He begins to propel you in the right direction. He becomes the force that fills the sails, that moves the ship. So I understand this. You possessed the Holy Spirit, but you are not necessarily under the dominating influence of the Holy Spirit at all times. Therefore, you are not being moved along by the Holy Spirit. Such a second, Peter, to twenty one describes or one twenty one all the time. Being filled with the spirit is allowing the spirit to dominate your life and move you in the direction that God would have you to go. So you don't have to ask for the spirit you possessed the Holy Spirit. Don't let anybody come along and say you need the Holy Spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit. Now, you already have the Holy Spirit living in you. You need to be totally controlled and influenced by his power.

It's sort of like, you know, it's like an Alka Seltzer. A sense, to give you an analogy.

If you have an Alka Seltzer, you want to take an Alka Seltzer, you drop it in a glass of water. As long as it sits in the bottom, it doesn't do anything. All the power is there. All the forces there. All the value is there. It's all contained in that little tablet. But until it is diffused into the rest of the glass and it puts equal parts in all the water, it's not going to have its proper impact. That's the same with the Holy Spirit. The power compact and the spirit of God resides within the life of the believer. But in order to be effective, has to be diffused through the whole life of the believer. And that's essentially the issue. Another way to illustrate it would be to say take a glove.

And if I have a glove lying here and I say to this glove, OK, glove, go play the keyboard over there. Go ahead, glove. Just play a tune. A glove. Can't do that. Just gonna lie there.

Now, glove has five fingers, but a glove can't play the keyboard. Now, if I put my hand in the glove and play the keyboard, what happens? Chaos. Because I can't play very well for the sake of illustration. The glove doesn't. My hand does. The glove doesn't say I'm sorry, finger. I'm not going to cooperate. No, no. Glove just gloves don't talk. They just do what your hand does. The same thing would be true in the life of a believer.

When I become totally influenced by and moved along by the Holy Spirit, I become like a glove with the spirit of God being the fingers that move. And I am simply responding and moving under the complete compulsion. Choice will volition direction of the Holy Spirit of God.

That's John MacArthur showing you what scripture clearly says about how you can know God's will for your life. Along with teaching here on Grace to you, John is pastor of Grace Community Church. He's an author and he is chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. His lesson today is part of a series of messages given during chapel services at the Masters University. The title of this study, A Course for Life. John, I love these messages where you're speaking to students because there's a energy and a passion in your words. And I know you're driven by a desire for these young men and women to build their lives on biblical truth. And it's always encouraging to hear about students who've done that. You have a letter in front of you. That's a great example of that. Take a minute and share that with us.

This is a wonderful letter from Erica. I'll just begin where she begins. Last summer, I landed a 10 week internship in Los Angeles. When I moved out to California, my prayer for the summer was that I would continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Within two days of being in California, I saw the Lord begin to answer my prayer. My dad has listened to Grace to you on the radio for years, and I grew up seeing John McArthur's books around our home. My dad recommended that I attend Grace Community Church over the summer. The first time I heard Pastor MacArthur preach, I was overwhelmed by the richness of God's word. I realized that spending time in God's word is the best way to know the Lord and understand his will for my life. That set the tone for my entire summer and really the rest of my life. In addition to attending Grace Church every Sunday last summer, I began listening to Grace do you podcasts and spending consistent time in God's word for myself back in Oklahoma now. I continue to listen to Grace, to you and to be blessed by your ministry. Thank you for faithfully carrying out the Lord's work this side of heaven. Because of your ministry, I have grown in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I hope to share that grace and knowledge with others. And she signs her name Erica. And I think she had just graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Eric is a great example of what we've been talking about in our current study. A student, she fixed herself on biblical truth and that set the course for her life and it set it in a divine path full of blessing and eternal fruitfulness. That's the kind of ministry that we make possible through the preaching that you hear on Grace to you. And that's the kind of ministry you make possible by your faithful giving to grace to you. We are dependent. God is doing the work. He receives the glory. He receives the gratitude. But you are partners that make this ministry happen. We're so grateful for that partnership. So let us know what these broadcasts mean to you. We loved letters like Erica's. Let us know what programs, what messages, what aspects of our work have most blessed your life. And we'll share that with the people who sacrificially serve the Lord through the Ministry of Grace to you. That will be a great encouragement to them. And thank you for your partnership.

Yes, friend. Thank you again for your support. We can reach college students like Erica as well as believers of every age and circumstance because friends like you give if that kind of ministry resonates with you, if you'd like to help strengthen Christians around the globe with biblical truth. Consider making a donation.

When you get in touch today, you can mail your tax deductible gift to Grace to you box four thousand Panorama City, California, nine one four one two. Or give it our Web site G.T.. Why dot org or when you call 855 Grace.

Also, you can help. Bless believers around the world for generations to come by, including grace to you and your state plan to find out more about legacy giving. Call 855 Grace or visit our Web site G.T.. Why dot org. Now turning the corner a bit, perhaps a loved one or a neighbor has asked you a theological question that you don't know how to answer. Maybe it's about creation or the way of salvation or a supposed contradiction in the Bible. No matter the question, I encourage you to go to our Web site, G.T.. Why doored? And there you will find sermons, 30, 500 of them and dozens of blog articles that will help you find the answers you're looking for. Our Web site again, G.T., why dot org. And now for John MacArthur and the entire Grace You staff. I'm Phil Johnson with a question for you. What is God's will for your life? John helps you answer that question tomorrow with another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time on Grace Team.


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