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Knowing God’s Will B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 21, 2020 4:00 am

Knowing God’s Will B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 21, 2020 4:00 am

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Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

You know what that means?

It means he'll make me want what he wants. He will give me his desire.

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

From the moment your alarm goes off each morning until your head hits the pillow at night, you face decisions. Some might be small and seemingly unimportant, others could be life changing to make sure your decisions, whether they're minor or major, align with God's will. Stay here today on Grace to you as John MacArthur continues his study titled A Course for Life. It's a collection of hand-picked messages from chapel services at the Masters University. Together, these messages lay out a blueprint for a life of spiritual growth and godliness. Listen now, as John shows you how to know God's will.

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. Secondly, if assumption number one is true, assumption number two must be true.

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 discernible. God does have a will for your life because he has a will for everything and every one. 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. 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 God's will begins by affirming Christ as Lord and Savior.

That's the first step. 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.

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

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 be spirit fill. 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, very simply, understood. Controlled by controlled by the word play. Ryul has the idea of of total influence. Now, let me take this a step further. Understanding what the spiritual life is by an analogy. Let's take Peter. Everybody loves Peter the apostle with a foot shaped mouth. Everybody can identify with him. He he blustered and blubbered his way along. And we all love him because of it. But Peter had some amazing abilities, and I think sometimes we underestimate them. Let me see if I can take this from another angle. Peter did some absolutely incredible things. I mean, perhaps the most incredible of which was to walk on water. Remember that you remember the record of Matthew Chapter 14 there.

The disciples are are out there in a boat and the storm is tossing the boat and the storms can be very bad on the Sea of Galilee. I've been there. It's ringed by mountains and swirling winds come in and they spin in there and they spin the water and it's whitecaps and it can be real rough on a little boat. And the disciples are very, very afraid. And all of a sudden they look off in the distance in the middle of the storm and here's Jesus walking on the water.

And Peter, who is hopelessly impetuous without thinking what in the world he's doing, jumps out of the boat and starts walking to Jesus and gets out a little ways and takes a look down and realizes what he's done and starts to sink the Lord, lift him up. And the two have walked back to the boat. Well, you know, Peter well enough to know that as the two of them were approaching the boat, he had a smirk on his face. You know, like, how do you like it, fellows? It's not bad, is it, to be able to do this? But here he is walking on water as as inept as he was at some things. He was walking on the water. He did some miraculous things. Secondly, he said some miraculous things. In Matthew, Chapter 16, Jesus said to the disciples, who do men say that I am? And the disciples said, Well, some say you're Elijah Jeremiah, one of the prophets.

But Jesus said, Who do you say that I am? And right out of Peter's mouth comes Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.

And I'm sure he grabbed his middle who were in a world of that, because Jesus said to him, flesh and blood didn't reveal that under you. But my father is in heaven. God opened his mouth and spoke through his mouth. The word. You are the Christ, the son of the living God. This this humble man, Peter, did miraculous things that he said, miraculous things. Not only that he had miraculous courage. I love it in the garden and John, 18, when the soldiers come to take Jesus captive and they come marching into the garden. And Peter is standing by Jesus. And as they approach Jesus to take him captive, remember, Peter pulls his sword out. He wants to start a revolution. This is the initial act to start a revolution. We're going to fight. And he takes a shot at Malkmus, the high priest servant, and whacks his ear off. You know, he was going for his head. The guy just ducked and lost his ear. This is great. Courage means looking at the whole Roman cohort there, staring him right in the face, loaded to the teeth with weapons. It's going to fight the whole Roman government. Tremendous courage. Now, what is the common denominator? I'll tell you what the common denominator is. He walked on water when he was standing next to Jesus Christ. He said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God when he was standing in the presence of Jesus Christ. He took a sword and was ready to fight the whole Roman army when he was standing next to Jesus Christ. The common denominator in Peter's life is in closeness to Christ. He found tremendous power right in being close to Christ. He found tremendous power. Now, follow the story of Peter just a little further. They took Jesus prisoner. Peter's told to put his sword away. If you live by it, you're going to die by it. They took Jesus captive. They take him into a trial. Peter is outside, maybe 100 feet away. Remember warming himself by the fire? And what did he do? Three times denied Christ right. Cowardly. Lost all his bravery, all his courage, all his heart, all his integrity, all his credibility. Denied is Christ weak, vacillating. He even denied Christ to some little servant girl. And he did it with profanity. He Kirst, really unlike the man we just describe. What was the problem? He wasn't near Christ. Christ was over here.

Peter was over here and no power. Follow the thought. The next time we see Peter, the day of Pentecost in our low scenario and on the day of Pentecost, Jesus by this time is where he's in heaven.

We ask ourselves if Peter was a coward at one hundred feet, what you're gonna be with Jesus in heaven, right? What's he gonna be like with the Lord completely out of the picture? Interestingly enough, the next chapter to it says in verse 14 that he stood up on the day of Pentecost and he preached Christ and he preached bully. And he told the Jews they had stand and killing the Messiah and he preached a powerful gospel. Three thousand people were converted. The next time we see him isn't in Chapter two. The next time we see him, he's in the temple. And there's a lame guy there. And he says, silver and gold have I none. But such as I have give I under you rise up and walk. And what are we seeing about Peter again? He had the power to speak marvelous things.

He had the power to do marvelous things, such as raise a lame man. He had incredible, marvelous courage. They called him into the Sanhedrin. They hauled in before the Sanhedrin. They told him to stop preaching and he said, you judge whether we should obey God or men. And they went out and preached Christ more boldly.

Now I follow the thought all the same things he said. Powerful things did powerful things, had powerful courage. The difference is Christ is in heaven.

You say, wait a minute. Where did he get the resource for that? Here's the answer. X2 four. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Now let me draw a conclusion. Being filled with the Holy Spirit made Peter act the same way he acted when Jesus Christ was in his presence. What's the conclusion that the spirit filled life is living in the consciousness of the presence and the power of Christ?

How do you get that?

Well, Colossians 316 is the parallel verse to Ephesians five 18, and it says, let the word of Christ.

Well, and you ritual as the word dwells in you ritually as you feed on the word of God, as you saturate yourself with the scripture, it becomes, as it were, the presence of Christ, because it's his word. It's the word of Christ. And as the word of Christ dominates you, the spirit controls you.

That's the keys. Nothing mystical. You don't lie around and hope somehow you get zapped living every moment in the full conscious presence of the ever near Christ as the issue. And that happens to people who are saturated with scripture, saturated with scripture, so that the word of Christ dwells in them and Christ is alive and real to them. And his influence becomes the controlling element in their life. God's will is that you'll be saved. And God's will is that you'll be spirit filled, which means that you'll be controlled by totally influenced by the spirit, which happens when the word of Christ dwells in you so that you live in the consciousness of his presence. Let me give you a third principle. First Thessalonians, Chapter four. This is very practical. First Thessalonians, Chapter four, verse three.

Now, you don't need to stumble around trying to find God's will. Here it is, verse three four. This is the will of God. Now, is that too tough? Pretty straight. This is the will of God. Your sanctification. God's will as to be saved.

Spirit filled. What's the third one? Sanctified. Sanctify. It wasn't me. Set apart from sin. Set apart from sin. Your sanctification. That's God's will. Now it gives you four principles here of what he means. Principle number one, their anniversary abstain from sexual immorality. That's number one as it means stay away from sex and stay away from sexual sin. Somebody says, how far away?

Far enough away to be separate from it. Far enough away to be pure. So what are you saying? Are you saying it?

I, I, I you're saying I can't hold my girlfriend's hand. You are you saying I can't put my arm around her. Are you saying I can't kiss my boy. What are you saying.

What I'm saying is not a negative thing. What I'm saying is a positive thing. Stay away from sexual immorality. How far away. Far enough away to be totally separated from sin. Paul says in First Corinthians six 12, all things are lawful. But I will not be brought under the power of any.

There is nothing wrong with somebodies epidermis touching somebody else's epidermis scientifically. If you put your lips on somebody else's lips, that that in itself is sort of anatomical.

But what happens inside of you is not. And so you don't want to do anything that's gonna bring you under its power.

So he says stay away from sexual sin. How far away? Far enough away to stay separate from sin.

And you know, you know, when you can do things that are a proper expression of love. That is not sinful. And when you do things that lead you down the path to sin.

Second, principle verse for each of you should know how to possess his own vessel. And sanctification and honor is an often discussed debate about what the word vessel means. I take it that it means body and I won't take the time to defend all of that. Suffice it to say, for the moment, the second principle is control your body. Know how to possess. Own. Control your body for purposes of sanctification and honor. Control your body is.

Paul knows that this is the problem. See, the problem in sanctification is one staying away from sexual sin and to keeping your body under control. For strength is nine twenty seven pulses. I beat it into subjection to keep it under control. I give it a black, I use the word Buffett. I hit it in the face. I punch my body to keep it under control.

He's talking there about outward acts. I don't do anything with my body that is in any sense gonna dishonor God after all, for strength in six seventeen, says he.

That is joined in the Lord is one spirit. So whatever I do with my body, I'm joining Christ to that. That's why. That's why Paul says if you join yourself to a harlot, you've joined Christ to the harlot. Whatever you engage in, you engage Christ in because you're one with him.

So I control my body. Paul says this is. Vacation. God wants you to keep your body under control for the purposes of sanctification and honor. Thirdly, and we could talk more about the details of these things, but don't have time this morning.

Thirdly, verse five, subdue your passions, not in lustful passion like the pagans who don't know God. You have to control your passion. Now, the controlling of your body is outside. The controlling of your passion is inside. You control your body. You don't let your body do things that lead to sin. You control your passions by not letting your mind see here and to contemplate things that lead to sin. You control the body by controlling the mind.

You control your imagination. James says last when it conceives in the imagination brings forth soon. So Paul says God's will is that I be sanctified.

And then the fourth principle he gives in verse six that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter. What does he mean by that? Don't take advantage of other people.

One thing about sexual sin. It takes somebody else. For most people to fulfill their fantasies or their lusts.

And the point he's making here is you.

If you follow your bodily desires and your passions are going to wind up defrauding somebody else, some other girl or guy, if you're chasing the path of sexual sin, you're going to wind up defrauding somebody else, control your body, subdue your passions.

Just last week, I was told about a pastor who was arrested last week, pastor of a church not in this area because he raped the woman at nine thirty a.m. in the mall before six witnesses. And they went to his car after arresting him and they took out his briefcase and it was a Bible and a stack of pornography.

If you don't control your passion, it's only so long before you can't control your body and then you're going to rape somebody. That's how far gone you are at nine, 30 a.m. in a mall before six witnesses out of control.

Beyond belief, you say? Well, you know, these are pretty tight, tough rules. You mean stay away from sex and control your body, subdue your passions, don't take advantage of others.

So that's not what the world is saying. What is the world saying? The world is saying enjoy sexual sin. Let your body go, let your passions run wild and grab whoever is near and have at it.

It's exactly opposite and so, so off if I like these rules.

While verse eight was written for those who don't like these rules.

Consequently, he rejects this is not rejecting man, but the God who gives what is Holy Spirit to us. What if you reject this? You are not rejecting some manmade system. You're rejecting the God who gave you his Holy Spirit as the source of power to give you strength to avoid these sins were seven repeats the principle.

God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but sanctification. Now I make some practical sense out of this. OK, I could give you some more points, but I'll cut it at this point. It is God's will. And first, Peter, to that you'd be submissive. It is God's will. And first, Peter, for that you'd be suffering because you're an effective evangelist. But let's just take these three things, OK? Saved, spirit filled. Sanctified. Right. That's God's welfare. Now, give me. Let me give you some that it's gonna wrap this all up. You say, wait a minute.

You didn't tell me anything about what I want to know. I want to know who to marry, what to do. I want to know about next semester. I want to know this. I want to know that. How can I know these details that aren't in the Bible? Are you ready for this?

Listen to this. This is a verse that you should really learn to love. I'm going to read it to you. Psalm 37, verse four. Listen to what it says.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in him. And he will do it.

Now, listen, it's delight in the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart. Now, let me ask your question. If I'm saved, if I'm spirit controlled and if I'm sanctified, am I delighting in the Lord? Sure, sure.

And if I'm delighting in the Lord, he will give me the desires of my heart. You know what that means. That doesn't mean he'll give me what I want simply.

It means he'll make me want what he wants for me. Did you get that? He will give me the desires of my heart.

He will give me his desires. Say say what? Where are you going with this justice? If I'm saved. Spirit filled, sanctified, you know what God's will is? You know what it is? What ever you want.

You said, wait a minute. Whatever I want, whatever I want is God's will. Right. Because who is controlling your wants?

People often say, why did you go to Grace Church through the years? I've said I wanted to. You wanted to. How did you know it was God's will? Because I wanted to. And I believe that if I delight in the Lord, he'll give me the desires of my heart. God may move you as you go. One time Marty Wolf came to me and he says he says, I don't know where God wants me to serve as a missionary. I said, Well, Marty, tell me what you would want to do if it was you. If you had your choice. He said, well, I'm Jewish. Converted you. I speak fluent French. I had my way. I'd go to Paris as a missionary to the Jews in Paris. Huge population of Jews. I said, Marty, you saved my brother. Spirit filled. Yeah. As far as I know, I'm walking in the spirit, his influence in my life. I mean, the word sanctified living a pure life. Stay away from sexual sin, control of your body, your lusts, not defrauding somebody else. Everything's right in your life. Yeah. You want to go to France. So you came to the mission board. We raise the money. We put up a sign. Marty Wolfe goes to France. Six months later, he was in Montreal, Canada.

Say, why? What's he doing in Montreal?

French speaking Jews in Montreal. He had the right idea to launch another city.

That's all was easy. The largest detour she once she was moving following the desire of his heart.

See, it's the same with it. With an elder in a church. For Timothy, three says if a man desires the office of an elder, he desires a noble thing. How do you get called into ministry by a heart's desire? It's the screaming of your heart that wants to do this. If your life is right. So when you're looking for God's will for next semester or the partner for life or whatever it might be in Christian service, you want to be sure that the known elements of God's will are right or you'll never find the unknown, right?

I mean, if you're if you're not a Christian, you're just playing a game at it.

Or if you're not allowing the spirit of God to control your life and being saturated by the word. And you're not living a pure and sanctified set apart life, you don't really have much chance to find the unknown part of God's will.

But if your life is right, you can follow the desires of your heart, because having delighted in him, he will give you the desires of your heart. Father, thank you for our time this morning. I know that's desire the hearts of these young people to be in this place and study here and to serve you. And I pray, Lord, that you'll refine that desire, Joe, refine it down as specifically as each individual life, and that you'll give it to them by way of their own passion, their own longing, their own desire. But, Lord, I know that they're not gonna have the desire for your will. About those unknowns until they have begun to live out in their lives. The known expressions of your will. I pray that if there are any that are not yet saved, I not yet come to know the true shepherd to follow him that they might be saved. I pray for those who are walking in the flesh and not in the spirit. And so who are fulfilling the desires of the flesh and not of the spirit.

I pray for those who are not sanctified and pure and set apart under holiness and honor. Lord, I pray that in every life there might be salvation and a spirit filled power and sanctification and then delighting in you. They will know your desires because you'll give them to them. They can follow their own heart as their own heart follows you into the very perfect place of your will.

I pray that for every one, every give you the glory for what you will accomplish if we will be faith in Christ.

You will always be in the Lord's will if you're obeying his commands and delighting in him. John MacArthur showed you that today on Grace to you as he continued a study designed for high school and college students and really for anyone who needs guidance in making life's big decisions. John Study is titled A Course for Life. So at the end of your lesson, John, you said God never intends for his people, especially if their leaders, to take advantage of other people. And that's what Jesus said about leadership. That to be a good leader is to be a servant.

So very, very important. Another way to say that Phil and I talk to leaders all the time about this. And people ask me, what is your role as a leader? And it's pretty simply this. My role as a leader is to provide opportunities for other people to flourish that they would not have or might not have if I weren't there to make that possible. So when I look at all the people that grace to you, I don't think of myself as having authority over anybody. I think of myself as someone the Lord has used in teaching the word of God. And out of that teaching has come this ministry, which has then provided spiritual opportunities for all the people who are connected to it. I think about the church. I don't see myself as having any authority as a pastor, but in preaching the word of God and leading the flock of God, it's my joy to provide all kinds of opportunities for people to flourish as that ministry expands and grows. And the same thing is true in any other ministry. You know, the years at the seminary or the university, my goal was never to dominate or to exercise authority over anyone, but always to provide opportunities to to create a setting where people could flourish and fulfill their their hearts desires in ministry. That's essentially the essence of real leadership. You're not on top of people controlling them. You're underneath people, causing them to flourish by finding many, many ways in which they can fulfill their gifts and their desires. I want to tell you about the book called The Lead. We've mentioned it. You need to get it. Looks at 26 leadership lessons from my example, the apostle Paul. It's a very powerful book called The Lead Been Around. A lot of leaders have read it. It shows you what a biblical leader is like. And that's true leadership as God has designed it. You can order a book today.

Just get in touch with us and ask for the book called To Lead Reasonably Priced Right and friend, if you want to be a more effective leader in your home and your office or ran your church, called to lead offers helpful and practical insight into how you can honor Christ in those roles. To order a copy of this book, Get in Touch. Today you can order by calling 855 Grace or online at G.T..

Y dot org called to lead costs ten dollars and shipping is free again. For a practical biblical perspective on being the leader, God expects you to be in the home in the church. Call 855 Grace or go to G.T. y dot org and order John's book called Called to Lead. Also, let me encourage you to get a copy of our flagship resource, the MacArthur Study Bible with 25000 notes under the text of scripture and introductions to each book over 100 charts and maps. This is ideal for any student of the Bible. To get your copy of the MacArthur study Bible. Call 855 Grace or visit G.T. y Daud. Now for John MacArthur and the entire staff, I'm Phil Johnson reminding you. Watch Grace to you television. This Sunday on Direct TV Channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times and then be here Monday when John shows you how to break free from Sin's power. It's part of his series on Foundational Principles for Christian Living, titled A Course for Life.

Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's Truth. One verse at a time on race team.

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