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January 28, 2021 7:05 am
Apart from reading the Bible. What methods does God employ to guide his children when we need direction and we don't know which path to travel. How do we know whether God wants us to turn to the right or the left today on Insight for living. Chuck Swindoll provides a lesson and following God's direction is based on our study in Matthew chapter 2 of the unfolding story of God leaving Joseph and his new family out of harm's way. In this biblical record, we discover practical lessons on God's will.
Chuck titled today's message destination driven three Bible is full of a great word pictures and there are few more meaningful than the whole idea of the shepherd with the sheep when I was in my years of training and now seminary.
It was our privilege for Cynthia and me to spend the summer with a man who had been a shepherd in his early years in Montana, Ray Stedman grew up there in that country and would occasionally share stories about his his experience as one who would lead the sheep up. Most of us live our lives and never know a shepherd that is one among us. We know we have a Lord is our shepherd. It's easy to think of the sheep is very obedient, loving, teachable creature, but is not true. You will never see a circus act made up of she because they don't follow instructions. Ray would save one went off the end of the pier and ground that all follow the just go one right after the other world were like that were such slow learners. I think it's great.
The Lord calls us to his sheep. In fact, it's a wonderful thought. Think of the 23rd Psalm which most of us could quote from memory. It's written from the viewpoint of she many people will spend their lives quoting Psalm 23. I'm not not realize that the Lord is my shepherd and then as a sheep.
All not want. He makes me the sheep lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul he leads me in paths of righteousness for his namesake is the picture of the sheep thinking shepherd for his for his guidance's beautiful thought. Every time we turn to God's word.
We have the opportunity to find truth to guide us and how badly we need that guidance and we come today to a scene in the at the end of the second chapter of Matthew where a very small family of a woman and her child with her husband are moved from place to place supernaturally by dreams and that caught my eye as I will explain in my message a little later because of these destination driven dreams.
They were clearly instructed where to go and when to leave this time of year is is a wonderful reminder of God's guidance and how badly we need it. You know the Lord think of where you might be today if it hadn't been for his presence in your life. Most of us looking back 20 years would never believe we would be where we are today. Maybe even 10 years and whatever we can be sure the Lord guides us, though not by dreams today through his word, so we look at Matthew chapter 2 verses 13 to 23 together to see what we can learn about how God led them and interned by application how he leads us. I'm reading from the new living translation, verse 13, after the wise men were gone and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, get up, flee to Egypt with the child and his mother. The angel said stay there until I tell you to return because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him. That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary's mother and they stayed there until Herod's death.
This fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet I called my son out of Egypt. Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men's report of the stars first appeared, Herod's brutal action fulfill what God spoken through the prophet Jeremiah. A cry was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great morning, Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead when Herod died and angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt get up. The angel said, take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel because those who were trying to kill the child or did so. Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother, but when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod's son Archelaus. He was afraid to go there then after being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee.
So the family went and lived in the town called Nazareth. This fulfill what the prophets it said he will be called a Nazarene study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll sure to download his searching the Scriptures. Studies by going to Insight world.org/studies.
Today's message is titled destination driven dreams when people try to follow the Lord's leading. They often do very weird things very weird read about a man who was seeking the Lord's will, he was in Washington DC his car stalled in front of the Philippine Embassy. He took that to mean that God wanted him to be a missionary in the Philippine really really weird. A woman not sure she ought to take the trip to Israel because she had never been before, was very interested in a lot of the details and so she read the brochure and read it again and before going to bed one night, she she picked it up and look for the last time at some of the details he had noted before and she observed that the them. The flight from New York to Tel Aviv would be on the 747 fold up the brochure and she prayed Lord guide me as to whether I should do this or not. She slept through the night.
Woke up the next morning, her digital clock read 747 and she took that to mean that she should go to Israel. Really weird but not as weird as a young believer who would been told it God really leads us through verses in his word, and so trust him an offer may seem unusual, but he will lead us so we said by an open window and let the wind blow across his Bible and he put his finger on Matthew 27 five which read Jews went out and hanged himself. One wasn't comforting so he took his finger off and let the wind blow further and came to Luke 1037 which reads going to the same now really confused. He said not to let the wind blow until John 1327 Jesus said whatever you do do quickly.
Really weird stuff. I could tell you a dozen more. All of them. True, some of them you simply will find hard to believe God does not lead through superstition. God does not leave his children through voices in the night or cloud formations during the day or horoscope signs of the zodiac. God does not use voodoo methods to lead his people into his will give that up.
If that is your style of thinking lose it lose it quickly. Otherwise you will live your life disillusioned.
Can you imagine a man who finds himself in the Philippines suddenly realizing he had missed the will of God by my by thousands of miles for your car stalls means nothing, except you probably better get it fixed. I love the words of Dawson Trotman, founder of the navigators. The Lord gave you a lot of bleeding when he gave you a brain that a good line you have a brain.
Don't kick it into neutral when you seek his will, he will lead you through clear thinking is you use your brain to think it through. So let's talk about for a few moments, the leaving of God and how it happens give you five things you need to remember. First, remember this, you need to be a Christian if you hope to be led by God. Romans 814, as many as are led by the spirit of God. They are the children of God. That was Romans 814. If you're not a Christian, you do not know and you cannot find out God's will. You are disconnected from the source and the only way to be connected to the source in the relationship that will guide you ultimately through life is to know Christ to trust in the one who died on the cross for your sins paid the complete penalty and open the door to forgiveness to real truth to an understanding of life and to the security of a future that will never be changed or taken away from you is some forgiveness eternal rescue. That's yours. Through faith in Christ.
So start there.
Number two God leads us through his written word, not the open window method. Please God leads us through a careful intelligent diligent study of his word. We read from the psalmist. Psalm 119, 105 your word is a lamp to guide my feet and the light for my path.
Your word there are no magic verses tucked away here and there. There is nothing that omits in the Philippines or minister to the Arabs or go to Alaska nothing here this is you should marry her or you should not marry him. There's nothing here that says you want to be in partnership with that firm or you want to work there knows or not the verses you're looking for a diligent, intelligent, careful examination allows the verses to shape their own context, which is right there in the passage. Every verse is in the context, and you've learned that in these last days, especially you observe what it says you interpret what it means to check that with other verses but correlation and then you apply to yourself what it is saying to you. It may not say anything about God's will for your life. In that passage. Then again it may be a direct pointing of your life in a certain area.
The destination is in God's mind, you may not know it. So you're trusting his spirit to lead you through the written word of God. Third, God leads you through inner promptings of the Holy Spirit sounds weird but it is did you know when you came to Christ, the spirit of God took up residence in your life. He will never leave you.
You live your life with the spirit of God as a child of God living within you. He is a divine GPS.
He will direct your steps, he will convict you when you're doing what is wrong. He will give you a sense of relief when you have done what is right, he will honor your efforts to glorify God, he will illuminate the truth of Scripture. Open your eyes to see things you've never seen before. And believe me, would you pray you ask for the Lord to guide you the spirit of God goes to work with in and in his own time and in his own unique way.
He will make it known what you should do some time. It's yes.
Other times it's no many times its weight. Just wait there is no hurry. When it comes to God's will unless he says in so many ways. Do it now will look at an example that today so we got the inner promptings of the spirit of God for God often uses the Council of wise qualified mature, trustworthy fellow Christians. All of those adjectives are important. You don't just ask anybody that you know is a Christian to help you find the will of God. That person may not be the mature type person. The individual may have something to gain or lose. They may have you as a close friend and they don't want to lose you by having to move somewhere else, so their opinions colored by all of those prejudices or preferences you want to find people who are objective you respect them, they will listen well.
They will think it through. They will ask hard questions they will confront you with things that you maybe didn't want to face and they will help you unscrew the inscrutable.
They will help you come to terms with what may be the will of God. Years ago I been in the church almost 25 years old settled. Everything was great. Church was out of debt. Congregation was full healthy. The staff was strong and we were moving ahead. And then there came a restlessness there came an invitation from Dallas seminary for me to consider coming and being a part of the leadership at the school and I wrestle with that. My initial response was no. So many ways. Why would I so many reasons why would I leave year, and I know all all the streets on all the stores on open most of the people around me and I know the church. There are no surprises.
Everything is settled. Will that may be part of the problem and so I decided I need to have other mines brighter than my own, and more objective. So Cynthia and I invited several people become and join us for more than one night. They were there for hours. They asked the questions that need to be asked.
They listen to answers. We prayed together we talked it through. We discussed pros and cons. We weighed this and that.
What would be gained.
What would be lost. Will the family be there will they remain here. Where would you live that really matter and on and on and on but I've never done that before. So what is that me as God only lead to things you've done before. It rarely does he do that, but sometimes he does but is unusual. A lot of the unknowns in those people help me to determine what was the best decision for me to make not easy. The best decisions are rarely the easy decision number five God leads us by replacing a restlessness and fear with an inner peace. He gives you an inner peace. Colossians 315 let the peace of God, or the peace of Christ rule in your life. The word rule is the idea of acting as an umpire, let God call the shots. Let God guide you when he does will be relieved of your fears. The restlessness will slowly leave though not all the questions will be answered much of the restlessness leaves. Furthermore, the opinions of others in the street will mean very little if anything to you. Every decision I've made.
I've had people tell me it was the wrong decision, even when it was clearly exactly what I should be doing. People had wrong motives, so they can out of those motives gave me this counsel, Cynthia and I were told.
As we were driving away from one church to come to the church I mentioned that was on California. We were to go to.
We had the lady lean over the little section that was open from the car window and she said I just want to say this, the Lord gets blamed for a lot of things. He has nothing to do with Sheila. That was our final farewell. Thank you sweetheart great great encouragement. She was as wrong as she could be, but to her it meant losing someone she wanted to get to keep what we appreciated the desire we didn't appreciate the words with no help at all. Cynthia was in tears as we were leaving me this was a friend who would say that. Which brings me to a little extra comment for no extra charge. Keep your mouth shut. I might as well say it straight on.
Keep your mouth shut. If you do not know precisely what a person should or should not do. Keep your mouth shut.
The person who genuinely wants to know what God's will is struggling. It's a big decision and they don't need your mouthing off things that you may think or feel.
Unless you have really given as much prayer to it as they and have the desire that they had to do what God would have in fact LME had this when God leads you to do something, it will often include things that you never experienced before cable really stretch you. I love the way Henry black a B puts it, the assignment will have God -sized dimension is not good. There will be God -sized dimensions that you never realized, and in every decision we made there been hard things that occurred that we never anticipated every one of its never been smooth sailing all the way through. So all that figures into it. Just keep in mind those five things we mentioned. Now, having said all of that, we moved back to a time in which people were led by dream and visions and voices in the night in the presence of angels and supernatural moments of the flash of lightning. The role of funder. The presence of fire in the warmest changes in in the moment that only God could could call all of those things were the way God's people in ancient days learners will why will they didn't have a Bible.
The Bible was incomplete that none of the New Testament, and many of them were familiar with only a portion of the Old Testament, so they want to be led by the word of God which they would certainly seek to know they would think would be a little at a loss to know the full picture.
Furthermore, the spirit of God didn't live in them permanently, like he does, not with us. That's why David's prayer after his sin with Bathsheba is don't take your Holy Spirit from me, because the Holy Spirit would be lifted out of a life when sin was present for some time the Holy Spirit would be brought in when there would be the need for great power or greatness are great decisions or great courage.
So in those days, things were different. In other words, God moves through supernatural manifestation is a big word for displays. He would display his will. Supernatural one of the ways he does that he did that was in chapter 1 verse 20 that he's Joseph. And as Joseph considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream underline in a dream Joseph son of David, the angel said don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife.
Up until then. He didn't know where the child came from.
She told of the child was from the Holy Spirit and that she left town for three months.
The angel appears in a dream and says it's a good decision. It's all the Lord in a dream. Imagine the relief that must've come over Joseph when you receive this affirming word, even in a dream you're listening to Insight for living Chuck Swindoll titled today's message destination driven dreams. To learn more about this ministry. Visit us online at Insight world.orc well the gospel according to Matthew will capture our imagination. Over the next several months, affected better part of the year as Chuck guides us through a verse by verse study of this New Testament book. We're starting with the birth of our king, tracing his footsteps through all 28 chapters moving all the way through his great commission to go and make disciples. Now, in conjunction with this brand-new broadcast series. Chuck has recently completed a commentary on Matthew as well and it's available right now is that because of the enormity of this study. Checks commentary comes into hardbound volumes. The set is called Swindoll's living inside commentary on Matthew. Whether you're new to the Bible or your teaching the Bible is a pastor, you'll find Chuck's approach to Matthew, both scholarly and accessible, and it's written in the engaging style does become a hallmark of Chuck's teaching to purchase Swindoll's living inside commentary on Matthew go to Insight.org/store if you prefer to call us and if you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 Insight for living ministries is supported not by the purchase of books and resources but through the contributions of people like you and we invite you to join our mission to introduce King Jesus to all 195 countries of the world to give a donation today.
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