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August 3, 2022 7:00 am
Last week we started a little series called God's leading and we have sequestered last week as followers of Christ does God get involved in the everyday details of our everyday life, like God leading us to his choice for a made a job, a college or house to buy.
The graduates need to attend a career. All of these things and we said the answer is absolutely yes we said last week that we have a personal God who is personally involved in the personal details of our personal life and if you missed that message last week.
I want to urge you to get the CD or to download a podcast for because this is a critical thing for us to believe in our Christian walk that God is personal.
He's personally involved and he's personally interested in the things of our personal life and may I say that if you're here and you've never trusted Jesus is real and personal Savior that this is a wonderful thing that comes when we come to Christ, we come to Christ. Not only do we get forgiveness of sin, and eternal life by what he did on the cross for us.
But we also get connected to God in a personal way where he takes that personal interest in our everyday life, an amazing thing that the God of the universe would care about your life in my life and the details of our life, but friends he does and if you don't have that relationship with God. I want to urge you to consider giving your heart to Christ being born again and becoming one of his followers, because you will get that relationship with him. It comes along with the package and I hope you'll consider that well. We want to move on today to talk about another question and that is how do we find how do we discern God's will for these specific issues of our life in the Bible gives us three primary indicators to use that when they line up we can be certain that we have identified God's will and his choice for the details of our life. So let's look and see what they are number one indicator number one is the written word of God, the Bible, Psalm 119 verse 105 says your what all that was so immediately come on your what your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Jesus said Matthew chapter 4 man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
And David said, Psalm 119 direct my steps next for words.
According to your word. That's right, the most important indicator of God's will for the choices of our live is the word of God. God never leads anyone.
Contrary to the word of God. God never leads anyone. Contrary to the word of God you know in 35 years I let people I interview or or meet with people every week that I'm in town and I've had people tell me some of the most amazing things that they believe God led them to do. I've had people tell me that God led them to move in with their girlfriend or boyfriend and become sexually active, but the Bible says.
First Corinthians 618 flee sexual immorality. I've had people tell me that God led them to marry their unbelieving boyfriend or girlfriend. But the Bible says. Second Corinthians 614 do not be yoked together with unbelievers. I've had people tell me that God led them to withhold reporting income on their 1040s, but the Bible says thou shalt not steal. I've had people tell me that God led them to take personal revenge on someone, that hurt them, but Romans 1219 says never take your own revenge. I've had people tell me that God led them to have an affair, and yet the Bible says do not commit adultery. And I've had to say to these people now look, I don't know who it was that you think glad you are led you to do that. Let me just tell you it was not God that led you to do that God does not lead people. Contrary to his word sword may have been a friend that led you may have been the devil himself. The legend may have been your own flesh and ledger, but it was not God friends. God never leads anyone. Contrary to his word.
This is indicator number one of God's leading in the choices of our life. Number two is the inner witness the inner confirmation of the Holy Spirit member. Last week we saw the verse Isaiah chapter 30 verse 21, where God says that if you're looking for direction from me, you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way, walk ye in it. Well, whose voice is this friends it's the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit himself.
Romans eight verse 16 says that the spirit of God bears witness with our spirit confirming witness that when we come to Christ. We are the children of God. But the Holy Spirit also bears witness with our spirit about what God's will is in the details of our life. After we come to Christ.
Now you know the Bible. I know you know this doesn't speak with absolute clarity to every single issue in life and so I often have people who will say hey pastor, can you help me with this. The Bible doesn't seem to speak to this. What should I do and I have to say to them, will I can't tell you that if the Bible doesn't speak with absolute clarity to something, then, are the best I can tell you is to get on your knees and seek the face of God and ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what it is he wants you to do seek his guidance until you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit saying to you. This is the way, walk ye in it until the Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit regarding what God wants you to do.
You know, Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China had an experience like this. He was 17 years old and here's what he said. He said I pleaded with the Holy Spirit to give me some work to do for him. I put myself. My life, my all upon the altar, the presence of God became so real and I remember stretching myself on the ground and lying there before him. Now watch. Never shall I forget the feeling that came over me. Your prayer is answered, the spirit said to him your conditions are accepted. The spirit said and Hudson Taylor wrote from that time, the conviction has never left me that I was called to China" folks. This is the Holy Spirit bearing witness to a person's heart, but this only happens when we are seeking God in earnest. The way that Hudson Taylor was let me show you something first Kings chapter 19 Elijah the great prophet has gone to Mount Sinai and the Bible says there Elijah went into a cave and spent the night and the Lord said to him, go out and stand on the mountain of the Lord is about to pass by, then a great and powerful window toward the mountain apart, but the Lord wasn't in the wind and after the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord wasn't in the earthquake and after the earthquake came afire, but the Lord was not in the fire and then after the fire became a still small voice, gentle whisper when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his robe. Why did he do that because friends God was in the still small voice that he was hearing and this is what seeking the Lord is all about my friends. It's about seeking to hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. But this can only happen when we are immersing ourselves in the word of God every day when we are on our face before God in serious prayer every day. When we are seeking hard after God with fasting and prayer on a regular basis. If you and I are not practicing these spiritual disciplines where all but guaranteed to miss God still small voice in the noise and in the bluster of life is a belong. This Washington man met with all the hustle and bustle in this crazy town where in the world am I going to get the time to set aside like Hudson Taylor do well if anyone is busy as I was like hundreds of years ago with some friends don't you and I delude ourselves into believing that the great saints of the past were any less busy than you and I were you really think you're busier than Moses was leading 2 million people through the desert you really think you're busier than David was running a whole kingdom you really think you're busier than Daniel was running the entire Persian Empire, or Joseph, being the Prime Minister of Egypt or Hudson Taylor running the China inland Mission on that's just a lie we tell ourselves to justify not spending time with God. Let's shoot straight with each other. Folks solid is these people were busy but they made the time. I love Hudson Taylor said he said and I quote Satan will always find something for us to do instead of seeking God, even if it's just arranging the window blinds." And that's right. The bottom line is if you and I want God the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to God's will for here our lives if we want to hear the still small voice of God saying this is the way, walk ye in it than friends. We need to be seeking God, it's mandatory.
If this is going to happen in our life. Number three third indicator finally our circumstances. God is a God of circumstances. God love a Revelation 3 verse eight Jesus said, I have placed before you an open door that no man can shut but not only does God open doors. No man can shut. He also shot stores that no man can open and his followers of Christ. God uses this control over circumstances to lead us and to guide us. Let me give you a great example of that on the apostle Paul's second missionary journey is a map up so you can follow it.
Paul set out from Antioch, his home church and then went north through modern day Turkey Asia minor well when he got into central Asia minor. He wanted to go West in the where Ephesus wasn't of the Roman province of Asia. The spirit of God said no and then he went all the way north to the Black Sea and he wanted to go east into the province of Bithynia where we know there was a large Jewish population. At this time because Peter mentions him in his first letter and the spirit of God said no and so he couldn't go anymore north. He couldn't go east.
He couldn't go West.
He already been set out and so Paul ends up stranded on the northwest corner of Turkey in a place called Truax as ancient Troy didn't know where to go, didn't know what to do these run out a land and listen to what happens during the night. Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man met Macedonia as you saw on the map was right across the Aegean Sea just a few miles from where he was in Europe and the man was standing and begging Paul saying come to Macedonia and help us. Now watch and after Paul had seen this vision say the next word. What immediately.
We got ready to leave for Macedonia next word, concluding that God had called because to preach the gospel to them. Now how did the apostle Paul become so convinced.
How did he conclude that he all going to Macedonia was the will of God for him and his team. Luke and Silas, and Timothy pouted he conclude that well. He looked at how God had been working in his circumstances. He had been forbidden to go West. He had been forbidden to go ease he couldn't go north it already been south God plopped them into Truax as he is just a few miles from Macedonia and then he has his vision with a Macedonian man, saying, help us all. Look at all of the circumstances and said there is no other conclusion I can possibly draw.
We've been called and that's where were going, folks.
There is no random circumstance that ever enters a Christian's life. God has his hand on every one of those circumstances, and he uses them to show us his will. Interview just couple days ago and someone asked me in the interview exactly what I get asked a lot how did you end up at McLean Bible church. Well, what happened was in 1975 as I was finishing seminary I got invited to come over to McLean Bible church over bald Hill Road and be an assistant pastor there for six months didn't work out. I left I went to graduate school. I thought seminary, but it 1979.
Four years later God convicted me that he wanted me to go into the pastorate and so I went and told the people running the seminary where I was teaching and they said wonderful you got one year. Your contracts are going to be renewed next year you got a year to find a pastor.
I said well you know me like I'm not looking on how to do this you know what, so they said that's fine.
You got here to learn, so I said okay so I didn't know what to do. I just prayed about it and prayed about it and prayed about it and the that was in the fall of 1979 in the spring of 1980. I found out that the pastor at McLean Bible church had resigned and one of the elders came up to me as he also taught at the same school and said hey we know you. You were there six for six months. A few years ago and so will we want to know if you have any interest in coming back and being the pastor at McLean Bible church and I said yeah yeah I do and I went to all the counter dating stuff and every body you know signed off on me. Finally I needed a 75% vote of the congregation and the man I was green. I've never pastor the church of my life. I never even attended church growing up I was green or green apples friends.
Trust me, and though there were a lot of people didn't want me to come be there pastor and so just before the boat to see if I made the 75%. They had a question and answer time for the whole congregation, and though I was a gentleman sitting in the front row who are new was voting against me.
You Artie told me he was voting against the tough skin approach with the way it is and so so he raises hand and I thought all Judy's sarcophagus adjuster and he said you know you need 75% in order to technically be called as the pastor he said but how much more than 75%, 80, 85, 90% would not he was going to vote against the Rent-A-Center would you need before you were sure it was God's will you come to this church and I said Sir I said if I get 75%. It will be such a miracle that if I get 75.1% oncoming McLean Bible church.
Well, I got 75.4%.
This is true I got to throw a pass by three votes, folks, three votes and that's how I came to McLean Bible church and let me tell you some when I looked at all those circumstances, how God and even put me here five years earlier. So people knew who I was and how he had stacked all those circumstances up. I knew as certain as my name. God had called me like Paul to preach the gospel at McLean Bible church and 35 years later, I am just as convinced of it today as I was in 1980, praise the Lord for that, a myth solicit you. Keep your eyes on the circumstances of your life. God will use them to lead you and guide you if you're keeping your eyes open so let's summarize these of the three primary indicators of how to identify God's choices for our life.
Number one doesn't square with the word of God number two in my getting the inner witness of the Holy Spirit saying this is for you and number three are the circumstances stacking up in a way that it's clear to me this is what God has for me now just two things that were done, what about the advice of godly people we hear that all the time, you know. Proverbs 20 says make plans by seeking advice. Ask others for guidance. Proverbs 11 says in a multitude of counselors there is wisdom friends asking advice from godly people is always a good idea. Listen to my caveats now godly people who know the Lord well they know the word of God will and they're willing to be honest enough to tell you the truth. Those people it's worth asking their advice. But you know even with those people.
You can ask 10 of them for advice and you're liable to get for five different opinions. So as valuable as it is to ask for advice that cannot be the final determiner we gotta go back to the word of God back to the spirit of God and back to the circumstances of God and sometimes say will that's great advice, but that's not what God wants me to do. You know I have pastor friend called me when he heard in 1980 that I was coming to McLean Bible church good friend called me up on the phone and he said I heard you going to McLean Bible church and I said yeah that's right, he said, have you lost your mind. He said you have never been a pastor before you did them grow up going to church. You don't know anything about the pastorate. He said that churches got more problems. Anything you could shake a stick at ease and been a pastor 22 years and I wouldn't touch that church with a 10 foot pole. Just try some heated know the half of what was over there, not half of it.
He said that Q you up and they're going to spit you but I said to him I said you know what I'm sure you give me good advice, but I know I know that God wants me to go to McLean Bible church. I know it because of the Holy Spirit's confirmation.
I know it because of the circumstances, and if I don't go to McLean Bible church will be out of the will of God. So I don't really care what's going on over there. I'm going to McLean Bible church will just see what happens.
Friends listen. Advice is great, but if you've got the witness of the Spirit and hearing blind with the word and you got things lined up with your circumstances. You stick with that. Finally, what about a sense of peace you. I'm sure people say this, you know what a sense of peace. You know what what to say. Listen a sense of peace is all okay for you to at least consider but friends it's dangerous to make this the primary indicator of God's will because it's too easy for all of us to conjure up a sense of faith. If I really want to do something bad enough. See, I tell you I got a huge sense of peace and I've had a few years that I should buy you know, a yellow Ferrari yeah I do huge sense of peace about that now. My problem is I have another indicator of God's will in my life. That doesn't agree.
Her name is Brenda yeah and I love old problem, which is I can't afford a yellow Ferrari, but man, you asked me if I got a sense of peace about buying one because it's auditory my friends but it's from my flash is not from the Lord is from my sinful human nature. And that's why I can't depend on that you say will on how do we tell the difference here is our last question, how do we tell the difference between my own fleshly sense of peace and when the Holy Spirit is witnessing and confirming to my heart that sucks right. How do I tell the difference. Well, great question and the answer is you have to know your masters voice. You gotta spend enough time with God often enough and you gotta get to know God well enough and we have to develop the spiritual discernment deeply enough that we know the voice of our master, when he speaking as opposed to our flesh when it speaking and we can do that, God invites us in to do that God opens the door and says you've got access to get to know me that well learn my voice you know the difference you know when I was in college at University of North Carolina when I was at Chapel Hill. I had a dog named Noah big 90 pound German Shepherd and he was just voice training. I never use the leash running and the yellow collar with a little you know rabies tag with his name on it and whenever I was in class which was fairly seldom, he would wander around campus all by himself and so everybody got to know Noah, but you know here's the interesting thing my friends we could be out walking around campus. He could be running all over wherever and people would call to hey Noah hey Noah hey Noah hey and he wouldn't pay much attention any but when I said no and whistle flooring that dog came running, sat down with his tail wagging his tongue hanging out of his mouth. Why is he knew my voice why did he know my voice because I'd raise that dog from a tiny little puppy and love that dog and spent time with the dog and he knew my voice above every other voice out there friends.
I'm not saying were dogs when I'm saying is we can get to know God that well by spending time with them where when God says hey long. I know who's talking to me and you can to so I hope this is all been helpful. But today, next week were going to talk about how to pray with power were talking about prayer. So one more message. We all pray. But how do we pray with power. That's what were going to talk about but let me just say in closing, friends, many of us in our prayer life. We do drive-bys with God.
You know, we, just pop off the surface and say Lord good morning, how are you are a programmer and a greater blessing of the Lord while ago I heard 100 or and the God. Amen. Both sets a drive-by prayer and no wonder we don't hear the Holy Spirit talking to us. No wonder we make some of the bad choices we do.
No wonder we are not walking with his with God as deep as we should be.
You can't that's not that's not seeking God's will want to give us a moment here.
If you been living a life of drive-bys with God and this is the moment for you to say of Hudson Taylor could do it and Moses could do it and Daniel could find time for Joseph to find time for David to find time for them. I can find time to spend time with the Lord Jesus, and if you haven't been doing it and this is a good moment for us to say Lord with your help will changes but spring with our heads bowed in our eyes close. This is your moment to tell God about making a change in your schedule so that you just don't see the men but so that you make him the priority Lord Jesus, forgive us for our prayer… It's really just a symptom that were relying on ourselves instead of relying on you trusting ourselves Lord Jesus make us desperate for you help us believe what you tell us that without you. We can do nothing of any lasting spiritual value. So God, drive us to our knees drive us into the word of God drive us into time with you because were desperate and we know we can't make it without post or Jesus made the drive-bys become only occasional may we give you priority in our life we want to know you more Lord help us take the steps to do it. We pray these things in Jesus name God's people said amen