Share This Episode
The Steve Noble Show Steve Noble Logo

God's Will

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble
The Truth Network Radio
May 25, 2023 8:38 pm

God's Will

The Steve Noble Show / Steve Noble

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 823 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

May 25, 2023 8:38 pm

God's Will

Steve talks to Dr. Stuart Scott from BJU Seminary about God’s will in decision making. What does it say in His word?

Our goal is to apply Biblical Truth to the big issues of the day and to spread the Good News of the Gospel to as many people as possible through the airwaves as well as digitally. This mission, like others, requires funding.

So, if you feel led to help support this effort, you can make a tax-deductible donation online HERE.  

Thank You! 


The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Find out online at And now, here's your host, Steve Noble. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve.

Steve. In our email exchange, you referenced J. I. Packer, who said, Wrong ideas about God's guidance lead to wrong conclusions about the right thing to do. And such a powerful quote.

And to speak real briefly, we've got about a minute before the break. Let's just set up the centrality of God's Word in this search for God's will. Yeah, when we look at the Scripture, and even when Jesus was asked various questions about various decisions, he would constantly say, What does the Scripture say?

Have you not read? I mean, over and over again throughout the Gospels, and then even Paul picked the same kind of thing up in Romans for what does the Scripture say. And we just don't think the Scripture has much to say about the topics that we're addressing in all of our decisions. And we think the Spirit of God, well, we know He gave us His Word, the Scriptures, but we think we need something else other than the Scripture, which really attacks the sufficiency of Scripture in our life.

Yeah, it's such a big deal. It's like somebody gives you a gift, and you're like, This looks nice, but what do I do with it? That gift for us is the Word of God. We'll talk about what to do with it when we come back right after this on Theology Thursday with Dr. Stuart Scott. We're talking about God's will and decision-making.

We'll be right back. Have you on the show, and again, we're talking to Dr. Stuart Scott from PGU Seminary. So we're talking about God's will and moral decision-making, Stuart, and you teed up about God's Word. All God's Word is for us. You put in your notes, and if you want to get a copy of all this, just send me an email.

Steve at All of God's Word is for us, but not all of God's Word is directly to us. That's one point, and followed by the second one, which I mentioned earlier. Is God's will something we need to find, or is it something already revealed? I think every Christian I know, myself included, would go, Oh, I love God's Word. I built my life on God's Word. I try to follow God's Word. But when it comes to decision-making, now we turn to other things. And you were saying on our break before we came back in to record this segment about how many times you see, in both the Old and the New Testament, Do you not know?

Have you not heard? Hey, check the Scriptures. Jesus does it.

Paul does it. Let's talk about the centrality of God's Word in this. For a lot of people, it seems to be a mystery, making good, godly decisions. Yeah, when I started just researching this topic, and again, there's a lot that has been written on this topic over the decades, I was coming across passage after passage, verse after verse, on nothing about trying to find what God's will is, but it was all about doing His will. It was so striking, like Psalm 143, 10, Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Matthew 12, 50, Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister. John 13, If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. Don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5. And I was, especially in Hebrews, you know, when you have done the will of God, you may receive what's promised, or in chapter 13, chapter 10 and chapter 13, that you may do His will. It was just over and over again, whoever does the will of God abides forever in 1 John. I'm going, it's not like something's out there and a mystery. It's been revealed, the revealed will of God is the Scripture, and that's what He wants us to know and to do.

And I thought, whoa, I'm searching out there for stuff. And it's the commands and principles that are for all of God's children to know and then to obey with delight. And God has a decreed plan, an aspect of His will, that He'll take care of that. He's in charge of that. Providence is how He carries it out. So there's this sovereign aspect, God has declared the end from the beginning and everything in between, from Isaiah, He says. So He's got the plan.

He knows He's working it. Everything is working according to His will, in Ephesians 1-11. But He wants us to read, study, and follow His revealed will, and He'll take care of the sovereign part. He'll redirect our steps, as Proverbs 16, 9 says.

And I went, oh, boy, this just takes a ton of pressure off of, I'm not trying to find something. I'm just trying to apply the commands and principles of His word to whatever decision I'm making. Which sounds a little bit, Stuart, we're talking to Dr. Stuart Scott from BGE Seminary today on Theology Thursday about God's will in decision-making. It sounds a little bit like God is in charge, I'm not, and that by studying His scripture, by studying His word and knowing His principles and His truths, then I have this kind of walk of wisdom that I have an operating system inside of me, depending on how much I study God's word and how much I know it. And then the stronger that operating system is, the more it's going to speak into my basic decisions.

Some small, some medium, some big, where to go to school, marriage, things like that. I don't know who I'm going to marry. Well, the scripture gives you a pretty good indication on where to start there. Is that person a believer or not? And then there's wisdom there. But I think for a lot of people, are a lot of us frustrated, Stuart, because we want it revealed or behind door number one, two, or three, or we want to have a fancy feeling about it or a peace about it or an open door or a closed door, depending on what billboard we see on the way to work, because we don't want to do the harder work of being a good student of God's word?

Yeah, I would concur with that. It takes work to study and apply it, but there is within us a drive to want to walk by sight, to walk by feelings, rather than walk by faith based on the word, because Hebrews 11 talks about the true faith, and faith is God told these saints what to do and what he's going to do, and they believed him and they acted upon it. So one day we will be sight. We will see Jesus. We will be with him. But until then, the Lord says, there are those who don't see and believe. And right now in our Christian life, we're to be walking by faith based on his word, but there's just within us, I want to feel it. I want the checks, the impressions, the peace.

I want all of that. That's what's going to guide me, and that's not what Scripture says guides us. Yeah, and I think that's the challenge. And I think there's something here I want to acknowledge that I think is good. I think a lot of us truly want to be within God's will. We want to make decisions that are pleasing to him, and we want to make decisions that are in accordance with his will and with his revealed will and his word and his character. And oftentimes for myself, I'm like, am I being a good...applier, which I know is terrible English. Am I applying his revealed will well in my life and then complaining about what I don't understand? Like, what am I doing with what I already know? Because I think, tell me if you agree with this.

We've got about a minute before the break. I think the overwhelming majority of what God wants us to do with our lives, he already wrote it down for us. Yes, yeah, and he's taught us in his word how to apply his word to the various level weighty decisions that we have. So marriage, whether it's parenting, whether it's vocation, whatever we need to know, God has revealed.

And that, we don't need something other than that. Because even getting information, talking to other believers, is part of the biblical wisdom. You know, in the multitude of counselors there's wisdom. So there's guiding principles that will help us. Which, by the way, part two of this conversation we'll do next week, which is like how to do this, how to apply Scripture, how to actually walk out this life of wisdom.

This week we're kind of setting that up. So when we come back, Stuart, I want to talk about how we misuse Scripture. Let's talk about that.

And then I also want to talk about all kinds of bad ways that people try to make decisions when they think they're trying to be in accordance with God's will and God's plan. This is Steve Noble with Dr. Stuart Scott. It is Theology Thursday, and we'll be right back after this. Welcome back, it's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show. A word of caution, I would suggest that you don't make any major decisions while the show is playing today as we're talking to Dr. Stuart Scott from BJU Seminary.

We're talking about God's will and decision-making. You mentioned that before we even started recording today. We're pre-recorded because I'm in Winston-Salem for the homeschool convention. So if you happen to be there, I'm speaking, well, today at 5, which is Thursday, and then I'm speaking again Saturday morning at 11. Dr. Renton Rathbun, by the way, who's on the show quite a bit, is also there this week, so he'll be there.

I'll have a display talking about my classes at Noble U, so if you happen to be at the homeschool convention in Winston-Salem, please stop by and say hello. But such an important topic, Stuart, as we're working through God's will. And you mentioned this in between segments about the sufficiency of Scripture, and that's kind of an active battlefield these days, and I think one of the things we want is we can be like petulant kids, and we want something a little more easily attainable. And we say, okay, yeah, God's Word is great. Yeah, I believe it's sufficient to live a life of godliness and productivity and human flourishing, yet, Lord, I'm going to lay out a fleece here.

I'm going to ask for an open or closed door. I need a peace about this. I think we're actually, we say that the Bible's sufficient. That's one thing, so I think our orthodoxy might be okay, but our orthopraxy, what we do, might betray something else that is actually not sufficient.

Am I tracking correctly there? No, you are. I mean, we have that, our stated belief, but then, as you mentioned, how we actually function. And our decision-making, our functional theology doesn't match it, and I think of a well-known statement on the Scripture or in the Westminster Confession of Faith that the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life is either expressly set down in Scripture or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture under which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men. And that, you know, I could quote other statements from godly people throughout the church history, is don't go beyond it. Nothing outside of Scripture has authority to speak into my life like that. It's just Scripture alone.

And one theologian, R.B. Kuyper, said, the essence of mysticism, which is real popular today because of our subjectivity, the essence of mysticism is to separate the operation of the Holy Spirit from God's objective word. And that is a constant movement of, they just think the Holy Spirit has to say more than what he's already said. Right, the Spirit led me to, and I'm not saying that doesn't happen, but the Spirit's not going to lead you to anything that isn't already expressed in one way or another in the Scriptures. And that's where you have this point in our outline today. Do we limit, because I want to talk about the role of the Holy Spirit, because I have a lot of friends that are, you know, hey, I'm just waiting for the Spirit to guide me with what to do here.

So you have this point. Do we limit the Holy Spirit when we always go to God's Word, or has the Holy Spirit limited Himself with how He communicates to us and instructs on all matters? Because people are like, well, the Spirit, I'm praying for the Spirit to lead me to this decision, which school to go to, whether I should marry this person, should I take this job and move to another city? So I'm just waiting for the Spirit to lead me. Which sounds holy, it sounds spiritual, it sounds like what a mature Christian could expect.

But is it accurate? Right. And, you know, we, I mean, the Holy Spirit's so involved in our lives. I mean, the Scripture tells us in Romans 8, He empowers us, He leads us in holiness, Romans 8, Galatians 5, He comforts us, He strengthens and enables us, He convicts us of sin, He illumines our minds, He dwells in us, but when it comes to communicating with us, He's already communicated. And that, in 2 Timothy 3, 15 to 17, 2 Peter 1, 20 and 21, God has already spoken, and it's sufficient, it's enough, and we don't limit the Spirit. The Spirit has, in some ways, limited Himself when it comes to communicating to us. Prayer is not communicating, it's not God communicating to us, that's us communicating to God when we speak to Him in prayer. But the Holy Spirit has, uses His word, we meditate on it, and then He gives us wisdom, which is His word, applied to situations, trials, or whatever it might be. But the Spirit's very active, but not apart from His word when it comes to communicating. Yeah, so this is one way that, and I know that one's ruffling feathers just as you were unpacking that, I'm like, okay, Steve at the, go ahead and email me, Steve at the, but one of the things that you kept saying there is the holy, the interaction between the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If you want to know what God is saying, you need to know the Word of God. God has spoken, and what He said is sufficient. So the question I often bring up is, do we have enough command of God's word that we've given the Holy Spirit with our own work and our own pursuit of knowledge with the Scriptures, have we given Him enough to work with? The Holy Spirit's going to use, that's God's language.

You want to know what His language is, that's what it is. And so how much of His language have I actually memorized or do I know, because if I only know a few words, the Holy Spirit's not going to be able to say a whole lot to me, because I can't understand Him anyway, because I don't know God's word. Does that make sense or am I just, is this all mumbo jumbo?

No, no, that makes perfect sense to me. You know, when people say, well, the Holy Spirit did this or God did this or God laid on my heart or God impressed upon me, once you leave the pages of the Bible, you have no sure way to prove it was God. There's no way to be sure it's God, and no safeguard from error once you leave the pages of God's word. And one professor up at Southern Seminary, Dr. Peter Gentry, he and Steve Wollum in their book on Kingdom and Covenant, he writes, when you take God's name and you start putting it on just impressions, feelings, and whatever, you know, rather than just saying I had a thought, or I had an impression, but you put God's name on it, that God, this is God's desire, God's impression on you, he says you're committing identity theft and it's a form of taking God's name in vain. And I'm, you know, rather than just, I'll have an impression, I'm going to check it out using the commands and principles of Scripture.

I had a thought, I'm going to take that through the sieve of God's word and see if it agrees, lines up with, but as you said, if we don't know God's word, I know LifeWay came out with statistics a few years ago, I don't know how many surveys they sent out, it wasn't a good result when 20% say they never read the Bible, 40% said they read it once or twice a month, 20% said they read the Bible every day, and then the rest read the Bible maybe once a week, so we're not going to know our God or his revealed will. Yeah, and then you've got, you know, you and I are old enough to know what a good housekeeping seal of approval is, it's almost like you have this little stamp, and every time you say, well, the Lord told me or the Lord led me that you're putting this stamp on something, and I'm like, hey, well, the Lord led me to go talk to this person at the grocery store, and I'm like, okay, well, I think the Lord wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves, I think he wants us to share the gospel whenever possible, and that's consistent, I'm not going to die on that hill, I can sit there and go, okay, go talk to the redheaded guy on aisle three, and that's what the Holy Spirit told me to do, I'm like, hmm, I think he wants us to talk to people on every aisle when the opportunity presents itself, whether he told you to go find the redhead on aisle three or not, I struggle with that personally as a Christian when other people say it, and then the question that makes the appearance is, I'm less spiritual, they're more spiritual, and I think we have to be very careful when we're throwing that stuff around, which is why in the last segment, which we're coming up to, we're going to talk about what not to do, there's going to be a lot of familiar things in here that Stuart and I are going to go through in this last segment, and just kind of compare that, what we're used to doing, what many of us are used to doing, versus what God's Word says. Then next week when we come back, we'll do part two and talk about, how do we discern God's will, how do we make good decisions that are in accordance with that will, that are pleasing to the Lord. We're going to do that in part two next week when we come back with Dr. Stuart Scott. But again, Stuart, thank you so much for being here. I just wanted to say that before you run out of runway on this particular segment. We have one more segment to do, so don't worry about that. But we're going to continue to talk about this, and if you want, Stuart's got an excellent nine-page document that can really help you study this. Email me, steve, at We'll pick it up there when we come back with Dr. Stuart Scott from BJU Seminary on Theology Thursday.

Don't go anywhere. Welcome back. It's Steve Noble, The Steve Noble Show Theology Thursday, as it is each week with our friends at BJU Seminary doing a two-parter this time. Today is pre-recorded because I'm in Winston-Salem at the homeschool convention.

We're with Dr. Stuart Scott. It's always great to have Stuart back in the house talking about God's will and decision-making, which a lot of us struggle with this one. We want to be in God's will. We want to do things in accordance with God's will and his character.

We all want to be good Christians. But when it comes to making big decisions, medium-sized, where to go to school, should I quit this job and take another job? Should I leave this job and relocate to another part of the country? Please, Lord, show me what to do. I don't want to screw this decision up. And I appreciate that, Stuart.

I think a lot of us agonize over those things. Like my wife and I now, we moved to the house we're in two and a half years ago. It's the biggest house we've ever lived in. It comes with great benefits, but it comes with great costs as well and a lot of maintenance. I've been power washing over the last few days. It's a miracle that I can even hear you.

I've probably been power washing for ten hours and pine straw and mulch and all the other stuff. And we're like, our youngest is going off to college this fall. My father-in-law lives with us half a year. We're like, should we stay in this thing? I mean, it costs us a lot of money.

It's been great for a couple years, but should this season end, maybe we should just dump this pig and move on. And so we struggle with those things too. And with adult children, as you know, what kind of advice do we give our kids? And when we know that they're not making decisions in accordance with God's will, what does that even mean? You're like, hey, you need to pursue the Lord in this. And sometimes it sounds like you're speaking mumbo jumbo. So this is not just a theoretical topic.

This isn't just something in the deep end of the theological pool. This is something that we all, I think, struggle with to one level or another, which is why I'm so appreciative of you bringing this up, Stuart, and the fact that we can do this for two weeks in a row is just awesome. So thank you again for doing this. Oh, absolutely.

I'm glad to be on the show and talk about this topic that affects us all day long, every day. You've got a rather long list here of the things what not to do, examining popular ways to know and do God's will, methods and motives to either avoid using, be cautious of, or not see as normative for Christians today. And that word normative, that's a word that I encountered when I took this class, a semester class at Southeastern on God's will and moral decision-making, when he looked at, you know, how did Paul decide to go here and go there, what he was doing in his missionary journeys? And often, a few times, it says the Spirit kept him from going here, the Spirit sent him there. That's only a couple times.

That's not normative, is why I brought that word up. And I was like, oh, okay. So maybe there were times when, hey, Paul, where are you going next? I don't know. I think I'm going to go to this one city. Really? Why there?

I've never been there. I kind of like to see it. And we go, I don't know. I don't know if you're in God's will.

I also put it this way, Stuart. I'm like, you get saved in New York City. God says, hey, Steve, I'm going to pick you up in L.A. when you're 86. So meet me in L.A. when you're 86.

And here you are at 36. You just became a follower of mine. And go get them, Tiger. I love you. I'll see you later. And there I am in New York City. And I'm like, well, what do I do now, Lord? What's your will for me?

What do I do now? And then really wrestled with, well, I got to end up in L.A. one of these days. So perhaps going west, at least to a certain degree, would make sense. So I leave New York. I get to I-95. And the thing about I-95, Stuart, is it goes north and south. And I'm there and I'm like, well, Lord, Lord, I need a tractor trailer to come by and show me which way to go.

Could you imagine for a second that God looks me square in the eye and says, hey, Steve, which way would you like to go? Yeah. Is that is that an option? Yeah. Which way would you like to go?

I don't know. I kind of hate cold weather. I used to live in Chicago. I was kind of done with that. All right. Then if you don't want cold weather, go south.

Really? Yeah. Steve, if whether you go north or south, I'm with you. There's nothing inherently wrong with you going south, is there? No. And then you get down, you know, should I go to Florida? Should I cut west? Should I go?

Hey, maybe I'll go live a few years in New Orleans. Yeah, Steve, that's probably not a great idea. OK. But to actually have some freedom, I think messes with people's heads. So what do you think about that in general?

Then I want to go through some of these things of what not to do. Yeah. You know, God's commands to us don't leave wiggle room is commands like don't lie.

Right. Don't steal. Love your neighbor.

Love your enemy. I mean, these are these are commands we we need to obey. There's again, no wiggle room.

It's not open for vote. And but when it comes to principles like stewardship principles, you get into principles of, let's say, hospitality principles. There's there's various principles in scripture that leave room. And as you said, some they want every every breath to be commanded by God. And he doesn't do that.

There's a there's a freedom in following him with the principles, as you mentioned, like go west, you know, to if I want to go to Los Angeles to see my kids, I need to go west or unless I want to take a trip around the world. Right. Which if you want to do, it might be a stewardess issue, but. Yeah. And time a time issue.

Right. But there's various roads heading west. Which one would I like to take?

Which one would make me better use of time? Or if I have time, maybe see some state parks. Yeah. There's freedom there. And then I trust God. I mean, I look at his commands.

We'll talk more about this in the next show. But if God wants me and his divine plan somewhere, he will get me there. He will redirect my steps.

That's right. It's just amazing how he's doing that to all of his children, everything that's happening. He has a divine plan and he's he's working us.

He's working it perfectly and he's lining us up with it. But we have choices in it. He's we're not robot. Right. Yeah.

That's such an important reminder. OK. Let me throw some of the ones out there that I think we run into a lot. OK. Setting up conditions or fleeces. OK. I'm going to put a fleece out. If I don't get the phone call, if I don't get this, if something doesn't happen, then I guess that's not God's will.

What about fleeces? Yeah. Gideon was not teaching us how to make decisions. If anything, since God is always the the main subject and narrative, which Gideon, that whole section there and the judges is all about, the main subject is God. And it's a good lesson there of God's love and patience with his children. But Gideon was pretty much putting God to the test. Yeah, that's an example. That's a teaching of what not to do.

So hey, I'm going to put out a fleece. Really? So you want to follow Gideon's example of not trusting the Lord?

OK, go ahead. What about opened and closed doors? Yeah, the similar the use of that. Yeah, the Paul used that four times in the New Testament where he prayed for open doors. And when you look at the context of each of those times he used it, it's all about he just prayed for opportunities to witness.

That's all he did. Open doors. If I go to work, I want to witness for Jesus.

I want to share Christ with people. That's how he used it. And there is one portion where the Lord opened up an opportunity and Paul went a different direction. And God wasn't angry at him.

The text doesn't say God was upset or because wherever Paul was going to go, he's going to talk about Jesus. Right. So it's just an opportunity. The way the language is used, that phrase. Is it just praying for an opportunity to share Christ?

Here's one that I've heard a lot over the years. I have an inner peace about it. Yeah, that when I started looking at peace in the scriptures, I couldn't find where it dealt with decision making. We either have peace with God, we're reconciled with faith and trust in Christ, Romans 5-1. Or we're not trusting God, so we're anxious and we don't have his peace guarding our heart. Or there's disunity in Colossians 3-15 and the peace of God needs to guard our hearts in unity in the corporate setting of a church. But there's no use of peace as a decision making factor. When someone says, I don't have peace about Joe being an elder at the church or a pastor.

Well, I want to ask more questions than peace isn't used that way. Are you talking about a gut feeling that you have about Joe? Or you're troubled in your mind because you've seen how he treats his kids, how he treats his wife. Now you're looking at 1 Timothy 3 Titus 1 character qualities and you're troubled in your mind. That's different. Yeah, that's different.

This last one, then maybe we'll do a couple of these next week and then we'll dive into what we should be doing. The last one is just like signs. I'm looking, I saw a sign. I got a sign from the Lord.

What about that? Yeah, signs aren't usually commended by God. The Jews are always seeking signs because of their lack of faith. They want to live by sight.

They want confirmation by sight rather than take God at his word. So, you know, that's what I was relying on early on before I even knew God's word was so adequate in decision-making. And I couldn't figure out whether to work in Columbia, South Carolina, or go to Atlanta where my roommate was from and work down there for a summer. And I was out looking at trees.

I looked at tree limbs and I saw the tree limbs look like an A. And I went, well, okay, I'll go to Atlanta. That is not, I mean, God was patient with me, but he does not want me looking at tree limbs. He wants me going into his word. So we're up against the end and that's enough just to get everybody going. We might share a couple more do-nots next week. But next week when we come back with Dr. Stuart Scott, we'll be focusing on how do we make good decisions as Christians so that we can remain in God's will. Stuart, as always, so great to have you on for Theology Thursday. I look forward to doing this again next week. This is Steve Noble on The Steve Noble Show. God willing, I'll talk to you guys real soon. And like my dad always used to say, ever forward.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-31 23:28:13 / 2023-05-31 23:41:56 / 14

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime