God’s Will and Guidance
Notes on Session 18, Sunday, March 13th:
- Session on Lesson 13
- Welcome to new members of the class
- Personal highlights from MacArthur’s message?
- Challenges in filling in Answers in Lesson 13?
- Questions to be addressed?
- Objectives for Lesson 13:
- To see the difference between sovereign and commanded (revealed) will of God.
- To learn how to discern the will of the Lord in our lives.
Common Questions for Lesson 13:
- Can I know God’s sovereign will?
- How do I discern God’s will in normal daily decisions?
Class Plan for Lesson 13:
- Discuss and differentiate God’s sovereign will and His commanded will.
- Discuss practical guidelines to help us discern the will of the Lord in our life.
1. My Prayer For The Group
Congratulations on your faithfulness in finishing the course. May you continue in your walk with the Lord. Be faithful in seeking and obeying His will, even as Paul’s disciple Epaphras, as recorded in Col. 1:9-14, And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
2. God’s Will (Section I)
God’s sovereign will, His commanded will, His will of desire.
God’s Sovereign Will
God accomplishes all that He purposes, Is. 14:24, The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand; Is. 46:9-10, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
Nothing is by chance:
- God predestined” all who would be saved, Rom. 8:29-30, For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- Christ going to the cross was predetermined, Acts 2:22-23, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
- Governments are established by God, Rom. 13:1, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
- How do we view history?
- Can I know God’s sovereign will beforehand?
God’s Will of Desire
Consistent with His sovereign will, but is not always fulfilled.
- Jesus desired Jerusalem to come to Him, but they were unwilling, Matt. 23:37, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
- God desires all men to be saved, 1 Tim. 2:3-4, This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- Christ desires all to come to Him, Matt. 11:28-29, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- God desires that Christians be obedient and sanctified, 1 Th. 4:3, For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;
God desires, but we are still responsible to obey and align our wills with His.
God’s Commanded Will
God’s commands are revealed in Scripture as laws or principles.
- We can know God’s commanded will, Col. 1:9, And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
- Knowing God’s Word controls our minds and is the key to righteous living.
- Thoughts control our behavior.
- Self-control results from mind control.
- Knowledge of God’s Word leads to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Obedience marks a true believer. [Lesson 12, Section II]
Review Chart in Section I, B about the nature of God’s will.
Our Response to God’s Will
Our response to God’s sovereign will:
Trust God even when we do not have clear directions
- The Lord tests the righteous, Ps. 11:5, The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
- Testing reveals our true heart, Deut. 8:2, And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
- Do not be surprised when you are tested, 1 Pet. 4:12, Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
- Entrust our souls to God, 1 Pet. 4:19, Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Our response to God’s commanded will:
- Know and obey God’s commanded will, Eph. 5:17, Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.; Deut. 11:1, You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.; Deut. 29:29, The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
- Be obedient to all that God has revealed in His Word.
- Align our will with His will.
Guidelines to Discerning God’s Will in Everyday Decisions
- Be faithful to God’s will as revealed in the Bible
- Follow the guidance of Ps. 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Key areas revealed in Scripture as God’s will:
- Be saved, 1 Tim. 2:4, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (Lessons 5 & 6)
- Be Spirit-filled, Eph. 5:18, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Lesson 7)
- Be sanctified, 1 Th. 4:3, For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality. (Lessons 7 & 12)
- Be submissive to authorities, 1 Pet. 2:13-15, Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (Lesson 13)
- Be willing to suffer for His sake, 1 Pet. 3:17-18, For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. (Lesson 13)
- If these are all in place, then follow the desires of your heart, Ps. 37:4, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
- Trust God for the outcome, Prov. 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
3. Guidance (Section II)
Be obedient to God’s Word
Let the Holy Spirit guide us, Eph. 5:18, And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
God guides through:
- God-given wisdom, Prov. 2:9, Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you,
- His Word, Ps. 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- The conviction of the Holy Spirit, Acts 17:16, Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.
- Providence, Rom. 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
- Godly counsel, Prov. 13:10, By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.
4. Application (Section III)
What decision are you wrestling with?
What should your response be if it involves:
- God’s sovereign will? Prov. 3:5-6, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- God’s commanded will? John 15:10, If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
- You are unsure? James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
What action are you going to take?
5. God’s Will For My Life?
- That we be Saved, Spirit-filled, Sanctified, Submissive, Suffering, Thankful.
- Ps. 37:4-5, Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
- DO WHATEVER YOU WANT!
- Todd Wagner, How Do I Know God’s Will For My Life?
- John MacArthur, Delight Yourself in the Lord (and Do Whatever You Want!).
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- Introduction to the NCC
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