Summary: Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do - where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those
Opening illustration: A young man facing the future and unsure of what the next year would bring, concluded, “Nobody knows what God’s will is.” Is he right? Does a lack of certainty about the future translate into not knowing God’s will?
The concept of knowing God’s will is often limited to discerning what specific situation we will be in at some future time. Although seeking God’s specific leading is part of it, another aspect that is just as vital is to follow the clearly defined elements of God’s will each and every day.
There is no indication in God’s Word or otherwise that ‘a child of God’ cannot know His Father’s (God’s) Will for their lives. If we say or assume that thought, we are just trying to prove that the OT stalwarts and the NT saints were trying to follow their own path, which all of us know is untrue. Every one of them knew God’s will for their lives. Apparently there is more to that which affirms that each one of us needs to know God’s Will in our lives rather than live like confused pagans.
Let us turn to Ephesians 5 and see how God’s Word throws light on His will for our lives.
Introduction: There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation:
• Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids.
• Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually.
If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do - where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.
First and foremost let us try to understand and discover God’s (generalized) will in our lives …
What is God’s will (generalized) for you?
1. Do Good to Silence … (1 Peter 2:15)
The reference here is to men who brought charges against Christians, by accusing them of being inimical to the government, or insubordinate, or guilty of crimes. Such charges, it is well known, were often brought against them by their enemies in the early ages of Christianity. Peter says they were brought by foolish men, perhaps using the word foolish in the sense of evil-disposed, or wicked, as it is often used in the Bible. Yet, though there might be malice at the bottom, the charges were really based on ignorance. They were not thoroughly acquainted with the principles of the Christian religion; and the way to meet those charges was to act in every way as became good citizens, and so as “to live them down.” One of the best ways of meeting the accusations of our enemies is to lead a life of strict integrity. It is not easy for the wicked to reply to this argument.
2. Give Thanks, no matter what (1 Thess. 5:18)
We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning. Chrysostom, once the archbishop of Constantinople, and then driven into exile, persecuted, and despised, died far away from all the splendors of the capital, and all the comforts and honors which he had enjoyed, uttering his favorite motto ~ “glory to God for all things.” Bibliotheca Sacra, 1:700. So we may praise God for everything that happens to us under his government. A man owes a debt of obligation to him for anything which will recall him from his wanderings, and which will prepare him for heaven. Are there any dealings of God toward people which do not contemplate such an end? Is a man ever made to drink the cup of affliction when no drop of mercy is intermingled? Is he ever visited with calamity which does not in some way contemplate his own temporal or eternal good! Could we see all, we should see that we are never placed in circumstances in which there is not much for which we should thank God. And when, in his dealings, a cloud seems to cover his face, let us remember the good things without number which we have received, and especially remember that we are in the world of redeeming love, and we shall find enough for which to be thankful.
3. Sexually Sanctified & No Immorality (1 Thess. 4:3)
It is the will or command of God that you should be holy. This does not refer to the purpose or decree of God, and does not mean that he intended to make them holy - but it means that it was his command that they should be holy. It was also true that it was agreeable to the divine will or purpose that they should be holy, and that he meant to use such an influence as to secure this; but this is not the truth taught here. This text, therefore, should not be brought as a proof that God intends to make his people holy, or that they are sanctified. It is a proof only that he requires holiness. The word here rendered “sanctification” - ἁγιασμὸς hagiasmos - is not used in the Greek classics, but is several times found in the New Testament. It means here “purity of life,” and particularly abstinence from those vices which debase and degrade the soul Sanctification consists in two things: