Summary: Exposition of Acts 1:12-26 as it relates to determining the will of God for your life
Text: Acts 1:12-26, Title: Finding God’s Will, Date/Place: NRBC, 5/20/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: Talk about Chris West, and the days that I moved in to my seminary apt with him as a roommate, and finish with the plaque on his bedpost underneath the skull…
B. Background to passage: The scene opens with these believers standing on the side of the Mt of Olives after having watched Jesus ascend for the last time, and after having the angel reminding them of the work to do. And so these bewildered, confused disciples go back to Jerusalem and do the only things that they know to do. While they are tarrying in Jerusalem, they decide that one of the things they should do in the meanwhile is find a replacement for Judas, and we get a close look at how they determined this and how to go about it. Listen carefully, and you will hear several significant side issues crop up in the text.
C. Main thought: in the text we will see five means to determining the will of God for our lives.
A. Through prayer and patience (v. 14, 24-25)
1. They had been commanded not to depart, but to wait. So they went back to the Upper Room and began to pray. The word used here, translated “continued in prayer,” means that they were steadfastly cleaving to prayer. They were persistent in waiting and praying. This demonstrated their desire to really know God’s will, and their willingness to receive it. This attuned their hearts to Christ.
3. Illustration: “In order to find God’s will for the future, you must be doing God’s will in the present.” –MacArthur, “we all need to be reminded that our natural tendency is to drift toward prayerlessness.” “Whenever men are to pray to God concerning any great matter, it would be expedient to appoint fasting along with prayer.” –Calvin, Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “95% of knowing the will of God consists in being willing to do it before you know what it is.”
4. Are you currently doing what you know to do? Are you saved, bound to Christ’s church, and satisfied? If we want the blessing of the knowledge of Christ and His will for us, you must put yourself in a position of obedience, so that God may reveal it to you. Is there sin in your life that would prevent you from hearing God speak? Do you really persist in prayer? Do you use God for your own purposes? We must examine our motivation for certain prayers. Are they kingdom focused or selfish? Do you have an attitude of openness and willingness to do whatever God wants? Finally, do you give God time to speak? Do you listen? Are there times of silence?
B. Through community and leadership (v. 15)
1. One of the themes of the book of Acts in general, and the first few chapters specifically is the unity, oneness, and community of the church. The text states that they were in “one accord,” which means one mind or one passion or one focus. And we find that God words to lead his people through the voice of the congregation and the voice of His chosen leadership. We see the twelve and the 120 (a number significant to the Jews as the number needed for a community). Note the group included men and women. Peter took the lead in the group. He spoke, and the group headed the voice of the leader as the leading of God. This is the major way apart from the bible that God has led his people down through the ages.
3. Illustration: "The Christian who is not committed to a group of other believers for praying, sharing, and serving, so that he is known, as he knows others, is not an obedient Christian. He is not in the will of God. However vocal he may be in his theology, he is not obeying the Lord." …used to have people stop by just to talk about big decisions that they are making, and what the bible might say about it—talk about Joel and Kelly stopping by about their relationship, don’t mention names.
4. You will not find the will of God for your life if you are out of step with your local church. Some of you need to join the local church. Tell how. The true, unified church is a key. Fellowshipping with a Spirit-filled group of believers will shed much light upon God’s callings, giftings, and leadings in your life. The church helps to recognize these things in believers. This is one of the reasons that we believe in a congregational church government. For the Spirit moves and works within each believer. Business meetings should not be times of mere formality, but of reverent working of the will of God for our church. The church should ask men to lead, and then they should follow the witness of the Spirit. Men of God recognized by the church to lead, when they are living in good fellowship, should be followed. This is one of the reasons that a pastor or spiritual mentor is a good indicator for you as you strive to follow after Christ.