Summary: God has a will for our lives. The question is, how will we respond to that will?
1. Illus. of man on motorcycle (Getting Down To Brass Tacks, pages 137-138)
• Punchline- “I’m going home…. if it’s the Lord’s will!”
2. I want to talk to:
• That Christian who I struggling to stay in God’s will, and wondering if it was all worth it. James has a word for you/
• That Christian who is contemplating doing something that is not God’s will, and you’re asking yourself, “Why not?” James has a word for you.
• Christian who used to be intimate with the Father, but made some decisions that you knew were out of God’s will. Each decision took you further and further away from God, and now you wonder, “is there anyway back?” James has a word for you.
3. To understand what James is saying about God’s will, you need to know his presuppositions:
• God has a will for our lives- There are some things in your life that God really has no preference about. He really doesn’t care if you have potatoes or stuffing for dinner, or whether you wear the red shirt or the blue one. In these cases, whatever makes you happy makes God happy. God does have a will when it comes to things like, “who will I marry,” or “what job will I take,” or “should I buy a house or not,” or “what field will I study in school?”
• We can know His will for our lives- God is not some cosmic con artist who is playing a shell game with His will. He is not going to say, “I’m holding you responsible for doing my will” and then refuse to reveal that will to us! General will: same for all Christians, clearly revealed in the scripture (pray without ceasing, neglect you not the assembling, you shall be witnesses etc.). Specific will: different for different individuals, but God is also willing to clearly reveal it (stuff we talked about a minute ago, like marriage etc.).
4. James told his first century readers that there were only three possible responses they could make when it came to the will of God.
5. Today; Christians must be careful to choose the right response to the will of God.
6. What are the possible responses we can make to the will of God?
RESPONSE ONE: WE CAN BE IGNORANT OF GOD’S WILL
1. See vs 13. Does the Bible ever condemn industry, hard work, good business sense, and planning? No it doesn’t! As a matter of fact, it commends those things in passages like Proverbs 28: 19, “Work hard and you will have a lot of food, waste time and you will have a lot of trouble.”
2. The problem is not with this man’s actions, it’s with his attitude. Look at this verse closely. Read it in the context of our text today. Nowhere in any of his planning does he say anything about God or His will! Its not that he knows God’s will and is choosing to be rebellious towards it. The thought that God may have a will for his business life just never occurs to him!
3. Illus. of young man who came to talk to me
• Needed to make important decision about job stuff.
• Has list of pro and con
• As I looked over his list, no mention of God or His will.
• When I asked him why not, he was amazed to hear that God had a will for this part of his life.
• That’s exactly the man James is describing!
4. This is the Christian who
• Runs his own business, never thinking that God wants to be the Senior Partner!
• Marries the woman of his dreams, never considering that God may have another choice in mind.
• Incurs major financial obligations for houses and cars, never stopping to ask if it is God’s will for his finances!
5. James says in vs 14 that there are at least two problems with being ignorant of God’s will:
• The uncertainty of the future
• The brevity of life
6. Are you aware that God has a will for your love life, your business life, your academic life, and your financial life?
RESPONSE TWO: WE CAN BE OBEDIENT TO GOD’S WILL
1. See vs 15
2. If the Lord wills…. This is not just an empty cliché or a casual statement. In NT, this phrase is used to describe an overwhelming desire to be obedient to Gods will. For example, in Acts 18:21 Paul told the elders in Ephesus, “I will return to you if the Lord wills…” Paul loved the Ephesians, but was so totally committed to obeying God’s will that he wouldn’t go back unless he was assured it was God’s will!
3. James 4:15 is talking about a Christian whose daily prayer is, “Father, reveal your will so that I may obey your will!”