Summary: God - who has given man ’free-will’ wants man to freely give it up in favor of doing His will.
Nevertheless, Not My Will…
Theme: God has always wanted us to use our free will to give it up. Matt. 26:39
A. Why is it that the more we grow in the Lord, the more difficult it seems to be living according to His will?
1. Some might respond: but it is “easy” when you love the Lord.
2. Yet, when it comes down to practically serving the Lord, there is nothing “easy” about it.
B. When there is little practical knowledge about serving God, it seems so easy: just do it!
1. Then comes a comprehension of just how awesome and far reaching God’s will is in our lives and the task of service seems overwhelming.
2. In other words – practically speaking – our will often gets in the way of God’s will, thus making what seems simple to do… actually quite difficult! Cp. Rom. 7:21-25
C. Thus, when we look at the scheme of redemption in the life of man or mankind we see the evolving of man’s (practical) knowledge of God’s will and His desire for man to use that knowledge to relinquish his own will.
I. FROM THE BEGINNING
A. Man had it all, yet he was also limited in His knowledge of God’s will. Gen. 2:15-17
1. Naturally, fellowship with God was already in place.
2. He had but only two responsibilities: 1) tend to the garden and 2) keep from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
3. While little in knowledge compared to us today, man had everything that pertained to “life” and “godliness”. 2 Pet. 1:2-3
B. With only these two responsibilities God tested man’s faith.
1. God tested man by placing the “forbidden fruit” in the very midst of the garden: constantly in view of man.
2. God also allowed Satan to enter the safe haven of the garden to tempt man against God Himself.
3. God could have easily kept both the tree and the serpent from innocent man.
C. What God wanted from man from the very beginning:
1. He wanted man to exercise his own free will.
2. More than that, however, is that God wanted man to sacrifice his own free will, that it be given over to God’s will.
3. This was the only true way God is glorified.
II. TUTORING THE ISRAELITES
A. The scheme of redemption by now firmly established as God moves us through the pages of history to a nation specially chosen by Him to be His people.
1. God – as a parent to his child – exclaims that those who have fellowship should love Him with all their might. Dt. 6:5
2. They are given direction and guidance – through the many explicit laws – and is summed up through the “ten commandments.” Ex. 20ff
B. With the law as their tutor and a land flowing with milk and honey God still tested the faith of His children.
1. God placed them in a land of rest, where it would be easy to ‘get comfortable’ after years of being ‘tested’ in the wilderness. Dt. 8:1-2
2. God would allow Satan to use the Gentiles, false prophets, etc. test the loyalty of His own children. Dt. 13:1-3; Judg. 2:16-22
3. God could have easily used His divine power to remove all burdens from the presence of His people.
C. What God wanted from His people was the same as from the very beginning: