Summary: This is first of a series on discerning the will of God and looks at how we should handle "words for God" that we or others think come from the Lord. It helps us determin what is of God, our self, or the enemy to deceive us.
I. Intro to Rom. 12:1-2... the will of God
1. Therefore... (11:33-36) in light that God is awesome, more than you can imagine
2. Offer self as a living sacrifice (12:1)... living for God, not for self.
3. Do not conform to world... counter-culture (12:2)
a. Too often the church has historically gone the way of culture instead of against it, as salt and light.
4. Transformed by renewing of mind
a. time in Word, adoration, truth, etc.
B. Then you will be able to test and approve the will of God.
1. Same Gk. word, as in 1 Thess. 5:20-21
--dokimazo = to test, examine, scrutinize to see if genuine or not, as metals, and to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy (Rom. 12:2)
2. "Do not put out the Spirits fire. Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything; hold fast to that which is beneficial." NKJV 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
C. Knowing the will of God is a desire and necessity for EVERY CHRISTIAN.
II. Review of prophecy (From notes by Penn Clark)
A. Here are nine ways to judge a prophecy:
1. Judge the content of the message... is it scriptural?
2. Judge the effect upon the hearers... does it give faith, freedom, or edification?
3. Judge the spirit in which it was given... does it sound like Jesus?
4. Judge the life of the prophet... what is the fruit of their lives?
5. Does it encourage you to press in for more of what God has for you?
6. Judge whether or not the use of the gift was in keeping with scripture... specifically 1 Corinthians 14.
7. Is it relevant to your life?
8. Does it magnify Jesus... instead of a person, distinctive teaching, or church?
9. Did Did it come to pass?
C. Two significant problems
1. Pastors who lead their churches by prophecy. They have a word from God or a vision for everything. They go in various directions because someone prophesied it. This has led to many hurts and divisions, and has misrepresented church authority. I think it also grows weak Christians who do not know how to find guidance for their lives.
e.g.. J. Phillips, Stutzman... build church of 1000 people.
e.g.. dreams warning of other people (Zion)
As church leaders, we make hundreds of decisions on behalf of the congregation every year, but we ask our board members to give us their honest counsel, rather than the word of the Lord. We do not encourage language like, "The Lord told me", or "God gave me this idea". This causes others to be reluctant to share their own opinion. They may not be comfortable contradicting what someone says is God’s leading. If they choose to use this language, then we judge it as prophecy.
We can safely arrive at God’s will together by open and honest sharing. Picture a funnel in the middle of the table. Everyone puts in his or her opinion, counsel, and concerns and what comes out in the end will likely be what the Lord is saying to us as leaders. We need to trust that God will give us sound judgment, if only because of our responsibility to serve the members and make decisions on their behalf. I do not remember the last time we had to reverse a decision or undo a major problem caused by the guidance our board has found for our congregation.