One time a woman asked the preacher, “What should I do, Preacher? I want to follow and serve Jesus. I want to do his work totally and completely.” The preacher said, “Great, you could be a part our weekly ladies Bible study group and later you could perhaps lead it.” The woman replied, “Be a part of the ladies Bible study group! But preacher, I really cannot get along with some of the people in that group. And I think some talk too much.” The preacher then said, “Okay, maybe you can just teach the children in the preschool Sunday School class twice a month, or maybe you can teach in our week long Vacation Bible School this summer.” “That may be a bit better.” the woman replied, “But I would rather do something else. You know, Preacher, that I have little patience with noisy children that keep on running around.” “Well then you can be a part our monthly visit to the depressed areas of the city to distribute food items to the poor, and assist in cleaning up their neighborhood,” suggested the preacher. The woman responded, “Oh Preacher, I love the poor. The only problem is that I am sensitive to odors, flies and mosquitoes. Isn’t there something else I can do?”
As I look at this passage of Scripture from Hebrews 10, one thing stood out above all others and this is God’s will. It is mentioned in vs. 7, 9 and 10.
We wonder about God's will. Mostly, we wonder what it is. We ask ourselves and others, countless times in life, questions such as, "What is God's will in this situation?" It's a good question to ask. The question implies a readiness to do God's will. But perhaps we're too eager to ask the question, presupposing our readiness. When we ask for God's will, do we really want to do it?
Thesis: Three questions this morning: 1) What was God’s will for Jesus? 2) What is God’s general will for us? 3) What is God’s specific will for us?
What was God’s will for Jesus?
When we talk about God’s will we are talking about God’s plans, God’s purposes, God’s desires. We are talking about what God wants. God, as a good parent, wants the best for his children. He has things in mind for us. We can refuse God’s will for us, much like a child can refuse his parent’s will for him or her.
In Hebrews 8 we have a greater high priest than the OT. In Hebrews 9 we have a greater tabernacle than the OT. In Hebrews 10 we have a greater sacrifice than any in the OT.
For years many animals had been sacrificed. It explains in this chapter that the Law required these sacrifices to be made as a reminder of sins. These sacrifices did not take away sins.
Now, when we talk about God’s will for Jesus while he was on this earth, God the Father’s will for His only begotten Son is different than his will for us while we are on this earth. John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.
We see in Hebrews 10:5 “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me”. The body that Jesus was given that we celebrate around Christmas was the body that was to be the sacrifice for the sin of all mankind.
John 1:29: John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Jesus was born to die as a sacrifice.
It mentions in vs. 12 and 14 (and it alludes to it in vs. 10) the one sacrifice. There is only one acceptable sacrifice for sins and that is the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross of Calvary.
Many people try to offer up other sacrifices other than the one sacrifice of Jesus. Arthur Dimmesdale, the tragic figure in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," offered up such sacrifices. Hounded by guilt for committing adultery, "He kept vigils, likewise, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with a glimmering lamp; and sometimes viewing his own face in a looking-glass, by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it. He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not, purify himself." Despite their intensity and frequency, his night-after-night vigils, like the year-after-year sacrifices of the priests, he could not cleanse his soul.
What is God’s general will for us?
Our will vs. Jesus will is different. We cannot die for our own sins or for anyone’s sins.
What is God’s will for us? When I talk about God’s general will I am talking about what is God’s will for all people in the NT age? These are things that apply to everyone:
1. Saved. God’s will is that everyone be saved from hell.
1 Timothy 2:4: (God) wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9: He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Plan of salvation
2. Sanctified. God’s will is that everyone be holy.
In Hebrews 10:10 the writer explains how Christ's doing God's will affected us. He says, "By that will (Christ doing God’s will) we have been made holy” - set apart for God. This happened "through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
We see here 3 time frames- the past, the present and the future.
We are made holy in the past through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ- vs. 10.
We are being made holy in the present by two things:
1) The Plan of salvation- When we come to Christ we are instantly made holy. Our sin is taken away; we are forgiven; we are no longer guilty; and we have been robed in the righteousness of Christ, thus perfected/completed in the eyes of God. God sees Christ when He looks at us. He doesn’t remember our sin, by choice- vs. 17.
2) Made holy- vs. 14. Being sanctified means that we are becoming more holy—we are shedding and killing sins at deeper and deeper levels. Our desires are being shaped more and more after God’s desires. Our love for God is growing, and thus our obedience to Him is advancing. We begin to think more, act more, and speak more like Jesus. At the core of the word sanctify is the idea of being set apart for special use. And as we become more sanctified, we will become more useful and more used of God. What can we do to be made holy? Vs. 16. Feed on God’s Word and do what it says. Yes, we have a love for the Word because we have been cleansed with the washing with water through the word. However, the Word of God needs to be our bread and butter.
Perfect forever, the future- Vs. 14. God will not abandon us in the middle of this process. Philippians 1:6: being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Saved, sanctified, and now serving. God’s will is that everyone have a servant’s mindset.
3. We serve God above all else. 2 Corinthians 8:5: They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
Mostly we serve God by serving others. Hebrews 13:16: And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
What is God’s specific will for me?
Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We know that several in the Scriptures had specific ministries given by God. Galatians 2:7-8: they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.
As we are striving to do God’s general will in our lives, the specific will that he wants us to do as individuals will be made know to us. Our problem while living on earth is that we have imperfect vision. We can never be absolutely certain on these things.
How can I find God’s calling for my life? Well, for sure the thing not to do is to sit back and wait for “a word.” That word will probably not come. What can I do?
Evaluate my motives. Are our motives tainted by impatience or selfish ambition? Be honest with God. Ask him to weed out any selfishness and sin.
Seek wise counsel. Proverbs 19:20: Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Talk things over with family and trusted friends who know the Lord, know the Bible, and know us. Ask for their prayers and for their honest perspective. Seek counsel from as many as possible because not every counselor is wise.
Trust and obey- Don’t be afraid, set out and act in faith.
Make plans and begin carrying them out.
Let God close and open doors as He sees fit.
If a door is closed, change direction and keep on moving.
If God opens a door, and we have done the above, then go through the door. Revelation 3:8: See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
What if I fail? It’s not “if”, it’s when. Ecclesiastes 7:20: There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. When we fail it gives us wisdom and direction for the future if we get up by God’s help.
One word of caution: We need to help the church as one of our first priorities. However, we don’t need to limit our ministry to inside this building. Our main ministry might be with our family or at our work. This community has places of ministry where we can shine for Jesus.