Summary: We can know God’s will if we keep our hearts right and trust Him completely.
Taking Care of Business
“Discerning God’s Will”
Intro: This might be the 1st church business meeting in history.
Prop: We can know God’s will if we keep our hearts right and trust Him completely.
Interrogative: How do we do that?
TS: The following perspectives will help us discern God’s will in our lives.
I. The Reliability of Scripture (Let the Bible Be Your Guide)
A. The Bible is Absolutely Trustworthy
-As Peter stands up to address the issue of the missing apostle, He turns first to God’s word. That is a good lesson for us to learn. The principles in God’s word give us guidance for every kind of situation we can face in life. Scripture may not give us an explicit example of every situation we might face, but the principles of love, mercy, justice, and humility will help us find what God wants us to do.
-The world does not understand how the Bible speaks to us today. However, God’s word is eternal. He does not change. What He inspired 2000 to 3500 years ago is still relevant for our lives today. We will never outgrow our need for God’s word. It can be trusted to help us through this life, as God speaks to us through its pages.
-Paul reminds Timothy of the value of the OT. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 ”All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. 17 It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do.” Likewise, the NT is fully inspired by God and can be trusted as a means of receiving revelation from God.
-Now you might be saying, “Okay Pastor, that all sounds very spiritual, but how do we really know that what is in the Bible is true?” Well, there are people who believe that the NT was written so long after the life of Christ that it is not an accurate reflection of what really happened. In other words, all that Jesus said and did was blown out of proportion- kind of like a myth or a legend. Lee Stobel answers this well in his book The Case for Christ. He says that even if most of the NT was written 40 years after Christ’s death and resurrection, that is not nearly enough time for legend to develop. There would have been too many people (many Christians, but also enemies of Christ) still around who had been in Jerusalem and had witnessed the events. They would have set the record straight if it had been blown out of proportion.
-Strobel goes on to say that the earliest biographies on the life of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch more than 400 years after Alexander’s death in 323 BC. However, historians consider their accounts to be factual and trustworthy. Legend did develop about Alexander the Great, but not until more than 500 years after his death. By that comparison, 30 or 40 years after Christ’s death would not be enough time for legend to develop. We could go on and relate other evidence that supports the validity of Scripture, including the fact that other historical documents line up with many of the events of Scripture. However, I think you get the point. The Bible can be trusted! It was not man’s idea, but God’s idea! Jesus quoted an OT Scripture when He was being tempted by the devil. "It is written: ’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’" (Matthew 4:4). Read your Bible! This is how we are to guide our lives!
-When Peter stood up to speak, he said that…
B. The Prophecies in Scripture Must Be Fulfilled
-Just as God’s word is accurate and relevant for our daily lives, so the promises and prophecies in Scripture will happen in God’s timing. Peter said, “The Scripture had to be fulfilled….” What God has said will come to pass. It may not happen in your lifetime, but if God said it, He will do it! We can trust His promises!
-Well, why did there need to be 12 apostles? Why did they need to select someone to take the place of Judas?
C. The Significance of 12 Apostles – After the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, scholars were able to read about what was called the Essene community of devout Jews who had written and preserved the scrolls. The Essenes viewed themselves as the true remnant of Israel and they chose 12 special leaders to symbolize the correlation between the 12 tribes of Israel. It appears that Jesus chose the 12 to indicate the same thing- that Jesus was indeed preserving the true remnant of Israel, which in the book of Acts would become known as the church. Judas had forfeited his place among the 12, so a replacement was needed in order to convey this idea that the church would be the true remnant of Israel.