Summary: Augustine of Hippo, once said, "Love God and do as you please." What do you say?
Series Title: The Heavenly Reserve Bank of God (Ephesians)
Message Title: Understanding God’s Will, Ephesians Chapter 5
Scripture: Ephesians 5:17
10 and find out what pleases the Lord.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
I must first apologize before we undertake this task of Understanding God’s Will, for it is more an attempt at making clear of this topic in my own mind as it is giving you an explanation on the understanding. What I am about to present is something that some of you may disagree with, since you may have a more ‘traditional way’ of understanding God’s will for your lives. However, my presentation is Biblically-based and supported by Augustine, Henry, the Wesleys, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Murray, and Randy Alcorn (of all people).
Augustine of Hippo, once said, "Love God and do as you please." Now, that seems to be a contradiction to what the present day church teaches about knowing the will of God for your own life. The church and seminaries tend to say it’s a more than that. They say, it’s much more complicated than that! But, to say it’s more than that is in itself to say that a simple-minded person may not be able to follow God’s will for their lives, simply because he or she would be too simple minded to understand the church’s directions to understand God’s will for their lives.
God’s desire, God’s will… In Scripture, in the Greek, the same word is used for both. And, it’s God’s desire that all should be saved. Or, rather it’s God’s will that all be saved. A matter of preference in translation. So, you see, we owe some of our understanding of the matter, however clouded it might be, to the interpretation or translation that we are currently using, NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc. And, we owe some of our misunderstanding of the matter, to those same translations. But, the problem doesn’t really lie with the translation, it’s how some selfish scholars and churches have taken God’s simple intentions, and complicated them.
So what’s the real deal? What’s the Bible tell us? What do the respected Bible scholars tell us about God’s will? That knowing God’s will is as simple as Augustine said it was, “Love God and do as you please.” For in loving God you will realize through the manifestation of His Spirit in you what is the will of God for your life. Or, in other words, if you love God, you’ll know what He wants. So, it’s who you are!
My friends, the will of God for your life, for this church, for this world is not just wrapped up in what we do, but who we are! What builds us personally into what God wants or desires, or wills us to be? Is it those back-breaking, mind-wrenching decisions that we believe shape our character, or could it be also, and yes it is, those daily, or minute by minute, ‘from the hip’ [quick or snap] decisions that collectively mold us into what God wants us to be.
What God cares about for your life, and His will, is that we choose to follow His direction in spiritual and moral choices. Psalm 37:3-7 says,
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
When we go to the Bible we see four very simple representations of God’s will. We see:
A Divine Will – that which governs all things.
This one is simple, everything on this earth follows God’s will. Watch a leaf falling to the ground, and remember that is God’s will. Enjoy the beauty of the setting sun, and know that is God’s will at work. God’s will was at work in the creation of the world, and is still at work in sustaining it. If it wasn’t for God’s desire [will], our atoms would fly apart and vaporize like hairspray at the hair salon.
A Royal Will – that people should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
(2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.