Summary: God’s will is not nearly the mystery we sometimes make it. God wants the lost saved, Christian to live godly lives, and for believers to pray. All three are inter-related.
What God Wants
Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister
First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO
Introduction: A guy was on a diet. His biggest temptation was donuts. As he drove down the street in front of his favorite donut shop, he prayed, “Lord, if you want me to have a donut this morning, let there be a parking place right in front of the bakery.” Later his wife asked him if had stopped at the donut shop. He told her about his prayer. “Well, what happened,” she persisted. “There was a parking place right in front of the door just like I prayed. I spotted it on my eighth trip around the block.”
We say want to know God’s will. What we really want to know too often is how to bend God’s will to ours. At other times, we pretend that God’s will is a great mystery. We can’t do what we don’t know. Most of the time our problem is a lack of obedience not lack of knowledge. What Mark Twain said of the Bible applies to God’s will in general. “It’s not those parts that I don’t understand that give me the biggest problem, it’s the parts that I do understand.”
So what is God’s will? What does he want? Our text makes it clear that a big chunk of God’s will has already been revealed. It is not a mystery. It is not complicated. It involves three interrelated objectives. Notice how our text fits them together. We will tackle them in reverse order.
First, God wants everyone to be saved. Note verses three and four, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Can it be any clearer? God’s great desire is the salvation of lost people. The Christian message is not about making us feel better. It is not fundamentally about our earthly happiness. It is not about making us healthy, wealthy, and wise. Some of those things might be by products. The gospel is about how men and women who have messed up their lives by disobeying God can be made right with God now and for eternity.
The gospel is not about this political policy or that political program. It is not about social reform or caring for the poor and hungry. It is not about building hospitals or orphanages as good and important as those things are. The truth is Christians have always been the first people doing those things around the world. But the gospel is about what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us. It is not about what we do for God or for other people.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost. That’s how you became saved. Somewhere, sometime, somebody told you what Jesus had done for you. You heard it. You believed it. You accepted it. You obeyed the gospel and were saved. What was true for you can be true for anyone.
God wants all people saved. All means all. The gospel is not a white person’s, rich person’s, or an old person’s message. Jesus wants to save the up and out and the down and out. He want to save the person who has only broken one of the Ten Commandments just like he wants to save the person who has broken them all. He wants to save respectable people. He even wants to save the kind of people you don’t like. God wants all people to be saved.