Summary: What do you do when God says "NO!"?

When God Says “NO!”

Acts 16

God has a plan for His universe:

Psalm 150:6

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” (NIV)

That’s what God wants us to do: Praise Him! It is the express desire of God that everything that has breath give Him all glory and honor and praise! He desires us to do that on this side of eternity because all who will live with him on the other side of eternity WILL praise Him. Giving Him all the glory with your life NOW is only practice for what you will do in Heaven forever.

Hebrews 2:9-10

“… We do see Jesus-- who for awhile was a little lower than the angels-- crowned now by God with GLORY and honor because he suffered death for us. Yes, because of God’s great kindness, Jesus tasted death for everyone in all the world. And it was right and proper that God, who made everything for his own GLORY, should allow Jesus to suffer, for in doing this he was bringing vast multitudes of God’s people to heaven!”


God is the author of PLANNING. He planned to send Jesus “before the foundations of the world”, so that we might know the glory of God and enjoy the presence of God forever.

God has PLANS for our lives!

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And even those wonderful plans of God are intended to give Him glory by coming us to Him:

Jeremiah 29:12

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.


Yet some people see God as the Big "NO". They take the Ten Commandments as the way God controls our world with rules, all from a stifling viewpoint: "Thou shalt have NO other gods before me..." "Thou shalt NOT commit adultery..." "Thou shalt NOT steal..." "Thou shalt NOT covet..."

But even the Ten Commandments have some great "YES" statements: "Honor thy father and thy mother..."

It is always a good thing to plan. We really do very little without some form of a plan. Certain things always come first. Chaos would soon overtake our lives without a plan. Ronda crocheted for me a reminder which I keep in my office: “Plan ahead! It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark!”

Yet my plans do not always align with God’s Plan. Let’s look at a time when the Bible records for us how a good, godly man’s plans did not match God’s glorious plan and what happened. I believe we will find here what we can do when God has other plans:

The Apostle Paul had a plan:

Acts 15:36

36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing."


Paul’s plan: He and Barnabas would go back and check on the churches. What’s wrong with that? I mean, don’t you want to make sure that the investments you have made paid off. What doctor does not check the status of His patients? What teacher does not check to see that the students have learned their lessons?

God said “NO”!

Acts 15:37-40

37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,

38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.

39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.

God’s “NO” came in a gut-level feeling in Paul. Wait in minute, Barney! Mark left us once before. How do we know he won’t leave us again? Barnabas thought Mark would do okay. He’s grown up a little. Paul wanted nothing to do with taking Mark along and Barnabas would not go without him.

39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.

Two godly men, trying to follow the plan of God, only to have God sutilly say “NO”. Paul’s “NO” echoed God’s “NO” at this point, for sometimes God’s “NO” means “NOT Y’ALL”!

Sometimes God does not want you to be with certain people. They may not be bad folk, but they are not the ones you are to be with at this time! When God says “NO”, the first thing we should ask: “Am I in the right place at the right time with the right people?

Paul didn’t feel right about Mark, enough so that he would not go if Mark was going!

Sometimes you just know in the gut of your spirit that something is not right about this plan.

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