Eph. 5:17 - Knowing the Will of God

Psalms 103:7 - The Ways or Acts of God

Do we have to understand so we can believe? Or do we believe so we can understand?

Ephesians 5:17 states, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” This verse makes it abundantly clear that we are to understand the will of God, but how do we know what the will of God is? One thing we do not do is use only our mental capacities to figure it out. The more we try to figure out what the will of God is from our vantage point, the father away from the will of God we get. We must use what God gives us, not what we have. We must not think logically, but spiritually. And when we think spiritually, we will also be thinking logically, but we will not be thinking from a human perspective. We will be thinking the way God thinks. Remember God does not think like we think. If we are ever to understand God’s will we must get all our information from the Bible, not from anything else.

  1. I Chronicles 22:11-12 states, “Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. 12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God.”

  2. Proverbs 2:6 states, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The phrase “out of his mouth” refers to the Word of God, which is the two-edged sword of the Spirit. Revelation 19:15 speaks of Jesus Christ judging the world with his word, which proceeds out of his mouth. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

  3. Psalm 119:104 states, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” We cannot expect to get understanding from any other source other than the precepts of God. A precept is a commandment, or statute.

  4. II Timothy 2:7 states, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Notice at least two things in this verse. (1) Consider what I say – there must be a thinking process. God works through out minds, not through our feelings. Feelings come into play after the thought processes of the mind. God wants us to think about the will of God, but (2) only the Lord can give understanding.

Now – What do we do with understanding once we get it?

  1. Deuteronomy 4:5,6 – Keep and do – “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

  2. Psalms 111:10 – A good understanding causes a person to do. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”

  3. I John 5:3 – When we have the understanding given to us by God, the commandments of God are not grievous. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”

  4. Psalms 119:27 – May we understand the way of God’s precepts. “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”

  5. Psalms 119:34 – When God gives us understanding, we will keep the law. “Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.”

I. Faith comes first - before understanding what the will of God is concerning these things.

1. Watch out for tradition.

2. Watch out for feelings.

3. Make sure we have done everything the scriptures demand before we start trying to do what we think we ought to do.

4. The Key to Success in knowing the will of God: Always do what you know to do before you try to do what you don't know to do.

II. Two Parts to the will of God.

A. Revealed. I'm going to show you what is revealed, so you will be more able to find out what the un-revealed will of God is.

B. Not revealed. (You will find out the un-revealed will of God only after you do the revealed will of God.)

III. Faith comes first - before understanding what the will of God is concerning these things.

1. Watch out for tradition.

2. Watch out for feelings.

3. Make sure we have done everything the scriptures demand before we start trying to do what we think we ought to do.

3. Gal. 1:4 - It is the will of God that we be delivered from this present evil world.

4. Eph. 6:6 - We ought to do the will of God from our hearts, not just have an outward show of religion.

5. Col. 4:12 - We can stand perfect and complete in the will of God.

6. I Thess 4:3 - It is the will of God that we be sanctified, abstaining from fornication.

7. I Thess 5:18 - It is the will of God that we give thanks to God in everything.

8. Heb. 10:36 - Have patience, for after you have done the will of God, you will receive the promise.

9. I Peter 2:15 - It is the will of God that we live quiet, peaceable lives, obeying every law and official as we are able.

10. I Peter 4:2 - It is better for us to live in this flesh in the will of God.

a. I Peter 3:17 - It is better that we suffer for well doing than for evil doing.

b. I Peter 4:19 -Let us suffer according to the will of God.

11. I John 2:17 - He that does the will of God lives forever.

IV. Paul.

1. Acts 16:6-8 - Paul and Silas wanting to go into Bithynia, finally being allowed by the Spirit of God to go into Macedonia. How did Paul determine that this was the will of God for him?

2. Acts 19:21 - This verse shows that Paul believed it was God's will for him to go to Jerusalem, then Rome.

3. Acts 20:22-24 - Paul tells the elders at Miletus that he was "bound in the spirit to go to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall him there."

4. Acts 21:8-14 - Philip's daughters prophesied that Paul would be bound at Jerusalem. Paul didn't let this keep him from obeying the will of God.

5. Acts 23:11 - Paul received a blessing from God that he would not have received if he had quit already.

  1. Personal testimony about knowing what the will of God is in my life.

  1. General

  1. It is the will of God for me to be saved.

  2. It is the will of God for me to be baptized by Forest Hills Baptist Church.

  3. It is the will of God for me to be faithful to God through one of His local churches.

  1. Who to marry.

  1. Marry a saved Baptist.

  2. Just any saved Baptist wouldn’t do, but I should marry the one God has chosen for me.

  1. Where to work.

  1. Going to college - I was unaware of God’s leadership in my life, but He led me in spite of my ignorance.

  2. Taking a job in St. Louis.

  3. Jessie knew before I did that we would be moving to St. Louis.

  4. This is where I got acquainted with Brother Jerry and how I came to help him establish this church.

  5. God called me to preach.

  1. Where to pastor.

  1. All I knew was that God wanted me to preach and pastor and so went where the opportunity was.

  2. I used the “open door method” as a guide to God’s will for my life.

  3. As God opened the door, I would walk through it, then (and only then) would He open another door.

  4. Sometimes I doubted whether God led me to Lynn, but now I can see how that ministry prepared me for this ministry.

  5. I tried not to go to Louisiana, but God had a purpose for me going there. I told the people things would be done my way if they called me to pastor them. Surprise to me, they did.

  6. How did I know I was finished at Hornbeck? The Lord began closing doors one at a time. He never removed my love for the church, or for the people in that area that needed help. It was just that it was impossible for me to help them. God would use someone else.

  7. How did I know God had called me here? While at Russellville, I was doing what God wanted me to do. I was knocking on many closed door (construction, buying “fix-up” houses), even got an accounting job. Doors were being opened for me to pastor in that area, but I would have had to shut my mouth about separation and church particulars if I pastored there.