What is the Will of God? Principle 7: Satisfaction

Delight

After you have carefully followed the previous six principles (Salvation, Scripture, ServiceSupplication, Seeking Wise Counsel, Sound Judgment), what is next? I believe that if the six principles previously mentioned are followed, then we can ask ourselves the question, “what is my desire?” If that desire is in line with God’s Word I believe we can act on it and be truly satisfied that we are doing the will of God. Continue reading What is the Will of God? Principle 7: Satisfaction

What is the Will of God? Principle 2: Scripture

Bible

If we are going to be walking in God’s will, we need to learn to be in tune with what He has revealed to us in His Word. How do we expect to know what God wants if we don’t listen to God in the place where He has spoken? God has spoken and continues to speak to us everyday in His revealed Word. In His Word is contained all “that pertains to life and godliness” (). If we want to know all the principles that will guide our decisions so they are according to God’s will, then we must go to the place where they are found. We are to allow the Scripture to shape the way we think. Paul wrote,

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” ().

Our minds will be informed by what they are shaped by. This is why we need to be acquainted with Scripture if we are going to know God’s will for our life. This begins with us Desiring the Word (Psalm 42:1; 119:131). Once it has become the object of our affection we are then to be Reading the Word (1 Timothy 4:13; Rev. 1:3). Thirdly, we should be Memorizing the Word as this helps us internalize it so that it becomes a part of us. As the psalmist said, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When this takes place we need to be Meditating on the Word. The Lord said to Joshua “this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night” (Joshua 1:8). Finally we are to be Obeying the Word (John 14:15). If we are going to make wise decisions in life, it is our duty to be well acquainted with God’s Word.

As the Word of God takes control of the centre of our being, it begins to shape and inform the way we live. We are foolish to think that we can make a wise decision that is according to God’s will if we never give ourselves to the reading and studying of His Word.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Life and Temptation

Temptation

Life is filled with temptations. These temptations can be small and they can be substantial. Temptation that you experience may be a real trial for you, but for others it may be merely trivial, and vice versa. What is it that causes such a struggle within us when it comes to temptation? It would be easy a natural tendency of people is to shift the blame away from themselves. We may blame the environment we are in, the upbringing we had or even our personality type. The problem with doing this is that we are wrongly diagnosing the problem therefore don’t receive the biblical solution. The reality is that there is a deeper and more potent source causing the lure to temptation. What is it? Before we consider some specific strategies on fighting temptation, I want to briefly consider the source and sequence of temptation from . 

THE SOURCE OF TEMPTATION
James makes it clear that God is not the source of our temptation. He cannot be tempted because He has no capacity or vulnerability to temptation (; ; ) and therefore He does not tempt (). So then, where does temptation come from? says, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire“. He illustrates the source of temptation with fishing metaphors. Like a fish that is enticed by the bait and then lured away, we fall into temptation when our “own desire” drags us to the bait. The problem is within us (cf. ). Again, notice that the text says, “his own desire“. We all have different tendencies, which come from our different upbringings and personal choices in life. One person’s temptation isn’t always the same as an others. Nonetheless they are still real.

THE SEQUENCE OF TEMPTATION
Consider the sequence of temptation. In , James changes metaphors from fishing to gestation (“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death“). “Desire” represents the mother and its child is “sin“. The gestation period of a human is nine months, whereas the gestation process of temptation instantaneous. Once mother “desire” has given birth to her child “sin“, it grows, and if allowed to become mature it “brings forth death“. The apostle Paul said on the same lines, “the wages of sin is death” (). Sin should not become the object of our entertainment. The results of allowing our desires to conceive are devastating, and must be avoided.

James concludes this section with a firm yet pastoral warning, “do not be deceived, my beloved brothers” (). It is not God who brings such evils in our life; the problem is with our own desires. Though we may find ourselves in a difficult and trying situation, we are to inform our desires so as to trust God. In the words of the great puritan pastor-theologian John Owen,

Temptations and occasions put nothing into a man, but only draw out what was in him before”.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.

And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.

19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.”

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.

Where are you Going?

Direction

Where are you going? Sometimes due to distractions and busyness it is easy for people to think about the immediate and not the whole. As Christians, it is important that in the midst of daily routines that we don’t lose perspective.

The Christian is on a journey. This journey has an ultimate destination that is glorious and will provide a state of eternal bliss and reward. This is all possible because of God’s grace putting them onto this pathway by means of faith in Jesus Christ (cf. ). In-order to reach that final destination, a journey must occur. The duration of this journey will not be the same for all, but the call to walk and the expectations of conduct are the same for all of God’s people. On this journey, the believer will have times of sorrow and times of rejoicing (cf. ). It is not an easy path to walk (cf. ), and there will even be times when enemies will do all they can to stop and thwart the journey.

John Bunyan brilliantly likens this journey to a pilgrim’s progress. The main character in his allegory (Christian) enters into a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. It is with great excitement that he embarks on this journey, and yet discovers the many difficulties that are before him. Along the way he receives those necessary resources for help.

If you are a believer you are on this same journey. Your final destination is Heaven where you will be with the Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity. But this journey will not be easy and it is essential that you are preparing yourself to walk it in such a way that your conduct is honouring to the Lord.

The Christian is called to walk. The term walk occurs on many occasions in Scripture. In fact, on forty-seven of its forty-nine occurrences in the New Testament, it is used figuratively referring to one’s conduct or behaviour. The believer is placed on a journey and it required by His Master to conduct his life in a particular way. Your walk is with the view of going to that place where you will spend eternity. For this reason, everything you do here must conform to where you are going. We are to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” () as we await the day when we will be with Christ (cf. ).

Where are you going? If you are a believer it is Heaven. So walk in such a way that your life is a testimony to this reality.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The Life of Faith

The Christian life has been likened to running in a race. The writer to the Hebrews said,

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God ()

On Sunday evenings at Hills Bible Church we are going to spend a number of weeks working our way through . In this great chapter, we see example after example of men and women who are heroes of the faith. The have gone before us running that well worn track of faith.

You are welcome to join us at 6:00 PM Sunday evenings or you can download the message from our website. Below is a video introducing our series.

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Down, But Not Out

Opportunity

How many times have you disobeyed the Lord and not received what you deserved? I am sure that if we all think long and hard, we will be amazed that we are still here! Why is that? God is merciful and gracious. There are many things that we have done that removed us from the pathway of obedience. We know what His Word says, but we selfishly reject it. Such acts of rebellion (both private or public) against God’s Word are damaging and can cause great devastation. When we deviate from God’s will it robs us of joy in the Lord and opportunity to be faithful and glorify His magnificence.

If we have miserably failed in living according to God’s will, what should our next steps be? Instead of becoming despondent or moving in a direction of deeper depravity, as children of God we must confess our sin to the Lord, seek His forgiveness and repent from our sin. It is then we will know the joy and freedom that repentance brings (cf. ). The fact that the Lord has provided you an opportunity to know the seriousness of your sin and the occasion to seek His forgiveness reveals His wondrous grace and mercy toward you! He would be just in simply punishing us on the spot if he so desired.

This reminds me of Jonah. In an earlier post we learnt that due to his reluctance, Jonah ran away from God’s will. Despite his selfish and rebellious act of running away from God, the Lord chased him and got his attention. The Lord sovereignly prepared a great fish to swallow him up (). It was in the depths of the sea creature’s belly that Jonah saw the error of his way. He confessed his sin and repented.Despite his disobedience, in a merciful and miraculous way “the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land” (). God then provided Jonah with another opportunity to obey Him (cf. ). This says a lot concerning the character of God. What mercy and grace on display!

Perhaps you are down and despondent as a result of your sin. Don’t despair, instead look unto the Lord God and seek His forgiveness. Be thankful to Him that He has provided you with an opportunity to do this! As He grants you occasion, seek His grace to be faithful and fervent in your service to Him. You may be down, but by His grace you don’t have to be out.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

17  And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”

What is an Elder and what does he do? (1 Timothy 3:1)

The head of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ (; ). He purchased the church with His own blood (; ), He builds the church () and He loves the church (). Continue reading What is an Elder and what does he do? (1 Timothy 3:1)

23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,

Running Away from God

Running Away

A game many children are good at is “Hide and Seek”. The thrill of running away while the person who is seeking has their eyes closed. You look for a safe haven in which you will be able to remain while the seeker is searching hard. Sometimes a child thinks they are in great hiding spot, but the reality is they aren’t. Other times, they are and the seeker will never find them. Continue reading Running Away from God

The Second Coming and the Snooze Button

Snooze

The alarm clock is designed to wake us up. An interesting invention added to the alarm is the snooze button. By pushing this button the sleeper is granted another 5 or so minutes of rest. Some have mastered the art of pushing the button more than once. Whether this is you or not, as Christians we must not be pushing the spiritual snooze button when it comes to our Christian life. We need to wake up and be alert and be faithful.

In , the Apostle Paul sets an alarm designed to wake up sleepy Christians! He begins by saying, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep” (a). This is a strong wake up call. Sadly, too many Christians are pressing the snooze button on this urgent call. What is the occasion for such urgency? He provides the reason in the last part of , “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed“. The word “salvation” or “saved” is from the Greek word that means “to rescue” or “to deliver from danger”. Here is it is used in a spiritual sense. Salvation is exclusively found in the only One who can save, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. ). There is only one salvation and one way in which it can be received (cf. ). When it comes to this salvation, we need to understand it as it is presented in Scripture – a salvation in three tenses (past, present and future):

Past: Saved from the Penalty of Sin (Justification) ; ;
Present: Saved from the Power of Sin (Sanctification) ;
Future: Saved from the Presence of Sin (Glorification)

So when Paul speaks of salvation being nearer, he is referring to the great occasion in which the believer will be glorified. Glorification occurs immediately for those who die to be with the Lord and will occur for all God’s people who are alive at the time of the Lord’s return. Adding to the urgency, Paul says, “The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (). The remaining part of this passage provides two compelling commands for the believer living in light of the Second Coming – cast off and put on.

Cast Off ()
When it comes to the Christian’s conduct, they are to be alert and aware of their responsibilities in light of Christ’s second coming. Paul says, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy” (13:13). In this verse there are three couplets of sin the Christian whose eyes are on the return of Christ are to avoid. Couplet one (“orgies and drunkenness“) focuses on senseless sins. Couplet two (“sexual immorality and sensuality“) focuses on sexual sins, and couplet three (“quarreling and jealousy“) focuses on social sins.

Put On ()
The believer, whose life is lived in the light of Christ’s return covers and consumes himself with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul concludes, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires“.

is the Bible’s wake up call to all Christians. The reality is, the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. Don’t be a sleepy Christian that is characterised by pressing the spiritual snooze button. Live in the light of the reality that Jesus is coming back!

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Romans 5:10

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

Romans 13:11

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.