Sunday, January 14, 2018
Winter/Spring Sermon Series: Experiencing God at Such a Time as This
God Guides our Tomorrows
2018 Theme Question: “What is the unique thing that God has for our church to accomplish at this time, at this place, for His glory?”
Last Sunday we looked at Esther and learned what kind of heart God looks for in His people.
A teachable heart
A prayerful heart
A sacrificial heart
Today we will begin to look at how we came have those kinds of hearts.
How does a person find God’s will? Will it be "Inner peace on making decisions," "Through Scripture find specific answers to guidance," “As you live and walk with the Lord you look for open doors and not force open closed doors." "Follow the desires of your heart and allow God to open the doors for you to do His will." "Pray, search the Scripture and ask spiritual leaders for their counsel." "Pray and ask God to show you His will."
Proverbs 3:5-6 are classic verses promising the Christian that God does guide.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (or will direct your paths)."
I. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. "Get on Board"
Before you can go sailing you have to get on board the sailboat. You have to trust that the boat won’t sink, and your captain is a good sailor.
Getting on board is an act of faith. If you want to find God’s will you first have to put your trust in God. In your heart you have to answer the question. "Is God trustworthy?" Are you willing to let God guide your life?
ILL: God told Noah to build a huge boat large enough to hold a zoo full of animals. Noah had faith. He was obedient and began building a boat - Ark on dry land. There was no large body of water for miles. Noah was preparing for a flood. Noah and his family were laughed at by all in the community. Noah trusted God and build faith. God brought the animals to the Ark and when the time came, 120 years later, God told Noah and his family to get in the Ark, and then God shut the door.
Noah was in the will of God because when God called him to a task Noah was faithful in completing the task.
Noah practiced the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
ILL: A student pilot was taking his first solo flight. He thought he had done pretty well during the flying lessons, but now he was up there on his own. All had been going just fine until he came to the place to land the plane. He found the designated runway. His teacher was on the radio on the ground instructing him. He nosed the plane down rather sharply toward the runway. The he heard the instructor saying over the radio: "Correct your attitude."
The student pilot thinks: "My attitude? What’s wrong with my attitude? My attitude is just fine." The voice comes more urgently, "correct your attitude." "What’s wrong with my instructor there’s nothing wrong whatsoever with my" …..CRASH!
Two weeks later he woke up on the hospital, his instructor was there. He had the flight manual opened and a definition underlined: "Attitude. The plane’s inclination toward the earth."
What is your attitude? Is Your attitude to go up to God by faith and trust Him? The proper attitude is having trust - "I’m going God way regardless of what others do."
Joshua had that commitment when he was surrounded by pagan beliefs. He said: "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
Trust God with Your Life. God is trustworthy.
II. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him - “Set the Sail”
In the sailing analogy this is setting the sail. Acknowledging the Lord is surrendering to God’s will and starting on the journey. It is putting your faith into action.
The wind for the committed Christian is open doors of opportunity.
Do you think God was surprised when you were born? Did God look at you and say: "Who is that?" Of course not. The Bible says that before you were born, God know you. God knows who you are and why He put you here. You are not an accident.
There are some people who argue with God. "When God made me, He made a big mistake!" "My life has no meaning."
There are others who get angry with God. They refuse to set the sail and drift aimlessly in life. Without God in your life your life has no ultimate purpose. You can only know God’s plan by accepting Him as Your guide and Captain and Master of your life.
We have to get in the boat and we have to set the sails. We have to take some initiative. It’s false to think that God hands you His will without any effort on your part.
ILL: One high school graduate said he was praying for a summer job, so he could attend a Christian college. When asked where he was going to apply for a job he said, "Nowhere. If God wants me to work, He’ll send a job my way.”
That attitude makes as much sense as walking across Interstate 15 with your eyes closed and saying: "If God wants me to make it across He’ll see to it that cars miss me."
When we surrender our life to God we no longer ask: "Why am I here?" But, "I am here, and I am His."
A sailboat rudder is useless while the sails are down. It’s up to you to set the sails and get going. You can’t go any direction until the wind fills the sails. God provides the wind. Then when the wind changes, be ready to come bout. God may have to change your course, but when He does, you have the momentum for it.
Sometimes the choice is turn or crash. There are some people who refuse to alter their course even when they know that God is making it clear that it’s time to go in a new direction. You can’t afford to hand onto some good thing you have now, and run the risk of missing God’s best.
ILL: A captain of a ship looked into the dark night and saw faint lights in the distance. Immediately he told his signalman to send a message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south." Promptly a return message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north."
The captain was angered; his command had been ignored. So, he sent a second message: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am the captain!" Soon another message was received: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a seaman third class Jones."
Immediately the captain sent a third message, knowing the fear it would evoke: "Alter your course 10 degrees south--I am a battleship." Then the reply came: "Alter your course 10 degrees north--I am a lighthouse."
In the midst of our dark and foggy times, all sorts of voices are shouting orders into the night, telling us what to do, how to adjust our lives. Out of the darkness, one voice signals something quite opposite to the rest--something almost absurd. But the voice happens to be the Light of the World, and we ignore it at our peril.
There are times when we crash that God’s then gets our attention and we are ready to obey.
1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding - get in the sailboat
2. In all your ways acknowledge Him - set the sail
III. He will make straight your paths– “Taking the Wheel”
Take hold of the wheel to control the rudder. God gives you the privilege of making choices - He lets you guide the ship. He gives you the choice to follow His will. God puts the rudder in your hand.
Think back five years. Would you have dreamed five years ago that you would be doing now what you are doing today? Would you have anticipated world events or economic changes that are happening now?
Here’s a basic truth. "We can’t anticipate our tomorrows!" We do know that we will not face the future alone. God is a vital part of our tomorrow.
James 4:13-15 "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Are you fearful about your future? Give your future to God. Live one day at a time, completely surrendered to His will.
The Bible teaches that God wants good things for you. Just as parents wants good things for their children. Even so God wants the best in life for you.
God does not reveal His will in neat little packages. It is more like a scroll that unrolls every day.
In finding God’s will there are a few principles to consider:
1. God reveals His will as we trust and obey Him day by day.
God does not drop down from heaven a simple blueprint for our life from heaven. As we walk with the Lord he shows us the way. It is like walking in the dark with a powerful flashlight. As we walk forward we see the way ahead. From time to time God gives a flash of light that allows us to see miles ahead. But normally we walk in step by step obedience. (Isaiah 58:11, Proverbs 16:9)
2. God’s will is a way of adventure and abundant life.
God’s will does not mean living a hard and frustrating life. God is for us and not against us. He wants us to have a life of joy and fulfillment. (John 10:10b)
3. God wants us to know his will.
There is no greater joy or satisfaction than being in the center of God’s will. Jim Elliott, missionary to the Auca Indians, was killed by the very people he was trying to love. He wrote of his work as a missionary: “I have great joy in doing God’s will.” He also said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot keep.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
4. God’s will matches our gifts and skills with His calling.
It is a false assumption that if you want to do something it must not be God’s will. The Psalmist said in Psalm 34:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
A thoughtful question to consider is: “What would you do if you could do anything you wanted without regard to finances or time?” (2 Cor. 2:17)
5. God gives new opportunities to do His will.
It is another false view to believe that once you have deliberately disobeyed the Lord you are doomed and can never again be in the center of the Lord’s will. God not only forgives He restores. Throughout Biblical History, from David, to the Apostle Peter, men have stumbled, and God has lifted them up and given them a new beginning.
"Trust Jesus with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding, and in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths."
You can get on board God’s ship of life, set the sails by faith and ask Jesus to help you steer the ship. We know the Lord guides us through His Word, prayer, circumstances, counsel of others, and open and closed doors.