General Will Of God
A.     Introduction:     
1.     We have just finished a series on faith, and made the point that, in order to                     move mountains, you must know God's will before you pray.     
2.     That brings up some obvious questions:          
a.     Is it possible to know God's will in that kind of detail -- before you                pray?          
b.     Don't you just have to pray and wait and see what happens to know                God's will?          
c.     How can you know God's will?     
3.     In this lesson, we want to consider this issue -- can you know God's will for           your life?  If so, how?          
a.     There is a lot of confusion and frustration in peoples' lives over this                issue.          
b.     As with any subject, the root of our confusion and frustration is lack of                knowledge of what the Bible says.B.     Let's first define some terms.  One reason for confusion in this area is that we tend      to mix apples and oranges in the same basket -- and we get fruit salad!     
1.     God's will is His Word.          
a.     Testament = will; will = purposes, intents, desires          
b.     God's purposes, intents, and desires are revealed in the Bible.     
2.     God has a general will and a specific will for each of us.          
a.     His general will = the information revealed in the Bible; there are two                categories:               
1.     The Bible tells us what God has provided for us through Jesus                     Christ.              
2.     The Bible tells us how God wants us to live -- His                     commandments.          
b.     His specific will = who to marry; where to live; what job to take, etc.      
3.     We tend to focus more on God's specific will than His general will.               
a.     That is putting the cart before the horse.          
b.     If we would give as much effort to learning the general will of God as                 we do to worrying about the specific will of God, His specific will                would be much easier to figure out.     
4.     We also tend to talk in terms of being in the will of God  -- that can be           misleading.          
a.     The Bible speaks of doing the will of God rather than being in the will of                God.          
b.     Matt 6:10; 7:21; 12:50; John 4:34; 6:38; 7:17; Eph 6:6; Heb 10:7 (Ps                40:8); 10:36; 13:21; I John 2:17     
5.     We could say it this way: when you do the will of God, you are in His will.     
6.     As we cooperate with God's general will (His written Word), that puts us in           a position to learn His specific will for our lives.          
a.     Prov 3:6 tells us that if we do our part, God will do His part.                                                                                                                                                                                                      1.     Our part = walk in agreement with His general will and obey Him               
2.     His part = get us to the right place at the right time = His specific                     will          
b.     Prov 3:6               
1.     In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and                     crown your efforts with success. (Living)               
2.     At every step you take, keep Him in mind, and He will direct your path. (REB)               
3.     Have mind of Him wherever you go, and He will clear the road                     for you. (Moffatt)     
7.     In this lesson, we want to focus on God's general will.          
a.     God has clearly revealed His will, His intentions, His purposes in the                Bible.          
b.     We often ask / beg God for things He has already provided (said yes to,                purchased through Jesus).          
c.     It is not a question of persuading Him to give or do something, but                rather of:               
1.     Us believing His Word about what He has already provided.               
2.     And, then He fulfills His Word -- brings it to pass.
C.     When we discuss any subject related to God, we must always begin with Jesus.
     1.     Jesus is the complete revelation of God, the Father. Heb 1:1-3; John 14:9          
a.     Everything that God has for us and has done for us is found in Jesus.         
b.     It is in Jesus, through Jesus, because of Jesus, that we have access to                God the Father, His grace, and His blessing -- specifically, through the                death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.          
c.     God has no blessing, no help for anyone, apart from Jesus Christ and                the Cross.     
2.     What Jesus did for us on the Cross through His death, burial, and           resurrection is called redemption.          
a.     Jesus has redeemed us. Rom 3:24; Gal 4:4,5; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Heb                9:12; I Pet 1:18,19          
b.     God has met every human need through redemption, so, it is vitally                important that we understand it.     
3.     What is redemption?          
a.     Greek = APOLUTROSIS = a loosing away; particularly by paying a                ransom               
1.     Strong's = a releasing / deliverance / liberation by payment of                     ransom               
2.     Vines = to buy out; esp of purchasing a slave to be free          
b.     Webster = to buy back; to free from captivity by payment of a ransom     
4.     The word redemption implies bondage.          
a.     Mankind is in captivity to sin and its consequences.          
b.     Jesus and His Blood is the ransom that bought our freedom from sin                and its consequences. Matt 20:28; Acts 20:28; I Tim 2:6          
c.     The purpose / point of redemption is to remove all trace of sin and its                consequences from us so that:               
1.     God can have a relationship with us. Rev 5:9               
2.     God can demonstrate His glory through us. Titus 2:13; I Pet 2:9     
5.     Since redemption is already accomplished, could we say that it is God's will?            Obviously we can!     
6.     Could we further say that any result or benefit redemption provides is God's           will for us since it has already been accomplished by Him?  Of course we can!          
a.     This is where you begin a study of God's will for you.          
b.     What has God already provided for you? accomplished for you?     
7.     The results / benefits of redemption are God's will for your life.
D.     Although we could go into great detail about what it means to be redeemed, to      have redemption, let's just list some highlights.     
1.     We have remission of sins. Eph 1:7          
a.     Remit = to send money in as payment; dismiss; release; remove          
b.     God's plan was to remove our sins. Heb 8:10-13; Ps 103:12; Isa 43:25;                44:22          
c.     The message of the gospel = preach remission. Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38;                3:19     
2.     We are freed from the curse of the Law. Gal 3:13          
a.     Curse of the Law = consequences of breaking God's law.          
b.     As we study the OT, we find a three-fold consequence (punishment) for                breaking God's law:               
l.     Spiritual death  Gen 2:17; Eze 18:4               
2.     Poverty  Deut 28:15-68               
3.     Sickness  Deut 28:15-68     
3.     In the NT Jesus gave us a perfect picture of what it means to be restored to           God, our Father -- the Prodigal Son. Luke 15:11-32          
a.     Although there are many wonderful points in this parable, we want to                focus on one in particular -- a return to Father's house means that all He has is ours. v31               
1.     Through redemption, God has made available to us all that we                     need to live this life and the next.               
2.     He has already said yes -- that is His will.          
b.     Eph 1:3               
1.     For giving us through Christ every spiritual benefit as citizens of                     heaven (Phillips)               
2.     Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing heaven                     itself enjoys (Norlie)               
3.     Who has Himself blessed us through Christ with every kind of                     spiritual and supernatural blessing. (Wand)          
c.     II Pet 1:3               
1.     His divine power has given us everything we need for our physical                     and spiritual life (Norlie)               
2.     He has by His own action given us everything that is necessary                     for living the truly good life. (Phillips)          
d.     Jesus reveals God's will to us.                                                                                                                              1.     Everything that Jesus did and said while on earth, everything He                     provided through the Cross, is God's will for us.               
2.     God now wants to fulfill His will in our lives.
E.     You may say:  If Christians have been redeemed, and in the things that redemption      provides, we see God's will for our lives,why do so many Christians live in fear, in      bondage to sin, sickness, lack, guilt, and fear?     
1.     God's will does not automatically come to pass in peoples' lives. II Pet 3:9;           Matt 23:37; 13:58     
2.     God works in our lives by grace through faith. Eph 2:8          
a.     Salvation is an all-inclusive word.          
b.     SOTERIA = implies deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness,                soundness          
c.     God's grace provides all of those things, but they must be received by                faith.     
3.     We often spend time in prayer asking, begging, pleading God for things He           has already done / provided.          
a.     We should be praying prayers of thanksgiving instead.          
b.     God is waiting for us to receive what He has done.     
4.     The benefits of redemption (God's will for us) don't come to pass in our lives           because:          
a.     We lack knowledge of what it means to be redeemed.          
b.     We don't know how to cooperate with God in receiving the benefits of                redemption.          
c.     All of these things can be corrected by studying God's general will =                His Word.     
5.     If you know that  your need is covered by redemption then:          
a.     You can know God's will ahead of time, pray in agreement with Him,                and see that prayer answered. I John 5:14,15          
b.     In other words, you can see your mountain move.     
6.     How do I know if my need is covered by redemption?  That is why we study           the Bible -- to learn God's will.     
7.     This brings up the question:  what if, under normal circumstances, God           would want me to have this blessing, but He sees something in my life that           keeps Him from giving it to me.          
a.     We don't / can't earn anything from God -- is that the basis of your                approach to God?          
b.     But, if there is something in your life which will keep you from                receiving (unforgiveness, worry, complaining, irresponsibility), God's                Word will show you.
F.     Conclusion:     
1.     When we talk about knowing God's will, the first kinds of thoughts that           come to mind are:               
a.     Who am I going to marry?  What job should I take?  What is my                ministry?          
b.     But that is not the place to start.     
2.     Step #1 = find out God's general will for you from His Word.          
a.     What He has provided through redemption.          
b.     How He wants you to live; His commandments.     
3.     If you are going to determine God's specific will for your life, you must first           get your mind renewed.          
a.     We do that by studying God's Word. Rom 12:2               
1.     Let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove                     in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His                     demands, and moves toward the goal of true maturity. (Phillips)               
2.     First of all, let Him give you a new mind.  Then you will know                     what God wants you to do.  And the things you do will be good and pleasing and perfect. (New Life)          
b.     From the Word of God we learn:               
1.     What He has provided and how to receive it.               
2.     Principles of God's kingdom               
3.     Behavior and attitude changes we need to make.          
c.     All of those things put you in a position to learn God's specific will for                your life. John 14:21;23               
1.     Jesus said that if we would obey His commands, He and His                     Father would make themselves known to us.               
2.     Make what known?  Their will, their character, their desires for                     us = God's will.     
4.     If you will walk in the light of God's Word, He will get you to His specific will for your life.     
5.     If you do His will, you are in His will, and you'll meet that husband, get that           job, find that ministry, etc.
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