THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD
Some of this will be one of the basic foundations of the Scripture — that God is sovereign over all. There can be no argument about this, if we believe the Bible. There can only be raised eyebrows and questions and wonderful discussions about what this really means.
And we can allow Him to be God while we wait for the End and trust Him daily.
THE MORAL WILL OF GOD
The second subject calls for the question about the Scriptures. Are these facts and prophecies and truths and applications the Word of God. We believe that, so we can teach this area as something very strong.
There are questions of meaning at times, and certainly about application. But we can take this in a strong way and it needs to be said today as never before.
This is a great time to affirm your church and personal statement of faith about the Scriptures, and to call people to know what the Bible says and obey it.
THE PERSONAL WILL OF GOD
Here we go with differences of opinion. Which certainly should be allowed in the church.
Sermons three and four will deal with this issue of the individual will of God and the questions of wisdom and shepherding.
Put simplistically, there are three main views, though few people categorize themselves:
- “God Told Me”
Is the title of a book by Jim Samra (Calvary Church, Grand Rapids), recently published to say that God told him and he can tell us whom to marry, where to work, which car to buy, and, the author adds, “I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy.”
This is a view held informally by many people in our churches. And many of them have heard speakers and others like Bill Hybels talk about the whispers of God, and they listen intently.
It has its basis in at least these main things:
- Promises in the Bible that God will “guide our paths.”
- Teaching of others
- Experiences and feelings of spiritual impressions
- Desires to know what is best. High hopes
This is often referred to as the individual will of God for our lives. That He has a personal will for each of us, a plan that we must find.
- “Ask for Wisdom”
This is the understanding that we have to make our own decisions about specifics not clearly revealed in the Bible. We are to ask for wisdom, but that very idea means that we get the wisdom to make the decision.
This is a view practiced by most people for most decisions, with exceptions. Some would say that the exceptions are the big decisions, when God must speak to us. Others say that the whole issue of the Bible is that we are accountable for our decisions in our choices, not for hearing the voice of God.
Is often referred to as the wisdom way (that He will grant wisdom quietly or dramatically for the decisions to be made)
or the shepherding will of God (emphasizing that we will be able to see God’s leading in the rear-view mirror of life).
- View #2 plus the emphasis that God can speak any time He wishes or deems it necessary.
This view would say that the incidents in the Bible of God speaking directly, as to Saul on the road to Tarsus, are extraordinary. Not to be taken as the norm, as they often are to support view #1.
It seems important to say that we should be able to differ on these views and live together in unity.
These notes will show a prejudice towards view 2 or 3. And the notes are really written so you can apply your own view as you teach the people or urge them to make their own decision (about which view).
Either way we will all practice one of the views in a very deliberate way.
SERMONS 4 and 5
The fourth sermon from James 5 actually applies all of the views, and gives a very significant paragraph from James for our lives.
It is a very clear example of when we must decide what the phrase “God’s will” means for our daily lives.
It is about making plans or choices, but always with the phrase in mind, “if God’s wills.”
The sermon is about how to make choices. It too should be a very pastoral 20 to 40 minutes! (Or shorter or longer, however God wills J.