Centered With His Will
You have the right to live in the center of God’s Will; and the way to do that is to give yourself to the Lord by faith every passing moment.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doin’ Alright? I trust so, bless your heart. I just talked to my old friend, Elliot Stedelbauer, up in Toronto. He’s about 80 now and has been immobilized by a series of strokes during the last several years but still has that indomitable cheerful spirit. I called him up and reminded him that my greeting on the radio is derived from something he always said. “How in the world are you?” he’d say. So I picked that up and put it on my broadcast and for 27 or 28 years now. We’ve been using it day by day on these broadcasts. I’m glad to be back with you. Bless your heart.
We’re going to look at the Ephesians for a while. Is that alright with you? It’s been a number of years since I dealt with this wonderful book of the Bible on the radio and so we’ll just walk around into it a while and see what the Lord may say to us, rich, rich book. The first two chapters worship and the next two chapters walk and the last two chapters are warfare. That’s what somebody at least has outlined it as being. Well, we’ll see what happens.
Book was written between 60 and 64 A.D. by the Apostle Paul, probably from Rome and he starts up by saying “Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God to the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” Now there’s no doubt about his apostleship. He always identifies himself that way. He says in Galatians that he didn’t get his apostleship from men but from God and that our blessed Lord called him, separated him and called him to do His special work.
The thought occurs to me that had the disciples been willing to wait on God’s choice instead of picking out somebody to represent them in the absence of Judas Iscariot, you know, they voted on somebody to take his place. They were so eager to round out the number I guess and make sure that everything was done decently and in order, so that they had a vote and they prayed about it which is very good. Always pray before you vote and so they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabbus and Matthias and they prayed and said, “Lord you know the hearts of all men. Show which of these two you’ve chosen,” and they gave forth their lots and the lot fell on Matthias. He was number with the 11. You never hear of him again.
God had his own replacement, didn’t He? For Judas Iscariot? Well, that’s the way the Lord works. You give God time and He works out His plans and they’re always better than yours and mine that is for sure. All my mistakes have been made in a hurry and to the times when I’ve been willing to wait on God, have been times when He showed me His plans and things went a lot better, an apostle by the will of God.
I’d like to stop here, just ask you a question and this is just between you and your Lord. You don’t have to tell me but let me ask you. How certain are you that this minute you are in the center of the will of God? Now it doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. None of us will be until we get to heaven. We’re living in imperfect sinful bodies, in a sinful world and although God has given us a new nature, we still have the old nature as well and we have victory though the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit who reveals Christ into us and through us but you can know that you are in the will of God.
Bob Pierce asked a crowd of about 7500 one hot July afternoon at Winona Lake, Indiana at the Youth for Christ Convention, this would be back in the 1950’s I guess. He asked a crowd, he said, “How many of you are certain that you’re in the will of God?” And just a scattering of hands, maybe less than a couple hundred out of that large crowd. Just a scattering of hands went up. He said, “Maybe you didn’t understand me. What I want to know is, most of you are believers and I’d like to know how many of you are certain that you’re living in the center of the will of God?” and again just a scattering of hands. Why? Because most people are either out of the will of God or else vague about it and they don’t know quite what the score is.
You have the right to live in the center of God’s will. And the way to do that is to give yourself to the Lord by faith every passing moment, Romans 12: 1 and 2. “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your body a living sacrifice, holy.” It’s a living, not a dying, a living sacrifice. That means moment by moment, “holy acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service and be not conformed to this world,” that means jammed into the world’s cookie cutter mold, don’t be jammed into the world’s mold. “Be not conformed to this world but be transformed”, that’s our word, metamorphosis, like the caterpillar emerging from the cocoon as a butterfly. “Transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may approve,” now here’s the point I’m coming to, I ask you about the will of God. You give yourself body, soul and spirit to the Lord and He transforms your life and He says the result will be, “you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect, namely the will of God.” You can be in the will of God. You can be in the center of God’s will and you can know it.
Paul prayed for the people at Colossi. Remember reading in Colossians, he said, “This I pray,” let me turn here. Hear me turning the pages of my big Bible here. Makes a lot of noise, doesn’t it? He said, “That you might be filled.” He’s praying for them. Colossians 1:9. “I’m praying that you might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” You could know the will of God.
How do we know God’s will? Number one, it’s revealed in the Word. God will never supernaturally reveal to you something that He’s already told you in the Bible, so you go to the Word of God. He reveals His will in the Word of God, the Bible. Second, by the indwelling Holy Spirit speaking to your heart and mind and conscience. Third, by the cast of circumstances. The way God is leading in terms of what’s happening around you and fourth, by the council of sSpirit-filled Christian friends. God leads you in these ways.
You can know the Will of God. You can know in your own heart that, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” “Thine ear shall hear of a word behind thee saying, This is the way walk ye in it, when you turn to the right hand or to the left.” “The Lord shall guide thee continually,” the promise says. “As many as are led”, this is Romans 8, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” “He leadeth me, oh blessed thought of word with heavenly comfort fraught. Still t’is God’s hand that leadeth me”. Yes, you can know.
Paul said, “I’m an Apostle by the will of God.” I’m in the will of God, doing the will of God. You know that in your own life. Now if you’re uncertain about it, what should you do about it? Number one, go to God in prayer. Number two, search His Word. Number three, as the Holy Spirit speaks to you about areas of your life that are not God’s will, deal with them honestly before the Lord. I don’t know what they are. Don’t need to know. It’s between you and the Lord. As the indwelling Holy Spirit speaks to you about areas that are not in the will of God, deal with them honestly in prayer and by faith and turn them over to your blessed Lord. Let Him handle them and let Him lead you on in His will.
Next, as God speaks to you concerning things to do, steps of faith and obedience to take, do them. The water wasn’t turned into wine. In the story here in John 2, the water wasn’t turned into wine until the servants had obeyed the command of the Savior. He said, “Fill up the water pots with water.” They filled them to the brim, He said, “Now draw out and bear to the Governor of the feast,” and they did and He said, “You saved the best till now.” Remember that? Well, the miracle occurs. The miracle of God’s guidance occurs when you take the step of obedience after God speaks to your heart. Yes, you could know the will of God. You don’t have to be uncertain about it. You really don’t, the will of God.
Now, he’s writing to the saints in Ephesus. Does that mean people with halos? No, the Bible definition of a saint is a person who’s born again. We’re called to be saints, that’s what we read in another place. Called to be saints, that’s our calling. And so you don’t have to wait until you’re canonized by some hierarchy or authority. If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you’re a saint beloved, and you have the glorious opportunity of living up to that name and honoring the blessed Lord Jesus who bestowed it upon you.
The purpose of the Pastor, incidentally, we’ll get to that when we get over to Chapter 4. The purpose of the pastor is for the perfecting, perfecting I should say, people correct me on that now and again. The perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry and for the edifying of the body of Christ, saints, he said here. That’s church members, and you have a ministry and the pastor is to train you and help you to do that ministry unto the glory of God. The saints, at Ephesus then he adds, add to the faithful. That’s people everywhere who may read this Epistle and that takes in you and to me. Incidentally, the word faithful occurs often and often in the New Testament especially although there’s a lot of it in the Old Testament.
God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of His son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. “Well done now, good and faithful servant. Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life. Faithful, it is required amongst stewards that a man be found faithful.” What does that mean? Know who your master is. Know what he wants and know how to do it and know when you’ve done it. Faithfulness means serve the purpose and the responsibility that is yours under God.
Now I see that extends in everything from developing your family and child rearing to teaching Sunday school, to passing out handbooks, to scrubbing the basement floor in the church, to doing so many different things not just to preaching. Faithfulness means whatever job God has given you, do it for His glory. Colossians 3, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord and not for people. Knowing that of the Lord, ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye served the Lord Christ.”
I visited the headquarters, the Navigators, that excellent organization that trains people in the Word, that disciples them and helps them to do the same for others out at Colorado Springs and as I was walking about and talking with those who were giving me the tour, as we say, I saw a person sitting in the little room folding the little memory kits that they give out to beginning Christians. And I said, “Who’s that?” “Oh,” they said. He just mustered out of the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander and so we’ve got him busy working. Here is a person who had a great deal of authority in the Navy and now he’s busy folding memory kits. They said, “You should have seen him yesterday. We had him digging out a sewer.” Well, faithfulness doesn’t always mean being on the platform. It means doing what you do for Jesus and do your very best at it. We’ll come back to this the next time we get together.
Father God, today in Jesus name, I pray that will make us faithful people. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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