"THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS" Finding A Way In The Will Of God (1:10) INTRODUCTION 1. "What is God's will for my life?" a. What devout person has not asked a question like this? b. Often asked even pertaining to mundane things like one's career, where to live, etc. -- How can we live in harmony with the will of God? 2. Paul mentioned his desire to live in harmony with God's will... a. As he made plans to visit his brethren in Rome b. As he prayed regarding such plans - cf. Ro 1:9-10 -- He sought to "find a way in the will of God" to come to them [Paul's comments provide an opportunity for us to consider some thoughts related to the will of God, especially on how to determine God's will for our lives. It might be of benefit to first review some...] I. FACETS OF GOD'S WILL A. THERE IS GOD'S PROCLAIMED WILL... 1. God has made His will known in many respects - e.g., 1Th 5:18;1Pe 2:15 2. This He has done through revelation a. By sending inspired prophets in the past - He 1:1 b. By sending His own Son - He 1:2 c. By having the Spirit guide the apostles - Jn 16:12-13; e.g.,1Co 14:36-37 3. It is this proclaimed will of God that we must do to be saved - cf. Mt 7:21 -- That which is essential to know, God has revealed through Scripture - 2Ti 3:16-17 B. THERE IS GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL WILL... 1. God acts providentially in our lives, as implied in our text - cf. Ro 1:10; also 15:32 2. For such reason we are to pray regarding our plans - cf. Jm 4:13-15 3. Our requests are answered as it may suit God's will - cf. 1Jn 5:14 -- We may not have certainty as to what is God's providential will for us C. THERE IS GOD'S PERMISSIVE WILL... 1. God allows things to happen that are not necessarily according to His desired will 2. He permits people to sin and even hurt other people a. He is not pleased, and will one day render judgment - Ac 17: 30-31 b. He is able to fulfill His own will, despite such rebellion- cf. Isa 10:5-7 3. God permits people to do things that are indifferent to Him a. There are some matters of indifference to God - e.g., Ro 14: 5-6 b. Likewise, some decisions we make might not really matter to God -- Thus not all choices please God, nor are they necessarily required by God [With these thoughts in mind, let's now consider some thoughts on...] II. FINDING GOD'S WILL A. FOCUS ON THE PROCLAIMED WILL OF GOD... 1. I.e., study diligently to learn what God has revealed a. If you don't embrace and practice the revealed will of God... b. ...what difference does it make to seek areas of God's will unknown to you? 2. The value of focusing on the proclaimed will of God a. We will not be ignorant of what is essential for us to know and do b. We can avoid choices that are clearly contrary to God's will B. SEEK ADVICE FROM OTHERS... 1. Discuss your alternatives with older, mature Christians
- Pro 11:14; 12:15 2. Consult the wisdom found in the Bible (especially in books like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) C. ASK GOD FOR WISDOM... 1. I.e., pray diligently for the ability to discern wisely - Jm 1: 5-8 2. Wisdom is that spiritual insight that enables you to evaluate situations clearly, and helps utilize what options and abilities you have 3. Use such wisdom to eliminate what appears less acceptable D. COMMIT YOUR WAY TO THE LORD... 1. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord's sake - cf. Ps 37:5-6, 23-26 2. Make your plans subject to God's will, both proclaimed and providential - Jm 4:15 a. Give God permission to close the door on your choice if that is His will b. If He closes the door on your choice, look for alternatives E. OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER... 1. God is not like a train; he is able to run on more than one track 2. A choice may not be between good and bad, but between good and better 3. God can use us in many different ways 4. If need not choose right away, wait; that will give you time to grow and gain wisdom 5. Whatever your hands finds to do in your existing circumstances, do it with all your might CONCLUSION 1. Our goal should be to "stand perfect and complete in all the will of God" - cf. Col 4:12 a. Especially as it pertains to the proclaimed will of God b. Even as much as possible in the providential and permissive will of God 2. Epaphras' desire for his brethren serves as a good example; as does that of our Lord... a. Who taught us to pray, "Your will be done on earth as it in heaven" - Mt 6:10 b. Who Himself prayed, "Not as I will, but as You will..." - Mt 26:39-42 Are you seeking to "find a way in the will of God" as it pertains to the plans in your life?