Seek The Will Of God
Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to be made an offering for the sins of the world. This is true because He prophesied His death and resurrection many times before. However, because of His unique relationship with God, Jesus was asking God to accomplish His will some other way, but at the same time affirming His commitment to do His Father’s will and not His own.
He was not at a loss to know God’s will and therefore, left this time of prayer trusting that whatever the Father deemed best for Him would happen.
He knew, when He began praying what the Father’s will was and He knew at the close of His prayer, that God’s will could not be accomplished any other way.
For us to pray, “Lord, if it be thy will” in response to a promise that God has given us is nothing but unbelief and is not even remotely related to what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the foundational principles of answered prayer is that we must believe that we receive when we pray, Mark 11:24. There is no way that we can fulfill that condition if we don’t know God’s will in that situation. Praying, “if it be thy will” takes us out of the active position of believing and puts us in the passive position of waiting and letting circumstances rule our lives. If we are seeking direction in an area where God’s will is not already expressed through His Word, then we should pray James 1:5, and ask for wisdom. Then we can believe that we receive when we pray, and with that knowledge continue our prayer in faith.
We should not be ignorant but understand what the will of the Lord is, Ephesians 5:17.
The only appropriate time to pray, “If it be thy will” is when we are dedicating ourselves to the service of God, regardless of where or what that may be.
John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God’s love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. “God is love”, 1 John 4:8.
God’s love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God’s love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.
In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated “know” in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge. The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.
Since a true revelation of God’s love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God’s love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God’s love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.
John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
Jesus is praying for all believers to be one as He and the Father are one.
This goes far beyond what many promote as unity today. Paul besought the Corinthians to “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”, 1 Corinthians 1:10. This is God’s standard of unity.
This oneness among believers is what Jesus said would cause the world to know that Jesus is the Son of God. This is the greatest tool for evangelism that the church has. The only way that Christ’s body will be one as the Father and Jesus are One is through God’s kind of love. No wonder Satan tries to get believers to go at each others’ throats. We spend billions of dollars a year on evangelism through television, radio, conventions and crusades, yet, the world is not evangelized because the body of Christ is not united in love.
There is very little unity among believers today. This has occured over thousands of years and it probably won’t be fixed over night. We must strive towards unity but not be overwhelmed by the problem. All Christians have already been joined to each other through the body of Christ, and God the Father sees us all as His children. All divisions among Christians are made by man, not God. For a brief period of time, the church enjoyed unity on earth. Regardless of what strife and division has occurred, all believers are still one in Christ and will live in perfect oneness throughout eternity. We are now one in Spirit. We just need to experience that unity here on earth.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”, Matthew 6:10.
Give All The Glory To God
John 17:18 “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
We are not from the world. Through the new birth, we come from God and should constantly remind ourselves of this. It is not good to be too “at home” in the world. We are in the world but are not of the world. Great men and women of God have always had this attitude.
The primary reason that God chooses to use those who are nothing by the world’s standards, is so no one else can take credit for the great things that are accomplished.
If the Lord used those who had it “all together” in the natural, then they would share the glory that rightfully belongs to God alone. But when the Lord works miraculously through someone who obviously has no talent or ability, then everyone says, “This must be God.”
Not only does this keep others from misdirecting the glory that belongs to God, but it keeps the person who God uses from swelling up with pride. One of Satan’s greatest weapons against someone who is being used by God is to tempt them to think that the Lord is using them because they possess some superior virtue.
God uses “nobodies.” If we think we’ve become “somebody” (in our flesh), then we will cease being used. He will not share His glory with anyone else, Isaiah 42:8.
His Will Is In The Word
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
In this prayer, Jesus prayed twice that the Father would keep His disciples from evil. Then He reveals the way that God will accomplish this – through His Word, the holy scriptures. Anyone who desires to live for God, reject the devil, and reject the world’s system, must know God’s Word.
We must study the scriptures, for they reveal the will of God for our actions and attitudes. To be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, we must be filled with God’s Word. God’s Word is His will! Those who are ignorant of God’s Word will be ignorant of God’s will.
Knowledge of God’s will is foundational in developing Christian conduct and character. There is no way we can fulfill God’s will if we don’t know what it is. The starting point for any Christian is understanding God’s will for his life. How can a person obtain such knowledge? The first step is to desire it. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” People ask the Lord for knowledge of His will but don’t receive it because they aren’t seeking with ALL THEIR HEART. No one who has ever sought the Lord with all his heart has ever been disappointed.
The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of God’s wisdom. It is through Him that we know the things God has revealed to us. One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is to reveal God’s will to us.
There is no way we can walk worthy of the Lord and please Him if we don’t know His will. Furthermore, we can’t be fruitful without the knowledge of His will. God has provided all that we need to be successful and victorious in this life. Believe His Word.
Rejoice In The Lord – Always
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
The world experiences joy and happiness in direct proportion to their circumstances. Bad circumstances produce depression and sorrow, while good circumstances produce joy and peace. That’s bondage, and does not have to be the case for a Christian. Our joy is not dependent on things, but rather on the person of Jesus Christ. He is our peace and joy.
The way we take advantage of this joy and peace in the midst of tribulation, is to have our minds and hearts stayed on things above and not on things of this earth. The invisible things of God are eternal while the visible problems on earth are only temporary. All the problems of this life grow very dim when we compare them to the glory of God that is ours through Jesus.
We can rejoice in the Lord always, Philippians 4:4, because rejoicing is an action, not a reaction to our environment. Joy is a gift from God that was given to us at salvation. It was placed within our born-again spirit and it doesn’t fluctuate or diminish; it is constant. The Lord has put the joy inside us and we are to “work it out” by choosing to obey this command in scripture.
We are commanded to rejoice “IN THE LORD.” Many people are not experiencing true joy because their joy is in their circumstances. That is, they are waiting to rejoice when things in their lives are going good, and that doesn’t happen very often. We are suppose to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
That means we are supposed to rejoice in who the Lord is and what He has done for us. He never changes, Hebrews 13:8, and His mercies and compassions are new every morning, Lamentations 3:22-23.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus said we would have tribulation. He did not say that He was the one bringing the tribulation or what the tribulation would be, but He said it would come. Then He made the amazing statement that in the midst of tribulation we were to be of good cheer.
Tribulations exist because there is a battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. When we operate in faith, God is able to grant us such victory that we are actually better off because of the battle. It’s just like when a army goes to war. If they win, they gain spoils. But if they embrace their enemy because of the spoils they were expecting to receive, they will be killed instead of blessed. First, you have to fight and win the war and then, and only then, will the spoils be available. The enemy doesn’t come to be a blessing, but a blessing can be obtained from the enemy if we are victorious.
Likewise, tribulations and adversities are not blessings from God. They are attacks from the enemy intended to steal the Word of God out of our lives. No man should say that the temptation came from God, for God is not the one who tempts any man, James 1:13.
If problems were what perfected us, then most Christians would have been perfected long ago and those who experienced the greatest problems would be the greatest Christians. However, that’s not the way it is. God’s Word is given to us to make us perfect, and thoroughly furnished unto every good work, 2 Timothy 3:17. God’s Word does not need to be supplemented with problems to accomplish its work.
Be A Witness, Not A Judge
John 16:8 “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”
It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reprove sin, righteousness, and judgment. It is not our ministry. We are simply witnesses. A witness is not the judge or the jury. A witness simply relates what he has experienced, thereby providing evidence to the truth of something. We are to witness in word and deed, to the truth of Jesus being alive in us and let God be the one who convicts. We are simply to testify to what we have seen or to what has happened to us.
Some people in their zeal, have gone beyond the witness stage and have tried to bring people under conviction themselves. This is assuming the job that belongs to the Holy Spirit alone. This not only frustrates the witness but it drives many people away from God. We make a very poor Holy Spirit; therefore, we should stick to our job of being a witness and let the Holy Spirit do His job.
Jesus specified an orderly progression in the way we should witness. First we start in Jerusalem (i.e. where we are). Then we go to those nearby (Judaea).
Finally, we take the gospel to every religious and racial group (Samaria) throughout the whole world.
There are some very practical reasons for becoming witnesses in this way.
John 15:19 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
We should not think it is strange to be persecuted. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”, 2 Timothy 3:12. We can actually rejoice because we are being persecuted for Jesus’ sake, and the Lord will be with us in the midst of the persecution. When we stand before Him, there will be more than ample reward.
Persecution is a token that those persecuting you are under conviction. They realize that they are not living what your words or actions are advocating and in self defense, they attack you, who they perceive is the source of their conviction. If you understand this, it makes persecution much easier to take. They aren’t just mad at you; they are convicted. When the gospel is presented in the power of the Holy Spirit, there will always be either revival or riot, but not indifference.
In the midst of persecution, Satan will try to convince us that the strife is all our fault. If he succeeds, then we back down and the pressure is off his followers. However, Jesus suffered continual rejection and persecution, yet we know that the problem was not with Him, but with those who rejected Him.
Jesus makes it clear that persecution is an inevitable part of living a godly life, so that we will not fall prey to introspection and self-condemnation when rejection comes. If our sinless Savior was rejected, then certainly we will be too. Don’t feel guilty or condemned when persecution comes. The Word strips people of the disguises they have been hiding their sins behind, and the result is persecution.
There Is Only One Way To The Father
John 14:5 “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”
Thomas knew Jesus. He just didn’t realize Jesus was “the way.” Likewise, people today know portions of God’s Word but they don’t realize that God’s Word is their way to victory. Often, people cry out for God to speak to them while their Bible lays unopened on their nightstand. God has spoken to us through His Word. We just need to believe it and receive its truths as our way to victory.
Jesus didn’t say: “I am a way, a truth, and a life.” He claimed to be the only way, truth, and life. No man can come to the Father except through Jesus. This means that anyone who claims to honor Jesus while advocating other ways to get to God, truth, or life, besides Jesus, is deceived or a deceiver.
Jesus’ claims about Himself, of which there is only one, left no room for other means to salvation. He is either who He says He is, or He is the greatest deceiver of all time. His own statements about Himself leave no other alternatives. Therefore, other religions that recognize Jesus and His teachings as wonderful examples, but don’t believe He is the only way to achieve salvation, are false.
The Word of God is a spiritual book written under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It was not written to our head but to the innermost part of our heart. This is why some people find the Bible so hard to understand. They are trying to comprehend it using only their mind. The Word of God has to inspire our heart before it can enlighten our mind.