KNOWING GOD'S WILL
We must be sure we are following God's will in all things. Only God knows what is best for us. Only He knows what will work and what will not work. And only God knows the future. Therefore, only by following God's guidance can we be sure of success.
The question of who is in authority must be answered first. Many churches use the pyramid type organization, where the senior minister is at the top with assistant ministers under him and a board of elders or deacons under them. The work is done through various programs, such as a calling program, music program, youth program, Sunday school program, sports programs, etc. These programs do not obtain the results God expects of us, because they do not change people into the likeness of Christ.
At one time I attempted to draw an organization chart with Christ at the head of the assembly and gave up in frustration. How do you draw a chart of the human body? You can make one chart of the blood system, another of the respiratory system, another of the digestive system, but when you put them all together on the same chart there is so much information that it is difficult to make sense of it. The same is true when drawing a chart of the New Testament assembly. Christ works directly with each member, and He also works through the assembly leaders. God uses all of them working together in various ways, methods, and techniques. How God does His work is so complicated that it is beyond our understanding. Our part is to be under the authority of Christ and under the authority of those He has put over us. Then, we can perform the ministry He gives us. We do not need to go looking for a ministry, for if we allow God to make us usable, He will use us.
"Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20,21.
KNOWING GOD'S WILL:
Much of God's will is revealed to us in the Bible, yet there are people who know the Bible but do not understand God's will for their lives or ministry. Others claim the Holy Spirit guides them but the fruit they produce is not the fruit of the Holy Spirit. How can we be sure that we are not like them? How can we avoid the mistakes we see others make? The answer is not simple for God works in many ways to perform His work. A study of those Jesus healed reveal that each healing was different. A study of the conversions in the New Testament reveals that the people became Christians in different ways. No two circumstances happened in exactly the same way. The way God calls one person into a ministry and the way he calls another may be in entirely different ways and for different types of work.
GOD GUIDES US THROUGH:
The Bible is God's road map for you. It will take you where God wants you to go if you are willing to study it and allow God to give you wisdom to understand His ways.
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord." James 1:5-7.
"For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12.
We cannot learn God's will until we completely dedicate ourselves to God. This includes our body, soul, spirit, time, possessions and family. It means giving up the desire to do our own thing. The more we dedicate ourselves to God the greater will be our ability to know and understand God's will.
"Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which
is your spiritual service. Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1,2.
God will provide the funds for any ministry He calls us to. At times God guides us by providing or withholding funds for a work we are doing. If God has not provided funds then we are either on the wrong track, or going ahead of God, or He is testing our faith. An assembly must never go into debt, sell items to raise money, beg for money, or use gimmicks to acquire money. How can God guide us if we use these methods to fund our work? Whenever a Christian ministry or assembly begs for money, that ministry is not in God's will.
Often God will not reveal His future plans to us, for if He did we are likely to run ahead of Him, trying to do His work with our own energy and wisdom. Therefore, it is usually impossible to budget for future expenses of the assembly. By faith we know that God will provide. The result is that the assembly does not need a budget committee because there is no budget to plan for. God knows the future so He knows what funds will be needed. And an assembly of tithing members will have no financial problems. (See 2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
Sometimes God will give us a special vision of a ministry He wants accomplished. If God gives you a vision, you must expect the death of that vision, that is events happen that make it seem impossible to accomplish that special ministry. But in God's time He will perform the vision through you in ways beyond your greatest expectations. When the vision is dead and you see no way it can be accomplished you must not doubt, for God will keep His promise if we are faithful. Abraham and the birth of Isaac is our example.
The Holy Spirit:
To know God's will we must know His Word and be listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit living in us, who communicates with our spirit. If our fleshly nature is controlling our life, we will have difficulty hearing the communication between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. When our spirit is in control of our life, we will hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will prompt you through reading the Bible, through the authorities He has put over you, through fervent prayer, and through direct communication. "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it; when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left." Isaiah 30:21. Extreme care must be used in hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit, for Satan can also put thoughts in your head. The difference is that Satan always misuses God's Word, while the Holy Spirit always agrees with it.
Often God's direction is one step at a time. He will direct you to take the first step, but only after you take that step will He direct you for the next step. As you go one step at a time you will then find the direction God is guiding you. "A man's heart plans his course, but Yahweh directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9.
Prayer is how we communicate with God, while God's Word is His chief communication with us. For an assembly to be successful its members must become effective in prayer. Successful prayer depends upon:
Prayer of Faith: "Jesus answering said to them, "Have faith in God. For most assuredly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and doesn't doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says. Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." Mark 11:22-24.
Pray With Proper Motive: "You ask, and don't receive, because you ask amiss, so that you may spend it for your
pleasures." James 4:3.
Prayer of Obedience: "Beloved, if our hearts don't condemn us, we have boldness toward God; and whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are
pleasing in his sight. This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded. He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us." 1 John 3:21-24.
Asking In God's Will: "This is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he listens to us. And if we know that he listens to us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him." 1 John 5:14,15.
Praying In the Name of Jesus: "Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:13,14.
At times God will bring people into our lives whom we are to help. This may consist of offering friendship, spiritual counsel, encouragement, or meeting their physical needs. We must follow God's leading and the prompting of the Holy Spirit in deciding whom to help. We must be willing to help those whom God brings across our paths. The good Samaritan is our example. Yet we are commanded to not help or associate with those who call themselves Christian but do not live a Christ like life style. These are listed in 1 Corinthians 5:11, Romans 16:17,18; and 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
"He also said to the one who had invited him, 'When you make a dinner or a supper, don't call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind; and you will be blessed, because they don't have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous.'" Luke 14:12-14.
The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from Yahweh.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes;
But Yahweh weighs the motives.
Commit your deeds to Yahweh,
And your plans shall succeed.
Yahweh has made everything for its own end --
Yes, even the wicked for the day of evil.
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Revised June 2000. Scriptures changed to The World English Bible.