Hebrews 13 v 21
May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen
Thought: How do we know what the will of God is? how do we know our purpose in life it is by submitting to God and saying like Christ said ‘not my will but you will be done and allowing the Holy Spirit to produce in us all we need for life and godliness.
The disciples that Christ called were required to make a choice. would they continue to live their old lives as if they were not Christ-followers or would they risk everything? Although it was a great risk, it came with being thoroughly equipped. Today we are required to leap of faith, following Christ is more than mental reasoning, or a set of beliefs it's life-changing, challenging and ultimately rewarding. Think hard about what does it mean for us to follow Christ today. What changes in my life have there been? What marks us as different from the world around us. How would anyone know you follow Christ's teachings? Jesus said people will know by how you love each other.
My first point is if God has equipped us to do his will, or what pleases him, without faith, it's impossible to please God. True Faith is radical and it transforms us. So what is God's will?
1. The will of God
First God is a God of ‘I will’. ‘I will’ is a covenant term. Most people think that God is a God of ‘you will’ or you will not!
The will is born from the mind, the mind has a powerful influence.
Do we know what the mind of God is?
I will write my laws of your hearts and your minds
I will no more remember your sins
I will pour out my spirit
I will never leave you or abandon you
I will teach you
I will heal you
I will save you
I will bless you.
In the letter to the Romans. Paul writes knowing what God wants begins with us and our attitude literally how we think.
Romans 12 1-2
1And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
Do not copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
How do we know what the will of God is?
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Knowing what we believe has to be routed and based on scripture.
People can get confused when looking for divine guidance. Some have been known to cast lots or draw straws. Or if they see 10 double-decker buses or they see ducks flying in a V.
The way to know the will of God is to submit ourselves to him. To present ourselves in submission to Christ and his kingdom.
Christ knew the way to know the will of the father was to say not my will but your will be done.
“The Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”
Romans 8:27 NLT
Those who seek guidance without submission are often just asking for permission.
Are we seeking first and foremost the kingdom of God and righteous living? Are we expecting God’s blessing when we are only living to please ourselves?
The choice to follow Christ is the choice to live in harmony with the will of God. Submission is seen in those disciples who did not love their lives unto death, yet gave the testimony and they overcame. Those who follow Christ have a different perspective on life and death but also on how they live their life.
Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
I wonder, when we think of what it means to seek the kingdom of God most would sign up, most would show willing, whilst others of us don't seem to be willing to serve or give their time and talents to help build his kingdom.
Following Jesus it seems is inseparable from serving him. Saying we are Christian means something has changed in our lives. I know we have been through tough times and things are not the same as before. But where are the followers of Christ today, where are those who are willing to lay down their desires or their time, let alone their lives. Today more than ever there is a call to follow Christ.
With God it is possible - disciples left all to follow Christ to be part of the kingdom of God. After meeting a rich man who followed religiously the law, yet valued money above God, he wanted to do what was right, yet he was more concerned about his wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
The second point
2. He will produce is us good things.
Staying connected to Christ to key in producing results. A good tree produces good fruit.
Jesus spoke to his disciples on the need to produce results and to do this stay connected.
You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
The words of Christ has cleansing power and brings us to a place of abiding in Christ.
The apostle Paul. Speaks of a life worth living, living pleasing to God, bearing the kind of fruit in our lives that bring about a difference.
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Life and godliness.
His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.
2 Peter 1:3-4
Do we believe verses like this?
If we do then what will we do about it?
The point is that we are destined for godliness, empowered to be more than we are and not only have been fully equipped to do good things even great things as we have this divine nature within us. In Jesus time some said they wanted to follow Christ, yet other things got in the way they made their excuses. Some were better than others
It would be the ultimate shame to contain the nature of God and squander it on living to please ourselves. Let us also not discount ourselves from serving God, when Christ calls he also equips us, no commander would send their troops in without first training and equipping. God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8
Closing with this...
This is an excerpt from the book challenge of missions by Oswald Smith
Dr Alexander Duff, that great veteran missionary to India, returned to Scotland to die, and as he stood before the general assembly . . . he made his appeal, but there was no response.
During his appeal, he fainted and was carried off the platform.
The doctor bent over him and examined his heart.
Presently he opened his eyes. “Where am I?” he cried. “Where am I?”
“Lie still,” said the doctor. “You have had a heart attack. Lie still.”
“But,” exclaimed Dr Duff, “I haven’t finished my appeal. Take me back. Take me back. I must finish my appeal.”
“Lie still,” said the doctor again. “You will go back at the peril of your life.”
But, despite the protests of the physician, the old warrior struggled to his feet, and, with the doctor on one side and the moderator of the assembly of the other side, he again mounted the steps of the pulpit platform, and, as he did so, the entire assembly rose to do him honour. Then, when they were seated, he continued his appeal.
And this is what he said:
“When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers for India, hundreds of young men respond; but, when King Jesus calls, no one goes.”
Then he paused. There was silence.
Again he spoke: “Very well,” he concluded, “then, aged though I am, I’ll go back to India. I can lie down on the banks of the Ganges and I can die and thereby I can let the people of India know that there was one man in Scotland who loved them enough to give his life for them.”
In a moment, young men all over the assembly sprang to their feet, crying, “I’ll go! I’ll go!”
And after the old white-haired warrior had been laid to rest, these young men, having graduated, found their way to dark benighted India, there to labour as his substitutes for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Maybe we are not called to go to India to preach the gospel but we can serve God where we are. We may not be asked to give our lives however like the disciples whom Christ called we are also required to make a choice will we follow Christ at the expense of our old lives? Will we follow Christ and risk everything. Although it is a great risk, it comes with being thoroughly equipped. Today we are required to leap of faith, following Christ is more than mental reasoning, or a set of beliefs it's life-changing, challenging and ultimately rewarding.
God will equip you with all you need for doing his will.
God will produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen