Volume. XXVII, No. 13
Sunday, 23 September 2012


How Do I Know Gods Will for Me? - Part 2


We have seen that as believers we have true liberty in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, this does not mean that we should use our liberty as a licence to sin. We must first ask ourselves a few questions; “is it lawful,” “is it beneficial,” and “is it enslaving?” Besides these questions , there are also questions we need to ask in order for the Christian to properly discern God’s will.

Is it Consistent with Christ\'s Lordship?

Let us be reminded that the Apostle Paul wrote to the congregation at Corinth where sin of tragic proportions had erupted. Consequently, the Apostle had to ask whether they rightly understood their relationship to the Lord and wrote, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God\'s.” (1 Cor 6:19,20) This issue troubled Paul deeply that the Corinthians failed to realise that they were not their own; they had been bought at the great price of their Master\'s life blood! Christ is their Lord and they belong to Him as His servants! So, what is Paul\'s concern? Is Paul afraid that the Corinthians would lose their salvation? God forbid. Paul’s concern is that whenever a Christian engages in a course of action he does so in union with Christ. Nothing severs that relationship, not even death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature. (Rom 8:38,39) Of course, not even sin can annul our relationship with Christ. However, whenever the Corinthians gave themselves to gross and indecent sin, they were dragging Christ into their sin and that is really gross!

So, some Christians think that the principle by which any action may be judged is: “Can I take Christ there?” There is truth in that. However, it is not the whole truth. For, the Apostle emphasises that we have no choice in the matter because we do take the Lord Jesus Christ there when we sin anyway! As those who are united to Him we cannot leave Him behind. So the real question is: “Can I take Christ there and look Him in the face without shame? Is this course of action that I practise in secrecy, this decision I am taking or the place where I am going, totally consistent with my personal confession that ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and my Master’”? Again it should be emphasised that on its own, this question is of limited help. It is limited because it may answer our questions about the Lord\'s will immediately (i.e. No). It is not the final litmus test by which we can judge the Lord\'s will. In other words, we need to take all these questions into sincere consideration before the Lord. We may find, having sought to answer them all, that there are still some decisions which God expects us to make. Yet, it can hardly be doubted that much confused thinking began to be cleared away from the church at Corinth as these relevant questions were set before them. It is very much so with believers today.

Is it Helpful to Others?

Then there is another question to ask. When we move further on in the first epistle to Corinth, we find the Apostle asks similar questions of a different situation - an indication that we are on the right track when we assume that these questions have a wide and valuable application to many areas of our thinking. But he added others for our consideration. The Apostle says, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Cor 10:33) So the question the Apostle is challenging the Corinthians to ask is, “I must not rest content with asking whether a course of action will be personally helpful. Will it have a like beneficial effect on others? Indeed, do I engage in it with a view to serving and helping them? Or, am I in danger of \'destroying the work of God\'?” This question is designed to balance between the personal liberty that a Christian has and the weakness and strengths of others. Paul says the same thing in the context of eating flesh offered to idols, “For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.” (Rom 14:20; cf. 1 Cor  8:8,13)

In fact, our Lord Jesus Christ lived by this principle. When He summarised His commitment in his prayer to His heavenly Father, He said, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." (John 17:19) In other words, we should be concerned to edify others through our sanctified actions so that others may also be sanctified. The Apostle Paul affirms, "For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." (Rom 15:3). Here we see Jesus being the ultimate example of one who did not please Himself, but put others first. Paul\'s classic development of this idea is in Philippians 2:5-11. Does this not drive home to us the fact that the will of God and therefore His divine guidance is the most demanding thing in the world? Does it not pierce to the dividing place in our lives between soul and spirit, the writer of Hebrews says? (Heb 4:12) For we are often concerned with guidance in order that our lives may be freed from anxiety and uncertainty so that we may have a measure of personal comfort and security. Yet, our all-wise God, on the other hand, is concerned that we should be cast upon Him to do His will, whatever the enduring cost to the praise and glory of His name! The will of God is shaped in the image of His Son\'s Cross. The will of God means death to our own will, and resurrection only when we have died to all our own plans. Did we really appreciate that this was what we were letting ourselves in for when we said that we wanted guidance?

Is it Consistent with Biblical Example?

Lastly, we must also ask this question, “Is it Consistent with Biblical Example?” Do not be surprised that Paul\'s discussion reaches its conclusion with these words, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." (1Cor 11:1) "What would Paul have done if he was in my shoes?" "What would Christ Himself have done if He was in my situation?" These are the questions we can now ask. Are there incidents, or is there teaching in Scripture, which can be applied to the situation in which I find myself? Will it give me a clue to the will of God for my life now? Absolutely! (Phil 3:17; 2 Thess 3:7; 2 Tim 3:10; Heb 6:12; 13:7).

Many Christians assume that the Bible is nothing but a spiritual book of salvation. Even those who claim to be Bible believing Christians think that the Bible has no better solution to provide when it comes to real life challenges and problems we face today. They rather seek the help of psychologists and secular counsellors for help and guidance and are unwilling to turn to the Divine Word of God. This is so unfortunate! When we ask, “Is it Consistent with Biblical Example?” Be sure that we are not left to our own imagination in dealing with this question. The only Christ we know - for that matter the only Paul we know - is to be found in the pages of Scripture! Here again we are driven back to our great principle: we discover the will of God by a sensitive application of Scripture to our own lives!

The apostle Peter speaks in similar fashion. Christ suffered for us, and in doing so He left us an example that we should follow in His footsteps, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Pet 2:21). The word example is a very picturesque word, which means a model of pattern to be copied. It is the kind of expression we would use of a teacher\'s light pencil outline which a child would fill in with a heavier hand, and fill out in his own unique way. What a picture of the Christian life! Christ teaches us to live by faith by walking His life before us, and then saying: "Now, put your feet into these footprints of mine, and you will soon learn"! This is exactly what we are to do. We are to go over the lines which Christ has drawn in, lines which we find in the Scriptures. We are to take His hand, and find His footprints in Scripture, and then to follow them! Because of his apostolic ministry, Paul was able to encourage his contemporaries to follow him because he followed Christ. There is still an application of that which will benefit us in our thinking.

Yet, even here, Paul cannot escape from the ultimate challenge, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31). We cannot escape this challenge either. It is the non-negotiable norm of Christian living. If our hearts go out for His glory, then we will find the yoke of these questions easy, and the burden of gospel holiness to which they urge us is light indeed!

Conclusion

May we ask these questions when we endeavour to do what is right in the sight of God: Is it lawful? Is it beneficial? Is it enslaving? Is it consistent with the Lordship of Christ? Is it beneficial to others? Is it consistent with the example of Christ and the apostles? Is it for the glory of God? For that matter, am I living for the glory of God?

The task Thy wisdom hath assigned
O let me cheerfully fulfil,
In all my works Thy presence find,
And prove Thy good and perfect will.

Thee may I set at my right hand,
Whose eyes my inmost substance see,
And labour on at Thy command,
And offer all my works to Thee.
Give me to bear Thy easy yoke,
And every moment watch and pray,
And still to things eternal look,
And hasten to Thy glorious day.
           
            Charles Wesley

Pastor Weng

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements:
Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Bro Joseph Selvanayagam. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng.
*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm.
*Anyone wishing to listen to the messages at the AFG-YAF Retreat is welcome to attend. For more information, please refer to notice board.
*A kitchen supervisor is urgently required. If able to help please see Ps Weng or Elder Michael Lee.
*For those seeking membership, transfer of membership, baptism or re-affirmation of faith, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Michael D Lee.
*Fellowship Lunch Next Lord’s Day is catered.

Praise & Thanksgiving:
Journey mercies: Bro Jason (Melb) & Sis Tabitha (S’pore) Tan; Bros Raymond Ang (Adl/Pinnaroo), Yick Ho Lam (Syd/Adl) & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Sisters Natalie Cheng (Gold Coast/Adl), Jillian Chia (Melb/Adl), Michelle Lee (Adl), Katrina & Mei Loh (Per/Adl) & Kerrie Pinnell (Syd/Adl); & & others who have arrived safely.
Church Activities in past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
God’s guidance of Session Meeting last Lord’s Day.
Visitors & new worshippers.
Defeat of ‘same-sex’ marriage Bill in both Houses of Australian Federal Parliament.
Graduation from university: Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, Amanda Kheng & Michelle Lee.

Prayer Items:
ealth & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson (Nursing Home); Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth (Nursing Home), Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong, Myung Ki, Vivian Kou (Melb), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), Susan Varadi (Nursing Home); Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mr Mang Soo Ong (Sis Gillian Ong’s father); Mr Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Dn Edwin’s mother in Mumbai) & Mrs Chuilin Yap (Malacca); Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry; Bro Sun Sokha & Ministry (Phnom Penh); Life University (Sihanoukville - much needed funds).
Ministry in New Life BPC (London): Ps & Sis Ki. Approval of UK visa (Urgent matter).
Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.
God’s Comfort - Those afflicted & grieving.
iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & Ordination - Pr HS Lim  (Melbourne, Vic).
IBPFM (USA) - Rev Keith Coleman & Board members; missionaries in India & South America.
Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.
Journey mercies: Dr Mark Lehman (Adl); Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Syd); Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo (Bali); Bros Raymond Ang (Pinnaroo), Jonathan Liao, Lucas Liew, Pirun Pech, Jason Tan (Adl), & Raphael Ng (Goolwa/Adl); Sisters Michelle Lee (Melb) & Gillian Ong (Adl); & those who are travelling. 
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Full-time Job - Sisters Amanda Kheng, Michelle Lee (Melb) & Corinne Teng; & others looking for  stable jobs.
Unity in doctrine & fellowship of all B-P Churches
Health in pregnancy - Sis Josephine Wong.
AFG - YAF Retreat & Leadership Seminar Speaker: Dr Mark Lehman, & campers.
God’s blessing on the wedding of Bro Yick Ho Lam & Sis Kerrie Pinnell on Sat, 6 Oct.

 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063