B.A.S.I.C. NEWSLETTER #175
I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’
Pastors Ohlmann and Mayhew and Martin Essien have finished their visitation in Congo. Agreement was reached between the ELCC/ Lutheran Confessional Church in Congo headed by Pastor Muzakuza and the CLCC/Church of the Lutheran Confession of Congo headed by Pastor Yumba, that they would work together for His glory. A statement was signed by leaders to this effect. The Lord is head of the church and works all out for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Thank you Lord for your kindness to us poor sinners.
THE WILL OF GOD
My will does not match God’s will
There is no question that conformity of my will with God’s will brings understanding. Jn. 7:17 This is a great comfort to me. Tragically, my will does not always conform to His will. I am a sinner. And so I swim upstream against the current of God’s will. This is a tiring thing and bound to end in frustration and defeat. I can boldly spit into the wind. My spittle only comes back in my own face. To oppose God’s will is just as silly. I can begin to roll a heavy stone up a steep hill. Before long my muscles ache and quiver and I lose ground. Ultimately, I find myself at the bottom of the hill worse off than when I had started. So is it when my will is not in conformity with God’s.
The promise is there – do the will of God and live, otherwise perish. “And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of god abides for ever.” 1 Jn. 2:17 God be praised that Christ came and did God’s will perfectly for me!
Peter encourages us, “…to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God.” 1 Pet. 4:2 My life’s path sad to say veers off to the right and then comes back again on His path. Then I find myself sliding off to the left and coming back. My actions so often are at variance with His Word, as are my aims, desires and goals. The innate sinful flesh distracts me again and again. But His Spirit continues to work with my spirit through the Word to keep me as a homing pigeon returning to my roost.
His will is holy; mine is at best mixed. I have within me competing visions of my will and His will. We seek to follow our Lord who said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.” Jn. 4:34 Of course we often fall flat on our face and that is exactly why Jesus had to come and do what we could never do in a million years. Our motto should be, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart.” Ps. 40:8 This looks great in a framed reading on the wall. But my life’s carrying it out looks quite different. In Romans seven Paul reminds us of the Christian’s struggle within himself to do God’s will. Positively speaking because there is a struggle, it is a sign that we do hold to the motto, even though carrying it out demonstrates our failures that Christ made up for. Only on the last day in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye in the great change will there be complete conformity with God’s will in me.
The will of God shall be my pleasure While here on earth is mine abode;
My will is wrong beyond all measure, It doth not will what pleaseth God.
The Christian’s motto ever must be: What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me.
God knows what must be done to save me, His love for me will never cease;
Upon His hands He did engrave me With purest gold of loving grace.
His will supreme must ever be: What pleaseth God, that pleaseth me. TLH 529 st. 3-4
(This hymn is based on Rom. 8:28 that tells us in clear and certain terms, that whether sooner or later God will bring forth GOOD.)
Further questions on God’s will
In Mt. 18:14 we learn it is not God’s will that the little ones perish. But some do perish. This points up that God’s will can be opposed. God’s will is resistible and beyond this our understanding fails us. God would have all to be saved. 1 Tim. 2:4 Yet not all are saved. God does not want any to perish. 2 Pet. 3:9 Yet there will be some who perish, even many. In these passages we are seeing that the will of God is used in a different sense than the absolute sense of Christ dying for man, the resurrection coming, forgiveness being won and given out.
We are always seeking to understand His will. In Eph. 5:17 after this is stated then we are given how we should live according to His will. This is explicit and clear, the revealed will of God. Whether we are concerned about the secret or the revealed will of God we should pray that we can be fully assured of His will. Col. 4:12 The will of God for us as individuals is to follow His holy will. 1 Thess. 4:3 That we do not shows that His will in this area can be resisted. We should live confidently though like a high wire artist stepping forth knowing that there is a net beneath to catch him if he falls. God is with us. God will catch us. We should not live with the “Woe is me” attitude or depressed with “What is the use?!” God is at work within to will and to do of His good pleasure. Phil. 2:13
There are some who are fatalistic, thinking that it will turn out bad no matter what. That is not the Christian way. As we go with the flow, according to His will, He blesses us. If we are caught in an eddy for a while swirling about that will end. Seeking God’s will from His Word causes us to have a dynamic journey of discovery.
There are situations that arise when a Christian seems to face the same disaster as an unrepentant unbeliever. These may be financial losses and medical problems among others. And we may wonder what is God’s will in this. We need to rely on the absolute Word of God which is clear that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, who are called by Him. Rom. 8:28 Clinging to this clear Word we await what God’s will is for the Christian. It may even be that God’s will is for us to suffer for a time. 1 Pet. 3:17 So be it. I leave all things to God’s direction…
There are situations where we may think God’s will was done, yet we don’t have a clear Word on that. In this case we wait to see results of something that happened to better know.
There are a number of passages where some English translations say God ‘repented’ of some action: 1 Sam. 15:11,35, 2 Sam. 24:16, Jer. 26:13, 19, Jonah 3:9, Amos 7:3 In these references a word is used in the Hebrew which means to sigh or breath out, there is an implied sorrow, pity, or remorse. Of course it cannot be that God repents of sin, for He is holy. Then the question arises – Did God make a mistake? Did He change His mind?
We are the ones who change our minds. God is not like a man. Num. 23:19 We are like the willow and God is like the oak. We bend and change, while God remains as He is. “I the Lord do not change…” Mal. 3:6 With Him there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 So when God sighs it is that He shows Himself to be sad about how man has gone about his activity. He does regret that when He was gracious man did not appreciate. This does not mean that God did not know everything. But in the passages we see a Lord who feels for His people and who is sad to see them do what they do. We know how Jesus wept over Jerusalem. In this area we are again coming upon hidden things of God. God is definitely not like man to repent of sin. 1 Sam. 15:29 He does though try to be one with His people and the expression of His sighing gives this truth.
The will of God is always best And shall be done forever;
And they who trust in Him are blest, He will forsake them never.
He helps in deed In time of Need, He chastens with forbearing;
They who depend on God, their Friend, Shall not be left despairing.
God is my Comfort and my Trust, My Hope and Life abiding;
And to His counsel, wise and just, I yield, in Him confiding.
The very hairs, His Word declares, Upon my head He numbers.
By night and day God is my Stay, He never sleeps nor slumbers. TLH 517 st. 1-2
Apples of Gold in a Setting of Silver(5)
“People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” — Nate Saint, missionary martyr
“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” — John Stott
“Believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.” — K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia Bible Society
“Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.” — Francis Xavier, missionary to India, the Philippines, and Japan
“The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.” — Mike Stachura
“The true greatness of any church is not how many it seats but how many it sends!” — Unknown
“‘Not called!’ did you say?
‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.
Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. –