Below are found answers to the insert for the message presented on August 24, 2014. Also, there are suggested answers to the Message Based Discussion Questions. These are designed to stimulate thinking, not prevent it. Please use them to deepen your discussions.
Gen 41:39; Pro. 16:33; 2 Tim. 3:16-17
What about the examples in Scripture that seem to support the “individual” plan for believers?
1) Does the Lord Jesus guide you on a bull’s eye plan?
- Traditional View of God’s individual will – God has an ideal, detailed life-plan uniquely designed for each person, which He reveals to the heart of the believer through inward impressions and outward signs.
- Paul received a light and voice Acts 9:3-4. Should we all expect that? Is. 58:11; Ps. 48:14
- Paul was sent to minister in specific places and away from others (Acts 16:6-10; 19:9-10; 22:17-21; 23:11). The question is does God have an individual will for every believer?
- Acts was a transition time of Divine Revelation
- Friessen summarizes:
- Direct, supernatural guidance for specific decisions was the exception
- Direct guidance was given to people who played strategic roles
- Direct guidance was provided only at critical points in the transition
- Direct guidance was always communicated by Divine revelation
- We often accept this and narrow it down to the decisions we want.
2) Does Scripture teach the bull’s eye?
- Pro. 3:5-6
- Ps. 32:8
- Is. 30:20-21
- Rom. 12:1-2
- Eph. 2:10
- Eph. 5:15-17
- Col. 1:9
3) Traditional view promotes immature decisions
4) Impressions imply living by subjectivity
- Consider the source
- Rom. 8:14
- Gal. 5:16
The Lord Jesus wants you to live God’s will
by faith in His holy will!
Message Based Discussion Questions
1) How do you decide what to wear each day?
- At the office it’s business casual with variety.
- At church, it’s clean, ready to go and appropriate for the season.
- Working, it’s comfortable and ready to get dirty.
- I take great freedom and do not get concerned about it.
2) Can the Holy Spirit guide you? __yes_ Read John 16:12-14. Does Scripture teach that the Holy Spirit will guide you in a specific individual will on what socks to wear or what college to attend? How should you understand the passage?
- No. There are principles gleaned from the Word regarding “decently and in order” for socks, but that leaves the field wide open. They would not even need to match all the time! But that might communicate something also
- Regarding colleges, a potential student should consider 1 Cor. 15:33 and not associate with evil company, but then consider which school is going to offer the best training for the field of study chosen, costs, proximity to family and opportunities for Christian growth. School is often more about what is invested into it rather than just the environment. The Holy Spirit guides us into Scripture, so that we can understand how to lead a holy life before the Lord Jesus rather than merely the quantifiable choice of which school. There are a multitude of Schools that can provide a good education, so preference will play into the factor. The Holy Spirit’s work is designed to guide us, so that we glorify the Lord Jesus. That can be done in multiple ways..
3) Is there a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:6-7)? __yes__ Is peace a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22)? _yes__ How does this peace orient you to understanding God’s will? What is the Spirit’s role? Is that will His holy will or individual will? What is the difference?
- The Spirit’s role is to guide you in the holy will of God. Just as a parent gives a child great freedom of what he might want to do, so the Holy Spirit gives the believer great freedom in the Lord Jesus to decide how he will honor and glorify the Lord.
- That is the holy will of God. The individual will is recorded in the mind of the Lord in eternity past as to what will happen from the foreknowledge of God and will be seen according sovereign will of God. Scripture does not support a precise step by step individual will.
- The peace is knowing that you are choosing to depend on the filling of the Spirit in obedience to His Word. Pleasing God gives a peace that surpasses all understanding. There may not be peace in your emotions, surroundings or inner turmoil. By faith, you know the right thing to do and you do it. That faith is sufficient to know you are abiding in Him and He in you (Eph. 4:1-3; 1 John 2:3-6).
4) Would it be easier to know exactly what decisions God wants you to make every moment, or trust Him by faith with the Bible? _it would be much easier to just know the step by step instructions, because that would require no trust or dependence on the Lord_ What makes it very difficult to trust the Lord (Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6)?
- What makes it very difficult to trust the Lord is our dependence on our senses rather than our heart dependence on the Lord. What we see and hear seems more real than what we do by faith. If we are not depending moment by moment by faith, we miss out on His glory because of sin (Rom. 14:23). Hebrews 11:6 says that if we do not live by faith, we cannot please God and if we are not pleasing God, we are not in His holy will.
- The Christian life is not difficult. It’s just a matter of dying to self and seeking the Father’s will.
Making application of the message to life:
5) Why is the Traditional View of God’s will similar to behavioral therapy rather than living by a heart motivation to please the Lord?
- The Traditional View is like behavioral therapy, because it mainly ensures that the right behavior is done. It can be pharisaical in “doing” the right thing, but lacking the motivation and intention. It’s like looking at the instructions for travel on a map. You can choose to follow the precise instructions and have no relationship with the one who gave the instructions.
- The contrast is living by heart motivation to please the Lord. This is moment by moment dependence on the Lord and making decisions in the holy will of God. It’s all about a relational dependence on the Lord Jesus in the filling of the Holy Spirit.
6) How would you help a person understand the weaknesses of the Traditional View of trying to live out God’s will?
- I’d affirm the persons desire to want to do things God’s way.
- I’d go back and walk him through the subjectivity that is promoted by that view, using the notes from the message. I’d help him see that the “impressions and signs” are subjective and not God’s desire for dependence on Him in life. They promote immaturity, rather than maturity of a solid relationship with the Lord Jesus.
7) What are several weaknesses of “impressions” that are supposed to determine God’s will?
- There is no objective way they can be measured or recorded. You cannot say it was from God or from a hormonal balance shift or some other possible distortion of subjectivity.
- They can be honored by God, even as God honored Gideon’s immature fleece, but they are very dangerous especially when they involve other people.