Understanding God’s Will for Your Life

SERIES – God Often Does Less Than We Want, But God is Always Doing More Than We Realize (A Study in Acts 16)

Acts 16:1-12 CEV

1     Paul and Silas went back to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a follower named Timothy. His mother was also a follower. She was Jewish, and his father was Greek.

2     The Lord’s followers in Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy,

3     and Paul wanted him to go with them. But Paul first had him circumcised, because all the Jewish people around there knew that Timothy’s father was Greek.

4     As Paul and the others went from city to city, they told the followers what the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided, and they urged them to follow these instructions.

5     The churches became stronger in their faith, and each day more people put their faith in the Lord.

6     Paul and his friends went through Phrygia and Galatia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them preach in Asia.

7     After they arrived in Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not let them.

8     So they went on through Mysia until they came to Troas.

9     During the night, Paul had a vision of someone from Macedonia who was standing there and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”

10   After Paul had seen the vision, we began looking for a way to go to Macedonia. We were sure that God had called us to preach the good news there.

11   We sailed straight from Troas to Samothrace, and the next day we arrived in Neapolis.

12   From there we went to Philippi, which is a Roman colony in the first district of Macedonia. We spent several days in Philippi.

Facts about the Will of God – The will of God can be:

  1. Known

Romans 2:19 CEV – You are sure that you are a guide for the blind and a light for all who are in the dark.

  • Proven

Romans 12:1-2 CEV1 Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. 2 Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.

  • Done

Matthew 6:10 CEV – Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven.

Things we can depend on:

  1. God provides

Acts 16:1-5 CEV1 Paul and Silas went back to Derbe and Lystra, where there was a follower named Timothy. His mother was also a follower. She was Jewish, and his father was Greek. 2 The Lord’s followers in Lystra and Iconium said good things about Timothy, 3 and Paul wanted him to go with them. But Paul first had him circumcised, because all the Jewish people around there knew that Timothy’s father was Greek. 4 As Paul and the others went from city to city, they told the followers what the apostles and leaders in Jerusalem had decided, and they urged them to follow these instructions. 5 The churches became stronger in their faith, and each day more people put their faith in the Lord.

  • God guides

Psalm 25:4-5 NIV4 Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

How to Know the Will of God

  1. God leads us through common sense

(Acts 16:1-5)

1 Corinthians 9:20-22 NIV20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

Luke 2:52 NIV – And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Proverbs 2:6 CEV – All wisdom comes from the Lord, and so do common sense and understanding.

  • God leads us through disappointment

Acts 16:6-7 NIV6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.

Matthew 6:10 KJV – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Luke 1:1-3 CEV1 Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. 2 They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. 3 So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. Honorable Theophilus,

Acts 1:1 CEV – Theophilus, I first wrote to you about all that Jesus did and taught from the very first

  1. God has a will.
  2. I have a will.
  3. Sometimes God’s will and my will are in conflict.
  4. When my will and God’s will conflict, I should surrender my will to God’s will.

God’s direction is not a roadmap but a relationship.

Galatians 4:12-15 NCV12 Brothers and sisters, I became like you, so I beg you to become like me. You were very good to me before. 13 You remember that it was because of an illness that I came to you the first time, preaching the Good News. 14 Though my sickness was a trouble for you, you did not hate me or make me leave. But you welcomed me as an angel from God, as if I were Jesus Christ himself! 15 You were very happy then, but where is that joy now? I am ready to testify that you would have taken out your eyes and given them to me if that were possible.

(16:6-10 CEV)

Colossians 4:10 MSG – Aristarchus, who is in jail here with me, sends greetings; also Mark, cousin of Barnabas (you received a letter regarding him; if he shows up, welcome him);

  • God leads us through special revelation

(16:8-9)

Psalm 77:19 NLT – Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!

The will of God will never take you where the power of God can’t keep you.

(16:11)

  • God leads us through good associations

(16:10)

Proverbs 11:14 KJV – Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

Proverbs 13:20 CEV – Wise friends make you wise, but you hurt yourself by going around with fools.

  • God leads us through His Word

(16:10 CEV)

Acts 16:10 KJV – And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Acts 27:1, 10, 13-15 NIV1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they thought they had obtained what they wanted; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the “northeaster,” swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along.

Proverbs 14:12 CEV – You may think you are on the right road and still end up dead.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 NLT10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you.

Psalm 119:105 KJV – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

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