8/20/17 “CAN WE REALLY KNOW GOD’S WILL?” – Pastor Shane Idleman

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Complete Sermon Notes

Can We Really Know God’s Will?

ACTS 21:10 And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’”

12 Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.”

“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!” ― Corrie ten Boom

  • We would need a Series to scratch the surface of God’s will – His Moral Will  –  His Sovereign Will  –  His Perfect Will  –  His Permissive Will

We have something that many in the early church, and throughout the centuries, and even today, do not have – GOD’S WORD!

  • I have seen many people pray, fast, and worship, but still be led astray; still walk outside of God’s Will because they neglect the blueprint – the course correction.


  • If this reveals who God is and shows us His heart – His will – and His desire for our lives, why do we avoid it?


We get an idea and immediately assume that it’s from God.


“If you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will.” ― “God will never—never—lead you to do something that is contrary to His written Word, the Bible.” ― Billy Graham

Some things that are clearly God’s will for our lives: (Refer to I Timothy 2:4; I Thessalonians 4:3-7; Ephesians 5:17-18; and Matthew 28:19.)

  1. to be saved and to worship Him…to be holy and set apart for His glory.

― Charles H. Spurgeon – “It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.”

  1. to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit – humility, brokenness, surrender.

C.H. – “You will never glory in God till first of all God has killed your glorying in yourself.”

  1. to witness – make disciples – you don’t just drop the bomb, you help clean up the mess.

― Charles H. Spurgeon – “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”

ACTS 22:17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ [HE IS ALL KNOWING.] 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles’.”

  • The will of the Lord often does not make sense [to our “senses”].

“In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not.” ― C.S. Lewis


“…when God tells you to do something, you’d better do it; He always has a reason.” ― “When the Lord makes it clear you’re to follow Him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others.” ― Charles R. Swindoll


HIS WILL IS OBEDIENCE – 1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV) So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.


But I go to church! But I stopped doing such and such…I “cleaned up my act!”

ACTS 24 Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul….5 For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. 6 He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law.

  • Men will not always speak well of you.

  • They will alter the truth.



1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

  • Leaders are often the #1 target for gossip and blame –

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

  • Warn, comfort, strengthen the weak, be patient – don’t repay evil for evil.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  • Are you thankful OR complaining? Joy or grumbling?


George MacDonald – “Doing the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.”

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

  • Do not put out the fire. Do not despise/reject the gift of communicating revealed truth. Test – use wisdom.


Waiting in God’s Will is His will – [found these points in my Bible from years ago – no idea where they came from]: 1. Redefines what we’re asking for. 2. He already answered – we just don’t see it yet [His timing, not ours]. 3. Renews our fellowship with Him [more alone time]. 4. Be more aggressive – take action. 5. Deal with besetting sin.


Paul was in front of the Governor Felix and then jailed for 2 years

ACTS 24:25 Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”

Will of the Lord is

  1. Righteousness – the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain to a state approved of God.

  2. Self-control – controlling yourself

  3. The judgment to come –

Eternity is written in our hearts and we are born to worship, but we also have a sense of judgment. David Brainerd journal, for example.

1 PETER 4:17 ESV – For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV) – The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

⅔ of Americans Say They Are Sinners but Only a Minority Depend on Jesus.

This is God’s will – to depend; to hope in; to trust.