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Surprising Elements of Gods Will - Part 3

David Wright


David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church


  • February 15, 2020
    12:30 PM
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Well to begin and to make a point this morning I'm going to ask you to pretend that it's 140 you've perhaps moved to the outskirts of Vienna Austria and the Nazis have invaded and now occupy your beloved city that you call home most of your relatives have vanished many have been arrested secretly in the cover of darkness by armed soldiers others have been arrested in the full light of day you heard the stories of a quiet church service interrupted with shouting armed soldiers barking out orders everyone on your feet now form a line you're about to be interrogated babies cry not sure what this is all about children scared wondering what's happening when you might have heard they were ushered into buses and given the option to either deny their belief in Jesus or die and so you make the painful decision to gather your family to flee your comfortable home under the cover of darkness to take refuge in a remote cottage far away in the mountains and the night before you planned your escape you were awakened by a strange presence in your room in a moment fear grips you who's in your room what do they want Who is it where is my family is everyone Ok but then the voice says arise go to a street named the convert to the home of from Kaiser. And when you enter there you find a man from Brownlow in Upper Austria His name is at all Hitler and the boy says I have appeared to him and he's now praying he's blind and I've revealed myself to him go and touch him and he will regain his eyesight and he will save your people. I don't know about you but I would sit rather stunned desperately trying to make sense of what I just heard I mean after all the heart of Vienna is crawling with grim faced Nazis carrying loaded weapons their orders are to seek out and capture Jews is this some kind of set up but the voice was authentic and you sensed the power and the presence of the Lord and so here's the question would you go. Can you imagine yourself coming out of hiding risking your life as you creep your way down a dark Vienna street and knock on a door of someone you don't know this morning we're continuing with our series on Paul a man of grace and grit and in our 1st sermon it was entitled no insignificant grace and in that sermon we were 1st introduced to saw 1st time in scripture that we come across him in where he is a brutal and bloody individual who stands nodding in agreement and guarding their garments while they stone God's prophet Stephen I mean Saul looks more like a terrorist than a devout follower of Judaism but in that 1st message we learn that no matter how you appear to others today everyone has a past Secondly we learn that no amount or depth of sand in your past can trump the grace of God and we also saw how even though your past is soiled anyone can find a new beginning with God Part 2 a few weeks ago prominent and proud to desperate and dependent. Saul's murders journey was brought to a divine Holt you recall he was so dull as he was traveling 150 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus to persecute the followers of the way of Jesus when suddenly he's not from his horse the bright line showed and he heard Jesus and he recognized his face and the words came Saul Saul why are you persecuting me without warning the chorus of Saul's life changed dramatically this jolt stopped him in his tracks literally Who are you serving I am Jesus whom you are persecuting it is hard for you to kick against the goes and what were these goes these constant pricks to his conscience and last time we saw the goad of Jesus' life and words it's very likely that Saul heard Jesus teach and preach in public places How was that impacting him as he rehearsed some of those things that he had heard there was the goad of Stephen's peaceful death. And then of course there was the goad of Christians courageous faith as over and over and over again they stood for truth they stood for God's Word they stood for the fulfillment of prophecy in what they believed was the Messiah that was spoken of and so today Part 3 intitled surprising elements of God's will and in today's peace I'm sure you've picked up on where we're going but if you have your Bibles we're going to look at the next event in the story and for that I'm invite you to turn I hope you brought your Bibles this morning in Acts Chapter 9 as we pick up where we left off were Acts Chapter 9 beginning verse 6. That we could even go back to verse 5 he said Who are you Lord then he said I am Jesus whom you are persecuting is hard for you to kick against the Goes verse 6 so he saw all trembling and astonished said Lord what do you want me to do and the Lord said to him Arise go into the city and you will be told what you must do and the man who journeying with him verse 7 stood speechless hearing a voice but seen no one then saw a rose from the ground and when his eyes were open he saw no one but they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus and lastly verse 9 and he was there 3 days without sight and neither ate nor drank imagine just a few moments before hours before joking carrying on riding his horse beautiful day and now Saul has been incredibly humbled he can't see he can't find the city on his own people are having to take him there by hand Watch your step here saw We're going up another step just hours ago Saul was invincible and now he's blind and so humbled by what has taken place so humbled by the voice so humbled by the thought of what he has been doing we see here he's not taking any food and in fact he's not even drinking anything no food no water for 3 days one could make the case that Saul has lost his will to live. Stricken with blindness helpless tortured by remorse knowing not what further judgment might be in store for him and I imagine those 3 days of soul agony felt more like yours. Again and again he must've recalled with anguish of spirit words he had heard of Jesus his part in the martyrdom of Stephen even when his face had been lighted with the radiance of heaven and in darkness and blindness and sadness and broken this of spirit he's left to these thoughts recounting the many times he had closed his eyes and ears against the most striking evidences and had relentlessly urged on the persecution of the believers of this same Jesus of Nazareth where was he to go now who was to be his friend and his support his current life was shown to be utterly wrong he had persecuted the true God those he pursued they surely would not accept him and so broken and alone he is fasting and wishing he could die and appealing for the mercies of God and then enters a new character in our story verse tin Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Anna nihilists and to Him the Lord said in a vision and a nice and he said Here I am Lord 1st 11 so the Lord said to him Arise and go to the Street called Straight and enquire at the house of Judas for one called saw all of Tarsus for behold he is praying and in a vision he has seen a man named Dan and I is coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight now and a nice new about soul. Like a raging Bowl charging loose in the streets this man with Hitler like determination he was the reason and Ayers was in hiding it's no wonder that Ann and I as respectfully press is the issue verse 13 then analyze answered Lord I have heard from many about this man how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem and here he has authority from the chief priest to bind all who call on your name verse 15 but the Lord said to him go and how the Lord can respond so decisively so directly so simply go I mean this is calling for real faith is not an absolute trust in God but often when God makes His will plain in our humanness we are reluctant to obey only I still have questions I still have doubts I still have fears you haven't explained everything yet but oftentimes God works on a need to know basis and oftentimes we don't need to know go but since seen and eyes need for more information God gives a few more details says go for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles kings and the children of Israel don't miss that small word there in verse 15 the word is chosen Jesus chose saw long before Saul chose Jesus is not right there is the same with the disciples you remember this verse says you did not choose me said Jesus disciples but I have chosen you and have set you apart friends God is always there 1st. If you think in some way some shape some form you are there 1st you are mistaken let me disabuse you of that notion god is always there 1st seeking to save those that are lost and a nihilist needed to know that God had chosen Saul Saul was now going to be his instrument and yes God could have healed Saul completely on his own with another flash of light yes Jesus could have raised up his church without his disciples and the reality exists that God could finish the work without us but in God's sovereign plan he calls for the presence of man and he calls and eyes to be part of the divine equation just as he did the disciples just as he does us today can you imagine the shock and I as must have felt so all the merciless vicious murderous man has killed in cold blood countless innocent Christians he has been chosen to be an ambassador for Christ but what it saw himself later right 1st Corinthians $127.00 but God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong he said I can't do it I can't be of any help I'm weak I'm foolish and God says perfect I've chosen you yes God chose soul to be his ambassador for going back to our story verse 15 to the Lord said to end and eyes go for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles kings the children of Israel for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake there's another word we don't want to miss. Suffering or suffer through the ages suffering has been God's taming ground for Raging Bulls the crucible of pain and hardship God schoolroom if you will don't get me wrong I don't want to get sidetracked here I don't believe God causes suffering in a good bit of the time I think he allows it to come as a means to refine us it is often in the hardship where the Christian learns humility compassion patience grace and it's in those moments of crisis where our character is stretched anybody here been stretched it was true for Abraham Joseph Moses the disciples for saw and it's the same for us. Years later Saul attested to the fact that suffering had been his companion will flip over a 2nd printing is very quickly here on the screen chapter 11 verse 23 and 24 you've undoubtedly heard and and know this list I have Saul or Paul is speaking of his own experience I have been in prison more frequently been flogged more severely have been exposed to death again and again 5 times I receive from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one why minus one because 40 is supposed to kill you 5 times he says 3 times I was beaten with rods once I was pelted with stones 3 times I was shipwrecked I spent a night in day in the open sea I've been in danger from rivers in danger from bandits in danger from my fellow Jews in danger from Gentiles endangering the city endangering the country endangered sea in danger from false believe years. I have labored and toil and have gone without sleep I have known hunger and thirst have gone without food I have been cold and naked and finally he says this but size everything else I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches what suffering is God allowed in your life maybe it's an illness a handicap a loss of someone close to you maybe you are humbled in your career maybe it's a financial crisis maybe medical bills they keep piling up. Maybe it's a marriage is not going anything like you intended for it to go perhaps you're embarrassed by the choices of your own children you did all you knew to raise them the right way to bring them up in the Lord and now they've chosen a different path and it rips your heart out but it's these experiences this suffering that brings us to our knees I'm thinking of a young man a seminary student he was extatic at the birth of his 1st child weeks later only to be stunned by the news that his wife had leukemia 2 years later after a failed a bone marrow transplant after months of excruciating radiation and expensive chemotherapy which ravaged her already failed frail frame that beautiful wife and mother slipped away gone forever from his side a toddling child a broken hearted husband remaining to pick up their shattered pieces or the shattered pieces of his life and was the rest of the story the rest of the story is the young man entered seminary as a raging bull full of dreams ambition and confidence in his own abilities but he walked out of a bleeding lamb. Convinced more than ever of his need for the grace of Jesus and suffering changed him suffering has changed me and I would wager to say suffering changes everyone and while I don't understand all the reasons why we suffer for Jesus I do know it's part of God's sovereign plan to prepare us to be his instruments of grace to our harsh and desperate world and some of you here and you just want to cry out You want to say but that's not fair no it's not but where would we be without the suffering of Paul in the Scriptures where would we be without the suffering of John the Revelator where would we be without the suffering of Daniel the prophet the suffering of job or of Moses or of Joseph folks where would we be without the suffering of Jesus no it's never been fair but at times it's necessary to bring about God's end final result in this great controversy this is not a game the devil is playing for keeps and our example Jesus said If I have to suffer so be it not my will but yours be done and so on coming back to our story it was the suffering of Paul that brought him from a raging bull to a bleak lamb. Reading verse 15 and 16 again but the Lord said to him and in eyes go for he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles kings the children of Israel for I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake and continuing on verse 17 and went his way and entered the house we could say so and and I assume went to war and departed. Somewhere between fearful confusion and quiet resolve he stepped out of his place of safety into the dark and dangerous streets to straight street still there today and he knocked on the door silence he knocked again. And just then Judas unlocked the large wooden door and said we've been expecting you come on the door squeaks open and he walks into a room lit only by the flicker of candles duping wants to go under a low overhang glancing to the far corner of the room and there he fixes his gaze on a frail figure of a man. Bent low and on his knees praying and this is his 1st glimpse of Saul of Tarsus and he walks over and says let's read about it verse 17 he went in and entered the house and laying his hands on him he said brother saw the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you came has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit 1st 18 immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales and he received his sight at once and he arose and was baptized What a moment all because he ignored his fears he stepped out in faith in full obedience to God surprising command I would say this is most definitely one of the greatest blessings of being part of God's work to see the scales of deception fall off from people's eyes to see them transform before your eyes and say I see. To see their excitement and their joy and their peace their total transformation and it's not you it's all God but he has chosen you to be a witness to them and it's incredible it's a life transforming power of the Gospel and it's an incredibly moving experience and an honor to witness some of you here have taken that challenge of studying the Bible with people and you have seen this take place firsthand and it's incredible I can sense your excitement when I talk to you I imagine some of you are like me I doubt all the time this will never work I say to myself they will never accept this they'll never make this change but then I see the scales fall from their eyes and they see things more clearly from God's word and they're forever changed and it's beautiful and it's amazing and it's beyond words and then you watch this person being baptized to be assimilated into the body of believers to be active in ministry a reproducing disciple of Jesus and all you can say is this is amazing I want to do it again. John Staci and his commentary of these verses says this this laying on of hands was a gesture of love to a blind man who could not see the smile on an honest face but could feel the pressure. Of his hands at the same time and eyes addressed him as Brother Saul or Saul my brother he writes I never failed to be moved by these words they may well have been the 1st words which saw heard from Christian lips after his conversion and they were words of fraternal welcome some of called and I as one of the forgotten heroes of faith there are countless numbers of them serving Christ behind the scenes the world over. I can think of many in this church faithfully fulfilling their duty to make sure things run smoothly in a quiet way in a humble way not seeking any attention receiving no thank you's but they don't do it for that they do it simply because it's what God asked him to do and will none will ever know until eternity the enormity of the investment and the cause for Christ that these forgotten heroes of faith have made and so we continue to see what Paul or Saul we should say. Verse 19 it says so when he had received food he was strengthened then Saul spent some days with the disciples that Damascus and immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues that he is the Son of God then all who heard were amazed and said Is this not he who destroyed those who called on his name in Jerusalem and has come here for the purpose that he might bring them down to the g. praise but saw increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews who dwell in Damascus proving that Jesus is the Christ I mean this transformation is stunning the people were amazed the Greek word actually is where we get the word ecstatic from they couldn't believe it and saw was confounding the Jews as he proved that Jesus was the Christ he knew all their logic and so nobody could argue with him in any way shape or form it was compelling they wove together the Old Testament Scriptures in defense of Christ as the Messiah and so immediately he began to preach people are amazed people are ecstatic the Jews are confounded Yes God had chosen saw another quote that I like a general slain in battle is lost to his army. But his death gives no additional strength to the enemy a true statement is not. But when a man of prominence joins the opposing force not only are his services lost but those who need join himself gain a decided advantage in quote God and His prophet is not only spared Saul's life but converted him thus transferring a champion from the side of the enemy to the side of Christ and so some surprising elements of God's Will 4 of them and they were done I don't know how but Pollock's walking all the way up from the parking lot prize number one surprises are always part of God's leading Have you noticed that insults case the surprise came in the form of light from heaven for an a nihilist the surprise was was unreasonable logic and illogical command from the Lord Hebrews 11 verse 8 that Monroe read to us by faith Abraham when called to go to obeyed and when even though he did not know where he was going this is incredible to me all Abraham knew is that God wanted him to move. He didn't have a clue where he was going nothing about the weather there the crime rate the cost of living nothing he only knew God told him to go and friends if you and I are waiting for God to fill in all the details. We're never going to take that 1st step of faith you must be prepared to trust his plans knowing it will be full of surprises but that he'll take care of the details but surprises are always part of God's leading when I look back at how my life and how it was supposed to go never do them not even close. I could get into them but I will. God knows best Amen prize number 2 surprises always intensify our need for faith. At times God's plan will frighten you at times you will feel intimidated by its demands other times you're going to be absolutely disappointed has got ever told you no wait sit tight in those times you and I are often times tempted to argue sometimes you may be tempted to fight back maybe you want to negotiate with God Have you ever thought of this God you might even get angry the friends when faith kicks in and none of those impulses will control you Faith says we can do this in the 1st house we bought years ago. We did a significant amount of remodeling before we even moved into the house and one of the projects was taking down a wall and and redistribute the wires that were in the wall and the air intake and all that stuff and also some recessed lighting in the kitchen and all this kind of thing well it was the lighting that we were working on on that particular night it was late at night I'm thinking it was probably 103011 we started early and so it's Elizabeth dad and I and he's up in the crawl space of the attic where it's hot it's a summer day or summer night I should say but it's still hot and he's trying to put a light on the far and where the roof is coming down and the ceiling coming over and so you find yourself wedged in this crack and I know it was like because I tried to do it as well we're trying to get certain wires connected were hot we're breathing insulation does this help the acted out and so you're trying to get these things together and they don't ever want to come together just right and your muscles are getting sore and you had to just wait then you had to try again and this went on and on and we were ready to be done we were over it. And I remember Elizabeth dad came up with this phrase if you will we can do this. We can do this we can do this and the we wasn't necessarily he and I it was the we like God is going to help us we're going to do this and in the years that have passed we still oftentimes will look at one another and he'll grant or I'll grant and he'll say we can do this by God's grace we can do this and I imagine it's quite possible God has a major move for you in the future his will for our lives are full of surprises I think God has more moves for us than we can possibly anticipate perhaps that's why it's on a need to know basis and they're not all geographical moves that's what we think of but many are attitude adjustments moving out of our comfort zone to touch the lives of people we've never met or we might be in for a cross-country cross cultural journey that will stretch us be careful about feeling too settled where you are physically emotionally spiritually or geographically if the Lord wants you to move I strongly suggest you cooperate regardless of the risk if he leads you to change then change surprises from God always intensify our need for faith to more that being out in faith always brings clarification of God's plan as and I stepped out in faith he saw more clearly God's great purpose for Saul and as salsa mid himself to the ministry of and I s he found out more about God's plan for his life you are chosen vessel of mine I'm going to use you to bear my name Salton known you that before and those that clarity doesn't come until you take that step of faith. And lastly obedience always stimulate growth just alleging no the rights have grown deeper in our relationship with the Lord having trusted him without 1st knowing all the details maybe you could say the same but obeying God drives the roots of your face much deeper and that obedience stimulates growth in every area of life we are stressed emotionally often physically but most importantly spiritually and eyes compliance with God's surprising plan allowed him to witness super natural power no one else in Scripture witness anything like scales miraculously falling from this Ferris e-zine only an ice and as a result I imagine his own eyes were opened to the amazing power of God to transform a life obedience always stimulates growth so the question is what's the next step could it be that something in your life. Has blinded you to God's power to God's leading and perhaps the path is clear but you're fearful you're paralyzed with the uncertainty of it all but I want to challenge you to let go of that thing you've been scared to give to him to let go of control of your future your plans your dreams recognizing that your Heavenly Father wants to give good gifts to you his children how does the verse go in the Gospels as an early father we know how to give good gifts to our children do we give a rock or a snake know how much more our Heavenly Father wants to give good gifts to his children to those that ask Don't let your fear hinder from obeying God's clear leading step out in faith trust him with your future. And only attorney will reveal the impact of your memorable step of faith in the quietness of your own heart say Lord I surrender this thing to you this fear to you this unknown to you but I know that you're calling me in this direction and so without all the details without everything in places I would want it to be I'm going to step out in faith and I'm going to go in obedience to your call The Heavenly Father that is the prayer of our hearts this morning it can be challenging at times to decipher your will and we can find ourselves telling your word and praying and asking that you will make it plain but oftentimes we're waiting and we're waiting the Lord there are other times when you make your will abundantly plain but then we're fearful to move forward to take that 1st step of faith and so Lord I believe there's somebody here that you have been leading you've been prompting they've been kicking at the goads if you will and your voice has been speaking ever so plainly but they're afraid to move forward to take that 1st step of faith to be obedient I pray that this morning that they will simply choose Lord I'll do it they might be speaking to a colleague and might be changing schools that might be breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend it could be a host of things but they're saying this morning by raising their hand right now every head back out and every eye close they just want to say Lord I've heard your voice this morning. And I want to say. Lord help us in this journey of faith. As we seek to follow your will and your place in Jesus name. This media was brought to you by audio person a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it to w.w.w. dot audio Verse dot org.


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