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Logo of GYC 2012 Acts: The Revolution Continues

The Prerequisite

Josephine Elia

Conference

Recorded

  • December 29, 2012
    3:00 PM
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This message was presented at the GYC Conference 2012 in Seattle Washington. For other resources like this, visit us online at www.gycweb.org.

 

It’s nice to see you all here. So I want to welcome you to this seminar. The title is very long so I don’t memorize it. It’s called the “Calling, Living, and Knowing God’s Will For Me.” By way of introduction, my name is Josephine Elia and I will be co-presenting this seminar track with Adam Ramdin. He’s sitting over there at the back. You also saw him at the Divine Worship today.  So yes we’ll continue on basically 6 sessions on principle of discovering God's will for our lives that it makes it practical as well as extracting biblical principles that we can apply on a day-to-day basis.

 

If you see that the titles on your new program, so I'll begin with the first seminar obviously and then Adam will be presenting the second seminar tomorrow and I have the third one and in then last three which is on Monday, the fourth and fifth will be Adam’s and the last one will be mine. So that should help you a little bit to navigate. As you are coming in, try to come up to the front a little bit more so that it’s not too big because I’m not very tall; so maybe it's a bit hard if you are sitting way back in the end.

 

So before we start, let’s bow our heads to begin this session with prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, we come to this session, we come to GYC at this hour because we are deeply interested Father to know Your will for our lives and the means to follow it. I pray that the Holy Spirit will come down and dwell amongst us at this hour and be our Teacher also. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

So, one thing that we want to focus on in this seminar track is obviously wants to know God’s will, but I had put for example in this slide Discerning God’s Will to make an emphasis that knowing God's will is not an intellectual exercise. It’s not just knowing information; it’s your whole life needs to be consecrated to God; it’s our entire being. We want to know God’s will; but we want to know not just in our head but know in our hearts and to follow it. And so this first seminar, we’re going to address this head on basically. And to start, let’s immediately open our Bibles to Numbers chapter 22. We’ll look at the story here; a fascinating one in the Old Testament to begin our topic today. And the title of our presentation is called The Prerequisite. If you’re taking classes at college or university, there are certain courses that you need to take prerequisites on. These are basically the important foundation before we embark on the journey to know God’s will.

 

So open your Bibles in Numbers chapter 22 and I encourage you to follow along the story because it is hilarious to say the least. I was going to pick up a few passages here and there but I think the whole story is so funny. So can’t resist, right? We’ll begin reading essentially from verse 1: Numbers chapter 22. The Bible says, I’m reading from the King James Version. “And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.” So, they’re close to Canaan right at this moment. They’re around Jericho. “And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.”

 

So the introduction, the setting of the story, the children of Israel are close to Canaan, close to the promised land. And this guy, named Balak, was the king of Moab at that time. He was afraid because he saw what the Israelites have done to the Amorites. He felt threatened. So what did he do?

 

Verse 5. “He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.”

 

Balak sent messengers to Balaam to ask him a specific request for Balamm to curse the children of Israel.

 

Continuing in verse 7, “And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.”

 

So they came to Balaam’s house. They came with rewards of divination; that means fees, you know, rewards, money, whatever it is the currency at that time, bring with them as well as the message from Balak.

 

Verse 8. This is Balaam speaking and he has his guests in his house. And verse 8, He says. “And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.”

 

Now, we want to pause here right? Who is Balaam? Balaam is a prophet. Was he an Israelite? Was he a Moabite? Or was an Amorite? What was he? He’s a prophet for Israel. Right? So, he was a prophet of Israel and Israel was his people. Balak send messengers and in verse 8, the first thing that he did in this type of situation is that he said, “Tarry with me tonight,” right? Now the interesting part is what God said to him next.

 

You see more people coming in. Please have a seat. If you find a seat empty towards the front, please take that. We’re reading Numbers 22.

 

So reading, continuing in verse 9. “… God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.”

 

So, think about the situation, right? So Balaam has guests who are asking him to curse his own people. Now, he is going to God, asking God. I don’t know what he’s going to ask. But he’s basically asking God to curse his own people, God’s people. Right? The Israel’s are God’s people.

 

In verse 9, can’t help but notice God, I don’t know the word is; but it is really funny because God obviously knew who the guests were. Right? And God is saying, “Who are these men with you? Who are these that you’re hosting.”As if He didn’t know. And Balaam basically responded to God, “I mean I didn’t do anything wrong,” right? In verse 10 and 11. These people just came to me, you know. It’s Balak, the son of, the king of Moab, they came to me. And they’re asking me these things. They noticed that Balaam didn’t asked God what he should do. Verse 11, no, verse 12 because we already read verse 11.

 

Verse 12. “God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.”

 

Before Balaam ever asked God what he should do, God, straight up, told him “You’re not doing anything with them.” Right? Why? Because it’s kind of obvious, right? I mean. This was God’s people and Balaam was speaking with God himself. And Balaam already knew. He didn’t ask God directly. He kinda already knew; but to kind of skirt around the issue, he’s just telling God “Lord, I’m just telling you what happened. I didn’t really asked you for anything. I’m just telling you what happened, I not doing anything wrong.” And God was straight with him “You’re not going with them.”

 

Verse 13. “Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.” Like “My daddy didn’t let me go out and play with you” - That kind of argument. Balaam already knew but he’s saying, you know, “God didn’t let me go with you,” implying perhaps if He had, you would go with them which actually further on we see that he actually went with them, right?

 

So, let’s continue on reading. Verse 14, “The princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us. And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.”

 

So what’s going on here? In verse 14 and 15, the messengers went back to the king of Moab. Right? Balaam said “God didn’t let me go with you.” The messengers went back to the king. And now the king sent more honorable messengers, more rewards with them, to go to Balaam. There’s a verse in Exodus 23:8. It says “And you shall not take bribes: for the bribe takes the discerning, and perverts the words of the righteous.”

Another one also in Deuteronomy: it says, “You shall not pervert justice, you shall not show partiality nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twist the words of the righteous.” Keep that in mind. We’ll take about blindness further on.

 

So the messengers came back to Balaam and Balaam in verse 18 says, “I cannot go beyond the words of the Lord my God, to do less or more.” But what did he do in verse 19? He said, “Come stay with me again because I’m going back to God and I’ll find out what more He say unto me.” Balaam already know what God has said to him before, right? Balaam already know what’s God will for his situation at this time. But in verse 19, he was just curious, you know, somehow he entertains the idea that God will change His mind regarding the situation even though God has not indicated anything other than forbidding him to go with these people. This bribe, you know, blinds his eyes. He’s entertaining ideas that he’s not supposed to.

 

Verse 20, saying to Balaam now, “And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.”

 

In verse 21, what happened? “And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.”

 

What is going on here? God had revealed to him back in verse 12 “You’re not going with them. The people are blessed. You cannot curse them.” Even in that situation, in that first situation, Balaam already knew what was going on supposedly. And in this second time, God is like testing him. “If you go, you cannot go beyond my word.” And at that slightest indication that God would commit him to do what he wanted, what did he do in verse 21? He immediately rose up, and saddled his donkey and went. And that reveals the state of his heart, right? What he really wanted to do was to go with the people and at the slightest indication, he went. The fact that God’s will hadn’t changed for him is revealed in the next verse.

 

Keep reading in verse 22, “And God's anger was kindled because he went:”

 

So here again, we see a clear indication from God what His will is for Balaam at this time. God was angry that Balaam went. And he went so excitedly, you know. He went with enthusiasm. He rose up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with them.

 

“And God's anger was kindled because he went:  and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him.” Because he is going against God’s will, the angel of the Lord stood as an enemy for him.

 

“Now he was riding upon his donkey, and his two servants were with him.” Verse 23, And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the donkey turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the donkey, to turn her into the way. (24) But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again. (26) And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. (27) When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the donkey with a staff. And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the donkey, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the donkey said unto Balaam, Am not I your donkey, upon which you hast ridden ever since I was yours unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto you? And he said, No. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

 

Balaam was on his way to go against God’s will. The donkey saw the angel of the Lord with the sword drawn in his hand. Notice that repeatedly, it says the donkey saw the angel of the Lord. He saw the angel of the Lord two or three times. Before Balaam himself saw the angel of the Lord. Notice that in verse 31, when the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel standing in the way, he said in Verse 34.

 

“Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.”

 

Why are we reading this story? The point that I want to make, the first one in this seminar is this: is that knowing God’s will is useless if you don’t want to do it. This is the prerequisite. Before we even ask God, “Lord, what is your will for my life?” in the case where we don’t know it first, in the case of Balaam, he knew it already. Before we ask “what is it that You want me to do in my life?” we have to make sure that we have resolved in our heart that whatever God reveals us we will follow. So this is the foundation, right? What good is it to know God’s will if we’re not going to follow it.

 

In verse, in this story, in verse 19, if I could go back to verse 19, your Bible, Balaam was treating this conversation with God as a knowledge issue. He says “Wait here, I’m gonna go back to God and find out more information from God if He would change His mind or not.” In verse 34. When the angel of the Lord, when his eyes were opened, he saw the angel of the Lord in his way, his repentance was a knowledge-repentance. He said “I have sinned because I knew not that you stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeased thee, I would get me back again.” He was sorry that he didn’t know the angel of the Lord was there and he’s saying “if it’s not pleasing to you, I’ll go back again.”

 

But here’s what happened. Let’s keep reading in verse 35. “And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak.” And what happened? He kept going. The words that this angel was speaking are the same words that God was speaking before. “If you’re gonna go,” indicating that perhaps there’s an indication that God will permit him going but you can’t say the words that God didn’t say to him.  At the slightest indication still, this situation, that angel of the Lord, the angel of the Lord was angry with Balaam, but he still went. And that reflects the condition of his heart.

 

In Matthew chapter 5 in the Beatitudes, Jesus this profound statement, part of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the pure in hearts for they shall see God.” And these are not random words that Jesus said. Right? The Beatitudes are profound truths of the kingdom of God and He said this in verse 8, “Blessed are the pure in hearts for they shall see God.” Implying that if your heart isn’t pure, you’re not going to see God or your vision of God will be thwarted or you will see something else than the true God of who He is.

 

In this story, we had Balaam whose heart was decided to go against God’s will, he decided that he’s gonna go. So, it really didn’t matter what happen to him. He was already decided in his heart that was gonna go against God’s will.

 

On the opposite side, there was a donkey. The donkey was basically obeying his master and that donkey, it just seems that donkey has the pure heart than Balaam that he could see that angel of the Lord, you know.

 

Let’s turn to the book of John. Continuing on this concept of being able to see God clearly and see what His will for our lives and having a clear understanding of what God wants. In John chapter 1 verses 4 and 5, the Bible says, In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Here the Bible is saying, Jesus, word of God, He was life, He was the light of men, and He came, He shines in the darkness, but the darkness somehow could not understand the light for some reason. Why is that? Turn a couple of pages further to chapter 3.

 

John 3, reading from verse 19. John 3:19. It says And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

 

Here the Bible shed some light on why couldn’t the darkness understand the light. It says that, in verse 19 that men love darkness more than light. It’s not because intellectually they could not understand, perhaps they could. It’s not because their brains or their minds could not or did not have the capacity of understanding concepts or logic in these things. It is because their hearts were evil. It’s because their heart love the darkness more than light.

 

You know that this is true doctrinally in understanding the Bible as well. The things that hardest to understand are the things that you don’t want to understand. In life, in time management for example, you know, we talk about how to manage time if you are working or ministry, etcetera. You know that the things that are easiest to do are the things that you want to do. You always find time for things that you want to do. It’s the desire of the heart that determines everything. It determines your reality even.

 

Men love darkness rather than light. Turn again in the book of John chapter 7 verse 17. The Bible says,  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” Again, if anyone will to do His will, do you want to do God’s will? That is a question.

 

In chapter 9 and this is a story I read again and again - The concept of being able to see God. Because here’s the thing, right? In Balaam’s story, he knew clearly what God’s will for him was. God spoke to him in a very clear way. But there’s a more dangerous thing as we saw in these verses is that when our heart is impure, it doesn’t guarantee that we can actually discern what God’s will was. If our heart is impure, if our hearts have other motives than following God’s will, the message that we get may not be necessarily God’s will actually. So, partial blindness is very dangerous. Right? Because you may not know that you are blind.

 

Let’s turn to John chapter 9. And here we encounter another story. This is in the New Testament now of the intent of the heart coloring the picture of what the people see. There are multiple people here whose hearts are either pure or impure and they are seeing the same things but they understand different things. John chapter 9.

 

John chapter 9 is a story of Jesus healing a blind man. And it’s very fitting. There are a lot of spiritual lessons in here. John chapter 9 starting in verse 6.

 

When he had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” So this is what happened – Jesus healed the blind man. And the blind man washed his face. Jesus put clay and His saliva on his eyes. He washed and he saw. And in verse 8, “The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.”

So this blind man, the people around him was asking “How did you regain your sight?”  What are the facts? What actually happened? The man told them what happened. “I met this man who put clay upon my eyes, told me to wash in the pool of Siloam, I did exactly those and then I came back here.” And after this, they came to the Pharisees. They brought him to Pharisees because it was a Sabbath day when this man was healed.

In verse 15, “Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them,” Again, reciting the same facts; but what happened was that the Pharisees didn’t believe him. Right? Because it was the Sabbath day, “How could Jesus or how could someone heal a blind man? How could this man be righteous? Because it was a Sabbath day but at the same time this great miracle has happened. 

 

In verse 18, it says, “The Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?”

 

Now the parents of the man weren’t there, right? They weren’t first hand witnesses of the account. The man himself experienced the miracle but for some reason they did not believe his testimony and they asked other people related to him but weren’t there.

 

His parents answered them (This is verse 20) and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews:” Again the motives of the hearts

 

“…for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.”

 

The parents - Isolate the examples of the parents again. They knew the facts, you know, the facts, the truth that their son was blind and now could see. That means something great had happened. Right? But this greatness that had happen, they did not want to acknowledge or could not want to understand it or did not want to receive it. Why? Because, the motives of the heart says “Because the fear the Jews.” Because they fear that they will gonna be put out of the synagogue.

 

Continuing in verse 25, and this again touching the motive of the heart, motif in the story. “He answered (them) and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee?” Something that they have already asked him. They already know the facts.  Right? “How opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear (them): wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

 

And here the blind man basically hit the nail on the head, right? The Pharisees had already decided in their hearts that there is no way they’re going to follow Jesus. There’s no way that they’re going to be Jesus’ disciples and so this miracle does happen that happened before their eyes of the blind man seeing, they could not understand it. Why? Because their hearts love darkness rather than light.

 

In contract, the blind man who had this heart that was pure, whatever it is that Jesus was saying, whatever Jesus did, he freely accepted. Had a pure heart and that is seen in the subsequent verses in verse 35. So jump down to verse 35.

 

The Bible said that “Jesus heard that they had cast him out;” The Pharisees cast him out because they could not receive his testimony. They could not understand what happened to him, even though this is a simple fact. He said unto him, Jesus finding the man, finding him out, He said unto him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

 

And here you see someone whose heart is pure; whose heart is obedient, whatever it is that Jesus going to say to him at this time, he’s going to follow him. And Jesus said unto him, You have both seen Him, and it is He that talks with you. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

 

The goal of discovering God’s will is to follow it. And we want to be at this stage of this man. “Lord, whatever it is that You say, I believe and I’ll follow.” The pure heart and being able to see God clearly.

 

Verse 39, “Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

 

We have to make sure that we have a pure heart so that we can know God’s will and we can follow it. Because there’s type of seeing that Jesus is calling blindness here. Right? We could see and not really see. We could hear and not really hear. And how do we know? How do we know what is the state of our heart? And we need to come to God with that. There’s no other source. We need to know what it is that we are seeing. Am I blind? Personally, that’s one of my biggest question, right? Am I blind, Lord? Am I seeing reality as they really are?

 

So now, we know that we have to have a pure heart to know God’s will. Right? What are we to do with that? How do we know that our hearts are pure or not? What can we do? I know that I need to purify my heart, but this task is impossible. What is some practical tip? Something that we can take away so that we can get on this journey; so that we can have pure heart.

 

Something practical that I would submit, I’m sure there are other things probably that could be said on this subject. But if we want to have a pure heart that will follow God’s will, we could do something to exercise this day. And this is something that is important; something that we can even today as we are here at GYC.

 

What I would suggest is that everyday as we go to devotions, before we open our Bibles, before we even open the Word of God to find out the information or whatever it is that we’re learning, say this prayer to God that “Lord, whatever it is that You are going to show me in this text that I am about to read, help me to obey them.” Say this prayer before you open your Bible. And until you get to this stage where you say, when you are at peace and you know that you are fully surrendered and you will follow what it is that the Holy Spirit will convict your heart, don’t even go to the Bible. Stay in your prayer; don’t run away from that prayer. You know, wrestle with the Lord. Purify my heart until you are at peace and then open your Bible. I guarantee it will transform your devotional life and this will train our hearts. It will train our ears to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking when we are talking about great life decisions, right? When we’re talking about huge decisions at work, at school, whatever it is that we think of when we say it’s God’s will for my life. Is it “Where do I need to go? What do I need to do? Which ministry am I to be a part of in my life? This is something small that we can be faithful everyday and so when He will reveal to us or when it is His time for us to find out God’s will in a bigger sense, we can know what it means to listen to the Holy Spirit.

 

We’ve been talking about Acts and the revolution in Acts. In the early church, the early church was so impactful in the world. Why? It’s because it’s composed of obedient individuals. It’s composed of people who will follow the bidding of the Holy Spirit and then they would go.

 

So let’s turn to the book of Acts. This will be the last piece of Bible verses that we’ll go through. Acts chapter 5 verse 3. This first one is actually is an example of someone who did not go; didn’t do according to God’s will.

 

(Acts) 5:3, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?”

 

We know the story. Ananias and Saphira held back that which they pledged to the disciples. They were disobedient. And this is one major example that the book of Acts give to us of someone, few people, who didn’t follow God’s will. And the consequences are pretty severe. Wouldn’t you say? I mean, I think God is gracious that we don’t just drop dead when we do something like this right now.

 

Let’s turn. The next verse is 8, chapter 8 verse 26. This is the story of Philip. We’re not going to go through each of the stories but we’ll just highlight the key verses that I want to point out for this, for our purposes today.

 

Verse 26, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.”

 

Philip was placed in a place that was thriving before this message came to him. It was thriving. A lot of people are getting converted. And what did the angel of the Lord tell Philip? To go to the desert. Who would evangelize in a desert? I mean, there’s no one there. Right? Like why? Why would he be sent to the desert? But notice, the Bible doesn’t say Philip argued with the angel of the Lord saying, “Lord, there’s nobody in the desert. What do you want do?” Instead, what he did was that, he went.

 

In verse 27, it says, “He arose and went:” This is an example of an obedient person.  When the command came, he went.

 

Turn to chapter 13 verses 2 – 4. Acts 13: 2–4. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”

 

You notice here that direction of where Paul and Barnabas would go is directly from the Holy Ghost; from the Holy Spirit. It’s a direct instruction from the Holy Spirit; implying that Paul and Barnabas were already at a stage where: first, they could listen to the Holy Spirit, they could discern His voice, and not other voices around them, and; second, their hearts were already decided that whatever the Holy Ghost was leading that they gonna go. And this story took place.

 

The last one is chapter 16 verse 6. Acts 16:6. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

 

Again, whether you would go or whether you wouldn’t go somewhere is determined by the Holy Spirit. You needed to know, they needed to know: first, the voice of the Holy Spirit and obedience, right? The early church in Acts where able to go to places, they were untouched before. They basically spread the Gospel. It was so widespread, right? Why? It’s because it was composed of individuals who have listened to the Holy Spirit. They’re composed of individuals who would obey the Holy Spirit. This was the state of the church – their hearts were pure and they could hear God. They could hear Him speak. They could hear the instruction and they followed God’s will perfectly.

 

We’ve been talking about revolution, right? In the world, there’re so many other types of revolution. I’m from Indonesia and so if you speak to any Indonesian my age, we experienced a revolution in about ’97, ’98; so in my generation basically. It was a revolution, a political one. But what had happen and what often happen in worldly revolution is that there’s this mob mentality – group of people started doing something and somehow the crowd builds up. For these instances, crowd started to do a lot of distraction basically, rob all the stores; did a lot of burning; there were rapes; there were killing on the street; there were a lot of mess. And no one really knew what started all or why were they doing these. But there were a lot of people who became a part of it. It’s that because in this type of movement, this type of social phenomenon, there’s this mob mentality that just because a lot of people are doing it, your adrenaline somehow picks up and you’re doing something too. These were regular people who were stealing. People who are otherwise would be fine. They wouldn’t be doing anything. A lot of ethnic conflicts. This same phenomenon happened there too. Regular people were doing extraordinary things in a bad way. Why? Just because a lot of people go. There’s a movement and there’s a wave of excitement and people just get carried away.

 

It is not so with the revolution that we’re talking about. Biblical revolution doesn’t. There’s no such thing as the mob revolution in God’s revolution. The revolution that we’re talking about, the Biblical one, has to happen individually. And that individual revolution happens in that heart commitment - obedient heart. Individually, all of us here, we need to be consecrated to God to be part of this revolution. And this by nature is a revolution that is distinct from any other historical revolutions that have happened in the world. And as the quote we read this morning in the service, right? In the end times, there will be something that the world has never seen before even the apostolic church. And it needs to start at this level in our individual heart where we hear God, we know His voice, and we will follow Him no matter what. Our heart has to be completely pure and this is the prerequisite of knowing God’s will.

 

Three things to remember; it’s a simple concept from today’s seminar.  But went to a lot of passages but these are the three key things to remember. You will go to a lot of seminars and hopefully these are the things that you will take away from this.

 

(1) First is that knowing doesn’t guarantee obedience. Your first concern shouldn’t be the facts; you know “I need to get to know the answer from God. What is it that He wants me to do?” That is important, of course; but as I’ve mentioned before that is not the first thing. There’s a prerequisite that goes before that and that’s number 2.

 

(2) Purity in heart is the prerequisite because when the heart is impure, we may not be hearing accurately what God’s will for our life if. And that is such a scary, scary thing.

 

(3) Third point to remember is that you can practice this purity of heart in our daily devotions. Pray that you will follow, that God will give you a heart of obedience, the humility that whatever it is that He’s telling you in the text, passage that you are reading in devotions, you will follow it. If God tells you to forgive someone, you are to follow it. And this will be hard, right? There are days where this is just going to be hard. And I would encourage you to remain in prayer, remain on your knees until your heart is changed. And this is a struggle that we need to go through with God.

 

I trust that all of us here are because we want to know God’s will and we desire to follow it. There’s at least the desire in our hearts. And I think it would be wrong to end this session without time of prayer that each in our own lives to ask God to reveal what it is that is causing impurities in my heart whether there be sin, whether it be our own agenda, our own motives, what is it that is hindering me to listen to God’s will right now. Some of it may be specific. I know for myself is very applicable because I’m graduating, finding what is the next thing, and this is a crucial time where we seek God’s will for our lives. So, I’d like to give all of us a few minutes in prayer to reflect and to ask the Lord this very question – Is my heart pure? Is my heart completely surrendered and obedient to God’s will? And we’ll spend a few minutes in individual prayer and I’ll close in prayer. And then we’ll open up if there’s any question lingering around, whatever the case may be. So, why don’t we take a few moments in individual prayer and we’ll close after that.

 

Heavenly Father, we thank you Lord that on the Sabbath day we can take time to ask you to have an obedient heart. Father, this is something that we cannot manufacture by ourselves. We need You to give us a heart of flesh instead of the heart of stone that we sometimes just don’t want to let go. So, Father, this will be a channel of or a way that You are speaking, Father, to us in our lives, we are seeking an answer from You, to clarify certain things Father; to clarify the motives why does everyone to know Your will. Do we want to follow it or not? And I pray, Father, that the desire and the reality and experience of each one of us here in this room is that we will follow You wherever You go immediately, Father, without delay. And I pray that that revival, that revolution, we will be part of that because we can hear Your voice, we can follow it. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

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This message was recorded by Fountainview Productions for GYC. GYC, a supporting of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, seeks to inspire and equip young people to be Bible-based and Christ-centered Christians. To download or purchase other resources, visit us online at gycweb.org.

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