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CHRISTIAN LIFE - BENEFITS OF DOING GOD'S WILL Acts 16:25-34

BENEFITS OF DOING GOD’S WILL - Acts 16:25-34

If I were to ask this congregation, “What is the most important thing in your life,” I would get various answers because all of our needs are different. This congregation consists of people of different levels of experience which would bring about different needs and make some things more important to some that would not be at all important to others.

If I were to ask children today what the most important thing in their lives is, they might say, “I must have a bicycle.” But adults who have passed this level of experience in life no longer feel that a bicycle is important.

If I were to ask teenagers what the most important thing their lives is, some would say, “to graduate from high school. I must get that diploma my hand.” Now we adults can relate to that because we have also been through that level experience, but that is no longer a need.

If I were to ask young adults today what the most important thing in their lives is,

  • Some would say, “to find that special someone I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
  • Some would say, “to try to find a secure job. I need one that has a future and a chance for advancement.”
  • Some would say, “to get well. I’m sick of being sick.”
  • Sooner or later we all will be able to relate to that if we cannot already!

Everyone has certain things that are important to them, and some are valid needs. What we really need in our lives is none of the things that I have mentioned. The greatest need in all of our lives is to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and know what is God’s will for our lives. I can assure you that God in His wisdom never would have created any of us had He not had a purpose.

In Acts chapter 16, a slave girl had a demon in her which allowed her to predict the future. She followed Paul and Silas around to somehow make money. Paul cast out the demon, and she lost her ability to make money. Her “owners” had them beaten and put in prison. So now you are thinking maybe it is not so good to do the will of God. A televangelist falsely said that “if you are not enjoying the best of life and health and not living in prosperity, you are not God’s will.” If that were true, Paul never knew what it was to live in the will of God. God never promised every Christian would be healthy and wealthy, but it pays to do His will. I wish that I could get up and say to this congregation, “You should do the will of God because people will say nice things about you, multitudes of friends will surround you, pat you on the back, and then put you in a place of comfort.”  But I cannot. It would not be true.

Doing God’s will does have benefits. Scripture promises He will go with us and protect us as we do it, so God’s protection is one benefit. The Devil may ensnare us as we do the will of God, but God knows how to spring us out of the trap. We have the greatest assurance of God’s protecting hand in the words of Jesus. In Matthew 6, the disciples are worried about material things. The “worry” here causes “the wringing of the hands.” In this context, Jesus emphasizes verse 33, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

We have put the “cart before the horse” today. We are seeking things first when we should be seeking God first. God tells us to walk day by day in His plan for our lives, and He will add to us those things we need. If we do the will of God, one thing He adds to us is His supernatural protection. In contrast, if we do not do the will of God, God is not obligated to protect us.

One insurance company has become famous for the logo of a pair of hands and the words that say “you are in good hands” with them. Ecclesiastes 9:1 says, The righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands.

The best protecting hands we can be in today are the protecting hands of God. Why? Well, first of course, we need protection from the many health problems and help in medical treatment, safety on highways and from criminals. But most of all, as our Christian freedoms are being threatened, we need God’s protection as we spread the Gospel. As God protected and delivered Paul and Silas as they did His will, so can He do for us in His will.

Another benefit is that we have access to God’s power through Jesus Christ. There are two ways this is illustrated in Acts 16:22 and Acts 16:25. These two great men of God had just been beaten by the Roman soldiers. The custom was 41 lashes. This beating was reported to be so severe that most men fainted, and many died. But here they were, singing and praying. The Bible says, and the prisoners heard them. The Bible points out that the prisoners heard them because, usually when an inmate was brought in who had been beaten, he would be too weak to do anything except moan and groan. The prisoners noticed these men because singing and praising God after a beating was unusual.

In Acts 16:26 is another example of the power of God, the earthquake. Now some folks would say that was a natural thing, and I can see why they would. But God saw His servants in trouble, remembered His promise to protect them, and reached down and shook the earth until the doors of the prison opened.

The only way that a church, a family, or an individual will have access to the power of God is to do the will of God. We live in an age of power.

  • We have nuclear power that has just about scared some folks crazy!
  • We have the power to create a “nuclear winter” and cause all plant life to die.
  • We have power to launch missiles to the moon and beyond.
  • We have electronic devices today that can do almost anything.

But the greatest power is the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person.

  • It will cause a man to go back to school and prepare for the ministry.
  • It will put love in the heart of one who cannot love.
  • It can deliver one from a habit of a lifetime.
  • It can mend broken hearts and broken homes.
  • It can revive a dead church.

That’s Power! But we need to use it.

A third benefit is that we place ourselves in a position to serve God’s purpose. I am sure there were times when Paul wondered if he was in the will of God. He had planned to go to Bithynia to see his friends there. When he wound up in Philippi, things got exciting. When he was falsely accused, opposed by multitudes, beaten, and finally imprisoned, I am sure it was hard for him to understand. He may have thought, “I should have followed through with my plans to go to Bithynia. If I had gone there, I would not be having all these problems.” 

That is a mistake that we all make. We equate the will of God to situations where we don’t have problems.

  • How many times have you and I said, as we faced stiff opposition, “this cannot be the will of God.”
  • Job probably thought that at some time during his suffering.
  • Esther, a lovely Jewish girl, probably wondered why she would be a Queen until her uncle Mordecai told her in Esther 4:14,

I’m sure Paul wondered when he was in that Roman prison. Yet later, as he looked back on his trip to Macedonia, he could see the wisdom of God. He established churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, probably in Berea, and hopefully in that proud city of Athens. They never would have been built had Paul not obeyed the will of God for his life.

People who do God’s will in spite of opposition and affliction will eventually see God’s purpose. The greatest need for everyone here and for this church is to do the will of God.

A fourth benefit of doing God’s will is to gain wisdom through Him as 1 Corinthians 2:6-7, 13 says.

Why is there no real reason for people to be lost? God provided salvation before creation. Revelation 13:8 says,

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

Man could never accuse God of not caring for his soul!

Before God ever created Earth, He had already made provision for lost man’s salvation.

Before He prepared food to eat, clothes to wear, or shelter to live in, God was concerned about man’s spiritual soul. This is why He instituted the Church. Many have strange ideas about why the Church exists. Here are some examples of doing God’s will using Holy Spirit-guided wisdom.

  • Some think the Church exists to provide material benefits. A lady came to the pastor’s office and stated she needed some money for her son to attend the state fair. Now every child likes a fair, but the pastor did not feel he could take God’s money and use it like this when the world is dying and going to an eternal Hell.
  • Some think the Church exists to feed and close the lazy. A man called the preacher and said that he was from some kind of ministry that takes care of the needy. He then went on to ask if the church would be willing to give a gift to help a lady pay her gas bill. The preacher asked who the lady was, and the man told him her name. The preacher said “No” and told the man he knew that this lady was young and healthy but that she would not work. She just went from church to church asking for a handout. He would not give God’s money away to trifling people who were simply too lazy to work.
  • Some think the government and the Church owe them a living. The shame of it all is that some churches are channeling their money and energy into this “Social Gospel.” Of course Christ took care of the physical, and we are to follow His example. But God has given us the Gospel to give to the lost, and that is our primary job. God’s Church needs to get its priorities right--lost man, not deprived man is our primary concern.

I have no problem helping people in need due to circumstances beyond their control if we know them. The Church today is sending people to Hell with the best clothes, homes, and full tummies.

  • May God help this church to recognize we have a responsibility to our needy, but we must not get sidetracked and forget that God has placed this church here to reach a lost and dying world.
  • May God help us get our emphasis in the right place. There is no excuse for people to go to Hell. God’s grace will save them.

Another benefit of doing God’s will is the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus Christ. We each have the responsibility to witness as expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 2:11-14.

John Newton knew what this grace was–Amazing. In the hymn he wrote, he said from personal experience, “Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!” When we recognize what “wretches” we are, we will sing it with tears.

Too many today refer to others and to themselves as not really being “bad.” Listen to this:

  • In God’s sight, all sin is bad.
  • There is no little sin.
  • All sin must be paid for. God had to leave the splendors of Heaven and take the form of man nailed to that cruel cross.
  • No sin is too small to have to pay for, but God in His mercy made a provision through Jesus Christ.

I’ve named five benefits for doing God’s will—but I’ve just touched the surface. A man is tried for murder and is found guilty. The fact is, he deliberately pulled the trigger. Now he must die. The judge steps off the bench and says, “Yes, there is someone who can help you. You deserve to die for what you did, but there is one way to carry out justice--to render a life for a life and still allow you to live. I could volunteer to give my life in your place!”

Jesus did this for us!

If a person so chooses, they can go to Hell. But if they do, they will be without excuse, without the benefits of doing God’s will.

THE INVITATION

You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).

To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).

You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:

         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.

      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf. Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.

                     In Your name I pray, Amen.