Page last updated



Matthew 18:7-14
Fred Sigle

1. This text talks about HUMAN DECISIONS, TROUBLE in the world, and concludes it by discussing what is or what is not the WILL of God.

COMMENT: We use the phrase, "This is the WILL of God" quite regularly. We consign the WILL of God to all of the GOOD things that occur in our lives and to all of the BAD things that happen to us.

There are those who believe that WHATEVER happens in life, is the result of God's WILL. Yet, if that be true, then God is responsible for some of the most VILEST of ATROCITIES. Misunderstanding the WILL of God can produce FRUSTRATION, DOUBT, CONFUSION, and even BITTERNESS toward our heavenly FATHER.

2. It is true that WHATEVER happens in life is the WILL of God? ILLUSTRATION: A husband went through the heartache of seeing his dearly loved wife die an EXCRUCIATING death. His response was a common statement under the circumstances. He said, "Well, I must accept it. It's the WILL of God." The IRONY of that statement surfaces when we look at the FACTS. The man was a DOCTOR. For weeks he fought frantically for her life. He called in the best SPECIALISTS in the world. He did everything at disposal to save his wife. He used every device, every treatment, every DRUG known to modern medicine to fight the disease. So, had he been FIGHTING against the WILL of God? What if she had RECOVERED? Would he not have said that her RECOVERY was the WILL of God. Can both her DEATH and RECOVERY be the will of God, or is it possible that we MISUNDERSTAND God's WILL.

In the Spring of 1991, a loving mother wept over the FLAG DRAPED coffin of her son killed in the Gulf War. She said, "I'm doing my best to SURRENDER to my son's DEATH as the WILL of God." She was having trouble ACCEPTING that it was God's WILL that her son die in that WAR, and was feeling GUILTY because of her DOUBT. Was it really God's WILL that her son LOSE his LIFE fighting an ENEMY he had never seen prior to going to IRAQ? Maybe it wasn't God's WILL at all, but the WILL of Sadaam Husein.

COMMENT: I believe the CONFUSION that we have regarding God's WILL is our usage of the phrase: "This is the WILL of God." Could it be that many of the things that we believe is God's WILL is not His WILL at all? I think we need to RE-EXAMINE the way we use that PHRASE.

B. James 1:17- "Every GOOD and PERFECT gift comes from the Father . . ." ILLUSTRATION: I don't know about you, but if God is RESPONSIBLE for the TRAGEDIES in my life, the DIFFICULTIES I have faced, the LOVED ONES I have lost, the HURTS that I have experienced, then I wouldn't call that a very GOOD GIFT. I have never had one of those GIFTS on my Christmas LIST. At no time have I said, "For Christmas this year, I would like to LOSE a child in a CAR WRECK. Or to have my HOUSE burn down. Or to CONTRACT a TERMINAL DISEASE." Isn't that what God gives us if we say that TRAGEDIES are His WILL?

C. There are at least 3 stages of the WILL of God that I want you to consider this morning. BODY: I. THE INTENTIONAL WILL OF GOD A. This is the way God RELATES to His PLAN for mankind. 1. What God has PLANNED for man is not necessarily what has been or will be ACCOMPLISHED. COMMENT: God likes for man to live in "PEACE and HARMONY"- I Timothy 2:1-2. Yet, Jesus said that "there will always be WARS"- Matthew 24:6.

Jesus said that we are "to be PERFECT as God is PERFECT"- Matthew 5:47. This is what God INTENDED man to be when he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden. Yet, they SINNED. Paul- "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"- Romans 3:23.

Paul- "God desires (wills) that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth"- I Timothy 2:3-4. Is that going to happen? No! Jesus- "The MAJORITY of people are entering the WIDE GATE that leads to DESTRUCTION"- Matthew 7:13.

2. God's WILL does not interfere with the DECISIONS of man. B. God's INTENTIONAL WILL pertains to all the GOOD in the world. 1. Everything that is GOOD, RIGHT, and PROPER is the way God INTENDED it. a. After God CREATED the WORLD and everything therein, Moses wrote: "God saw all that He had made, and it was very GOOD"- Genesis 1:31.

COMMENT: All of God's CREATION, including man, was very GOOD. That's was God's INTENTION. However, SIN entered the world and everything CHANGED. Did God WILL that SIN enter the WORLD? NO! Did he ALLOW IT? YES! Does He want it? NO!

b. Because of SIN, that which was "VERY GOOD" became "VERY EVIL." So much so, that God wished He had never CREATED man- Genesis 6:5-7 (READ and COMMENT)

2. What God INTENDED turned out to be totally different. a. What we might INTEND to happen may not always turn out the way we LIKE. ILLUSTRATION: You plan the greatest VACATION ever. You decide you are going to see America. You MARK out the MAP. You make all the MOTEL RESERVATIONS. You know the PLACES where you're going and the things you will see. But 25 miles outside of Terre Haute, some DRUNK DRIVER pulls out in front of you, totaling your car, and putting your wife in the HOSPITAL. The WILL of another person changes your PLANS.

b. Even as what we WILL doesn't always turn out, so it is with God's WILL II. THE ALLOWED WILL OF GOD A. This relates to the PERMISSION or the FREEDOM of CHOICE given to mankind. 1. God's INTENTION for man is for him to LIVE a life PLEASING to Him in all things.

COMMENT: However, men being FREE-WILL AGENTS do not always do what PLEASES God. The ALLOWED WILL of God enables us to be something other than ROBOTS or PUPPETS on a string. God could have CREATED us like PUPPETS who have no WILL of our own. Instead, he CREATED us in a way that we can make our own CHOICES and DECISIONS regarding the DIRECTION we want to TRAVEL. In doing so, however, man has made some BAD CHOICES that have produced a MULTITUDE of PROBLEMS.

2. Many things happen on this earth that God ALLOWS, but they aren't part of His PLAN (intention). ILLUSTRATION: In October 1991, George Hennard Jr. drove his pickup truck through a cafeteria window in Killeen, Texas, and then started RANDOMLY shooting people while they were having LUNCH. Before putting the gun to himself, he killed 24 people and wounded 22 more. On an Oprah Winfrey episode a few months later, one of the SURVIVORS recalled the nightmare she went through. "A friend and I crawled under the table when we heard shots and screams," she said. "We could see him walking slowly about, firing his gun at will. Coming closer to us, my friend and I CLUTCHED each other in FEAR. After moving our table he fired a bullet into my friend's head, looked at me, and walked away." She concluded, "I guess it was God's WILL that my FRIEND die and I live." Her FRIEND was MURDERED. It is not God's WILL that anyone commits MURDER. His WILL is: "Do not MURDER"- Romans 13:9.

If your house is broken into and everything you own is STOLEN, don't say: "It must be the WILL of God." God's WILL is: "Do not STEAL"- Romans 13:9.

B. Under the ALLOWED WILL of God are Man's WILL and the Devil's WILL. 1. God has ALLOWED man to exercise his own WILL. a. Romans 9:19- raises the question as to whether or not "man can resist God's WILL." (The answer is an emphatic "YES!")

b. II Timothy 3:8- Paul speaks of "men of depraved minds who oppose God's TRUTH." COMMENT: Man's WILL can actually alter God's WILL. We've already seen EXAMPLES of that. What God INTENDS and WILLS for man, doesn't mean that man will always do it. In fact, often he does his own thing despite God's WILL for him. That's true of us every time we COMMIT sin.

2. When man exercises his own WILL in direct conflict to the WILL of God, he is actually doing the WILL of the Devil.

a. II Timothy 2:26- Paul speaks of some having been "entrapped by the devil, and held captive by him to do his (Devil's) WILL."

b. John 13:2- ". . . the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot . . . to betray Jesus." c. John 8:42-44 (READ and COMMENT) COMMENT: It's wasn't God's WILL that George Hennard Jr. take the life of 24 people. Hennard was doing what his father, the Devil, wanted "who was a MURDERER from the beginning."

C. Even when it comes to SUFFERING, ILLNESS, and DEATH, don't BLAME it on God saying that it is His WILL.

1. The troubles that Job went through: the DEATH of his CHILDREN and SERVANTS, the LOSS of his LIVESTOCK, the DESTRUCTION of his PROPERTY, the INFESTATION of BOILS on his BODY, were all caused by Satan. They were ALLOWED by God, but it was Satan doing the AFFLICTING.

a. Paul described his "thorn in the flesh" (a physical infirmity) as a "messenger of Satan"- I Corinthians 12:5-7.

b. Luke 13:10-17- Jesus said that "it was Satan who caused a woman to be crippled for 18 years." 2. Whenever we or our loved ones are victims of gross WRONGS, or undergo severe PAIN and SUFFERING, or have undue BURDENS and HARDSHIPS placed upon us, let's not BLAME God and DOUBT His LOVE for us.

COMMENT: Satan is the one at WORK! He wants you to BLAME God and TURN AWAY from Him. And if he can get you think that God is to BLAME for your TROUBLES, he has pulled off the greatest DECEPTION known to man. The next time you undergo HARDSHIP, Get ANGRY with Satan not your Heavenly Father. He's the one out to DESTROY us. He's the ENEMY.

III. THE ULTIMATE WILL OF GOD A. This relates to His POWER. 1. This leaves us with a perplexing problem. COMMENT: If the EVIL and TROUBLESOME deeds in this world are of the Devil, and if God is ALL-POWERFUL and ALL-LOVING what is He doing about it? Is God aware of what the Devil is doing? Does He care? Can He do anything to stop it? Is He involved in any way?

2. Since God has CREATED us with a WILL of our own, does that mean he just leaves us DANGLING and does nothing to help us?

B. There are at least three things that God does for us. 1. God has placed LIMITATIONS (restrictions) on what Satan can do. a. I Corinthians 10:13- "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

COMMENT: God FILTERS the TRIALS and TEMPTATIONS that come our way and allows only those to get through that we are able to HANDLE.

b. James- We have the POWER to "RESIST the Devil, and he will FLEE from us"- James 4:7. COMMENT: All of this is contingent upon our wanting to do the Will of God. The ESCAPE is always there, the only PROBLEM is that we don't always LOOK for the WAY OUT! Yet, that's our WILL, not God's! 2. God uses TRIALS or TESTS to help us become a BIGGER and BETTER person. a. Psalm 119:67, 71- "Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey your word. . . .It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn your decrees."

b. Even Job, although sorely AFFLICTED by the Devil, affirmed that what he went through was to his GAIN- Job 42.

c. Paul, affirmed that his "Thorn in the flesh" given to him by Satan, made him STRONGER in the Lord- II Corinthians 12:10.

COMMENT: The DEATH of loved ones, SICKNESS and AFFLICTION, PERSECUTIONS, HARDSHIPS¾whatever Satan used in an attempt to DESTROY the Psalmist, Job and Paul, God ALLOWED them to go through it in order to make them STRONGER!

d. This is just as true of the TRIALS we go through today: "God is always able to cause GOOD from the BAD"- Romans 8:28.

3. Even when man SURRENDERS his WILL to the Devil's WILL, God extends HOPE through Jesus. a. Galatians 1:3-5 (READ and COMMENT) COMMENT: Let's face it, we have BLOWN IT! We study God's Word and we know what His WILL is, but we have SINNED against Him time and again, and will CONTINUE to SIN against Him. But thank God that through the BLOOD of Jesus we can be FORGIVEN.

b. II Corinthians 5:21- "God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

COMMENT: God ALLOWED His Son to DIE on the CROSS for us. We are the SINNERS, we DESERVE to DIE, but Jesus took our place. That's why we need to be forever GRATEFUL for God's ALLOWED WILL!

CONCLUSION: A. How have you been using the phrase: "This is the WILL of God"? 1. It's impossible for us to UNDERSTAND everything there is to know of how God works in our lives. COMMENT: The problem is, we have been BLAMING God for what the Devil has done when we say, "Everything that happens is God's WILL." God will allow Satan to TEMPT and AFFLICT us, for the reasons we looked at, but even then He does not leave us to BATTLE the Devil alone.

2. "If God be for us, who can be against us"- Romans 8:31. (Satan hates those words, because he knows with God on our side, there is nothing he can do to DEFEAT us.)