Sermonette for Saturday

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself. Ephesians 1:9

An English publication called Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887 included a novel-length story called A Study in Scarlet. This was the first appearance in print of the ‘world’s first and only consulting detective’, Sherlock Holmes, the famous brainchild of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Over the course of his 40 years of writing, Doyle had some 60 stories about Sherlock Holmes published, establishing that fictional detective as the most enduringly famous character of mystery writing of all time. People loved reading about Sherlock Holmes’ exploits, and people today love reading mystery novels and watching mystery movies. Mystery is one of the most popular genres of fiction. Many people don’t realize that God has also written a Book full of mysteries, but it is not fiction; every word in that Book is absolutely true. And the revelation of those mysteries is the sixth of the spiritual blessings that are referred to in verse 3 of Ephesians 1.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. It is just as true that without faith it is impossible to understand God’s Word and God’s will. Consider how the world praises the intellect of the most prominent of the atheists. And yet, the ‘wise’ sayings of those supposed brilliant minds are hilariously ridiculous to even the simplest Christian, and we have no trouble identifying those people as the fools that God declares them to be (Psalm 14:1). The best that the unregenerate world can see in the Scriptures is fine poetry and timeless platitudes. But the Holy Spirit, dwelling in every believer, opens up the book and grants the revelation of the things of God. The deeper we study, the more treasure we uncover, but even the casual reading of the Word of God is a refreshing and delightful journey through the mind of the Almighty. The Lord Jesus spoke of this in Luke 10:21: ‘In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes’. Among the most profound content of the Word of God is its description of the will of God. And this great mystery is an open book for us.

The will of God can still be a mystery to us. Young Christians ask ‘What is the will of God for my life?’ Middle age Christians ask ‘What is the will of God for my day?’ Old Christians ask ‘What is the will of God for me now?’ These are all valid questions, for sure, but they miss the most important question: ‘What is the will of God?’ Regardless of whether we are concerned about discovering God’s will for our life, our day, or our moment, God has clearly revealed principles of His will in His Word. God’s will is what God desires. For example, He desires that we be grateful: ‘In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you’ – 1 Thessalonians 5:18. He also desires that we allow our good testimony to speak for us: ‘ For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men’ – 1 Peter 2:15. We could enumerate the desires of God for a long time, including His will for all to be saved, His will for His people to obey, and His will that we be like His Son. And in His Word, we read how to live out His will in our lives: ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ – Romans 12:2.

The will of God, to the world a total mystery, is to us an exciting and invigorating spiritual blessing. -Jim MacIntosh

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