SermonDiscerning Heavenly Will
An all-creatures Bible Message

Discerning Heavenly Will
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
27 August 2017
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Matthew 16:1-28
Philippians 1:21

Discerning heavenly will should be easy for every Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ and who has allowed the Holy Spirit to enter into them, but unfortunately most professing Christians don’t seem to have this ability for they continue to live in the corrupt ways of this world.
Since there is no pain or suffering or death in heaven and, before the Fall, there was no pain or suffering or death in Eden, we should all realize that there should be no pain or suffering or death in the world today, but instead of doing everything in their power to bring God’s heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, most people continue to contribute to the corruption.
So, as we have said before, anything that is not truly loving, compassionate, or empathetic cannot be from God; additionally, anything that is in any way violent in this world cannot be from God, for it causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
It is easy to discern that wars and terrorism are not from God, for the violence is exposed for all to see, yet many people still claim that such violent ways of living are from God, including some Christians; something is terribly wrong.
We also should be discerning God’s heavenly will when it comes to what we eat, but because the violence is hidden from view, most Christians are indifferent to pain, suffering, bloodshed, and death that is behind every animal product that they eat or wear, for if they weren’t indifferent, they wouldn’t eat or wear them.
This is something that we should all seriously think about.
In Matthew 16:1-28, we are going to look at several situations where religious people fail to be discerning heavenly will.

1. And the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Him [Jesus] asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.

We should all realize, as Jesus did, that these religious leaders were not discerning heavenly will.

2. But He answered and said to them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
3. "And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

And even 2,000 years later, most people don’t seem to, or want to, discern the signs of this day and age; they are still living in the corrupt ways of this world.

4. "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them, and went away.

The sign of Jonah, a reluctant prophet was swallowed by a fish for three days, and then deposited on dry land, alive and discerning heavenly will.
And, Jesus will be killed and rise up alive on the third day as a sign to these disbelieving religious leaders.
Let’s take a look at another example of people not discerning heavenly will.

5. And the disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread.
6. And Jesus said to them, "Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 
7. And they began to discuss among themselves, saying, "It is because we took no bread."

They were not discerning heavenly will, or Jesus would not have had to explain what He was telling them.

8. But Jesus, aware of this, said, "You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?
9. "Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up?
10. "Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets you took up?

Notice that there was no mention of any fish in Jesus’ statement, for dead and salted fish are of the corrupt ways of this world.

11. "How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 
12. Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

If we are truly discerning heavenly will, we should not need others to explain such things to us, for the Holy Spirit gives us the discernment and capacity to understand such things, that is, it we are truly living in the heavenly will of God.

13. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" 

In other words, Jesus asked them, “Who do they say that I am?”

14. And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
15. He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 
16. And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Peter is really discerning heavenly will.

17. And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

God created every one of us to be able to hear and know the heavenly will of God and the unction of the Holy Spirit, but unfortunately very few people do understand the heavenly will of God.

18. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.

Jesus is using a play on words, for “Peter” means rock; so what He is saying is that upon the teachings and life of Peter, the church will be built.
Even with all the mistakes that Peter made, Jesus knew that his heart and soul were in the right place.

19. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." 

This is quite a responsibility that Jesus is placing upon Peter, and each and every one of us should be ready to receive and understand this kind of responsibility, and carry it out for the Lord.

20. Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

People should discern for themselves that Jesus is the Christ, without anyone else saying anything.

21. From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.

This is something that no one would want to hear, and wouldn’t want to see it happen to anyone they cared for.

22. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You."
23. But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." 

Jesus doesn’t really believe that Peter is Satan, but only that what Peter said was from Satan, because Peter was not discerning heavenly will.
So Jesus goes on and tells the disciples what they should be doing if they are truly discerning heavenly will.

24. Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

One of the biggest problems that people have is that they put their own interests before the heavenly will of God, and they fail to listen to what God wants them to do.

25. "For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.

Let’s look at this in another way; if we are truly living in the heavenly will of God, then we should really know that even if we die, we will be in heaven and live forever with the Lord, so there should be no fear of dying.
Think about what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21…

21. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul had the assurance that he would be in heaven with the Lord when he died.
Jesus goes on and says,

26. "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

In other words, we should be trusting God in all things, including our lives.

27. "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. 

Jesus is telling us that one day He will return, and this promise has not yet been fulfilled; do we have the faith and trust in the Lord to wait for Him to fulfill His promise?

28. "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

There is a lot of confusion about who Jesus was referring to; no one lives over 2000 years, so Jesus must be referring to spiritual things, or about believers.
Such people are discerning heavenly will.
We hope and pray that all of us can do this too, and we should be able to, if we are children of God.

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