God's Expectations for Life

Intentionally Living Above the Standard…

Category: Expectations

Acknowledge God for Who He Is

This is the 1st  part of a 4-part discussion on God’s Expectations of us – – we encourage you to take this, read it and use it as a discussion guide with your family and others as you get together.  Your interaction is welcome…

God created all therefore everything belongs to God…
The first expectation of God is that…

I. WE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD FOR WHO HE IS

In this article we are going to concentrate on how to practice this …
Another word for Acknowledging God for who He is – is Worship –
It’s giving to God the credit HE deserves.
In order to acknowledge God for who He is we must:
Know Him,
Believe that He is and is worthy to be acknowledged
And also the better we know Him the better we can acknowledge Him.

We need to come and worship God and worship Him with everything that is in us.
We need to let our bodies in on what’s going on!

Is it OK to:
• sing in church
• stand, sit, kneel in church
• clap our hands
• lift our hands
• applaud the Lord (give praise and honor the Lord right now?)
• dance
• jump, leap, cry laugh….
It’s all found in Scripture – God wants us to come to Him with our whole being

From the Scriptures we can assume that God created for a purpose -Look at His Word – God wants us to enjoy Him and honor Him:

Rev 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”

II. WE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD BECAUSE WE ARE CREATED FOR HIS PLEASURE

Psalm 149:4 For the LORD takes pleasure in His people…

Read Nehemiah 8 – How is the Word of God treated and responded to? What do the people do when they hear the Word? Do they acknowledge God? How?

We are created for God’s pleasure …

Go through Psalm 139 – How does the Psalmist emphasize our need to Acknowledge God?

Psalm 139 reveals how God owns everything and we need to acknowledge Him for what He has done. Because He has created us for His Own Pleasure!

ALSO…
III. WE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD IN OUR DAILY LIVES

It’s one thing to acknowledge God in worship at church
What about our daily lives.
Look at Deuteronomy 6 Acknowledging God

Is continuous God – all the time – everywhere – everyplace – that’s not popular but that’s what it takes to live in victory in this world – spontaneity of the heart

People in the Old Testament times got into trouble when they failed to acknowledge God –

The children of Israel did some pretty stupid things crossing the wilderness – picture it…

God brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand – through many signs and wonders – even to the death of every first born in Egypt including the first born of the animals.

God made such an impact that the Egyptians begged them to leave and paid them to do so – they left wealthy beyond their imaginations.

God lead the out – through the Red Sea on dry ground – they saw their enemies buried at sea – guided by a pillar of cloud that blocked the hot sun during the day – and a pillar of fire at night that kept them warm. This was a very visible sign of God’s presence.

God provided them food from the sky (manna and quail) and water from rocks – for 40 years of wandering their clothing never wore out.

Did they acknowledge God for His provision?
They complained over and over again – often asking to go back to Egypt where they had leaks and garlic (forgetting their slavery).

They never trusted or acknowledged God for who He was and is for very long.
They were into the trinity of self “Me”, “Myself”, and “I”!

God disciplined them – they had failed in responsibility, accountability and there were dire consequences for their failure.

Often even the most godly failed to acknowledge God – Moses and Aaron at the waters of Meribah (Numbers 20:24; Ex. 17:7) and they never entered the promised land. They let their anger against the people cloud what God was doing.

Once in the land of Canaan (Joshua 9:14) – the Gibeonites come to Joshua and the leaders pretending to be from a distant land (in reality they were from just over the hill) – the make a treaty with them without consulting God. Failure to acknowledge God

We fail to Acknowledge God when we do it on our own, in our own strength (we act or plan first, then ask God to bless us).

In the New Testament – it was Ananias and Saphira who failed to acknowledge God – they sold land and lied about it to the Apostles and God – the consequences was death.

When we fail to acknowledge God there are consequences.

We must be Acknowledging God in our Daily Lives

IV. WE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD FOR WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE AND IS DOING

We need to acknowledge God in our daily lives.

Begin by asking God when you rise up: “Lord, how can I acknowledge you today?” – Then start looking where God is going to show you where and how for that day.

At the end of your day ask God as you lay your head on your pillow – “Lord where have I acknowledged you today and where have I failed to do so?” (Confess and start afresh – see Lamentations 3:22-23)
It might be something as simple as a quick quiet prayer acknowledging God several times throughout your day.
It might be something more direct of responding to someone’s need with the Love of Christ.
Sometimes you “Praise the Lord” publicly, verbally, honestly, other times quietly between you and God – but it must always begin in your heart – see what Jesus said in Luke 6:45 and John 4:24…

Acknowledging God is not hard when we remember that we must – but we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to do it –
He ties us up in all sorts of cares and things of the world that make us forget or even worse tells us – it’s all about ME not HIM (God).

V. WE ACKNOWLEDGE GOD – ON PURPOSE – PROACTIVELY – WITH A PLAN

Think about:

A. How am I personally going to seek to Acknowledge God on purpose daily?

B. How can I help my loved ones learn to Acknowledge God more?

C. Who am I going to share this expectation of God with this month?

Walk Obediently in Christ

This is the 2nd part of a 4-part discussion on God’s Expectations of us – the first was to Acknowledge God – we encourage you to take this, read it and use it as a discussion guide with your family and others as you get together.  Your interaction is welcome…

 

I.     What does it mean to Walk In Him?

 

Colossians 2:6 says:

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, strengthened in faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness. (Notice what this walk looks like and consequences)

 

1 John 1:6-7

If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light,

      we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son, purifies us from all sin. (looks like – consequences – “fellowship” = partnership with each other)

 

In regards to walking in Him James 4:17 says…

      … one who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  (If we are not walking in HIM we are in sin!)

 

Simply –

What are we to do? Walk In Him

 

What does the Word say about this?

We are talking about OBEDIENCE:

God requires whole hearted obedience

Jesus said in Matthew 22:37

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart … soul … mind

           (Sound familiar? That’s the Deuteronomy 6:5 passage)

 

 

Obedience is the price of success

      Joshua 1:8

Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

 

 

Obedience is better than sacrifice

1 Samuel 15:22-23

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination,  (witchcraft – deserved death) and arrogance like the evil idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,       He has rejected you as king.”

 

Obedience secures entrance into the kingdom.

Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, But only he who does the will of my Father …”

 

Obedience is the duty of life.

Acts 5:29

Peter and apostles when told not to preach by the powers to be responded…

“We must obey God rather than men!”

 

To walk in Him means that
obeying Christ and His Word becomes
a way of life.

 

II.     How then are we to walk?

 

The best way to discuss this is to look at what Jesus has said – look at these passages don’t get side tracked with any one command or issue – I want you to see the overall picture of what God expects of us in Walking in Him. Just let the Word speak.

 

We will begin in the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5-7

“but I say…”  5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44

“when you…” 6:2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 17

 

What is Jesus saying?  Can one come to Him and sit back and relax – living in any way he wishes? Does HE have expectations of us?

 

Look at what Jesus says in

Matthew 7:13-14

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

 

Let’s look further at what Jesus says:

Matthew 25:31-45

      How are we to walk? Reach out to those in need!
Sometimes we can become so heavenly minded that we become no earthly good.

 

Next, how about Christ’s command to all believers in

Matthew 28:18-20   (The Great commission)

           It says “teaching to obey everything”

– you need to walk by being in His Word

 

Philippians 2:3-4 says “do nothing from selfishness or vain conceit”

:14 “do all things without grumbling or disputing”

 

Read Colossians 3:1-17 

          

How are we to walk?
In
obedience to the love of Christ!

        

Read:  1 John 1:6-7

Read:  1 John 2:3-6 “Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”

                          This is our accountability!

 

III.     What are the consequences of our walk?

 

There are consequences for those who are saved and don’t walk in obedience…

Read:   1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Some approach the Christian life saying I’m saved – and I’m free I can do what I want – we are really good at justifying our actions and way of life …

 

You might have your fire insurance and it will take care of the house – that it will be rebuilt – Fire insurance can never replace those priceless possessions created in love. Those pictures hanging on the fridge, the scrap book your child made just for you…

 

The same is true with our relationship with God – we might have eternal life but it doesn’t stop there – and if all you care about is “eternal life” then I question your salvation? Because all the evidence points to so much more …

 

In John 10:10 Jesus said: “I come that you might have life and have it abundantly – to the full”

 

What can we do?

 

Recognize that we have an enemy who wants to get us off track – to take us away from all that is of God – and if he can’t take away our salvation – he’s going to try and ruin our lives by getting us to go in a different direction.

Read:  2 Corinthians 10:3-6

 

The place to begin is your mind:  Philippians 4:8-9    

 

TALK ABOUT OBEDIENCE

 

  1. Define obedience? What does it look like?
  2. Is obedience difficult? Easy?
  3. Do you struggle with obedience? In what way?

Pass On The Knowledge of the Holy

This is the 3rd part of a 4-part discussion on God’s Expectations of us – the first was to Acknowledge God – the second was Walk in Obedience – we encourage you to take this, read it and use it as a discussion guide with your family and others as you get together.

 In Review:

  • Prime Assumption
    • Grasp it – we belong to the living God!
    • He has not created us and stepped aside He is actively involved in our world and lives on a constant basis
    • How we live – things we do and think effect our lives for all eternity – beginning with our need for salvation found in Jesus Christ
    • If we belong to God and He is involved in our lives we better know what He expects of us and live accordingly
    • We have been given the responsibility and God holds us accountable to live up to His expectations and there are consequences for all of creation.
  • What does God expect of us? His creation!
    • This is for everyone – all of creation – saved or unsaved – man or woman – adult or child – everyone who has ever lived and who ever will live.
    • This month we will look at
      • Pass On the Knowledge of the Holy to the next generation – more than the 4 Spiritual Laws

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;  2And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;  3And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”  4So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  5Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. (Gen 12:1-5)

 

Can you picture this event?  I want you to turn on that cranial TV – use your imagination – close your eyes if it helps – I want you to see this picture – this event…

You are a member of the family of Abram – he is your relative – and head of your family – your parents depend on him for leadership and wisdom and follow his leading.

Your great uncle Abram is not a young man – he is 75 years of age and you have just left the comfort of your home in the city Haran – probably the largest city in the world of that day – where you had a nice home, friends, if you wanted something all you had to do was to go to the corner “Lochs and Bagel shop” – the local market and get what you wanted.

Now uncle Abram announces one day that the entire family must depart and leave – where are we going someone asks – he says, “I don’t know but God says go and we are going.”

You set off – after 3 or 4 days the kids start complaining ….

 

So, Father Abram sits everyone down and tells the story…

  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was [1] on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light,  that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.     (Gen 1:1-5)

 

I would imagine that Abram – went on and told the story – up to the time that God called Him to go forth from his own country to a new place God would show him.

 

Do you get the idea of what Abraham was doing? We don’t know if it happened in this way but I believe something like it happened.

 

Pass On The Knowledge Of The Holy To The Next Generation

God always required His people to pass on their knowledge of Him to the next generation. Obedience to this command would ultimately spread the knowledge—and blessing—of God throughout the whole earth.

Read Deut. 6

 

As we look through the Biblical record we find …

 

Adam shared with Eve God’s expectations concerning the Garden of Eden. These two, in turn, taught their children what they knew about God. Since they had been cast out of Eden, there was an even greater need to pass on God’s expectations since their relationship with God had changed.

God chose Abraham and created a great nation through his offspring, so that the knowledge of the Holy would be preserved and presented to every people group and nation.

In the Gospels, this expectation of God reached a new level.

When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He traveled to various towns and preached a message of repentance: “the Kingdom of God is at hand”. (Matthew 4:17)

When He called His disciples, He told them they would become “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Jesus then sent them throughout Israel to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 10)

Many of Jesus’ parables were directly related to the hearing and sharing of the Word of God. A good example is the Parable of the Sower, (Matthew 13:3-23) where Jesus explained the meaning to His disciples so they would understand His intent.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He told His disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19) They were commissioned to pass on the knowledge of the Holy to the next generation.”

God expects His Church to pass on the knowledge of the Holy.

Every word in the Book of Acts ultimately fulfills this expectation. In fact, this is the theme of, which fulfills the Great Commission: “be my witnesses . . . to the utter most parts of the earth.”(Acts 1:8)

This truth is further emphasized in the final verse of the book of Acts: “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:31)

 

Passing on the knowledge of the Holy is primary to God’s plan.

Remember this is more than the “Gospel”.

 

Talk about it – everywhere …

 

  1. What do you have to pass on to the next generation? (See Psalm 71:16-18 “…Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
  2. What do we need to be sharing and with whom?
  3. Are you pro-actively “passing on the knowledge of the Holy”?
  4. What holds you back, stands in your way, prevents you from sharing?
  5. Can you do this “as you go”?

Wait On God to Fulfill His Promises

This is the final part of a 4-part discussion on God’s Expectations of us – the first was to Acknowledge God – the second was Walk in Obedience – the third Pass On the Knowledge of the Holy now the fourth, Wait on God, we encourage you to take this, read it and use it as a discussion guide with your family and others as you get together.  Feel free to respond and interact with this.

 

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph all learned to acknowledge God because their parents passed on to them the expectations of God—the knowledge of the holy. They learned to wait on God for His timing and purposes.

For four hundred and thirty years, God worked with His people in captivity, requiring them to wait on Him, to watch for Him. Generations came and went as God’s chosen people waited as slaves in a foreign land. God had four major expectations of His people during this time.

 

First, they were to remember God and trust in the promises He made in the past.

God told Adam and Eve that a Promised One would defeat the evil one permanently.

God told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that they would become a great nation and be a blessing to all the earth.

Through Joseph, on his deathbed, God promised that He would visit the Hebrews and bring them out of the land of Egypt into the Promised Land. (Genesis 50:24)

 

Second, they were to walk faithfully and with integrity.

Joseph is one of the greatest examples of walking faithfully before God.

This expectation was imparted through the stories of Joseph’s life as they were passed from one generation to the next.

Joseph walked with God in integrity, no matter how difficult his circumstances became. (1 Kings 2:4)

The third, and perhaps most difficult, expectation was to wait on God.

For four hundred years the children of Israel waited, always looking for the promise to be fulfilled, for the deliverer to come.

God had given them many examples to follow.

Abraham waited and wandered in the wilderness “looking for a city whose builder was God.” (Hebrews 11:10, 14, 16)

Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph waited for God to bring His promises to pass.

Impatience often tempted them to fulfill God’s promises before His time, but they learned to wait for God’s perfect plan.

The 4th expectation lays the foundation for the rest:

God expected His people to pass on the “knowledge of the Holy” to the next generation.

If parents did not teach their children about the promises and provision of God, the knowledge of God would die out in one generation. Later on, God commands this of His people. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

God always keeps His promises. Thousands of the promises of God are fulfilled throughout the Gospels.  (examples in your notes)

Jesus waited upon God throughout His earthly life. He waited obediently for His

Father’s perfect timing. (John 14:31; John 15:10) The fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of John highlight Jesus’ submission to the Father and His instructions for His disciples to do the same.

The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke list the faithful souls who waited for God to reveal His Promised Messiah.

Mark began his Gospel with God’s promise to His people through Isaiah: (Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1) “I will send my messenger ahead of you . . .”

God expected His people to wait on Him, trusting that He would fulfill His promises “in the fullness of time.” (Galatians 4:4) Abraham, Moses,

David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and many others anticipated the Messiah and waited patiently for Him. (1 Peter 1:10-11)

The early believers saw the promises of God being fulfilled before their eyes. On the day of Pentecost, Peter reminded his hearers in Jerusalem of this fact. (Acts 2)

Multiple times throughout Acts, Paul’s travel plans were circumvented by God. In each case, he had to wait for God’s guidance.

Paul learned to wait on God, even when he was imprisoned and had opportunity to escape.

The Spirit physically moved the disciples from place to place at times. (Acts 8:26-40)

Philip was used by God to witness to the Ethiopian eunuch because he made himself available while patiently waiting on God’s leading.

From Peter and the Apostles waiting for the Spirit in the Upper Room to Paul waiting in a house in Rome in the closing chapter, there are an abundance of examples of believers who waited on God throughout the Book of Acts.

How, then, are God’s expectations to be fulfilled?

How does an individual acknowledge God, walk in Him, pass on the knowledge of the holy, and wait on Him?

Believers acknowledge God when His name is on their lips, giving Him credit and praise for their lives.

They acknowledge the fact that God is in control—He is sovereign—no matter what happens in life.

Worship is a priority, and believers refuse to participate in activities that deny their Lord or disparage His name.

Christians reach out to others, making every effort to be “given to hospitality” (Romans 12:13) and to entertain strangers.” (Hebrews 13:2)

The believer must live in such a way that no one can doubt whom he or she serves!

To pass on the knowledge of the holy, the child of God must know the Gospel message so well and from so many different angles that it is second nature to him/her.

The Holy Spirit can use this knowledge and experience to proclaim Christ at any moment in any situation.

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul gives the charge to Timothy and to believers to be ready to preach in any situation because the believer’s children must know by experience that their parents belong to Christ.

Churches reach decisions in a variety of ways. Leaders should make a concerted effort to bring church members along in the decision-making process.

People learn by example and benefit by seeing their God-given leaders seeking guidance from the Lord.

Faith and trust are modeled when leaders are willing to wait upon God.

Elders/Shepherds lead and feed the sheep for the good of the Body, not for personal gain or recognition.

Pastors are never referred to as the “head” in Scripture. There is only one head—Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 2:19) The Pastor is just a “gift” to the Church, sent to build up and serve.

The Church, beginning with the leaders, must cry out to the living God like Habakkuk: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help?” (Hab 1:2)

Just as Habakkuk witnessed violence and injustice infiltrating his beloved nation, Christian leaders open up their morning papers and see much the same.

Children are not only the victims of terrible crimes such as murder and rape, they are now perpetrating these evil acts upon others.

Terrorism is ravaging the world, from suicide bombings in Israel to the destruction of the World Trade Centers.

Same sex marriages are becoming increasingly accepted.

How can any believer not cry out: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

God longs to hear one unified voice, one Body, crying out to Him.

He waits to hear His people offer themselves as His instruments to reach a lost world. This ideal is the ultimate task of Church leaders–to lead all members of the Body into maturity in Christ.

Then the church will truly be “one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)

 

I challenge you to make this your daily prayer

  1. Lord, how can I acknowledge You more in my life on a daily basis?
  2. Lord, where am I failing to walk obediently in You?
  3. Lord, how can I pass on the knowledge of the holy to the next generation – to those whom You have put in my path?
  4. Help me O Lord, to patiently and actively wait on you to do all you have promised in my life.