God's Purpose For His People
"But Peter explained it to them in order from the beginning, saying ... And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning ... If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:4,15-17)
...When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord." (Acts 11:23)
God is always working. He is working in both visible and invisible ways, and whether you can see it at this moment or not, He has a purpose for everything that is taking place in and around your life.
As Ecclesiastes 3:1 plainly says, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven". Paul the Apostle encourages the saints in Ephesus, by declaring God's ultimate purpose in all things: "that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:10-12)
This does not mean that God approves of everything going on in the world because there is a clearly a lot of sin and evil that is happening contrary to His will. We must always remember that there are multiple wills converging all the time, from Satan to world leaders to individual people, even while God oversees all things. This is why each of us must choose to yield our lives to the Spirit and not live according to our the dictates of our flesh. We can either follow God' voice and be led by the Spirit or we can follow a different voice and by led by our own desires or the will of our adversary.
There are TWO KEY PRIORITIES when hearing and heeding God’s Voice: 1. Ignore or Reject the Word of Satan - “Has God indeed said?” (Gen. 3:1) 2. Inspect the Word of the Spirit with Scripture - “Test all things [by Scripture]; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thes. 5:21)
After Peter followed the voice of God, and did so "without doubting", he explained the powerful work of God's Spirit being poured out on the Gentiles to the Jews back in Jerusalem. The Jews responded by glorifying God when they heard that the Gentiles were truly granted "repentance to life".
Furthermore, the gospel was continually being preached in all directions and more and more people were believing and turning to the Lord. O praise the Lord for every soul that is turning to Christ even to this day! The early church sent Barnabas out to Antioch where he could witness the grace of God himself and he encourage the new believers "that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord" (Acts 11:23).
The word "purpose" carries with the idea of "setting things in order" and speaks of a person's "intention or ultimate will of desire". The problem in our world is that too many people are living for their own purpose and personal dreams. Instead, we ought to be praying for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven and then we will discover the greater plan for our lives and it will delight God's heart and ultimately our hearts as well.
For from the beginning, God has been carrying out His redemptive plan on the earth and we are now able to see the purpose in why God started with a man that He would call Abraham and why He made an everlasting covenant with him that would bless the nations (Gen. 12:1-3). We see that God chose this man to fulfill the promise of the Seed and to birth a nations that would bring forth the Messiah. God established a LAND [Israel]. God chose a LINEAGE [from the tribe of Judah through the line of David]. And God chose a certain LIFESTYLE for the people He was in covenant with [Holiness shown through His love].
As the Scriptures declared in Deuteronomy 7:6-8, “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt."
All of the important events of Israel would eventually lead to God being with us and His Covenant Promise being fulfilled, with Christ as the Promised Seed bringing Salvation to ALL who believe by His Grace through faith, thereby birthing and building His Church, which is Bride for all eternity.
"Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Isa. 49:6)
God’s Eternal Purpose: To unite Himself in a holy marriage with His redeemed creation, (made up of saved Jews and Gentiles) to fully express Himself in and through us until He completes His work of making us ONE together with Him in glory.
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace" (Eph. 2:13-15)
May we all live with a clear purpose of leaving our old ways and will behind and pressing forward to joining with God's purpose here on this earth. May God give to each of us a deep longing to remain in God's will and to finish His work by doing the things that He shows us by His Spirit.
ACTS IN ACTION Challenge Point:
Commit Yourself to Knowing God’s Covenant Promise
Be Listening for God’s Voice to Obey What He says
Have a Clear Purpose in All You Say and Do