BIBLICAL DECISION MAKING

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1 BIBLICAL DECISION MAKING Decision (Options) To Be Considered Pray Prov 20:24; Isa 46:8-11; Matt 26:39, 42, 44; Jam 4:15 Truly submitted to God s sovereign will 1 Jn 5:14-15 According to God s word Jn 15:5; Rom 11:33; Phil 2:12-13; 1 Thess 5:16-18 In dependence on God and throughout the process Attitude Isa 43:7; Jn 14:15; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Heb 11:24-27 Purpose is to glorify God To love and serve Christ; not love and serve self Obedient and heavenly oriented, What does God want? Not feeling and earthly oriented, What do I want? Gather the Facts Prov 21:5; Luke 14:28-32 Count the cost, pro-con list, do research, make a budget, medical consult, specialized secular counsel (e.g., legal, financial), etc. Put in writing Search God s Word for Guidance Ps 119:34, , 105; Prov; Jer 17:7-8; Ezek 36:27; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Jam 4:17 His revealed will in Scripture knowing God and His ways Principles Commands Examples Counseling: Decision Making

2 Obtain Godly Counsel (if needed) Prov 11:14; 12:15; 15:22 1. Spouse (unity with spouse a priority factor) 2. Parent(s) 3. Mature believer(s) 4. Church leader(s) Exclude All Unbiblical Options Holding Principle 1 Rom 14:14, 23 Do not act until sure you are not sinning If decision is thought to be sin (or suspected to be sin), moving ahead is sin Act may not be sin, but attitude towards God is sin Hasty decisions reveal a heart with demanding desires Benefits of the Holding Principle Avoids sin (violating God s word) and negative consequences Says by action (not moving forward), God and His word are my guide Allows time for new information and developments to increase clarity Freedom to Choose Personal Preference (for the remaining equally good options) Gen 2:16; Ps 37:4; 1 Cor 7:39 Not to be starting point Should not be sole factor Trust God with the Outcome Prov 20:24; Rom 8:28-29 Do not fret over decision made Can re-evaluate decision at any time Be assured God is always providentially directing your steps to His sovereign will. This can be described as intellectual mysticism! Ruth; Prov 16:9 1 Adapted from A Theology of Christian Counseling. 2

3 CHRISTIAN DECISION MAKING1 (Read Hebrews 11:24-27 and pray before making your decision) Two ways to go: COMMANDMENT ORIENTED Decision making begins by asking: "What does God want?" Write out your answer: DESIRE ORIENTED Decision making begins by asking: "What do I want?" Write out your answer: Opts for present suffering in order to receive longterm pleasures. Note both: Opts for present pleasure and forgets long-term suffering. Note both: Like Moses, your decision is an opportunity to "choose Christ." Write out your decision: 1 The Christian Counselor s Manual, 122.

4 Why Make Decisions? Or Do Anything Else for God? 1 There are many good answers to this question; there is one best answer. Old Testament 1. Why did God make people? Isa 43: Why did God call and choose Israel? Isa 49:3; Jer 13:11 3. Why did God defeat Pharaoh at the Red Sea? Ex 14:4, Ultimately, then, why did God rescue Israel from Egypt? Ps 106: Why did God spare Israel in the wilderness? Ez 20:14 6. Why did God give Israel victory in Canaan? 2 Sam 7:23 7. Why didn t God cast away His people when they were disobedient? 1 Sam 12:20, Why has God saved Jerusalem from attack? 2 Kgs 19:34 9. Why did God restore Israel from exile? Ez 36: Why does God forgive our sins? Ps 25:11; Isa 43: What is God s ultimate plan for the earth? Hab 2:14 New Testament 12. Why did God choose to redeem people? Eph 1: Why did God raise up Pharaoh in Egypt? Rom 9: Why did Jesus do whatever He did? Jn 7: Why should we do good works? Mt 5: Why must unbelievers eschew their own glory? Jn 5: Why does Jesus answer prayers? Jn 14: Why did Jesus endure suffering on the cross? Jn 12:27-28; 17:1 19. Why should we welcome others into the fellowship of the believers? Rom 15:7 20. Why has God given the Holy Spirit to believers? Jn 16: Why should we do whatever we do? 1 Cor 10:31; 1 Pt 4: Why should we allow Jesus to fill us with the fruits of righteousness? Phil 1:9, Why are unsaved people under judgment? (In fact, why was Herod struck dead?) Rom 1:22-23; 3:23; Acts 12: Why is Jesus coming again to earth? 2 Thes 1: Why does Jesus desire that believers be with Him? Jn 17:24 Twenty-five questions from the Old and New Testament all reveal the same answer Fill in the blanks: God! 1 Adapted from the Overseas Instruction in Counseling ministry.

5 DECISION MAKING: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Decision making (member-initiated) discipleship Followers of Christ are to spend a lifetime being discipled as well as discipling others. We can learn to move from casual relationships and instead take the initiative to be a part of redemptive relationships. These are relationships that are for the spiritual good of a friend and for God s glory. We desire the vast majority of these relationships be member initiated and not part of any formal program. People are designed by God to be influenced by others, so we need to spend time together with biblical truth at the core of our interaction. GBC Discipleship Curriculum, pg. iii Biblical decision-making flow chart (handout) Moses/Hebrews 11:24-27 (handout) Why make decisions? Or do anything else for God? (handout; group exercise) Sinful and obedient decisions affect others Circumstances lead to: 1. Sinful decisions and consequences. or 2. Obedient decisions and blessings. Both decisions affect others Biblical examples of SINFUL decisions: Biblical character: David 2 Samuel 11, 12 Motive (heart-based worship): Sexual pleasure; covetousness (2 Sam 11:2) Sinful response to circumstance: Adultery; cover up; deception; murder Consequences: Army lost so additional men died; baby died; severe trouble in his family; more than one wife

6 Biblical character: Jonah Jonah 4 Motive (heart-based worship): Self-righteousness; pride (Jon 4:1, 2, 11) Sinful response to circumstance: Ran away from the Lord; suicidal depression; anger; uncompassionate Consequences: Men and ship in danger; cargo lost; thrown in the sea and swallowed by a big fish for three days; rebuke from the Lord Biblical examples of OBEDIENT decisions: Biblical character: Joseph Genesis 39 Motive (heart-based worship): To not sin against God (Gen 39:9) Obedient response to circumstance: Fled from temptation Blessings: Favor in God s sight; favor in the nation; preservation of God s people; prospered Biblical character: Paul and Silas Acts 16 Motive (heart-based worship): Praise of God (Acts 16:25) Obedient response to circumstance: Praying and singing hymns; protected the jailer; shared message of the gospel to jailer and his household Blessings: Released from stocks and jail; jailer and household believed; rejoicing Decision making in trials (handout) Humble believer Obey Trial 1 Peter 5:6-7 Mighty God Trust

7 Husband and wife decision making 1. Divide (Prov 31:10-31; Eccl 4:9) 2. Unity (Gen 2:24; 1 Pet 3:8) 3. Defer (Prov 31:11; Matt 7:12; Phil 2:3-4) 4. Wait (Ps 27:14; Rom 14:23) 5. Help (Prov 12:15; Matt 18:16) 6. Trust (Luke 8:15; 2 Cor 8:21) Topical decision-making 1. Passages often taken out of context for decision making: Colossians 3:15 and Romans 8:14, cf Gal 5:18 2. Dating/Courting (handout) 3. Employment in a fallen world (Eph 4:28; 1 Tim 5:8) Available Gifting/Training Desire 4. Interpersonal relationships to glorify God (Isa 4:7; Jn 1:14; Gal 2:20) 5. Discerning (even good) teachers (Acts 17:10-11; Jam 3:1) 6. Ministry calling (handout) 3

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