Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Philemon – Part 7


Certainty and Uncertainty

  1. Last week
    1. Blessing and curse of tradition
      1. Designed by God to bring us to remembrance and lead us into worship
        1. To remember His law and admonitions
        2. To remember His great works
      2. Perverted by Satan to lead us into meaningless repetition and fruitless religiosity and to take us captive through worldly traditions
    2. This week we will be looking at the place of certainty and uncertainty in the life of the believer; the child of God
      1. Phm 1:18 “For perhaps he was for this reason separated from youfor a while, that you would have him back forever”
      2. Uncertainty in our walk and understanding is not only permissible; it is often encouraged or affirmed.
        1. Regarding our walk/plans
          1. Prov 16:9 “The mind of man plans his way,
            But the LORD directs his steps.”
          2. Paul’s plans to go to Bithynia
            1. They passed through the  Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in  Asia; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
          3. Paul’s plans to go to Rome
            1. Rom 1:13 “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
          4. Too much certainty can be presumptuous ( rem. James 4:13)
            1. Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are justa vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
          5. Regarding God’s ways and nature
            1. Rom 11:33ff. “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?”
            2. Is 55:9 “For asthe heavens are higher than the earth,
              So are My ways higher than your ways,
              And My thoughts than your thoughts.
  • Regarding God’s will and purposes
    1. God’s response to Job’s questioning (Story of Job)
      1. Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? “Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!  “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me,if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
      2. He continues for four chapters… including this question “Then the LORD said to Job, “Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.”
      3. Job’s response… “Then Job answered the LORD and said, “Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”
    2. Regarding Christ’s return
      1. Matt 25:13 “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”
    3. Why are we even dealing with this?
      1. There are those who assert that all uncertainty is a sign of spiritual immaturity or lack of faith. If we were just spiritual enough…or filled enough… or pray hard enough…or had enough faith… it would dispel uncertainty. But as we have just seen, uncertainty is both acceptable and affirmed in the Christian life.
      2. But there is some truth in their contention. If we are uncertain in areas where God calls us to certainty, it is often a result of spiritual immaturity and insufficient faith in God’s Word and Person.
  • And there will come a time when our knowledge will be “complete” and certain. 1 Cor 12:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
    1. Presently, “through a glass darkly” Our perception is cloudy and dim…our sight unclear. Speaks of a mirror…
    2. Now, “know in part”…then, “know even as also I am known”
      1. But that is for the future…
    3. So, what are those things that God would have us be certain about?
      1. God’s character; those things about Himself that He has revealed
        1. God’s holiness against man’s sinfulness
          1. Is 6:1ff. “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with itand said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
          2. 2 Pet 3:7ff. “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one factescape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
            1. We should have certainty about God’s holiness and coming judgment
          3. We should be certain of God’s omniscience, power, and majesty
            1. Job passage above
              1. God contrasts His power and knowledge with Job’s
                1. The order of the heavens and the earth, both large and small
                  1. “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion?  “Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her  satellites?  “Do you know the ordinances of the heavens, Or fix their rule over the earth?
                  2. “Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the deer?”
                2. We should be certain of God’s goodness and love
                  1. See 1 above
                    1. “He touched my mouth with itand said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
                    2. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
                  2. After pronouncing judgment upon Israel; Jer 29:11ff. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Mewhen you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your  fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’
                    1. Beloved, if that is not goodness, I don’t know what is.
                  3. We should be certain of our hope
                    1. Rom 8:23ff “we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for ouradoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved“
                    2. 1 John 3:2ff “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixedon Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
  • We should be certain of our calling
    1. Eph 1:4ff “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before  Him. In love 5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself”
    2. 2 Pet 1:10 “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His callingand choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
      1. “Examine yourself” is not fundamentally to expose doubt but to affirm and confirm our faith and calling
    3. We should be certain of our resources in Christ
      1. Eph 1:18ff “ I pray thatthe eyes of your heart  may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the  saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
    4. We should be certain of the fidelity and sufficiency of the word of God
      1. 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.




  1. Our certainty about the person and purpose of God is not based upon blind faith or unexamined hope. It is based upon our examination and resultant trust in His word. And it is based upon our experience as we have seen God’s love, power, and goodness flow through our lives and the lives of those who trust in His name. And what is the result of our certainty about these things?
    1. It purifies us
    2. It emboldens us
  • It focuses and grounds us
  1. It guides our steps and understandings
  2. It gives us confidence
  3. It gives us perseverance
  • It brings us joy

Let us pray




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