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Topical - Pleasing God (Part 2)

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Hebrews 11:5-6

In our last study, Pleasing God Part I”, I asked the question Have you ever thought about what most pleases God?”  Or what things He most desires to see in the lives of His believers?  What pleases God?  And what displeases Him? 

Also, we asked ourselves “Does He expect anything?”  As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ; we are called to live our lives to please God.  Do you?  Is your life structured in such a way as to please God by all you do?  Is pleasing God important to you?  Last week we looked at…

A.            Those Who Have Faith In God (Hebrews 10:38).

1.             To please God we must trust God (Hebrews 11:5-6).

2.             To please God we must walk in faith (Hebrews 11:5-6).

B.            Those Who Desire the Right Heart (1 Kings 3:5-10).

C.            Our Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5).

1.             “How you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk)…”  (v.1 NASB).  

2.             Keep your life pleasing to God (v.1-2).

3.             Keeping your lust under control (1Thess.4:3-8).

This week we will go over several other areas that the Scripture would tell us that pleases God or displeases God.  Again, last week we looked at the inward attitudes that pleases the heart of God.  This study focuses on our outward lives and in what ways we should please God.  The key verse for all of this is (Philippians 2:13)…

This is where the Apostle Paul says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

We see from this verse that God is working within us – on our will so that we would want to do what is pleasing to Him.  Our part in all of this is to work hand in hand with God so that the inward workings of our salvation can be manifested out through our lives for all to see.   

A.           Those Who Have A Worthy Walk (Col.1:10-11).

1.            Having an unceasing or recurring prayer life (v.9a).

a)            This demands having an attitude of God-consciousness.

(1)           This is what Paul would call in (1Thess.5:17)… praying without ceasing.
(a)           That does not mean to be constantly in the act of verbal prayer, but to view everything in life in relation to God.
(b)           For example, if we meet someone, we immediately should consider where they stand with God.
(c)           If we hear of something bad happening, we react by praying for God to act in the situation because we know He cares.
(d)           If we hear of something good that has happened, we respond with immediate praise to God for it because we know He is glorified.
(e)           When Paul looked around his world, everything he saw prompted him to prayer in some way.  When he thought of or heard about one of his beloved churches, it moved him toward communion with God.
(2)           Nehemiah is an example of one who prayed without ceasing (Neh.2:4):
(a)           After King Artaxerxes demanded the reason for his sadness, Nehemiah told him of the destruction of Jerusalem.
(b)           As the king asked him for his request, he prayed a quick, brief prayer before replying (Neh.2:4).  In the midst of a stressful situation, Nehemiah was conscious of God’s character and purposes.
(c)           You can also do this in church when the Pastor is teaching.  

!!!! b)            This demands having an attitude of people- consciousness.

(1)           We cannot effectively pray for people unless we are aware of their needs.

Paul exhorted the Colossians to keep alert in prayer (4:2), while to the Ephesians he wrote, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).

(2)           The two elements of praying without ceasing came together in Paul’s prayer life.
(a)           His love for God led him to seek unbroken communion with Him.
(b)           His love for people drove him to unceasing prayer on their behalf.

2.            Having a knowledge filled with His will, wisdom and understanding (v.9b).

a)            To be under the control of what filled you.

(1)           Paul’s petition is that the Colossians be filled with the knowledge of His will.  Filled means to be completely filled, or totally controlled.
(a)           The disciples’ hearts were filled with sorrow when Jesus told them of His departure (John 16:6).
(b)           Luke 5:26 tells us the crowd was filled with fear after Jesus healed the paralytic.
(c)           The scribes and Pharisees were filled with rage after Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Luke 6:11).
(d)           The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31), while Stephen was full of faith (Acts 6:5).
(e)           In each case they were totally under the control of what filled them and in this case Paul wants the Colossians to have a deep and thorough knowledge of God.
(2)           Knowledge is a central theme in Paul’s writings:

He said of the Corinthians, “In everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge” (1 Cor. 1:5).

He prayed that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” would give the Ephesians “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17).

To the Philippians he wrote, “This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

In Colossians 2:3 we learn that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ.

Our new self “is being renewed to a true knowledge” (Col. 3:10).

(3)           So, having the knowledge of God’s Word control our minds is the key to righteous living.
(a)           What controls your thoughts will control your behavior.  
(b)           Self-control is a result of mind control, which is dependent on knowledge.
(c)           Knowledge of God’s Word will lead to all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
(4)           And all spiritual wisdom and understanding will lead to a walk worthy of the Lord FULLY PLEASING HIM!

!!! 3.            Having a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him (v.10a).

a)            Five purposes that are fulfilled in having spiritual knowledge. 

(1)           First – A worthy walk (v.10a).

Paul desired the Thessalonians to “walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (1 Thess. 2:12).

He exhorted the Ephesians to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1).

He told the Philippians to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Phil. 1:27).

(2)           Second – A fruitful life (v.10b) – Fruitfulness also results from knowledge.  Fruit is the byproduct of righteousness.  It is the mark of every redeemed individual.

Jesus said in John 15:8, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (cf.vv. 2, 5–6).

Paul told the Romans, “You also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:4).

(a)           What produces fruit in believers’ lives?

(i)             First, union with Christ.  

Jesus said in John 15:4–5, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

(ii)            Second, wisdom is a necessary prerequisite for bearing fruit.

James says “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

(iii)           Finally, diligent effort on the Christian’s part is required (2Pet.1:5-8).

(3)           Thirdly – An increase in growth (v.10c) – A third result of knowledge is spiritual growth.  Spiritual growth is progressing in the knowledge of God.

The knowledge of God revealed in His Word is crucial to spiritual growth.  Peter wrote, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).

(a)           The marks of spiritual growth include the following:

(i)             First, a deeper love for God’s Word.  “Oh how I love Thy law!  It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97).

(ii)            Second, spiritual growth is reflected in a more perfect obedience: By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.  The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  (1 John 2:3–5)

(iii)           Third, spiritual growth will result in an enlarged faith.  “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged” (2Thess.1:3; 2Cor.10:15).

(iv)          A fourth mark of spiritual growth is a greater love: “This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

(4)           And last – Strength and endurance (v.11) – This is God’s power through the Holy Spirit enabling us to have patience and longsuffering with joy.   
(5)           This is a walk that is fully pleasing to our Lord.

!! B.           Those Who Are Unashamed About the Gospel of Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

1.            Having boldness in God… not as pleasing men, but God…”  (v.2b, 4b).

a)            I believe this starts with a fear of God (Psalm 147:10-11).

(1)           One of the inward attitudes that God is seeking to install in our lives is a fear and awe of Him. That is, that in our hearts we would set apart (sanctify) Jesus as Lord and be more concerned with what He thinks, than what men think.
(2)           How is this attitude outwardly manifested?  One of the most important ways is in our witness and testimony for Jesus.
(3)           In this passage, Paul writes that he ‘dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition’. Ever been there? You may not face physical persecution like Paul sometimes did, but I think most of us have faced verbal opposition from a world opposed to the knowledge of God.
(4)           So here is where the rubber meets the road…
(a)           Let’s say you are in a situation where you want to share the truth of God’s word with someone, but you know they probably won’t like what you say.
(b)           It could be to a non-Christian, witnessing the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father.
(c)           It could be a Christian brother in need of correction.

(i)             Can you think of an example where this has happened?

(ii)            How did you react?

(iii)           Did you just clam up and not say anything?  

(iv)          Did you let something out but water it down so that it no one was offended?

(v)           Or do you speak the truth in love?

(d)           Paul states that ‘we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.’ God has entrusted us with His precious gospel – the good news of what Jesus did on the cross.

(i)             He has entrusted us to speak that truth to other people!

(ii)            And so we speak, Paul says, not ‘to please men, but God, who tests our hearts.’

(iii)           When we speak to please men, we water down the truth so that we will still be popular and won’t offend anyone.

(iv)          When we speak to please God, we say as accurately as possible what the word of God teaches, and leave the consequences up to God.

To the Corinthians Paul wrote: through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.  To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.  And who is equal to such a task?  (2Cor.2:15-16).

!!!! b)            Do not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).

(1)           Paul had an understanding of what God has done for him through Jesus Christ (knowledge) therefore; he had no shame of the Gospel of his Savior.
(2)           Paul also knew it was not in any persuasive words of his own, but the power of God to save.

Writing to the Corinthians he said "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."  (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV)

Paul knew that Timothy was fearful that is why Paul said to him "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, " (2 Timothy 1:6-8, NASB95)

He goes on to say in (v.12) "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”  (2 Timothy 1:12, NKJV)

And he finishes up by saying "The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain;" (2 Timothy 1:16, NKJV)

Peter said "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”  (1 Peter 4:16, NKJV)

Listen to what the Psalmist says "I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed."  (Psalm 119:46, NASB95)

c)            What does Jesus say about being ashamed (Mark 8:34-38)?

(1)           Jesus says something similar in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 10:28-33).
(2)           Let’s see this lived out in the New Testament (Acts 5:40-42).

Paul says "If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2:12-13)

(3)           Turn with me to one last passage on this issue of being ashamed (Rev.21:8).

C.           Those Who Praise God Through Trials (Psalm 69:29-31).

1.            Those who have the praise of repentance (2 Samuel 12:20)

a)            David worshiped God in the midst of a tragic situation.

(1)           David committed adultery with Bathsheba, & had her husband murdered.
(2)           Bathsheba had a child as a result of their sin, & that child died.

David knew that God was punishing him, and this was David’s response: So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped (2 Samuel 12:20).

(3)           David worshiped God even in the midst of God chastening him, because he knew he was receiving what he deserved.
(4)           Chastening always calls for praise. 
(5)           God chastens us because He loves us & our hearts ought to respond with worship.
(6)           Where there is no praise, where there is anger & bitterness against God, there has been no genuine repentance & confession of sin.

!!! 2.            Those who have the praise of submission (Job 1:21-22).

a)            Job accepted his place in life.

(1)           After Job received the news that he had lost everything including his family, he worshiped the worship of submission. 

The Bible says; Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. (Job 1:20).

(2)           God was not chastening him for sin like David—He was allowing Satan to test Job.

Yet Job said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there.  The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. (Job 1:21-22).

(3)           Many people are not able to worship God because:
(a)           they do not accept their places in life.
(b)           they do not accept their jobs, their careers, or other circumstances.
(c)           their response is bitterness, & they cannot worship.
(d)           Do you get bitter and angry with God for negative circumstance in your life?
(4)           When God brings negative circumstances in our lives, He always has a positive purpose.

Job was able to look beyond his present circumstances & see God’s good plan, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”  (Job 23:10)

(5)           If we do not have problems we will not grow!
(a)           God is more concerned with our character than He is with our comfort.  It has been said that “God will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

3.            Those who have the sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15-16).

D.           Those Who Fear God (Psalm 147:10-11).

E.           Those With a Broken Spirit and a Contrite Heart (Psalm 51:16-17).

F.            Those Who Are Giving (Philippians 4:18-19).

G.           Cooperating With God (Philippians 2:12-13).

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